Review: Emirates First Class A380-8, Mauritius – Dubai


An Emirates First Class award is one of the most aspirational award redemptions in the world today. The Emirates Airbus 380 aircrafts feature shower suites, a stand up bar and an excellent first class experience. As one of the largest operators of the Airbus 380, it’s is available on many of its long haul international routes. We had the experience to test out this world class experience on their route between Mauritius and Dubai.

This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines AAdvantage & Alaska Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Emirates First Class A380-8, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Mauritius – Dubai International Terminal 3

“Emirates First Class is one of the most featured First Class products in the world today. It includes a stand up bar, shower suites and a five course meal with world class wines”

Booking the Ticket:

Our return travel back to North American from Africa was courtesy of the Alaska Mileage Plan’s partner award chart with Emirates. We booked a 100,000 point First Class Award with Emirates, which allowed us travel from Africa through the United Arab Emirates back home to Vancouver.

We found better award availability to and from Mauritius than to our departure points in Johannesburg or Cape Town in South Africa, so it made sense to take a short flight over to this island to connect to our flights home to experience a proper first class cabin. At the time of our travels, Emirates was operating a full Airbus 380-800 on the route between the United Arab Emirates and Mauritius. It would end up being a great use of Alaska Mileage Plan points.

Getting to the Airport:

We departed the St Regis Mauritius and headed back on the self drive back to the airport. It took an hour and about 40 minutes thanks to heavy rains, some debris on the road and a police road closure that needed a detour for some reason unknown to us.

Driving Through Mauritius Cane Fields
Arriving to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport

We returned the rental car to Sixt. The attendant didn’t know how to add my AAdvantage number to the car rental account so I just left it at that. I wasn’t able to ever get credit after the fact due to some non existent customer service at Sixt.


Checking In to Emirates First Class:

We checked in at the Emirates First, Business and Platinum check in desks. In Mauritius, Emirates doesn’t offer a separate check in for first class. Instead, it lumps the premium check in together with their business class passengers. The check in was pretty empty, save one Indian family that was attempting to squeeze in the line a head of us. The ground staff were all wearing Air Mauritius uniforms. Our checked bags were pleasantly tagged and a manager confirmed that we wanted seats 2A and 3A, even though they were not seated side by side.

Emirates First Class Check In Signage
Emirates First Class Check In
Emirates First Class Signage

While we were checking in, we were provided with a lounge invitation for the Salon Amédée Maingard Lounge. We used the dedicated departure screening and business / first passport line, which was on the right of the departure zone. We were quickly stamped out of Mauritius and into the pleasant terminal.

An Air Seychelles A320 on the ramp at Mauritius
On the Secure Side: Mauritius International Airport
Our parked Emirates A380 taking us to Dubai later tonight

The Air Mauritius Amédée Maingard Lounge:

We located the Air Mauritius Amédée Maingard Lounge. It was situated at the immediate right hand side of the concourse. I’ve previously reviewed the Air Mauritius Amédée Maingard Lounge, so I won’t be completely reviewing it again for this post. Instead, I’ll include a view brief photographs as a general overview for those wanting to know what to expect when travelling with Emirates on this route.

The Entry to the Air Mauritius Amédée Maingard Lounge

We attended to the lounge behind some very slow walking Europeans. We were directed upstairs as the downstairs portion was closed today. The downstairs was looking awfully dark as we passed by.

The closed downstairs Air Mauritius Lounge

Heading upstairs, this is easily my favourite lounge in all of Africa. It’s a bright space that is nicely appointed with very good food and beverage. This includes real champagne available at the bar and a reasonable selection of food and beverage in a nice setting with lots of natural light.

A pleasant lounge upstairs
Spacious Seating with Lots of Natural Light
Booth Seating, Tables and Chairs and Newspapers available for reading consumption
A Children’s Area at the Back
A Dining Area
A Great Selection of Places to Sit

Upstairs, the lounge was much busier than our last visit. It remained a very nicely catered lounge with hot and cold snacks. The bar was featuring Duval Leroy Champagne and some chippie chips as a snack.

