The following routing covers my recent round trip between Europe and Seattle, where I attended the wedding of a cousin. If you happen to read French, you may be interested by the feeding flight whose report holds all the information about the construction of the routing and my frequent flyer insights for this trip.
I will try to post the next legs of this routing in both languages, but I do not intend to translate and repost all of my previous reports. But feel free to browse the listing of all my reported flights and if one of them catches your attention, just send me an email (email@example.com) mentionning it and it will be my pleasure to translate it.
Here is the summary of the routing for this trip :
1. Paris Charles de Gaulle - Dubai International - Emirates A380 Business French only for the moment 2. Dubai International - London Heathrow - Emirates A380 First (you are here) 3. London Heathrow - Atlanta Hartfield Jackson - British Airways B777 First 4. Atlanta Hartfield Jackson - New York La Guardia - American Airlines CRJ900 Domestic First 5. New York JF Kennedy - Seattle, Tacoma - American Airlines B737 Domestic First 6. Seattle, Tacoma -… 7…. 8…. 9…. - Paris, Charles de Gaulle
I arrived in Dubaï the day before. Reaching London from Paris with Emirates may sound excessive, but I had my reasons for that. And after all, it was a great experience. The flight from Paris to Dubai was smooth as silk (well, maybe that's another company ;) !) and as you will see, the return to London was one of my most pleasurable experience in the air.
My flight leaves from B doors but I prefer heading to the new ]concourse dedicated to the A380, because there is a brand new lounge there and I really wanted to try it. This is also why I chose the 3.20 PM flight, which gives the opportunity to enjoy lunch in the lounge around noon local time and then dinner on the plane if served later through the flight.
First class lounge covers a whole floor, juste as the business lounge but with far fewer passengers. Top floor offers paid showers, therefore accessible to all passengers.
Entrance to the lounge : one finds the graphic codes of EK in the palette of yellow and sand, wood and gilt. But the whole is not as glittering as it used to be, and I have to admit that it is almost tastefully decorated and lighted.
As soon as you cross the lobby of the previous picture (the passage to the left on this picture, where the Emirates logo is, can be seen on the left wall of the previous picture), you actually end up in a real terminal on its own, with shopping stalls and aircraft access doors. It reminds the concept of the ultra private Qatar Airways Premium Terminal, but integrated in the terminal and thus saving the passengers the bus transfers.
Here is a view of the lounge space which extends around an atrium overlooking the airside area of the terminal. The windows are very high and thus cut effectively the noise which may come up from the shops downstairs.
The lounge offering is huge : restaurant, nursery, playroom, Spa & Massage, cigar bar, rest areas and so on… It would take several hours to cover everything and I had only planned three of them :) I will not cover everything, so maybe next time !
The business corner with work areas, a choice of Apple or PC depending on your preference and meeting rooms for private hire. Again I can see all the fundamentals of Emirates ornaments…but nicer ;) !
I had a shower at my hotel in the morning so no need to go for it but I still requested to see them for the completion of this report. It's not huge but nothing is missing, especially a stool that often lacks in many lounges I have visited.
I also wanted to check the restrooms : it is spotless and quite nice.
Although there are departures regularly at this time, the area is relatively quiet. There is direct gate access from the different waiting areas, making the boarding seamless (if you're leaving from A gates of course !)
For drinks, there are three options available : go for one of the attended bars, sit anywhere and wait for the staff to take your order (about 10 seconds ! ) or casually head for the self-service buffets (Emirates seems to think like me that the service should be offered but not imposed).
The food offering was just too vast to picture it all. So I just shot a few plates that I found pretty, like these oriental pastries that I find very aesthetically presented.
Or this Balik salmon, whose side dishes rang some bell : not only I love horseradish, but I noticed that these perfectly ripe lemons were seeded during cutting, which is a nice detail.
But I haven't spent much time at the buffets as I had planned my lunch at the restaurant. I was greeted by an absolutely charming Chinese waitress offering me a table with a view of the runway that I of course accepted ;) The restaurant has an open kitchen concept, allowing you to enjoy the preparation of your dishes.
Glasses, cutlery and plates are very nice but the soli-flora comes directly from Ikea : nice but cheap ;)
Although there were interesting main courses, I thought the choices of appetizers was even more appealing. So I decided to go for two appetizers and skip the entrée.
A basket of bread and a selection mezze were automatically offered with a proposal for a drink that I declined.
I instead picked a white wine in the list. The glass is fogged because it was brought cooled, and indeed I will never be served again in this glass but a new cold glass will be brought each time I needed a top up.
