Review: Emirates A380 First Class Dallas To Dubai

Filed Under: Emirates

I’ve reviewed Emirates first class several times before, most recently between Los Angeles and Dubai and then between Dubai and Singapore. Emirates offers one of my all around favorite first class products, thanks in no small part to just how fun the experience is. Even when service isn’t amazing, I still tend to have a great flight.

Emirates 222
Dallas (DFW) – Dubai (DXB)
Saturday, August 22
Depart: 12:15PM
Arrive: 12:00PM (+1 day)
Duration: 14hr45min
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 2E (First Class)

Upon boarding we were greeted at the door by the purser and senior flight steward, who handed us off to one of the first class crew. As is the norm, the Emirates boarding music was playing, which always gets me in the spirit:

We were escorted to our seats, 2E & 2F. Emirates’ A380 first class cabin is on the upper deck, and consists of a total of 14 seats — there are four rows of single seats on each side of the cabin, and then three sets of two seats in the center of the cabin.

Emirates A380 first class, seat 2A

No matter how many times I fly Emirates first class, the amazement and bling factor never really goes away.

Emirates A380 first class cabin

Emirates A380 first class cabin

Once settled into 2E the first class crew came by to introduce themselves. The flight attendant working my aisle was Jacqueline, who was from the UK. Meanwhile the flight attendant working Matt’s aisle was Alejandro, who was from Spain. Then there were two other first class flight attendants — Georgiana and Rosielle — who primarily worked the galley, but also helped in the aisles.

All four crew came by during boarding to introduce themselves, which I find to pretty consistently be the case on Emirates. Even when the service isn’t great inflight, there’s a good amount of puffery on the ground to make everyone feel welcome.

Emirates A380 first class, seat 2E

As usual, waiting at my seat was the totally unnecessary minibar and snack basket. The minibar consists of room temperature drinks, and seems a bit redundant, given that you should be able to request whatever you’d like to drink at any point.

Emirates A380 first class minibar

I used to think the snack basket was useless, but in the meantime I actually find it to be a vital part of any properly maximized Emirates flight. Specifically, those Mars bars sure taste good after a visit to the bar.

Emirates A380 first class snack basket

To the right of the seat was a monitor, which could be used to control the seat settings, lights, etc.

Emirates A380 first class seat monitor

Emirates A380 first class seat controls

Behind that was the rather large storage compartment.

Emirates A380 first class storage

At the front left of the suite was the typical Emirates writing kit, which contains all kinds of stationary. While I don’t take the kit anymore, I always do grab the pen.

Emirates first class writing kit

As usual, I found Emirates’ hard product to be outrageously blingy but also quite practically designed. It’s far from the most spacious suite in the sky (after all, Emirates crams 14 seats in the first class section), though given the limited footprint of each seat, I think it’s well designed.

Once settled in we were offered pre-departure beverages. Matt and I both ordered champagne, though decided to have just one glass. That’s because Emirates only serves Moet on the ground in the US, while they serve Dom Perignon 2005 after takeoff (they serve Moet on the ground in the US because they don’t want to have to pay taxes on the more expensive champagne).

Emirates A380 first class pre-departure Moet

Shortly thereafter we were offered hot towels.

Emirates A380 first class hot towel

And then the traditional dates and Arabic coffee… which I gladly took a refill on.

Emirates first class pre-departure date

Emirates first class pre-departure Arabic coffee

Emirates first class pre-departure drinks

After that we were offered Fast Track cards for our arrival in Dubai.

Dubai fast track card

Then we were offered the amenities for the flight, which are sort of like Christmas for any premium cabin airplane geek.

Emirates first class pajamas, slippers, amenity kit, etc.

This included a pair of very comfortable slippers.

Emirates first class slippers

Then some pajamas. It’s worth noting that Emirates pajamas run really large. Medium is the smallest size, and they only typically load two of them per cabin, so if you want one you’ll want to ask for it as soon as possible. For what it’s worth, medium is huge even on me.

Emirates first class pajamas

Then we were offered amenity kits, which were a new style I hadn’t seen before. While the bag itself was different, the contents seemed to be the same as before.

