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Emirates First Class Suites San Francisco to Dubai on the A380 – full review with video

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Emirates First Class Suites San Francisco to Dubai on the Airbus A380

Emirates First Class, specifically on the A380, has been on my vision board for a long, long time. It was on there before I was even a blogger, but once I started Monkey Miles I realized that I was far, far behind. In the points and miles world I feel like Emirates First Class and the Maldives are both a rites of passage ( still need to the the Maldives ), and finally I was about to experience it.  Over the last few years of flying well over 100k miles a year, I’ve been very close to flying Emirates First Class on a number of occasions, but as luck would have it, my plans always changed.

Then…the perfect opportunity presented itself: my fiancee and I needed to get to the Middle East and space for 2 people out of San Francisco correlated to the dates we needed. Boom! I locked down that elusive Emirates First Class experience.

I had the absolute pleasure of redeeming 150k Alaska miles per person, last November, to fly over 16 hours of pure luxury on Emirates First Class from San Francisco to Dubai on the A380.

If you want the full immersive experience, I’d highly recommend watching the video below.

Our other First Class Reviews:

Emirates First Class A380 Trip Details

  • When – November 2019
  • Where – San Francisco to Dubai
  • Flight: EK 226
  • Seat: Suite 2F
  • Flight Time: 15h 35m ( little over 16h with ground time )
  • Points used: 150k Alaska Miles + $77

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Booking Emirates First Class A380

Booking Emirates with Alaska miles is super simple. One thing I would note – when booking with Alaska Airlines you can’t mix partners, but you can mix Alaska’s own flights with a partner’s flight.  Additionally, you’re permitted a stopover. So if you wanted to go all the way to Australia, you could stopover in Dubai for a few days en route and it wouldn’t cost you a thing. We utilized this feature and stayed a few days in Dubai before heading to Saudi Arabia on Emirates First Class on the 777.

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If you’re looking at the most expensive way to book this trip…which is a favorite way bloggers like to brag about their effective redemption value, it was clocking in around $19k for a one way ticket.

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Seat Selection in Emirates First Class on the A380

The Emirates First Class cabin is upstairs on the A380 and fits a whopping 14 seats – 4 window seats on each side and 6 center seats. As a point of comparison, the new Singapore Suites have just 6 suites upstairs on the A380 and the Etihad Apartments have just 9 + 1 Residence. 14 is a lot, but lemme tell you, you are not aching for more room. Since we were flying together, we chose the 2 E and K. If I were to fly alone, I would choose 1A or 1K which are furthest from the galley.  If you look at the pics from SeatGuru below, you can see the two bathrooms in the front.  Both of those “bathrooms” aren’t just bathrooms, but


Emirates First Class A380 Check-in + Lounge

Since we live in Los Angeles and flying out of San Francisco ( and saver space wasn’t avail for the first leg ) we actually needed to position from LA to SFO, grab our bags, and then check in at SFO. We budgeted to arrive 5 hours in advance which proved to be perfect since we couldn’t check in for the Emirates flight until 4 hours prior to departure. Our check-in was super smooth, and I apologize for not having any pictures…I was filming and completely forgot. It’s was pretty non-descript and easy. We were given lounge passes and we headed on over to the Emirates lounge.

The Emirates lounge is nice, but feels dated. It’s a definitely a comfortable place to relax prior to departure. If you’re flying in First Class I wouldn’t suggest eating much in the lounge or wasting calories on the much much cheaper booze – although it did have Pol Roger champagne which is quite nice. What you get on board is truly special.

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Emirates First Class Boarding + My First Impression

When it came time to board, I couldn’t explain to you how excited I was; however, as you can tell from the video…it was an absolute cattle call. We arrived at the gate roughly an hour prior to departure, but alas, a few dozen people were in front of us ( no segregation for first class ) and our was probably half full when we boarded. So much for getting on the plane first!  Also… I was asked to keep any flight crew off camera – totally understandable.

It’s exactly everything you want it to be…blinged out, large screens, doors, coolers, snack baskets, everything is there. I’ve seen this cabin so many times and it was a very surreal experience being in it for the first time.

As I mentioned earlier, the cabin is a whopping 14 Suites and we chose 2 of the middle suites, 2E and F. For couples…I’d recommend it, and if you end up in one of these when you’re traveling alone, you’ll just keep up the middle partition.

If I were to fly this while traveling solo, I’d probably choose 1A or 1K; however, you are close to the 2 shower spa suites and small first class bar.  On the flipside, 4A and 4K are near the galley.

a row of seats with a television on it

If I were to fly this while traveling solo, I’d probably choose 1A or 1K; however, you are close to the 2 shower spa suites and small first class bar.  On the flipside, 4A and 4K are near the galley. Honestly, I’m not sure that it makes much of a difference since the doors fully close and you get a row of windows to yourself.

a teddy bear sitting on a table in an airplane

The Emirates First Class Suite

Of course every suite has a door on it and a MASSIVE tv screen – these babies are 32 in and crystal clear. These screens were a part of big upgrade that was integrated around 2016 I believe, and it makes you feel as if you’re in your own private cinema.

