Review: Emirates First Class Private Suites in the A340-500
(deutsche Version) In the recent months I had the pleasure to fly with some interesting products. In particular business reasons took me west. Besides British Airways I also tried out the first class products of Swiss Air and Lufthansa, but also nice business class products of Virgin or the all business class jet of British Airways from London City.
Missing in my list so far were products of the Arabic airlines, like Emirates or Ethiad. On my spontaneous and short trip to Johannesburg I chose Emirates, which flies A340, as well as 777 and of course the A380 with private suites.
It started in Hamburg with a short stopover in Dubai.
Different than other airlines, where the journey starts at the airport, Emirates offer a chauffeur service for first and business class guests. So if you haven’t used Rail&Fly (first class), there are limousines ready at different locations. After checking out from the Park Hyatt Hotel in Hamburg, the very pleasant and courteous driver was expecting me in the lobby. The luggage was stowed in the luxurious Mercedes S-class and so we took off for the short 30 minute way to Hamburg airport.
The counter with coasted carpet was the right one. A kind employee embraced me and gave me the choice between having the boarding ticket on my iPhone or in paper form. Old-fashioned I took the paper and also my luggage got a red first class clinger. The registered case was added with a nice plastic clinger, which is something else than the usual paper shavings you loose so often.
After the clue to visit the Emirates Lounge at Hamburg Airport I took the fast track to security check.
Directly behind the first duty free shop you take the elevator to the third level. There you find the airport lounge, which most of the airlines use, on the right and on the left the big Emirates lounge. Also here I am being embraced pleasant and kindly. After a short explanation that the lounge area is on the right and the restaurant on the left, I look at both of them. There are two showers (one for men, one for women) available and a business center with working slots for the own notebook and fixed PCs. Wifi is available in the whole lounge for free and without password.
The restaurant area offers multiple dishes and beverages. These contain Arabic specialties as well as typical dishes from Hamburg, such as Hering. In some kind of “cooled island” in the middle you find starters, desserts and a good selection of cheese. A selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and diverse coffee specialties can be found in the lounge.
Boarding and airplane:
Short before boarding we get a hint in the lounge and so I get on the way to Gate 5, where we will start with the A340-500 today. Business und first class guests can enter at any time, economy passengers have to go by seat number. Arriving at the plane’s door I was embraced well and so befalled to my seat 2K.
We were just three guests of possible 12 in first class. This leads to me having not only a seat but also a “bedroom”. Different than many other airlines, Emirates has electric doors that give you a lot more privacy, but a little more about that later on. The seats are ordered in a 1-2-1 configuration. I sit on 2K hence dexter close to the window. From my point of view a good choice, because neither the toilet in front of row 1 is disturbing, neither you’re sitting directly before business class. If you want to travel by two I recommend the middle seats, because you can create your own cabin by closing the two outer doors.
Entering the cabin there are a few points I directly realize that I don’t know from other airlines. Close to the window there is a big clack that contains one’s very own minibar. Filled with a can of Coke and Seven Up, a bottle of Voss water and mango juice, a bottle of mineral water and a glass you can help yourself without calling for service.
Directly in front of the screen you find a bowl with Mars, potato chips, nuts, peppermints and little sweet as well as a mirror inside the table. If you open it, you find all kinds of cosmetics for women. Especially the world of women will appreciate that. The front side of the table contains another drawer where you find a writing set from Arabic airlines, so you finish your vacation greets.
I’m positively surprised of the space you have in the cabin. Behind the big screen and from the corridor you have place for your clothes. There you can put your jacket and other stuff and have them ready, if you need them. Under the table you find another storage, so I could place my stuffed backpack there. Since there is no other door you can reach it fast. Just for cases this storage might be too small.
Other ones can be found on the right and left and also for a Macbook you find a place besides the table. Magazines and other utensils can be put above and under the front table. So you find a place for everything. A power socket is placed besides the minibar plus a plug for USB, so you can recharge your smartphone at the spot.
The seat itself is broad an comfortable and equipped with expansive massage functions. Depending on what you like, single or multiple zones are being massaged. The control of the seat functions, as well as the change to a bed, happens via touch panel. It sticks in an attachment on the right and is a little disposed to the back, which makes it quite comfortable to operate. If you want to write a text message or E-Mail you can use the touch panel as keyboard.
