First Class with any airline is an experience in exclusivity but Emirates’ legendary First Class is truly the closest opportunity to sampling life as a celebrity or royalty that I have had. Emirates has done an admirable job in maintaining the incredible attention to detail that first made waves with its premium cabins across one of the largest airline networks on the planet. This posting is a synopsis of two first class flights that I had with Emirates, the first from Capetown to Dubai aboard a 77W and then Dubai to London on the A380 several days later.
Flight: Emirates Flight 005 (DXB-LHR)
Date: September 12, 2014
The suite is virtually identical between the two planes, with the 77W having 8 while the larger A380 boasts 14 suites. The sheer quantity of technology in this seat is boggling – seat to seat telephone communication, wireless tablet to control everything from windows to your seat, an incredible infotainment system, and much more. The addition of closing doors to transform from a seat to suite is a valuable one which enhances not only privacy but, perhaps more importantly, peace and quiet. The enclosed suite is a significant step ahead of other top tier competitors who continue to use traditional seat design such as the Lufthansa first class seat I flew a few months back.
One small touch that is worth noting is that since there are no overhead bins on either cabin in first class, the cabin feels substantially larger and both planes boast the Emirates “star sky” which utilizes a gentle pulse of LED lights to realistically simulate stars overhead – a very nice touch.
There are two major differences between the 77W and the A380 aside from the number of first class suites. The first is the legendary and much discussed shower spa bathrooms in the A380. The A380 boasts two toilets that can be booked for a 30 minute session for a hot shower. Even if you are not taking a shower, the toilets are stunning in their size and design and represent a quantum leap ahead of the typical airplane toilet which the 77W has. The second difference is the first class bar area in front of the seats on the A380. I have included a photo of how it looks on the ground – a gentle waterfall cascades down the middle while the drinks are covered with an attractive covering. In flight, the area is well stocked with the premium alcohols and treats afforded to first class passengers should you decide to help yourself. The A380 also features a bar at the back of business class which is available to both first and business class passengers to socialize and stretch your legs (not pictured).
Beyond the seat, one must consider the incredible selection of foods and wines on board – all available whenever desired and in any quantity. In my opinion, any first class flight worth paying for must start with a caviar service. Fortunately, Emirates does a beautiful job – and feel free to have a glass of 2004 Dom Perignon with it – or the bottle!
It is also impossible to ignore the portions – Emirates is extremely generous with the food and drink onboard – this is simply the Arabic mezze appetizer!
One of the best parts of a first class flight is the lounge that precedes the flight, and in this respect, Emirates does not disappoint. When you first head upstairs to Dubai’s first class lounge, you are greeted with a tranquil water feature that is a beautiful place to relax with a drink.
From this vantage point, it’s nice to look down and see the chaos of the busy airport that you have so pleasantly escaped.
The lounge has much to offer – shopping, restaurant, bar, spa, and much more but it truly is a beautiful place to simply sit and relax.
I do recommend a visit to the restaurant though, it’s well worth the price (all you can eat, included!) and offers superior food to what you will eat in the air, though there is no caviar on offer.