Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

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Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)


Dubai (DXB) - Washington DC (IAD)
DEP 2:25AM ARR 8:10AM
Duration: 14h 35m
Seat number: 2K FIRST
Aircraft: Airbus 380
Miles Redeemed: 155,000 JAL Miles + $126.04 USD

The Verdict 

  • PROS: Luxurious enclosed suite, beautiful gold studded design, true VIP experience “dine on demand' service, over the top lavatory with a stand-up shower room, huge toilet, amazing on-board bar lounge and friendly crew's service.
  • CONS: Tight First class cabin configuration compared to the First Class on Boeing 777-300ER, mediocre food, award booking options now becomes harder and harder to book. First Class check-in agent was not pleasant at all.
Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Miles Booking

The Emirates First Class on the A380 aircraft is one of the bucket lists for many aviation enthusiasts because of its on-board shower and bar. One First Class seat can cost more than $10,000 easily. I redeemed Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank miles transferred from the previous SPG program to snag one of those First Class seats. Because Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank is distance based, I had to be a little creative to take full advantage of that program. Here's the The Ultimate Guide to Book Emirates First Class Using Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank

In the end, my routes ended up being all in First Class as shown below:
The total miles redeemed were 155,000 JAL miles + $126.04 USD taxes for the distance between 14,001 and 20,000 miles flown. Unfortunately, Japan Airlines has devalued their award chart since November last year. So for the same itinerary now will require 190,000 JAL miles and taxes to book. Booking can be done online and Marriott points can be transferred to JAL miles at the ratio 3:1. For more information, check out our post on the The Ultimate Guide to Book Emirates First Class Using Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank
Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

DXB Airport

Dubai is a great city to visit and it’s fairly safe, but its airport is just little bit disappointing. My experience on the taxi trying to get to the airport was like this. I told the taxi driver that I wanted to go to the International terminal and with Emirates, sure enough without doing research on my part, I was dropped off at terminal 2. Upon arrival I could not find a check-in counter for Emirates. So I asked a gentleman that worked with another airline there, he said that I was in the wrong terminal as Emirates leaves exclusively from terminal 3. He was kind enough to walk me out of the airport and helped pointed out the airport's van that I could take to go to the terminal 3. That was when things didn’t go well when it came to that airport's van. There was only one van. It’s a small van so capacity was pretty much limited and there were a few people waiting to get on the van every single time. If you are traveling alone and have luggage, you have to go hand it over to the guy to store it first but then there’s a chance you might not be able to grab a seat inside the van. When I handed over my bag to the guy, he told me he couldn’t take it because no more seats. I almost walked away from the van and got another taxi, but I turned back and asked him nicely again if he could accommodate one more person. He told me to take the extra tiny seat between the driver and passenger in the van, but I actually ended up with a regular seat. It was a crazy experience. So do not make the same mistake as I did, go straight to terminal 3 because that terminal is dominated by all the Emirates flights. I tipped the guy in the end when he handed me the bag back upon arrival at terminal 3, and that surely changed his attitude a lot for wanting to help me out after that. He even walked me to the door as I asked him about where to check in at terminal 3.


Check-In

First class and Business class passengers have dedicated check-in area in the terminal 3. So I followed the sign and because of the extra security when flying to the United States, they couldn’t check me in yet until I was cleared with the security agent. Admittedly, I was early but then I had to wait for the security guy to come and question me about the usual who packed your bag, etc. kinds of questions. That process didn’t take long and once finished, I could proceed to check in and received the boarding pass. The male check-in agent was not pleasant. He acted like someone that didn’t want to be there to work. I was surprised that he was assigned to work in a premium class's check-in counter. All said and done, I got my boarding pass and proceeded to the immigration counter to exit Dubai and went through the usual x-ray security without any issues.


Emirates First Class Lounge Access

Emirates First Class lounge is amazing. You feel like the lounge is pretty much an entire terminal. First Class passengers can board the plane through the lounge as the gate is located right inside the lounge. In the case of the A380, First class seats are in the upper deck and therefore when it was time for boarding, I simply went to the gate inside the lounge and boarded into the upper deck of the aircraft along with other First Class passengers. You won't get to see Economy and Business class passengers during boarding if you board from the lounge. It’s quite different. As for the lounge itself, there are tons of seats available and there’s a quiet room that you can rest and take a quick nap. I took the advantage of the shower in the lounge before the flight as well.


Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)



Dubai Emirate First Class Lounge Quiet Room
Dubai Emirate First Class Lounge Quiet Room

Emirates Suite Seat & Cabin

After entering the aircraft, I was guided to my seat which is a suite. The gold color wall panels and interior design of the suite felt very luxurious. The suite is spacious and full of amenities. There's also a privacy door. The door is completely enclosed. The design in the suite is simply beautiful. It is pretty similar to the Emirates First Class on Boeing 777-300ER that I flew on from Sydney to Dubai.