Emirates first class amenity kit

The kits are extremely well stocked, and include everything from shaving cream to deodorant to BVLGARI after shave, body lotion, etc.

Emirates first class amenity kit contents

Emirates first class amenity kit BVLGARI goodies

As boarding continued, one other passenger joined us in first class, specifically in seat 2A. As luck would have it, he seemed to be on some sort of a raw vegetable and juice diet, which meant even more of the good stuff for us. 😉

At around 12:10PM the Irish captain made his welcome aboard announcement. He sounded like a nice guy, and introduced his three colleagues in the flight deck. It was a diverse group, as the other three pilots were Australian, Emirati, and Mexican (side note: the Mexican first officer was really attractive).

The captain informed us that our flight time was 14hr25min, which was a bit longer than usual. We’d be cruising initially at 33,000 feet, but would be climbing up to 41,000 feet as we burned off fuel. I also love that he added “it’s a nice day in Dubai, it should be about 46 degrees when we land tomorrow. That’s just a bit warmer than here in Dallas.” At about 115 degrees Fahrenheit, that was way warmer than in Dallas!

Emirates A380 tail camera

At 12:20PM we began our pushback, at which point the safety video began to play.

Emirates A380 tail camera

We taxied out to runway 18L, which took about 15 minutes.

Emirates A380 tail camera

Once at the runway it was five more minutes before we were cleared for takeoff.

Emirates A380 tail camera on takeoff

This was Matt’s first flight on the A380, and not surprisingly he was shocked by how quiet the plane is. As an A380 regular, it’s something I’ve come to take for granted nowadays. Our takeoff roll was reasonably quick, and climb out was smooth.

Emirates A380 tail camera after takeoff

Emirates A380 tail camera after takeoff

After takeoff I immediately connected to the onboard wifi. Emirates is determined to eventually offer free wifi, though in the meantime they charge just $1 for wifi for the entire flight. That sounds nice in theory, though the reality is unfortunately that wifi on Emirates is outrageously slow. It’s almost unusable for anything other than social media updates, texting, etc.

About 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point one of the shower attendants came by to present us with the shower spa pamphlets. She asked if we wanted to schedule an appointment. Given that the other passenger didn’t want to shower and there were two showers for the two of us, she was happy to just let us decide when we wanted to shower later on.

Emirates A380 shower spa guide

Shortly thereafter the British purser, Gina, came by to welcome us aboard and present us with the menus for the flight. She was extremely friendly, and told us to let her know if we wanted anything at any point during the flight.

Emirates first class menu

Emirates airshow Dallas to Dubai

Emirates airshow

Emirates airshow Dallas to Dubai

Gina asked if she could get us started with some drinks, and naturally we asked for some of the 2005 Dom. We were also offered warm nuts, along with cold and hot canapes. We selected the warm nuts and cold canapes to start, which were just lovely. Emirates is one of the few non-US airlines which heats nuts, which I really do appreciate.

Emirates first class warm nuts and canapes

Emirates first class canapes

Emirates has a dine on demand menu, whereby you can order what you want whenever you want. And unlike a certain other UAE based airline, they don’t generally run out of options. I love the freedom of being able to order from such a menu.

For what it’s worth, the menu read as follows:





Meanwhile the (incredible) drink menu read as follows:




With the airlines I fly most I tend to have “systems” for how I enjoy the flights. With Emirates I really struggle with the order in which to do things, since flying with them really is that fun. So my approach to a longhaul Emirates first class flight is typically as follows:

  • Start with some champagne, nuts, and canapes at the seat
  • Have caviar and Arabic mezze as a starter
  • Hang out at the bar for a while
  • Come back to the seat and eventually have a main course, though if full maybe wait a bit or otherwise take a nap before continuing to eat

Matt was kind enough to follow my lead on that approach, and I don’t think he regretted it. 😉

Emirates first class meal service

We started with the caviar service, and were offered a bread basket to accompany it. Emirates has a pretty decent caviar service, though I still slightly prefer the presentation of airlines which serve it in the tin, like ANA, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, etc.

