Trip report - BNE to PRG to BNE on Emirates

Perth airport is rubbish. There, I’ve said it right at the beginning, and I’ll come back later to explain why.

It’s been a while since I’ve flown Emirates long-haul, and I forgot a thing when I went from Brisbane to Prague: the special, secret Platinum Enclave. There’s a small set of seats right at the front of the plane that the Qantas website doesn’t offer you when you book the codeshare flight; but the Emirates website itself does. But I forgot about this trick until too late.

I started by not going to the Emirates lounge in Brisbane Airport. That is still closed - it was shuttered during the pandemic, but the company have made the choice to renovate it, with an unspecified opening date. I’m not convinced they’re actually renovating it: there is only one Emirates flight a day from Brisbane at the moment, and they’re only adding another later this year: probably only then does it make sense to reopen it. It was a bit of a tired, power point-less, Arab gold bling at the far end of Brisbane airport, with the peculiar plan of Emirates to have a direct link from the lounge to the aircraft.

Instead, Emirates is currently using the Plaza Premium Lounge in Brisbane airport. I’d not been in here before, though some cheeky tweeting a few years ago did get me a free pass if I wanted to use it after it had opened. Anyway, it’s nice: it’s small, with a poor beer choice, but the food is better than the Qantas lounge, which I also visited for a change of scene.

I squish myself into my flights to Prague.

Emirates food isn’t bad: “chicken with rice” was offered on all four flights I took, and it’s gloriously inconsistent. Worst was the Australian catering, with little flecks of chicken: best, a tie between the Czech caterers (very nice slices of chicken in a tomato sauce) or the Dubai caterers (chunks of chicken in a thick, spicy, sweet tomato sauce). The beer choice is Heineken, or Stella, or Tiger - three indistiguishably boring lagers, chosen for the brand not the taste; but I can probably forgive Emirates, the flag carrier for a country where beer is an unusual drink, if now available in many places.

Emirates service is strange. Back here, with the rest of humanity, the flight attendants flutter around the meal service in a constant state of barked orders and requests from their colleagues. It’s efficient, but also soulless. I don’t get a Platinum Welcome from Brisbane to Dubai, but do get one Dubai to Prague.

Prague airport is peculiar in not having a train station: the only way in or out is on tyres.

I remember about the Platinum Enclave a few days before the return flight, and managed to snag myself two better seats with a “Platinum Phantom” next to me. I normally sit on the left side of the plane, but one of my flights had space on the right hand side, and this has a benefit because the strange cupboard under the stairs, where a man invariably sits (sometimes with a banana), opens on the left, not the right.

Anyway, where were we? Ah, yes. Perth airport. On the way home, for some reason, I wasn’t able to get a direct flight back from Dubai to Brisbane (perhaps it doesn’t fly every day), so instead, I got a flight to Perth and then a Qantas flight from Perth to Brisbane. My theory was - get into Perth at 5.30pm ish, and I’ve until 11pm until my flight to Brisbane, so I could pop into Perth and see a bit of it, because they’ve opened a train directly from the airport to the centre of town.

They have opened a train… from terminal 1. That’s where Emirates gets in. But Qantas flies from terminal 3. There’s a Bus Of Despair between terminal 1 and terminal 3. It appears to depart every 20 minutes, and it seemed to take 20 minutes to get from terminal 1 to terminal 3 - at least, I heard two traffic breaks, two talk breaks and three songs on Perth’s Mix 94.5. That radio station is quite bassy, and the Bus Of Despair has a specific frequency that it likes to vibrate at, which means that Mix 94.5 is mainly a very loud drum beat.

The trip between Perth and Brisbane was four hours; I was in a business seat using some points as an upgrade. The business seat is a large, brown, leather thing that doesn’t recline much; and I didn’t get much sleep really. I decline the food, but have a Pacific Ale for company.

Sometimes you get jokes in these writeups. Sometimes you don’t. This is one of those times when you don’t. Sorry.