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5 things to know before flying Emirates first class

Emirates 777 taking off from Dubai airport

Air travel puts the world at your whim. No matter where you want to go — or what you want to experience — it’s a matter of booking a ticket, boarding a plane, and taking to the skies. But longer flights — where you spend hour after hour stuck in a seat — can be more of an endurance test than a comfortable trip.

In that case, upgrading to first class is worth it, and nobody does it better than Emirates. Instead of being locked into a bus-style seat with nowhere to go, you’re coddled in amenities, as if living in a private suite. Is it expensive? Sure. But on an 8,000+ mile flight, you’ll be thanking yourself for making the upgrade.

If you’re new to flying Emirates and want a first-class experience, there’s a lot to know before you go. Here are five things to know before you fly Emirates first class.

Emirates first class: 5 amenities that make a difference

First class seat on an Emirates A380
Emirates A380 first class seat Emirates

You’ve booked your dream trip: a cultural tour of Japan. While staying at a Ryokan, you’ll attend sumo matches, take a sushi-making class, and venture to Mt. Fuji. But first, you have to get there, flying thousands of miles over the ocean before touching down at Tokyo Airport. 

If you fly coach or business, the flight could test your mettle, with cramped space and spartan perks. On the other hand, if you fly Emirates, choosing first class can make the journey something to enjoy, instead of tolerate. Here are the best perks of Emirates first class.

1. Your menu on your schedule

Typically, first-class passengers order and eat at the same time. While the food’s a level above coach or business class offerings, what if it doesn’t suit your tastes? What if you just had lunch in the terminal? Emirates has the answer.

On Emirates, first-class customers order when the mood arises and can customize their meals. Notable options include Australian Angus beef, caviar, and Yarra Valley cheese. If you’re in a celebratory state, go for a bottle of Dom Pérignon — Emirates is the only airline to offer the legendary champagne. Just looking to relax and snack? Try the “Movie Snacks Menu” with popcorn, Wagyu sliders, and lobster rolls. 

Also on offer are a kids’ menu, vegan options, and Lavazza coffee. Since Emirates includes food on first-class fares, pick and choose as you please, without running up a tab.

2. Your first-class experience depends on the aircraft

Whether you fly on a Boeing 777-300ER or an Airbus 380, you’ll enjoy unique first-class amenities reminiscent of a hotel room. Before you purchase your ticket, pay attention to which plane you’ll ride on, then you’ll know what to expect.

As a first class passenger on an Airbus 380, you can stretch out and unwind in an 82-inch-long suite, including a seat that folds flat into a bed. Have work to do? A work desk and reading lights help you focus, while an electric door keeps out distractions. After hours in the air, refresh mid-flight in a shower spa so you’re ready to go when the wheels touch down.

On a Boeing 777-300ER, you’ll feel like you’re in a luxury hotel, with an 84-inch-long suite covering up to 40 square feet. You control the temperature, and mood lighting helps you relax at 40,000 feet. NASA-inspired zero-gravity seats feature supple leather, and a seating position that Emirates claims eliminates pressure from the elbows, back and neck for peerless comfort. Not only that, but middle suites have HD projections of the surrounding view, letting you appreciate the high-altitude sights.

3. Fly Emirates first class using your points

Flying first class on Emirates can be pricey. On the company’s website, a round-trip ticket from Boston to Dubai is more than $15,000. The good news is you can use accrued miles and points to make your reservation.

You can also take advantage of Emirates transfer partners and book a first class flight with only 85,000 points. Partners include Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capitol One Mile, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards. Citi’s program works on a 1:1 basis, helping you go further for less.

4. Access to the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai

The Emirates First Class Lounge makes your journey as pleasant as your vacation, with an array of perks to recharge and replenish. Visit the Timeless Spa for various treatments like massages, or face and body scrubs. Check out the Le Clos wine cellar and walk away with a bottle of vintage libations. 

If you’re traveling with family, there’s a kids’ arcade for hours of electronic fun. Additional offerings include a cigar lounge, buffet dining, and a duty-free shopping area. Besides Dubai, Emirates still has a network of 39 lounges, with ample space to sit back or enjoy fine food. 

5. Free chauffeur service to and from the airport

Being picked up or dropped off at the airport makes for a seamless travel experience. Instead of looking for parking or walking to your car, you get dropped off or whisked away by a chauffeur, lessening fatigue and avoiding hassle. 

As an Emirates first class passenger, you enjoy free airport transport within a 50-mile radius, including gratuity. Longer distances carry an additional fee. For Dubai-bound passengers, it’s even better, with a guide meeting you, then showing you through customs and to your chauffeur. 

Emirates First Class: Where the journey’s as good as the destination

Emirates First Class Lounge
Emirates First Class Lounge Emirates

It’s fun planning a trip. Whether the culture and cuisine of Italy or the awe and challenge of the French Alps, adventure awaits across the globe. Flying Emirates first class is an experience in and of itself, making a day-long flight into a spa-like getaway. Now that you know what that’s like, maybe it’s time to live it firsthand and explore in luxury. Bon voyage.

Mark Reif
Mark Reif is a writer from Stowe, Vermont. During the winter, he works as a snowboard coach and rides more than 100 days. The…
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