Trip report: Emirates A380 Business Class Düsseldorf-Dubai-Düsseldorf

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

Today (July 11, 2018): Review of Emirates A380 Business Class Düsseldorf-Dubai-Düsseldorf.

I recently flew Business Class from Düsseldorf to Dubai and back as a part of mileage run. The success of Emirates’ Business Class product is very much based on the comfort and space of its Airbus A380 fleet, and that’s why the mega plane is rolled out on most of the carrier’s major international routes. In a nutshell: comfortable seats, mammoth amenity kits, a huge entertainment selection, excellent food, a wonderful crew and a well-appointed bar on the upper deck makes flying Emirates’ A380 Business Class a phenomenal event. Flying the Airbus A380 is a totally different (and superior) experience as compared to Emirates’ Boeing 777, since the airline does not display the same Business Class product on both aircraft types

Emirates features in my top 10 lists of the best airlines for longhaul Business Class, the best airlines for longhaul First Class, the best Business Class amenity kits, the best First Class airline lounges, the best First Class amenity kits, the world’s longest non-stop flights, and airlines that serve the most delicious food.

Have you ever flown Emirates’ Business Class? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.

  • Trip: Düsseldorf (DUS) to Dubai (DXB) to Düsseldorf (DUS)
  • Airline: Emirates
  • Aircraft type: Airbus A380
  • Aircraft registration number: A6-EUF (DUS-DXB) & A6-EOY (DXB-DUS)
  • Flight Number: EK58 (DUS-DXB) & EK 57 (DUS-DXB)
  • Date: February 1st (DUS-DXB) & February 2nd (DXB-DUS)
  • Miles: 2 x 311 miles
  • Flight time: 6 hours (DUS-DXB) and 7 hours (DXB-DUS)
  • Seat: window seat 25K (DUS-DXB) and aisle seat 25F (DXB-DUS)
  • Class: Business

In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip):

  1. Cost of my ticket
  2. Facts & figures about Emirates’ A380 fleet
  3. Business Class cabin
  4. Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
  5. Amenities
  6. Meals
  7. Entertainment
  8. Onboard internet
  9. Other inflight experiences (views, crew, lavatory)
  10. My verdict (score)

*** Follow me on TwitterInstagram or Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


1. COST OF MY TICKET

I booked this roundtrip journey from Düsseldorf to Dubai with the sole purpose to earn plenty of miles and top elite status with Emirates frequent flyer program Skywards. I made use of a pricing error and an unusually low Business Class fare (750 euros per person). These type of mileage runs are common practice among points & miles addicts. However, it was a pretty crazy and exhausting adventure as I only spent 3 hours on the ground and arrived back in Düsseldorf 16 hours after I left. And although I am now an Emirates Gold Member, I won’t do another mileage run in the near future as sitting in an aluminum tube for hours with no destination is not only a waste of time but also undermines ones health.


2. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT EMIRATES’ A380 FLEET

Emirates is by far the largest Airbus A380 operator on the planet. With a current 103-strong A380 fleet and an order backlog for 59 additional aircraft combined, Emirates’ commitment to the A380 program is worth over US$ 60 billion. All Emirates A380s are being fitted at the Airbus factory in Hamburg including significant cabin interior work and final livery, and are being delivered from Hamburg. The Emirates A380 program creates and supports manufacturing jobs across the global aircraft manufacturing supply chain. Airbus estimates that Emirates’ A380 orders alone support 41,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in Europe, including some 14,500 in Germany alone. Emirates currently operates the A380 to 48 global destinations.  

EMIRATES A380
EMIRATES A380
EMIRATES A380
EMIRATES A380

3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

Emirates operates two versions of its A380 aircraft:

  • Emirates’ most common A380 version offers 489 seats in a three-class cabin configuration with 14 private suites in First Class, 76 flat-bed seats in Business Class and 399 spacious seats in Economy Class. For a seating plan of the Emirates 3-class A380, click here.
  • Emirates also operates some two-class configured A380s, which feature 58 flatbed seats in Business Class and 557 (!!!) seats in Economy Class, taking the total to an impressive 615 passenger seats. Currently, the two-class configured A380 flies to four destinations including Bangkok, Copenhagen, Manchester and Kuala Lumpur. For a seating plan of the Emirates 2-class A380, click here.

The flights to/from Düsseldorf are operated by three-class configured A380s (although the airline seasonally swaps the A380 to the B777 on this route). All of Emirates’ Business Class seats are located in two cabins on the upper deck of the Airbus A380, behind the First Class cabin. The first cabin contains the bulk of the seats (58 in total, spread over 14 rows), while the cabin located at the rear of the plane (just in front the lounge bar and the restrooms) feels more intimate as it only comprises 18 seats in 4 rows. The Business Class seats are arranged in a staggered 1–2–1 layout, providing each passenger direct aisle access and a significant amount of privacy (although the downside of 4 seats per row is that the seats feel a little narrow).

