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Emirates

Emirates is Canada's largest airline and flag carrier, and as such operates a full service, full route network, around two main hubs. The airline, founded in 1937, has its corporate headquarters in Montreal, Quebec. Emirates is the world's 13th largest airline by fleet size and has its largest hub is at Toronto, along with Montreal, and Vancouver.

Emirates is currently revamping it's fleet with Project XM: Extreme Makeover. This is Emirates's project to revamp the aircraft cabins on all aircraft, except the soon to be replaced A340s. New aircraft being delivered already have the new features.
Emirates CRJ at Toronto
Toronto Emirates 737s & Embraers line up


Emirates Classes, Seats and Fleet

Emirates has a vast, unweildy fleet with examples of pretty much every plane flying today. The quality of your flight will vary markedly according to which plane you are on. For example just flying from London to Toronto, you can end up on an A340-300 (old seats, with AVOD, and very quiet), a 767-300 (uprated XM seats), a 767-300 (old style seats, no AVOD, getting very old and tired), a 777 (fully XM and brand new) or a A330-300 (old seats, no AVOD). And that's just one route. No wonder then that when you book your ticket with Emirates the type of plane you are on is highlighted. Everything from the food on board to your checkin experience will vary wildly - it pays to check ahead and be prepared.
Business Class 767 seats June 2007
Business Class 767 Seats

Emirates has only two classes of travel on it's planes, however those two classes can, again, vary markedly. All planes have an Economy section. The bit up the pointy end long-haul is called Executive First, except on Boeing 767-200s which only have a Premium Economy Class (in effect you get to sit in the old business seats, but get the same food as the back). All narrow-body aircraft and North American Boeing 767s have Executive Class. Emirates Jazz has Executive and Economy class on its CRJ-705 aircraft. All other Jazz aircraft are one class service, with low-frills.

Project XM: Extreme Makeover, the aircraft interior replacement project give a much nicer cabin than the older cabins: if at all possible you should try and ensure your longhaul flights are in these aircraft. Alas to determine if you are in these aircraft is very difficult - the only way to do it for sure is to make dummy bookings and examine the seating plan before booking your seat.

In Executive First, the International Business Class product on XM planes, there are new horizontal lie-flat executive suites in a herringbone pattern. These are very similar to the licenced Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seats, and all seats have personal AVOD (with an 8.9" touch-screen LCD), US style 3-prong plugs for laptops (110 volt), and USB ports to recharge iPods and BlackBerry devices.

Emirates 777-200 & 777-300

Emirates 777 seats June 2007
Emirates 777 the best seats in economy: row 31
Emirates has 3 Boeing 777-300ERs (with 8 on order) and all of one Boeing 777-200LR (with 5 on order). The 300 variants seat 349 (with 42 in Business, and 307 in economy) and are used trans-Atlantic, while the 200 variants seat 270 (with 42 in Business, and 228 in economy) and are used over the Pacific. These all still have the old interior, but all have AVOD. In the inflight magazine and in most publicity these planes are listed as the flagship aircraft, and indeed after the retirement of the 747s, and indeed the A340s, they are. The new aircraft, straight off Boeing's production line, are very good indeed. They are comfy, roomy, and all the bits work (even if they are a bit noisier than Airbuses' offering).
Emirates 777 toilets June 2007
Emirates 777 sparten toilets

In Business, the configuration is similar in layout to Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Suite and Emirates's Business Premier Class product, with seats in a 1-2-1 herringbone layout. These are full flat seats, which allow everyone access to the aisle. These seats do however mean you sleep in a curve, and you don't get such a great view out of the window.
Emirates 777 seats June 2007
Emirates 777 the best seats in business

Economy seats are in a 3+3+3 layout, except right at the front in row 18 where there are only 2 seats on each side (one seat was removed to stop the drinks trolley from ramming into passengers). Power ports are located with two per triple seat located left hand and centre seat (AB/DE/HJ), one per double located left hand seat (A/J) There are no power ports at rows 19, 30, 31, 50, and 51. Row 31 gets a door (but with no window), and row 50 is an emergency exit seat with a little more legroom. At both of these rows you do not get a USB port, but you do get a very good flip out TV screen, and a table in the armrest.

