Here is my experience in the New Emirates First Class, known as the Game Changer, on a round trip between Dubai and Paris.
Emirates First Class
For this Emirates First Class flight, I redeemed 150,000 Alaska miles and $70 Cdn in taxes.
The itinerary included a detour to Paris: DXB-CDG-DXB-YYZ or 3 First Class flights for the price of one (a nice trick found by Prince of Travel, which he nicknamed “Emirates First Class Extravaganza”)!
That’s 28 hours of flights for a distance of 13,418 miles (21,594 km)!
To give you an idea, the whole thing could have cost me about 50,000 dollars!!! Whereas with a few Alaska credit cards over the years… 😉
Some people thought I was crazy to take a detour to Paris. Who would want to make a day loop just to stay on a plane and in a lounge? I think I have become an avgeek.
I couldn’t miss this opportunity, which ends in March 2021! After March 31, 2021, it will no longer be possible to use Alaska miles to book Emirates First Class.
And with Alaska Airlines becoming an Oneworld member, it was an opportunity to “burn” miles for a unique experience!
Here are the details of my two flights in the new Emirates First Class.
The next review will follow with the old B777 First Class product between Dubai and Toronto.
At Dubai International Airport
I left my hotel, the Sheraton Grand Dubai at 5 am since my Emirates flight left at 8 am and I wanted to take my time.
I wanted to take advantage of one of the Emirates First Class lounges to have my breakfast, but it was closed. I fell back on the Emirates Business Class Lounge, which was quite satisfactory but already busy even during COVID-19. Luckily the lounge is really big.
I’ll report on this in a future post about the Emirates Business and First Class Lounges.
Once at the airport, only passengers with a flight are allowed to enter the terminal.
I couldn’t check in online, so I went to a kiosk.
I only travel with a carry-on suitcase, so the process is simplified. No delays announced.
So after the lounge, I went to my gate. The boarding area is somewhat austere: dark and old-fashioned.
My boarding pass is being rechecked and the crew has already started boarding families. I signal my presence with a first-class ticket. The boarding gate agent asked me to wait a few moments. A flight attendant actually comes to greet me and directs me to a bus reserved for First Class.
Actually, I’ll be the only First Class passenger onboard, so I’ll be reassured about COVID-19!
Alone on this bus, I’m having fun taking pictures of the tarmac.
When I get on the plane, the team greets me and introduces itself.
Let’s say it right away; the flight attendant who took care of me for the whole flight was exceptional and allowed me to live a dream experience.
She directs me to my seat, lets me settle in and comes back to explain to me how certain elements of my Suite work.
It should be noted that Emirates flights had just resumed a few weeks earlier. The flight attendant will tell me that it was finally a pleasure for her to go back to work despite all the added constraints.
She has become accustomed to wearing goggles, masks and gowns. On-board service resumed almost as normal also about a week ago.
It wouldn’t have been worth it in these conditions, as I would have been deprived of that particular Emirates service.
Business class cabin
I walk around the aircraft a bit to get a glimpse of the business class seats. What is striking when entering this cabin: the luxurious and chic side thanks to the colours chosen with the beige leathers and gold accessories.
The seating arrangement is 7 seats in a row, 2-3-2, with a fixed divider partition between the seats. The whole thing seems a bit cramped when I compare it with my first-class golden suite! Especially for the person who takes the middle seat.
The first class cabin
A beautiful light enters the cabin.
The layout here is 1-1-1. Either a central Suite and one on each side of the aircraft. A total of 6 Suites are available. But like I said, I’d be the only passenger that day.
So I enjoyed two Suites: one for landing and takeoff to have a nice view on the outside, and the other one during the whole flight, with virtual windows.
When you enter the cabin, a ghaf tree (desert trees) pattern is on the main wall. Note also the cabin’s ceilings; they are “cathedral” type to give an impression of height with indirect lights.
In the Suites, the ceiling light has several lightning spots too.
The 1-1-1 cabin layout is one of the rarest, with 6 Suites in all, each giving access to the aisle. Each Suite has a sliding door and floor-to-ceiling walls for maximum privacy, which is truly exceptional.
