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Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH)
DEP 23:55PM ARR 16:05PM
Duration: 9h 10m
Seat number: 1K FIRST
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Miles Redeemed: 155,000 JAL Miles + $126.04 USD
- PROS: Luxurious enclosed suite with doors, beautiful gold studded design, “dine on demand’ VIP food and drinks service.
- CONS: Mediocre food, lack of good lounge at Newark, lack of personal touch crew service, award booking options now becomes harder and harder to book.
This First Class Emirates redemption is part of my Emirates First Class journey that I took advantage of using Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank‘s distance based award chart. I had to be little bit creative to max out the distance in a particular award mileage and surprisedly I was able to do that with Emirates flights and all in First Class. My routes ended up like this:
- Sydney to Dubai First Class (stop for a few days) – Boeing 777-300ER
- Dubai to Washington DC First Class – Airbus 380
- 4 months later, Newark to Athens – Boeing 777-300ER
Total miles redeemed were 155,000 JAL miles + $126.04 USD taxes for the distance between 14,001 and 20,000 miles flown. Unfortunately, JAL has devalued their award chart since November 2018. 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
Newark Liberty International Marriott Airport & Check-In
The flight is a red-eye flight and since I had no desire to go into New York city, I decided to stay at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott. The stay was incredible! Because of my Marriott Platinum elite status, the property offered me the room upgrade, lounge access with amazing food and drinks, and a late check-out at 7PM. The property also provides complimentary airport shuttle so that was super convenient. Here is my full Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott Review: Platinum Elite with Upgrade and Lounge Access
At Newark Liberty International Airport, Emirates leaves from terminal B. The check-in counter is located on level 3 Zone B and can be reached via the escalator. The security line to the International boarding gates were super long. I learned it the hard way that if you are flying in Business and Fist class, there’s actually a premium class priority lane; however, because the line at the time was far too long away from the priority lane’s sign, I never saw the sign until I got closer and heard someone asked “anyone is flying business class?” So don’t do the same mistake as I did. Emirates also does not participate in TSA Pre-Check, so don’t expect that.
After clearing the security, I went to the SAS Lounge that’s used for Emirates Business and First Class passengers. The lounge itself is very pretty, but the food is very disappointing: limited hot items and a lot of cold items. You can read my non-biased full review of the SAS Lounge here. I was so glad that I ate the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott’s lounge before going to the airport.
|SAS Lounge at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) For Emirates Business and First Class Passengers|
After a few hours in the lounge, it was time to go to my gate and wait for the boarding process. The gate number was 63 and it was pretty close to the SAS lounge so it was very convenient. I boarded in the First Class lane along with with Business Class and Emirates elite status passengers. Upon boarding the aircraft, a flight crew member guided me to my suite seat and there was already two other First Class passengers onboard. Soon a flight attendant came to greet me and asked if I was familiar with the Suite. That was my second time on the Emirates Boeing 777. The first experience I had was when I flew from Sydney to Dubai on Emirates EK417 flight.
Emirates Suite Seat & Cabin
On the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, there are 8 closed suites with 1-2-1 configuration. My seat was 1K and let me say that, it’s NOT a good seat! Granted, there’s no bad seat in First Class cabin, but seat 1K is very close to the gallery. Therefore there were a lot of steps and I practically could hear the flight attendants prepared food and drinks. Seat 1F in the middle is also in the same situation. There were only 3 passengers in the First Class cabin, and we all took the seats on the right hand side, so the ones on the left were pretty much empty. I wished I picked one of those seats instead as it felt more secluded and private. But I was already settled in so I did not want to move. Regardless, the suite can be completely closed with a door for privacy. I mainly used the door when I laid down and slept on the sky bed.
The gold studded design of the suite feels very luxurious. You have a giant TV screen, a desk with a drawer that contains a notebook and a pen. On top of the desk there’s a lamp, a basket full of snacks, a compartment that can be popped open and it comes with a mirror inside along with skincare products. On the side of the seat, there’s a mini bar which I find kind of silly as the drinks are not cold and since you are flying First Class, if you want something to drink you can always ask from the flight attendants anyway. Besides the mini bar, there’s a remote control pad that you can use to control all the functionality of not only the TV but also the seats.
The First Class cabin on Boeing 777 feels bigger and more roomy compared to the Airbus 380. However, it’s worth noting that Emirates Boeing 777 does not have onboard shower and bar like the A380 does.
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. For appetizer, I picked king crab with avocado and virgin Bloody Mary gel. For my main course, I had the grilled monkfish. Given it was a red-eye flight I didn’t want to eat too much because I was afraid of not being able to sleep well but Emirates food tastes just mediocre to me. For breakfast, I ordered omelette served with sautéed potatoes and roasted tomato.
Emirate Lie-flat Sky Bed
After dinning, I decided to go change into pajamas. Meanwhile, I kindly asked one of the flight attendants to make the bed for me. It was past midnight by then, so I decided to remote controlled the suite doors and felt asleep on the comfortable lie-flat sky bed. Here are some pictures:
|The stardust in the cabin. It was beautiful and mesmerizing.|
The service from the crew was not as good as my previous experience with Emirates First Class from Dubai to Washington DC. Although the crew on this flight were nice and professional, they lack personal touch.