Emirates 767-200 & 767-300

Ottawa 767 bound for London June 2007
Ottawa Emirates 767-300 bound for London
Emirates has 32 Boeing 767-300 (&-300ER)s which seat 211 (with 24 in Business, and 187 in economy). This type of 767 can be distinguished as it is much longer than the 767-200 variant. 6 already have the XM new interior. Executive First has electronic flat beds, in a 1-1-1 layout. These are very good.

Economy has seats in a 2+3+3 layout. There is a small cabin in front of the galley, in rows 12 to 15. Seats here are highly prized, as this cabin is much smaller and quieter than the main cabin. Row 18 and 19 have seats which are emergency exits, and then racks of economy going back to row 39.
Cabin of a 767 June 2007
767-300 the back of the bus

Emirates has 10 Boeing 767-200 (&-200ER)s which seat 207 (with 24 in Business, and 183 in economy) which are used on many routes from domestic services in Canada to trans-Atlantic. These all still have the old interior, with business seats in a 2-2-1 layout. These are exceptionally poor and falling apart. Many passengers try very hard to avoid these planes which in some cases are, literally, held together with gaff tape: look under the seats if you do not believe this. Maintenance is very poor when it comes to passenger comfort.

Premium Economy is offered on international B767-200 aircraft on low density routes to Europe and to the Caribbean. The cabin is the North American Executive Class cabin sold as Premium Economy. This again is a poor option, and should be avoided if possible.

Emirates Airbus A330-300 & A340

Toronto A340 June 2007
Toronto Emirates A340
Emirates has 8 Airbus A330-300 which seat 274 (with 42 in Business, and 232 in economy). The larger A340 currently flying are destined from the scrapyard within the next few months, or sold on to any airline which will take them.

The Business 2+2+2 cabin is split into two - there is a large cabin at the front, in rows 1 to 5. Then after the galley there are another two rows of business class. This cabin is normally less popular - it's harder to attract the attention of the crew, and you get all the noise of the economy cabin behind you. All seats have a seatback TV.

Economy seats are in a 2-4-2 layout - which is actually great for couples. There are two cabins, with row 31 being amazingly popular, because it is right by the door with lots of legroom. No seat has a seatback TV.

Emirates Airbus A319/320/321

Emirates A320 at Toronto June 2007
Emirates A320 at Toronto
Emirates has 45 A319, 38 A320, and 10 of the larger A321. Most of the A320s have the new interior, and only a few of the A319, and none of the A321s has gone through the XM project.

There is one solitary A319 which flies trans-atlantic to Halifax from London Heathrow. It has the XM new interior with AVOD in all classes. This plane is quite luxurious compared to some of it's domestic siblings, however make no mistake - this is a tiny plane flying trans-Atlantic. It will feel crampt.

Emirates Embraer 175/190

Ottawa Embraer June 2007
Ottawa Emirates Embraer
Emirates has 15 of small Embraer 175s, seating 73, and 24 of the larger Embraer 190s, seating 93 (with 9 in business class), and a further 21 on order.

All have the new interiors, with AVOD in all classes, and considering the size of the plane the interior can be quite luxurious. The plane's size can seem a little odd however - from a distance these look like a full size jet, and then when you get on board you realise that they are actually quite tiny, with 2+2 seating.

Emirates Jazz Dash8-300

Ottawa Dash8-300 June 2007
Ottawa Emirates Dash8-300
The Dash 8s are overwing prop planes fleet, which fly lower than the jets, and give a great view of the ground, but its very noisy, bumpy on landing (what other plane can you sit on and see the wheels hit the ground?) and thanks to weight problems has a "lightweight" seat which bend as you sit down.

Note that the overhead lockers on this plane are only 4 inches high, so your "carry on" case won't, and you have to check it at a trolley as you board: it is then loaded into the hold for you.

