|Emirates A380 First Class.|
Interesting title, eh?
I don't know whether I have mentioned this here in my blog before, but the pinnacle moment when I realized that I had blossomed into an adult, was when I went for my first international business trip. All my previous trips abroad, were always taken with family or friends. Hence I never had to think about where to head to after getting off the plane. Just follow that fellow family member or that trusted friend!
In 2006, my boss sent me on my first international business trip. Oh boarding the plane from a Malaysia was not a problem at all. But as soon as I landed at the Manila International Airport, I realized that I had to find my own way through immigration, then find the baggage carousel, then get a taxi to the hotel. All on my own. Well, I am not saying that it was hard, nor am I saying that I failed. But it was at this moment that I realized that I was a grown adult!!!
Of course it got easier over time. With my experience boarding and offboarding planes during my Russia stint, I learnt how to time my arrival at the airport just at the nick of time before they closed the ticketing counter or the gate. I missed a flight or two. Maximized my frequent flyer miles. Asked for extra/better flight meals. Dealt with rude stewardesses. Showered in business lounges. I learnt how to travel the city during transits or even ask for favours whenever my luggage goes overweight (from all the shopping). I learnt how to snicker and laugh when someone is helping me with my oversized luggage and remarks "What do you have in here, girl?? A dead body??" I learnt that humility goes a long way, especially with the Malaysia Airlines crew - it earned me fabulous company, a specially prepared hot teh tarik and even extra sticks of satay! I learned how to read carriage codes. I learnt all the perks from travelling business class and used them to my advantage (Upon arrival at the airport, I would like to be chauffeur driven to my hotel. They are all my family members - can we all check in at the Business Class line/board the plane first? I would like to use my fast track pass through immigration... among others). I have even shamelessly sneaked Aiden into Business Class a few times! I guess if some people are called "street smart", I can then be called "airplane smart". *giggle*
|Luxurious gold trimmings with leather and wood paneling.|
But the A380 was a whole different animal. Apart from it being a huge plane, Business Class and First Class were separated from the Economy Class by literally, a whole different level. I wasn't used to the layout of the plane, hence I had to walk the plane first to get my bearings right. Also, in my experience, the Emirates crew was never in my list of "pleasant cabin crew". Yes, they are very professional, but unlike MAS, they have no qualms about telling you off when they think you need it (such as when yours truly attempted to sneak Aiden up the stairs to Business Class)! *grin* Boarding the A380, I felt like I was once again that 24 year old girl, going for my first international business trip!
Imagine how I felt, when on the way home from our Disneyland-Houston trip, I was stopped at the gate and handed a First Class ticket. First Class on the A380! Oh wow, this is something I can scratch off my bucket list! (I think it had something to do with my frequent flyer qualifying into Gold tier... which I have since lost; hence I guess this is a once in a lifetime experience!)
|First Class! Thank you Emirates.|
|Check out the suite plan! *drool*|
At my seat, I was handed a woven bag and a Bvlgari beauty pack. Enclosed within the woven bag was a pair of
|Here's my next door neighbour with the woven bag and slipper in sight.|
Each First Class seat comes with its own privacy doors which you can slide close to create your own private suite. If you are travelling with a companion in First Class (hardly ever going to happen in my case), you can lower the half paneling between your suite and your companion's suite to convert it into a two-person suite! (You can't convert it into a queen bed like SIA's First Class, but still.....)
Each seat has a vase of fresh flowers, an illuminated vanity mirror, table lamp with dimmer, stationary drawer, magazine rack, personal mini bar, duvet and blanket. You can adjust the ambient lighting and ransack the mini bar to your liking. Of course, the other basics are there too such as the dining/writing table, power point and such. And the plush seats.... oh where do I even start with the seat. Not only is it electronically adjustable to convert into a flat bed (hint hint, MAS), it even has position memory, and you can set the seat to give you a back massage - all programmable from the touchscreen controller! The seat was even long enough for me to sleep straight, without having to curl up. As they dimmed the lights of the flight, stars were actually projected to the walls of the aircraft. I slept like a baby that night!