Emirates first class caviar service

Emirates first class bread basket

Emirates first class caviar service

After that we had the Arabic mezze, which was good as ever. I can never eat more than half of it without feeling like I’m about to explode.

Emirates first class Arabic mezze

Emirates first class Arabic mezze

After that we decided to explore the plane a bit further. First we headed to the first class bar, located in front of the first class cabin right next to the two shower suites and across from the stairs.

Emirates A380 staircase

Emirates first class bar

Naturally we most admired the Dom 2005 and Hennessy Paradis. Hennessy Paradis is possibly the most expensive drink served in the sky, and is in the process of being removed from Emirates flights.

Meanwhile Dom 2005 is one of the best champagnes I’ve had in a while (even better than Krug, I’d argue).

Emirates first class bar: Hennessy Paradis and Dom Perignon 2005

Emirates first class bar

Emirates first class Dom Perignon 2005

After that we headed back to the business class bar, located at the very back of business class. For what it’s worth, business class on this flight was reasonably full, especially for a Dallas flight, which usually has reasonably low loads. Business class was maybe 75% full.


Despite the full load in business class, the bar was fairly empty. There we met senior flight stewardess Laura from the UK (who was in charge of the business class cabin), and business class flight attendant Roxana from Romania. Both were absolutely lovely, and probably our favorite crew members.

They took amazing care of us. Amazing care. Arguably thy took too good care of us. First we had some Dom. Then we did a whisky tasting. Then some espresso martinis. Then…

The funny thing is that I’m not someone who generally goes to bars. I far prefer lounges, where you don’t have to interact with strangers. But there’s something I love about the Emirates onboard bar setup. Not only do you get to interact with crew members from all walks of life, but equally fun is that you interact with all kinds of cool passengers.

Emirates A380 business class onboard bar

Emirates A380 wing

Our trip to the bar lasted quite a bit longer than we were anticipating, as we were leaving North America by the time we got back to our seats.

Emirates airshow enroute from Dallas to Dubai

At that point we were a bit hungry (or perhaps just realized that food would help us sober up a bit).

So we started with another round of caviar.

Emirates first class caviar service

Then we had custom made salads.

Emirates first class seasonal salad

And then beef striploins. The beef was quite underwhelming — it was chewy and hard as could be. That being said, the sides were great, and in particular the roasted sweet potatoes.

While I’m not usually a red wine guy, Matt insisted I try the Opus One, and I’m happy he did, because it was spectacular.

Emirates first class grilled beef striploin

By the time dinner finished up we were just off the coast of Greenland. This flight basically goes right over Europe, unlike the flights out of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, which generally take a polar routing.

Emirates airshow enroute from Dallas to Dubai

I’m not sure how exactly it happened, but after dinner I fell asleep with my seat in the upright position. I seem to have slept for a few hours, as I woke up over Europe. Oops. So much for maximizing that fully flat bed!

Emirates airshow enroute from Dallas to Dubai

At that point we had about five hours left to Dubai, so I requested to have my bed made in 3A, the seat diagonally across from mine. Suffice to say I feel asleep there within seconds.

Emirates A380 first class bed

Emirates A380 first class bed

I woke up just over two hours from Dubai.

Emirates airshow enroute from Dallas to Dubai

Emirates airshow enroute from Dallas to Dubai

I had a bit of a headache, so ordered some water upon waking up. I was brought a glass which was maybe 2/3 full, so it probably had 5-6 ounces in it. I requested a refill quickly. To be honest this wasn’t the most attentive crew on earth, and after my call button went unanswered for a couple of minutes I decided to take my water supply into my own hands, and raided the 11 empty suites for their bottled water. 11 bottles later…

After that it was time for a shower. As always, it was one of the highlights of my Emirates experience. Showering on a plane never ever ever ever ever gets old. Ever.

Emirates A380 first class shower

Emirates A380 first class shower

Emirates A380 first class shower toiletries

Emirates A380 first class shower spa sink

Emirates A380 first class shower

Emirates A380 first class shower

Emirates A380 first class shower timer

Once back at my seat we were about 90 minutes out of Dubai, at which point I decided to order breakfast.