Emirates Jazz Bombardier CRJ 705

Emirates CRJ at Toronto
Emirates CRJ at Toronto
There are 15 Emirates Jazz Bombardier CRJ 705, all with the new interior.

Overhead locker space is very limited - you can take a normal sized carry-on bag, however this is taken off you at the door. Regular travellers know to take a smaller squashy bag, which will fit in the overhead bins, however there is not really much of a delay in collecting your bag.

Seats are in the usual 2+2 pattern. Try and avoid the last row where the proximity of the engines means you'll have a noisy flight and stagger off the flight with your ears bleeding.

Emirates Inflight experience

Emirates have several tiers of inflight service, which alternates between the very good (in Business on Trans-Atlantic) to downright shoddy (on domestic). As with many things, you get what you pay for, however at least it is
Service in a 767 June 2007
Service in economy
done with a smile and a general willingness to help, unlike on most North American carriers. There is also a less puritanical attitude to alcohol than you would find on a US based carrier, although on domestic/US flights, but passengers are required to pay for alcohol.

In Business (Executive & Executive First) Newspapers and magazines are available to all passengers. there is a drinks service while the menus are brought around, and then a the meals are taken out individually.

In Economy there is one hurried drinks service, and then you have to wait a long time for the meals to come around - the two trolleys run from the back of the cabin, but will at least offer three choices. Finally, a long time after the meal service, you will get a coffee trolley coming past which also has beer & wine.
Emirates 777 seats June 2007
En Route in flight entertainment on an Emirates 777

Emirates Entertainment - EnRoute

In flight entertainment (or IFE) varies wildly from the exceptionally good (with full AVOD (or Audio Visual on demand) to woefully poor that will make a trip on Emirates seem like a trip back to the 1960s. Imagine overhead projection TV, flickering, with just one film - that is what you get if you are unlucky enough to end up on a Transatlantic 767. However other aircraft have had a full XM makeover, and here you get a vast widescreen TV at your seat, even in economy. Choose your flight well - not by the time it leaves, but by the aircraft type and registration you are on. It makes a vast difference.
Emirates 767 IFE controls June 2007
Emirates 767 IFE controls

Internationally on non-XM aircraft the main cabin entertainment is presented on overhead ceiling monitors and by projection TV on the bulkheads at the front of the cabins. The flight usually starts with the appalling CBC news, and is followed by a bland hollywood style film. At your seat you can get several music channels, which say they are provided by XM satellite radio, but are actually pre-recorded. In business in Non-XM 767-300s you get an individual DVD players with 9" colour screen, however these are only handed out after the meal service has finished, which can be several hours into the flight.
Emirates headphones June 2007
Headset on Emirates

XM aircraft (plus non-XM A340-500, A330 and select A340-300s in business) have audio and video on demand featuring over 70 hours of digital entertainment and video games.
767 June 2007
Emirates 767 skyphone

For XM aircraft in business you get a very large 8.3 inch in-arm screen. In economy there is a smaller screen, however both feature a USB power port, except for the bulkhead and emergency exit economy seats. Headphones in economy are notoriously poor, of the small sit in the ear type. They are collected as you leave the aircraft, and binned.

On domestic flights there is no inflight entertainment on the 767s, however there is a seatback skyphone. On all more modern Embraers there is AVOD in all classes with a small seatback screen.

EnRoute - Emirates inflight magazine

Emirates inflight mag June 2007
EnRoute the Emirates inflight magazine
Emirates's in-flight magazine, enRoute, is provided to all passengers on all flights. Thick and chunky, it's actually a pretty good read. Bi-lingual, all articles have English on the left, and French on the right.

There are five main articles on travel, which always centre around a destination for Emirates. There are also four feature articles, which are generally copied from other magazines (and yes, of course, paid for and slightly edited).

