From Our Archive
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A Guide to Emirates Airlines’ First Class

For the past three years Dr. Michael Apa has been flying Emirates first-class between New York and Dubai, where he has an outpost of his cosmetic dentistry practice. Apa was lured to Dubai by members of the royal family who had come to him as patients for his customized porcelain veneers. He now travels there four times a year on Emirates, which is restoring—thankfully, Apa says—its Airbus A380 service on the route in October. This is his routine.

Checking In

“When you buy a first-class ticket Emirates sends a town car, and I get picked up around 8 p.m. for the 11 p.m. flight from JFK. The Emirates porters take your bags right from the car, wait for you to check in, and then they walk you to security, where there’s never a line. There’s a special lounge from which first and business passengers can board the plane directly, so there are very few people—it’s empty.”


“The Emirates lounge at JFK is ridiculous—it’s big, clean, everyone’s friendly. My first flight, I took pictures of the bathroom to send to my family. And there’s great food. I wait until I get there to eat dinner. In Dubai there’s a separate first-class lounge that’s even nicer.”

The Suite

“The first time, I brought my iPod, books, magazines, and planned to catch up on a bunch of things. Because I’m thinking, My God, I’m on this thirteen-hour flight. I boarded, got to my suite, and the bed, which goes completely flat, is big! The suite has noise-canceling headphones and a minibar with water and Diet Coke. I changed into the pajamas they give you and closed myself off—it’s like being in your own bedroom. I put on a recent movie I hadn’t seen that lasted an hour into my meal—which was amazing—and I passed out for ten hours. Now I look forward to this flight because no one can reach me, and it’s where I get the best sleep.”

Boeing vs. Airbus

“The Boeing 777 first class is awesome—you still have a suite, a big bed—but you don’t have the A380’s showers, which are great if you arrive at 8 a.m. and have to go directly to work. There’s more space on the A380 to walk around, and there’s a bar, where some people sit drinking for ten hours like they’re on a night out.”

The Amenities

“I always take the amenity kit because I like the little jackknife brush comb, and the pajamas—brown sweatpants and a sweatshirt—are great workout clothes.”

Emirates’s current round-trip fares from JFK to Dubai are around $18,000 for first class, $9,500 for business, and $2,000 for economy.


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