14 Secrets To Emirates First Class

14 Secrets To Emirates First Class


There are a lot of amazing first class products in the world, though Emirates first class is among my favorites. That’s true whether you’re flying the Airbus A380, and can enjoy the inflight shower and bar, or whether you’re flying the new Boeing 777, and can enjoy the world’s best first class suite.

I consistently have the most fun in Emirates first class, even if the crew and food aren’t amazing. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to take dozens of Emirates first class flights over the years, and figured I’d share some of the most interesting aspects of the experience, which you may or may not know. While I’m sure some of you will know some or all of the below, I’m guessing most people won’t.

In no particular order, below are 14 secrets to Emirates first class…

1. Smile, you’re on camera

Emirates first class might be extremely private in the sense that you have a suite with a door, but don’t get any ideas based on that. If you’re flying the Airbus A380, you’ll see that there’s a camera at the back of the first class cabin (it’s the little black box at the back of the cabin in the below picture).

This can be viewed from the purser’s office and from the cockpit. Chances are that they’re not spending their free time watching the camera, but you never know…

There’s a camera at the back of Emirates A380 first class

2. The crew doesn’t know if you redeemed miles for your ticket

While it shouldn’t have any practical implications, people are often curious if the airline crew knows if you redeemed miles for your ticket or not. In the case of Emirates, the crew can’t tell whether you redeemed miles or paid cash for your ticket. Interestingly the crew can see if you upgraded, as that shows differently in the system.

But for all practical purposes, an award ticket is treated as a “paid” ticket. So whether you paid $21,000 or redeemed 150,000 Emirates Skywards miles, it’s all the same to the crew…

Emirates crews don’t know if you paid cash or redeemed miles

3. About those shower attendants…

Emirates is the only airline to have shower spas on commercial aircraft (since Etihad retired its A380s), and they’re such a treat. Not only are there two showers, but there’s also a dedicated shower attendant.

Some people are surprised to learn that these aren’t flight attendants. Rather they actually sit in passenger seats for takeoff and landing. You can tell them apart from the rest of the crew based on the fact that they wear trousers rather than the usual skirts.

Unfortunately the shower attendants aren’t treated especially well, so be extra nice to them. They make a fraction of what the other crew members make.

Emirates A380s have dedicated shoer attendants

4. Don’t drink champagne on the ground in the US

Emirates is well known for pouring endless Dom Perignon in first class. If you’re anything like me, you have a limit of how many drinks you can enjoy on a flight, and you don’t want to waste that on a subpar champagne.

When you’re on the ground in the United States you can expect that you’ll only be served the business class champagne, which might be Moet or Veuve Clicquot. That’s because Emirates has to pay taxes on alcohol served on the ground in the United States, causing the airline to only offer a limited selection.

So I’d recommend only having one glass of champagne on the ground (or even none), so that you can save your “tolerance” for when you’re airborne.

Wait for the Dom Perignon after takeoff!

5. If you’ve got a problem…

On airlines in the United States, the purser is simply a flight attendant who gets paid an extra couple of dollars per hour to do the paperwork and coordinate the crew.

On Emirates, the purser’s responsibilities are much greater, as is their accountability. They have to email the crew before the flight to introduce themselves and assign positions, they do a crew briefing before the flight, and they’re also responsible for evaluating other flight attendants.

If there’s something you’re not happy with on your Emirates flight, let the purser know. If you’re in first class I guarantee they’ll take it seriously. They could be in trouble if there’s a problem on the flight they’re not aware of, so they’ll do everything they can to make it right, and will also write a report after the fact sharing what the issue was and what they did to resolve it.

So if you’re unhappy with the flight, engage the purser. Of course this assumes that you have a decent purser. In some cases you may end up with a not-great purser, which makes things a bit more complicated.

If you have a problem, talk to the purser on Emirates

6. You want pajamas and an amenity kit?

Emirates has among my favorite first class amenities, as the airline has pajamas, slippers, amenity kits, and even an exclusive beach bag of sorts on the A380 (intended to be able to take stuff to the shower suite).

While you should proactively be offered this on long haul flights and nighttime flights, on daytime flights that aren’t long hauls (like to most destinations in Europe or Asia), the crew won’t necessarily proactively offer these. However, they should be available on demand, so it can’t hurt to ask.

