My First Business Class Experience: Emirates Boeing 777 Melbourne-KL-Dubai and A380 Dubai-Paris
Finally accruing enough points to book a business class flight is the holy grail of any frequent flyer hacker like myself.
The flight from Australia to anywhere in Europe is hellish. It’s usually a feat that requires at least one stop (more often two) and more than 24 hours of travel
Given the hell that is this flight, booking a business class flight from Melbourne-Paris seemed like the perfect way to begin 15 months of travel.
126,000 points and $500 later and I had my flight booked. It’s one of the things I was most looking forward to about beginning my trip.
Private Chaffeur Car to Melbourne Tullamarine
Emirates Business Class comes with a complimentary chauffeur service. You simply manage your booking on their website and order a car that will pick up within 50km of Melbourne airport.
Hence the business class experience had begun before I even got to the airport! I was really excited to have a female driver who was super nice. She arrived in a beautiful beamer with leather interior.
She even pulled over to get me some water when I started having a coughing fit (unfortunately this was the first sign that I was going to be sick for most of this trip).
Emirates Lounge at Melbourne Airport
3.30am is a foul hour for a flight. But I managed to pass the couple of hours before my flight in the Emirates Lounge at Melbourne airport.
It’s a lot nicer waiting for a flight to depart when you have Veuve and Moet Chandon Champagne, platters of cheese, lots of hot and cold dishes, any type of alcohol you want, and an endless supply of Lindt Lindors.
Not to mention shitty airport wifi doesn’t exist in the lounges. The wifi was super fast!
Of course I firmly established that I didn’t really belong in a business class lounge within 5 minutes. I tried to get the metal cap they had on the champagne bottle off. Instead it went flying across the room and landed on a pile of glasses, promptly smashing one of them. Whoops!
The lounge has lots of comfy armchairs to relax in, and in my case nap in while you wait for your flight. You then board the plane directly from the lounge, with one of the attendants making an announcement when it is time to board.
There is a direct flight with Emirates from Melbourne-Dubai. But there wasn’t any reward availability on this particular leg. So instead I was on the second service from Melbourne-Dubai that stops in Kuala Lumpur.
This particular flight isn’t serviced by the newer A380s, but the older Boeing 777.
Unlike the A380s, the Boeing 777 seats don’t all have aisle access, with a 2-3-2 configuration. But on the advice of many seat forums out there, I booked the aisle seat in the middle section.
The forum told me that the middle seats are always booked last so in most cases the seat next to you will be free. This worked out perfectly for both of my flights on this particular plane. The first couple of seats in business class are also in their own cozy cabin, separated from the bigger back part of business class. Hence it was a lot quieter.
In business class, you are one of the first people to board the plane, via your very own separate departure ramp. Whilst everyone else in economy was probably struggling to fit their carry on luggage in, I was sitting down sipping Moet.
I think the biggest difference that I noticed was all of the leg space. Even if I stretched my legs out fully I couldn’t reach the chair in front of me.
After take off I was free to use the electronic buttons to recline the chair to the comfiest position for me. The flight attendant also gave out a mattress for added comfort, and a bvlgari toiletry pack with a full sized toothbrush, actual real toothpaste and a variety of body creams, lotions and perfumes.
In an attempt to fight jetlag, I didn’t want to immediately start sleeping. I was instead hoping to adjust my body to Europe time by staying up for the first couple of hours. So I settled in to watch ‘Age of Adaline’ on my (much larger than economy) television screen, with my fully noise cancelling headphones.
It wasn’t long before my flight attendant came to ask if I wanted to choose a meal from the light bite options. I choose the seafood thermidor.
Eating in business class isn’t just about better options and tastier food. It’s a fancy affair! Your table gets pulled out and on it they put real tablecloths and cutlery. There is no such thing as plastic in business class! You even get your own mini salt and pepper shakers!
The seafood thermidor was super delicious and definitely better than any other plane food I’ve eaten before.
After some food I decided to settle in to sleep for a few hours.
The Boeing 777 business class seats don’t have a full 180 degree flat bed. Instead the chair goes back almost to a flat bed. It’s still 100x comfier and easier to sleep than the crushed legs and upright seat in economy!
Whilst you are still at a slight angle, the combination of being able to stretch your legs out, the mattress and the amazing blanket and pillow make sleeping really easy!
Before I knew it, it was time for breakfast. The options for breakfast were a full breakfast, continental breakfast or light breakfast (with pastries and coffee). Not wanting to miss out on any of the experience I went with the full breakfast. The options were ricotta pancakes with berries and crème fraiche, soufflé with mushroom ragout, potatoes and asparagus and a breakfast of cold meats and cheeses.
I decided on the soufflés. This was probably my favourite meal of the whole 24 hours in business class. I’m not the biggest fan of mushrooms but the ragout was full of flavour and perfectly creamy and soufflés were super soft.
Kuala Lumpur Emirates Lounge
Before I knew it, we were landing in Kuala Lumpur.
I went directly to the Emirates Kuala Lumpur Business Lounge which was my favourite. My plague had set in by now and I was feeling really shitty. Whilst I messaged my family to gloat about business class, but also to whinge about being sick, the friendly lounge stuff bought me juice and fruit which helped to make me feel slightly better.
Unfortunately we didn’t depart directly from the lounge. So I had to go down to the gate and even wait on a chair with the economy passengers. Oh the horror 😛
But of course, we were invited to board first and I found myself with another glass of champagne in my hand.
