My 15.5-hour flight from Los Angeles to Dubai on Emirates was comfortable and restful. While there were some service lapses, how can I complain about two great meals and 10 hours of sleep?
I booked this ticket using 82,500 Alaska miles two days before travel. Emirates tends to open award space at the last-minute and this flight was wide open starting about a week before travel.
I arrived at Los Angeles two hours prior to takeoff and found no wait in the business class check-in line. While I could have checked in online, I wanted a window seat and none appeared available during online check-in. I figured that there may be a seat or two blocked and that was indeed the case, through it was a two-step process.
The check-in agent indicated that seat 7K, a bulkhead seat in business class was blocked. She called a supervisor to unlock it for me and the supervisor denied the request (no reason given). I did not press it, but when I got the the lounge I requested a seat change to 7K and was promptly obliged.
Emirates LAX Lounge
I’ve reviewed the Emirates LAX Lounge in detail before and nothing has changed. First and business class passengers use the same lounge and I enjoyed a nice lunch.
However, I left the lounge early because the wi-fi was not working. I also had no connection for my mobile phone, meaning no tethering. Interestingly, internet seemed to be down throughout the airport, though I was able to use data from my mobile phone at the boarding gate.
> Review: Emirates Lounge LAX
Boarding was delayed due to a late-arriving aircraft from Dubai. Finally, at about 4:20 PM, boarding began.
Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)
Sunday, May 19th
Depart: 4:45 PM
Arrive: 7:35 PM+1
Duration: 15hr, 50min
Seat: 7K (Business Class)
Boarding at LAX is on two-levels and I was directed up an escalator and down the upper rear jet bridge to business class. Onboard, I was welcomed by a flight attendant and directed to my seat via the galley.
Emirates A380 Business Class Seating
The Emirates business class cabin is located exclusively on the upper deck of the A380 and features 76 seats in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, split into a larger main cabin and smaller rear cabin.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think the Emirates business class seats are way past their prime. Not so much in terms of comfort, but in terms of the gaudy woodgrain, gold accents, and tired-looking fabric.
More importantly, however, the seats are quite comfortable and the window seats are fairly private compared to the aisle seats.
I liked the mini-bar, personal storage, and convenient plugs in the console.
As you can see, my bulkhead seat had a storage compartment affixed to it. It took up the same amount of room as if another staggered seat was in front. Early on, flight attendants used the cabinet repeatedly and I feared I had chosen the wrong seat, but once we were airborne I was left alone.
Shortly after takeoff, FAs handed out mattress pads, which I just placed at my feet until it was time to sleep. With the mattress pad, soft satin-style blanket, and plush pillow, I was able to sleep for 10 hours…which was desperately needed.
I awake about four hours of Dubai very well rested.
Emirates A380 Business Class Lounge
Behind the business class cabin is a lounge area shared by both first and business class passengers. It features couches and a bar, a concept first pioneered by Virgin Atlantic and Air France but now a signature of the Emirates A380.
I checked out the bar before I went to sleep and found it empty. In addition to alcoholic beverages, light self-serve snacks and heartier light meals are available. I enjoyed some fresh fruit and a basil-lime macaron.
Emirates A380 Business Class Dining
Dinner service began promptly after takeoff, and I mean promptly. Within minutes after taking off, orders were taken for beverage and main course and hot towels were distributed.
Here’s the menu and wine list for the flight:
I ordered an Aperol Spritz and enjoyed that with a dish of warmed nuts.
Emirates offers a choice of one appetizer in addition to salad. But I requested both soup and mezze and the flight attendant said she would try to accommodate my request. The cabin was only about 2/3 full and when my meal tray arrived it contained both the mezze (hummus, grape leaves, baba ganoush, and muhammara) and soup (cream of spinach). Hot bread was also offered.
Next, my main course of rack of lamb arrived. I fault United for using pre-plated casserole dishes so to be fair I might fault Emirates for doing the same thing. Although not classy as nicely plating the meal, the meal itself looked quite appetizing and indeed tasted delicious. The meat was cooked medium-well, but still flavorful, especially with herb curst.
The meal continued with a cheese plate followed by dessert of chocolate cake with a side of fruit tart. Technically, I was only “entitled” to one or the other, but my request for both was again obliged. I had a decaf cappuccino with it.
I have to imagine I would not have received two appetizers and cheese plus dessert on a fuller flight.
Within 90 minutes, the meal service was complete and I soon went to sleep.
I woke up with three hours to go and wanted to order a hot snack (BBQ beef sliders).
But when I asked a FA, she told me that all the snacks had been discarded and that breakfast was now being warmed up…
Sure enough, breakfast was served with about 2.5 hours prior to landing, which seemed unnecessarily early. Oddly, the breakfast trays were served first to the entire cabin, then drinks followed. I had already finished my meal by the time I was offered orange juice and coffee.
But I really enjoyed the breakfast. The California omelet, filled with avocado, was excellent and the fresh fruit, yogurt, and hot breakfast breads hit the spot. Although 5pm Dubai time was a bit odd for breakfast, it was just morning in Los Angeles.
Overall, the food was excellent on Emirates though I do not understand why their ovens cannot accommodate both snacks and breakfast.
Emirates A380 Business Class IFE + Internet
Sadly, but unsurprisingly, internet did not function on the flight. I tried before and after my sleep to connect and was never successful in obtaining a signal strong enough to load a webpage or email.
Emirate’s ICE (Information / Communication / Entertainment) system provided hundreds of movies, TV shows, games, and musics, though I kept it tuned in mostly to the tail camera or moving flight map.
Emirates offers decent noise-cancelling headphones in business class:
Emirates A380 Business Class Amenity Kit
Kudos to Emirates for a very practical amenity kit (decent razor with shaving cream, deodorant, nice toothbrush, large[r] toothpaste). It’s quite rare that I find the contents of an amenity kit useful beyond the socks and toothbrush, but I liked the razor and travel-friendly toothbrush.
Emirates A380 Business Class Lavatory
Lavatories were located directly in front of my seat, in between business and first class, as well as in the rear of the aircraft just behind the bar. I appreciated that Emirates offers real towels in the business class lavatory, something Lufthansa cannot pull off on the A340 or 747-8 even in first class. Bvlgari fragrances and additional toiletries were also available.
Emirates A380 Business Class Service
I’d give service a mixed review on the flight. One FA smiled, the others did not. No one addressed passengers by name (or at least me) and FAs were not very proactive. Perhaps Emirates has a reason for its service flow, but I found it so odd that the breakfast tray was served prior to drinks. By the time my coffee and orange juice arrived, I had already finished my breakfast. I also found it odd that there were no snacks available despite the menu claiming they were available throughout the flight.
Furthermore, FAs just tossed mattress pads at each passengers during the meal service. I had my table open and food on it, making it difficult to find a place for the pad. It certainly could have waited until after the meal.
I did appreciate that the initial meal service was served quickly and that the FA working my side of the aisle graciously obliged my request for an extra appetizer and cheese plate.
Overall, though, I felt FAs were just going through the motions and not exactly happy to be on the job.
I could not have been more pleased to sleep 10 hours on this flight. It was a delight to catch up on my rest and enjoy a couple decent meals as well. While Emirates is not the “best” business class product, it is a solid product that I wholeheartedly recommend.