If there are two of you, it is best to book Suites 1A+ 1E or 2F + 2K to have the doors and windows aligned.
The materials are of quality. Leather for the seat, suede for the walls, gold frames.
Please note that fresh orchids are displayed both inside and outside the Suite in a small display. A nice touch of colour.
In normal mode
The leather seat is very comfortable and wide, like a throne! The Mercedes-Benz S-Class inspired the airline to design it.
Lighting is integrated on each side of the armrests, varying according to the type of ambiance chosen:
There is a storage area for small personal belongings and 4 buttons to easily change the seat layout (these functions are more complete on the screen) on one edge of the armrest. Also on the slice, a plug is available.
On the other side, there is a remote control with an enjoyable design that fits the hand’s shape.
In bed mode
In the reclining position, the seat passes under the table, leaving plenty of legroom. We find ourselves in zero-gravity mode, a technology taken over from NASA for uniform weight distribution.
Here’s what it looked like on my second CDG – DXB night flight:
The flight attendant will make my bed, even though we’re in COVID-19 time:
In other words, I took less advantage of my second flight of the Suite and preferred to rest to be in shape for my third flight. It had been a long but fabulous day. I was more than happy to have a flat bed like this in the air!
Before falling asleep in this comfortable bed, I couldn’t help but have a little photo shoot 🙂
Each Suite has 3 windows. Those located in the center of the cabin have the advantage of being virtual LED windows! Thanks to the aircraft’s cameras, you can see what’s going on live outside, just like those having a true window seat!
And of course, what better way than to have curtains and be able to close them:
We find a design inspired by flowers
At sunrise, I’m blown away by this cabin.
The bar counter and its accessories
When I arrived in my Suite, a basket of snacks and other items were waiting for me (with a tube of hydration tablet, disinfectant wipes, mints) as well as a kit with binoculars.
I’ll find the same basket of victuals on my other two flights.
Here are the details of what is proposed:
During my night flight (2/3), a hygiene kit was also placed on the counter.
Indeed, for passengers who have chosen the Windows Suite, binoculars are available to enjoy the scenery even more! I loved feeling like a little explorer. The binoculars are of very high quality, normally made for safaris.
The view of the Burj Al Arab, the Marina and the Jumeirah palm grove is splendid.
Each Suite has a counter space occupying the entire width of the Suite. It includes a dressing table, a huge integrated mirror with lighting on each side and several presents:
- Byredo skincare products including eye cream and face mist
- an Emirates pen
- a notebook with the Emirates brand on it.
Everything was well protected probably because of the sanitary measures in place:
When the mirror is folded down, the countertop leaves a beautiful smooth work surface and conceals underneath, a shelf that can be pulled out or retracted for meals:
You can connect your devices through the 110V plug, USB and HDMI power ports hidden in the countertop. The crew can also provide you with an adapter if necessary.
A 32-inch high-definition personal television stands in the centre. The quality of this one is superb, and I really loved being able to watch the live takeoffs/landings on this screen!
On each side of the TV screen is a personal bar. You can leave with whatever’s there if you want to. I, for one, left the soft drinks behind to concentrate on hydration. I preferred to bet on the selection of alcohols, much more interesting!
I note that one of the two bars spaces offers fewer products on the Suites located by the windows due to the aircraft’s curvature.
Finally, the legroom is huge. Even with my legs outstretched, I’m not touching the tablet! I’ll use this space for my Away carry-on luggage.
The side counter
Each Suite has a side counter that is more accessible when you are seated and belted. On it rests a fixed screen. By pressing the central button, you can lift the screen from its base and thus have it freely in your hands.
This touch-sensitive screen allows you to access entertainment systems such as a remote control, change your seat’s layout, or call one of the crew members if you need something via videoconference!
Several elements are inserted in the counter below the screen:
- golden buttons allow you to adjust the blinds where 3 modes are possible thanks to the motorized shutters (open, semi-closed, closed);
- an air outlet;
- a little side shelf;
- A little plan to set up some effects.
Here again, it is possible to observe the views from the external cameras directly on the screen.
There is also a hidden USB plug that is more accessible than the one on the main counter if you can’t get up in case of turbulence.
