Review: Emirates First Class A380 Dubai To Singapore

Filed Under: Emirates

Emirates 354
Dubai (DXB) – Singapore (SIN)
Tuesday, November 18
Depart: 3:15AM
Arrive: 2:40PM
Duration: 7hr25min
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 2E (First Class)

Upon boarding through the upper deck jet bridge, we turned left into the first class cabin. At the door we were greeted by the Egyptian purser, who handed us off to one of the first class flight attendants.

Emirates A380 first class aisle

Emirates A380 first class cabin

Emirates A380 first class cabin

Here’s a fun fact, off the bat. Have you ever noticed the little black “patch” on the back of the first class bulkhead? Yep, that’s a camera!

Emirates A380 first class camera

We had assigned seats 2E & 2F. As soon as I settled into 2E, Helga, one of the first class flight attendants, introduced herself and explained that she would be working my aisle. She was beyond gorgeous, and had one of the most mysteriously adorable accents I’ve ever heard. As it turns out she’s a Peruvian Australian, which I don’t think is an accent I’ve ever heard before.

She was actually an SFS (Senior Flight Stewardess), so it was the first time in years she had worked first class (in terms of Emirates seniority, you have economy crew, then business class crew, then first class crew, then SFS, who supervise economy and business, and then purser).

We boarded fairly late in the boarding process, and of the total of 14 suites, six were already occupied. There was a young Emirati couple, two guys from somewhere in Europe traveling together, and then two solo travelers.

Emirates A380 first class cabin

I won’t talk too much about the suite since I covered it pretty extensively in my report about the Los Angeles to Dubai flight.

Emirates A380 first class, seat 2E

Emirates A380 first class minibar

Emirates A380 first class vanity mirror

Emirates A380 first class snack basket

Once settled in I was offered a pre-departure beverage. I ordered some champagne. While Emirates serves Dom in the air, they only serve Moet on the ground.

Emirates A380 first class champagne

That was quickly followed by hot towels and then Arabic coffee and dates.

Emirates A380 first class Arabic coffee and dates

As the departure time approached, there seemed to be some drama with the Emirati couple seated in front of us. A maintenance person boarded the aircraft, and seemed to leave the plane a few minutes later quite frustrated.

At that point the purser, Ahmed, came up to my dad and I and explained the situation. Apparently one of their seats was broken. He said something along the lines of “I hate to even ask this, and no pressure at all, but the couple in front of you is traveling on their honeymoon, and one of the seats is completely broken. Is there any way you would consider maybe taking two seats by the window so they can sit together?”

He asked in a tactful manner so I wasn’t at all opposed to the question. And ultimately we didn’t mind switching. We took 1A & 2A so they could sit together. Unfortunately they were complete douchebags about it. You’d think they would say “thanks” or acknowledge that we moved, but they pretended like nothing happened, and took our seats before we could even remove all our belongings. Oh well.

Shortly thereafter the purser came up to us and said “so what’s your favorite drink?” I figured I knew where that was going. We’d have a second bottle of Dom to go, eh? 😉

1A is a really private seat since the center seats only start a bit further back in the cabin. Instead, the seat overlooks the stairs and showers.

Emirates A380 first class, seat 1A

Emirates A380 staircase

Once settled into our new seats we were also offered landing cards for Singapore, amenity kits, pajamas, and tote bags, available exclusively on the A380.

Emirates A380 first class tote bag

Emirates A380 first class tote bag & amenities

Singapore landing card

Shortly before departure time the captain came on the PA. He was Kenyan (I know this because I was fascinated by the accent, so asked one of the crew what nationality the captain was), and had one of the most soothing, upbeat, and professional announcements I’ve ever heard… especially for 3AM! He informed us our flying time was 6hr50min and that our cruising altitude would be 39,000 feet.

Emirates A380 tail camera

We pushed back right on schedule and taxied to runway 30R. While the taxi itself was quick, there was quite a queue for takeoff. After not moving for about 10 minutes, the captain came on the PA to make an announcement which made me chuckle — “I apologize for the delay, but it’s rush hour here, so congestion is pretty common this time of night. We’re number five for takeoff, and should be airborne in less than 10 minutes.” There aren’t many places in the world where 3:30AM is rush hour!

We ended up taking off at 4AM, with a very quick takeoff roll.

Taking off Dubai Airport

Airshow between Dubai and Singapore

Airshow between Dubai and Singapore

As we climbed out the purser made the typical welcome aboard announcement, informing us that our crew was from 19 countries and spoke 15 languages. Shortly thereafter the purser came up to me to bring me a bottle of Dom in a duty free bag to make up for having to switch seats.

I was wide awake at this point, though my dad was starting to doze off. Rather than having him sleep in the upright position, I woke him up so that the crew could make his bed. I’m happy he agreed to it, because he’s usually quite stubborn and insists on sleeping in the upright position, which negates the value of first class, in my opinion. 😉

Emirates first class suite controls

With his bed made and him sound asleep, it was time to have some fun!

