Like Air Canada, the optimal route from Toronto to Colombo was the Toronto-Dubai-Colombo route.
Timewise, Air Canada takes the least amount of time – about 21 hours while Emirates takes five hours more. This is because of the eight-hour layover in Dubai for the Emirates Flight as against just a three hour layover for the Air Canada-Sri Lankan Airlines flight. However, Emirates provides a hotel for the layover.
This is a long flight, lasting about 13 hours.
Emirates deploys the massive Airbus 380 for this route and the plane was packed. However, the staff ensured the zone-based boarding was being properly maintained. My zone was 5, the last one, but I managed to get a spot on the overhead bin to put my backpack. I usually check-in my only luggage and fly with just my backpack but on past occasions the bins have been so full that I did not have space even to store that.
I had reserved an aisle seat which it did not have a power outlet, just a USB charging outlet which, I found out, is not the fastest one, either.
I had a blanket and a cushion, and later was given a headphone. There was also an amenity pouch with an eye mask, socks, toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste.
The Emirates Entertainment System
The Emirates Entertainment System (ICE which stands for Information, Communication and Entertainment) is a labyrinth – a pleasure-filled labyrinth to be sure.
It has hundreds of movies, documentaries, TV shows etc., in a number of languages – from English and Arabic the various Indian languages, Mandarin, German and even some Scandinavian languages. Then there are games which I did not try (as usual, the backside of the remote control functions as the keyboard) but what is interesting is that there was also live TV – with channels like BBC, EuroNews, NHK, CNN International available. Interestingly, there was no Al Jazeera. I guess the political tensions do play a part.
About an hour after takeoff dinner was served. Besides the appetizer and the dessert, there were two options for the main course, and I opted for the first one – chicken in black bean sauce served with egg fried rice, steamed bok choi and red peppers.
As the photo shows, it was a plentiful plate, with bread, butter, cheese etc.
I also decided to treat myself to whisky and they gave me Red Label.
About four hours later, there was a round of vegetarian pizza.
And yet another four hours later, we were served breakfast. Again, there were two options and I went for the second – classic omelette with pan fried chicken sausages, creamy spinach and potato wedges. Seasonal fruits and croissants were also served.
The washroom was always clean. The wooden toilet seat was a game changer in the economy class.