Another wall-mounted screen is located opposite the secondary counter on the suede wall. It allows you to adjust the colours and intensity of the lights, as well as the temperature. Are you cold? Adjust as you wish!
You will control all the lights on both sides of the Suite: the ceiling, the two lights above the seat, the wall behind the seat, the armrests and even the floor! EVERYWHERE!
You can check with this screen if the restroom is occupied or not.
The Suite offers several storage spaces:
- a closet located under the main counter (unfortunately my Away cabin suitcase did not fit there);
- a mirrored closet with a coat rack and where you can find in the door, the aircraft guide and the headphones;
- one or two magazine racks above the two mini-bars (depending on whether you are in the centre or on the window side);
- a storage space above the seat reserved for blankets and cushions.
It should be noted that for daytime flights, no kits or pyjamas are normally given. You can ask for them, and the crew can’t refuse you.
The headphones are also quality with ambient noise reduction (Bowers & Wilkins).
Wi-Fi on board
This aircraft has a free onboard Wi-Fi internet connection that you can use with your Emirates application (you need to create a free Emirates Skywards account).
The service on board Emirates is excellent. I loved my meals on the first and third flight but was more mixed on the second. Maybe because of fatigue, too (and then it was a red-eye flight to Dubai).
What is remarkable is the implementation of the entire service. Everything is arranged meticulously and always in the same way.
Here is to start the menus of the alcoholic beverages and meals that were proposed to me:
I always started my flights with an orange juice before take-off and an Arabic coffee traditionally served with a date.
Finally, in the air, it was time for me to be served a glass of champagne from the so famous Dom Pérignon Vintage 2008 (about 250 CA$ a Bottle).
I might as well say that I took advantage of it during my flights.
I was able to enjoy some canapés with my cognac.
I continued with the tasty caviar.
I tasted the traditional Arabic mezze on the first flight and then the paprika chicken with quinoa salad.
She gave me every single one of the corks as a souvenir. I was glad.
Each bottle, once opened, is kept at the end of the flight and then disposed of in the Emirates lounges. There’s no waste there! This was not the case until a short time ago.
You’ll tell me that’s a lot of alcohol. That’s right. But I knew that the opportunity would never come again and that it might be my only chance in a lifetime to drink these exceptional wines. And after all, I had 28 hours to fly and a quarantine on arrival… 😀
Also, the flight attendant was very attentive and knew that I would review my flight, so she was happy to open the bottles for me. She used to take away the drinks I didn’t like so much. And my glass of water was never far away, fortunately!
For the main course, I chose the Thai curry with shrimps and, on the way back, the beef fillet with its corn sauce. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the second one less, but I think, as said, the appetite was not there.
Finally, what better way to finish than with a chocolate brownie and a selection of Arabic pastries, accompanied by a dessert wine: a Château Rayne Vigneau 2007, Sauternes, France. The whole thing was delicious and well put together.
When I return to Dubai, I will be treated to a plate of fruit and a coffee for lunch.
Unfortunately, no showers as there are in some First Classes. It’s a small bathroom that is clean and well laid out, with even a shelf to change a child.
I’d take the opportunity to put on my Emirates pyjamas; I’ve kept them for home because they’re so comfortable. Pyjamas are supposed to prevent the skin from becoming dehydrated and irritated.
My arrival at CDG
I arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport after about 7 hours of flight, and I was delighted with this first flight; I was overjoyed!
My second flight didn’t leave until about 6 hours later, so I moved to the Paul Maxence lounge, as the Emirates lounge was closed. I’ll tell you about it in another review.
My arrival in Dubai
After the second night flight, the arrival in the early morning was beautiful with the sun’s glow and the mist on the desert sand. A picture that comes to the end of this fantastic second flight.
When I got off the plane, an Emirates employee was waiting for me with his sign. I was able to get a ride in a cart to the safety lines.
The agent helped me through security and got me into the Emirates First Class lounge quickly so that I could take a maximum break of about an hour before resuming my third and final flight with Emirates First Class to Toronto! Wow!
I was able to live an unforgettable and exceptional experience in flight. I felt very fortunate to be able to live these moments and enjoy the products offered by Emirates.