From 31 October 2016, Emirates will make three changes to its New Zealand services, starting with replacing the Boeing 777s that it currently utilises for its Christchurch to Dubai via Sydney and Bangkok as well as direct Auckland to Dubai services with Airbus A380s.
In addition to the operational aircraft switch, its Bangkok stopover on the way from New Zealand to Dubai (via Sydney) will switch from originating in Christchurch to Auckland instead.
Christchurch to Sydney upgrades from 777 to A380
The new A380 Christchurch to Dubai via Sydney service will swap flight numbers of the current Auckland – Sydney – Dubai service, with the latter also picking up the extra stopover in Bangkok while still maintaining an A380 operating aircraft on the route.
With only a single stopover in Sydney, the revamped service will not only provide a seamless journey on the same aircraft between Christchurch and Dubai, but will also increase capacity on the route and provide Christchurch business travellers with Emirates fully lie-flat business seating instead of the current angled-flat seat.
The map below shows the current routing in red and the future routing in white:
EK413 Christchurch – Sydney – Dubai
- Departs Christchurch 18:45 (DST)
- Arrives Sydney 20:05
- Departs Sydney 21:45
- Arrives Dubai 05:15 +1 day
- Total journey duration: 19h 35m
EK412 Dubai – Sydney – Christchurch
- Departs Dubai 10:15
- Arrives Sydney 07:00 +1
- Departs Sydney 08:45 +1
- Arrives Christchurch 13:50 +1 day (DST)
- Total journey duration: 18h 40m
Auckland to Dubai direct upgrades from 777 to A380 and another flight adds Bangkok stopover
Travellers from Auckland currently have two options to get to Dubai with Emirates, the first being a direct flight on a 777 (launched in March of this year) and then second being an A380 flight via Sydney.
The former will be upgraded to an A380 service from next month, and will become the flight of choice for those going for comfort and minimal flying time.
The latter will remain as another A380 option via Sydney.
In addition, a new option will open up, which will be travel to Dubai via both Sydney and Bangkok (again, on an A380). Now, there is unlikely to be a huge demand for this longer option for flying all the way to Dubai, but it does provide both a convenient and more luxurious option for those wanting to travel from Auckland to Bangkok with a single carrier.
EK419 Auckland – Sydney – Bangkok – Dubai
- Departs Auckland 16:30 (DST)
- Arrives Sydney 17:55
- Departs Sydney 19:50
- Arrive Bangkok 01:10 +1 day
- Depart Bangkok 03:00 +1
- Arrives Dubai 06:45 +1
- Total journey duration: 23h 15m
EK418 Dubai – Bangkok – Sydney – Auckland
- Departs Dubai 08:55
- Arrive Bangkok 18:05
- Depart Bangkok 19:30
- Arrives Sydney 09:00 +1 day
- Departs Sydney 10:40 +1
- Arrives Auckland 15:55 +1 (DST)
- Total journey duration: 22h 00m
The Emirates A380 Aircraft
Emirates currently operates three daily A380 aircraft from Dubai to Auckland via Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and no daily A380 services to Christchurch.
With the upgrades at the end of October of both the direct Auckland service and now the Christchurch via Sydney service to the super jumbo, Emirates will be flying five A380s into the country on a daily basis. Some commentators believe this is a strategy of Emirates to position itself in creating a base in New Zealand (primarily Auckland) to launch A380 flights between Australia and the US, but this is speculation at this stage.
Emirates three-cabin A380-800 aircraft will carry a total of 489 passengers, configured with 427 Economy Class seats, 76 lie-flat Business Class seats, and 14 First Class Suites.
While the Suites are quite similar on both aircraft, the A380 wins with its onboard shower and bar, even though the 777 actually has a wider cabin.
Economy passengers should also find the trip more pleasant with both a roomier cabin and wider seating in that cabin.
Award redemption options
It seems that the new services are now open for revenue ticket purchases with Emirates, but at this point are not showing up with bookable award inventory on partner airlines like Qantas. We will update as and when we find that changes.
For those that are keen to monitor and book award availability as soon as it comes online, the easiest option is searching for ‘Classic Flight Rewards’ with Emirates’ strategic airline partner Qantas on their frequent flyer search engine at qantas.com.
Summing up: our thoughts
It is great to see Emirates investing in expanding and upgrading the Christchurch – Sydney – Dubai and Auckland – Dubai services to the A380 aircraft. The super jumbo will make these flight a much more comfortable and streamlined option compared with the current 777 services.
The inclusion of the lie-flat seats will make for a very enjoyable journey for Business Class passengers, and a great value award redemption target for New Zealand-based partner airline frequent flyer members, as and when they become available.
Finally, the addition of a luxurious option to travel between Auckland and Bangkok is another excellent opportunity for redeeming points.
Featured image courtesy of Emirates.