The Suite doesn’t have overhead storage, but it’s not missed – the storage intra-suite is fantastic. My Rimowa roller and Tumi backpack both fit easily under the TV area.*note the picture showing the underseat storage is fron the 77W but it’s the same size I just forgot a pic.  There is also a closet.

There is also a big cabinet to stow away a wallet, camera, kets, glasses, etc.

a black case and a camera on a carpet

The seat, door, entertainment system, basically the entire suite is controlled with this pad.

a tablet with a screen on it

If you’re sitting in Emirates First Class, You’ll also get the following:

  • His or her Emirates First Class amenity kits from Bvlgari
  • Emirates First Class Tote with Pajamas and slippers
  • A facial amenity kit within the vanity
  • An Emirates journal and pen
  • A shower reservation with 5 minutes of shower time ( you get 30 minutes in the suites itself )
  • The Shower Spa Suite also features an enormous amount of additional products to use
  • A mini bar
  • A snack tray

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Emirates First Class Food + Wine

Emirates is famous for offering some of the best wine in the sky. In fact, they keep a cellar in Burgundy, France with over 1.2 million bottles and have invested hundreds of millions of dollars just in wine.  As you can see in my video review, they also offer some really expensive spirits: Cognac ( Hennessy Paradis ), Johnny Blue, amongst others. That Hennessy retails for $1000!

Emirates First Class food is also extremely well done.  The presentation is Michelin caliber, and hands down, it’s the best salmon I’ve ever had in the sky.

Food is also on demand. So you can dine on what you want, when you want, without worry that you have missed your chance.

The menu is extensive and comes in a handsome binder.

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One of the biggest treats was trying the Dom Perignon P2 2002. A $400 bottle of champagne that you will rarely get a chance to try.

a stuffed animal and a bottle of wine on a table

The meal service begins with an amuse bouche of canapes.

  • Confit duck with pineapple
  • parmesan and truffle arancini
  • shrump and guacamole

a plate of food on a table

I enjoyed caviar while Elizabeth had a mezze platter ( I ended up finishing the mezze which I would highly recommend ).

As I mentioned before, this was some of the best salmon. Unfortuantely I was a bit hasty in photographing it and it’s a bit blurry. The stick toffee pudding was also quite delicious.

The Emirates First Class Bed

The seat fully reclines in a bed.  This is an interesting difference between this seat and most other first class seats. This seat goes from upright to bed all together. There is no bench that a portion of your seat lowers to meet. I found this out the hard way when putting it into bed mode and the foot portion kept getting caught on my backpack. ( I could have requested my seat to be done up while I got ready for bed, but I just quickly did it myself). Overall, it’s a very comfortable seat albeit quite a bit narrower than you’ll find on other first class options out there.

a stuffed animal in a bed

The famous Emirates First Class Shower Spa

Every passenger seated in Emirates First Class gets 30 minutes in one of the two shower suites at the front of the upper deck. There is a shower attendant that cleans and refreshes the suites, and will also knock on the door if you’ve been busy taking pictures, video, and forgetting about the world outside this massive flying room of luxury.  The suite comes equipped with a hair dryer, more products than you could ever use, towels, a full length mirror, and if you really want to get an idea of what it’s like…I highly recommend you watch the video – it’s fully immersive.

The shower itself is huge and includes a sit down area.  You will only get 5 minutes worth of water, and when you have 30 seconds left, it will start to pulse. I would highly recommend turning the water on and off as you soap and suds to maximize that time you are aloted.  It’s truly a bucket list experience that I hope you all get to try.

Emirates Business Class and the Business Class Bar

The business class product on Emirates looks quite nice as well. You will not want for that same blinged out feel and enjoy 1-2-1 seating with all aisle access and completely lie flat seats. In all honesty…this would have been a tremendous way to fly as you can see these seats are equipped with massive tvs as well, and have a decent amount of privacy.

a stuffed animal sitting on an airplane

The Emirates Business Class bar is world famous, and rightfully so…I mean look at the size! If you’re flying in First Class you can also use this bar, but let the crew know because they will fill your glass with First Class spirits instead of the business class offerings. Don’t stress tho, if you’re flying biz, you still get some quality booze to take the edge off.

a stuffed animal on a counter

My Overall Experience on Emirates First Class aboard the A380

I’m so so grateful this opportunity came about at the end of 2019.  Seeing how 2020 has reshaped travel, I’m even more thankful to have gotten to experience these aspirational products when I did.  Not only did I get to do this with points, but I also did it worry free of any virus, etc.

The service and crew were exceptional. Friendly, prompt, and doing their utmost to make the experience second to none.

I’m very happy to see that Emirates has reduced almost all of their surcharges as well. Emirates miles are easily accessed from credit card partners and this opens up this experience to a lot more people. While Alaska miles certainly aren’t impossible to earn, they aren’t the first choice for many international readers and travelers outside the US.   The ability to redeem Emirates miles for business and first class on their own airline without spending $1k in fees makes this far more doable for most people.

I’m looking forward to my next experience on Emirates and fingers crossed I am able to try their new fully enclosed suite sometime sooner than later. Again, thank you reading.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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