The suite is equipped with lights and lamps that can also be controlled via touch panel. Besides the monitor is a bigger lamp, on the ceiling a reading light and on the right behind the seat another one. Also the “Do not disturb” function that lights up a lamp outside the cabin, can be put on and off here.
One more thing concerning the bed: The seat can be changed into a flat bed, which provides maximal privacy threw the door while you’re not feeling constricted. Since there is also space to the above, I never had the feeling of being “locked in”. The cuddly bedding with mattress storage on the seat and fluffy-soft cushion let me sleep like in heaven. For me, I wrote that a couple of times now, the bedding first class cabins is the crucial criteria for good sleep. Of course you also can sleep well with a “normal” sheet in business class, aber this is more comfortable.
For dinner, it’s much more comfortable to leave the door open, because it’s easier for the service and saves opening and closing the door all the time.
Service and amenities:
Even though nobody accompanied me to my seat, as at Lufthansa or BA, I found it quickly. Arriving there I was embraced nicely and the stewardesses as well as the Purser introduced themselves to me. I was asked what beverage I’d like to drink. Today, instead of Champaign I chose Coke on ice.
During the whole flight the service was fine. Even if some report a sagging service, I cannot agree here. The ladies are neat, pleasant and ask more than enough what else they can do for you. After the start in rainy Hamburg you get the typical Arabic coffee and dates. Also the greeting from the kitchen consisting of warm nuts and pistachios, Parmesan and olives comes right away.
Even if it’s a day flight (departure 15:25) there is only pyjama, eye mask and slipper. A classic amenity kit is not available, since the cosmetics are already stuffed under the mirror. Personally I think that’s sad, since you can stuff odds and ends into it. Let’s see how it is on the night flight to Johannesburg.
All in all I am convinced and can recommend the service that was able to help with the bed and any other matters.
As generally known, in first class there is no time for warm dishes, you can choose. Whether you want to sleep first, work or eat right away – all that is possible.
Besides the wine menu, which includes 3 white, two and one dessert and port wine, you can get Champaign, too. We’re talking about a Cuvee Dom Perignon 2003, which was already given out in the beginning. I liked the 1991st Graham’s port wine that fits especially to cheese. Alcoholic beverages and Aperitifs are also available. Besides classics such as Campari or Martini you can also have a 21 years old Glenfiddich or Grey Goose Vodka and Bombay Gin. Tea, coffee specialties and non-alcoholic beverages are available in big selection. Nobody has to stay thirsty.
After the Canapes, which consist of three delicacies today, I decide for two of three starters. Besides caviar with traditional side dishes I also choose the “Beef Filet” with delicious and fresh tomato puree. For the caviar I was missing the classic toasted bread, but the selection of bread in general was quite extensive and so more than balanced.
My choice for the main course was fish and so I got served the “filet of dot” with different vegetable side dishes and potato puree. It was not only arranged with a delicious and nice crust, but also as tasty as it looks. There were four other alternatives, you can see the menu at the bottom under the photos. If you like it lighter, you can also get a salad or soup.
Who knows me and my articles, you know that I don’t like to disclaim dessert. I chose warm apple pie with admirable fusing caramel and vanilla sauce. The combination “Apple and thyme tart tatin” does not only sound nice, it also tastes nice. Later on I got something from the cheese selection and a sip of the port wine.
Conclusion of part 1:
For me it was a comfortable and relaxed flight. Food, as well as service are serious and mustn’t hide from anybody. I am also glad that there is now another airlines that serves caviar. What distracted me until now from going with Arabic airlines is the missing “Mile-collection-alliance”. Well, there is nothing you can do and since I travelled from Johannesburg and back I now have gold status, which you need just in limited ways.
I liked the idea of the minibar and little snacks, which saves you some time or going to the bar. After landing in Dubai I will follow up with articles about the Emirates lounge at Terminal 3 and the flight in first class with the A380 to Jonnesburg. This part is very interesting to me because a few months ago I took a Qantas flight to Australia and so I have a direct comparison. And where else can you get a shower on board? So stay tuned, more articles follow.