Flying Emirates from New York to Milan: EK206 Flight Review
There's plenty of options when flying between New York to Milan, including direct flights with Alitalia, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines from JFK, and United Airlines from Newark. An airline which stands out on this route is Emirates, which offers a non-stop A380 service from New York (JFK) to Milan (MXP). After my experience onboard this flight EK206, I am absolutely convinced when travelling to Milan, flying with #EmiratesA380 is to travel in style! La dolce vita!
Route: New York - John F. Kennedy (JFK) to Milan - Malpensa (MXP)
Operating Aircraft: Airbus 380-861
Departure from New York: 10.20pm / 10.44pm* (UTC -4)
Arrival in Milan: 12.15pm +1 / 11.47am* (UTC +2)
Flight Time: 7 hours and 55 minutes / 7 hours and 3 minutes*
(*denotes actual timings)
Emirates operates EK206 with a routing New York-Milan-Dubai, and utilizes 5th freedom traffic rights to carry passengers on the New York-Milan sector (likewise for its outbound flight EK205 Dubai-Milan-New York). This 5th freedom privilege is clearly evident at the Emirates check-in at JFK Terminal 4 - the check-in lines were packed with Italian vacationers were checking-in for their flight back to Italy after their summer US vacation.
The seat map during online check-in (48 hours ahead of departure) showed a completely full flight (with zero available seats!) so I thought I arrive early for check-in to ask (beg) if the check-in agent could offer me a better seat (my pre-assigned window seat wasn't bad at all but I hoped for an aisle seat instead). Unfortunately, her system also showed a completely booked flight (she was pretty surprised as well) so I stuck to my original window seat. Emirates does allow seat reservation for a fee - something to bear in mind if you do have particular seat preferences, and if you are even more anal about it than I am!
I then proceeded onwards to the security check queue, and under the watchful eyes of the no-nonsense security officers, was herded down a line of travelers that was constantly divided and merged with other lines of travelers, before thankfully, passing my security check with flying colors and finding my freedom at the airside. No one was spared from this cattle treatment, not the First or Business Class passengers and not even the Swiss International Air Lines and Airblue crew members in the queue at that time. It was not the most pleasant of New York experiences for sure!
Past security, the airside was much more humane and pleasant, and I could enjoy spotting jumbo jets hailing from all far-end corners of the world (Air Serbia A330, Etihad Airways A380 and El Al Israel B747 were most memorable). At the assigned gate A6, I could spot the operating aircraft for my flight being prepared for its long journey to Europe then to the Middle East.
The operating aircraft (A6-EDD) is the 20th A380 to be assembled. This particular aircraft has a prestigious history with Emirates: it operated the first commercial A380 service to Auckland (EK412 Dubai-Sydney-Auckland on February 2, 2009) and also, the first commercial A380 service to Bangkok (EK372 on June 1, 2009). Even though she's a grand dame, her interior is still state-of-the-art as you will read later.
Boarding was on time and well, chaotic. Long snaking lines formed but boarding was done by zones so lines were stagnant. When finally entering the aircraft, contemporary pop music relaxes my senses as calm and smiling cabin crew welcomed us onboard. Though I was confident of finding my seat, the proactive flight steward warmly greeted "Buonasera!" and eagerly showed me to my row. It was a very nice first impression!
The window seat was much better than I thought, with the A380 offering a lot of space along the wall to lean against - very useful on this red-eye flight!
On each seat was a blanket, pillow and entertainment headset to start enjoying the award-winning ice entertainment once you get settled in.
There are also individual USB ports for every passenger, and shared AC power ports on the armrests - don't fret if your electronic gadgets are running out of juice.
Once everyone boarded, the Captain announced a flying time of 7 hours and 5 minutes, followed by a cabin announcement. On this flight, the multinational cabin crew came from 16 countries and spoke 17 languages. Arabic, English, and Italian were definitely 3 of them as announcements were made in these languages. I thought it was appropriate for Italian to be one of the announcement languages, given the overwhelming proportion of Italian passengers onboard this flight.
Paper menus were also distributed by the same nice gentleman, which was a very classy service touch.
The safety video was played but my screen became blank, just dead - just the start of my screen troubles. As I found out later, the touchscreen function on my screen was not very good, though it was navigable. Before landing, the Airshow channel (my favourite!) became dimmed all the way to landing and adjusting the brightness didn't help.
After the safety video and an informercial on ice entertainment was shown, my screen came back to life and I could enjoy the take off view on the external camera function of the entertainment.
A deep purple hue enveloped the cabin as the mood lighting took effect after take off. The cabin crew nicely asked window seat occupants to pull down the window shades, before commencing the dinner service, with a choice of fish or chicken.
Since chicken is the staple of Economy Class meals, I thought I'd try something different so I decided on the oriental sweet and sour fish choice.