Emirates airshow enroute from Dallas to Dubai

I started with a French press coffee. I love that Emirates offers French press in first class (though it has to specifically be requested).

Emirates first class french press

For breakfast I ordered a fruit plate, fruit yogurt, and some muesli with milk. And water. Trashy as it may be, I requested a big bottle, given that I was thirsty.

While I was given a small cup of milk for my coffee, oddly I wasn’t offered milk with my muesli. After about five minutes I followed up about that, and was informed “oh, we don’t have any milk anymore.”

Okay, then:

  • Maybe I should have been informed of that when being served muesli — am I supposed to eat it dry?
  • Clearly the crew was enjoying some cappuccinos on the flight, because up until this point no one in first class had consumed any milk, so there’s not much excuse to be out of it before breakfast service

Emirates first class breakfast — fruit plate, muesli, and yogurt

Matt perhaps took the smarter approach, and ordered chicken curry rather than breakfast.

Emirates first class grilled chicken chettinad

At around 11:30AM Dubai time the captain came on the PA again to provide us with updated arrival information. He explained that it was quite busy in Dubai (which is odd midday, since that’s usually the slowest time at the airport), and that we’d have to enter a holding pattern.

Emirates airshow enroute from Dallas to Dubai

So first we had to circle a couple of times over the Gulf, and then we flew inland.

Emirates A380 tail camera

As we descended the Emirates Dubai welcome video played, which is basically an Emirates-branded version of this awesome video:

We passed Dubai Airport, and then flew for another 15 minutes or so, before circling back around for our approach.

View passing Dubai Airport

For landing I switched to seat 2K, so that I’d have a good view on the approach.

Emirates A380 first class cabin from 2K

Inland there’s not all that much to see in the UAE, other than the sparsely populated land.

View on approach into Dubai

Eventually we finally circled back around and began our rather shaky approach into Dubai.

View on final approach into Dubai

We touched down on runway 30L at around 12:20PM.

Touching down in Dubai

View after landing in Dubai

Exiting runway in Dubai

Taxiing in Dubai

From there it was a quick five minute taxi to our arrival gate, A7.

Arrival gate in Dubai

Pulling into gate in Dubai

There didn’t seem to be more than a dozen or so Emirates planes on the ground when we landed.

Pulling into gate in Dubai

Pulling into gate in Dubai

We bid the crew farewell, and stumbled off the plane, having had one of the best flights of our lives.

Emirates A380 upon arrival

From there we took the escalators down to the lower level, and then took the train to the main terminal, where immigration is located.

Dubai Airport terminal

There were no queues at immigration, where the agent who helped me was uncharacteristically friendly.

From there we headed to Emirates chauffeur drive, where we were offered a ride to the Park Hyatt Dubai upon presenting our boarding passes.

Emirates chauffeur drive

Emirates terminal upon arrival

Emirates chauffeur drive

And by 1PM we were at the Park Hyatt, desperately in need of a nap!

Emirates A380 first class bottom line

Emirates first class is just such a fun experience. Ultimately the service on this sector wasn’t amazing. The crew was generally friendly, though wasn’t very attentive — in many cases plates wouldn’t be removed for almost half an hour, despite them not having anything else to do. The purser and crew at the bar in business class more than made up for it, though.

Furthermore, every other aspect of the Emirates experience is amazing, from the entertainment selection, to the food, to the shower, to the onboard bar, etc. I don’t think there’s an airline in the world I consistently have more fun on than Emirates.

I can’t wait to fly them again!

  1. I’m assuming you booked w/ AS miles… I thought the car service was no longer included. Did you pay extra for the car service?

  2. Hey Ben, too bad you seemed to have an average crew on your DFW-DXB flight. I had an awesome crew and that was the thing that made the flight awesome and extra-ordinary. I’m still thinking about it now, 9 months later!

    Also, we were served Dom 2004 on the ground if I recall correctly, and I think I have a picture to prove it as it was being poured. Interesting to see that it’s changed along with the amenity kit.

