We boarded from the lounge and the entire time down the jet way to describe me as a kid in a candy store would be a vast understatement. I’ve flown some amazing products in the past few years, but I’ve never been more excited for a single flight than this one. It’s basically the definition of an aspirational redemption–completely unnecessary in every way but just awesome. That said I’ve read some reviews that paint a picture of Emirates as being style over substance, so I was anxious to see if I find that to be true.
Spoiler: We completely didn’t think so at the end of the flight.
The Emirates first class cabin consists of a 14 suites in a 1-2-1 configuration on the upper deck. The center suites form a nice pair with a retractable wall between the seats which we found great for traveling in pairs. We were easily close enough to speak to each other with just a slight head turn.
We were offered the usual amenities (amenity kit, PJs, slippers, etc) and asked what we’d like to drink as if there’s more than one correct answer. One doesn’t save up 200,000 miles for Emirates first class to sit in a faux gold and wood suite only to order diet Pepsi.
I took the long boarding time to head up and check out the bathroom and change into my PJs. Emirates has two identical bathrooms (“spa suites”) in first class on the 380… each of which features a shower and heated floors.
Not pictured is the full length mirror along the opposite side of the “suite” from the sink.
After changing into PJ’s and after several glasses of Dom Perignon, it was finally time for takeoff. A rather long PA announcement in Arabic and English bragged about the crew from 20 countries speaking 19 languages.
After all the lounge food, I actually wasn’t that hungry so after takeoff the only thing I ordered was a cheese board (lame, but recently I’ve decided to stop trying to “maximize” every last thing–getting every last drop of caviar, for instance–and just do what I actually want to do on the flight). It was well presented and exactly what I wanted.
Cara had the Arabic Mezze which was a grand presentation and she said was very good.
After watching a few shows on Emirates ICE, I decided to fire up the OnAir wifi which as of a couple months ago is now nearly free to all passengers. The downside of this, apparently, is that nearly everybody on the plane is trying to use it. The internet was slow to the point of unusable. I couldn’t get a single page to load in more than 20 minutes, so that was unfortunate.
I like that Emirates sees wifi as included in the price of the ticket, but they need to invest in more bandwidth before that becomes realistic. There’s basically a whole hotel’s worth of people on board without nearly the type of connectivity that a ground-based hotel has access to (not to mention the fact that most hotels’ wifi connections aren’t exactly blazing fast).
So, I decided to take a nap… which actually turned into nearly 8 hours of very restful sleep… Emirates bedding was very comfortable.
While the bedding was comfortable, I actually found the space a bit narrow. The minbar, suite doors, storage, all combine to narrow the seat space into what’s fairly comfortable for sitting/lounging, but a little narrower than bedding in many other “top tier” first class products. I’m also not a huge fan of first class products where legs go under the TV screen. It’s not a huge difference but feels much more open and spacious to me when the bed is fully open.
I woke up pretty hungry (slept through my normal lunch and dinner times), and in keeping with my newfound “I do what I want” approach to flights, I decided to order some french toast and a fruit plate along with a cup of English breakfast tea.
After eating dinner/breakfast (early morning hours in Dubai) and just before landing, I asked to take a shower so I brought my “street” clothes and accepted an escort from one of the spa attendants to a prepared shower suite. The water pressure wasn’t great, and at only five minutes, the shower wasn’t exactly “invigorating” or anything… but it was just awesome in a completely indescribable travel nerd way.
Soon after getting settled back into my seat, I switched on the tail camera to watch the landing.
After a smooth morning landing in Dubai and quick trip through UAE immigration, we made our way over to the Emirates chauffeur desk by the ground services exit. With nobody in line at the first class counter, we went from the inside of an onboard suite to the inside of a E Class Mercedes within about 15 minutes.
This was, without question, my favorite flight ever. Part of it may be my new IDWIW approach, but honestly I just loved that every aspect of the entire experience was so well thought out by Emirates and the door to door seamless service. I’m a believer and already looking forward to my next Emirates flight!