Emirates has the world's largest fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos -- but which are the best seats to pick in its excellent business class?
The airline with the most A380s in the world, Emirates plans to have a full 90 of the superjumbos flying via its Dubai mega-hub.
Emirates flies an A380 from Dubai to Sydney and on to Auckland every day, which makes it a great option if you're looking for a full-service airline (with proper international standard business class) across the Tasman.
Emirates' other Australian flights (to Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney) are on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft -- check out our guide to the best seats on those 777s.
From Dubai, Australian passengers will find useful connections on Emirates' A380s to London Heathrow, Manchester, Paris and Jeddah. It's also found on routes from Dubai to Bangkok, Toronto, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong, New York and Shanghai.
The Business Class cabin
With Economy taking up the whole of the lower deck of the A380, Business Class occupies the rear three quarters of the upper deck, behind First Class.
The seats go back 19 rows, from row 6 to row 26. (Yes, they skip row 13.)
The Business Class cabin is laid out in a unique staggered layout, where every seat has direct access to the aisle. Here's how it works.
A and K seats are immediately next to the windows on either side of the plane, with B and J seats inboard of them on the aisle. To get to A & K, you pass through a small gap between the rows, where your side table is.
In the middle block, seats E and F are in the very middle, separated by a privacy screen. Seats D and G are on the left and right hand aisles, respectively.
There's more bed length in the window and middle seats by a whopping nine inches, so tall passengers or people who like to really stretch out on their beds should pick A, K, E or F seats. There's no real benefit to the aisle B, D, G or J seats. People travelling in pairs should pick the middle E and F seats.
The in-flight entertainment is Emirates' fantastic ICE, and includes an absolutely massive screen.
Each seat has a small side table and a mini-bar for soft drinks. The touch screen controller for the video screen is also nestled on the side table.
There's a large fold-out table for meals and working as well, and every seat has an AC power point.
The best seats on the plane
The staggered seating plan means that there are three groups of seats to choose between:
- A & K seats: if you're travelling alone, these are the most private on the plane, right next to the windows, and have extra legroom and bed length.
- E & F seats: if you're travelling in a pair, these very centre seats have extra privacy from others and let you talk to each other easily, plus they have extra bed length.
- B, D, G & J seats: skip these -- they're closer to the aisle and there's no real reason to pick them, since everyone has direct aisle access anyway.
Once you've chosen which sort of seat you want, pick your row:
Row 7-12: these are further forward, so likely to have less engine noise or disturbance from the bar. The further back you go, the more people will be walking past you to get to the lavatories at the back of the plane.
Note that none of the bulkhead seats (at the front of each cabin section in rows 6, 7, 22 and 23) have extra legroom or space. In fact, they seem a little more closed in than the rest of the cabin.
The worst seats on the plane
Rows 22-25: while there's an attraction to this smaller cabin, it's very close to the often-loud business class bar at the back of the plane, and everyone in business class will be walking past to use the lavatories.
Row 6: these are all the way at the front of the first cabin, near a galley kitchen, which may disturb you while sleeping.
Row 21: right at the end of the back cabin, these seats are immediately in front of the galley kitchens and may be noisier as a result.
Rows 13-20: as you go further back in the cabin, there will be more people walking past your seat to use the lavatories or visit the standup bar.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.