Review: Emirates First Class A380 Los Angeles To Dubai

Filed Under: Emirates

My dad and I connected from Tampa same day, so we didn’t use Emirates’ chauffeur service, which is complimentary for first and business class passengers. Upon arrival we headed over to Tom Bradley International Terminal, where our Emirates flight was departing from. Emirates check-in is in Hall B, and opens at 11:30AM, so we were there right as it opened.

Emirates check-in signage LAX

Emirates uses the Korean Air Lounge at LAX, which I’ve reviewed in the past. It’s a really mediocre lounge — definitely the least nice of the major three alliance lounges. The food spread is really lacking for an international first class lounge, and they don’t even have champagne.

Fortunately Emirates plans to open their own lounge at LAX, and I’m told it should open later this month. While I’m not generally blown away by Emirates’ outstation lounges, I’m sure it will be a big improvement over the current setup.

Boarding was scheduled for an hour before our 3:35PM departure. My dad could barely contain his excitement, so we headed to the gate at around 2:30PM. For that matter I was pretty excited as well, as it would be my first ultra longhaul flight on Emirates — I’ve flown them in first class from London to Dubai, Singapore to Dubai, and Dubai to London, but this would be my longest flight on them… by a lot.

Emirates A380 LAX

Within a few minutes boarding began, and the process was very civilized, unlike on my recent Asiana A380 flight out of LAX.

Emirates 216
Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)
Thursday, November 13
Depart: 3:35PM
Arrive: 7:35PM (+1 day)
Duration: 16hr
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 2E (First Class)

At the door we were greeted by SFS (Senior Flight Steward) John and Purser Hatam, who handed us over to the first class crew. Since we boarded through the forward upper deck door, we turned left into the first class cabin.

Emirates’ A380 first class consists of a total of 14 seats. There are four single seats along the windows, and then three pairs of seats in the center of the cabin.

Emirates first class cabin A380

That’s actually a pretty compact layout. Lufthansa and Qatar Airways put just eight seats in the same space on the upper deck, while Thai Airways puts 12. So Emirates does have the most compact A380 first class layout.

The cabin is of course totally blinged out. It’s obnoxious. It’s gaudy. It’s freaking awesome.

Emirates first class cabin A380

Emirates first class cabin A380

I had selected seats 2E & 2F, which are the pair of seats in the middle of the cabin.

Emirates first class A380, seats 2E & 2F

The partition was initially up when we boarded, though we of course lowered it since we were traveling together.

Emirates first class A380, seat 2E

The Emirates cabin is just indescribably kitschy yet awesome, between the lit mirror, minibar, and snack basket.

Emirates first class A380, seat 2E

Like, seriously, why on earth would Emirates install a minibar with room temperature drinks when first class passengers can order what they want when they want, presumably served at the right temperature? The answer is simple — because they can.

Emirates first class minibar

The same goes for the hilarious snack basket. It’s placed at your seat upon boarding, removed before takeoff, brought back after takeoff, and removed again before landing.

Emirates first class snack basket

In a drawer at the bottom left of the seat is a writing kit, which I may or may not consistently take with me. 😉

Emirates first class writing kit

Opposite that is the adapter.

Emirates A380 first class power port

Then on the left side of the seat are the basic seat controls, whereby you can put your seat into the upright or fully reclined position, as well as open and close the doors to your suite.

Emirates A380 first class seat controls

Then on the right side is the entertainment and seat controller. You can actually push a button so that the entire iPad-sized screen pops out, making it easier to use.

From it you can control all functions of the seat, as well as view the airshow, select your entertainment, etc.

Emirates A380 first class control screen

Emirates A380 first class seat/entertainment control screen

Emirates A380 first class seat/entertainment control screen

In addition to the purser supervising the cabin, there were three cabin crew working first class — German (who was Argentinian), Tina (who was Canadian), and Cheryl (who was Indian). I could tell immediately they were awesome.