A Full Bar Service with Bartender
Champagne in the Lounge

This easily has to be my favourite lounge in Southern Africa by far. . . It’s a super pleasant area to hang out in, with a variety of seating areas to call your own for a few hours. It has great natural light, making a stay even more inviting.

First Class
MRU-DXB (Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International – Dubai International Terminal 3)
EK 702
May 1, 2016
Booked: Airbus 380-800
Flown: Airbus 380-800
Departure: 4:20 PM
Arrival: 11:05 PM

We departed the lounge and walked to the other end of the terminal for boarding at gates 22 and 23. We passed by the Mauritius flight boards which have planes departing to a variety of exotic destinations.

Now Boarding: Gate 23

The boarding was early and probably about 75% complete by the time of the first boarding time posted on our boarding card.

There was no delay and no line for the business / first class boarding jet bridge, with 3 jet bridges in use for the beautiful A380. We had an almost private jet bridge today as we headed to the upper deck.

MrsWT73 headed immediately for her First Class Suite

Once we got to the door, we were handed off to a member of the first class flight crew who personally escorted us to the seats.

On Board Emirates First Class:

As we arrived on board, we were informed that there was only 1 other passenger in First today; seated in 2K. As a result, we were encouraged to run around like wild animals on the left hand side of the cabin and take pictures enjoy the experience.

The Emirates Airbus 380-8 First Class Cabin offers a 1-2-1 configuration. The suites offer private doors that close and a mini bar. The suites and overall cabin are some of the most interesting looking mix of wood and gold. You’ll never mistake yourself for being in a more discreet and understated Lufthansa First Class Cabin. The colour scheme on Emirates is over the top and like the beautiful Hollywood actress; it knows it.

The Emirates First Class Suite A380-8
The Emirates A380-8 First Class Suite
A View from the Emirates First Class Suite
A Room Temperature Mini Bar
Dedicated Signage for this flight and seat

The suite controls were controlled by a flat screen controller, that had touch surfaces on it. There was also an in flight wired remote for the entertainment.

Suite Controls With Gold Controls
An Entertainment Controller Buried in the Arm Rest
Suite 3A Markings
An Overhead View of the Emirates First Class Cabin
Today’s Empty First Class Cabin

Overall, MrsWT73 seemed to be quite pleased with the suite.

Emirates First Class Cabin Overview
Thankfully: A wife content with Bubbles
Views into Center Aisles

Pre Departure Services:

We had some captain announcements and a posted flight time of five hours and forty five minutes travel time from Mauritius to Dubai. We had a whole suite of pre-departure services which occurred after we had arrived on board.

We were offered a towel service, and the Arabic coffee from a traditional Arabic coffee dispenser and a date. We were also invited up to inspect and check out the shower suite and arrange a time for later.

We were also offered large Pyjamas and a men’s amenity kit were provided in the Emirates branded tote bag.

Men’s Amenity Kit and a Large Set of Emirates Branded Pyjamas
A Solid Amenties Kit Case, With Bulvari Branded Lotions

There is so much swag on these flights, Emirates gave us a bag to take it all with us.

We were also encouraged to take the writing kit and the vanity. It was essentially a dollar store give away. 

A magazine offering was also made. I kept with the tradition and selected a middle eastern version of Conde Nast Traveller.

Continuing on with the pre-departure services, a glass of Laurent Perrier was offered as a pre-departure beverage on the ground with a promise of “the good stuff” in the air.

A Pre-Departure Laurent Perrier Champagne

Departing Mauritius:

We had a quick departure and take off with short taxi way in Mauritius. We were next to an Air Seychelles A3w0 on pushback. It was a wet departure leaving Mauritius today.