The interesting bits come towards the end: in the altitude section has a lot about what Emirates is doing and planning. There is a page on destinations, and events at that location, then the route maps, a useful aireal phot and map of Toronto showing what a confusing mess it is, a completely mad picture of the Emirates fleet, and then finally Scene.
Toronto A340 June 2007
Toronto Emirates A340 in Star Alliance livery

This is the film guide, but you have to wade through several pages of nonsense before you get to it. When you do firstly there is the "mainscreen" option, with films listed in a grid with the four main compass directions for short flights, then a longer mainscreen section for longer flights that includes the destination (for example, listing the long sequence of mainsteam films on Australian flights). The you get a page with the personal TV on some 767 and A340s, plus the DVD list for First passengers, before you get to the film reviews, and then the music listings.

At the back is the food menu, if you're unlucky enough to be on a flight where you have to buy your food (for flights of 90 minutes or longer on Domestic or pretend domestic Canada to US flight).
Emirates route map June 2007
Emirates Trans-Atlantic routes


Emirates Routes

NEWS: In December 2007, Emirates plans to introduce daily non-stop service between Vancouver and Sydney, Australia, replacing the current one-stop routing via Honolulu, using a new Boeing 777.
Montreal Embraer June 2007
Montreal Emirates Embraer
From London LHR the main, high-frequency route is to the main hub at Toronto (YYZ). There are five planes a day, however every flight uses a different plane type. This can make a huge difference to your enjoyment on board, and it is well worthwhile booking according to which plane has an XM interior, rather than on connections. The daily flights are 0830 (arrive 1125) on an A340-300, 1105 (arrive 1410) on 767-300, 1300 (arrive 1535) on a 777, 1515 (arrive 1820) on an A330-300, and 1935 (arrive 2240) on a 767-300. Return flights are the highly popular day flight at 0900 (arrive back at LHR 2115) on, oddly, a 767-300, 1810 (A340-300), 1910 (767), 2050 (777 and very popular) and 2255 (A330-300).

Montreal (YUL) has only 2 flights a day from LHR, at 1005 (arrive 1230) and 1530 (in at 1755) both on a 767-300. Return flights are at 1945 and 2230.

Vancouver (YVR) has flights at 1230 (arrive at 1430) and 1500 (gets in at 1700) both on a A330-300. Ottowa (YOW) fares worst of all, with just one flight from LHR at 1415 (arrives at 1655) returning at 1835. This is on a dreadful 767-300, however as this is the sole international flight from Canada's capital (except for some trival US commuter traffic), Emirates can be thanked for at least keeping this route open to the small, obscure, but very pretty, country town that runs Canada.
Ottawa Dash8-300 June 2007
Ottawa Emirates Dash8-300

Even more obscure are the trans-Atlantic runs to Calgary (YYC) at 1315 (arrives 1535) on an A330-300, and to StJohn (YYT) on bizarrely an A319. This is by far the smallest jet flying the Atlantic. It feels like a small trans-Europe commuter plane. It leaves LHR at 2240 (arrives 0045 the next day). The business class cabin is actually the Executive Class cabin (usually domestic business class). Tickets on this plane are notoriously cheap, but it is not recommended.

There are also direct flights from Toronto to Rome, Paris and Frankfurt.

From Vancouver, Emirates fly to Sydney via Honolulu, leaving Vancouver at 1940 and staggering into Sydney two days later at 0650, using a 767.
Emirates route map June 2007
Emirates North-East routes


Emirates frequent flyer scheme - AeroPlan

Star Alliance Aeroplan is Emirates's frequent flier programme, and is part of the Star Alliance.

Joining is easy; it's possible to do it online, however the benefits are horrendously complicated, with a very poor website explaining the tier level perks, which you can add to or taylor to your flying patterns.

AeroPlan operates a fairly normal miles and tier points system. Miles are the currency of the AeroPlan Programme and they can be earned whenever you fly with Emirates or another airline in the Star Alliance. You earn one Aeroplan Mile for every $1-3 spent on your flights within Canada or between Canada and the U.S. Tier Miles determine membership status each year and through them you can progress to Silver, Gold, Platinum and Lifetime Platinum Status. Their Tier levels give you perks are access to the lounges, extra luggage, and upgrades. You also get the normal miles, which go towards free flights.