So full disclosure, I’ve decided the excellent service we received on this trip may have something to do with my dad’s adorableness. He had literally found out a couple of hours before boarding that we were flying Emirates, and he was over-the-moon excited. So upon boarding they asked where we were headed and for how long, and my dad quickly spilled the fact that he just learned where we’re going, and has no clue where we’re going next. Meanwhile I let them know it was my dad’s “round” birthday, and they just took amazing care of him.

Since we were deprived of champagne in the Korean Air Lounge, we quickly ordered some. While Emirates serves Dom 2004 after takeoff, they serve Moet & Chandon on the ground (the same champagne they usually serve in business class). Works for me!

Emirates first class Moet & Chandon pre-departure champagne

For my dad and I, it was our first of many “cheers.”

Emirates A380 first class seat

Boarding an Emirates longhaul flight is kind of like Christmas in terms of the gift giving involved. After we had our champagne we were offered a bunch of amenities, including slippers, eye shades, an amenity kit, pajamas, and a tote bag. I love how they give you a tote bag, knowing that you’ll walk off the plane with so much crap that it’s kind of needed. 😉

Emirates first class amenities

Emirates first class amenities

The slippers were extremely comfortable, as were the eye shades.

Emirates first class slippers and eye shades

Emirates’ pajamas are simple but comfortable. It’s worth noting they run on the large size, so if you usually get an “L,” an “M” should be more than enough.

Emirates first class pajamas

Then there’s the gorgeous leather amenity kit, which contains BVLGARI amenities.

Emirates first class BVLGARI amenity kit

Emirates first class BVLGARI amenity kit

There were also a pair of noise canceling headphones. They’re pretty basic, and this is an area where Emirates could really step up their game. Even American has Bose headphones in business class.

Emirates first class seat headphones

Emirates first class seat headphones

We were also given Fast Track cards for immigration in Dubai.

Emirates first class Fast Track immigration cards

Champagne refills were frequent, and about 15 minutes before our scheduled pushback we were offered Arabic coffee & dates. That was followed by hot towels.

Emirates first class Arabic coffee & dates

Emirates’ standard boarding music played throughout the boarding process, which I love.

At around 3:30PM we pushed back for our 15hr20min flight to Dubai. The cabin was completely full, and it’s interesting to note that we were the only non-Middle Eastern passengers in first class (which I mention because I find on Emirates a majority of the passengers are typically Western). Apparently a Saudi Arabian princess was seated across from us (I can’t imagine why she chose Emirates with a connection over Saudia nonstop). 😉

The safety video played during the taxi to runway 24L, which took about 10 minutes.

We made it to the runway at 3:50PM, at which point we were immediately cleared for takeoff.

Emirates A380 airshow taxiing to runway

Emirates A380 airshow taking off

The takeoff roll felt really quick. I’m not sure if it was the quantity of champagne I drank on the ground or what, but the takeoff roll was what I’d expect for a Dubai to Kuwait City flight, and not a Los Angeles to Dubai flight.

Emirates A380 airshow taking off

Emirates A380 airshow taking off

As we climbed out the purser made the typical “welcome aboard” announcement, including the usual “our international cabin crew come from 17 countries and speak 13 languages.”

Emirates A380 airshow climbing out

Emirates airshow

Emirates airshow

Emirates airshow

About 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. My dad was having problems with his entertainment system, which the purser was incredibly focused on fixing. We kept thanking him for trying, and he always responded with “it’s my duty, it’s my work, don’t thank me.”

I also quickly logged onto Emirates’ Wi-Fi network. You’ve gotta love that Emirates now offers 10MB of Wi-Fi for $1, and then you can purchase additional increments of 500MB for just $1. So it’s basically free. It’s not the fastest Wi-Fi in the world, but it does the trick for email, social media, etc.

Emirates OnAir Wi-Fi

As we climbed out one of the two shower attendants came by our seat to give us shower spa brochures and also ask if we wanted to make appointments. Typically you only have to make an appointment if you plan on showering in the last few hours of the flight, since that’s when everyone seems to want to shower. I told her we both wanted to shower, but it didn’t have to be in the last few hours. She told us just to let them know when we were ready.

Emirates A380 first class shower spa pamphlet

Emirates has a massive a la carte menu whereby you can order what you want when you want. And unlike on Etihad, I find that they don’t usually run out of options.

