Posted by: englishdubai | October 6, 2010

Flying First Class


In my last four and bit years in Dubai I have flown more than four hundred thousand miles on Emirates. Quite a staggering amount and probably accounts for some sort of gigantic carbon footprint, that I should be ashamed of.

It is always a pleasure when you get bumped to business class if the flight is full but I had never had the pleasure of travelling at the very front of the plane. However recently on my trip to Melbourne I took advantage of a “Cash+Miles” deal to fly First Class for the 13 hour trip from Dubai to Melbourne direct.

So if you ever wondered what it is like to fly First Class on Emirates here are a few of my thoughts:

First Class Lounge in Dubai Terminal 3

If you have ever walked into the regular business lounge in Dubai Terminal 3 in the morning it is a veritable zoo with hundreds of people milling around. Turning right from the escalator brings you the tranquil calm of the first class lounge. On my visit there it was almost serene. It was a nice touch that there is real linen, silver cutlery and a full bread basket provided when I had breakfast. But it was a shame that the cooked brekkie was identical to the other lounge – scrambled eggs, hash browns, beans and chicken sausage. I had hoped for something better.

Still it was relaxing and quiet, and if I wished I could have gone for a massage but I was a little pressed for time.

Boarding the Flight

As I walked down the gangway to the plane a large pull up stand directed me to special entrance for first class passengers, that was novel. Total isolation.

I was quickly ushered to my “suite” number 1A:

Emirates first class suites are available on the A380 and the newer 777’s – so be sure to check if you get one on your booking as it does really make a difference. The ability to shut your doors and hide from the rest of the world while cocooned in luxury, is a fantastic experience.

As soon as I settled down into my seat I was quickly attended to a host of needs:

1. Would I like a drink?

2. Would I like a hot towel?

3. Would I like a date (food variety)?

4. Would I like an Arabic coffee?

5. Would I like a newspaper?

6. Would I like a magazine?

7. Would I like the menu?

8. Would I like the wine list?

9. Would I like socks and eyeshades?

10. Would I like slippers?

and then what makes First Class really special:

11. Would sir like pajamas in L or XL size? – oh so polite. The XL of course.

While all of this was going on I was busy indulging in the Dom Perignon 2000. My own words don’t do it justice bu the Emirates wine list has a good go at it:

I thought I did quite well nearly polishing off a whole bottle on the flight. This is nothing to what this one chap managed.

The Cabin

The first thing you notice when in the First Class cabin is the distinct lack of over head hat racks to store your bags. They end up going on the floor to one side of your feet. Brilliant for easy access.

When when sitting down (aside from the large flat screen TV) it was hard to miss the snack tray and vanity set. Perfect if I get the munchies and need a quick touch up:

While you get the usual large remote operating the lights, massage seats, privacy door and the inflight entertainment. There were a couple of special buttons. The first was the electric blinds:

And the other was the mini bar

As someone mentioned on twitter it would be a great once your drinks had popped up if a little voice said “Your drink is ready sire” The funny thing is that with four cabin crew for 12 passengers a press on the call button is even faster.

The Food

Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of the food. But the great thing is that you can eat whatever they have on the menu anytime you want it. I somehow ended up ordering the soup, the lobster, the caviar and the porterhouse steak just because I could. It was all delicious and went well with the vintage champagne.

The Sleep

For me the biggest boon of First Class is the ability to really get some good sleep. I made sure to go and brush my teeth and put on my supplied pajamas so that I had “ready for bed feeling” while I was doing this a cabin crew member transformed me seat into a little haven. A full on bed complete with mattress, duvet and a couple of fluffy pillows. I had no chance and slept for an even eight hours

Overall

I really did have a wonderful experience flying First on Emirates. It is hideously expensive and yes it is better than business class. However I didn’t feel that the difference really justified the cost as Emirates business class is a decent product that I use regularly. But if you have the means and it is a special reason, then go ahead. You won’t be disappointed.


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