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Why I Think Emirates Airlines First Class is the Best for Luxury Travel

Read about my flights in Emirates First Class on 777 and A380 planes. Discover Emirates First Class menu, wines, shower, and private suite.
Emirates Airlines First Class cabin has a reputation for being the ultimate luxury travel experience. I never expected to experience Emirates First Class service for myself.

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? Read on and feast your eyes on the first-hand photos that I took on my flight in this trip report.
Emirates First Class: A view inside Emirates First Class private suite

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 based on my personal experience. 

Emirates First Class Suites

Emirates First Class Suites
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: The Emirates First Class Suite
from left: 
(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

Emirates First Class Amenities: Make-up mirror and Byredo Cosmetics
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: Amenities aboard the Emirates A380 First Class Service: Bulgari amenities kit, Bowers and Wilkins headphones, plush slippers, and hydrating sea kelp pajamas
from left:
(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 on my paid upgrade to Emirates First Class.
Emirates First Class Menu including Dom Perignon Champagne
from left: 
(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, I found that 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.
Salad from the Emirates First Class Menu

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, I also got another unique experience: that of showering 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. I was told that I would 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 International Airport

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.
Emirates First Class
from left:
(a) Champagne and caviar in Emirates First Class aboard a Boeing 777 from Dubai to Dublin.
(b) View of Dubai from the window of my Emirates First Class Suite.
(c) Comfy cushions in the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai International Airport.

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 Business Class vs First Class

Before I conclude this post let's look at some key points of comparison between Emirates First Class and Emirates Business Class cabins based on my personal experience.

Flight Prices

If you aren't availing of an upgrade like I was, you can expect to pay up to three times more for an Emirates First Class seat compared to a business class seat on the same flight.

Chauffeur Service

Both Emirates First Class and Emirates Business Class passengers are entitled to chauffeur service to and from the airport. 

Seating

Business Class: Emirates Business Class seats are arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration on the A380 and a 2-2-2 configuration on the 777-300ER. They are fully lie-flat and have direct aisle access.

First Class: Emirates First Class seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration on the A380 and a 1-1-1 configuration on the 777-300ER. Expect a fully enclosed private suite with direct aisle access.

Amenities

Business Class: Emirates Business Class passengers receive a Bulgari amenity kit, noise-canceling headphones, and complimentary Wi-Fi. They also have access to the in-flight bar and lounge on the A380. Business class passengers do not receive pajamas even on long haul flights.

First Class: First Class passengers receive an extra-large Bulgari amenity kit, Bowers and Wilkins noise-canceling headphones, and complimentary Wi-Fi. They also have access to the in-flight bar and lounge on the A380, as well as an exclusive on-board shower spa. Expect to received moisturizing sea kelp pajamas and cozy slippers on long haul flights.

Dining

Business Class: Business Class passengers have a choice of à la carte meals and can dine whenever they want. They also have access to a variety of snacks and drinks throughout the flight.

First Class: First Class passengers have a choice of à la carte meals and can dine whenever they want. They also have access to a wider variety of snacks and drinks throughout the flight, including caviar, high-end champagne, and a curated selection of wines from Emirates first-class wine cellar.

Service

Business Class: Business Class passengers receive attentive service from the cabin crew. 

First Class: Emirates First Class passengers receive a more personalized service from cabin crew members. For example, the first class bathrooms are cleaned every time someone uses it.

Lounge

Both Emirates Business Class and Emirates First Class passengers are entitled to lounge access. In Dubai, First Class passengers have access to an exclusive private lounge. 

Emirates First Class FAQ

This post has covered a lot of details about my Emirates First Class in-flight experience. Let me finish by summarizing the answers to some frequently asked questions and share a picture of me personally enjoying all the amenities that I've described in my Emirates First Class suite.

Selfie of Jennifer from Sidewalk Safari traveling in Emirates First Class with a plate of caviar and glass of Dom Perignon Champagne

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.

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Emirates First Class Cabin Trip ReportEmirates First Class Cabin

I flew Emirates First Class in April 2019. This post was most recently updated in June 2023.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Why I Think Emirates Airlines First Class is the Best for Luxury Travel
Why I Think Emirates Airlines First Class is the Best for Luxury Travel
Read about my flights in Emirates First Class on 777 and A380 planes. Discover Emirates First Class menu, wines, shower, and private suite.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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