The story behind how I ended up in Emirates Airbus 380 first class…

First of all, greetings from 37,000 feet as we make our way across western Europe in Emirates Airbus 380 first class!

Based on my post earlier this morning I know a lot of you are wondering how the heck I got into Emirates Airbus 380 first class. As you guys know I was supposed to be flying British Airways first class from Seattle to Dubai via London using Avios and a companion certificate.

The flight from Seattle to London was perfectly nice. We experienced a delay of over two hours due to a late arriving aircraft, though we had a nine hour layover in London, so that even worked out for the better. We were scheduled to land in London at 11:20AM and depart for Dubai at 8:35PM.

Everything was normal when we checked in last night at Seattle Airport, or so I thought. The agent checked our bag all the way through to Dubai, though informed us that she couldn’t print our connecting boarding pass. I didn’t think twice about it, figuring it was just because we had such a long connection. I did find it funny that they were giving each passenger a $19 meal voucher for the delay, which you’d never see with US airlines for a two-hour delay.

Anyway, we landed at Heathrow terminal 5 and it was utter chaos. We got in the Fast Track lane to reclear security, though the queue was extremely long.

After waiting for about 20 minutes a British Airways agent asked for our connecting boarding passes, though I explained we hadn’t been issued them and instead showed him the e-ticket receipt.

He typed in his computer, and said “no, you’re not booked on our flight to Dubai.” I asked him to look up the itinerary by the ticket number, and after typing it in he responded with “you’re on the EK30 to Dubai at 4:30PM.”

I’ve flown two million miles and booked over a hundred million miles worth of award tickets for people, though this was a first to me. There are some times in life you ask questions, and some times you just shut up and accept things. This was definitely the latter case, with one exception. I responded with “could you tell me which fare class we’re booked in?” He responded with “it says ‘P,’ sir.” Not only is that first class, but it’s a revenue first class fare, so I could even credit miles to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan for the flight.

That’s all I needed to know, and I responded with “it’s off to terminal 3 then.” We took the bus to terminal 3, and headed straight for the Emirates lounge, where the agent quickly issued us first class boarding passes. The agent asked if we had any checked bags, and I gave her the bag tag, explaining that the bag probably needed to be transferred over from the other British Airways flight to the new one, since we were apparently just rebooked. She looked at the stub and said “what do you mean sir, your luggage stub already says the bag is checked on EK30?”

So apparently we had been booked on EK30 since before we even left Seattle, since that’s the flight our bag was checked on. That would also explain why the agent in Seattle couldn’t issue our connecting boarding passes.

Why did this happen? I have no damn clue. Even with the delay we had a six hour connection. The only thing I can think of is that when the delay posted British Airways automatically rebooked everyone on the next available flight, without considering whether someone had a more than adequate connection.

Anyway, pardon me for a few minutes, as it’s dinner time. I’ll be back later in the flight after dinner and a shower to share my thoughts.

My first impression of Emirates? This is unlike anything I’ve ever flown before. Ever.

So did British Airways give me the greatest early Christmas present or what?

Filed Under: Awards, British Airways
  1. That’s the best xmas gift ever ! 🙂 LOL
    Safe travels man! Enjoy your time in the air.

  2. Nice hit, man.

    “I’ll be back later in the flight after dinner and a shower to share my thoughts.” – probably one of the more memorable lines to date on your blog.

  3. The fog conditions in LHR were causing all sorts of trouble so maybe the BA flight this evening will be cancelled or delayed so they decided to give you a better connection to make sure you arrive.

    And for some reason the agent in Seattle did not mention it, but you are lucky with this, revenue booking class and nice Emirates service, what else do you want?

    However it surprises me that you did not notice the bag tag with EK on it. I always check the tag to ensure it’s right.

    Enjoy Dubai.

  4. I don’t know what to say that is pretty amazing. Part of me just wants to believe they did this because of who you are … but what benefit does BA gain from putting you on EK? Congrats either way!

  5. Well done. Having flown BA First many times and only EK a380 First once, I can tell you the EK one is what stays in my mind.

    The suite, the shower spa, hell they even give you a menu of teas!!!!

    Enjoy! Although I know that’s a given 🙂

  6. @ Sven — Funny enough I always do the same, and in this case I just saw “DXB” on the tag, which I figured was enough. Didn’t pay attention to actual flight number.

