Emirates pushes back Dubai-Sydney-Christchurch A380 to January 2022

This superjumbo flight could once again be the best way to travel across the pond.

By David Flynn, June 16 2021
Emirates pushes back Dubai-Sydney-Christchurch A380 to January 2022

From January 2022 it should again be possible to take a superjumbo jaunt between Sydney and Christchurch in the comfort of international-grade business class seat or even the indulgence of a first class suite.

That's the 'glass half full' take on Emirates' decision to push back the restart of its Dubai-Sydney-Christchurch Airbus A380 service from 31 October 2021 to 1 January 2022 – and after 18+ months of COVID putting the brakes on travel, we're all for some optimism.

Not that further schedule changes by the Gulf carrier can be ruled out, considering the pandemic remains a moving target, and the New Zealand government would need to approve travel from Sydney on a flight that's come in from Dubai.

But as worldwide vaccination rates climb and countries begin to reopen their borders, 2022 looks to be the year that things begin returning to normal in a slow but steady post-COVID climb.

Cross the pond in style on Emirates' Airbus A380.
Cross the pond in style on Emirates' Airbus A380.

Making the trans-Tasman hop on an Emirates A380 used to be all the rage many years ago, especially on the Sydney-Auckland route, until the Qantas partner wound back these 'tag' flights which added a second NZ leg to selected flights between Dubai and Australia's east coast cities.

Qantas and Air New Zealand offer a mish-mash of aircraft types between Sydney and Christchurch.

Qantas typically flies the single-aisle Boeing 737s with domestic business class seats, and sometimes Airbus A330s with its superior Business Suite, while Air New Zealand favours its all-economy Airbus A320neo.

Emirates' Airbus A380 business class.
Emirates' Airbus A380 business class.

But if you stump for Emirates' Airbus A380 flights, this is what you can expect in business class: a comfortable seat which can lie fully flat if you're so inclined; direct access to the aisle; plenty of personal space around you; a large video screen packed with movies and TV shows; and even your very own mini-bar.

Emirates' iconic Airbus A380 business class bar/lounge.
Emirates' iconic Airbus A380 business class bar/lounge.

 

That said, after enjoying a proper international-grade business class meal, you might make a beeline for the cocktail bar at the rear of the upper deck to enjoy a drink, some nibbles and the company of your fellow high flyers.

Emirates' Airbus A380 first class suites.
Emirates' Airbus A380 first class suites.

Want to really splurge? Book yourself into one of the 14 private first class suites – and don't forget to sample the delights of a shower at 30,000 feet.

Emirates' Airbus A380 first class shower.
Emirates' Airbus A380 first class shower.

Yes, it's an insane indulgence for a flight that's barely three hours from start to finish, but this adds to the appeal if you're looking to celebrate a special occasion with your partner or simply to treat yourself.

(Note that this A380 doesn't offer Emirates' new premium economy cabin, which at the time of writing is found only on a handful of the airline's superjumbos.)

Emirates' timetable shows EK412 departing from Sydney at 8.45am to reach Christchurch as 2pm.

As a bonus, if you hold Platinum status with the Emirates Skywards or Qantas Frequent Flyer rewards programs, you can spend the hours ahead of your flight at Qantas' superb Sydney first class lounge.

There's nothing wrong with a cheeky three-hour flight on Emirates' flagship A380 superjumbo.
There's nothing wrong with a cheeky three-hour flight on Emirates' flagship A380 superjumbo.

The EK413 return leg is wheels up from Christchurch at 6.45pm, arriving into Sydney at 8.05pm.

These Sydney-Christchurch legs can be booked on Emirates' own website with fares typically on par with the market, but once Qantas resumes its codesharing partnership with Emirates – an arrangement currently suspended, seeing that easy international travel is out of reach – then you'll be able to book these Emirates flights using Qantas Points.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 603

Long live Emirates and the A380. We really do owe them for the game changing competition they injected into long haul flying.

26 Mar 2020

Total posts 19

I have a feeling that it won't be happening and those A380 onboard bars and showers - the authorities would never allow it even after vaccinated.

You will need to remain seated and masked and service offering will be paired back to pre-packaged meals to minimise contact.

I think early 2022 is premature especially if the flight travels via Dubai - there is no way the New Zealand Government would allow it. 

I think perhaps 2024 or 2025 appears to be sadly a realistic proposition 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

Emirates has already restored the shower service in first class plus the business class bar, and I think also a return to more 'normal' catering too.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 377

I don't think masking on board or pre-packaged meals are going to remain post-Covid. If Australian and Kiwi carriers currently operating the trans-Tasman bubble can serve normal meals and are OK with passengers wearing their masks on their chins, I think it's safe to say that some time in 2022 airline travel will return to normal rather quickly.

It is too early to predict how this flight will look come January, but if Emirates goes ahead with this plan but scales back it's catering and services on board to less than what Qantas, Jetstar and Air New Zealand are offering, then it's safe to say few people will bother to fly with them.

21 Jun 2018

Total posts 8

Thanks David - what do you think will happen if you're currently booked on EK412 (A380) from SYD-CHC in Dec 2021 - will they just move you to a different EK flight that day / non-A380 service?

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

That's really a question for Emirates.

21 Jun 2018

Total posts 8

If you're already on an EK412 in Dec (SYD-CHC), do you think they'll just move you to a different flight that day (non-A380 of course)?

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