After spending some time in South East Asia, I began my return journey to North America by flying in Emirates A380 business class from Bangkok to Dubai.
While I’m certainly no stranger to Emirates First Class, this would be my first time flying with Emirates in business class, and I was looking forward to once again indulging in the onboard bar in the sky on the Airbus A380.
Emirates A380 Business Class – Booking
Emirates is one of the newest partner airlines to join the ranks of the Aeroplan loyalty program. I booked my entire journey from Bangkok to Seattle via Dubai in Emirates business class for 87,500 Aeroplan points, with this Bangkok–Dubai flight on the Airbus A380 followed by Dubai–Seattle on the Boeing 777.
I took advantage of the limited-time opportunity in late 2022 to book Emirates at the same rate as other Aeroplan partners. Emirates is unique airline partner in that it will eventually be subject to its own pricing structure, and the new pricing is set to take effect in early 2023.
Since the Bangkok–Dubai–Seattle routing measures under 11,000 miles in distance, I was able to leverage the “Asia 3” sweet spot on the Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart, which gives you the option of choosing to fly across either the Pacific or Atlantic to get between North America and Asia.
Emirates A380 Business Class – Ground Experience
Passengers flying in business class with Emirates out of Bangkok have access to the Emirates Lounge.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit the lounge, as I had a tight connection from a domestic Thai AirAsia flight from Phuket. Due to this relatively tight transfer on a separate ticket, I needed to head to my gate immediately.
Emirates A380 Business Class – Cabin
The Airbus A380 is the largest commercial plane in the world and features two levels. On the Emirates A380, the lower deck is designated for economy passengers, and the upper deck is equipped with both business class and First Class seating.
The business class cabin is laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, with 72 business class seats, all with direct aisle access. It’s situated towards the back of the upper deck, behind First Class, and is divided into a larger main cabin and a smaller mini-cabin.
As I stepped into the business class cabin, I was once again amidst Emirates’s timeless aesthetic. The cabin interiors were adorned with creamy hues, gold accents, and wooden inlays.
This Bangkok–Dubai flight was the second sector of a tag-on flight from Guangzhou–Bangkok–Dubai, so when I boarded, the cabin was already almost full of passengers.
I took my seat in Seat 24J, located in the smaller mini-cabin towards the rear of the aircraft. I strategically chose this seat to be in close proximity to the lavish bar on the upper deck.
The window seats alternate between being closer to the window, with surface space shielding you from the aisle, and closer to the aisle, where the surface space separates the seat from the window.
Although the seats closest to the window offer optimal privacy, they were already claimed by the time I made my seat selection, so I wound up in a more exposed one closer to the aisle.
While these window seats would best serve solo travellers, couples travelling together would most likely prefer to share the adjoining middle seats.
The centre seats alternate between being closer together, commonly referred to as the “honeymoon” seats, or farther apart. For those travelling with a companion, the honeymoon configuration allows for a more intimate setting, with seats placed closer together and the surface space closer to the aisle.
Emirates A380 Business Class – Seat
The business class seats on this flight were from the oldest generation of A380s within the Emirates fleet.
As the airline has gradually introduced new A380s over time, the interiors have undergone a series of revamps and renovations. The most recent version boasts sleek, modern interiors, complete with plush champagne leather seats and a darker walnut-inspired wood finish.
Taking my seat, I first took note of the entertainment screen in front of me, as well as the footrest located underneath.
A subtle tab beneath the footwell reveals the convenient literature pocket, while additional storage space is located beneath the footwell.
Nestled in the corner, a generous amount of surface space is provided, which houses a tablet that doubles as a secondary entertainment screen. The window features an electronic window shade, which can be adjusted at the push of a button.
Adjacent to this is a minibar stocked with still and sparkling water and a few cans of pop. Just above, a small storage shelf offers a convenient location for loose items.
The minibar, although not entirely necessary as items can be requested from the crew at any time, serves as a signature feature of Emirates’s premium cabins, its over-the-top presence adds to the overall ostentatiousness of the experience.
Conveniently located along the seat panel, all your connectivity needs are taken care of. Here you’ll find a headphone jack, HDMI port, and universal power outlet.
There’s also a personal air nozzle and an entertainment controller that can be easily withdrawn for handheld use.
The seat controls with four options are located flush against the surface of the console.
The table tray, which swivels into position, is conveniently located along this console and can be easily deployed when needed.
Lastly, there’s a deep storage well below the window along the console.
Emirates A380 Business Class – Amenities
As part of the pre-departure welcome rituals, Moët & Chandon Champagne was served onboard. Naturally, I indulged in a glass to start, which the flight attendants happily topped up.
Plush pillows and blankets, as well as a set of noise-cancelling headphones, were already thoughtfully placed at my seat upon boarding.
While sipping on my Champagne, I took a moment to explore the Bvlgari amenity kit, which was jam-packed with amenities.
In addition to the standard amenities such as toothbrush and toothpaste, the amenity kit offered a range of luxurious extras, including Bvlgari aftershave and body lotion, a small cologne, deodorant, shaving cream, and a razor.
