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We arrived at the airport early, as we wanted to have enough time to check out the Emirates Business Class Lounge in Dubai International Airport. We quickly got checked in and tagged our bags with the nice Emirates luggage tags.
Dubai (DXB) -> Rome (FCO)
Flight No: EK97
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Departure: 9:10 am
Arrival: 1:25 pm
Duration: 6h 15m
Emirates Business Class Lounge
After making our way through security and immigration, we arrived at a set of escalators that brought us up to the Emirates lounge. The Business class lounge is on the 3rd floor, while the First class lounge is one floor below on the second floor.
Once welcomed into the lounge, we took a lap around to check out the facilities. What’s impressive about the Emirates Business and First Class lounges is that it spans the entire length of the terminal building. This lounge is huge! There are several dinning areas spread across the lounge, with plenty of seating for each. There is also a quiet area away from the main seating, where you can find personal resting pods but we found most of them were already taken by other passengers.
Another great feature we found was the fact that you could board your flight directly from within the lounge, saving you the time and effort of leaving the lounge and getting to your gate.
After taking a tour of the lounge, we sat down at one of the many buffet areas (which are all the same) to have breakfast. I had a couple of croissants, along with some ham, bacon, and sausages, and an orange juice to drink. There were also some dates from Emirates that they serve on board available and I would definitely recommend you at least try some.
Once finished with breakfast, we moved to a quieter area to relax and do some plane-spotting until our boarding time. It wasn’t difficult to find a quiet area, as the lounge was enormous, and much of the seating area was available.
Once our flight was ready for boarding, we proceeded to our gate within the lounge, and took the elevator down to the Upper Deck boarding platform.
Emirates A380 Business Cabin Seat
Emirate’s business class cabin is on the upper deck, so we boarded through the upper deck jet bridge with a nice welcome view of the a380.
At this point, both Peterson and I were super excited to be boarding our first A380! We were welcomed aboard by the crew, and made our way down the right aisle to our seats 18K and 20K. Emirates A380 business class cabin features window seats that alternate between window-adjacent or aisle-adjacent. In this case both 18K and 20K were window-adjacent seats, which Peterson and I both preferred, as it felt more private with the side table between the seat and the aisle, and also because we could more easily look out the window for some plane spotting and in-flight views.
I was pretty impressed by the spaciousness and privacy of the seats.
The seat controls were rather limited, with just three options (upright, lounge, and rest). Holding onto the buttons would continue to adjust the seat until you let go.
The seat window blinds can be opened and closed at the touch of two arrow buttons on the bottom. There are actually two separate layers that open and close in stages, which is really neat.
The meal and wine menus were already available at our seats during boarding.
I was also impressed by the huge amounts of storage available in the two side storage compartments available at each seat. You could probably fit the entire contents of your carry on baggage into one of these compartments.
As the boarding process continued, we were served pre-departure beverages, which consisted of champagne or apple juice. I selected the apple juice as usual.
Departure and Meal Service
We had an on schedule push-back and began to taxi to our departure runway. My eyes switched back and forth between the window and the tail camera view displayed on the TV.
We were served beverages and warm nuts after takeoff.
Shortly into the flight, the lunch service began. I started off with an AMAZING smoked halibut carpaccio appetizer dish, along with a side of salad. The salsa worked so well with the halibut. This was pretty much the highlight of this flight. It was THAT good.
This was followed by my main course of Beef Roulade. I’m always scared that the beef would be too tough on planes, but this beef was soft and pretty good as well.
For dessert I had a chocolate mousse cake. The mousse was smooth and creamy while the layer on the bottom was crunchy, giving it a nice texture overall.
Not full after dessert? How about a nicely served cheese board with a wine accompaniment.
The pace of the meal service felt a bit quick, as we still had a good amount of time after wrapping up. I was constantly checked up on to have my plates taken away, which felt like I was being rushed to eat faster. I would have preferred if it was spaced out a bit more.
Emirates On-board Bar
After some time lounging at our seats and letting our stomachs digest our lunch, Peterson and I decided to check out the on-board bar. One of the great things about the size of the A380 is that you can fit some pretty neat amenities inside a plane. For example, the Emirates A380 features an on-board shower, available only to first class passengers. Damn! Fortunately, the on-board bar is open to first and business class passengers, and is located on the upper deck, at the rear of the plane.
It’s a very cool area where you can grab drinks from a bartender, sit on the surrounding couches and socialize with your family, friends, and strangers, or just to grab some snacks in between meals should you feel hungry.
The bartender saw us taking pictures and kindly offered Peterson and I a photo-op standing in the bar itself!
We stayed at the bar for a bit to have a drink and some snacks, and returned to our seats for some rest (as there were only a couple hours left in our flight), but not before grabbing another fruit tart from the bar. 🙂
I had a blast flying on the Emirates A380 for the first time. Of all the flight segments on this trip, I was most excited about this one, mostly because of the plane type and the onboard bar. Even with four engines, the a380 was a lot quieter than I expected, which was great for getting some rest. You can really feel the spaciousness of the cabin and the onboard bar really sets it apart from other airlines.
I absolutely loved the seat. Although it was an older A380 and the seat was starting to see some wear and tear near the armrest and the foot ottoman, the amount of storage space you get makes up for it. As I mentioned earlier, the large storage drawers on the side are enormous, and the side table is large and has trays for smaller items like phones and headsets. The seat itself is private and comfortable, and the fully lie-flat configuration is great for getting some sleep.
Meal and Service
The service was good, but not the best. It didn’t have that personal touch, like my previous Emirates flight from Seattle, and the meal service was a bit rushed in my opinion. I tend to be a slow eater, so I felt like I had to eat faster to keep up with the pace of service. There was one lady that stood out, as she would enthusiastically come by to refill our glasses as soon as they were just a bit less than full. The food itself was delicious, especially that halibut appetizer. Trust me, order it if you see it on the menu next time you fly Emirates business class.
I didn’t use the entertainment system much, but from what I could tell it was identical to the ICE system on the Emirates 777, which was enjoyable to use and had an abundant selection of movies and shows. One complaint I have is the position of the Entertainment tablet controller, which was a bit awkward to get to and press comfortably. Maybe this is just because I am left handed.
And finally, we can’t forget the bar! It is such a unique and fun area to hang out, especially on a plane at 40,000 ft in the air. It just felt so surreal. Be sure to check it out next time you’re on an Emirates A380.
Overall, it was a fantastic flight, and I honestly wish the flight time was longer for this one. Kudos to you, Emirates!
Have you flown on this flight before? How was your experience of it? Leave a comment to let me know!
Alvin is an aviation geek, enthusiast photographer, and software developer with a goal of exploring the world. He uses mileage programs to redeem premium flight travel, and shares his experiences here on OneMoreWeekToGo.