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March 9, 2015 / oneworld82

Glitz and Glamour in the Sky: Emirates First Class Dallas to Dubai (EK F A388, DFW-DXB)

Flight EK222 DFW-DXB

First Class, Seat 3K

Airbus A380-800

Feb 21st, 2015 11:20a – 12:00p+1

Finally, the time to fly Emirates First Class came. I had flown Emirates before once between Hong Kong and Bangkok, but that was in coach. Now I was about to fly 14 hours in First Class on the company’s state-of-the-art A380.

As first class cabins go, nothing can beat the glamour associated with Emirates’. The glitziness of this product is unrivalled – perhaps only Etihad’s The Residence gets close to it. Hence my trepidation for this flight was very high.

Boarding happened through Gate 16 at Terminal D – one of the two gates equipped to handle this huge plane. Different jetways lead to different floors of the plane, and today I was going upstairs. Emirates equips its A380s with First Class on the front part of the upper floor, while the rest of it is dedicated to business class. The bar sits at the very end of the upper level.

As I was walking in, the purser greeted me at the door and handed myself into the caring hands of Maria, my flight attendant for the day. I really have to praise her great work, because she made my flight perfect. My suite today was 3K, and my first impression of it was, literally, “WOW”.

My suite

My suite

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I sat down and Maria walked me through all the functionalities of the suite and of the entertainment system. She also asked me whether I wanted a drink, and I asked for some champagne.

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Like I said, the suite is really as nice as people say it is. Emirates really tried to create a mini-Four Seasons Hotel room up in the sky. Every detail is well taken care of – from the orchids hanging on the side of the wall, to the snack basket, to the minibar, to the vanity mirror and its lighting. Compared to other First Class products like Cathay Pacific or Etihad, this product is certainly more stylish and in a more overstated way. Yet, I don’t feel that this suite be perfect: I felt that, compared to Etihad for instance, it’s not as spacious (although it’s spacious enough).

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Maria came with my champagne, which was Moet-Chandon pre-departure. She poured me a glass, and then she poured me another one while we were still waiting on the tarmac. Another flight attendant came by offering Arabic coffee and dates, which I gladly accepted; that was followed by a steamy-hot towel, with Emirates logo on it.

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We took off on time after a rather long taxiing; I am always amazed by how quiet this giant plane is during take off, which happened very smoothly.

Emirates IFE works non-stop from the moment you sit down till the moment you leave the plane, offering a seamless experience. I started watching a scary movie, but I quickly gave up on it as it wasn’t very interesting. Overall, I found the movie selection on this flight to be a bit weak – think Lufthansa for instance. But at least they had entire seasons of various tv shows, which would keep me entertained as needed.

Once airborne, Maria offered me a glass of Dom Perignon, which I gladly accepted. After that, one of the flight attendants came by and introduced me to the shower spa concept, asking me if and when I wanted to take a shower. I opted for 2h30m before landing, and he duly took note. Finally, the purser came by to introduce himself, and to offer some canapés. First some cold canapés were brought out – which were very nice – while some hot canapés required more time to be ready.

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In any case, I was feeling a bit bored and decided to go get some action at the bar. Maria escorted me through the business class cabin (which looks gorgeous and which was almost full) to the bar, introduced me to Carmen (our German bartender for the day) and took a picture of me. I have to admit that Emirates’ crew was much more cheerful and personable that I had anticipated. They were able to read situations very well – being personable and friendly with those who wished so, but being formal and very professional with others who just wanted to mind their own business.

Bar area

Bar area

The bar area is definitely a winner for Emirates. On such a long flight like this one, it becomes the perfect place where to congregate and meet new people, while sharing a drink or two together. As the selection of drinks is not as strong as in First Class, the FA’s informed me I could have drinks from he first class cabin brought to me to the bar. Also, my hot canapés were delivered to me at the bar – and they were excellent (especially the crab cake, which was very flavorful).

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Bar snack menu

Bar snack menu

A hour or so (and two gin and tonic) later, I headed back to my suite to have some lunch. First class had only four people today, which ensured a fast and efficient service. The menu for the day looked like this.

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The selection looked pretty good, and given the variety of food on offer it was a bit hard to pick and choose (without running the risk of having an indigestion or perennial heartburn afterwards). I started with the caviar – which was offered with a shot of Grey Goose or Imperial Standard vodka (well done!). I am not sure which brand/variety Emirates uses, but the quality was excellent. The garnishes were also very nicely done, and my only complaint is that not enough blinies were offered. Overall, this was a great way to start my dinner.