You may have to ask for Emirates amenities

7. You can request a cake

Are you traveling around your birthday? You can request to have a cake onboard at no additional cost. Just phone up Emirates and you can make the request — you don’t have to be traveling on your actual birthday to take advantage of this.

Order a birthday cake in Emirates first class

8. You can order room service

It’s one thing to have a dine on demand concept, though being able to order room service on a plane is next level, in my opinion, even if it’s sort of a gimmick.

If you’re on one of Emirates’ older planes you’ll notice a phone in your armrest, and in it you’ll see a button that looks like a flight attendant with a telephone. Push it and you can call the flight attendant to place your order.

In practice people usually misuse it and assume it’s the call button, so you may find that the crew just shows up at your seat instead. But the phone does in fact ring in the galley when you push that button.

If you’re on a flight operated by Emirates’ new Boeing 777, you can even video call the crew to order room service. While crews generally won’t be huge fans of this (since they’re often caught off guard), it is a feature that’s there.

Order room service in Emirates first class

10. The purser has an onboard office

Speaking of the Emirates purser, they actually have an onboard office on the A380. Go to the lower deck and under the staircase you’ll see a door. That’s where the purser’s office is. This is where they can complete paperwork (some flights have multiple incident reports), monitor the cabin, or even just escape from people.

Emirates pursers have an office on the A380

11. You can upgrade to first class onboard

One of the best kept secrets to getting upgraded on Emirates using miles is to make the request at the airport or even onboard the flight. While there are capacity controls when upgrading in advance, in theory you can upgrade with last seat availability either at the airport, or onboard the flight.

Now, I say “in theory” because that’s how it’s supposed to work. However, not all airport staff or crews are correctly trained on this. It always pays to have some Skywards miles in your account, as you can even upgrade a business class award ticket to first class using miles.

Upgrade to Emirates first class after boarding

12. The capacity of the shower suite is two

At least that’s what the sign above the spa doors says. Apparently the crew handbook says a second passenger is only permitted as necessary to provide assistance. How they define “providing assistance” is up to your friendly crew. 😉

The maximum capacity of the Emirates shower suite is… two?!

13. There’s an onboard Polaroid camera

All Emirates planes have an onboard Polaroid camera. This allows the crew to take pictures of passengers and then put them in a cute picture frame that you can take with you as a memory. You can always ask about this, though typically this will be volunteered if you’re celebrating a special occasion, or have a fun crew.

Have your picture taken within the onboard Polaroid

14. Drink the most expensive alcohol in the sky

I’m not saying you should drink just because something is expensive, but I’m also not saying you shouldn’t drink just because something is expensive. 😉

On a per-bottle basis, Emirates consistently serves the most expensive alcohol you’ll find on any airline. Specifically, I’m talking about Hennessy Paradis, a cognac that generally retails for $1,000+ per bottle. So if you’re a cognac fan, make sure you order some of this while flying with Emirates.

Enjoy Hennessy Paradis in Emirates first class

Bottom line

Emirates has one of my favorite first class products in the world, and hopefully the above paints a small picture of why. There’s just not another airline in the world that’s more fun to fly.

While I’m sure many of you knew the basics of Emirates first class either from having flown it or from having read reviews, hopefully some of the above is new and interesting information.

Do any of the above Emirates facts surprise you?

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  1. David Guest

    They know when you are upgraded with miles. You will have UG or AWUP under your name on their passenger list.

  2. BH Guest

    I'm about to fly Emirates A380 business class for the first time for my honeymoon!! Any "secrets" applicable for business instead of first?

  3. Riyaz virji Guest

    Travelling to Nairobi today

    May be can up grade us...

    Past gold card holder

    Riyaz virji

  4. Scott Guest

    Can you upgrade to first class using Skyrewards miles from a family pool while on board ?

  5. Michelle Belaski Guest

    Taking the flight from Houston to Dubai with Tiffany Funk remains the top experience of my life (other than giving birth to Tiffany and her sister). I will never forget the tears of delight that rushed to my eyes when we first boarded and I was amazed at the beauty of the first class cabin. I will never forget that experience. The flight was 18 hours and it was definitely NOT long enough for me!

