Emirates’ New York To Milan Flight In A380 First Class: So Fun, Too Short

Emirates’ New York To Milan Flight In A380 First Class: So Fun, Too Short

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You know that Emirates commercial starring Jennifer Aniston, where she asks the crew member at the A380 bar “hey, is there someone we can talk to about maybe flying this around a bit longer before we land?” Well, that’s exactly how I felt after flying Emirates’ A380 first class from New York to Milan.

Emirates’ A380 first class is the most fun way to fly

On Tuesday night I flew Emirates first class from New York to Milan (I know I’ve reviewed Emirates first class many times before, but there’s a very special reason I took this flight, which I’ll share in the next installment), and it left me with a very different feeling than my typical Emirates first class flights.

Emirates Airbus A380 first class cabin

A vast majority of Emirates’ routes from the United States are to Dubai, and those flights typically take anywhere from 12 to 16 hours, which is plenty of time to enjoy the experience. After all, there’s so much to do in Emirates first class, from the inflight shower, to the onboard bar, to endless entertainment, to incredible drinks and solid food.

It should be illegal for Emirates long haul flights to be this short 😉

However, Emirates also operates two routes between the United States and Europe, including an Airbus A380 service between New York and Milan. This flight takes just over seven hours, departing at around 11PM and arriving at around 12PM the next day.

This presents a real (non-issue) issue:

  • First and foremost, the beauty of flying in a premium cabin is the ability to get a proper night of sleep; this flight is perfectly timed for getting a great night of sleep… and nothing more
  • But the beauty of flying Emirates first class is showering, going to the bar, enjoying caviar and Dom Perignon, etc.

Usually when you fly Emirates first class to Dubai, you can “party” a bit, then get a solid night of sleep, then shower, and land refreshed. Meanwhile maximizing the experience on the much shorter sector between New York and Milan takes more effort.

How did we maximize this flight?

Prior to the flight, I repeatedly tried to strategize about the right approach to take in order to enjoy this flight by checking of all the A380 features while still getting some rest… and I think we struck the right balance. So I’ll share the approach we took (though of course that’s not to say you should take the same approach).

We started with some pre-departure water. We didn’t order champagne, since Emirates can’t serve Dom Perignon until after the door closes on flights out of the US, so you’ll only get the business class champagne.

Emirates A380 first class suite
Skip the pre-departure champagne

While Emirates has a dine on demand menu, Emirates’ first class food isn’t actually that amazing, aside from some staples. So we started with the Dom Perignon and the canapés.

Emirates first class canapés

Then we ordered the caviar, and we were offered a double, since they had plenty (in this case there were only five of the 14 seats occupied). 😉

Emirates first class caviar

Then we had the Arabic mezze, which is consistently excellent.

Emirates first class Arabic mezze

While we could have enjoyed a full meal, I don’t generally want to eat that much before going to sleep, and frankly Emirates’ first class mains aren’t really that great. At this point we headed back to the business class bar. It was the ideal time to go as an introvert, since at this point all the business class passengers were back at their seats, as the meal service was well underway (since there’s no dine on demand).

Emirates A380 bar

At the bar, we had a champagne cocktail with Dom Perignon and Hennessy Paradis. After all, it’s criminal to fly Emirates first class and not have at least a sip of the world’s most expensive beverage available in the sky. 😉

Emirates champagne cocktail
Emirates first class Hennessy Paradis

Then it was nap time, and we got a solid three hours of sleep.

Emirates first class bed
Emirates first class suite door

When we woke up we decided to shower first. While we had reserved the last possible shower appointments, we ended up showering earlier, since they were available.

Emirates A380 first class shower suite
Emirates A380 first class shower suite

Then it was breakfast time. I just ate some fruit and yogurt, and figured I’d order the waffles just for pictures, if nothing else.

Emirates first class breakfast
Emirates first class breakfast

Before we knew it, we were landing in Milan!

