Emirates

Review: Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai

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My flight from Dubai to Los Angeles was departing at 3PM, so a friend dropped me off at Terminal 3 at around 11:30AM, so I’d have plenty of time to review the lounge. Emirates has a separate drop-off area for first and business class passengers, which lets you skip the main part of the check-in hall altogether.

The Emirates premium check-in area is massive. First there are a bunch of red carpets for first class check-in, and then behind that are blue carpets for business class check-in.

After that I proceeded through immigration and passport control, which was relatively quick thanks to this checkpoint only being for premium passengers. Once through security I took the train to the A Concourse, which is Dubai Airport’s A380 concourse (though 777s depart from there as well, and not all A380s depart from that concourse).

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WOW: Emirates Is Launching Daily Flights Between Newark And Athens

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Emirates has just announced that they’ll be launching daily flights between Athens and Newark as of March 26, 2017. The flight will operate as a continuation of one of Emirates’ existing flights between Dubai and Athens, so the entire routing will look as follows:

EK209 Dubai to Athens departing 10:50AM arriving 3:30PM
EK209 Athens to Newark departing 5:30PM arriving 10:00PM
EK210 Newark to Athens departing 11:45PM arriving 4:00PM
EK210 Athens to Dubai departing 6:00PM arriving 11:40PM

The flight between Athens and Newark covers a distance of ~4,920 miles, and is blocked at 9hr15min eastbound and 11hr30min westbound.

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Comparing First & Business Class On The Emirates A380

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I’ve flown Emirates’ A380 well over a dozen times, almost exclusively in first class. I’ve reviewed Emirates first class on many routes, including from London to Dubai, Singapore to Dubai, Dubai to London, Los Angeles to Dubai, Dubai to Singapore, Dallas to Dubai, and Dubai to Manchester.

Well, I recently flew Emirates A380 business class for the first time from Dubai to Los Angeles. While I’ll have a full trip report shortly, some readers asked if I could do a side-by-side comparison of Emirates’ first and business class product, which is what this post is about.

Is there actually a big difference between Emirates first and business class? Here are my thoughts:

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Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)

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In 2016 my goal was to review as many new airlines as possible, and that’s something I want to continue into 2017. So I figured I might as well get my year off to a good start, and plan a heck of a trip for the first week of the year.

The primary motivation of this trip was to review as many new airlines as quickly as possible, though I was also excited about having stopovers that allowed me to briefly visit two countries — Jordan and Brunei — for the first time.

I only planned this trip in late December, about a week before I was due to takeoff. Let’s briefly look at the planning process.

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Emirates Is Now Selling First Class Lounge Access In Dubai

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There’s no denying that the Gulf carriers are under financial pressure, and are trying to find ways to generate additional revenue. It looks like the latest move in that effort involves lounge access in Dubai. Emirates is now selling access to both their business class and first class lounges at Dubai Airport.

Here’s how the new offering is described:

“If you’re an Emirates Skywards Blue member, you can now pay to access Emirates lounges at Dubai International airport regardless of your class of travel, and so can your family and friends who are travelling on the same Emirates flight.”

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What’s The Best Emirates A380 Business Class Seat?

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Yesterday I flew Emirates’ A380 business class for the first time, which was a pretty good experience overall. Given how big Emirates’ A380 fleet is, I figured I’d write a post about the best business class seats on the plane, because this is a plane where there’s a big difference in quality between seats. To start, here’s a link to the SeatGuru page for the Emirates A380, which is a good reference point.

Emirates’ A380 business class cabin is located on the upper deck, behind the first class cabin.

The business class cabin features a total of 76 seats, spread across two cabins. There’s one massive business class cabin with 15 rows.

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Emirates A380 Business Class In 10 Pictures

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Hello from Los Angeles! I just flew Emirates’ A380 business class for the 15hr10min flight from Dubai to Los Angeles. I’ve flown Emirates first class a countless number of times, though this was my first time in their A380 business class, so naturally I was curious how it compared.

Emirates’ business class cabin on the A380 is large — there are 76 seats, spread across two cabins on the upper deck. The cabin is in a 1-2-1 configuration, with staggered seats. This means that in each row seats alternate between being closer to the aisle and being closer to the window.

Generally my issue with these staggered configurations is that the foot cubby is small. However, I found Emirates’ staggered configuration to be the most comfortable and spacious yet. I got a solid seven hours of sleep, and it felt like “legitimate” sleep rather than airplane sleep. I really felt like I was in a cocoon thanks to being in a “true” window seat.