Over 5 million people are members, which includes over a third of Canadian Households. As a result, it's not very elite or special at all, and if you still try to get some of the benefits, you may find yourself being shouldered out of the way by thousands of other elite fliers. Upgrades or business class seats trans-atlantic are notoriously hard to get hold off, mainly because Aeroplan hands out upgrade certificates like sweets. Few people ever buy a real business class ticket on Emirates, which may explain some of the airlines financial problems.

Emirates is also pretty generous with handing out its Gold (Elite) level cards - you can get one flying just a laughable 35,000 miles in one year. Comparing how easy it is to get to Gold level, United or Singapore Gold needs 50,000, bmi 57,000, and Lufthansa senator needs 100,000. This in part explains the "SuperElite" tier above this, which is much more of a struggle, at 100,000 miles.
Ottawa Dash8-300 June 2007
Ottawa Emirates Dash8-300

Earning Miles

There are three different earning tables, for how many Aeroplan miles you can earn.

Flights within Canada and between Canada and the Continental U.S.A. (including Hawaii). You earn 150% of the miles flown in Executive Class (business, J, C, Z), 100% of miles flown (minimum 500 miles) in Latitude (Y, M, U plus I), and Tango Plus (B, H, V, Q, L, A). In Tango (R, G, P, E, N, T, K, X) you earn 25% of the miles flown (minimum 125).

Flights between Canada and the U.K. You earn 150% of miles flown in Executive First (J, C, Z*), 100% of miles flown in Latitude Plus: (Y, M, U, I), and Leisure (B, H, V, Q, L, A). In Tourist (R, G, N, P, K) you do not earn any miles. There are exactly the same earnings to Mainland Europe & Israel, except Executive First earns just 125%.

Can also earn on miles on all Star Alliance airlines.
Emirates 767 at Toronto June 2007
Emirates 767 at Toronto

Spending Miles

Domestic flights generally need 15000 for economy or 25,000 for business for short hops, or 25,000 / 40000 for longer flights.

To the UK or the rest of Europe you'll need 60,000 for economy or 85,000 for business (If using a Star Alliance airline only 80,000, or 100,000 in First), however the Baltic states, Finland, Greece and some Eastern European states need 75,000 (or 100,000 in Business).

Australia needs 75,000 for economy or 115,000 for business. If using a Star Alliance airline to Australia, New Zealand or Fiji, 75,000 for economy, 100,000 in Business, or 140,000 in Frist)
Emirates 767 at Toronto June 2007
Emirates 767 at Toronto

Aeroplan Emirates Upgrades

There are also a confusing array of upgrade certificates, for use just on Emirates:
North America Upgrade Certificates. You need only one North America Upgrade Certificate per flight sector to get a leg up to Executive Class (domestic business) across Canada and the Continental USA.
System-Wide Upgrade Certificates. You can confirm an upgrade from economy to business class at anytime after booking with an expensive (Y, M & U) ticket, or on some cheap tickets within 7 days of departure (B&H only), with some exceptions such as to the Caribbean where only expensive Y tickets count.
Special System-Wide Upgrade Certificates. You can confirm an upgrade from economy to business class from within seven days of departure with almost all cheap tickets, or from the time of booking with a more expensive ticket (generally Y, M, or U, however just Y to Caribbean holiday destinations).

Upgrade certificates are alas now personalised and non-transferable, so the old days of selling them on Ebay are long gone.
Emirates 767 at Toronto, bound for London LHR June 2007
Emirates 767 at Toronto

Aeroplan Prestige (Silver)

Prestige is equivalent to Star Alliance Silver Level. It can be achieved at 25,000 paid miles or 25 paid segments on Emirates or Star Alliance in a calendar year.

The main while-flying perk of this level is that you get Priority Airport Check-In at the Emirates Executive Class/Executive First counters and spend a bit less time queuing.

You get a 1,500 status mileage bonus on getting to this level. You can request your preferred seat in Economy Class at the time of reservation, and that's about it. You don't get into the lounge - but you do get 3 Maple Leaf lounge guest passes, if you buy Maple Leaf lounge access for CA$400.

