Beware the book pocket ... Emirates economy class.
Aircraft Emirates Boeing 777-300ER.
Route Melbourne to Dubai.
Class Economy, seat 29J.
Seat pitch and width 34 inches between seats and 17 inches between armrests.
Seat configuration 3-4-3.
Luggage allowance Checked baggage up to 30 kilograms, plus one item of cabin baggage up to seven kilograms. Silver Skywards members are allowed checked baggage to 42 kilograms, with gold members up to 46 kilograms.
Scheduled flight time 14 hr 15 min.
On-time performance Arrived 1 hr 10 min early.
Aircraft condition Clean and neat.
Entertainment The touchscreen (27 centimetres) accesses 250 movies, from new releases to 1940s black-and-white classics. New releases err more towards Hollywood than arthouse. There's also a wide range of TV programs (with 21 Simpsons episodes on the menu, I could almost fly the entire way with Bart for company), plus music playlists from 68 popular artists — from Prince to Queen to Nat King Cole — and some 300 albums.
Comfort Smooth take-off and landing. The book pocket in the seat back is a good idea only until the person in front reclines the chair, imprinting my book into my knees.
Service Excellent. Between them, crew members speak a dozen languages (even Slovak) and are very attentive to parents, having the good sense to bring out children's meals first. It's a tactile crew, with pats on the backs and shoulders of passengers as we disembark in Dubai.
Amenities Nifty little travel pack stuffed with socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, eyeshades and seat stickers for telling the crew whether you wish to be woken for meals or duty free.
Food and beverages Flying through the night, dinner and breakfast are served. Dinner choices are pesto tortellini with roasted capsicum and steamed broccoli or beef steak with tomato ragout, sauteed vegetables and baked potato cubes. Dessert is New York cheesecake. Breakfast is omelet or mixed grill.
Flight frequency Three times daily between Melbourne and Dubai. The night service (departing 10.25pm) flies direct, while the other services transit through Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. The fare is about $1990, low-season return, including tax.
Tested by Andrew Bain