When booking a vacation, most people don't splurge on flying business or first class. I used to be one of those people, until I flew business class with Emirates to Dubai. It might sound crazy, but I can honestly say that this flight changed my life. Before traveling to Dubai, I had never left the country. I didn't like to fly, and I definitely couldn't imagine myself making it through a twelve-hour flight in one piece. But thanks to all of the incredible amenities on this flight, I did it. Now I'll tell anyone who will listen to spend the money and upgrade their seat. If you're considering flying business or first class, allow me to convince you. Here's exactly what you get when you fly business class with Emirates:
You Can Board Directly from a Private Lounge.
It wouldn't be a complete review of Emirates business class without discussing the Emirates lounge at JFK airport. This is where the luxury begins. The lounge, which was just renovated in July 2018, has tons of seating, free wifi, gorgeous bathrooms (with showers!) and a free buffet. As far as waiting around at the airport before your flight boards goes, it's an absolute dream come true.
Speaking of boarding, first and business class passengers board directly from the lounge. I cannot stress enough how incredible this experience was. One minute I'm sitting at a table in a comfy leather chair, eating a croissant and answering emails on my laptop, and the next minute I'm checking my boarding pass with the Emirates employee and walking onto the plane. There were no annoying announcements, no waiting in line for my section to be called, and no rush to board before they start gate-checking bags. It was the most seamless boarding experience I've ever had.
The Plane's Shockingly Spacious.
After boarding from the lounge, things only got better. Every time I walk onto a plane in search of my seat, I feel a slight twinge of anxiety. I'm always worried that I'll arrive at my seat to find that the overhead space is already taken, and I'll have to desperately (and awkwardly) find another place to put my luggage so as to avoid having my bags gate-checked, Meet The Parents style. Walking into the Emirates business class section gave me the opposite feeling.
There was so much room in the overhead storage bins that I almost wanted to run around and offer to help other passengers stow their carry ons (don't worry, I didn't do that). I didn't really have that much time to admire the massive overhead bins, though, because as soon as I got my luggage stored a flight attendant was greeting me with a glass of champagne. A glass of champagne! I don't drink that often, and it was 10:30 in the morning, but I took it anyway because you don't turn down a glass of champagne in business class. With my drink in hand, I went off to explore.
I found my friend's seat a few rows back. She had a window seat, which had a huge bin beneath the window for even more storage. We admired the seat's mini bar, complete with drinks, and complimentary socks and a sleep mask, then decided to finally go check out the best part of the Emirates A380 plane: the bar.
There's a Full Bar.
The bar and lounge might be one of the coolest and most famous selling points of flying Emirates business class. Not only can you order specialty cocktails to be made on the spot, but there's tons of room to mingle with your friends or other passengers. There are also snacks at the bar, like pretzel sticks and chips. Oh, and they had complimentary bags of M&M's to take back to your seat, and truly nothing is better than complimentary M&M's.
Bonus: There's a polaroid camera available, so you can snap your picture standing behind the bar, which the flight attendants will put in an Emirates picture frame for you. (Obviously, you'll want to get this picture so you can brag to your friends that you were on a flight that had a full bar.)
You're Constantly Being Offered Extra Perks.
Eventually we left the bar to go back to our own seats. This is when a lot of the most luxurious aspects of the flight came into play. First, flight attendants delivered warm nuts to every seat. I didn't even know I liked warm nuts until this very moment in my life. Then other attendants came around with a drink caddy offering wine, champagne, or water. At some point—I honestly forget when—they were handing out warm scented towels for your hands and face. Basically, you want for nothing on the flight.
I Had The Best Dessert of My Life on a Plane.
About an hour or two into the flight, the cabin crew came around to take our dinner and breakfast orders. I wasn't sure what to expect because I, admittedly, had never had plane food before. I'm a picky eater, so instead of ordering an entrée I opted for the salad and dessert (please don't judge me). The salad was surprisingly fresh and came with bread and butter, which just happens to be my favorite. Cabin crew members came around with even more bread and I had—I kid you not—the best slice of garlic bread I've ever had in my life. On a plane!
After that I had the best dessert of my life, a chocolate mousse cake with a crumbly crust and caramel center. I wish I were exaggerating about how amazing it was, but it's the truth and I ate every last bite. Breakfast was equally good, though being the picky eater that I am, I mostly just ate bread, so I won't bore you with the details.
The In-Flight Entertainment Is Next-Level.
When I wasn't stuffing my face, I was messing around with the in-flight entertainment system, ICE. My favorite part, aside from all the options, was the fact that you could control the TV system through the touch screen or the remote control device right in your seat. There was no leaning forward and pounding the touchscreen to try to change channels or adjust the volume.
I was really impressed with the amount of new movies that were available, and ended up watching Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians. There were also tons of TV shows, podcasts, and video games to choose from, but ultimately I went with the classic choice, Friends.
Probably the best of all the amenities, though, was the...wait for it...business class amenity kit! At the beginning of the flight cabin crew members brought around small silk pouches full of travel-size, luxury beauty products from BVLGARI, a compact mirror, toothbrush, and a comb. I honestly didn't need anything in the bag, but I felt very luxe having it. I also kept the bag after the flight because it's perfect for packing beauty products for future trips.
The Lie-Flat Seats Are Ridiculously Comfy.
Not to be dramatic but, these seats changed my life. Before this trip I had never flown more than three hours. I am claustrophobic, have anxiety, and once had a panic attack after being stuck in traffic on a bus for six hours. I wasn't sure that I was going to be okay on the twelve-hour flight to Dubai, but then I got into my lie-flat seat.
There was a pillow and a blanket waiting for me at my seat. In the first few minutes of the flight an attendant brought around a thin white cushion, or as she called it, "a mattress," to cover the seat. I basically had everything I needed to go to bed right then and there. But I eased my way into it. When I first settled in I reclined the seat slightly and raised the leg rest. I sat like this for about four or five hours, working on my laptop and listening to music. Just the little difference of being able to have my feet up helped me get through the first leg of the flight feeling calm and relaxed.
Eventually, I closed my laptop and decided it was time to really relax. So I finally did it. I lied all the way back, and man, was it good. For the first few hours I stayed up and watched two movies. When I got really tired I grabbed the complimentary sleep mask―because they have one of those at every seat―pulled the blanket all the way up to my neck and went to sleep. I probably only slept for three or four hours, but that didn't really matter. Being able to gradually go from sitting upright, to laying down watching movies, to eventually sleeping was a game-changer. It might sound silly, but it really helped me break the long flight into sections. Had I been sitting upright in an economy seat for twelve hours straight, I promise you I would have had an emotional breakdown. I couldn't have gone to Dubai without this seat.
The Service Was Top-Notch.
Emirates flight attendants might be the nicest people in the world, and I'm not just saying that. Every attendant greeted me with a genuine smile, and helped with literally whatever I needed. When I couldn't get the wifi to work on my phone, one of the
wizards cabin crew members got it to work for me. There was always someone checking in on me to see if I needed anything, and they were super accommodating when I asked for weird meal substitutions. How they made it through a twelve-hour flight with perfect hair, makeup, and composure I don't know, but it made the experience that much more pleasant.
The Bottom Line: If you're on the fence about whether or not the more expensive, business class ticket is worth it, just do it. It is more than worth it, and you will thank yourself every day for the next year that you went through with it. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
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