Emirates first class menu

There’s a single menu you can order from for the entire flight, which read as follows:




Then the cocktail/liquor list read as follows:




And the wine list read as follows:





The menu on Emirates is overwhelming to say the least, so I have a very simple strategy for tackling it. I start with some nuts and champagne, and then I love both their caviar and Arabic mezze. I’m usually almost full at that point, so I just have soup if it sounds appealing, and skip the main course. Then I usually have dessert at some point later in the flight. And that’s exactly the strategy I used on this flight, and also what I recommended to my dad.

I started with a glass of Dom and some nuts.

Emirates first class nuts & champagne

Then I asked that they serve us the meal about an hour into the flight, which they did, almost to the minute.

Emirates first class table setting

As usual, there was an extensive breadbasket.

Emirates first class bread basket

The first course consisted of caviar, which Emirates presents beautifully.

Emirates first class caviar service

Emirates first class caviar service

Then I had a selection of hot and cold Arabic mezze. While other airlines do a good mezze as well, Emirates’ is by far the largest.

Emirates first class Arabic mezze

Emirates first class Arabic mezze

Emirates first class Arabic mezze

Emirates first class Arabic mezze

Then I had a flavorful tomato and coriander soup.

Emirates first class tomato and coriander shorba soup

Service throughout the meal was top notch. Tina was doing a great job taking care of my aisle, while German was doing a great job taking care of my dad’s aisle (and my dad thought it was funny that his name was German, and made reference to the fact that he must have been in a tough position during the World Cup as an Argentinian).

At this point both my dad and I were full for the time being, so I decided to give him a tour of the plane.

Emirates airshow

I first showed him the bar at the front of first class, which is right next to the two shower suites. It’s a much smaller bar than in the back and isn’t really designed as a social area, but rather as a display area to showcase the great alcohol selection they have.

Emirates A380 first class bar

Emirates A380 first class bar

Emirates A380 first class bar

Emirates A380 first class bar

The selection is indeed excellent. In particular the Hennessy Paradis, which is the most expensive drink in the sky (sadly Emirates will soon be discontinuing it).

Emirates A380 first class bar

After that we walked through the two business class cabins to the bar.

Emirates A380 business class

Emirates A380 business class

Emirates’ A380 business class bar is pretty snazzy. It’s the first of its kind on a plane, and pretty damn awesome. I do think Qatar Airways slightly outdoes Emirates with their new A380 bar, but that’s the only part of Qatar’s new A380 that’s industry leading, in my opinion.

Emirates A380 business class bar

Emirates A380 business class bar

My dad just loved the bar concept, and we had a few glasses of Hennessy Paradis, which my dad enjoyed, to put it mildly. It’s kind of amusing how Emirates will serve first class passengers the first class drink selection at the business class bar. And the purser was absolutely on top of making sure the bartenders were only serving us the good stuff. 😉

It always gets a bit awkward when you’re being poured Dom at the business class bar, and another business class passenger asks for it.

Emirates A380 business class bar

Anyway, after a drink (or seven) it was time for a nap, so both my dad and I had our beds made. While Emirates has a great mattress pad in first class, the seat itself actually isn’t that spacious. As I said above, Emirates’ A380 first class is in a pretty tight configuration given that there are 14 seats in such a small area. And you certainly feel it when laying down, though it’s still a great product.

Emirates first class bed A380

I napped for about three hours while my dad napped an hour longer. When he woke up I asked him how he was feeling. “Benny, I feel on top ov zha vhorld.” Little did he know, he actually was. 😉

Emirates airshow

At this point I figured I’d have a snack, so I ordered the salmon and broccoli quiche. It was simple but tasty.

Emirates first class snack: smoked salmon and broccoli quiche

Emirates first class snack: smoked salmon and broccoli quiche

I also had a delicious lemon tart and cappuccino for dessert.

Emirates first class dessert: treacle and lemon tart

At this point I went for my shower. Emirates has two shower suites on the A380. As is the norm, one of the shower attendants “briefed” me on the shower, and then I was let free.