  6. red_robbo Guest

    You never see photos of spirit bottles other than full ones. Do they load new, full bottles for every flight? If so, what happens to the leftovers? I know that any remaining wine gets poured down the sink (in theory!), but I can't believe the same happens with a $1000 Paradis....

    1. Jeffrey Guest

      Why would they do that????? It is a waste. Ugh......

    2. David Guest

      They don't recycle left over Dom. New bottles are opened for each and every flights in First and Business.

    3. Lieflat19 Member

      I can tell you my friend and i killed multiple bottles of Dom and the Paradis. Shout out to EK 31 F crew on Aug 3! They were awesome! Cant wait to do it again, this time feeling better hopefully. I would hope most people kill their bottles too and not let an experience like that go to waste!

  7. Jeffrey Guest

    Be sure not to join in on the MHC in or out of the shower, otherwise the crew will spread gossip about you when you are done and they will take pictures of you doing it in the shower via the secret camera.

    1. Lieflat19 Member

      definitely will be a star afterwards. Is crew allowed to provide "assistance"?

  8. Airfarer Diamond

    As far as awards are concerned, does the crew have any idea what an F ticket costs anyway?

    1. David Guest

      No they do not know unless they search for it.

  9. Timtamtrak Member

    I bet the #9 secret is on Ford’s blog?!

  10. MJS Guest

    Wish they had better bourbon than Woodford. If they can afford Dom and Paradis, they can afford a nicely aged Willett Bourbon or a Buffalo Trace Antique bottle.

  11. Joey Diamond

    I’ve seen them use the Polaroid camera mainly for special occasions or to families with kids going on their first flight ever. It’s very cute.

  12. Super Gold

    Has anyone ever conducted blind taste tests to determine whether, at altitude, you can even taste the difference between high and middle range alcohol? Or is it just the psychological phenomenon of things that cost more taste better?

    1. Max Guest

      Even on the ground it's more about bragging right/showing affluence/power/being rich than about taste. Especially with mass-market-brands such As Krug, Dom Perignon, Hennessy.

  13. Bob Guest

    Ask your Paradis to be warmed up a bit

    Otherwise you ll look like a noob and they ll know it.

  14. S Gold

    You have no number 9 in this. Looks like you skipped 9.

    1. S Gold

      I also just woke up so that explains me saying the same thing twice in a row lol :)

    2. Vancouver - Char Gold

      tantalizing secrets

    3. David Diamond

      Because 7 8 9.

      Ok I'll show myself the door.

  15. Golfingboy Guest

    I agree with the booze - they have an incredible list. Chives Regal Royal Salute 21 is fantastic and I’d love to have the chance to try Dalmore King Alexander III.

    The one change I really would love to see is for emirates to dump Johnny Walker Blue Label (don’t need 3 scotches and JW is not a good scotch) and use the savings to improve the bourbon and rye whiskey selections. Knob Creek...

    I agree with the booze - they have an incredible list. Chives Regal Royal Salute 21 is fantastic and I’d love to have the chance to try Dalmore King Alexander III.

    The one change I really would love to see is for emirates to dump Johnny Walker Blue Label (don’t need 3 scotches and JW is not a good scotch) and use the savings to improve the bourbon and rye whiskey selections. Knob Creek 15, Russell Reserve SB, Whistlepig 10 or 15, Old Forrester 1920, Four Roses single barrel, and many others will be a massive improvement and a good way to differentiate. With single barrel bourbon/rye EK can buy a group of barrels and those will be unique to EK.

    1. GoAmtrak Gold

      I’m not a huge brown liquor fan but on my recent flight I did a tasting flight of the Hennessy, Dalmore, and Chivas. Chivas was the smoothest, by far. I regularly get JW Blue as a gift at work so I skipped that. I’d still prefer the Chivas now!

    2. Todd Guest

      Let's throw in some Japanese whiskies while we're at it.

  16. KK13 Gold

    "How they define 'providing assistance' is up to your friendly crew. "

    - I see what you did there! Noice

    1. Lieflat19 Member

      can crew assist you?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

S Gold

You have no number 9 in this. Looks like you skipped 9.

KK13 Gold

"How they define 'providing assistance' is up to your friendly crew. " - I see what you did there! Noice

Eric Guest

#9 will remain a secret.

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