If I were to ask you about luxury, its definition, meaning and its consumption trends I bet that most of you wouldn’t hesitate to throw a few of well-known French brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Cartier or Dior on me. The other half would probably mention lavish lifestyle of the upper class, not forgetting about their mansions, hyper fast cars as well as insane parties in the Great Gatsby’s style : )). There is nothing wrong with such perception of luxury, but many tend to forget that luxury is more than inaccessible and excessively expensive goods-related field. It’s a truly fascinating trans-sectorial domain with many sectors, one of them is air travel. A while ago I wrote an article comparing Business and First Class on British Airways (read here). This time I will focus on one of the hottest airline of a last few years – Emirates Airline. Fasten you seatbelt tight and welcome on board!
Flying with Emirates Airline doesn’t start at the airport – it starts right at your place! How is that possible? It is pretty easy. Emirates Airlines made a smart move of introducing a chauffeur service, which can be booked up to 24 hours before the departure. Not only will the chauffeur, in the suit driving the newest BMW, pick you up and drive you to and from the airport, but also he will offer drinks, snacks and a morning newspaper. It’s simple, but significant.
Similar to other airlines there is a separate check in and luggage drop for Economy, Business and First Class travellers. If you are flying with First or Business Class you can chill out in Emirates Lounge. The size, selection of food, drinks in lounges varies depending on the country and the city. Some airports have separate lounges for Business and First Class travelers, other have only one for both types of classes.
All Emirates lounges are kept in the same tones – brown, dark green and gold. Stylish leather armchairs with pillows, glass coffee tables and elegant lamps are the key elements of the classical Emirate’s lounges design. Not only can you read your favorite magazine while drinking whiskey, but also grab a snack – warm or cold, you decide. Emirates Airline offers a broad selection of food, but it also haven’t blown me away, but having paid so much for the tickets they shall keep the best of the best for the flight, right?
What I really loved is that all First class passengers are personally escorted to the plane. If you are lucky to fly with the First Class you will never miss your flight! Moreover, you will board the last. In contrast to other popular airlines, Emirates doesn’t want their Business and First Class passengers to wait inside the aircraft until it’s ready to take off. You go in as the last and go out as the first!
Although it doesn’t come cheap – one way ticket from Dubai to Hongkong costs approx. 3000€ (Business Class) and 5000€ (First Class), it’s a pure luxury experience worth more than a Louis Vuitton bag. After being escorted to the plane by a friendly Emirates’s cabin crew member, wearing their famous beige outfit and red lipstick, the flight attendant will lead you to your seat.
Regardless if it’s a Business or First Class you will be offered with a glass of champagne – but wait – so where is the difference? Business class passengers can enjoy a glass of Möet Champagne, while First class travellers are offered as many champagne glasses as they want of famous vintage Dom Pérignon. Both brands are produced by the prestigious Champagne House Moët & Chandon. Another excellent move from Emirates Airline is that they don’t forget to display the champagne bottle to the First Class guests making them feel like in an exclusive restaurant rather than on board of the plane – well done, Emirates!
First Class on Emirates Airlines offers a lot of space and privacy as you can easily slide the cabin’s doors. Not only it’s spacious, but also has a high-end finish with goldish, woody elements and leather seat, which transforms into lie-down bed. It’s elegant, classical and stylish at the same time. Fresh flowers, basket of snacks, complimentary drinks, cosmetics, notebook with a pen, big TV screen, headphones and a pad – Emirates Airlines provides all the amenities that any premium hotel would provide! There is a small mirror with lead lights allowing all female passengers to do their make-up flawlessly or just take a perfect selfie.
Once you received your glass of champagne and are waiting to take off, flight attendant will hand you over a wash bag filled with luxury cosmetics in mini versions: Bvlgari fragrance, lotion, face wash, …. and of course the essentials i.e. toothbrush, comb, toothpaste and my beloved pajamas. It’s super comfy! My favorite thing though is the star installation on the top – you will be falling asleep while looking into stars!! Pure dream!
Unfortunately, pajamas and slippers are only reserved for First Class passengers, but you can wear Emirates Airline’s comfy socks I was really impressed and surprised to see a small window in the bathroom in Business Class. The view is simply breathtaking and impossible to describe! You just have to be there, it’s stunning…
I must admit that I was a little disappointed with the Business Class perks. The selection of drinks was really little and there were no complimentary snacks, you have to request it from flight attendant. What really annoyed me was the fact that we didn’t receive any wash bags at all! Having asked the stewardess why is that she answered it’s because of the short duration of the flight (it was 6 hours!). I am not sure if Emirates are trying to save up on the Business Class in order to star A-listers in their next commercial or they just didn’t have the bag available. At any rate I find it not acceptable to use such excuses for inappropriate and incomplete service! It all became clearer to me when I checked the bathroom in the business class –all cosmetics were placed there on the compartments. Indeed, it seems that Emirates are saving on the wash bags :))
When it comes to the design – of course there is a difference between First and Business Class. Although both classes are kept in the same brown-gold tones and the windows are framed with the glossy wood panelling and gold trim, First Class has a more sophisticated grey finish and offers full privacy, way more space and also better seats. My personal feeling was that First Class cabin is tailored and aimed to make you feel unique and one of a kind. Business Class is not luxury, it’s more premium and with a better design than British Airways for instance, but there is no a wow effect.