Emirates A380 tail camera

While a much longer flight would have been ideal, we managed to check just about everything off the list, and woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed and not hungover. I’d say that’s a fantastic balance to strike on a flight this short.

Bottom line

I’m happy I finally had the chance to fly Emirates first class on its short transatlantic route between New York and Milan. It felt kind of weird to fly Emirates first class out of the United States and not be in the air for 12+ hours. However, I think we struck the right balance.

What approach would you take to enjoying this Emirates first class flight? Sleep the whole way, party the whole way, or something in between?

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  1. MarkPrice Guest

    Thanks Ben. I'm taking this flight on Saturday and plan to follow your gameplan (maybe I'll shoot for 4 hours of sleep, cause I'm older than you). Booked with miles following your instructions in other posts. Appreciate you and this site!

  2. Biz-traveler Guest

    It not that Emirates "can't" serve Dom on the ground. It is they don't want to pay the taxes. Many states including New York require that service with the door open be done with taxed product. No use of duty free Dom.

  3. Josh G. Guest

    Three hours sleep plus drinking = conflict with lounge dragon

  4. GMinder Guest

    I am taking this flight on June 13. Were masks required to be worn on the trip to Milan?

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      EK has a very laissez-faire attitude when it comes to masks in FC, as does LH. I don’t know about the other cabins.

  5. D'Amico Guest

    Tail, belly, wing cams available in economy class, also...unlike Dom Perrignon! Good ride, just the same. Sure beats United...

  6. Schar Gold

    absolutely loved this article!! my dream is to fly EK First, cant wait to try all these fun things in the air one day!

  7. Doug Guest

    1. Position to the U.S West Coast and only fly Transatlantic Eastbound from there, -- OR --
    2. Only bother booking Emirates First Class, on awards, MXP-JFK or ATH-EWR, to return to the U.S. *from* Europe.
    (Am I doing this right?)

  8. Omar Guest

    Hibiki 21 served on ANA on some routes is arguably more expensive than Hennessy Paradis. While the retail price is lower, it's almost impossible to find it at retail price, whereas Hennessy is widely available.

  9. Carrie Member

    The EK Mezze is the only thing I eat in the air - the flavours have been well thought out and it is a complete meal for a long haul flight. Bubbles are another thing altogether .........

  10. David Guest

    Ah, I see Lucky has now significantly edited the text so that it is no longer prescriptive or proscriptive. It reads much better now.

    Thanks for taking my advice.

    1. LarryInNYC Diamond

      Really digging your TLA responses.

  11. Blaz Guest

    It doesn't how anyone tries to do it, but photographing a first class bed in the sky still looks like a bunk bed in a dormer. It's all relative I suppose.

  12. Steven E Guest

    Perfect balance I think

  13. Duncan Guest

    Booked for LAX-DXB for a honeymoon in October. Should be plenty of time to enjoy everything Emirates has to offer. My wife is currently in First but I am in business (award booking) hoping to get the upgrade. Any tips on getting that before the last-minute last-seat availability tactic?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Duncan -- Hope you enjoy the trip and are able to get that first seat in advance! All I can recommend is waitlisting for a first class award and keeping a close eye on availability. Hopefully otherwise the upgrade works out at the airport or onboard.

  14. BG Guest

    Ben- for the sake of transparency, can you please explain how you found any award availability for first class on this route? It's zeroed out for months...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ BG -- On May 26 two award seats opened up on the May 31 flight, so I booked them right away. I was monitoring closely, as those same seats weren't available on May 25. I guess that was possible thanks to the light load in first class.

  15. Explore Guest

    Great review. FWIW, I try to travel westbound in premium classes because it’s a longer flight and usually in daylight hours (except some US-Asia and Australasian flights). Why spend all those bucks and/or miles to sleep?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Explore -- Agreed, and largely my strategy as well. But for a difference of 12,500 Skywards miles one-way, I figure it's worth it.

    2. LarryInNYC Diamond

      I really value the sleep, or semblance of sleep (which is sometimes good enough) on overnight flights. So I always try for premium class eastbound US to Europe even knowing I won't necessarily enjoy the dinner and drinks.