  7. I would like to point out, aside from how amazing this is, that there is a lamp and lit makeup mirror on the desk in his suite. A LAMP, lit MAKEUP MIRROR, on a DESK, on a commercial airline. Let alone a SHOWER. I’m expecting Todd English or Eric Ripert to appear at this suite pushing a silver cart with covered dishes from the galley kitchen that were hand prepared. AMAZING.

  8. @ Nathan — This is one case where it’s tough to claim preferential treatment for a blogger, in my opinion. Booking me on an airline other than them doesn’t seem very bright if they were trying to impress.

  9. Awesome! Betcha that changes your valuation of your companion certificate for this trip, eh? Fuel surcharges probably don’t even sting as badly.

  10. @snic

    I think it’s 15 min, no?
    In any case, it’s all about the novelty of the product, I think Lucky got extremely lucky, i bet it’s a great experience.

  11. If its just him and his friend in the cabin, I dont think they will enforce the 5 min limit :). Any way enjoy the trip and don’t wait too long for this trip report. I am assuming Lucky is going increase the valuation of AS miles exponentially after this. Do you also get a luxury car service once you get off the flight?

  12. You kind of suck today. 🙂 Here I am working (granted, I am commenting on your blog…) while under a deadline and you are living it up! Nice upgrade, though and love the live post!

  13. Sounds like maybe BA realized the potential for a misconnect preemptively and gave you an early Christmas present by booking you on EK. Anyhow, have fun in DXB!

  14. @ Harrison — More on that shortly!

    @ snic — Stay tuned for the shower report shortly!

    @ Trevor — I forgot about them already! 😀

    @ ikonos — We’ll have to see what the award chart looks like first!

    @ rob — Hah, except the flight they rebooked me on left before the one I was scheduled to take!

  15. Man, I flew BA in August from Los Angeles to London and I was in the old dirty first class! You are one lucky Lucky!

  16. I’ve flown this before r/t JFK-DXB. It is very nice, although the shower thing is a novelty that isn’t all that exciting the second time. Too bad you don’t drink, or you could have a couple bottles of Dom for me!

  17. I think the part that makes you even more lucky is that EK30 was upgauged to the A380 on December 10th, 2 months ahead of schedule. If you flew EK30 last week, it would’ve been a 77W without the showers onboard. I guess 12.12.12 really paid off for you then!

  18. So excited for you. Every time I book a ticket I pray that something goes wrong and they will put me on an airline like Emirates or Singapore. More like dream, because I know it’ll never happen! Excited for the full report!

  19. @ VT — WOW, I had no clue. That’s amazing.

    @ Heather — There’s a timer that shows exactly how much time you have left. While you only have five minutes of water, you can turn the water on and off at will, so it was more than enough water.

  20. Several birds with 1 stone, it seems- took care of your companion certificate, gave you a memorable experience unlike any other you have had before, new products to review for the blog, and free miles. Looking very fwd to the trip report.

    It’s like BA silently said, “We know you hated having to pay our fuel surcharges, so we’ll try our best to make it up to you.”

    And SQ will seem… a bit ordinary now.

  21. Youre so damn “Lucky.” Wish I could get a Christmas present like that. I suppose you’re spoiled now and get go back to regular first class.

    Welcome to the dark side of Emirates!

  22. @ phraktur — It’s a long story and I rarely do, but yes, in anticipation of the number of airline pajamas I’d be getting on this trip, which I couldn’t reasonably stuff in a carry on.

  23. Lucky
    You did not even add this option in your analysis of the economics of the BA companion certificate value.
    Shame on your econ training!

  24. We got rebooked from LH F (using US miles) in the winter of 2009 due to a snowstorm weather delay and went through Dubai to Asia on EK. A memorable trip, but no A380 suites. Awesome report.

  25. see, aren’t you glad i told you to use your companion pass! I flew EK in F round trip from LAX and absolutely loved it, so over the top that i still can’t believe how incredible it was.

  26. Forget having a copy of the contract of carriage. From now on, if an airline rebooks me I’ll wave your blog post at them and DEMAND Emirates first class – and miles!

  27. wow….. quite an incredible story. The best freebees i experienced on BA over the years were…. an upgrade at check in for an avios biz class ticket to First class from SYD to BKK. GOOD FOR YOU. ENJOY THIS ONE, BETTER WRITE A DAMN GOOD REPORT 🙂

  28. BA knew they were in the company of a travel God so not to anger him and instead make a sacrificial offering of getting him to dubai without further delay and in first class on EK! 😉

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