Airline Review

Emirates First Class


Immanuel Debeer | 14/06/2017

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73/ 100

Our Rating

Looking back on my trip, Emirates First Class has been one of my favourite flying experiences. It’s just so over-the-top extravagant and divides opinion. Just imagine; unlimited vintage Dom Pérignon, caviar, fully enclosed suite, showers at 42,000ft and not one but two bars to choose from.

  • 8/ 20
    Ground Experience
  • 11/ 20
  • 15/ 20
    Seat & Cabin
  • 20/ 20
    Crew & Service
  • 19/ 20
    Food & Beverage


  • Private suite with sliding doors
  • Onboard shower
  • Extensive high end wine list
  • Dine on demand
  • Fun and friendly crew


  • Bling, everywhere!
  • Expensive taxes on award tickets
  • Average ground experience in Amsterdam

It’s been 10 months since we flew back from Amsterdam to Perth onboard Emirates First Class on the A380 and come July, we’re doing it all again but this time in reverse PER-DXB-CDG (Perth – Dubai – Paris). Pending my upcoming trip, I thought it would be fitting to finally review Emirates First Class on the Airbus A380 and update/add to it after my second trip.

Emirates route AMS-DXB-PER

Looking back on my trip, Emirates First Class has been one of my favourite flying experiences. It’s just so over-the-top extravagant and divides opinion. Just imagine; unlimited vintage Dom Pérignon, caviar, fully enclosed suite, showers at 42,000ft and not one but two bars to choose from. Bundle this with incredible service and you’ve pretty much summed up what flying Emirates First Class is all about!

Emirates A380 tail

How much does an Emirates First Class ticket cost?

A first class ticket from Amsterdam to Perth can fetch up to A$12,000 (one way). The price of a small car you might think…
Unless of course, you have 168,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points and roughly A$650 in taxes to spend driving the value of your points up to around 7 cents! I used my points from the many incredible frequent flyer credit card bonus points on offer.

Emirates A380

Amsterdam to Dubai with Emirates

Our trip started in Amsterdam, my brother and I were both very excited about our first Emirates First Class experience. Even the terrible Schiphol Airport experience couldn’t dampen our spirit as we patiently waited at the boarding gate for our “experience” to begin.

Emirates First Class lounge in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport?

You see, Amsterdam Schiphol has only a contract lounge available to Emirates Business and First passengers which is located “miles” away from the boarding gate and from first-hand reports it’s a sorry excuse for a first class lounge; let alone an airport lounge.
If you decide not to take up the offer of a mediocre lounge experience, Emirates offer you a EUR50 voucher to spend inside Schiphol airport’s restaurants and bars (or lack thereof).

We decided to follow the PRO tip when it comes to flying Emirates First Class. Don’t drink before takeoff!
Celebrating the start of your trip with a few champagnes might seem like a great idea but the thing is: all the great stuff is on-board!
Why waste your “alcohol allowance” on cheap wine when Dom Pérignon Vintage 1998 is being chilled onboard the A380’s first class wine fridge?

With this in mind, we decided to buy a water and donate our voucher to a stranger. Now here’s the trick, you would think that if you bought 2 bottles of water with a 50 euro voucher you’d get some change right? Wrong! As I waited for the cashier to print me a new voucher with the remaining balance he informed me that I should have used the voucher in one go. I asked him since that was the case, can we buy a round of beers? No. The voucher had already been processed.

Even though this is a joke and poor service, it really didn’t bother us for long. Boarding had started and all would be forgotten soon enough!

Onboard the A380 First Class cabin

Ones we walked up the bridge to the top floor of the Airbus A380 where Emirates has their first class cabin and bar, we were greeted by a fantastic team of first class cabin staff. We could hardly contain our excitement. There’s just so much bling, so many buttons to press and so many things to see, eat drink and experience.