Emirates first class shower spa

The most amusing part of the shower suites has to be the sign at the top indicating that the maximum occupancy in the shower is two people. Hmmm…

Emirates first class shower spa maximum occupancy

Anyway, Emirates’ A380 shower suites are just so over-the-top-ridiculous. Like, seriously, look at them. You have the Dubai skyline painted on the wall, the floors of the suite are heated, and you’re given enough toiletries to stock a Bed Bath & Beyond.

Emirates shower spa A380

Emirates shower spa A380

Emirates shower spa A380

Actually, not only are the floors heated, but you can control how heated you want them.

Emirates shower spa A380

When people aren’t using the shower you can use the suites as restrooms, and I really do feel bad for the shower attendants, as half of their job seems to be making sure that the towel display is always in a perfect pyramid shape.

Emirates shower spa A380

Like, seriously, look at the toiletries. They’re from Timeless Spa, and you have your choice between the “Revive” and “Relax” collection. Where’s the “I’m-so-freaking-excited-I’m-trying-not-to-cream-myself” collection?!

Emirates shower spa A380

Emirates shower spa A380

As a first class passenger you get five minutes of water, though you can turn the shower on and off to extend your overall shower time.

Emirates shower spa A380

So I typically wet myself, then turn off the shower while I soap/shampoo up, then rinse myself off, and then just stand under hot water for three minutes giggling. Because I’m on an airplane. At 35,000 feet. Flying at 600 miles per hour. Showering.

Emirates shower spa A380

The shower is actually quite spacious and water pressure very good, and I appreciate that the shower head is a handheld device, as opposed to being wall mounted. There’s a bench in the shower, which you’re advised to sit on in the event of turbulence.

Emirates shower spa A380

It even has an oxygen mask.

Emirates shower spa A380

What’s interesting is that towards the end of the flight they transform the first class bar into a soothing spa-like water display with fake candles, streaming water, and a floral arrangement. Why? Because Emirates.

Emirates first class bar transformation

And as is the norm as well, after the shower they put a fruit plate at your seat with a sweet mango dipping sauce.

Emirates first class fruit plate

At this point we still had about six hours remaining. My dad slept a bit more while I headed back to the bar. I started talking to John, the SFS, who was awesome. I also started talking to a new hire Thai flight attendant from Texas. The crews at Emirates sure are a diverse bunch, and generally really fun to talk to.

Eventually my dad came back to the bar for another round of drinks. SFS John was awesome and asked one of his female colleagues for their hats, so that my dad could pose in one. That was quite possibly the highlight of the flight for me.

Dad at Emirates A380 bar

One of the things I love so much about Emirates is that there’s so much to do, you really never get bored. There’s a bar, shower, Wi-Fi, bed, on demand dining menu, and the most extensive movie & TV selection in the sky. Time flies (no pun intended). While I love Cathay Pacific and think they have one of the best first class products, they don’t have Wi-Fi, a shower, bar, etc. So Emirates really can’t be beat if you’re like me and have serious airplane ADD.

About 90 minutes before landing breakfast service began. It’s a bit odd to be served breakfast in the evening Dubai time, but then again there’s not really a “right” meal to serve at that time, given that it’s morning at the point of origin.

I ordered a fruit plate and some fruit yogurt to start, which was served with a bread basket.

Emirates first class breakfast fruit plate

Emirates first class breakfast yogurt

Emirates first class breakfast bread basket

My dad had a deli plate for breakfast.

Emirates first class breakfast cold cuts

Meanwhile I had the french toast, which was surprisingly good for airplane french toast.

Emirates first class breakfast french toast

As you’ll notice, this cappuccino was served using the signature Emirates stencil — such a cool touch!

Emirates first class cappuccino

All too soon our 15hr+ flight was winding down. About 30 minutes before landing the captain came on the PA to give us updated arrival information.

Shortly before landing the purser came by my dad’s seat to apologize again for the IFE issues, and offered him a bottle of Dom Perignon to take along — very nice gesture!

At that point I changed out of my pajamas and stowed all the stuff I had taken out during the flight.