  3. Fantastic trip report as usual Ben. Detailed and feels like I am on board with you experciencing the moment. I’ve got yet to fly emirates though I seem to be spending most time aboard Etihad Airways between LAX and AUH. The Arabic meze looked simply incredible and so tasty. Usually what I order aboard EY. Can’t go wrong with the bar about EK – glad to hear it was a pleasant flight and wish the service could have been much better for you.

  4. that’s crazy about the milk. you mean on an entire a380 they can’t get a carton of milk for you?

  5. Ben,

    The champagne served on the ground must by a HUCA thing, as I took this same flight DFW-DXB four weeks ago and was served Dom 2004 upon boarding. Got the photos to prove it.

  6. Lucky – I love your blog, but is anyone still reading these EK trip reports anymore? These have jumped the shark a while ago and smack of “padding”. Please, please revitalize your TRs with some new reviews of other J or PE products that people can relate too/need to travel on and are less likely to have flown or read about. AC, SAS, KL, LH, AF to mention a few all have or are in the process of upgrading/changing their hard products for example. We need reviews of these changes. Your innovative style keep you ahead of the others, but these EK trip reports are becoming sooze fests IMO.

  7. Excellent report! Looks like you had a good time! The seats must have been comfy for you to fall asleep in the upright position! Or was it the champagne that was too good? 😉

  8. RE the chauffeur service. If just on a one day stopover in Dubai (travelling on AS award tix), are you able to utilize it on the return from the hotel to the airport? I understand your “workaround” for getting the car at the airport, but can you get a voucher/reservation for the return trip before you leave the airport?

  9. The stationery pads are a relic from the pre-digital era: who uses them?

    Phenomenal trip report as always Ben. I had forgotten that there was a First Class Bar as well as the big Business Class one. Do passengers typically use this bar?

    Finally given that the upper deck of the 380 is narrower than the 777s, and that they have the same configuration in each 1-2-1, are the suites on the 380 narrower than those on the 777 as well ?

  10. “I decided to take my water supply into my own hands, and raided the 11 empty suites for their bottled water.”

    – These would be the bottles of water in the totally unnecessary and redundant mini-bar right?

  11. “I fell asleep with my seat in the upright position”

    Most people refer to that as “passing out” 🙂

  12. “(side note: the Mexican first officer was really attractive)” Sounds like you would have preferred the first officer to serve you some champagne and warm nuts.

  13. You would think with your celebrity status now, seeing you on TV and reading about you in many newspapers, your face would be recognizable to the crew. It is to me. So even dumber of them to provide substandard service. Thanks for the great post and pictures.

    Two off the wall questions:
    1. They don’t mind you using different seats in first class for various reasons. No attitude?
    2. Have two people ever used the shower together on the plane? Sorry, had to ask 🙂

  14. After looking at, I find that business class is consistently about 75% full between Dallas and Dubai, I think that when you flew with your mom, it was just a slow day.

  15. @Kent C

    Regarding 2 seats; if there is a light load the crew probably prefer if the passengers use a different seat to sleep in.

    That way they don’t have make/unmake the bed if the passenger wakes up mid flight and decide to have something to eat/work/watch a movie before going back to sleep.

  16. “Clearly the crew was enjoying some cappuccinos on the flight, because up until this point no one in first class had consumed any milk, so there’s not much excuse to be out of it before breakfast service” — with the level of influence your blog now has, I would be very careful about making comments like this unless I was 100% certain that was the case. I’d hate to think real people were getting into trouble (or worse) at work just so you can get a witty one liner for the blog. By all means point out objective service failings like the lack of milk, but presenting a possibly not true opinion about why as fact seems a bit inappropiate. Although you said it was a great flight, my takeaway feeling was that the crew serving you in F are likely to get into trouble as a result of this post.

  17. “To be honest this wasn’t the most attentive crew on earth, and after my call button went unanswered for a couple of minutes I decided to take my water supply into my own hands, and raided the 11 empty suites for their bottled water.”