Despite this being a low-level tier, you get 2 system wide upgrade certificates, and 4 improved North American upgrade certificates.
Ottawa Dash8-300 June 2007
Ottawa Emirates Dash8-300

Aeroplan Elite (Gold)

Elite is equivalent to Star Alliance Gold Level. It can be achieved at 35,000 paid miles or 50 paid segments on Emirates or Star Alliance in a calendar year.

Now you're really getting somewhere. This gives all the normal perks that you'd expect for a high-tier card. you get Priority Airport Check-In at the Emirates Executive Class/Executive First counters, and check in at Business Class at all Star Alliance airlines.

You get lounge access to the Maple Leaf lounges for free, plus one free guest for each visit, and access to the Star Alliance lounges with the same perks.

You get a 2,500 status mileage bonus on getting to this level, and celebrate for the slight delight that is a special priority tag identifies your luggage, so that it is among the first on the carrousel when you arrive at your destination.

You get 4 system wide upgrade certificates, and 2 special system wide upgrade certificates.

Aeroplan SuperElite

SuperElite has no equivalent to a Star Alliance tier level, however it comes with Gold level perks. It can be achieved at 100,000 paid miles or 95 paid segments on Emirates or Star Alliance in a calendar year.

Definitely the top tier, it has all the perks of Aeroplan Elite, with the same number of upgrade certificates.

You get a 5,000 status mileage bonus on getting to this level. You also have the exclusive benefit of a guaranteed seat in Economy Class, even when the flight is already booked to capacity.

Emirates Lounges - Maple Leaf Club

Emirates has lounges for premium passengers. There are open to passengers holding Executive First, or Executive class tickets. Super Elite, Elite, (and for a charge, Prestige passengers can also use the lounges). Star alliance Gold passengers are permitted full access.

There are dedicated Maple Leaf lounges at Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Québec, Regina, St. John's, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. There are also lounges at outstations including London (jointly with SAS), Los Angeles, and Paris (CDG).
Toronto Emirates Maple Leaf International lounge June 2007 Toronto Emirates Maple Leaf International lounge

Toronto Pearson Maple Leaf International Lounge

Terminal 1, level 3 Open 0600-2200

You have to walk a long way to get here, and if you are transferring from a domestic flight (remember to get an exit passport stamp at the odd roped off passport control on the gantry) it can feel like a hike half way around the airport.
Toronto Emirates Maple Leaf International lounge June 2007 Toronto Maple Leaf lounge

This is a lovely vast lounge for the main hub. Mind you, it is split into small chunks by high wooden barriers, so it seems a lot cosier than it is. The bar area is where you walk in (with another one up the stairs), the showers are at the far end (get a key from reception) and at the far end is a quiet area and computer rooms. There would be a view over the runway - however the windows have blinds, and are some way away from the lounge.
Toronto Emirates Maple Leaf International lounge June 2007 Toronto Maple Leaf lounge bar

The bar is fantastic - one of the best at any airport lounge - if only because of the vast array of spirits. There are 17 on optics, and another 5 sitting on the bench. There are 4 beers on draft (Sleeman Cream & Pale Ale, Guinness, and Canadian). However the wine is very poor, with just one lonely white sitting in a bucket, one red on the counter, and no champagne.
Toronto Emirates Maple Leaf International lounge June 2007 Toronto Maple Leaf lounge

The food is however very poor, with just a bowl of salad, carrots, celery and tomatoes, plus 3 types of dip. There is also a bowl of apples, oranges and bananas. There are also some biscuits on the counter.

There is a Xerox business centres at the far end of the lounge. There are a large number of computers at the far end of the lounge. There are fast, and work well. There is a fax, two colour printers, a photocopier, and Wifi around the lounge. Above the bars are two TVs, however they show a very low-definition version of CNBC, while at the far end of the lounge there is a Sony Grand Wega television with Surround Sound.