Our descent was incredibly smooth — actually, the entire flight was possibly the smoothest I’ve ever had, as we didn’t hit a single bump the entire flight — and we touched down in Dubai at 7:05PM local time.

Emirates tail camera approach into Dubai

Emirates tail camera approach into Dubai

Emirates tail camera approach into Dubai

We had a quick five minute take to the gate, where we arrived at 7:10PM.

Immigration queues were virtually non-existent, and on the other side of immigration we followed the signage towards Emirates’ chauffeur drive, where we were driven to the Park Hyatt Dubai.

Emirates chauffeur drive Dubai

Emirates chauffeur drive Dubai

Emirates A380 first class bottom line

This flight was just perfect, and to say that my dad was blown away would be an understatement. After the flight we called my mom and he said to her: “If you have never flown Emirates first class you have never flown first class.”

For what it’s worth, I don’t think there’s a single best first class product in the world. Every airline has strengths and weaknesses, it’s just that some airlines have more strengths (Middle East/Asian carriers) while others have more weaknesses.

I just love how easy it is to stay entertained on Emirates. Between the almost-free Wi-Fi, bar, showers, and endless entertainment (they literally have entire seasons of many TV shows), you just can’t be bored on an Emirates flight. This was my first ultra longhaul flight on Emirates, and I loved them even more than on shorter flights. Staying amused on any airline for six hours is easy enough, but on Emirates it’s easy to stay amused even for 16 hours.

The crew on this sector was spectacular as well, better than I’ve had on many past Emirates flights. The purser was proactive, the first class crew was attentive, and the business class crew at the bar were a hoot to talk to, and really made my dad smile.

Emirates first class is hands down one of the top first class products in the world.

If you’ve flown Emirates first class, what was your experience?

  1. My favorite comment and why I wanna try this first class experience one day…

    “So I typically wet myself, then turn off the shower while I soap/shampoo up, then rinse myself off, and then just stand under hot water for three minutes giggling. Because I’m on an airplane. At 35,000 feet. Flying at 600 miles per hour. Showering.”

    Thanks for such a comprehensive review…THIS is why I read this blog and enjoy it so much. There is a story behind the pics and descriptions that make these even more memorable and engaging for the reader. Well done Ben!

  2. @ Lucky- This has nothing to do with this post but I am flying from ORD to MAA via Frankfurt. The first segment is on United and the second is on Luthansa. I would like to upgrade to business on one or both of these segments so what are my options?

  3. With all the good things mentioned, I think it’s strange that Emirates charge you 2 usd for wifi. Why don’t they raise the ticketprice by 2 usd and do not bother first class passengers for the 2 usd? What do you think?

  4. @ Leon — They’re actually working towards free wifi as a stated goal. The reason it’s not free is because they don’t have the bandwidth to support everyone using wifi (yet). By adding a small price they’re creating a small barrier to people using it.

  5. @ Navin — The Etihad hard product is definitely better. I do however prefer Emirates’ onboard bar. Keep in mind though that Emirates has more than 10x as many A380s on order as Etihad, so it’s much easier to get on an Emirates A380 than an Etihad A380, which they’ll only ever fly to London, New York, and Sydney.

  6. Thanks a lot for the review, Ben. I just can’t help but feel that the EK F experience is lacking a lot. The density of the seating of outright unacceptable and makes the seats look very tight. The lack of Bose headphones is also not a very nice thing. But hey, showering in the sky must’ve been an amazing experience.

  7. Lucky, jumping on the off topic comment thread here, do you know if there’s any specific information on when EY will fly the A380 to New York, other than “by the end of 2015?”


  8. @ NB — Nope, nothing further has been published, and an inside source has told me it may be delayed, so wouldn’t count on it necessarily being this year.

  9. The menu on Emirates is overwhelming to say the least, so I have a very simple strategy f9r tackling it.
    I assume that is supposed to be ‘for’…

  10. I flew the Emirats a380 first class from JFK-DXB in June of 2013 and then flew from DXB-JNB(Johanisberg) on their 777-300er. I though both flights were the best I have been on. I have noticed on the a380 that the window seats have more storage but I though the 777-300 to JNB flight was better as the cabin was smaller and less empty even though it was only an 8 hr day flight with no WIFI. Everything about it was great except the flight to JNB being at a remote stand in DXB and first passengers still need to take the crowded bus. Did Emirates change their pjs and slippers as they seem different now in your pictures as well as when I flew them and in your previous reviews? Also is the entertainment controller new? After I flew from JNB-HKG on Cathey Pacific new 777w buissness class on a 13 hour flight and that could not even compare with any aspect of Emirates.