Emirates first class cabin A380

We started off with some Arabic coffee and dates while waiting for the cabin doors to close. As it turned out, there were only 3 passengers in first class which meant we could choose any seat we wanted. Originally we assigned window seats (since I love to be able to look outside) but decided to take 2 of the middle seats during dinner so we could sit together, talk and drink.

Emirates first class cabin A380

Emirates First Class drinks menu

Emirates has THE best alcoholic beverage selection by far. You can tell that no expense was spared whilst designing the drinks menu.

Emirates first class drinks menu
When departing from a European city, Emirates offer its first class passengers a selection of 2 Dom Pérignon champagnes. One is the current vintage (usually 2006) and the other one is the 1998 Vintage.

Emirates first wine listOf course, we did a quick blind taste test and settled on the 1998 Vintage. Other exclusives onboard Emirates First Class is the Hennesy Paradis which retails for around $900 in-store! On the wine list, there are some very nice and very expensive wines to try also. This all adds up to a fantastic experience, considering that one would not buy $900 bottle of cognac or $600 bottles of dessert wine on the regular.

Dining onboard the A380 in Emirates First Class

Emirates offer a dining on-demand menu in first class. Basically, you get to eat anything on the menu whenever it suits you. Do you crave a portion of caviar before bedtime? No problem! Steak for breakfast? Of course!

This is really fantastic because it allows you to spread out your culinary experience throughout the flight.
On our flight from Amsterdam to Dubai, the food was very much on point and the crew made sure our glasses were never empty (this resulted in a killer hangover in Dubai).

Emirates A380 First Class shower spa

I booked the shower spa for around 1h before landing, even though the in-flight shower might seem like a gimmick. It certainly isn’t!

Emirates A380 first class shower
Emirates A380 first class shower

It’s one of the ‘wow’ experiences where you can’t help but smile about the situation you’re in. The A380 has 2 showers that have dedicated shower attendants. They can be recognised by the uniform and are in charge for booking shower times and keeping the bathrooms tidy during the flight.

Emirates A380 first class shower

The shower suite is massive! Heated floors add extra comfort and the shower itself has fantastic water pressure. You’re allocated 5 minutes of water which automatically pauses with 1 minute to go so you have time to rinse any shampoo. The suite comes stocked with all the amenities you might need and a full range of luxury shower products and big warm towels. It’s truly a unique experience and one that will keep me amazed for some time to come!

Emirates A380 first class shower timer

Emirates A380 Bar at 42,000ft!

The Emirates A380 features 2 bars, one is located at the front of the first class cabin and is basically a small self-serve area, which is totally unnecessary since cabin crew are very attentive and you can even place food and drink orders from your in seat tablet.

Emirates A380 bar
Emirates A380 bar

The other bar is much larger and located in the middle of the business class cabin on the upper deck. It’s a great place to mingle with fellow travellers or just to chat to the flight attendants. The bar serves a selection of canapés cocktails and other beverages.

As a first class passenger, you can request a bottle of Dom or a glass of Paradis which is not available to the business class guest who have to settle for Moet or XO respectively.

We hung out in the bar for a while after dinner for a few drinks whilst stretching our legs and had a chat with the crew who made us a list of bars to visit on our 10h layover in Dubai.

Emirates First Class Dubai lounge and transit hotel

Arriving at midnight we only made it to 1 of the bar suggestions before crashing in our complimentary transit hotel for a 10 am departure from Dubai to Perth.

Emirates first class lounge Dubai
Emirates first class lounge Dubai

Our Emirates driver picked us up from the hotel at 8 am for the short 5-10min drive to the first class terminal, check-in and security were fast and before we knew it we were in the Emirates First Class lounge.

Emirates first class lounge Dubai

The first class lounge is massive… when you enter you think you’re in a duty-free gallery for some perfume shopping. The lounge is basically a clone of itself in 2 directions with the entrance and restaurant located in the middle. It was very empty, big and a bit boring! Since it was still early I sat down in the restaurant which is a-la-carte and had some breakfast minus the champagne (I was still nursing a slight hangover).