Shrimp sauteed with pepper and garlic on a bed of rocket. A easy-to-make dish but perfectly executed and therefore excellent.
It is customary to shot the homepage of the website, which I did when my second appetizer was brought : salmon tartare, salmon eggs and asparagus.
And it's just amazing : I just finished my cheesecake tart, brownie and mint sauce and it's already time to leave this area to reach the B gates (also because it requires the use of a train between terminals, so I need to leave a bit earlier). I really do not have the impression of having spent almost three hours here !
I go through these jumbo lifts with a capacity of 120 people per cabin and cover the few hundred meters that separate me from B doors by this train that travels in a brand new looking tunnel (the new terminal opened in January this year).
My door is B19 ; it is opened but the aircraft is not yet boarding ; the staff will nevertheless scan your boarding pass and invite you in a waiting zone.
Not much to do in this waiting zone ; not even some spotting because of these moucharabiehs on the windows.
My bladder reminds me that I may have drunk a bit too much at the lounge ;) Fortunately, the waiting zone is also equipped with restrooms. Nothing to say, they are clean… but when it comes to finishing and ornaments, they are light-years away from the First class lounge ^^
Anyway the wait was very short, boarding is called when I come out of the restrooms. The jetbridge is made of glass and I can finally see my plane: : it's a brand new A380 (just 7 months old).
Tadaaaa… the cabin. It seems urgent to apply the new austerity in glittering to the cabins as well. As much as it looks confortable, I cannot bring myself to find it nice : too much gilding and too much fake wood.
On the other hand, I really like the gray leather that covers the seats.
My seat is 3K. Well, it's not a seat ; it's called a suite, which suggests that the sleeping area is physically separated from the living area. Well..it is still a bit away from the concept and the name is clearly overrated. In short, this is a big chair with doors. But when you hand your boarding pass to the purser who stands at the door and he turns you to the crew member greeting you with a Welcome aboard Mr. pititom, Amy here will lead you to your suite, it definitely has a touch that you wouldn't get with a Hi there, take this big chair behind the doors there . ;)
As there is no overhead compartments, a storage area is made available directly inside the suite and secured with two belts.
In the corner, there is another space (where there is already a duvet and mattress ) to store one's bag, which remains accessible regardless of seat position (sit, relax, lying… ).
Once installed, Amy comes with a glass of water and asks me if I want a welcome drink. I opt for the Champagne, completely forgetting that in First, Emirates serves a Dom Perignon 2003 which is not really my taste in Champagne.
The window is double glazed, which makes it difficult to avoid reflections for photos and to look around. As a result, the two constraints are cumulative when it comes to paying tribute to the founder of this great website ;)
Flight documents and a few details of the cabin : the passport is currently placed on the bar, which is closed, the classic side-storage box of the A380's upper deck (the suite has three of them), the open / close buttons for the window (electric blinds).
Two USB ports plus an electrical multi-format outlet ; vanity with bath products and LEDs giving it a so kitschy touch ;) In the small drawer is a the writing set with notepad and pens.
As I am picturing the cabin, a fragrant scented oshibori is distributed (with a choice of hot or cold towel). Then it's time for push back.
Just a little bit of spotting while we are moving : as I said earlier, windows do not make it easy.
The baskets of goodies were collected for take-off. On my last flight in this cabin, they were just secured behind the lamp.
Shortly after take-off came the menus. There were a total of 6 customers in the cabin, 3 on each side (including me). But the two others on my side were practising Muslims, and as we were during Ramadan, they had let the staff know from the beginning that they would require no service at all. So here I am with two FA for me :) (if Amy took all the orders, sometimes the other FA who brought or it was behind Amy to bring him some necessary service ).
So not only it was all for me, but I also declined the menu…at least for now. I explained that I had lunch at the lounge and I will have dinner on arrival. This was no issue for my FA (you may find it obvious in First, but my next flight will prove otherwise !)
I start sorting pictures for my flight report instead. Amy asked me if I would still have a drink with some appetizers while I work, and I accepted that (just to confirm that I was not actually working ^^). The appetizers will prove very generous as you can see in the photo. The menu is in the leather pouch and I'll browse the wine list to find something more original than Champagne. Amy has automatically brought me a glass of water in the meantime.
While browsing, I came across a Hennessy Paradis Cognac. A friend of mine, who worked at LVMH few years ago, had told me about this cognac that it would be the one that I would certainly never have a chance to sample in my life (herself could not provide staff price for this type of bottles). To make it very simple, bottles start at 700 euros on the market and end… according to the bidders.