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I’m Flying Emirates A380 Business Class For The First Time

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As I first posted about a couple of weeks ago, I’m in the middle of a crazy review trip, which has me flying Air Canada, EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, and Royal Brunei. I flew Air Canada from Tampa to Toronto, EgyptAir from Toronto to Cairo, Royal Jordanian from Cairo to Amman, Royal Jordanian from Amman to Kuala Lumpur, Royal Brunei from Kuala Lumpur to Bandar Seri Begawan, and Royal Brunei from Bandar Seri Begawan to Dubai.

That brings me as far as Dubai, though at the time I hadn’t yet decided how I’d get back from Dubai to the United States, and I was deciding between a few different options. In particular, I was considering:

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Emirates Cost Cuts Showers, Champagne, And Special Meals

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The Gulf carriers are certainly cost cutting. For example, Emirates is delaying delivery of some A380s, and also recently started charging for seat assignments on select economy fares.

They’re making some other service cuts shortly across cabins which I think are interesting to point out. None of them are especially significant, though they reflect an overall trend that I think is pretty telling.

Here’s the details of the changes, most of which kick in as of January 1, 2017:

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Trouble In The Gulf: Emirates Is Delaying A380 Deliveries

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Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the A380. So far they have a total of 87 A380 aircraft in their fleet, with a total of 142 A380 aircraft on order. Emirates has almost as many A380s as all other airlines combined, which is pretty amazing.

For years there have been rumors of Airbus cutting production of the A380 due to lack of demand, though Emirates has been campaigning for them not to stop production. Seemingly they’re the only airline that’s actually thrilled with the plane.

Perhaps their desire for A380 production to continue has to do with the fact that they’ve mostly funded the project, so they want to see the aircraft advance, rather than be discontinued.

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Emirates Introduces The World’s First Moisturizing Pajamas

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Emirates has finally found a solution to one of the biggest problems that their first class passengers face. Let’s set the scene — you’re sitting there in your fully enclosed suite, just sipping on Dom Perignon, scooping caviar onto your blinis with your mother of pearl spoon, anticipating your onboard shower, retrieving an additional beverage from your private minibar, when suddenly you think to yourself “man, what would make this flight really great is if these pajamas had built in moisturizer that releases naturally nutrient rich sea kelp.”

You spoke, Emirates listened! Okay, maybe not exactly, but that’s not stopping Emirates from changing up their onboard amenities in a very cool way.

Emirates has offered the same pajamas and amenity kits in first class for years, and they’ve been fantastic. The pajamas have been sand colored and very light, and are among my favorites, given how comfortable they are.

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Emirates Will Introduce Premium Economy Within The Next 18 Months

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Premium economy is being adapted rapidly by airlines around the world. In many ways it reflects the evolution in airline products — economy keeps getting tighter and business class keeps getting more spacious, so there’s a market for something in the middle. The premium economy hard products we are seeing nowadays are similar to what business class was like 15-20 years ago.

While the Gulf carriers are generally leaders when it comes to innovating their onboard products, none of them have introduced a premium economy product. I suspect this is partly because they have a two-pronged strategy — they value large premium cabins, but also don’t want to sacrifice their economy capacity, since in many markets it helps them pay the bills.

Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has gone so far as to say that their current economy product is as good as premium economy on other airlines, so they don’t have to “punish people to pay more to get the same product.” Clearly that’s beyond delusional, especially as this statement was made around the same time that the carrier confirmed they’d be introducing 10 seats per row in 777 economy.

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Amazing Emirates Business Class Fares From Cairo To Just About Everywhere

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Cairo is probably the best city in the world out of which to find cheap premium cabin airfares. Early last month they got even cheaper, when Egypt devalued their currency, meaning those buying tickets in foreign currencies were paying even less.

While we see specific fare sales out of Cairo all the time, at the moment Emirates seems to have incredible business class fares from Cairo to just about anywhere, valid for travel over a wide range of dates. You’re best off using ITA Matrix or Google Flights to search these fares.

For example, you can fly from Cairo to Hong Kong for ~$790 roundtrip:

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Alaska Adds (Expensive) Awards To Australia & New Zealand

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Yesterday Alaska published rates for Japan Airlines awards, which we’re pretty excited about. It looks like Alaska has been making other updates this week as well, which are pretty interesting.

As I mentioned yesterday, Alaska Mileage Plan is unique in that they have a separate award chart for each partner carrier. Both the origin and destination country have to be listed on the award chart for that specific carrier, otherwise it’s not a valid redemption. As of yesterday, for example, you couldn’t use Alaska miles for Emirates or American awards to/from Australia.

That appears to have changed overnight, as I’m now seeing redemption options on both carriers.

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