  16. Joshua Member

    My wife and I are taking the reverse flight in July. Right now in business, hoping to upgrade to first of the opportunity presents itself. Totally looking forward to it.

  17. D3kingg Guest

    I’m flying DXB - MXP -JFK

    The plan is to sleep and have a light meal on the first flight .
    Then drink and party on the second flight.

  18. Richard_ New Member

    Amusing article, but for the random dates I checked, J is $4k and F is $16k. A shower, etc. isn't worth the price difference to me, YMMV.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Richard_ -- I hear you, but when redeeming miles it's 72,500 miles in business class or 85,000 miles in first class, pending award availability. Slightly different value proposition compared to revenue tickets.

    2. Michael Guest

      Does anyone actually pay for F anymore on these flights?

    3. SBS Guest

      Yes, sort of :) Just before covid, I was asked to delay by a month a vacation to SE Asia that I had booked a year in advance, with flights in F both ways using miles. I agreed under the condition that the guilty party pay for the new F flights - there was of course no award space 30 days out. Turned out Emirates F was the least expensive option - $8k round trip...

      Yes, sort of :) Just before covid, I was asked to delay by a month a vacation to SE Asia that I had booked a year in advance, with flights in F both ways using miles. I agreed under the condition that the guilty party pay for the new F flights - there was of course no award space 30 days out. Turned out Emirates F was the least expensive option - $8k round trip from North America to Southeast Asia, as long as I positioned to Toronto first ($12k if starting from the US).

      Come to think of it, $8k for 3 long segments in Emirates F is not a bad deal (the trip was open jaw, one segment was in a FlyDubai 737).

  19. Mr. H Guest

    Great post Ben. In your younger days you’d have been tempted to max out the alcohol but I bet the 3 hours of sleep seemed like a good idea the next morning. Your question of how to get best value from a shortish F flight is a good one. Why some don’t think it belongs on a blog about getting value from points and miles, I’m not sure.

  20. Russ Member

    Sounds like an awesome time! And again here we are with the cliffhangers on why the trip is so special TBD haha. Best wishes!

  21. tipsyinmadras Diamond

    I'm sure it's incredibly comfortable but gosh Emirates décor is so garish

    1. glenn t Diamond

      If you saw the average upper-class living room in an Emirati houshold you would think the EK F cabin is a model of restraint! LOL.

  22. Matt Guest

    Definitely would prefer the westbound flight! I had the same conundrum flying CX YVR-JFK. I saved my points and opted for J, since the flight is too short to do anything but sleep. I even ate in the lounge and slept through dinner on the plane, I need to maximize my sleep on those red-eyes!

  23. DrewT Member

    Talking about the caviar - I recently flew both Emirates first class and Lufthansa first class (on a 747-8 to boot!) - I didn't think the
    Emirates caviar was all that good; the mid-priced caviar I buy once a year or so is better. The caviar on Lufthansa was noticeably better to me, but unfortunately they don't stock caviar spoons like Emirates does. Anyone else feel the same way?

    1. Beachfan Guest

      When I was young, it was about the party.

      Now that I’m old, and have a full wine cellar with Dommabd Krug whenever I want, it’s about the sleep.

    2. Mike Guest

      I think emirates caviar is just across the line of being called caviar. Presentation is great but the caviar itself is very very ordinary.
      I also find their wines to be great wines on the ground but not amazing when flying. I don’t know if it’s the dry air or the pressure or what, but the main goal is show rather than actual quality. Nothing wrong with show though, as long as you judge it as such

    3. DrewT Member

      I think "show rather than actual quality" sort of sums up my whole experience with Emirates, and with Dubai in a way. The people were great for the most part, but everything else just felt artificial and completely for looking better than everywhere else. The F lounge in Dubai was huge, and the food was pretty good, but beyond looking impressive, it was otherwise pretty unremarkable experience (Ok, boarding gates in the lounge were cool).

