How Awesome is Emirates First Class?

Emirates First Class Review: A view inside Emirates First Class private suite
Emirates First Class cabin has a reputation for being unbelievably luxurious. I never expected to experience Emirates First Class service for myself. Last year I had an unexpected opportunity to fly Emirates business class thanks to a snowstorm that caused my original flights to be canceled (silver linings!) Based on that great experience, I booked Emirates business class again for a work trip into Sydney and returning from Auckland. Read on to learn how I ended up flying in Emirates First Class between Auckland and Dubai on an Emirates A380 service and from Dubai to Dublin on an Emirates 777 service and a peek into what it's like to be pampered at 40,000 feet. How nice is Emirates First Class in reality? Very.

How Did I End Up Flying in the Emirates First Class Cabin?

When I hit the book button on my flights between Dublin and Sydney/Auckland, I was offered the opportunity to upgrade from Business Class to First Class. I had imagined that flying Emirates First Class would be prohibitively expensive but they were asking for just 500 EUR each way to upgrade. I decided to indulge in the First Class upgrade for the marathon flights on the way home. Auckland to Dubai is more than 17 hours and Dubai to Dublin is another 8 hours or so. It turns out that I definitely go my money's worth on that upgrade.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Emirates is the most-efficient choice for traveling between Dublin and Australia or New Zealand because you can get to your destination with just a single stopover in Dubai. Looking for an excuse to plan a trip to Australia? Why not extend the luxury of your Emirates First Class experience with 3 days in Margaret River in Western Australia. Is New Zealand on your bucket list? This two week in New Zealand road trip will make you want to jump aboard an Emirates flight right away. 

Emirates First Class and Business Class Similarities 

Of course, Emirates First Class and Business Class have some similarities. You can expect free chauffeur service to and from the airport and a bespoke cocktail with a premium selection of warm nuts after take-off. First Class and Business Class share the in-flight bar on the Emirates A380. Both Business Class and First Class passengers can expect Fast Track service in Dubai.

Emirates A380 First Class from Auckland to Dubai

Now let's talk about what makes Emirates First Class special or, dare I say, over-the-top awesome. 

Emirates First Class Private Suite

Emirates First Class features a private suite with a sliding door that you can close for the ultimate in privacy. A small pop-up mirror complete with diva lighting conceals small containers of Byredo cosmetics. Press on the tray to your left and a mini-bar filled with soft drinks and Perrier rises so you have refreshments at your fingertips. Press on the small compartment in front of you to reveal a leather-bound notebook and pen.

Emirates First Class Review: Closing the sliding door for complete privacy in the Emirates First Class Private Suite

Emirates First Class Amenities

An extra-large Bulgari amenity kit awaits. In addition to the standard things you get in Emirates Business Class (e.g., eye mask for sleeping, toothbrush, lotion scented with a Bulgari fragrance), you'll find a small glass bottle of Bulgari perfume. Other Emirates First Class amenities include Bowers and Wilkins noise canceling headphones and free in-flight wi-fi. When you board and settle into your Emirates First Class suite, you'll soon discover a metal bowl full of packaged premium snacks (both savory and sweet). I thought the small bar of Butler's Chocolate from Ireland was a nice touch. The snack basket also contained a cylinder of Uppy rehydrating tablets. Simply pop one of the fizzy tablets into water every four hours to allegedly minimize the effects of jet lag when you land.
Emirates First Class Review: Amenities aboard the Emirates A380 First Class Service: Bulgari amenities kit, Byredo cosmetics, plush slippers, and hydrating sea kelp pajamas

Emirates First Class Serves Dom Perignon Champagne

One of the best parts about flying in Business Class or First Class on any airline is the champagne. Before take-off, the flight attendants come around and offer drinks. I usually celebrate the good fortune of having a comfortable seat with a glass of bubbles. In Emirates Business Class, they serve Veuve Clicquot champagne. When I asked the flight attendant for a glass of champagne in Emirates First Class, she replied, "Ok, a glass of Dom Perignon, coming up!" Let me say that again: Emirates First Class Champagne is Dom Perignon! The most recent vintage of Dom Perignon sells for over 200 EUR per bottle. You can see how I was quickly getting my money's worth in Emirates First Class.
Glass of Dom Perignon aboard Emirates First Class A380 service

Emirates A380 First Class Food Service

Of course, the Emirates First Class food service is also amazing. The service begins even before take-off with an Arabic coffee and an almond-stuffed date. A three-course gourmet meal follows once you are in the air. If you aren't feeling super-hungry, you can mix and match appetizers to make yourself a small meal and forgo the main course.

