In my over four million miles of flying, possibly the only time I’ve giggled uncontrollably was when I took my first shower on the Emirates A380. The state of modern aviation never ceases to amaze me, when you look at how far things have come. You have everything from flat beds to endless entertainment to wifi.
But there’s something indescribably awesome about flying 500mph at 35,000 feet and showering!
So while Etihad now has a shower on their A380 as well, I think Emirates still takes the cake for their onboard shower facilities.
I get asked lots of questions from first time Emirates first class passengers about the shower, so figured I’d make a quick tutorial on using/booking the Emirates A380 shower. Perhaps the most “first world” tutorial I’ll ever write.
Emirates A380 shower basics
Emirates exclusively has showers onboard the A380. There are two shower suites at the front of the upper deck, one on each side.
Due to the curvature of the A380 there couldn’t be seats there, so instead they decided to use the space creatively.
These aren’t just dinky showers, but actually shower suites that are probably larger than the average bathroom in a NYC apartment. It’s crazy.
Reserving the Emirates A380 shower
Each first class passenger can shower once per flight. You can typically spend 30 minutes in the shower room (though in theory I suppose you could spend longer in it if it’s not otherwise booked), though you only get five minutes of water. More on that later.
Typically either before takeoff or immediately after one of the two showers attendants will come by your seat to present you with a brochure about the spa and let you make a reservation. Yes, Emirates literally has two full time shower attendants. They’re simply responsible for the showers and periodically cleaning all the other toilets.
In terms of uniforms, you can tell the difference between them and the rest of the crew since they wear pants, while the rest of the female crew wear skirts. They also wear red vests during the flight.
Is it necessary to reserve the shower suite in advance? It depends on a few factors:
- How full the first class cabin is — availability will be different if there are just two passengers vs. 14 passengers
- How long the flight is — shower availability will be different on a Los Angeles to Dubai flight than a Dubai to Kuwait City flight
- When you want to shower — the most popular time to shower is within two hours of landing
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to make an appointment as soon as possible if you’re on a short flight or if you want to shower close to landing.
Otherwise you can usually just play it by ear. For example, on an ultra longhaul flight I’ll typically just tell the attendants that I do want to shower around the middle of the flight, but don’t know the exact time yet. They’re always fine with that, and just tell me to give them a bit of advance notice so they can set up the shower.
Using the Emirates A380 shower
First of all, keep in mind that the shower suites can be used as bathrooms as well. There’s a third lavatory in first class behind the galley, but if the shower suites aren’t occupied you can use them at any time as bathrooms as well.
For actually showering, the attendant will typically ask you if you’re familiar with the shower, and if you’re not, they’ll brief you on it.
While you’re of course free to bring a change of clothes and your own toiletries into the shower, it’s well stocked with Timeless Spa toiletries. It’s so well stocked that they have two lines of toiletries — “relax” or “revive,” depending on your mood.
So the shower has good water pressure, much better than you’d expect on a plane, in my opinion. The controls for the shower are intuitive. There’s a temperature control knob, and then to the left of that is the on/off button.
One common thing that confuses people is that you have to close the shower door before the shower will work. A lot of people want to “test out” the water first, and then are convinced their shower isn’t working. But the shower only works when the shower door is latched closed.
As I said above, you get five minutes of water when showering. There’s a timer with green, yellow, and red lighting. The good news is that you can turn the shower on and off as often as you want. So you can wet yourself, then apply shampoo/body wash, then wash yourself off, and then stand under hot water for a minute giggling. I’m usually pretty slow in the shower, but it’s enough water even for me.
When your shower is three quarters done it will automatically turn off as a warning, and you’ll have to push the button to turn it back on.
Emirates A380 shower FAQs
What happens in the event of turbulence?
In the event of turbulence you’re advised to sit down on the bench in the shower. There’s not a seatbelt, and there’s no need to return to your seat.
Woah, I can really control the temperature of the floor?
Yep, not only does the A380 shower spa have heated floors, but you can even control how much you want them heated. Crazy, eh?
Why was I given fruit after my shower?
As a standard offering, Emirates places a fruit appetizer with a honey dipping sauce at your seat after a shower.
Can I join the mile high club in the shower spa?
My thoughts on the mile high club are well documented. Funny enough the shower suite does indeed say “Max. 2 occupants in shower” on top of it. The intent there is in case a second passenger requires “assistance.” Of course I suppose it depends how you define assistance. 😉
In all honesty, no, generally it’s not appropriate. Is there a chance you could get away with it? Yes. Is there a chance you could get an angry purser that’s not happy if s/he finds out? Yes. Is there a chance if you have an awesome purser and ask nicely they may allow it? Who knows…
But no, generally I’d say your odds are much better off joining the mile high club in Singapore Suites than in the Emirates shower, for what it’s worth.
Should you tip the shower attendants?
It’s certainly not expected, and even as someone that tends to over tip for things that aren’t necessary, I don’t.
Hmmm, did the bar display just change?
The first class bar is located at the front of the upper deck, just opposite the two shower suites.
However, you’ll notice that a few hours before landing (when most passengers want to shower) they take down the bar and instead set up a relaxing water display with some tea. Crazy to think we’re still on a plane, eh? 😉
If you haven’t yet showered on a plane, add it to your bucket list. Even if you’re otherwise jaded by premium cabin travel nowadays, I think you may still find yourself giggling when you take that first shower on a plane.
If you’ve used the Emirates A380 first class shower, what was your experience like?