  11. @ Grammar Police — Thanks for the heads up. Seems to be a WordPress issue whereby it shows correctly on the back end but displays incorrectly when published. Fixed now.

  12. @ Ted — Happy to hear you enjoyed your flight! Yes, they did change up the pajamas slightly compared to what they were in the past. This was one of Emirates’ newest A380s, and there were some minor differences about the suite, including the controller.

  13. I bought on Orbitz . I believe that it was bought on Luthansa. The United flight from Ord to FRA is a codeshare.

  14. @ Navin — As far as I know you can’t upgrade a Lufthansa codeshare on United metal, though someone correct me if I’m wrong. As far as the Lufthansa segment goes, all depends on what fare class you’re booked in. You can potentially use Lufthansa miles to upgrade it.

  15. Just relived Christmas again reading this trip report. I had been waiting for this like a kid does while waiting for Christmas morning. I was not disappointed with my present 😉

  16. Was your dad in 2F? I took my mom on this exact flight for a much scaled down but still awesome version of this trip for your dad and she had IFE troubles. We both did and there’s even a thread on FT about the new ULH A380s having these problems. 2F was worse than 2E but it didn’t mar the flight. You’re totally right about there being too much to do. I wasn’t ready to get off! Luckily I get to take DXB-SFO next month in F.

  17. Your dad got a free bottle of Dom? I wouldn’t be surprised if Emirates finds more broken IFEs in the future, courtesy of blog readers who want Dom 😀

  18. @Ben – Any codeshare flight on Star Alliance can not be upgradable with any kind of currency. Not the metal carrier’s currency and not the ticket issuer’s currency.

  19. This trip report could have used more daddy Schlappig. He’s my favorite.

    How many Alaska Miles was this?

  20. @ Navin — What fare class are you booked in? Could only upgrade the Lufthansa segment if you were on a full fare ticket. Otherwise not possible.

  21. @ James — Yes, we did. Alcohol isn’t prohibited in the UAE. It’s not served in many places, but isn’t prohibited.

  22. Brings back memories of my own EK F flight 2 years ago. The shower experience is almost worth the money and Skyward miles alone!
    I admit to be an EK apologist, and have flown with EK the best part of a decade, seeing their amazing expansion almost first hand. Their hard product on the A380 is right up there, especially the bar area and to have it on all their A380s means a consistent experience equipment wise, I hope they will keep the bar even on the 2 class configuration aircraft in the near future.
    I have no issues with the so called bling interiors, the wood and gold is perfectly suited to the brand and the culture. Sure beats shades of grey and black on other carriers.

  23. Great TR, reminds me of many fun times in EK F!

    Don’t forget, as far as the entertainment on board is concerned, there is also a few polaroid cameras hidden around the A380 (and maybe all EK planes?) which you can request from the crew. I have many great pictures from hanging out at the bar with my friends drinking dom in pyjamas! 😀

  24. Experienced the DXB-LAX long haul in April on the Emirates A380 and your review is spot on. As someone who typically gets ridiculously bored on long hauls, I found that my ADD had met its match with Emirates First. Once I got over the Las Vegas-like vanity and made my way through the multiple bags, boxes, and potions, I knew this was going to be an easy flight. The Wifi was more expensive than it is now and rather slow when it was working but other than that a perfect flight. Am flying again in Emirates Business in February from TYO-DXB then Emirates First DXB-JFK (anxious to eperience the difference on each leg). The only complaint I had was families tended to congregate with their children at the bottom of the stairs just off the first class bar so you often heard crying kid noises during the flight. However, the JW Blue more than made up for it!

  25. “So Emirates does have the most compact A380 first class layout.”