I can not tell if it was purely good or if the exclusivity of the nectar had a psychosomatic effect, but I feast on two glasses. Excellent.
I made a pause over Baghdad, deciding a little walk will do me the most good ;) I'm now going to visit the aircraft. Follow me!
First, a look at the bar : as on the previous flight, there is no-one. But it was predictable since Business Class passengers are now served their lunch and they all returned to their seats.
Here is a view of the J cabin with all the staff at work serving individual passengers with a tray.
Back to the front and by the P bar : it is not as stocked as the J bar but serves mainly decorative purposes, considering the very attentive staff that never leaves an empty glass in this cabin.
Champagne is the Dom Perignon 2003. Although it is considered an excellent vintage, it doesn't please my palate. If you're not French, you may not know that 2003 was one of the hottest summer for decades there (actually not only summer but spring was also as warm as a regular summer) and the grapes of this vineyards -like others- were just overripe. Some may find the result positive, but I don't.
I then checked the restrooms, not really expecting a single stain since a FA is dedicated to cleaning the First cabin throughout the flight. It may not be of the best taste, but luxury lies in the details : sinks and taps reminiscent of the floor, towels thick, orchids, Bulgari perfume. You can even see with the mirror reflection that they discretly hid the deodorant behind the vanity.
We also find the full range of products that have probably filled the pockets of many travellers ;)
Finally, a visit of these toilets would not be complete without the famous shower ! Ok, they call it a Spa Shower and not just a shower, but it's like the suite for the seat : don't trust them, there is no spa ;)
Continuation of the tour down the stairs, to the main deck.
The Y cabin looks very comfortable, even when coming from upstairs. EK seems to be an outstanding company in every class. And it 's good because my next flight with them will certainly be in this cabin…cannot fly first class all the time ^^
I wonder why the PUSH sign is made of phosphorescent material. In case of evacuation, is it really interesting that people know where the toilets are or even take refuge in it ? To evacuate someone who would be locked in, wouldn't it be better to illuminate the LAVATORY sign instead, where the outside latch is ? Question for the experts !
From the main deck, I finally can take a few photos of the outside.
After this walk, I go back to my seat, close the doors of the suite and decide to watch a movie. PTV is the same as in J, with the same selection…. and the same commercials !! I do understand that it may help keeping the Y seats inexpensive…but how can you expect your F pax to watch commercials and wait for their movie to start !?
Anyway, the movie wasn't bad and when it ended, we were flying over Romania. This is the time I chose to call Amy for dinner. She told me it would take about fifteen minutes to prepare the service and bake the bread, and therefore offered me a drink while waiting. I opted this time for the Veuve Clicquot 2004, more to my taste.
I wanted to work a bit more during this time. As I had no more battery-life, I requested an adapter that Amy brought together with my drink.
Then the table is set. I opted for the garlic bread, which was delicious. Oil and vinegar are separated, but in the same bottles as in J (but where the dressing is ready to use).
I knew that Qantas was partnering with Emirates, but still I was surprised to discover on the menu some favourites of the Qantas menu. A sandwich in First…definitely reminds me of Australian food ;)
This card makes a great emphasis on seafood ; and good point as I love that. As for lunch, I will pick a selection of appetizers and will skip the main course.
I 'm not a fan of caviar. But it's like Dom Perignon, I'll make an effort for the report :D
I know. It's bad to play with food ;) But be reassured, I ate it after the photo and actually found it very good.
Then I opted for a half-cooked yellowfin tuna. It was perfect and I paired it with a Chardonnay from the Napa Valley which was great (I'll let you see on the picture because the name is simply unpronounceable ^^)
My last dish for a salty finale is a smoked duck breast which was served with fresh salad and feta.
Everything was simply perfect.
I was curious to know if the flight attendants were able to give recommandations on the menu. So I didn't choose my dessert and just asked Amy if she could recommand a low carb dessert. Without any hesitation, she pointed me a mango mousse, which proved to be a perfect choice !
This meal above the clouds was just great from beginning to end.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end. And as the meal ended the flight, we were already beginning our descent when I refused a last glass of Cognac ;)
London Eye and Waterloo Station just before landing.
We pass by the new colleague.
Then we park. Little teaser for the next flight ;)
Thank you for reading :)
Emirates Lounge - First (Gates A)
Dubai - DXB
London - LHR
I rate 10 out of 10 for almost every aspect of the experience, but only 9 for the IFE (because of the commercials) and also the origin airport as there is no specific ground handling for first class passengers.
But these are details, this flight was almost perfect. I am especially enthousiast for the genuinely caring staff.
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