Emirates first class suite bed mode

Emirates first class suite bed mode

I browsed the entertainment selection. Emirates really does have the most extensive entertainment selection in the sky. Not only do they have a huge variety of TV shows, but they usually have the entire season, which is awesome.

Emirates ICE entertainment system

Emirates ICE entertainment system

Emirates ICE entertainment system

Emirates ICE entertainment system

I decided to watch the Season 5 episodes of The Mentalist that I hadn’t yet seen.

Emirates ICE entertainment system

Crazy enough, the sun came up pretty quickly, which I guess isn’t surprising when you take off at 4AM and fly east.

Emirates A380 nose camera

Emirates’ menus on their early morning departures are notoriously limited, but I guess that makes sense.

They have some dinner-like snacks, and then a more extensive breakfast menu. The menu read as follows:



I really wasn’t sure how to tackle this. It was 4:30AM, so if I were to have two snacks, should I have breakfast after takeoff and then lunch/dinner before landing, or lunch/dinner after takeoff and breakfast before landing? The former made more sense in terms of the local time in each city, but I was still feeling like it was late at night as opposed to early in the morning, so decided to have a lunch/dinner-snack first.

Helga explained the portions were small, so I ordered the vegetable pie and fried udon noodles with prawns. I stuck to champagne to drink, and was also offered some mixed nuts.

Emirates first class snack service

Emirates first class snack service

The food was perfectly edible. It was by no means gourmet, but was decent quality, at least. The meal was filling, and I was stuffed after having also eaten in the lounge.

Emirates first class snack service

Emirates first class snack service

After the snack I walked back to the bar for a moment. Virtually everyone in business class was asleep, and there was no one at the bar. On the plus side, the views out the window were gorgeous.

A380 sunrise view

After that it was shower time. I mean, what can I say? Showering on a plane is the coolest damn thing ever.

Emirates A380 shower suite

As is the norm, there was a fruit plate waiting at my seat upon my return.

Post-shower fruit plate

After the shower I headed back to the bar, where it was just me and about a dozen crew members.

Somehow we got to talking about Etihad, and I mentioned how they’ve run out of food in first class on two of my most recent flights. One of the flight attendants seemed to have some thoughts on that:

“Yeah, you’re not the first person I’ve heard that from.”
“Oh, really?”
“Yeah, I read this blog from a guy that flies mostly first and business class, and he had the same thing happen.”
“Hmmm, just curious, which blog do you read?”
“It’s called One Mile…”


Eventually I mosied back to my seat and napped for about two hours. I woke up about 90 minutes out of Singapore. I woke up to the sound of a Polaroid camera, which at first made me think I was having a dream with flashbacks to 1994. But nope, instead the sound of that camera was actually the crew presenting my dad with a birthday cake and taking a picture of him with it!

Emirates birthday cake

After that they presented him with a cute card with his picture in it. Emirates is the only airline I know of that has an onboard Polaroid to take passenger pictures with. How cool is that?!

Emirates birthday card

Emirates birthday card

Emirates A380 nose camera

At that point I decided to order some breakfast. I wasn’t very hungry, so just ordered some granola and yogurt.

Emirates first class breakfast service

That was accompanied by a cappuccino, which had the Emirates logo on it.

Emirates first class cappuccino

The captain came on the PA about 30 minutes before landing, sounding every bit as chipper as he did when we left Dubai at 3AM, informing us of our expected arrival time.

Our descent into Singapore was a bit choppy due to some thick clouds.

Emirates A380 tail camera

Emirates A380 tail camera

View on approach into Singapore

View on approach into Singapore

View on approach into Singapore

However, we had a really smooth touchdown.

Emirates A380 tail camera on approach

Emirates A380 tail camera upon landing

View upon landing

From the runway it was about a 10 minute taxi to the gate, where we arrived at 2:55PM. That’s a bit behind schedule due to the delayed departure.

Emirates A380 tail camera taxiing

Emirates A380 tail camera taxiing

Emirates A380 tail camera taxiing

As we deplaned we bid farewell to the crew and had a lovely view of our plane — she’s even more beautiful in daylight than at night!

Emirates A380 upon arrival in Singapore

Emirates A380 upon arrival in Singapore

Immigration was quick, and once through there we quickly found our driver, who we had arranged through Emirates.

Emirates A380 first class bottom line

This was another fantastic flight on Emirates. You can’t beat the number of amenities they offer aboard. On this flight the service was also top notch.

I do find Emirates’ catering on their early morning flights to be pretty bad, especially given the number of passengers connecting from elsewhere in the world (in which case time of day is much less relevant).

Emirates really grew on me with this trip!