      ...

      I think "show rather than actual quality" sort of sums up my whole experience with Emirates, and with Dubai in a way. The people were great for the most part, but everything else just felt artificial and completely for looking better than everywhere else. The F lounge in Dubai was huge, and the food was pretty good, but beyond looking impressive, it was otherwise pretty unremarkable experience (Ok, boarding gates in the lounge were cool).

      No doubt a great way to fly, but my experiences in Cathay, Singapore, Lufthansa, and JAL F just felt like more - Emirates was just "oh wow".

    4. Dr Kim Guest

      the spoons are relatively new as are the tins.
      There is only one Asian compamy that offers a slightly better than lowest quality caviar.
      But while most reviewers still race about what they get, why change? It seems reviewers never want to spend the few dollars pn caviar at home. The hot towel is still given but it is no longer Frette and there are NO more towels in F toilets

  24. Jerry Diamond

    Don't understand the hate. I miss content like this from the days of whimsical travel. I loved reading it and want to replicate exactly what you did.

  25. Christian Guest

    I kinda like the more whimsical tone of this piece.

    @Ben - Any particular method you use to ask for seconds on the caviar without looking crass?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Christian -- In my experience sometimes the crew will offer proactively if it's empty. Otherwise politely asking "is there any chance I could get a double portion?" does the trick. After all, it's a dine on demand menu, so you can have as much as you want when you want.

      Just keep in mind that this is dependent on how full the cabin is. Odds are great of getting seconds if the cabin is pretty empty, while it's unlikely to happen if the cabin is full.

    2. JvdB Guest

      Ben, did you book this flight on points or cash? I have had my eye on this route for a while, but have not seen any availability

  26. Anthony Diamond

    The whole point of airport bars is to talk to other passengers - so that aspect, you did wrong

    To the overall point of the article, from NY to Europe, I tend to try to take more basic configurations (on a relative basis) because the goal is to sleep. Good opportunity to take flights on US metal, for example. On the way back from Europe to the east coast, you can stay awake and take advantage of the amenities

  27. Dc_nomad Guest

    @ Ben- Are you sure this is completely accurate "since Emirates can’t serve Dom Perignon until after the door closes on flights out of the US"

    We recently flew ATH-EWR and were told the same thing, "can't serve Dom until after the door closes"

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Dc_nomad -- Some countries charge taxes on alcohol served on the ground, and I wasn't meaning to suggest that the United States was the only country. Indeed there are some other countries, including Greece, that have similar rules. Meanwhile out of the UAE you can have Dom Perignon pre-departure.

    2. Azamaraal Diamond

      On that note - most airlines only serve sparkling wine, not even Business class wine, while on the ground. (for those that serve anything).

    3. Chris_ Member

      It's definitely not accurate: Emirates certainly CAN serve Dom Perignon on the ground - they just don't want to pay the tax on those bottles. It's their business decision (and not an uncommon one.)

  28. JetAway Guest

    I sort of agree with David on this one. The post seems a little "off" from the usual fare. Mostly about having "fun" drinking high end alcoholic beverages across the Atlantic without getting a hangover.

    1. Azamaraal Diamond

      That sounds like fun to me. Don't forget the 3 hours sleep.

  29. Jforever Guest

    This is a bit of an odd post, to be completely honest.. Very pedantic.

  30. David Guest

    The tone of this post is annoyingly prescriptive (and proscriptive). In this sense it is a departure from most of Lucky's writing. I would urge Lucky not to use this tone in future,

    1. Big AL Guest

      holy crap willy is on the money.
      think either lucky was drunk or bored on this flight, either way who cares.

      'I would urge Lucky not to use this tone in future'......... who talks like this.....

      Get a life Daviiiid

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.

TravelinWilly Diamond

JFC.

10
Jerry Diamond

Don't understand the hate. I miss content like this from the days of whimsical travel. I loved reading it and want to replicate exactly what you did.

7
TravelinWilly Diamond

FFS.

3
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