This section of the trip report deals only with the seat and suite. Food, service, and shower are covered in links above.
Auckland (AKL) – Sydney (SYD)
Depart: 6:40 PM on Saturday, January 12
Arrive: 8:05 PM
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 3A (First Class)
The Emirates First Class cabin has 14 seats, four rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.
I had a window seat on the left hand side of the upper deck. A few minutes after sitting down, I was handed a 23 page manual on first class experience. I’ve endeavored to publish pictures of every word of that manual to give you an overview of the suite.
Here’s the actual seat with a pillow and duvet in the background.
I found the seat very comfortable for sitting for dinner. I also reclined it for listening to music and watching the tail camera and found that enjoyable. I always compare in-flight features to things on the ground, and I thought the seat matched up well to any recliner in terms of comfort.
From the 23 page manual, I learned there are seven adjustable parts to the seat: headrest, backrest, footrest, lumbar, seat pan, seat tracking, and armrest. Many of these parts could be controlled by buttons around the seat, and all could be manipulated by the mini touch screen to the left of the seat. The seat was truly customizable to anyone’s specifications and preferences.
The most important position for any first class seat, though, is the bed position. How did that fare?
I asked for a turndown service before heading back to the bar (more on that in another installment.) When I came back, I arrived to this:
A large-for-a-plane bed-sized pillow, a duvet, and a mattress pad made up the bed. The Godiva chocolate and flower on the pillow continued the hotel theme nicely. After all, Emirates calls your area a suite, which has a Do Not Disturb sign, and a phone for room service.
I found the bed supremely comfortable. The bed is 7’2″ long and 1’11” wide, so everyone should fit comfortably. In many airplane beds, I feel slightly trapped by the arm rest extending above me. It’s the same sensation I get sleeping on a top bunk, with something hanging above me to keep me from falling out. I don’t like that feeling, and I didn’t get it on Emirates because the arm rest lowered to seat level at the push of a button. This made me feel like I had ample space instead of being trapped.
The pillow and mattress pad made the bed as comfortable as a futon. I certainly didn’t feel like I was lying down in my own bed, but it was better than most plane beds, which feel like sleeping on a sofa to me. The duvet was very comfortable also.
(I rank sleeping surfaces from worst to best: floor, sofa, blow up mattress, futon, bed, cloud.)
Closing the suite doors gave a very private feeling to the bed. The suite doors extend high enough that you can’t see anything, but passing flight attendants can see you to make sure your seat belt is fastened. In the window seats, you are enclosed by the side of the plane and suite doors. In the middle seats, you are enclosed by the suite doors and a privacy divider.
Rest of the Suite
Across from the seat is probably the most noticeable thing about the suite–a 23″ TV. This TV blows away the TV of every other airline that I’ve been on. It is much larger than United’s for instance. A TV of this size so close to where you’re sitting is almost like watching a big screen.
Also pictured is a vanity mirror, a small amenity kit of lotions and smelling salts, and the food part of my en suite mini-bar.
The TV is a touch screen, but if you don’t like leaning forward to touch it, you have two other options: the remote control in your arm rest or the mini touch screen just to your left, which can also control your seat.
The actual entertainment options were incredible. There were over 100 films, tons of TV options, and the best selection of music I’ve ever seen. There was a selection of essential albums that included the best albums of all time–think Pet Sounds–and even an extensive country selection–think Taylor Swift. And all of that was displayed on a 23″ inch screen a few feet from you and heard through the provided noise cancelling head phones.
Plus you can watch any of the three cameras mounted on the plane, the most interesting one being the tail-mounted camera. This is pretty boring in flight, but cool during take off and landing.
Then there are the food options in your suite. Pictured above in front of the TV, you can see the basket of snacks at the seat when you arrive: Pringles, Toblerone, Twix, Mars Bar, and more. This is taken away right before take off, then returned when you are in the air.
Just to the left of the seat and available from the moment you walk on the plane is your own mini-bar featuring Voss water, Perrier, mango juice, and sodas.
I found the snacks to be convenient and tempting. The drinks were more of a wow-factor than a practical thing, though, because they weren’t chilled. So when I drank the water and juice, I had to ask for ice, meaning the mini-bar didn’t save me any time or the crew any work.
The beauty items in the suite are a vanity mirror, pictured in front of the TV, and a small amenity kit with some smelling salts and lotions. There is a “real” amenity kit given on longer flights, but we missed out on it and pajamas on our short hop.
My seat had access to three windows. All the windows were push button operated. The inner windows are large on the A380, but the outer part of the windows looked the same size as on older planes, so I didn’t feel like the windows were huge.
The first class cabin has no overhead bins. My carry ons fit comfortably on the floor at the front of my suite. If you don’t want your carry ons there, you can ask a crew member to store them. But the suite is so large that even though I’m 6’4″, the bags didn’t infringe on my leg room.
And I’ve saved the best for last.
My favorite part of the suite was the fresh flower that greeted me. It was out of place on a plane, in a good way.
The seat, bed, and suite in Emirates A380 First Class are incredible. I like to compare these things to analogous things on the ground. The bed was about equal to a futon, which is more comfortable than most airplane beds to me, which are more like a sofa. The seat was as comfortable as any recliner, better really because of the seven adjustable parts.
The rest of the suite was practical and luxurious. From the oversized TV to the convenient storage locations, the big handsome table to the fresh flower, this is the best hard product I’ve experienced.
Stay tuned for the next installments about the food, service, and shower spa!