If I’m honest, a real factor that influenced our decision as to destination was the ability to fly in first (as opposed to business) class all the way there. It’s actually not doable that often when you’re talking about leisure destinations–and it makes sense that airlines do that. Premium aircraft should be used on routes that command premium fares. But for whatever reason (probably mostly because they can), Emirates runs a double daily A380 service to Mauritius. Considering they only fly to DC once/day–and with a 777–that’s remarkable.
I was really excited for another segment in Emirates A380 first class–particularly on a completely day time flight where I didn’t plan to spend much time sleeping (Dubai and Mauritius are on the same time zone, so I wanted to stay up and not confuse my body any more). And just as much I was looking forward to checking out the full A380 terminal that Dubai airport built for Emirates (though codeshare parter Qantas also uses it).
Our Emirates provided chauffeur picked us up right on time, and brought us right to the premium check in area of Dubai airport.
Unfortunately, that’s basically where the “premium” experience ends, which is a little surprising given the ridiculously low cost of labor in Dubai. We checked in just fine and made our way through security and on the train to the A concourse — Emirates newest.
The terminal is unique in that the main floor (3rd floor) is the main concourse with duty free, other shops, and even a little slice of home.
The 4th floor occupies almost the exact same amount of floorspace (minus a little cutout in the middle) and the entire floor is the first class lounge. The 5th floor is the same except it’s the business class lounge. Here’s a view from the 5th floor which should hopefully shed some light on how absurd this is (via Wikipedia):
Just looking down the terminal is a little overwhelming:
There’s a separate lounge area with food at every. single. gate. … not to mention the quiet rooms, restaurants, and more “common area” type spots. The other really cool thing is that you board directly from the floor you’re on.
We boarded the flight and the layout was exactly the same as on our previous Emirates first class flight, though in this case there were only 4 first class passengers–2 on either side of the plane.
We decided to take window seats this time to have a good view of Mauritius on landing. Upon boarding, we were offered pre-departure beverages and, of course, chose champagne (I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror I have no choice but to look at myself in on Emirates if we didn’t choose champagne).
The crew on this flight was very interactive and friendly… I talked to one flight attendant who said it was the second of her three trips to Mauritius in a week.
The menu was presented in a leather-bound folder and read as follows:
This is a ridiculously extensive menu for a 6-7 hour flight! It began with an amuse-ish type course:
For my appetizer, I chose the Arabic Mezze after a rave review from Cara on the previous flight:
It lived up to the hype. Next I had the chicken biryani:
It was good–not great. Finally I had the cheese plate again, which was predictably good and a small after meal chocolate:
After 3-4 TV shows, and a quick trip back to the bar, it was just about time to land in Mauritius. The On Air wifi worked on this flight at serviceable speeds which was a nice change, though it’s still nowhere near as fast as the T-Mobile service offered by Lufthansa and Etihad.
I didn’t even shower on this flight, which is almost sacrilege in the frequent flier community. It was a short travel day, though, and I knew we still had an hour drive remaining to the St. Regis.
We pulled in next to an Air Mauritius A340, and first class passengers disembarked first giving us a good head start to immigration and customs.
This was a predictably enjoyable flight. The amount of amenities, food, etc is almost excessive for such a short flight.