Whilst I found myself back on the same plane and in the same chair, the staff had changed for this leg of the trip.
Out of the whole business class experience, I hands down got the best service on this particular leg. All of the flight attendants in my particular part of the plane, including the really nice young guy that I only had to share with two other passengers, introduced themselves right away.
At lunch I found myself getting pretty drunk, because the flight attendant didn’t let my glass of Moet get any more than half way empty before filling it up again!
Shortly after takeoff we were being served lunch. I choose to start with the duck which was a cold, salad-type dish paired with orange. I loved the saltiness of this dish.
For main I got the pan fried grouper (fish) with some type of tomato sauce, potatoes and other vegetables. The potatoes were to die for and the sauce was brilliant. I’m just not so sure that even in business class, airplanes can do fish right!
For dessert I ordered the banana, caramel and chocolate cake which was simply to die for. It was at this point that I had to cut myself off, telling the flight attendant to stop refilling my champagne glass! My cold was getting much worse, so the chamomile tea I ordered was the perfect way to finish my meal.
Given how terrible I was feeling at this point, I settled in to sleep most of the way, only waking up to blow my noise and order a cold glass of water with ice to help soothe my aching throat.
I woke up about an hour out of Dubai. Whilst I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry at this point, I was determined to have the full business class experience. Hence I ordered the light option of fettuccine with chicken and mushrooms.
This dish was fine but wasn’t particularly fancy. Other than the awesome dish it came in, I almost could have imagined being served something similar in economy (although I doubt I’ll be saying that next time I’m actually in economy).
I followed this up with the trio of pastries; a fruit tartlet, profiterole and lemon cheesecake and another chamomile tea. The fruit tartlet and cheesecake were delicious but I couldn’t finish the profiterole, it wasn’t very good at all.
Dubai Emirates Lounge
I had one thing in mind for my stopover in Dubai and that was a shower. By this point, not only was I feeling absolutely disgusting but I was running a pretty high fever with my cold.
Hence the shower in the Business Class Lounge wasn’t just about getting clean, but getting well enough to actually get on the final leg of my trip.
I arrived at the female showers and was promptly directed to one of the huge shower stalls. Here I found my very own towel, head towel, robe and slippers. You won’t find any shower curtains here.
I didn’t have to worry at all about having all of my stuff in the cubicle with me. There was plenty of room and the big glass door to the shower prevented everything from getting wet.
Stepping under that first stream of shower was probably the best thing about the whole business class experience. It was heaven and made me feel about 100 times better.
After drying my hair, reapplying my makeup and swapping my hiking boots for my foldable flats, I felt like brand new.
Given the small stopover and the amount of time I spent in that delicious shower, I only had time to eat a little bit of fruit, grab a glass of ginger and orange juice to help my cold, and a bottle of the VOSS waters available in the lounge.
The one thing I noticed about the Dubai lounge is that it is really big and really busy. They are currently renovating half of it at the moment, which I think will help the congestion. At least I didn’t have to wait at all for a shower.
Probably the worst part was that I still needed to hike across the airport from the lounge to get to my departure gate. This wasn’t much fun given I was still feeling sick and dizzy, despite the shower.
Dubai-Paris on the A380
This was the part of my business class flight that I was most looking forward to. I’ve heard amazing things about the A380. This massive jet is double decker and the whole top deck is dedicated to the first and business class passengers. There is also a bar at the back that you can drink and snack at.
In the A380, every business class seat has aisle access. You also have your own drinks/bar, a tablet, a little desk, extra stowage near the window and a full flat bed! It’s clearly superior and more comfy than the first two flights I took.
That said I preferred the cozy little cabin of my first flight to the hustle and bustle of the large business class cabin on this flight. The service was also 100x better on the first and second legs. I found myself having to wait ages when calling a flight attendant, no one offered to help me put my bag in the overhead locker and I didn’t get specifically introduced to any of the attendants.
Despite still feeling really ill, I ordered dinner at least to try it. I went with the mezze plate for appetizer and absolutely devoured the flat bread with hummus and the vine leaves. I love this type of food!
For main I ordered the lamb with jus and sweet potato mash. The lamb was super dry and I couldn’t eat more than a mouthful. But like a sick baby, I really enjoyed slurping up the sweet potato mash!
I ordered all of this with the French red wine but couldn’t have more than half a glass because of how crap I felt. But from what I could remember, it was tasty. Although I still think I prefer the Veuve I got when I first arrived on the plane.
I then finished with a fruit plate and some tea!
Given that it was day time in France for this flight, I was originally hoping to not sleep to avoid jet lag. But given how terrible I was feeling, sleeping seemed very necessary.
When sleeping on the Boeing 777, I had a pretty great sleep. But it was nothing compared to the full five hours I managed to get on the A380. There really is a difference in having a full flat bed. I was secluded from the rest of the cabin on my cozy little bed and it was the best sleep I’ve had on a flight by far. I think, given the preference, I would always try to book this plane!
Chaffeur Car from Charles de Gauelle Airport
Everything is easier in business class. As we were the first off the plane, I hardly had to wait at all in the immigration line.
And business class baggage gets priority. Thus within 15 minutes of leaving the plane I was in the car with my chauffeur who had meet me at arrivals.
After the whole business class experience, I’m sure it will be hard to transition back to economy, especially for longer flights. I’ve now got another 92,000 points and I’m hoping by the end of my trip I’ll have enough for another business class flight home!