Hydrating Sea Kelp Pajamas

After indulging in fantastic champagne and an Emirates First Class dinner, I was starting to get sleepy. The flight attendants made up my suite with a comfy mattress. Premium pajamas made with hydrating sea kelp and plush slippers rounded out the experience. As you can imagine, I slept really well.
Emirates First Class private suite made up for sleeping

An Emirates A380 First Class Shower at 40,000 Feet

In First Class on the Emirates A380, you also get another unique experience: the ability to shower at 40,000 feet. Let me start with the bathrooms themselves. Every time anyone used the First Class toilet, the first attendants would clean and refresh the amenities so that it appeared new and fresh each time. After the dinner service, the flight attendants came around to book my shower appointment. I chose to shower about three hours before we landed in Dubai. The expectation is that you have private use of the bathroom/shower cabin for about 30 minutes max. The shower is metered so that you can use a maximum of five minutes worth of water. You can easily turn the flow on and off though while you soap up. In the end, I used about half of my allotment. Plush towels, premium cosmetics, and a hair dryer round out the experience. There are two Emirates First Class showers on the A380.
Emirates A380 First Class shower
Before trying the Emirates First Class shower, I thought: "What happens if there is turbulence?". The flight attendant explained that there are no seat belts in the bathroom but if the seat belt sign goes on, you should sit on the bench (naked) next to the sink and hold on to a conveniently placed safety bar. I'm glad my flight was smooth so I didn't need to try out the turbulence safety procedure! 

After my shower, I was treated to a small cup of tea and found a skewer of fruit and mango puree for dipping back in my Emirates First Class suite.

The Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai

The Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai is even more exclusive than the Emirates Business Class lounge. Unfortunately, I had a very short layover, so only got a quick overview of what was offered. Highlights of Emirates First Class Lounge include a free 15 minute massage service (sadly I couldn't take advantage of this because of the short layover) and table service meals (I was able to order a quick breakfast; a Chinese-style congee).
Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai

Emirates 777 First Class Service from Dubai to Dublin

The Emirates 777 First Class experience from Dubai to Dublin was equally luxurious minus the shower, in-flight bar, and pajamas. 

Indulge in Selections from Emirates Wine Cellar

I asked for a glass of wine on my flight from Dubai to Dublin. The flight attendant told me that "The wines in Emirates Business Class are just ok, but Emirates First Class wines are fantastic" and often retail for several hundred dollars a bottle. Apparently, Emirates has an extensive wine cellar that they draw on for for the first class menu. I was soon sniffing the bouquet of a 2004 Bordeaux Grand Cru from Chateau Haut-Brion. I looked it up later and this particular bottle is selling for 250 EUR online. If you enjoy fine wine, the cost of upgrading from Emirates Business Class to First Class nearly pays for itself.
Chateau Haut-Brion in Emirates First Class from the Emirates Wine Cellar

Champagne and Caviar on Board Emirates First Class

The other thing that caught my eye on the menu from Dubai to Dublin was this: caviar. I've never had caviar before but this seemed like the perfect time to experience it. What better defines a First Class experience than champagne and caviar? So, I ordered a glass of Dom Perignon and caviar to toast the end to my amazing Emirates First Class experience. How was the caviar? Eaten alone, it's definitely very fishy and briny. However, when you mix it with the accompaniments (including raw onions and sour cream), caviar is actually quite palatable. I could get used to this... It was definitely difficult to go back to coach for our vacation in Japan and Taiwan a few weeks later!
Emirates First Class Review: Dom Perignon Champagne and caviar aboard the Emirates 777 First Class service from Dubai to Dublin

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: How Awesome is Emirates First Class?
How Awesome is Emirates First Class?
How do Emirates First Class and Business Class compare?. Learn about what it's like to fly in the Emirates First Class cabin on 777 and A380 planes. Read about Emirates First Class menu and wines. Explore the Emirates First Class shower and Emirates First Class private suite to complete this Emirates First Class review.
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