From the menu,
With peas and feta
Sweet and sour fish
With steamed jasmine rice, baby corn and pak choi
This was really good! The battered fish chunks were crisp and bursting with sweet and sour flavors, going well with the steamed rice and baby corn.
The other main course choice was:
Chicken and herb ragoût
Served with steamed vegetables and potatoes with chives
Chocolate and raspberry delice
On the packaging, the dessert was labelled "Chocolate and Raspberry Torte", but by any other name, it was a delice treat - chocolate crumbs on top of a layer of rich chocolate and raspberry mousse to end an excellent meal!
Mini sub roll and butter
Cheese and crackers
Natural artesian water
I observed the flight steward working on my row was passionate, extremely courteous and professional. Aside from his consistent Ps and Qs, "enjoy your meal" and "thank you" to every passenger, he paid attention to the intimate service details: after asking passengers on my row for their meal choices, he would reverse the order of passengers when asking for their drink choices. This way, no one would feel that they are being served last. Really excellent service.
The meal was served with a choice of wines, beers, juices or water.
Zonin Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave 2015 (Italian white wine) to enjoy with my meal.
Other beverages such as soft drinks and spirits were served later from a bar cart, followed by coffee and tea. Skipping caffeine, I asked for a Cuba Libre (Rum and Coke) cocktail from the bar cart.
The meal was really good and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Lights were then dimmed for passengers to rest. There was a long queue for the lavatories after the dinner service but under the stunning mood lighting, soon everyone settled in for their night onboard the A380.
The lavatories are nicely stocked with The White Company Noir Collection (Amber, Mandarin & Sandalwood) Eau de Toilette and Hand & Body Lotion, which I thought was reminiscent of a Business Class product.
I had a nice chat with some of the cabin crew in the galley, who were very welcoming and happy to share their stories about life with Emirates and living in Dubai, and views on global issues and culture. An Italian crew member shared how as an Italian speaker, she often gets Rome flights, where she comes from (good for her) She also joked that Italian passengers are really very nice and undemanding passengers - the only one problem with Italians is that they love to talk, and in her words, "until your ears bleed". This was just one of the stories from the multinational cabin crew. It was really amazing to speak to the Emirates cabin crew.
Going back to my seat, I enjoyed a late night movie binge, not that difficult given the huge selection of movies in ice entertainment.
The cabin crew came through the cabin frequently to offer juices, water and pretzel snacks. They also checked the lavatories frequently and kept them tidy. Even as the passengers slept after dinner, the Emirates cabin crew continued working hard - their service was impressive!
Soon enough, hot towels were distributed and a second meal service commenced, with the serving of breakfast (choice of scrambled eggs or omelette). It was served with juices.
Just look at the Business Class quality towels served in Emirates Economy!
I decided on the omelette and it was a very hearty affair, with a thick slab of omelette paired with a duo of veal sausages, and creamy spinach and potatoes on the side. Orange juice was my beverage choice (and post-hangover potion) with my meal.
From the menu,
Fresh seasonal fruit
With veal sausage, creamy spinach and potato gems
The other option was:
Scrambled eggs with chives
Served with hash browns, baked beans and sautéed mushrooms
Served with butter and preserve
Served with cream cheese
Natural artesian water
As with dinner service, more drinks were offered from the bar cart, though I declined additional drinks. Coffee and tea were served as well.
Some bad turbulence ensued during and after the breakfast service, halting cabin services for a bit. I was honestly surprised the mighty A380 could run into such bad turbulence. Cruising into calmer skies, hot towels were again served (very nice touch!), and the cabin was then prepared for arrival with the collection of headsets and blankets.
We landed on time in Milan, and the cabin erupted into applause. Is it an Italian thing? I wish this happens more often as I thought it was a wonderful gesture of appreciation for the flight deck crew and cabin crew, for the safe journey and excellent service rendered.
As the mighty A380 taxied to its designated gate and announcements were made to welcome us to Milan and information on connecting to Dubai was given, it was a mixed feeling churning inside me: I felt a little doleful at the end of this wonderful experience with Emirates yet immensely satisfied with my flight experience.
To sum up again, why you should fly with Emirates, New York to Milan:
A380-operated non-stop service
two full hot meal services (with two choices each)
complimentary full range of beverages offered with meals and at any time during the flight
excellent ice entertainment with huge selection of movies and television series
very warm and friendly multinational cabin crew
Business class-like amenities (paper menus, The White Company toiletries and huge cloth hot towel services)
USB ports and AC power ports for your electronic gadgets
nicely timed daily flights (the inbound, EK205 departs Milan at 4.10pm and arrives New York at 7pm)
So why not embrace the la dolce vita spirit and travel to Italy in style with Emirates!
(disclaimer: I am not at all endorsed by Emirates but I was truly blown away by the superb cabin service and inflight products on this flight.)
Thank you for reading this Emirates flight review. For my full video experience of my EK206 flight, please see below:
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