TL;DR – Just like all the A380 reviews minus the shower
We took this flight while returning from our South Africa trip in summer of 2015. The entire leg CPT-DXB-SFO-SEA cost me 100K Alaska miles. This review is for the CPT-DXB leg.
Also, I’m all about perspective. If this was my first and only First Class experience, then you should read the review with a grain of salt, but now that I’ve tried 7 different First Class products, I feel that’s enough to give this review some credibility. Here are the ones I’ve tried:
- Cathay Pacific 777-300ER First Class LAX-HKG
- Etihad A380 First Apartments SYD-AUH
- Etihad A340 First class AUH-NRT
- Emirates 777-300ER First Class CPT-DXB (this review)
- Emirates A380 First Class DXB-SFO
- Singapore A380 Suites First Class NRT-LAX
- United First NRT-LAX (so old and terrible that I won’t review – think tape deck for movies)
Booking the Flight
Getting 2 first class seats on this flight is impossible or nearly impossible. I think the reason is because Emirates only releases 1 F seat from CPT-DXB. I had read on FT before booking and I couldn’t find anyone who scored 2 F seats. So I actually booked the 1 seat in F and 1 seat in coach…. yes, coach for a 9.5 hour flight!!! This was around end of March 2015 for an early July flight, so 3.5 months out.
Fast forward to 6/28, a week before my flight, when a buddy told me there was 1 seat in business class open. I was on safari at the time with no cellular service, so I just picked up the lodge’s phone line and called up Alaska to upgrade me to business. Since my itinerary was already a First class booking, there was no fee to make the change. Luckily the phone call only cost me a few bucks.
Where to sit
On the day of the flight, I was holding a first class seat and a business class seat. I put my wife in business. Now before you guys get all riled up for me putting her in business, I want you to repeat that out loud – I put her in business. I didn’t make her endure the 9.5 hours in COACH. I basically rationalized it with her – “Hey this is why I spend hours every day following up on all the blogs and collecting the points.” She couldn’t really argue with that and had no problem sitting in business while I sat in First. Heck, maybe I’ll have her write a guest post in business class on this flight.
As for where I sat, I just picked a window seat. My wife had a window seat and no one next to her.
The seat was the exact same as the A380 seat. Nothing too special; just a solid first class seat.
As I settled into my seat, I asked for champagne of course. The FA then comes over with a bottle of Laurent-Perrier. I gave her the stink eye and she says, “Oh we will pour the Dom when we are up in the air.” Crisis averted!
I don’t remember too much, but it wasn’t bad. I don’t remember there being WiFi on the flight.
The only thing I remember about the meal was that the first course was caviar. When my FA brought it over, she asked, “Would you like some vodka with that?” I then asked her if she was Russian or Eastern European. I believe she said she was from Slovakia. I told her, “Well, if that’s how they do it in Slovakia, then that’s what I’ll do too.” She brought over the shot of vodka (I forgot which it was.) I then asked her if I should shoot it with the caviar or sip it. She said sip.
Let me go on a quick tangent – my favorite drink is a Ketel One and tonic with a lemon. The sweetness of the lemon is better with the tonic. A lime doesn’t give it enough sweetness. I’ve also tried it with most vodkas out there – Goose, Belvedere, Chopin, etc. For some reason, the Ketel One tastes perfect with tonic and lemon. I’ve been getting it with Tito’s lately, and I save $1-$2 for almost the same taste. I used to do chilled Goose shots when I was younger, but now that I am old and am prone to hangovers, I don’t like to do vodka shots anymore. Tequila once a in while though.
Anyway, back to my story, I sipped the room temperature vodka with the caviar. To me, it did NOT enhance the taste of the caviar whatsoever. I’m sure some Russians will disagree with me. With that said, champagne goes GREAT with caviar!
Besides the friendly FA who recommended a vodka shot with my caviar, I don’t remember too much about the service. I do remember the couple who was sitting in the 2 middle seats and the mom sitting behind them. In mid-flight, the man proposed to his now fiance. The irony of my wife sitting in business as I was witnessing this celebration in first class isn’t lost on me. I’m just glad she said YES or else it would have been a very awkward 5 hours. If she had said no, I would have told the FA to get me an IV-drip filled with Dom.
There is a picture of them at the bottom. I realized I had that picture because we got our own First class bus. My wife had to board the Business class coach in Dubai. We met shortly in the terminal.
While it was nice to be sitting in First, I actually did feel guilty the whole time that my wife was back in business. I did go see her mid-flight, and she was very excited (most likely due to the business class champagne) when I saw her. That relieved me of my guilt. I honestly think I would have been fine in Business next to her. And next time, we’ll probably do just that. I’ll just have to forgo the Dom IV-drip from now on.