The Emirates Business Class cabin features a unique and opulent design, with abundant use of burled walnut veneer, gold trim and pearlised plastic, that frames the seats, windows and entertainment screens. I have to admit that the cabin design is not my cup of tea, as I prefer a more minimalist and refined design, one that evokes tranquility and peace of mind instead of overstimulating all your senses. On a positive note, the mood lighting during the flight is very enjoyable: the colors of the ceiling change with the local time, and the starry sky panels add a touch of magic during the night.

EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS CABIN

4. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)

All Business Class seats onboard the Emirates A380 are 18,5 inch (47 cm) wide. This is only a tad wider than the Emirates A380 Economy Class seats, which have a width of 17,5 inch (45 cm), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most passengers – including myself – find the Emirates A380 Business Class seat to be too narrow, especially in the lie flat position. The pitch and bed length varies from seat to seat: aisle seats (B, D, G, J) are slightly shorter when fully flat, extending to 70 inches (178 cm) as compared to 79 inches (200 cm) for window and central seats (A, E, F, K). Seat pitch varies from 48 to 39 inches (122 to 99 cm), with the center and window seats again offering more space as compared to aisle seats.

Each seat comes with a touchscreen tablet (for the seat position & lighting controls, as well as the controls for the inflight entertainment) and a console on the side. The latter holds a personal minibar, stocked with soft drinks and juices (albeit not cooled), in addition to a universal power supply, a USB port, a reading light and another handset for the inflight entertainment on the side. The fold-out tray table is hidden in the arm rest below the console. In front of each seat is a large 17-inch entertainment touchscreen with a generously sized ottoman below.

What are the best Business Class seats on Emirates’ A380? Click here for a seat map.

  • Solo travelers should choose one of the window seats A or K, since these are more private than the aisle seats (B, D, G, J) as they are sheltered from the aisle by the seat’s mini-bar cabinet and the enclosed footrest of the person behind. The window seats also benefit from the storage cabinets under the windows.
  • The center seats E and F also feature their consoles on the aisle side, and when you don’t deploy the privacy screens, these seats can be transformed into an intimate mini-suite accommodating two passengers.
  • Seats A and K on row 23 are the best Business Class seats on the A380 since they offer more legroom (a larger ottoman and longer flat bed) as compared to other window seats.

What are the worst Business Class seats on Emirates’ A380? Click here for a seat map.

  • The window seats B and J as well as the center seats D and G have their console on the opposite side of the aisle, and can feel quite exposed.
  • If you are traveling as a couple, you should avoid the center seats D and G since these seats feature two consoles in between them, making it almost impossible to communicate with your partner in flight.
  • If you are traveling solo, you should avoid the center seats E and F, otherwise you may end up next to a stranger in a minisuite, which may feel awkward, although you can always rise a divider for complete privacy.
  • IMHO, seats 7A & 7K are the worst seats: despite the fact that they have extra legroom (similar to seats 23A & 23K), they are totally exposed to the aisle and do not offer privacy at all (they lack a shelter).
  • Always keep in mind that – as mentioned above – the aisle seats B, D, G, and J are slightly shorter when fully flat and provide less space as compared to window and center seats.
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
EMIRATES A380 BUSINESS CLASS SEAT

5. AMENITIES

Business Class passengers are offered the following amenities on an Emirates flight:

  • An amenity kit is only provided during night flights (not day flights). IMHO, the Emirates Business Class amenity kit is the best in the skies, with a different kit for men and women. The men’s amenity kit is presented as a lovely toiletry bag, and contains the usual necessities – albeit in luxe edition – such as toothbrush and toothpaste through to handkerchiefs and deodorant. The mens amenity kit also provided Gilette shaving foam and a razor, as well as moisturizers and aftershaves by Bvlgari. The women’s amenity kit is different, presented as a stylish Faux suede beige, Bulgari labeled washbag, containing more feminine product ranges.
  • Flight socks, eyeshade and earplugs (separately packed)
  • A light blanket
  • A nice pillow
  • A duvet, which is provided by the crew to enhance the sleeping comfort (I wished all airlines did this since it really makes a difference)
  • Noise cancelling headphones (you cannot keep these as the crew collects them before landing). Although the Emirates labeled headphones are not from Bose, they are of great quality.

Unfortunately, pajamas are not offered by Emirates in Business Class.

AMENITY KIT
AMENITY KIT

6. MEALS

On both flight legs, only one meal was served shortly after takeoff.

