Skytrax has recently named Emirates as the Best Airline for the year 2016 and it intrigues me a lot on how they came up with such a ranking. So, I went to their website at http://www.airlinequality.com and it looks like the ranking relies heavily on subjective contributions from travellers around the world. I would say that the ranking is very subjective.
It is my belief that the airline is best ranked based on how they offer services to those in the economy class. Many airlines might offer top notch first class and business class service but for most of us, coach is where we will usually enjoy (or suffer) the services of airlines.
I flew with Emirates several times. It is fair to say that they are better than most airlines. First, they have newer aircrafts which is always a Boeing 777 in my experience. Second, their inflight entertainment is consistent and is one of the best. However, I must point out that the performance of their cabin crew are mediocre and do not reflect their number one status. I am also not happy with long layovers in most of their flights which could see you stuck in Dubai for 8-12 hours. The good thing however is that they provide meal vouchers for these long layovers.
Food is also one of the contentious issue that I have with Emirates. Now, unless you are in business or first class, the food onboard Emirates is just like any other airline and at times even worse. Of course, this is subjective. The quality and taste of food varies from person to person.
So, let’s take a look at a sample of what they are serving onboard Emirates. Here is the menu for the economy class in a flight from Sao Paulo to Dubai last June 2016.
EK 262 leaves Sao Paulo at around 01:30 in the morning and the first meal they serve is breakfast. The choices are mushroom omelette with sauteed chicken sausage, hash brown, creamed spinach and grilled tomato or scrambled eggs with chives served with lyonnaise potatoes and sauteed mushrooms with tomato concassé.
I chose the mushroom omelette which tastes rather bland. I read somewhere that airline food are intentionally flavorful because our tastes buds are not 100% operational once we are at higher altitudes. Whether there’s something wrong with my tastes buds or the omelette is really bland is a matter of debate.
In between meals, the cabin crew distributed some fruit bars and empanada. I appreciate this gesture because in other airlines, snacks in between meals are available only on request. In some cases one needs to walk to the galley area to get one, usually a cup noodles, ice cream or some buns.
For lunch, EK262 offered two choices: chicken piccata served with tomato sauce, creamy polenta and steamed broccoli or beef stroganoff with roasted potatoes, sauteed broccoli and carrots. I went for the chicken piccata which is quite good.
So what are they serving at the Business Class? Well, I managed to get hold their menu and I can imagine these meals are sumptuous. After all, it is in the business class that Emirates got rave reviews. Below are some the pages from the business class menu of Emirates.
In overall, food onboard Emirates in this very particular flight, gets four stars out of five. As I mentioned, this is not consistent based on my experience and not the best but definitely Emirates serves better food than most airlines that I flew with.