    Isn’t it tied with BA’s A380 first class layout? Though I guess being on the lower deck does give BA some more room…

  26. @ wwk5d — The cabin on the lower deck is wider, so there’s a bit more square footage, I believe.

  27. Nice Ben, long time reader first time commenter.

    How did you feel it compared to the A380 Business Class Experience outside of the Shower Spa? I flew the A380 Business Class SYD-DUBAI in Oct last year and had a tour of first class and aside from the privacy screens it didn’t appear to be a whole lot different (I didn’t sit/sleep in the seats though). The wine and booze selection is obviously better but they serve the Paradis in Business Class as well and the food menu looks almost exactly the same. I flew onwards to Brussels in the 777 First looked infinitely better than my Business Class seat so I can see the value there but how do you feel about the price jump and comparative experience jump on the A380? Would love to hear your thoughts.

  28. Lucky, so what’s the reaction, and looks you get, when business class are denied dom right beside you? Don’t you feel annoyed with the situation?

  29. Hi,

    Amazing review.

    Do you know where I can check reward availability if I want to upgrade from economy to business or business to first? I heard that if there are only skywards saver seats, then it is possible to upgrade from economy to business or business to first. Is that correct?


  30. @ James Want — Ultimately I do think first is significantly better than business on the Emirates A380. The service is much more personalized, food better (in terms of options, quality, and presentation), there’s the shower, better bedding, etc. I do think it’s a significant difference.

  31. @ Cath — Availability for upgrades is the same as saver inventory. You can search it on the websites of Alaska or Emirates, or otherwise use ExpertFlyer.

  32. Great review. I was on the same flight and plane in October sitting in 2K. It brought back great memories.

  33. I went back and looked at that disorganized Asiana boarding process and that was fairly similar to the chaotic boarding process Lufthansa used for the A380 at JFK. Granted JFK Terminal 1 was never designed for an A380, so they probably were doing the best with the space they had.

  34. Lucky, regarding changing the F bar into the soothing spa / waterfall / tea bar, they actually do that for every passenger getting out of the shower, and then immediately restock it to the F bar, only to again make it the spa “exit” after the next shower, and back to the bar yet again!
    Amazing that they do this!

  35. Ben – love the stories and details. I’ve not had the pleasure of flying first in Emirates and the stories and pictures are awesome. Secondly – you are a great son. Hooking your Dad up like that. What a cool thing. Keep up the great work. Best – Jeff.

  36. Ben,

    What an amazing trip report – you are very thorough and the pictures are fabulous! I absolutely did NOT think I could get any more excited about my first class Emirates ticket to Dubai/Paris in June, but your trip report did the trick! (:

    We are booked for one night at Burj Al Arab and one night at Burj Khalifa Armani (a big splurge, but our tickets were free) and I wondered if you’d like a luxury hotel report from an English teacher/traveller/blogger?! I’m legit, Daraius from millionmilesecrets interviewed me on December 5 last year and you can also check out my blog –

    Let me know and THANKS for the great blog!

  37. Great trip report! Really enjoyed it Ben!

    How do you compare it to SQ Suites/First in terms of services, staff attentiveness, attention to details etc?

    I have plan to go to UK and cannot choose between the two airlines! Need your advise 🙂

  38. @ Andrew — I’d argue that a good Singapore crew is as good as it gets. But it is tough to compete with the onboard shower and bar.

  39. @ Andrew — I’ve flown both of those products in the last 4 months and I highly recommend Singapore over Emirates.

    First the crew on Singapore will be much better. Emirates takes pride that their crew speaks many languages but they put them in bad housing (my sister works in Dubai, I’ve seen the housing first hand) and the crew doesn’t have any loyalty to the airline. On the other hand, Singapore crews are amazing and love and take pride in the airline they represent.

    Second the hard product is not even close. Suites are amazing, the bed is awesome and the seat is large and comfortable. The Emirates seat is cramped and in my opinion not even flat. There is no foot piece so the bottom of the bed drags down with weight. The food on Singapore is awesome , some of the best lobster I have had, and you can request what you want ahead of time. Emirates food was blah. Plus Singapore has Krug which everyone can admit is way better.