It’s great to see additional items included in the amenity kit. I’ve flown on many airlines recently that don’t seem to put much thought into the amenity kit contents, but Emirates has decided to go the full distance by stuffing the amenity kits full of luxury branded products.
Emirates A380 Business Class – Meal Service
Shortly after boarding, the flight attendant stopped by my seat to hand out the in-flight menu.
The menu read as follows:
And the wine selection read as follows:
As the meal service began, the lights dimmed, and a captivating starry-night mood lighting twinkled across the ceiling.
We kicked things off with an Arabic mezze starter, accompanied by fresh pita and vegetable salad. This is one of Emirates’s signature dishes, consisting of an assortment of dips and spreads, and I took great enjoyment in polishing off the entire platter.
The main course of the meal was a yellow fish curry, which I found to be just okay. The curry itself had a good balance of flavours, but unfortunately, the fish was on the dry side, and it wasn’t my favourite dish from the flight.
To finish off the meal, I had a fruit plate, which I enjoyed alongside a cup of black tea.
The fruit was beautifully presented and the cup of black tea provided a nice conclusion to the meal.
However, I thought that this meal service as a whole didn’t quite meet the high standards set by Emirates’s lofty reputation, which is similar to some of my flights in Emirates First Class in the past – even though the airline is generally regarded as one of the world’s best, the dining doesn’t quite reach those same heights as the rest of the experience.
I dozed off briefly after the meal and requested that the crew to bring some black tea after I woke up, to which they happily obliged.
Emirates A380 Business Class – Bar
After finishing my second cup of tea, I made my way straight to the onboard bar, which is where I spent the majority of the remainder of the flight.
The bar is indeed the highlight of Emirates A380 business class, offering a luxurious and social lounge to relax and mingle in during your flight.
In some ways, the bar and lounge is an even more attractive destination if you’re flying in business class than First Class, relatively speaking. If you’re flying in Emirates A380 First Class, the bar may very well be an afterthought compared to the onboard shower, whereas it’s very much the star of the show for business class passengers.
The lounge has a sophisticated atmosphere with dim lighting and ample plush seating.
While Moët & Chandon is available to all bar patrons, First Class passengers have the added privilege of enjoying Dom Perignon at the bar, which is kept hidden away for exclusivity.
The bar also has a wide selection of premium spirits, wines, and refreshing cocktails.
Facing the bar is a giant screen with a map and news updates. This is also where you’ll find snacks and water here that you’re welcome to take.
The cocktail menu offered a diverse selection of options, and I decided to indulge in an old fashioned while I spent some time conversing with the crew at the onboard bar, who were friendly and engaging.
Emirates A380 Business Class – Entertainment
When it comes to in-flight connectivity, Emirates offers complimentary Wi-Fi for its Skywards members. Keep in mind that you’ll need to add your Skywards membership number to your booking at least 24 hours prior to your flight to make use of the Wi-Fi.
Unfortunately, I had booked my flight via Aeroplan and didn’t get around to changing my membership number on the booking in time, so I went ahead and paid for a full flight Wi-Fi plan for $19.99 (USD).
I also played around briefly with the entertainment screen in front of me, which is certainly a generous size. The screen was also highly responsive, with a crisp resolution.
Emirate’s signature ICE entertainment system offers a wide selection of recent films and TV shows, as well as a vast array of other content such as music, podcasts, and more, with up to 5,000 channels to choose from.
Additionally, the airshow is always a welcome feature, and the secondary tablet allows you to watch live camera views while enjoying your entertainment.
Emirates A380 Business Class – Bed
Heading back to my seat from the bar, I was feeling somewhat peckish. On Asian routes, Emirates offers instant noodles on the menu, which I of course indulged in, alongside a delicious glass of mango juice.
I then briefly put the seat into lie-flat mode and napped for about 30 minutes. While the bed was pretty comfortable, I was in a seat that was relatively exposed to the aisle, which is definitely not be ideal for those who prefer to sleep in privacy.
For passengers who are keen on resting for longer periods, a mattress pad can be added by the crew to add comfort to the lie-flat bed.
One thing to note is the large number of business class seats on the Airbus A380, which means a greater number of crew members dedicated to the business class cabin.
As a result, I observed that the crew member were very frequently walking up and down the aisles throughout the flight during their service, which can be slightly disruptive if you’re trying to get some rest.
Overall, I enjoyed an excellent flight onboard Emirates A380 business class, but that mostly comes down to the stunning onboard bar and lounge.
Emirates is indeed all about the bling and novelty factor. The bar in the sky is the truly the crown jewel of the flight, and the welcoming and friendly bar staff always adds to the overall positive experience.
Without the bar, however, I’d say that the flight was perfectly sound, but with its fair share of highs and lows.
The meal service definitely has room for improvement, as I’ve found it to be a consistently weaker element on Emirates compared to everything else. On the other hand, Emirates’s wine and Champagne selection is consistently among the best in the industry, and this flight was no exception either.
Ultimately, if you’re planning to Emirates business class, the A380 is definitely the best aircraft to seek out, given the direct aisle access at every seat and the ever-so-impressive onboard bar, both of which you won’t find on the Boeing 777.
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