• Emirates, Airbus A380, Penultimate
    Emirates has been unable to fly to Nigeria, so local travelers have found other ways of getting to the UAE. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Alvin Man - Simple Flying
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier
    Dubai International Airport
    Year Founded:
    Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum
    United Arab Emirates

I am no frequent flyer, but having tried Emirates’ economy product on previous long-haul international flights, I decided to stick with it for this trip home. It also helped that I was getting a decent enough deal when using my leftover Skywards miles. Additionally, I got a free upgrade to Business Class the last time I traveled with this Emirati carrier and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for it to happen again (spoiler alert: it didn’t ☹)

The complete trip was from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) in the United States to Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM). However, this flight review will only focus on the first leg of the journey to Dubai International Airport (DXB). Emirates flies to Boston once daily using the Boeing 777-300ER and on that particular evening, the flight was to be operated by a six-year-old airframe registered as A6-EQA.

Photo: Devansh Mehta | Simple Flying

Apart from Emirates, other viable one-stop options on this route are offered by Qatar Airways and the Air France-KLM group utilizing its partnership with Delta Air Lines. While Qatar will stop at Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH), passengers traveling with AFKLM would either stop at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) or at Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG), depending on the airline operating the second leg of the journey.

Airport Experience

Boston has a really pretty airport with some awesome plane-spotting locations dotted all around. Plus, the airport is also quite accessible using the city’s public transportation system. If you have plenty of time before the flight and don’t mind leaving early, using the subway and bus network is a great way to reach the airport and save $50 on an Uber.

Knowing the Massachusetts public transportation system, I was extra cautious with time and ended up arriving around an hour before the bag drop opened. But it was a busy day at BOS so I decided to indulge in some light plane spotting before getting in line.

Upon entering Terminal E (the international terminal) you are greeted by what feels like a never-ending line of baggage drop counters. I quickly looked at one of the display screens and found that Emirates had set up shop at counters 42 through 50. For my 11 pm flight, bag drop was scheduled to start at 1900. However, the Swissport employees arrived around 10 minutes late to a long line of patient yet borderline frustrated passengers with me at the very front.

Photo: Devansh Mehta | Simple Flying

Once underway, the bag drop was pretty smooth and took barely 5 minutes for me. Since I had plenty of time, I stopped by my group of friends for final goodbyes and a few photos before proceeding to security at 1945 hours. Security check took around 15 minutes all-in-all, not bad considering I do not have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

With nearly two hours until boarding was scheduled to commence, I scooted off to the Air France Lounge at Logan Airport’s Terminal E for a quick pre-flight snack and to get some work done.

At the gate and boarding

After a quick stop at duty-free, I made my way towards the assigned gate E11 just after boarding was scheduled to start. There were a lot of people at the gate waiting to get on the Boeing 777 aircraft that was going to take us to Dubai that evening. There were only two lanes and both were moving at snail’s pace probably because security was checking passports, boarding passes, and taking photos of every last passenger before letting them through.

Photo: Devansh Mehta | Simple Flying

The crowd at the gate led me to believe my 12-hour flight was going to be quite packed, but I quickly realized that wasn’t the case. Perhaps I had forgotten how big the 777 was. In any case, two agents standing at the aircraft’s door welcomed me onboard and directed me to take the first aisle on the right towards my assigned seat 36D. Emirates configures its economy seating in a 3-4-3 pattern meaning mine was an aisle seat on the port side of the middle column.

Upon discovering my place on the plane, I quickly shoved my cabin suitcase in the overhead bin and sat down with my backpack and the Emirates amenities items on my lap in order to not get in the way of other boarding passengers. I was in my seat by 2225 local time, 20 minutes after boarding started. There was an elderly couple seated on seats 36F & G, which left me hoping for the empty seat beside me (36E) to stay that way. My prayers were answered when one of the pilots announced the completion of boarding.

At around 2248, Emirates flight EK238 was pushed back from its gate. In the next three minutes, we could hear the GE90 engines breathing into life followed by the plane moving on its own power to taxi out. We were using runway 15R that evening which meant there wasn’t a lot of taxiing to do from the Terminal E gate. As a result, the plane was on the runway and performing its take-off roll by 2258. Like a true aviation enthusiast, I found myself watching all the action live via the external cameras on the IFE system.

In-flight experience and meals

I was getting sleepy soon after take-off but decided to stay awake and browse through ice, Emirates’ in-flight entertainment system. Having flown with the airline before, I already knew why it was one of the best in the industry. It didn’t take long for me to find something I liked.

Meal service commenced about an hour after take-off. I had pre-ordered the Asian vegetarian meal from a long list of options. Dinner was served first and for the main course, we had dum aloo (spiced potato) served with sautéed spinach and a vegetable pulao (rice cooked in a spiced broth). A traditional Indian salad called Kachumber was served with hummus and Kalamata olives as an appetizer, while the dessert menu had a chocolate salted caramel delice. The meal also included a bread bun, some honey-roasted sesame chips, a cream cheese spread, and a pack of breadsticks on the side.

Photo: Devansh Mehta | Simple Flying

Taste-wise, this meal was sub-par. The potatoes felt slightly undercooked and the spinach was dry. The chocolate dessert and sesame chips were the only items I truly enjoyed.

The cabin crew came with a beverage cart soon after serving the meals, with plenty of choices on offer. I decided against having anything and quickly finished my meal. Soon after, I switched off the IFE screen and pulled out Emirates’ eco-friendly blankets to get some shut-eye.

I was shaken awake by a few instances of mild turbulence somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean but the flight was mostly smooth otherwise. One of the cabin crew woke me up when it was time for brunch. I did wonder why she did not just let me be but soon realized we were only two-and-a-half hours from Dubai, and I had already missed the second meal.

The third and final meal of flight EK 238 cheddar and feta cheese with crudités as appetizers, followed by a delicious main course of paneer bhurji (scrambled cottage cheese) served with aloo paratha (Indian bread stuffed with a potato filling) and potato corn fritters. The dessert menu had fresh fruits and like before, there was bread and jelly on the side.

Photo: Devansh Mehta | Simple Flying

This meal really hit the spot. The paneer bhurji was perfectly spiced and went really well with the Indian bread. The fruits and cheese added a nice layer of tanginess to the meal. This time, I asked for a glass of apple juice from the beverage cart to go with the meal.

Landing and final thoughts

Soon after the meal plates were cleared up, the cabin crew began preparations for landing. The 777 swiftly touched down on runway 30 L at DXB at 1853 local time, 27 minutes ahead of schedule.

Overall, the flight was an extremely pleasant experience with not much to complain about. All my past flights with the carrier have ended with a similar feeling at the end. Executing a 12-hour flight with such finesse is no easy task and Emirates has always got it bang on in my experience.

However, I am keen to experience another carrier, especially Qatar Airways, the next time around just to see how the two Middle Eastern giants compare. I have heard great things and it will be interesting to see the differences in customer service and the comprehensive flight experience between the two.

Have you flown on a long-haul Emirates economy flight before? Please share your experience in the comments.