Emirates First Class cabin has a reputation for being the ultimate luxury travel experience. 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 Airbus A380 aircraft and from Dubai to Dublin on an Emirates Boeing 777 aircraft and a peek into what it's like to be pampered at 40,000 feet. How nice is Emirates First Class in reality? After my experience onboard, I'd argue that Emirates First Class is the very best in luxury travel.
How Did I End Up Flying On An Emirates First Class Ticket?
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 in duration 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: Traveling via the Middle East on 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 International Airport. 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 vs 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 Airlines 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 Suites
(a) Emirates First Class suite with bed made up.
(b) Emirates First Class suite with door closed.
(c) Emirates First Class suite with door open.
(d) Inside the Emirates First Class suite.
Emirates First Class Amenities
(a) Package containing Emirates First Class pajamas.
(b) Emirates First Class slippers.
(c) Emirates First Class Bulgari amenities kit.
(d) Bowers and Wilkins headphones.
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.
(a) Bordeaux wine from the Emirates First Class wine cellar.
(b) Dom Perignon champagne in Emirates First Class.
(c) Champagne and premium mixed nuts in Emirates First Class.
(d) Arabic coffee service in Emirates First Class.
Emirates First Class Menu
Of course, the Emirates A380 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.
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 Emirates First Class 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.
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 DubaiThe 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 777 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.
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 FAQ
This post has covered a lot of details about the Emirates First Class in-flight experience. Let me finish by summarizing the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Q: What does Emirates First Class Include?
A: Emirates a380 First Class includes:
- Chauffeur service to and from the airport
- A luxury private suite
- Fine wine and gourmet meals
- Access to Emirates in-flight bar
- A fabulous Bulgari amenities kit
- In-seat mini-bar
- A shower in the sky
- Pajamas and slippers
Q: How much does an Emirates First Class ticket cost?
A: An Emirates First Class ticket can cost less than 5000 EUR. Purchase a business class seat and then look for upgrade opportunities for 500 EUR each way.
Q: Is Emirates First Class worth it?
A: If you can get a relatively inexpensive upgrade from Emirates Business Class, most definitely! Emirates First Class is definitely worth the splurge on an Emirates Airbus a380 service because you get the full range of amenities including the chance to shower in the air.