Let’s move on to the most intriguing part – the bathroom. I must admit that I was really looking forward to showering up at 40.000 feet! There are two onboard showers and spas, which you have to book in advance. Once the flight attendant informed you about free slots you will be given 30 minutes in total for your fresh up, but the water is running only for five minutes. It might seem as not enough, but for obvious reasons it’s impossible to allow longer showers. On-board bathrooms are really amazing – spacious filled with cosmetics, towels and with the beautiful scent waffling in the plane air (due to fresh flowers probably). Maybe I am spoiled, but I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I will be – don’t get me wrong – I do love the idea of taking a shower on the plane, but for most of the women it won’t be possible to wash their hair during that time. It’s amazing for a morning fresh –up.
Dining on board of Emirates Airlines is a pleasure – both flying Business and First Class. Selection of food and drinks is really broad. What I find amazing is that you can set your dietary requirements online for instance diabetics, kosher, low-fat, vegetarian and the flight attendant will bring the meal matching your requests. It’s a simple system that again makes a passenger feel special – Emirates care and respect your food preferences. It’s a perfect solution for those who are on a diet , as you don’t have to even look into the menu card thus can resist the temptations easily!
First Class cabin can be transformed into a high-end dining room for the dinnertime. All meals are served as in a high-end restaurant on the Royal Doulton dinnerware, accompanied by excellent wines (some even 20 years old!). Similar to a good restaurant you need to wait approx. 25-35 min for such a gourmet meal. Certainly Emirates aren’t saving on food and wine! It’s an amazing luxury dining experience up in the air. Flight attendants have a solid knowledge of the menu and wines so feel free to ask them for details. During the dinnertime can choose between six appetizers, five main courses and four desserts – quite a wide range! Breakfast lovers have also three different options for their morning meal. Clean-food fanatics, meat addicts, Asian cuisine freaks, all of you will find something to feed your hungry hearts.
Caviar presented with traditional selection of finely chopped onion, grated egg, sour cream and lemon served with melba toast and blinis
Black cod, pawn and scallop, served on risotto with courgettes and saffron sauce
An assortment of fresh cut fruits
Menu is Business Class is not as sophisticated as the one form First Class. You are limited to choose between three options for each phase of the dinner. I have also noticed a small difference in the menu presentation. Business Class passengers receive paper menus, while First Class travellers are treated with a leather covered menu.
Arabic mezze – hummus, artichokes with mushroom, stuffed vine leaves and shanklish salad
Spring pea soup with mint cream
Chicken served with steamed broccoli, pumpkin and mashed potatoes with garlic
Grilled beef tenderloin served with blanched carrots, green beans and steamed potatoes with parsley.
An assortment of fresh cut fruit
Passion fruit tart served with red-currants
Both Business Class and First Class have a great selection of movies, games and shows. Passengers can enjoy a glass of red wine while watching Man Men’s episodes on the interactive touchscreens. However, my favorite thing is the massage function of the chair. The controls can change the intensity and type of the massage as well as lighting setting. That’s not the only automated function, mini bar and cabin doors are also controlled by the pad, but… What I really consider a luxury is that you just need to press a button and the flight attendant is there immediately, ready to fulfill your wishes. This magic button is extremely convenient and spoils you to the extreme!
If all of this is still not enough and you are looking for something more fancy, you can always go to the bar! That’s right, there is a bar in this plane too! It serves premium strong drinks such as whiskey, cocktails, exclusive wines and champagne – of course vintage Don Perignon (above 120€ per bottle) and ultra expensive Hennesey Paradis (above 600€ per bottle)! Having a chat with other passengers was never as easy as on the board of Emirates.
If you asked me what’s really like to fly with First and Business Class with Emirates I would answer it’s simply amazing. Although 10.000€ price tag might seem crazy, First Class passengers are treated like aristocracy; there is no doubt about it. Flying with Emirates is not a trip, it’s an experience, premium in the case of Business Class and a pure luxury one in the case of First Class. It’s something that I will not be able to forget for a long time!