  1. Where would you rank the Emirates amenity kit and pajamas. I know that the flights where you get pajamas are a little different, but I just want to know. I don’t recall them being in your top five, but…yeah.


  2. I flew LH first from ORD-FRA on the 748. It was our honeymoon, and when we told them that, they came and took a picture of us and gave it to us in this neat LH photo card. So Emirates isn’t the only one! Maybe ask next time you’re on LH F!

  3. Regarding Emirates cabin crew progression, all cabin crew start as G2 grade (Economy Class crew). The next step up is G1 (Business Class crew), after which they can EITHER go for FG1 (First Class) or SFS (Senior Flight Steward/ess) qualifications. FG1/SFS then can be upgraded to Purser. It is very rare for someone to be both FG1 and SFS qualified. FG1 tends to have higher seniority than SFS, even though SFS technically outranks them.

  4. @ Sam- but DXB SIN is not that long a flight so the aircraft is nowhere near its max weight.

    Ben- great report as always.

  5. Great review Lucky!
    I think the flight still arrives on the same day rather than +1 like you indicated (because of the 3am departure)

  6. @ Parker — The amenity kit is quite nice for sure. I like the pajamas, though they’re not my favorites. Combined, I think the total “package” is pretty darn good.

  7. Ben: you didn’t mention internet onboard–does every A380 have it, and if so, do they all feature the virtually unlimited plan of recent?

  8. It all seems very fabulous and I hope to check out Emirates – preferably in first class – next year. I have to ask, though. Is the seat/cabin as cheesy in real life as it always looks in photos? When I see pictures, all I can think of is a tacky Atlantic City casino. It looks like they got it right in the First Class lounge in Dubai, then went on a bender inside the aircraft.

  9. Great report as always. We flew DXB-SFO last week in F, and were served Dom on the ground, but no fruit after the shower.

  10. Ben that was quite generous of you and your dad to switch. I would say you and your dad on an around the world trip together now that he is getting up in years is at least as important and meaningful as a honeymoon. Perhaps the couple did not thank you because they told the purser to go insist you move!

    @David as for Ben “accidentally” catching Helga in the photo. Meh, another false flag.

  11. Random question but when your readers quote your blog back to you not knowing you’re the author, do you speak up and introduce yourself? I’m sure if they are big fans like most of us are, they would love to thank you!

  12. Your dad’s face shows the immense gratitude for the quality time together. The only thing that could have topped his happiness even more was announcing your engagement. 😉

    I cannot understand the concept of a first class fare that buys McDonald’s scrambled eggs, Publix pastries, Costco quiche, Kellog’s cereals and frozen-then-thawed fruit. The word value for money does not come to mind. Especially, since the majority of their flights depart during red-eye hours.

    Finally, you are entitled to ask for Dom on the ground. The FA will suggest business class champagne to avoid dumping pricy leftover bubbly before takeoff. Just as the sweet honeymoon couple demanded that you were removed from the center seats you can suggest your own preference to the FA.

  13. another great review Lucky! Not to take away from the awesome factor, but since you mentioned you had never seen it anywhere else, fyi, they also have polaroids on Lufthansa. We got a similarly “framed” pic of my son with and the captain in the cockpit which was pretty awesome.

  14. Did you guys share this cake or kept it for the hotel in Singapore?

    “Yep, that’s a camera!”

    I guess the EK crew doesn’t always monitor it as much as the SQ crew does?

    I sure the crew member would have eventually figured out who you were, if nothing else, from your picture and

  15. @ wwk5d — We gave the crew the cake from the lounge to eat, and then took the cake we were given onboard with us, since it was easier to transport.

  16. Yeah I agree the food options are pretty bad for International First class. Like you said, the pax connecting from anywhere in the world so the Dubai or Singapore time zone should be irrelevant. Plus it is an Asian destination and I could say that many Asians do not care about yogurt, cereal, or eggs for breakfast. We have no problem having caviar and lobster for breakfast. Or something soupy like congee or rice soup… but … still with lobster in it. Just Airlines excuse to cut cost!

  17. Hi Lucky,

    I’m a recent newcomer to the site and it’s great. Your blogs are very detailed and I look forward to reading about your adventures.

    I will be taking my first AA (first class) flight on the new 321 Trans Con and was wondering if I’m allowed to keep the amenities kit and headphones after the flight.

  18. @ Rick — Welcome! You can keep the amenity kit but not the headphones. They’re collected before landing.

  19. @ Brian — I’d avoid a seat in the first or last row due to the galley/bathroom light and noise, but otherwise they’re all more or less equal.

  20. Hi Ben,

    Great fan of this blog! Been following for some months! Congrats on the success and publicity youve been getting recently!

    I´ve been adding up miles and plan on redeeming on Emirates First Class DXB-LHR, would you recommend as a better experience flying at night or during the day? is there much of a difference? Theres the 3am night time flight and then then daytime.

    ps. its all about getting the most value 😉

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