    I guess the minibar isn’t so redundant anymore as you mention it in every Emirates trip report

  18. Hey Lucky. I’m flying EK F from AKL to MEL soon. Should I expect to receive sub par service on this flight as it’s so short and just part of the longer Melbourne to Dubai route?

    Great report as always.

  19. Is it standard to be allowed two serves of the caviar? I thought I read somewhere that they only load a serve per passenger. I have my first EK flight in a few weeks DXB – LHR, it’s a dinner and lunch flight so if I’m allowed two I’m going for it.

  20. TK they usually have lots of caviar but as Dxb Lhr goes full in f you may not get 2. I’ve never asked for it twice one portion is enough for me.

  21. I pressed “play” on the boarding music embed at the top and had it on in the background as I read the rest of the post. It made an already great post about 1000% more exciting.

  22. Just to clarify: there is no such rule to deny a drink of choice to a F class pax. The FA may not want to deal with the extra paperwork to declare the bottle was opened in the ground.

    Filling up on nuts at 15 grams of fat per ounce is not the best bang for your buck. The steak was not aged or sourced from a high quality variety. The salad is the same as business class. A FA serving muesli without milk: priceless.

    Glad to read Matt made the flight enjoyable.

  23. Is the average time spent on the site per user going down?

    I mean, yeah, I still check it out every day, but I’m not reading very much these days. I used to read everything.

    Didn’t realize Emirates had showers – so good to finally see a review. Yawn.

  24. Still a good read, but this is an exact copy of your others EK F trip reports. Too bad that now you’re just flying always the same airlines on the same routes, i miss the old times with new reports on airlines from all over the world! 🙁

  25. “Two off the wall questions:
    1. They don’t mind you using different seats in first class for various reasons. No attitude?
    2. Have two people ever used the shower together on the plane? Sorry, had to ask :)”

    I can confirm that two people used the showers together not once but twice on a DFW-DXB flight in November 2014 and “they” had no issues doing it whatsoever.

  26. Thank you for the great review, Lucky. The only thing that I found redundant was the number of ‘nothing-else-to-do’ haters in the comment section. Haters – Please share details of the blogs that you are writing, so we can all go have a look at them.

  27. Can you take photos of stewardess too in your reviews. Beautiful women are part of an experience of an airline. Also how many miles needed and how did you earn them?

  28. I will have to contribute what its like from Houston to Dubai in Economy on Emirates and having High Tea at a more cost friendly place. I leave Tuesday! I love these posts. Thank you for sharing!

  29. @Jim

    The minibar is redundant if the crew does their job properly, might have been different if it offered cooled drinks.

    The space it takes up could be better used for a wider seat or more storage space.

  30. #therewillbehaters.
    @Haters: just don’t read the blog and stop your bitching (it is as easy as that).
    @Ben: keep up the trip reports.

  31. Although you always rave about them it seems substandard that with first class set up for 14 people why would they only have 2 sets of PJ’s on board and why would you have to ask for them?
    Also no milk on the whole plane??
    You seem so happy that you got the drinks you wanted that you forgot that these should be the basics for such an airline

  32. Glad to see I’m not the only one growing weary of the Emirates TR’s…

    Dare I say, I’d really look forward to some reviews of more airlines – Alitalia, Vietnam Airlines, Aeroflot, Royal Jordanian, Thai

  33. Dallas doesn’t have a runway 16. You took off on 18L. I know because I spotted your plane. Follow me on Instagram at @dallasfortworthspotter

  34. Great Trip report, as usual. And I must agree with many commenters that I certainly enjoy every new trip report, especially from A380’s and other First Class products.

    For me it is a bit like a top TV show or sitcom. A TV show has the same basics every week, for example the same lead actors, sets etc., but for each episode there is a different story or twist. Exactly like your trip reports since each report there is a different crew with different dynamics, different passengers (and sometimes you are by yourself and sometimes with a traveling companion) so there is a different feel to each trip report. So keep it up Lucky. Only problem I have, is that I can watch my favorite TV show every week and I only wish I could read a First Class Trip report every week too.

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