The best way to cross Emirates First Class off your to-do list

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Emirates First Class is firmly on the wish list of many travellers. And that’s not a mistake.

From bottomless caviar and Dom Pérignon to the onboard bar and showering at 40,000 feet, there’s really nothing else like it – especially if you find yourself on a flight with the new First Class suites changing gives it. That’s the definition of “extra”…in the best possible way.

But booking those first class suites is also extra – as in, harder and more expensive too. Booking Emirates First Class the right way is the key to saving points and money and getting the most out of this incredible flight.

If you ask me, one particular route stands out…

Read our full review of the Emirates First Class flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Dubai (DXB)!

Look to Europe, not Dubai

The best things in aviation don’t come free. But flying Emirates First Class on the right routes can save you a ton of points – and money too.

Your mind probably immediately goes to flying from the US to the Emirates hub in Dubai (DXB) or back. What better way to enjoy it than a 13+ hour flight to the Middle East, right?

But that’s not cheap: First-class flights from the East Coast to Dubai total 136,250 miles each way. Start from a west coast city like Los Angeles (LAX), and it goes up to 155,000 miles. Emirates Skywards are easy to earn since you can transfer them from all the major banks like Chase, American Express, Capital One and Citi… but it’s still a lot of points.

Worse still, after a series of fuel surcharge increases earlier this year, it now costs an additional $836 in taxes and fees – or even more if you’re connecting somewhere beyond Dubai. When returning to the US from Dubai, the cash cost for first class clocks is $882. Ouch.

This is where Emirates’ funky fifth freedom routes between the US and Europe shine. You can also travel non-stop with Emirates from New York (JFK) to Milan (MXP) as well as from Newark (EWR) to Athens (ATH).

And it’s much cheaper on both fronts: Only 85,000 miles and around $100 for the one-way ticket to Milan or Athens. Looked:

emirates first class jfk in milan

If there’s one route to choose from here for the ultimate Emirates first class, it’s the flight to Milan. That’s because Emirates flies its signature Airbus A380 on this route to Italy, meaning you can head to the back of the upper deck for a drink from the onboard bar and rinse off in the shower. before landing.

emirates first class seats

The Boeing 777s that Emirates flies to Athens have similar suites, but these amenities are nowhere to be found.

Unless you’re planning a first class round trip, you have to choose how you want to splurge. Believe me: you might want to resist the urge to fly first class to Europe and save it for the return trip from Italy instead…

Fly home first from Europe

Believe me: when you fly Emirates First Class, more is almost always better.

Thanks to the Earth’s rotation and the jet streams it creates, flying west always takes longer than flying east. The difference here is substantial: Emirates schedules its flights as follows:

  • New York (JFK) to Milan (MXP) clocks at half past seven
  • Milan (MXP) to New York (JFK) is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

But airlines always block more time than they need so, in reality, it’s even shorter. My Emirates flight to Milan last week was only 6.5 hours in total.

It’s just not long enough. And because the flight to Europe leaves so late (around 11 p.m. EST, actually), all you might want to do is sleep on the flight to Italy. The flight is structured around quickly feeding and putting passengers to bed.

This makes it difficult to enjoy everything that makes Emirates First Class so great. So opt for the return flight from Milan (MXP) to the US and give yourself more time to soak it up. These flights are due to leave Italy in the afternoon, so you’ll be flying for the rest of the day and arriving when it’s almost bedtime in the US.

emirates first class seat caviar

Another plus? In my experience, it is generally easier to find the availability of the rewards you need to get a first class seat from Milan westbound than to fly to Italy. It’s still not safe, but it’s definitely a safer bet than many other routes.

Saving tip: You can even book a seat in business class and then ask at the check-in counter for an upgrade to first class for 39,000 Skywards miles or less.

With your first-class return ticket to the US in hand, you can end your round-trip journey across the pond with one of our other favorite ways to book flights to Europe using points . Maybe he scores a seat in Delta One business class for 50,000 points or Iberia business class for just 34,000 miles?

Heck, you can even fly Emirates Business Class on the flight to Milan, pairing it with your First Class seat for as little as 130,000 Emirates miles and less than $250 total.

business class emirates first class

Read more: How to book Emirates flights to Europe

The Emirates First Class experience

There’s a reason for all the hype surrounding Emirates First Class. No doubt about it: it’s one of the best ways to fly, period.

Sure, the gold and faux wood look in First Class is a bit gawdy – and Emirates is revamping its cabins for a fresher, more modern look. But Emirates First Class Closed Door Suites are comfortable, spacious and private. The service is often impeccable. The food and drink options are almost unmatched. And the amenities and extras you get are “pinch me, is this real?” cool.

Emirates first class cabin

We’ll have a full review in the coming weeks, but just to give you an idea…

Emirates serves Dom Pérignon exclusively in first class, often turning in extra-special (and even more expensive) vintages, such as the 2003 Plénitude 2 which they have been pouring for a few months. An added benefit of flying from Milan to New York instead of the other way around is that they pop bottles of good stuff while you board in italy – something they can skip on the ground in New York to avoid paying extra taxes.

emirates first class champagne

Nothing says first class like caviar, and no airline does it better than Emirates…especially now that they’re offering unlimited servings to first class passengers. A huge mound of caviar with all the fixings is enough for me, thank you.

emirates first class caviar

I have never seen a mountain of amenities like what was waiting for me in my suite. This includes an excellent mattress topper and luxurious duvet, two pillows, a Bvlgari branded comfort kit with the most awesome contents I’ve ever seen, an excellent pair of Bowers & Wilkins headphones and a set of amazingly comfortable pajamas. Did I forget something? Most likely.

Whether you’re up front or in business class, few things are cooler than heading back to a bar in the sky for a nightcap. But Emirates is taking it to the next level for first class: a stewardess asked to escort me to the bar and even sent me back a bottle of Dom so I could have another drink. It’s overkill but that’s the Emirates First Class way…

emirates first class bar

Only one thing puts the bar to shame: taking a shower at 40,000 feet. The first class cabin is equipped with not one but two showers, which you can reserve after boarding. Like clockwork, a stewardess picked me up and brought me up front for one of the most ridiculous experiences you’ll find in the air.

Emirates first class shower

Emirates first class shower


There is no doubt in my mind: Emirates First Class lives up to the hype. But if you’re spending too many miles or too much money on a short night flight on a plane with no shower or bar on board, you might not feel like it.

If you don’t want to shell out nearly double the miles and nearly $1,000 in fees, booking Emirates First Class on the return flight from Milan to New York might just be the easiest (and best) way to get there. to arrive.

About Elizabeth Smith

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