Emirates business class is not on my list of travel in the near future so when a friend of mine flew Emirates recently, I asked him to write a guest post about his experience. It is his first time on Emirates, first time on an Airbus A380 and his first time experiencing an on board bar. I hope you enjoy it!
Guest post by Judge Gee
My flight from Auckland to Sydney set me back NZ$240.65 and when I went to check-in on the Emirates web site a notification popped up offering me an upgrade to business class for NZ$284.00. When that message came up, well – my heart started racing and the hairs on my arms all stood on end. I had recently returned from a three week international trip but I just knew this was a once in a lifetime chance. I wanted to experience the soft drink minibar and I wanted to stand around looking cool and sophisticated at the bar at the back of business class.
I usually fly Asiana which is mostly Boeing 777-200s and Airbus A330s, so I decided to go ahead with the upgrade. I assumed it would be the only opportunity I would have to experience Emirates business class. It was also my first opportunity to fly an Airbus A380 even though they’ve been around for a decade!
One of the conditions of the cheap upgrade is there is no limousine transfer and no lounge access. While I knew this, I did play dumb and attempt to pay in at lounge reception but they have a strict policy of not allowing this. I really think they should include a “pay $25 and get lounge entry” option as part of the upgrade offer.
Boarding The A380
When it was time to board, I was disappointed when they directed me to the same level thinking “I want to go UPstairs” – not realising I was already upstairs! I’d gone down a special ramp that went straight to the upstairs of the A380. Amazing!
EK419 – Auckland to Sydney (AKL-SYD)
17 October 2016
Seat: Business Class 18A
Departure: 16:30 Arrival: 17:55
I was initially surprised when offered the upgrade and didn’t realise why until on board. There would have only been about 50 or 60 people on an aircraft that holds about 500. Most passengers join the flight in Sydney for the ride to Dubai and my sequence number of 477 referred to the whole ongoing flight.
Emirates Business Class Seat
Everything about the seat was brilliant. At one point I extended the seat into a bed and was sitting sideways on it and one of the crew walked past concerned asking if I was having any problems. I said no, just the opposite in fact, I was just testing it out. The truth is I was deliriously happy and loving the experience!
The teak look, the two bins beside you for storage, the mini size TV for controlling the seat and light and calling the hostess – just great. I really liked the mini bar of soft drinks next to me, the noise cancelling headphones, the size of the TV, having two windows instead of one and the ease of recharging my mobile phone.
There are no pajamas offered and the amenity kit is just socks and an eyemask which is not surprising for such a short flight. There was nothing at all to complain about though, it was just excellent.
The business class cabin crew were all girls, all gossipy and seemed to take the fact that there were not many business class passengers as a reason to do nothing at all for the entire flight. The service was crap apart from one lady who was in charge who was great. The person looking after me and one or two others (that’s how quiet it was) was useless.
Pre-departure drinks were offered way before take off. I said no but asked if I could have a vodka and tonic when we were in the air. The crew member said, “I’ll do it now”, then came back and asked if I minded waiting until after take off. I said of course not.
Waiting For A Drink
Once we were in the air, I waited and I waited. The drinks service started and she was off doing other things and still no drink. I was asked by another person if I wanted dinner and I reminded them about my special meal. She asked what I wanted to drink and as I was expecting my V&T I asked for a Diet Coke. Well the Diet Coke came ages before my V&T.
I had to remind three people about my drink. Eventually I saw it come out and I was bypassed! She started serving other drinks on her tray to people up ahead of me, even though they’d already had their champagne or wine or juice before take off. I was really pissed off. Finally, 45 minutes after I had asked, my drink finally arrived.
Next time I wanted a drink, I asked the senior crew member and the drink was literally there in 90 seconds – just as it should be.
When I fly I order a fruit platter special meal which is a choice offered by most quality long distance carriers. I received a tray of fruit with a bread roll and butter.
It probably would have disappointed most business class travellers as it wasn’t much better than my usual Asiana Economy Class fruit platter meals. That being said, I didn’t really care and it was only a 3 hour flight.
On Board Bar
A feature of Emirates business class on the A380 is the on board bar. I went to the bar and had a vodka and tonic along with a small plate of potato chips.
While relaxing on the lounge there, I sat quietly sipping my drink wanting to jump up and scream out “I’M FLYING IN F–KING BUSINESS CLASS ON AN A380 AND I’M AT THE BAR 30,000 FEET IN THE AIR. I’M QUEEN OF THE WORLD!!!!”. It really was just so insane to be at a bar in the sky!
Exploring An Emirates Airbus A380
During the flight, I went to the little gate that stops people going downstairs or falling downstairs. I asked the crew to open it so I could go downstairs. I walked the length of the plane and checked the toilets, saw the stairs to first class, walked back again.
When I went to go back up the stairs I was stopped by a male crew member. Once he stopped me he saw the business class ticket sticking out of my pocket and pulled back and tried to rectify the situation. “Oh, are you sitting upstairs?” Yes, that’s right!
External Camera and Internet
The aircraft has three external cameras and I spent a fair bit of the time switching between the three of them rather than exploring the entertainment system. I converted my seat into a bed for a while to soak in the experience, jumping between Cameras 1, 2 and 3 and couldn’t get the smile off my face. THIS is how business class is supposed to be!
Internet access cost US$1 for 500mb and is good enough to have a call via Facebook (albeit with a delayed response) to friends on the ground. I thought this was incredible, sensational!
The good stuff is this: it was a life changing flight. I was lying there at one point (having made my seat into a bed) almost crying at how happy and excited I was, how this was a complete fluke and would never happen to me again so I needed to soak it all in.
Anyway, 3 hours is only 3 hours. But honestly it was the most amazing plane experience of my life. I’d still love to do first class and have the shower, but this was the next best thing. The A380 was very, very smooth in flight. Landing was very bumpy but big deal – I was in an Emirates A380 in business class!!! Swoon!
I hope you enjoyed this guest post and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below. Thanks for reading!
Featured image via Emirates, all other images by Judge Gee.