A review of Emirates First Class A380 flight EK419 from Auckland to Sydney, travelling in a First Class Suite, with an infant.
|Route:||Auckland to Sydney|
|Flight duration:||3 hours, 20 minutes|
|Cabin:||First class suite|
|Redemption points:||54,000 Qantas points (plus $117 NZD in taxes)|
The Emirates A380 suite is arguably one of the flashiest and most ostentatious first-class products available. I’ve been keen to try it out for quite some time and after I’d earned a stack of Qantas points, I was ready to book.
While I was originally booked on a Qantas economy ticket, just a few days out from my intended departure date, a first-class seat on Emirates opened up. I jumped at the opportunity to redeem just 54,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points for the 3-hour 20-minute journey. My infant son would be travelling with me, and I was able to book him onto my ticket for no extra charge.
Emirates First Class check-in and pre-departure
Upon arrival at Auckland airport, we made a beeline for the dedicated First Class check-in counter. We were soon on our way with our boarding passes, an invite to the Emirates Auckland Lounge and express pass clearance for immigration.
We cleared immigration fairly quickly, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was permitted to take my son through security in his Ergo baby carrier. In Australia, it’s compulsory to take the baby out and place the carrier on the security belt before then re-harnessing the baby. This usually leads to tears and is near on impossible for a parent travelling solo with a bub.
We arrived at the lounge with around one hour to kill. At this stage, my son was sleeping soundly in his carrier, so I figured I had enough time to partake in a glass of champagne (the lounge serves the very respectable Veuve Clicquot NV) and a few nibbles.
The gate was a fairly long walk from the lounge, so we left with plenty of time to spare. I was keen to board early so that I could enjoy a pre-departure glass of Dom Perignon vintage 2006.
Emirates First Class boarding
The gate was extremely crowded, with many people flying back to Australia following the Christmas break. Fortunately, we were able to board quickly via the dedicated Emirates First Class line.
We were greeted enthusiastically by the crew and shown to our First Class suite.
The crew on board our flight, including Laura from Auckland, were all very excited to meet my son and to find out that this was our very first flight in an Emirates First Class A380 suite.
To mark the occasion, the crew took a series of Polaroid photos of us, which they then presented in three handwritten cards.
I was then invited to enjoy my pre-departure glass of Dom Perignon 2006. It was beautifully balanced and elegant champagne.
The Emirates First Class A380 suite incorporates a room temperature mini bar which contains a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. While this feature is a bit odd, it proved to be a great place to store baby milk. In theory, you shouldn’t need it as the crew are always on hand to top up drinks.
Following a smooth takeoff, the seat belt sign was switched off, and the Emirates crew set about mounting the bassinet for my baby, which took just a few minutes. At three months old, he was a good size for the bassinet, and he seemed to enjoy his new found space.
Fine Dining in Emirates First Class
Before long, my baby was sleeping soundly and my table was set for dinner. A full three-course meal is served in both Emirates Business Class and Emirates First Class suites on trans-Tasman flights. No caviar was available, as this service is only available for long haul flights.
I commenced my meal with a delicate appetiser of prawn, salmon and tuna. The starter was served with a fresh side salad.
I selected a beef fillet for my main course but was unable to fit dessert or a cheese plate in. The Emirates wine list is exceptional. Emirates stocks a good selection of first-class wines on board and I enjoyed small tasting glasses of a number. Both the Two Hands Ares Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012, and Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2013 from the Clare Valley was excellent.
Following my meal, I asked to try the Hennessy Paradis cognac. At over $1000 NZD a bottle, it is an exclusive spirit and arguably the most expensive drop served in the sky by a commercial airline. It did not disappoint!
Emirates A380 shower suite
At this stage, there was just an hour of the flight left to go. With baby sleeping soundly, I left him in Laura’s capable care and went for a quick walk. Around the front of first-class, is the Emirates A380 shower suite.
The Emirates A380 shower suite is only available to First Class passengers, bookable for a 30-minute block once during the flight. During this time, 5 minutes of water can be used. A dedicated Emirates shower attendant is on hand to maintain the suite between passengers.
A shower in the sky has been on my bucket list for a while, but sadly I was unable to try it on this occasion due to caring for my baby. However, it was amazing just to spend a few minutes in the suite.
Returning, I found that the Emirates crew had kindly left me a stuffed toy for my toddler back home. A smart Bvlgari amenity kit, presented in a soft white leather pouch was also included.
Returning to my seat, the bassinet was stowed away in preparation of landing. Before long, the captain announced our descent, and the seat belt sign was promptly switched on. We had a smooth descent into Sydney, and a quick taxi to the gate before disembarking. We progressed through arrivals quickly and were soon on our way to our accommodation in Sydney.
All in all, this flight was an excellent introduction to Emirates First Class, and in particular, the A380 suite. I was very impressed by the professionalism of the crew and the quality of the food and beverage offerings. I was also very lucky that my baby slept through most of the flight. I’m now a first-class convert and have followed up with trips on Qantas First Class and the Singapore Airlines new First Class suite.
How to book a taste of Emirates First Class from New Zealand
Unfortunately, the Emirates Auckland – Sydney route was discontinued some time back. However, New Zealanders can still experience a taste of Emirates A380 business class or first class on the Christchurch – Sydney route for 54,000 Qantas points. Alternatively for a slightly longer flight that won’t break the (points) bank, consider positioning to Melbourne for a seven-hour trip to Singapore, one of a handful of fifth freedom routes that Emirates operates.
If you’d like to use points for this flight, your best bet is to redeem via Qantas Frequent Flyer. While it can be difficult for New Zealanders to earn Qantas points, if you’re an Australian reader, there are a stack of ways that you can earn Qantas points, including via a Qantas credit card, such as the Qantas Amex Ultimate Credit Card.
Have you tried out the Emirates A380 suite?