I choose the following selection from the dinner menu on the DUS-DXB flight:

  • Starter: smoked salmon on waldorf salad with saffron mayonnaise
  • Main course: poached salmon trout with creamed spinach, steamed root vegetables, and potatoes with herbs
  • Cheese board with:
    • Ossau-Iraty PDO, a Franco-Basque cheese made from sheep milk
    • Pave d’Affinois: young, French double cream cheese
    • Fourme d’Ambert PDO: creamy and piquant Auvergne blue

And on the DXB-DUS return flight, I choose the following selection from the brunch menu:

  • Starter: creamy tomato soup
  • Main course: vegetable Biryani
  • Dessert: chocolate tart with strawberries

All meals were ok (I never expect fine dining in the skies anyways), except for the vegetable Biryani which was too dry and tasteless.

DUSSELDORF TO DUBAI: DINNER
DUSSELDORF TO DUBAI: DINNER
DUSSELDORF TO DUBAI: DINNER
DUBAI TO DUSSELDORF: BREAKFAST
DUBAI TO DUSSELDORF: BREAKFAST
DUBAI TO DUSSELDORF: BREAKFAST

7. ENTERTAINMENT

One of the strongest elements about the Emirates experience is the inflight entertainment program, which is called ICE (information, communications, entertainment). You can choose from up to 1,800 channels of the latest and greatest movies and must-see TV shows, on demand and in multiple languages. You can also relax to music from around the world or play our range of fun games. The cameras installed in the tail, nose and belly of the megaplane also offer some fun moments, especially at take-off and landing.

The inflight entertainment is displayed on a 17-inch touch-screen that is supported by two hand-held controls: one tablet located next to the Business Class seat (which also control the seat position and lighting) ; and another smaller, standard wired handset. The touch-screen combined with the 2 controllers means that there is plenty of options to control your inflight entertainment depending on how the seat is reclined.

INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT

8. ONBOARD INTERNET

Emirates offers 10MB of free WiFi to each passenger during one of its flight (regardless of the class you are seated in). An additional 600MB can be purchased for $1 USD. If you exceeded that limit, you can purchase another 600MB for $1 USD. The quality of the WiFi connection during the flight was variable.


9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES

#CREW: IMHO, Emirates’ international cabin crew is among the best in the industry and they delivered again on both of these flights. The flight attendants were all very friendly (addressing me by name, the cabin head presenting himself individually before take-off, and also thanking me in person for choosing Emirates before landing). All requests were dealt with promptly and cordially.

# BAR: At the rear of the upper cabin, you find the A380 onboard lounge – a bar exclusive to First Class and Business Class customers and a hub of activity throughout the flight. Here, you can choose from premium spirits, exclusive wines, champagne, cocktails and beers alongside hot and cold beverages served by a dedicated bartender. It’s a good platform to stretch your legs while interacting with other passengers and the international crew.

#LAVATORY: in the Emirates A380, the 4 lavatories for Business Class passengers are located at the rear of the plane, behind the onboard lounge. Two of them come with a window.

#CHAUFFEUR SERVICE: one of the great things about flying Business (or First) class with Emirates is the complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfers. Chauffeur-drive must be requested online, up to 48 hours prior to your flight. It is so nice to arrive at a foreign airport and to be whisked away to your hotel in a minimum of time.


10. MY VERDICT
  • Seat upright position: 7/10
  • Seat flat bed position: 7/10
  • Food:  8/10
  • Inflight entertainment : 10/10
  • Amenity kit: 10/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Cabin atmosphere (upper deck): 9.5/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8.5/10

*** Follow me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook for a daily moment of travel inspiration ***


 

5 Comments

  1. Only flown Emirates once on a 777 round trip to Dubai in Business.
    The trip out was dreadful, poor food, disinterested service, broken seat etc. Return was amazing. It was like flying with 2 airlines!

  2. I tried both Emirates and Qatar and I prefer Qatar hands down. Food is much better both for breakfast and dinner options. Crew on Qatar and Emirates more or less the same, attentive and friendly. In business class on night flights they give you pajamas unlike Emirates who only has them for first class. Amenities are better on Emirates. I also prefer to fly Qatar because of their alliance with One World. As an Iberia frequent flyer, the mileage points come in handy. On my last trip two weeks ago I had to fly EMIRATES because I had mileage points which were expiring in August and I had to use them or they would be lost.

  3. I forgot to mention that in Qatar dining is in demand so you can eat whatever you want whenever you want which is really great!

  4. I’m a bit curious why you wanna be a Skywards Gold member? If you travel in First or Business class you always get priority check in and lounge access, even without status.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.