We had so much fun on our last Emirates First Class trip that we decided to splurge and do it all over again. As you may recall from our past blog post, we had initially booked first class on the A380 but Emirates changed the aircraft on the Houston route to a 777, so we never had the long haul experience we hoped for. In this post, we share information about our experience flying between Los Angeles and Dubai in Emirates First Class on the A380.

View of Santa Monica during take-off
View of Santa Monica during take-off

The Booking Process:

We booked our rewards tickets using Alaska Mileage Plan miles on March 6, 2018 for a departure on December 1, 2018. Since they increased the amount of points needed, it wasn’t as difficult to find availability and book. On our last trip, we redeemed 90,000 miles and paid about $100USD to fly for about 21 hours and this time, we redeemed 150,000 miles and paid about $100USD to fly about 20 hours. The major difference is that by leaving out of LAX, we’d get close to 16 hours in Emirates First Class on the A380 vs. 6 hours from DXB to BKK as we spent close to 15 hours on the 777 First Class product from IAH to DXB.

Getting ready to board in IAH
Getting ready to board in IAH in 2016

Was it worth spending that many points on a one way ticket? For us it was, especially since we agreed we’d earn 150,000 miles each flying Alaska Airlines in one year to fund it! Not only did we have a record setting year in miles earned but we also had a lot of fun exploring new places. For those who don’t know, you get 50,000 bonus miles as a gift when you achieve Alaska MVP 75K.

Pre-Departure:

In order to catch our flight out of LAX, we flew the night before from YVR – Vancouver to LAX – Los Angeles via SEA – Seattle Tacoma on Alaska Airlines; these two flights were included in our rewards ticket. We could have flown early Saturday morning but we didn’t want to take any risks in missing our flight on Emirates because it would really mess up our trip.

View from the lounge at the LAX Marriott
View from the lounge at the LAX Marriott

As a bonus, we got to fly on one of the old Virgin America A320’s acquired by Alaska as part of the merger. The first class cabin on the Virgin airplanes is definitely sleeker and more comfortable than Alaska’s standard 737 product but with only 2 rows of seats, that’s 4-8 seats less available for upgrade.

Alaska Airlines First Class on an old Virgin A320 from SEA-LAX
Alaska Airlines First Class on an old Virgin A320 from SEA-LAX

There wasn’t all that much to do at the Marriott where we stayed at and so we decided to head to the airport to check out the Emirates Lounge and have some food since we were pretty hungry. We also wanted to eat at the lounge as early as possible to preserve our appetite for the food on board the flights.

We arrived at the lounge and it was very quiet. We decided to sit in the veranda area which had good views of the terminal but as others have mentioned, there are no power outlets. There is also seating here reserved for First Class passengers as the lounge welcomes business class passengers and elite members as well.

There was so much food; from the hot buffet section to the cold hors d’oeuvres, there was something for everyone’s dietary specifications and personal preferences. We particularly enjoyed the hummus, the tabbouleh and the muhammara. They had a selection of wines and beers but we had a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne as a pre-Dom Perignon drink.

Considering the A380 in a 3 class configuration can accommodate 555 passengers, it is always busy at the boarding gate. It was also especially chaotic as they now have self-serve boarding gates where you scan your boarding pass instead of having an agent scan it. We were able to board pretty quickly and took our seats; Maxine was in 1K and I was in 2K.

Upon taking our seats, our Flight Attendant Asma introduced herself and handed us our menus, amenity kits and pajamas. We got settled in, booked our shower times, and before we knew it, we were taking off into the sunset.

LAX to DXB – In-flight:

Shortly after take-off, our FA came to take our food and drink orders. I asked for a glass of Dom Perignon for my drink and ordered the tapas and the mango chicken for my main. A few moments later, the FA came back to tell me how cute it was that Jason and I had ordered the exact same thing. I explained that we were in fact celebrating our 15 year anniversary on this trip and that we tend to like the same things when it comes to food.

After dinner, we told the FA we would like to go the bar and assumed that a bottle of Dom Perignon would be brought back there for us but it wasn’t, so we were served Veuve Clicquot. We decided to not be jerks and drank the Veuve instead of sending it back which was a mistake as the Veuve tasted like mouthwash after drinking Dom! We now know why they make sure First Class guests have their own bottle of Dom at the bar!

Max at the bar drinking Veuve Clicquot, which tastes like mouthwash after having Dom Perignon
Max at the bar drinking Veuve Clicquot, which tastes like mouthwash after having Dom Perignon

After a drink at the bar, we headed back to our seats to have a bit more Dom to wash out the taste of Veuve from our mouths after changing into our “hydra-active pyjamas”. Since they upgraded the first class product, Emirates introduced fancy hydra-active pyjamas:

Relax in the world’s first moisturizing sleepwear range to ever be developed for an airline, and drift off like you’re up at 40,000 feet in hydra-active sleepwear pyjamas. Designed to prevent skin dehydration, you’ll feel rested and refreshed every morning. The fabric is crafted with the use of natural ingredients – Shea Butter and Argan Oil – which are released with every motion, keeping your skin moisturized and protected.  The patented Microcapsule Technology locks in the natural benefits, allowing you to wash the pyjamas and use them again them again.

I was skeptical at first but they were pretty comfortable. If you’re interested, you can buy them for 200AED online.

I tried to watch some TV and gave up after a while because my handset remote wasn’t working very well and it made it very difficult to navigate through the options. I also didn’t sleep as well as I could have due to being in seat 1K which is the closest to the lower galley and also the spot where people on the lower deck congregate and bring the crying babies. I would recommend not choosing seat 1K if you want the quietest and most peaceful experience; Jason didn’t hear any of this in seat 2K.

The shower
The shower

I woke up about 1.5 hours before my shower without needing the alarm I had set to avoid being woken up by the FA. I had schedule my shower for 2.5 hours prior to landing. Even if you’re flying first class, being able to take a shower after sleeping for about 7 hours in a bathroom larger than the one we have at home was great but still weird as you shouldn’t be naked on an airplane in my opinion. Unlike last time, I used almost all my water even if it felt like I was just using it to use it vs. needing it.

Our flight path from LAX to DXB
Our flight path from LAX to DXB

Before I knew it, I was having breakfast even if we were landing in Dubai at night, sad for all of this to end, again as it was another great flight. Yes, it was a lot of points but it was worth it for us, especially now that Airbus has announced they are stopping production of the A380 since Emirates is no longer ordering them. Yes, the A380 will be around for years to come but not forever and so as aviation geeks who love to travel, we’re happy to have made a long haul journey on this iconic aircraft.

Have you flown Emirates First Class on the A380? Would you feel weird showering on an airplane?

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