Ottawa Maple Leaf Lounge

After security, extreem left, old terminal Open 0600-2200
Ottawa Emirates Maple Leaf lounge June 2007 Ottawa Maple Leaf lounge

There is a lovely new terminal at Ottawa. It is full of lovely features like a twinkling waterfall, granite flagstones, and cool bars. Alas, the Maple Leaf lounge isn't in this section - it's a long cold hike away in the old bit. With cold sterile Wal-Mart style decor. The lounge is half way in the middle of the section now only used for Jazz flights.
Ottawa Emirates Maple Leaf lounge June 2007 Ottawa Maple Leaf lounge bar

The lounge itself is OK, although it gets full to bursting when Ottawa's one daily international flights, to LHR, leaves in late-afternoon. It is a small box, admittedly with great views of the runway from the main section, with a bar on the left, and a business section right at the far end at the left via the strange screened off corridor. There are two TVs in a corner on the left.

The bar has a good wine and beer selection. The beer isn't immediately obvious: open the silver fronted fridge to the right of the bar, and you'll be presented with about racks of the stuff. There's everything from Boddingtons, Guinness, Blue, Canadian. There is a rack of spirits on optics. Being the Capitol, this place is used to hardened drinkers. The wine is equally good, with two whites in a bucket, and two reds on the counter. Beware though, that you aren't allowed to take any booze into the business centre.
Ottawa Emirates Maple Leaf lounge June 2007 Ottawa Maple Leaf lounge

The magazine rack is to the right of the bar, and is very well stocked indeed. There are also larger numbers of newspapers (all Canadian).

Food is on the opposite side to the bar. There is Soup (the selection changes at 5pm) and a selection of dips with cucumber and carrots. And that's about it.

The business centre has 5 PC which are all modern and fast with broadband access. There is also (paid-for) wifi access.

LHR - The London Lounge

Terminal 3, airside Open 0600-2200
LHR Emirates London lounge June 2007 London LHR Emirates lounge

Access for SAS/Canadian/Thai business class passengers, and Gold card holders

Emirates (Maple Leaf) have a joint lounge with Scandinavian Airlines. Designed by Swedish architects it combines the old SAS (which was only a third of the size) & Emirates's previous Maple Leaf Lounge. It is also used by Thai flights.

Imagine a minimalist land of stripped pine, white walls, and the wow factor that very few lounges have now.
LHR Emirates London lounge June 2007 London LHR Emirates lounge

Called 'The London Lounge' the two-story lounge seats 350 people and is easy to find - its located directly adjacent to the duty free transit area.

It's has two floors with very different atmospheres. The ground floor provides a livelier atmosphere, similar to a hotel lobby, while the upper floor offers a more 'relax-and-unwind' atmosphere with seating areas including massage chairs, a library (with some really good books and a big reading table) and showers. There are several works of art including mini Buddha figures by Fredrik Wretmann and Albin Karlsson's clock. Award winning Canadian textile artist Elyse de la Fontaine has two prominent pieces on display.

Upstairs the lounge features a 12-seat cinema (a box glass room with a really big TV), along with a TV in the open (a 32" with Freeview); a games room with tabletop curling developed by a former member of the Swedish Olympic team (which is great fun to play on - mind the curtains); and a separate Kids Lounge (with lots of Lego). The seats up here are the most comfortable, and in the corner there is a view of some of the nearby gates. There is a bar here hidden by the back corridor, with beer on draft, and spirits (vodka, gin, whisky). On the upper level there are also four shower cubicles: ask for the key (and a towel - these are not normally given) at reception.
LHR Emirates London lounge June 2007 London lounge food bar

There are a large number of computers at the back of the top floor, which are fast and work well. There is also free wi-fi in the lounge (Network: SASWipoint Name: lhrb Password: sas).
LHR Emirates London lounge June 2007 London LHR Emirates lounge

Downstairs there's a business centre with computers and high-speed Internet access including wireless options around a circular bar area. There is Sky TV on the flatscreen TV on the wall under the stairs, and a smoking glass box, next to the newspaper pod, with loads of papers (all of which you can take away) including all the UK papers, and most of the Canadian papers.