Forget about the window seat option; there is also a forward, downward and tail camera which allows you to see the unique view of your flight taking off, zooming through the skies and landing. And not to forget about the large cocktail bar/lounge which I didn't bother to visit - such a shame!
|The touchscreen controller and my own fully stocked private mini bar. Just ask the cabin crew to restock when your supplies are running low!|
|Nestled inside the vanity mirror, was my own range of toiletries; either for sleep or for focus.|
If you thought the meals at Business Class were scrumptious, in First Class they took it one step further. You can actually dictate what time you want your meals to be serve. Just like a restaurant; you call the crew (they greet you with your last name - such the personalized service), ask for the menu, order what you want to eat and they will serve it piping hot ready to eat. All the multi-course meals were served on bone china, on tray tables laid with fine linen. (Unfortunately, everything arrived in one tray, unlike SIA's First Class where they actually lay out every item individually, even your cutlery!)
|This was my breakfast. It was served with a basket of crisp pastries and fresh yogurt (and an international cheese board which I didn't really care for).|
Everyone knows Emirates offer one of the best in-flight entertainment. With over 1200 channels of entertainment, you can never run out of movies to watch. Sometimes I would have to remind myself to sleep so that I don't get jet-lagged when I arrive (or miss my connecting flight, like what dear Hubby did once.. uurrrggghhh). In First Class, your seat comes equipped with a 23" digital screen for a sensational viewing pleasure. The friendly cabin crew even provide snacks (such as nuts, chips, chocolates... oh how I wish they had popcorn too) for you to munch through your movie.
Oh, I forgot to mention that WiFi is free for First Class passengers, you know, in case you want to update your blog and all. (Work??? What work???) Unfortunately between the movie and the blog, the movie won hands down!
|Hey, look who sneaked into First Class! And forced Mummy to watch Disney movies throughout the whole flight!|
Okay, so I saved the best for last. You can probably scoff about the earlier features I told you about and say "Any other airplane has that too in First Class!", but what I'm about to share with you next is definitely not available in just any other airplane.
Emirates upped the ante for travelers significantly recently, by being the only commercial airline to offer two showers for its 14 (yes only 14 - I told you it's once in a lifetime!) First Class passengers.
Taking a shower at 40,000 feet in the air??!! Whoa, let's do this!
|The Emirates A380 shower spa.|
How do I even start describing the shower?? Imagine a spacious shower suite, trimmed with blond wood with grey upholstery, equipped with heated floors, generous toiletries and more towels than you would ever need, every single travel amenity you could ever think of such as a loofah and a hairdryer, and yes - a hot shower! You can choose to have the shower at the beginning of your flight or just before you arrive at your destination. I chose the latter, and was allowed twenty minutes in the shower suite with five minutes of water. However, you can turn the water on and off without the clock "running", so even if five minutes sounded like very little water, I actually managed to shower both Aiden and myself quite comfortably, with 20 seconds of water left to spare. After the shower, the stewart graciously asked how I found the shower, and even served me a plate of fruit.
There were also two full time shower spa attendants to ensure that the showers are well maintained during the flight. Emirates, hands down, you have the best airplane bathroom ever!
|The very impressive shower suite. Check out the gleaming glass surfaces!|
|The grey upholstery discretely covered the toilet bowl.|
|Two lines of the Timeless Spa shower product range - to either relax or revive you.|
|Clean towels and fresh flowers, with Bvlgari scents of your choice.|
|Last but not least, here's a picture of Aiden doing his big business 40,000 feet in the air!|
There you go, my one and only experience with the Emirates A380 First Class. Admittedly, I had a lot of fun telling people how Aiden did his big business up in the air!!! Thank you Emirates Skywards, for I am now no longer an A380 First Class virgin.