Emirates first class lounge Dubai

Boarding the flight, the purser informed me that I would be their only first-class passenger that day and if I wanted to dim the lights in the cabin for some sleep all I had to do was ask. For the first 6 hours of the 12+ hour journey, I slept.

Emirates A380 First Class seat review

The Emirates First Class seat on the A380 might not be the biggest in the sky but it sure is comfortable and private. The crew put a mattress on top of the seat when you’re ready for sleep which is nice and soft. The seat is wide enough for most and I had a great sleep.

Emirates first class seat A380

The first class seat features a large touch-enabled display and a secondary tablet from which you can control every aspect of your seat and TV. Even the lights and doors in your suite can be controlled with the tablet. On your right-hand side, there is a small mini bar which pops out when a button is pressed. Although it may look “cool” it really serves no purpose because none of the drinks are chilled. Warm coke anyone?

Each window seat has access to 3 windows and all of them can be controlled for different degrees of shading from the outside light.
I really enjoy a window seat which has a few big windows from where you can watch the clouds. Onboard Emirates First Class, nothing beats sitting in bed with a glass of Paradis cognac watching the sunset over the world. It’s pure magic.

Emirates first class seat A380

After waking up I had some coffee before deciding that the best cure for a Dom inflicted hangover is another glass! Perfectly paired with some caviar and condiments. Although the caviar is actually Chinese farmed, it’s really not bad quality and very enjoyable (if you like fish eggs that is).

Since it was my brother’s first long haul flight and first “first class experience” I made sure to book him an economy seat for the second leg from Dubai to Perth. He’s only 19 and after all, it’s a great motivation to work harder when you’re stuck in Economy and get in touch with reality!

I was nice enough to bring him down some snacks and extra pillows, he had the front row by the first class staircase all to himself so it really wasn’t that bad.

Around 3 hours before landing the purser stopped by and told me that if there was anything he could do to make my flight more enjoyable, I just had to ask.
So I asked him if it would be ok if my brother got to come up for a few drinks at the bar? Let me see what I can do he said, and disappeared.

Five or so minutes later he came back, my brother in tow. We enjoyed a few glasses of Dom together and settled into our first class seat about 30 minutes before landing. The purser informed us it was ok for my brother to stay in first class considering we were traveling together and thus could leave the aircraft at the same time.

Emirates first class bed

This to me shows once again the high standard of customer service by Emirates staff, where unlike some other airlines they manage to be highly professional but show their personal flair and care for customers by allowing some flexibility.

We were also allowed to visit the A380 flight deck and meet the captain after our flight from Amsterdam had landed in Dubai. We were amazed that this was allowed and even got to sit in the pilot seat! Of course, the aircraft was already docked and not running but it was an incredible experience none the less.

In Conclusion

Flying Emirates First Class on board the Airbus A380 was one of the most memorable experiences for me. I really look forward to doing it all again soon. With the new A380 first class suites being released later this year, I can’t wait to see what Emirates has on offer! They already gave us a hint of things to come by showcasing their new bar layout and design.

The single biggest thing that sets Emirates apart from other airlines are the staff, we received fantastic service which was personal and not scripted. Things such as the on-board shower complete the whole experience and adds an extra layer of “novelty” and exclusiveness to your trip. Although I think the food is better on Singapore Airlines, Emirates is not far behind with the dine on demand option. Of course the beverage menu on offer leaves everyone else in the dust and it’s truly unique. To experience Emirates first class for yourself, check out the awesome promotion Amex is running on the Ultimate Qantas credit card, you can find all the detail by clicking here.

Flight Details

  • Route: Amsterdam – Dubai – Perth
  • Airline: Emirates
  • Cabin: First Class
  • Aircraft: Airbus A380
  • Points Used: 168,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points
    + A$650 tax (one way)

Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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