Downstairs the bar has 4 types of white and red, but no champers. Mineral water comes on draft, but there are no spirits, and the only beer downstairs is Singa, in small bottles.

Food on both levels comes in a buffet area. It provides fresh fruit, including peppers, carrots, and cauliflower (but no dips), and lots of cheese to choose from, with Boursin & Smoret in tubs, plus two types of cheddar and red Leicester. There are digestives or Cream Crackers to put them on. Two types of nuts in bags. Three types of fruitcake, all sealed in plastic. Early in the morning there are some good pastries.

Note that at Terminal 3 at LHR BAA have abandoned fasttrack for Gold card holders - you can now only use fasttrack if you are in a premium cabin. Note also that you can't get access to the lounge on arrival.
Ottawa 767 June 2007
Ottawa Emirates 767-200 C-GAUN

Emirates History

Trans-Canada Airlines was created as a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway in 1937, based in Winnipeg, and moved to Montreal in 1949. In 1953 with the development of the ReserVec, Emirates became the first airline in the world to use a computer reservation system. By 1964, TCA had grown to become Canada's national airline and in 1965 changed name to Emirates.
Montreal CRJ June 2007
Montreal Emirates Bombardier CRJ 705

In July 1970 a McDonnell Douglas DC-8, exploded after an engine hit the runway in Toronto on landing. All 109 passengers & crew were killed. There was another disaster in 1983 when a DC-9 exploded in a flash fire, with 23 passengers killed. In July 1983 a Boeing 767-200 (C-GAUN), made an emergency landing in Gimli after running out of fuel, due to an inability of the crew to convert from imperial to metric. No one was injured. This incident was the subject of the TV movie, "Falling from the Sky: Flight 174".
Emirates 767 at Toronto June 2007
Emirates 767 at Toronto

In 1987, Emirates became the first airline in the world to have a fleet-wide non-smoking policy, and in 1989 became completely privatised. In 2001 Emirates acquired Canada's second largest air carrier, Canadian Airlines, subsequently merging the latter's operations into its own. As a result Emirates became the world's twelfth-largest commercial airline. In April 2003, Emirates filed for bankruptcy protection, emerging from this protection in September 2004, 19 months later, after considerable debate about changing the airline's pension plans. In October 2004, the last Emirates Boeing 747 was retired.

Emirates hints and tips

Booking Tickets

On the website the Emirates booking system is fairly intuitive, however it is long and slow when on dialup. When you book your tickets, you can see the seats available when selecting a flight. This is very useful if you want to ensure you get a window seat, or if you want to see if a plane has been XMed.

You can also book seats online - so long as you pay an extra £10 per flight. The seatbooking on the website is notoriously suspect. You may have paid extra to book seats in advance, but the website will often refuse to take the reservation, once it has your money. Accordingly you may be better off saving your money, and then just calling up Emirates to reserve seats.

Most cheap economy tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable, however you can often make a change to flight time or day, which, oddly, halves in price to just £44 on the day of departure. This can be a lot cheaper than a flexible ticket.

Be warned that when you make an Ebooking booking and enter any other FF number than an Emirates number, often the booking will default back to an Emirates FF number. Check your boarding card to make sure it has been correctly entered.
Emirates 767 at Toronto, bound for London LHR June 2007
Emirates 767 at Toronto, bound for London LHR


Emirates website

Slick, fast, and well designed, the Emirates website works well, and for most information isn't too slow on dialup.

Canadian version: www.aircanada.com
UK version: www.aircanada.co.uk
Aeroplan: basic guide
Aeroplan: Tier Guide
Aeroplan: Earning Miles
Entertainment
Emirates CRJ at Toronto
Toronto Emirates 767, 777 and A320 line up


Note that all reviews and opinions on Emirates (AC) food, service, seats, planes, upgrades, lounges, the Maple Leaf Lounges, and the Frequent Flyer scheme is soley at my judgement. No legal liability is accepted if you take my advice.

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