Review: Emirates A380 Sydney-Christchurch first & business class

Are you ready for a swift three-hour journey from Sydney to Christchurch? The decision might seem straightforward between Qantas’ Boeing 737, offering the same business class seats as domestic Australian flights, and Emirates’ A380 superjumbo, featuring international business class seats, an Upper Deck Cocktail Lounge, and the option for a private first-class suite with its own shower.

The choice is clear, isn’t it? Especially when the fares for Qantas and Emirates are nearly identical.

Imagine experiencing the ‘wow’ factor of a double-decker jet on a brief three-hour trip across the Tasman, a journey usually associated with lengthy flights of up to 14 hours.

Emirates facilitates this luxurious experience with daily A380 superjumbo flights from Sydney to Christchurch, serving as an additional leg to its Dubai-Sydney-Dubai route.

Rather than keeping the aircraft idle at Sydney Airport after its morning arrival from Dubai (flight EK412), Emirates diverts the superjumbo to Christchurch, the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island.

Following a short layover, the Emirates A380 gracefully returns to Sydney, preparing for its evening departure to Dubai as flight EK413.

Make your journey exceptional with the luxury and comfort of Emirates’ A380 superjumbo, promising an unforgettable experience from takeoff to touchdown.

A unique trans-Tasman experience

  • Embark on a lavish journey from Sydney to Christchurch with Emirates, offering the perfect opportunity to experience the opulence of Business Class or elevate your travel with the luxury of First Class.

    Having personally experienced both, we’ve flown in the Emirates A380 First Class from Sydney to Christchurch and returned in Business Class. Notably, this A380 also boasts Emirates Premium Economy, providing a sneak peek for those contemplating booking it for longer trips to the UK or Europe.

    If a Sydney-Christchurch adventure is on your agenda or you’re seeking a quick weekend getaway, seize this golden opportunity.

    As of early October 2023, a one-way Business Class fare on an Emirates A380 from Sydney to Christchurch is approximately $920 (compared to just over $800 on a Qantas Boeing 737). Meanwhile, a one-way First Class fare on the same route costs around $1600.

    For savvy travelers, booking these Emirates flights under Qantas codeshare flight numbers (QF8766 and QF8765) ensures a full serving of Qantas Points and Status Credits. Keep in mind that booking as Emirates flights (EK412 and EK413) offers fewer Qantas Points and no Status Credit.

    Enhancing the allure, these Emirates A380 flights are available for Classic Rewards bookings using Qantas Points through their website, with ample availability. A one-way flight in Emirates A380 Business Class requires just 43,800 Qantas points, while First Class demands 64,500 Qantas points (plus $182 in fees and charges for any ticket).

    Emirates’ well-timed schedule maximizes your stay in Christchurch:

    • EK412 departs Sydney at 7:50 am, arriving in Christchurch at 12:55 pm.
    • EK413 leaves Christchurch at 5:45 pm, ensuring your return to Sydney by around 7:00 pm.

    Indulge in the epitome of travel luxury with Emirates, making your journey from Sydney to Christchurch truly unforgettable.

Emirates A380 lounge access

Before you embark on your A380 flight from Sydney with Emirates, the airline ensures a luxurious start for lounge-eligible passengers. This exclusive group includes First and Business Class passengers, Skywards Gold and Platinum members, and their Qantas Frequent Flyer counterparts. Your first stop is the Emirates Lounge, conveniently located adjacent to Gate 58.

Step into this expansive and opulent airport lounge, catering to your pre-flight needs. Enjoy a self-serve buffet offering a diverse array of dishes, along with the option to indulge in a glass or two of Moët Champagne if you’re in the mood, even in the early morning.

However, if you find yourself flying Emirates First Class or holding Skywards or Qantas Platinum status, there’s a superior choice awaiting you—the renowned Qantas First Lounge. Boasting an extraordinary à la carte menu, an extensive selection of wines and champagnes, and stunning design, it stands out as the premium option.

Upon your return from Christchurch, keep in mind that neither Emirates nor Qantas has their own lounges. The independent Manaia Lounge serves as a convenient stopover, ensuring your pre-flight experience is complete.

Discover the epitome of luxury with Emirates Lounge, setting the stage for a seamless and indulgent travel experience from the very beginning.

Emirates A380 First Class

Emirates stands at the forefront of aviation luxury, introducing private suites with motorized sliding doors on the A380—an innovation that cocoon passengers in a lavish experience above the clouds.

On the upper deck of the A380, 14 first-class suites await, each adorned with motorized sliding doors for an exclusive and private feel. A unique feature of the cabin is the absence of overhead lockers, a deliberate choice to amplify the sense of space, creating an ambiance reminiscent of a private jet.

No need to worry about overhead space; your cabin bag conveniently fits under the 32” HD video screen or can be stowed in a designated area next to your seat.

Settling into my designated Emirates First Class suite (2K on the upper deck’s right side), the attentive cabin crew promptly presented an array of pre-flight drinks from an extensive menu. A standout was the vintage Dom Pérignon 2013, complemented by reds and whites from France, Australia (including Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay 2018), and New Zealand (2014 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir).

Sipping on Dom Pérignon, I explored the elegantly designed suite that would be my airborne haven for the next three hours. The Emirates First Class design exudes sophistication, featuring gold trimmings that, while opulent, add to the overall aesthetic.

A captivating half-moon cutout on the table in front of the video screen reveals a mirror surrounded by LED lights, accompanied by Byredo amenities, including eye cream, facial toner, and pillow mist.

A concealed drawer on the left unveils a notepad and pen, a subtle nod to the charm of traditional travel diaries and an encouragement for first-class passengers to embrace the art of documenting their journeys.

