As a special treat for myself I decided to upgrade my Australian flight Emirates offer from Melbourne to Dubai. Using frequent flier points I upgraded to First Class on the airbus a380-800.
To be honest I can’t really afford to fly business class, I’m fortunate enough to do so because work send me business class for long haul trips. So to fly First Class on a 14 hour flight is an exceptional event for me.
I am a long standing holder of the Emirates frequent flyer card Skywards. I’ve accumulated enough points for an upgrade and they’d probably just expire anyway, so what did I have to lose.
The journey began with a complimentary chauffeur pick up which took me to the airport. I was able to use the Emirates First Class check-in desk which helped me breeze through the airport.
The lounge by gate 9 makes no distinction between business and 1st Class. I think I’ve only seen that lounge distinction at Dubai airport.
Boarding was also quite stress free. There is a separate queue, tunnel and doorway onto the airbus a380 for business and 1st class travellers. This avoided the long queue for economy class passengers.
As one of the airlines using A380s in their fleet there is full advantage taken of the space on board.
My seat in First Class on the Emirates A380
Sat in seat 1K I was at the front of the upstairs cabin. The Emirates A380 seating plan has the upper deck exclusively assigned to First and Business Class. The slightly longer lower deck is all economy class.
My seat was much more than a seat, it could become a private room with shutter doors I could close at my leisure. Effectively it was my own private cabin or bedroom.
At the front of my cabin was an en-suite wardrobe as Emirates describe it. Here I could hang my coat or clothes and always have easy access. Hanging my clothes was certainly an option as I received a complimentary pair of pyjamas and slippers. After all this is First Class on Emirates.
I was also provided with a toiletries bag full of essential and non-essential goodies such as Bvlgari designer toiletries.
The seat was fully reclining with a massage function. It was very easy for me to get 7-8 hours undisturbed sleep on the 14 hour flight.
Breakfast was easy to obtain as food is on demand in 1st Class. I just pressed the button to request service and my breakfast was prepared to order.
Showers in First Class on the Emirates A380
After a sleep I was able to partake in a unique experience. I’ll openly admit that I’m not a member of the mile high club (maybe one day) but I’m now a member of what is maybe a less desirable but I think currently more exclusive club. I took a shower at 30,000 feet!
Yes, a shower. The First Class Emirates toilets are fitted with a shower cubicle. You just advise a steward/stewardess and with 5 minutes notice they can have it all ready for you.
There is around a 10 minutes water allocation so I suppose this is what they need to prepare for you. They also give you a full body length towel so no worries about drying off.
A stewardess provided me with a quick tour and explanation of the facilities, including a hair dryer (not that I need one!). In fact the bathroom is so large I guess it is bigger than my en-suite at home. I’ve been out done by an aircraft!
The bathroom even had a heated floor so no worries about cold feet. There were also a range of luxury toiletries for shower pampering. There was even a seat in the shower cubicle for those less mobile to use the shower.
The water was certainly warm enough and as a Grohe shower I think you get an idea of the quality.
Refreshed and smelling of Bvlgari aftershave I was able to return to my seat/cabin.
Refreshments in First Class on the Emirates A380
I wouldn’t be short of anything in there. Beside the seat is my own private drinks cabinet. This contained cans of Coca-Cola light, 7Up, normal Coca-Cola, a bottle of Voss water, Perrier and Mango juice (hmmm I love mango juice).
There is also a complimentary snack basket just in front of the 23” touch screen TV. This contained a packet of Pringles, Jila mints, Walkers shortbread, a Mars bar, a small Cadburys dairy milk plus a muesli bar. No need to starve on here.
If none of that took your fancy then at the front of the First Class cabin on the Emirates a380 is a quiet place that Emirates describe as “a chic, private, social area”. This has a water feature and a selection of snacks and drinks which you are able to help yourself to.
If you want something a little more social you can head down the cabin into the Emirates Business Class and find the bar area.
If you want to relax then it is easy to settle. Emirates have mood lighting throughout the plane. The main lights are dimmed and star like little lights appear on the ceiling. It is just like being under the stars at night.
Resisting this is possible as you have control of three lights in your 1st Class cabin. There is a table lamp, reading light and a seat light. All of these can be operated from the hand held controller beside the seat.
Entertainment in First Class on the Emirates A380
The controller also allows you to operate the Emirates ICE system. ICE stands for Information, Communications, Entertainment. There are over 1200 channels of entertainment and games, from latest films, classics in the Film Club (including Gone With The Wind and Rebel Without A Cause). Also to be found are music videos such as the great performance by Adele at The Royal Albert Hall. I opted for some comedy and watched Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Facilities also include a satellite phone and internet wifi. I didn’t use the wifi as it is chargeable. However reading the t+c’s it appears to be a satellite system and some restrictions apply such as e-mails don’t come with embedded images. You might have to pay a small extra fee to receive these.
There is free wifi in the lounges so I see little need to use what could be a slow and limited service whilst in the air.
I’ve travelled Business Class on the a380 super jumbo jet with Emirates before. However this was clearly a step up. I loved the shutters for complete privacy. The 4 stewards/stewardess’ to the cabin meant premium attention. I’ll also never forget taking a shower on a plane!
I’ll have to save up my points for another upgrade very soon.
Have you ever travelled on an A380? What was the experience like for you?
I really enjoyed my special treat; first class on the Emirates A380.
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