The First Class cabin, on the other hand, feels pretty tight compared to the B777-300ER. The Boeing 777's First Class cabin feels a lot more roomy and since I am little bit claustrophobic, I appreciate the cabin on the B777 more than the A380. There are a total of 14 closed suites on the A380's First Class cabin and it is configured 1-2-1. I was traveling solo, so I picked seat 2K.


Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Drinks & Food "Dine On Demand"

Dining on Emirates First Class is a true VIP experience. The way it works is "dine on demand." What this really means is that you can order anything from the menu and whenever you want. I was first served the small canapés. I paired my caviar with the expensive Dom Pérignon. I also had chowder soup as my in between flight's meal. For breakfast, I decided to go with a cheese omelet and sausage. In my honest opinion, the food was really just okay. Here are some pictures.


Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)
Dessert

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)
Chowder Soup

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Emirates Lie-flat Bed

After dinning, I decided to go change into pajamas. Meanwhile, I kindly asked one of the flight attendants to make my bed for me. After returning from my change, I saw a lie-flat bed inside my suite waiting for me. It was very inviting. Without hesitation and after taking a few pictures of that bed, I decided to lay down and remote controlled the privacy door in my suite. The door was fully closed and I felt super relaxed in my suite.


Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

On-board Shower

What set Emirates A380 First Class aside from other airlines is its huge on-board lavatory that comes with a stand-up shower room and gigantic toilet seat. It was my first time on the Emirates A380 so I did not know what to expect. When I first walked into the lavatory, I thought I walked into the wrong room because that lavatory is super big. There's also an assigned crew member that specifically takes care of the lavatory. There are a total of 2 lavatory rooms in First Class. Each passenger can use the lavatory as long as s/he wants, but when it comes to the shower, the crew will provide options and time slot to take the shower. I picked the time to take the shower before landing so that when I landed in D.C, I would feel refreshed. Each passenger is only allowed to take the shower for 5 minutes. Don't worry, that assigned crew member will provide instruction and guidance on how the shower works, etc. It was pretty cool to say that I have showered thousands feet above the ground on the plane!




Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

On-board Bar Lounge

Emirates First Class on the A380 comes with a very nice bar and lounging area. The bar is available for both Business and First Class passengers. There's a specific crew member that is assigned to work at the bar as a bartender. He or she can make pretty much any drinks that you ask for. The assigned flight attendant on my flight was very nice and friendly. She welcomed me on-board and after learning that it was my first time on Emirates First Class A380, she insisted to take out the polaroid camera to take a picture of me behind the bar. She gave me the polaroid photo as a souvenir. I thought at the time that it was just getting better and better with Emirates First Class A380. I did not realize they have a Polaroid camera. A couple Business Class passengers saw that she offered me that souvenir, they also asked for the same. The bar area is pretty spacious and it is a true lounging area.


Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

You can spot who is in First Class and who is in Business Class at the bar lounge by observing who is wearing Emirates pajamas as the pajamas are only available for First Class passengers. I also overheard a passenger asked the bartender when the crew would serve breakfast. I thought premium class all get "dine on demand" privilege, but after asking the bartender she giggled and told me that "dine on demand" is only available for First Class passengers.


Review: Emirates EK231 First Class A380 Dubai (DXB) to Washington DC (IAD)

Crew Service

The service on the Emirates First Class A380 is well deserved. The male flight attendant that served me was pleasantly nice and friendly. He also provided a memorable service with his sense of humor. I recall before landing, I asked him if I could take the notepad and pen that have Emirates word on it to keep as souvenirs. He said that I was welcome to take anything inside that suite except for the headphone. He jokingly added that "don't take the lamp, please!" Haha... There's an arabic lamp in the suite, you can look at the picture as it's easier to understand that way better than me trying to describe that lamp. Overall, I was very happy with the crew's service and my experience on the Emirates First Class A380.


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PL

Posted by: PL

Hello there! People call me PL and I am a points blogger. Obsessed with using points and miles to elevate travel experiences to explore the world. Enjoy finer things in life and good food. I have a day job, this points blog is mainly my hobby and my contribution back to the points community. If you enjoy reading this post, please help me share it! If you enjoy what you read here, please make sure you subscribe or follow this blog on social media so that you will be notified when there's a new blog's post. I thank you for reading this blog. Your support means a lot to me and it is what makes this blog's work worthwhile. If I can be of any help, you can contact me: thepointslife at gmail dot com

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