My shower-in-the-air, room-service-to-my-suite, bar-on-a-plane trip report starts on the ground with the first part of my trip: the included chauffeur service.
With a few exceptions, Emirates First Class and Business Class passengers are eligible for free chauffeur service to and from the airport. This page lists the rules for every airport. Each has slightly different rules for where the chauffeur service is available for each cabin.
Business class passengers from Auckland to Sydney don’t get the chauffeur service, but first class passengers do from anywhere up to 40 km from the airport. That’s a smaller radius than most airports, but it does include the central business district where I was staying.
The chauffeur service can be booked at the time of the flight booking or later. I’m not sure the cut off, but I booked my cars about three days before my flight from Auckland to Sydney. The booking can be made on the Manage Booking tab of emirates.com.
Once you enter your confirmation number and the booking comes up, scroll down to the chauffeur booking section and click Manage Chauffeur-drive Bookings.On the next screen, select Book a Car for the departure airport.
The form asks for the address of the pick up and your phone number. I put in my American phone number, which I assumed would not be contacted since that would be expensive for a driver in New Zealand.
I put in my hostel’s address. I didn’t know its post code, so I left that blank. The latest pick up option was 3 hours before the flight with the earliest option 4.5 hours before in 30 minute increments. I chose 3.5 hours before because I wanted to spend a while in the lounge.
I repeated the same steps for the Sydney car. I put in the address of a hostel I thought I’d stay at, but I actually forgot the address I had entered. When I tried to check on the day of the flight to see where I’d be dropped off, the online form said the drop off address was “On File,” but wouldn’t actually tell me where I was going. I asked the agent in the Emirates Lounge Auckland, and she was able to tell me where I had entered. She also told me that as long as I had reserved a car, I could tell the driver to drop me anywhere inside the drop off radius without issue.
About 24 hours before the flight, I received a text message reminder to my American number, but I don’t think this had anything to do with my chauffeur service.
I had read that the driver will call the passenger, sometimes the day before to reconfirm. But I didn’t get a phone call–probably because I had no local number. At 3:10, I walked up to the driver and asked if he was from Emirates. He asked if I was Mr. Grimmer and away we went.
The car was a spacious sedan–plenty of room even for a giant. I had planned to read during the ride, but the driver was very interesting. He had been to the Aussie Open before, so we talked about what I should expect in Melbourne.
When we got to the airport, he parked around the corner from the entrance closest to the Emirates check in. He handed me two New Zealand departure cards, which was nice though not necessary, since they are right at the Emirates desk.
I tipped him 20 NZD (~$17) for the 30 minute ride.
I blew through immigration and customs in Sydney as the first one off the plane. As I walked out of customs, there were three chauffeurs holding Emirates signs.
The car was spacious inside, and I had plenty of room. The driver was a chatty Filipino immigrant, who assured me that Australians would be very friendly to me. I told him that I wanted to be dropped off one block away from the address I had entered online, and he said it was no problem.
The ride was about 15 minutes, and I tipped him 10 AUD (~$11).
I really enjoyed the chauffeur service. I’ve never had a door-to-door car service when flying, and I quite liked it.
I didn’t save much money. I tipped more than I would have spent on Auckland’s convenient airport bus. And I tipped only a few dollars less than Sydney’s convenient airport train would have cost. If I had had more bags, such that I would have taken a taxi to the airport then the chauffeur would have been a big money saver. But I travel with one bag, so I would have taken public transportation.
I probably saved about 25 minutes total over public transportation, which is worth some amount of money too.
It was fun to have the car service, but it was a luxury I won’t miss on my next trip.