    The shower is the only area where Emirates is better but in my opinion it doesn’t make up for all the flaws.

  40. Regardless of how Emirates ranks in top experiences, this review is a top review. I was chortling with glee the whole time. Thanks so much for this.

  41. Are the headphones part of the takeaway swag? I can’t really imagine being given secondhand headphones on such a superior 1st Class flight !

  42. Ben – this was one of the best trip reports I’ve ever read. Very well done. Onemile is my new favorite blog. I’m actually planning a surprise birthday trip for my wife in October to the Maldives on EK in F. We’re going through Orlando…they start service to Dubai September 1st. Sadly though, on the 777-200LR and not the A380. When you said you did the trip on 100k Alaska miles pp, I about fell out of my seat…I’m sitting on over 600k of DL miles and could never get a good F class seat on a real airline, even with that many miles. I’m doing the Amex Platinum 2-for-1 on EK. Do you know if they’ll make that a 380 route by Oct 8???

  43. @ MontanaMatty — Thanks for reading and for the kind words! Unfortunately it’s probably unlikely Orlando will get the A380 any time in the near future, especially since it’s a brand new route. The 777 has the same seats, so it should still be an excellent experience. Enjoy the flight!

  44. Hi Ben,

    I am impressed with you blog on A380 flight 1st class to Dubai on Emirates.
    I am currently a Delta Skymiles member and I have accumulated over 500K miles on it over 15 years. Do you think there is anyway I can do this 1st class Emirates flight from LAX to Dubai and return next years? I am totally new at this.
    and How to I transfer my Skymiles over to redeem that Dreamed 1st class flight?

    Thank you for your beautiful blog on all the glory details about each airline’s First class products, I am drooling as I read through your blog.


  45. Heyyy!!
    I really loved your post!!
    I will one day fly on this!!
    Luxury every way!!
    hahahaha made me laugh a lot ” Where’s the “I’m-so-freaking-excited-I’m-trying-not-to-cream-myself” collection?!”
    Best Wishes, Esther.

  46. Truly amazing post. I started the Emirates music as soon as I saw your link to it and poured another scotch. Thanks!

  47. Great write-up. The Emirates first class suite is awesome ( I have flown in the 777 with identical seats but minus the shower/bar area), but I’ve struggled to find a place to keep my bulky carry-on.

    Kept it right in the front but gets in the way when it’s flat-bed time.

  48. Hi Lucky,

    German is pronounced her-m’an in Argentina, and we call the germans actually “alemanes” and germany is “alemania” (similar to French people’s way) — that’s why he didn’t have trouble during the world cup hahaha


  49. Leaving Feb 29th, Emirates A380, First Class, SFO to BKK with stop in Dubai. Cannot wait. Used FF miles so the trip cost $82 for the two of us. Loved your blog.

  50. Wife and I are flying Emirates First Class DFW – DXB April 19 using Alaska miles. Will we be able to use the First Class Lounge in Dubai? Also, can we use the free car transfers in Dubai and at our final destination Beijing? Will the swag be the same on the second leg DXB – PEK?
    Always enjoy your posts. Thanks

  51. Taking this flight next February with my wife.
    I was probably one of the last few lucky ones to use Alaska Airlines to book flight from LAX to Maldives with a stopover in Dubai before the devaluation.
    My wife prefers to be next to each other in the middle seats.
    Is there anything we’ll miss not having window seats?
    We still have plenty of time to change. I’d love some feedback.
    We’ve got Singapore suites on the return to LAX, and we’ve already got the side by side double bed reserved.

  52. Flying F from Sydney to Bangkok on 777 -300 er , does anyone know if Emirates use the Suites on this leg .

  53. Hey Lucky great post! Really interesting! Quick, general question though; is there any possible way to use American Airlines miles to upgrade a Lufthansa flight inbound to Boston from Munich? Also, what would you say is the best way to rack up enough miles to redeem them for awards between Europe and the US?

  54. This report hurt me slightly XD
    I’m flying from CPT to SYD via DXB in a couple of months but I’m doing it in economy. ULH is slightly less fun without access to a bar!

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.