For those of you missed my blog post on my very first tryst with the Emirates A380, you can still read it here. Needless to say, it was fantastic. If you noticed, in my first piece, I only concentrated on the economy product. This time, we’re moving up to Business Class to check out the on-board product and cabin experience.
Let’s begin with the layout of the cabin. Emirates Business Class on this particular A380 (A6-EES) occupies the upper deck of the aircraft, beginning right after the First Class Suites and going all the way to the tail end of the aircraft, where the airline’s signature Onboard Lounge sits (but we’ll talk about that later). There is a nice wooden effect panelling, which frames the windows adding the feel of a private jet. Look closely, you might just agree with me.
In terms of layout, the cabin features 76 flat bed seats. The configuration is staggered making it perfectly suitable for all kinds of travellers. There is a single seat at the windows and two seats in the middle. However, the middle seats are interestingly designed. They alternate between the ‘sweetheart seats’ where the two middle seats are right next to each other (perfect for two people travelling together) and two middle seats separated by a central console, for greater privacy, perfect for single/business travellers.
Each seat has a mini-bar console where you will find a glass, a bottle of still mineral water, a bottle of fruit juice, a can of Cola and a bottle of Perrier. The mini-bar is placed in the seat before the passenger boards (is cleverly secured for take-off) and is attentively replenished throughout the flight.
At the heart of the Emirates Business Class offering is a fantastic seat, which, as you would expect, converts into a 79-inch flat bed, at the touch of a button. The 48-inch pitch and 18.5 width of the seat are the ideal dimensions for a long-haul flight where all you want to do is be ensconced in your little zone, sleep, work, eat, drink and watch movies as you please. What’s more, there’s a special touchscreen panel from which you can control the movement, recline of your seat. Once the seat is in flat bed mode, the flight attendants do a sort of turn-down service where the bed is dressed with linen so that you can comfortably sleep for hours.
In terms of amenities, Emirates Business Class passengers receive Bulgari kits featuring the unisex Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge Range. There are separate kits for men and women. The gents’ kit also contains a Rexona men roll-on deodorant, and Gillette shaving essentials.
Peeking into the galley, I got to see a galley toaster. From my experience, very few airlines actually keep a toaster in their business class cabin. At breakfast, freshly prepared toast at 30, 000 ft is quite a delight as compared to pre-heated readymade toast that one is usually accustomed to. I couldn’t help but wonder what coffee machine Emirates uses in their Business Class cabin. I was thrilled to see a Iaccobucci espresso maker, which is arguably the best of its kind in the skies. (A propos – there’s a Nespresso machine for First Class passengers, I wonder if, with time, Emirates will bring their Nespresso machines down to Business Class).
And the crowning glory of Emirates Business Class lies at the end of the cabin, right next to the staircase leading down to the main deck — the Emirates A380 Onboard Lounge. This very spacious area is a full-fledged bar, which opens up after take-off and closes just before landing. Business Class passengers can choose to stand by the bar or sit in the lounge chairs (seat belts provided, of course) by the windows. Sip on a glass of bubbly (Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot for Business Class passengers), ask the flight attendant-cum-trained-bartender to whip up a cocktail for you, linger over a premium single malt or sip on some fresh fruit juice as you mingle with other passengers. And if you’re still peckish after that copious multi-course meal you just enjoyed back in your seat, there’s an array canapés, cold cuts, olives, crackers, cheese, pastries and hors d’oeuvres to choose from.
On myriad social platforms, I’ve seen Emirates passengers posing for a photograph with the flight attendant at the Onboard Lounge. It seems to have become an Emirates signature experience. I gladly jumped on the bandwagon.
So here I am, in my plush Emirates Business class seat, snuggled up with a glass of champagne, a jazz playlist on loop, ready for my long-haul flight to…you’ll just have to watch this space to know where UrbanEye is heading next…