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While I wanted to go straight ahead with my main course, Maria suggested I try some soup – and I obliged. I had the cauliflower and leek soup, which was really nice.

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After the soup, I had lamb with roasted potatoes and a garden salad. The lamb was flavorful, tender; the potatoes were perfectly made; and the salad was a nice, simple one. Overall, my main was of great quality, and let me very satisfied. I had it with a glass of Pinot Noir, which was not particularly of my likings (I usually love California Pinot Noirs).

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At this point I was feeling very full, but I couldn’t resist dessert and so I ordered the apricot and raspberry tart. In one word: delicious! This excellent meal was topped off by a nice espresso, served with Godiva pralines.

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I was ready to daze off for a while now, and so I asked Maria to make my bed while I went to the washroom to change. This is also the shower spa room, and so effectively your restroom is huge. Emirates pjs are incredibly comfortable and of superior quality – just as the slippers. What blew me away was the amenity kit – a HUGE Bulgari bag full of Bulgari goodies inside. This beats even RIMOWA kits hands down, and the retail value of these nice, luxurious pieces must be well over $100. Government subsides go a long way to help offering such a product! 😉

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I came back to my suite and the bed was perfectly made. The bed overall was very comfortable, but definitely narrower than JAL’s, CX’s, or Etihad. In any case, I was able to sleep for 2-3 hours – and very comfortably for that matter. When I woke up I decided to order a glass of Hennessy Paradis – the crème-de-la-crème in terms of Cognac, and then I decided to stretch my legs and walk all the way back to the bar again. Here I found the same people that I was drinking with earlier (hehe), plus the lovely Carmen who was still working the bar. And so we talked some more, and some more to drink (two glasses of Paradis and one of XO are not a bad way to spend the evening) and wondered where on Earth we were, since the air show was not working. As the $1-for-500MB internet was working properly, we quickly went on flightaware.com to discover that we were over Italy and that we had 5 more hours to go.

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Hennessy Paradis

Hennessy Paradis

Since most of the folks in business class wanted to catch some sleep, I bid them farewell and went back to my suite, where I started watching the 7th season of the Big Bang Theory.

Business Class cabin

Business Class cabin

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A hour or so later I was getting a bit hungry again, and so I asked for some cheese, which was presented on a very nice board with crackers, nuts, and dried fruit. Boy, I can never resist cheese, and the quality here was pretty good. I had them with a glass (and then another one) of Sandeman 40yr Port Wine – again, excellent.

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To follow, I had some more Dom and I decided to try the beef fillet, but the thoughtful Maria – afraid that I might be starving – suggested I had some mezze in between as the steak would take around 20 minutes to prepare. Sure, why not?

The mezze were very good and plentiful – served in little trays that could easily be arranged around the main plate. Mezze are always a good idea, even more so when in the Middle East. I probably ate ¼ of them – I was really full – and then the steak came.

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I must say: it wasn’t bad, but it was a bit dry and definitely well-done. Actually, I take it back: it was bad. I probably ate half of it, and then passed out on my seat for 30 minutes or so, before being informed that my shower time had arrived!

Bad steak

Bad steak

How exciting! I took my clothes so that I could change back after showering, and Maria walked me into the shower where she explained how to properly work it. Then, I had 25 minutes all to myself to enjoy and refresh. Fantastic! I shaved, brushed my teeth, and then enjoyed the blissful sensation of showering while on a plane. It feels good, not only because you are doing something that only a select group of people in the World is able to do, but also because planes really make you feel gross! After showering, I used all the possible spa products in the washroom, dressed up, and went back to my suite, where there was a nicely-presented plate with cut fruit awaiting me.

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So, after setting down in my seat, I started watching some more of the Big Bang Theory, and we were soon approaching Dubai for our final descent. The approach was very smooth, but unfortunately the weather was quite dusty around the city, and so I couldn’t take pictures.

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After landing, we were the first customers to deplane. I bid farewell to my wonderful crew, and off I went to try the First Class Lounge.

Overall, this was a fantastic flight – perhaps the best in-flight first class experience I had to date. Great crew, great head product, excellent beverages and top notch food. While it wasn’t a perfect flight, it was absolutely worth every mile I used for it. In fact, I already can’t wait to fly Emirates First Class again!

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