Beneath the broad armrest and positioned in front of the tablet-like IFE controller lies a personal mini-bar stocked with cold drinks, offering a refreshing touch, albeit at room cabin temperature. Experience luxury beyond compare with Emirates A380 First Class—an indulgent journey among the clouds.

Emirates A380 First Class.Emirates A380 First Class.

Shortly after takeoff, a delectable breakfast experience unfolded in Emirates First Class. While the airline typically offers an a la carte ‘dine on demand’ service, allowing passengers to order from an extensive menu at any time, the morning Sydney-Christchurch flight showcased a curated selection from the breakfast menu:

  1. Gruyère Omelette with Grilled Chicken Sausage, Pepperonata, Roasted Plum Tomatoes, and Parsley
  2. Scrambled Eggs with Corned Beef Hash, Creamed Kale, and Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms
  3. French Toast served with Mascarpone Cream and Spiced Apple and Date Compote
  4. Coconut Oat and Chia Pudding, Served with Mango and Passion Fruit Compote
  5. Cornflakes, Muesli, or Granola

Having already enjoyed breakfast in the Qantas First Lounge, I opted for a lighter combination—deliciously fluffy, sweet, and tangy French toast, followed by a refreshing yogurt and fruit salad.

Indulge in an unparalleled culinary journey with Emirates A380 First Class, where every bite is a delightful experience, making your flight from Sydney to Christchurch truly memorable.

Emirates A380 First Class.Emirates A380 First Class.

Surprisingly, a notable overlap exists between the breakfast menus served in Business Class and First Class—suggesting a distinctive approach on this specific route, possibly aimed at optimizing Emirates’ catering efficiency. Explore the intriguing culinary choices that set this journey apart.

Emirates A380 First Class.Emirates A380 First Class.

Midway through the journey, the standout feature of Emirates A380 First Class becomes apparent—a luxurious hot shower experience.

Upon boarding, a dedicated first-class attendant will inquire about your preferred time to reserve one of the two generously appointed shower suites during the flight. Elevate your travel with this unique and refreshing mid-flight indulgence.

Emirates A380 First Class Shower Suite.Emirates A380 First Class Shower Suite.

You can spend 30 minutes in this well-equipped ‘shower spa’ room, which has everything from VOYA organic toiletries to heated floors – although once in the shower there’s only five minutes of water available per passenger.

Emirates A380 First Class Shower Suite.Emirates A380 First Class Shower Suite.

Immerse yourself in the extraordinary world of Emirates A380 First Class—a ‘bucket list’ experience that awaits you on a swift Sydney-Christchurch journey. Revel in endless Dom Pérignon, savor the exclusivity of private suites, and refresh before landing with a luxurious shower. Make this exceptional experience a memorable highlight of your trip.

Emirates A380 Business Class

The next segment of Emirates’ premium travel offering unfolds in its renowned A380 business class—a familiar and esteemed choice for seasoned travelers around the globe.

Emirates A380 Business Class.Emirates A380 Business Class.

The seating arrangement in Emirates A380 Business Class follows a ‘direct aisle access’ pattern with a comfortable 1-2-1 configuration. Adorned in opulent champagne leather upholstery complemented by sleek dark walnut trim, the cabin boasts a visually uncluttered and inviting ambiance.

Emirates' A380 business class.Emirates’ A380 business class.

While lacking sliding doors, the strategic placement of window seats slightly ahead of the center rows provides an extra layer of privacy for passengers.

Following takeoff on the Christchurch-Sydney route, the cabin crew promptly served dinner, showcasing the efficiency of delivering a satisfying business class meal without unnecessary extravagance.

Emirates' A380 business class.Emirates’ A380 business class.

On my journey, the appetizers presented a delightful experience with a carefully crafted dish featuring smoked salmon accompanied by horseradish cream, pickled radish, and a refreshing lemon dressing to elevate the flavors.

Emirates' A380 business class.Emirates’ A380 business class.

Next on the dinner menu was my selected main course—a flawlessly cooked beef fillet accompanied by a delectable mustard and tarragon jus, potato gratin, and steamed broccoli. (Alternative choices feature roasted chicken or barramundi seasoned with Emirati spices.)

To complement the meal, I indulged in a delightful assortment of cheeses served with crisp crackers, dried fruits, and nuts.

Given the brief duration of the flight, the entire culinary experience was efficiently presented on a single tray, seamlessly combining the flavors without the need for separate courses.

Emirates A380 Bar and Lounge

The A380 bar stands as a distinctive hallmark of the Emirates business class experience, providing an exclusive space for business class passengers to unwind. Additionally, first-class passengers seeking a change from their private suite are also welcomed into this sophisticated setting.

Emirates A380 Cocktail Bar and Lounge.Emirates A380 Cocktail Bar and Lounge.

Even on this brief trans-Tasman flight, the Emirates A380 bar transforms into a lively hub of activity, fostering engaging conversations as passengers gather for cocktails and snacks.

The dedicated Emirates A380 lounge boasts its own menu, offering a delightful array of sandwiches, pastries, and a tempting hazelnut and apple cake during this particular flight.

Amidst the era of prolonged flights, such spaces provide a refreshing change of surroundings, allowing passengers to stretch their legs, socialize, and break away from a 16+ hour seated experience.

For those seeking connectivity, Emirates provides in-flight Wi-Fi, complimentary for all first and business class passengers. However, it’s worth noting that, at least on this flight, the speed was significantly slow, bordering on impractical.

What’s the verdict from executive travelers? The journey between Sydney and Christchurch is not only the best but also the most enjoyable way to experience Emirates’ top-tier flights. Explore the world-class service with a touch of fun on board.

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