Departing next to an Air Seychelles Airbus 320
A Wet Day Outside
Rain streaks as we sped to cruise

I also located the neat forward facing camera on the Emirates ICE AVOD system. It’s always a neat view out the nose camera on the way down the runway.

Looking Down the MRU Runway
Cleared for Takeoff

We had a beautiful departure today with some excellent views of Mauritius and the coral east of the airport as we climbed to altitude. Mauritius is a place I’d really like to return to someday to spend time exploring for a more in depth experience. Before long, it was beautiful skies ahead.

Views of the Mauritius Coastline
View from the Wing: Coral Reefs off the Coast of Mauritius
A Cloudy Climb to Altitude
Clear Skies Ahead

There were 3 crew assigned to first to take care of us. As we levelled at cruising altitude, Dom Perignon 2006 champagne was brought around. We had two glasses with strong efforts by the staff to make sure that they did not go empty. The crew also delivered the individual snack basket, which was placed on the console by the television.

Enjoying Dom Perigon Champagne in Emirates First Class with a personal snack basket

The On Board Bar:

We placed our dinner order “as it takes some time to warm up”. The Emirates Airbus 380-8 First and Business Class experience allows for a stand up bar at the rear of the top level of the upper deck.

We headed back to the bar where we had some funny photos and offers to take our photographs by the senior pursers. While at the bar, First Class passengers get access to the top level premium liquor and champagne. We took our First boarding cards with us and the purser pro-actively and discreetly bought down the bottle of Dom Perignon from the First Class area for us to enjoy. The bar was pretty quiet today with lots of opportunities for photographs.

Emirates A380-8 First and Business Class Bar
Emirates First and Business Class Bar

In addition to the bar, the area offers snacks and canapés. It’s a great social way to kill time in a flight. There is also a large flat screen monitor that allows you to track your flight path.

Emirates A380 Bar Area
The Flight Track Screen following your track over the Indian Ocean, with appetizers!
An Etagière and other tasty snacks
The Emirates Bar Service Snack Menu
This is probably one of the coolest bar spaces out there

While at the bar, I enjoyed a Marmalade martini while MrsWT73 had a Grey Goose Cosmopolitan.

We finished up our drinks and headed back to our seat. This is a quick shot of passing through business class on the Emirates A380-800.

The Emirates Business Class Cabin
The Emirates Business Class Cabin

The Meal: A Full Five Course Dinner

We settled into the seat and had a closer look at the menu and saw what food and beverage was on offe The Menus were presented in a very elaborate menu similar to a fine restaurant.

Emirates Menu Presentation
Emirates Menu Introduction

I have no idea what “job fish” was but it sounds interesting.

Emirates First Class Menu – MRU-DXB

The wine list was super impressive. It had MrsWT73’s favourite Chateau de Tracy, which was an unexpected treat. It also had a solid Chateaux Margaux, which was excellent.

Emirates Wine List Presentation
Emirates First Class Wine List – White Wines
Emirates First Class Wine List – Red Wines
Emirates First Class Champagne
Emirates First Class Wine List – Dessert and Port
Emirates First Class Beverages and Cocktails

As they say, “show time”. We started with appetizers and canapés.

Beautiful Appetizers and Canapés
Appetizers and Champagne: All is right in the world – at least for this moment

After the canapés were finished, the First Class table setting was prepared and set. It is a beautiful setting with a proper charger plate and simply looks luxurious.

Emirates First Class Table Setting

I couldn’t pass up on caviar, so I had the order served with traditional garnishes paired with Dom Perignon 2006 champagne. The breadbasket was also served.

Emirates First Class Caviar Service with Traditional Garnishes
Caviar with the Traditional Garnishes

While I was enjoying the caviar, there were some outstanding African sunset views.

First Class Against an African Sunset
Clouds, Engines and Sunsets over Africa

The caviar was followed by potato and leek soup.

Potato and Leek Soup

Instead of the interesting job fish, I had the main as the Mauritius Curry Chicken with Rice, paired with the Condrieu wine

Mauritius Chicken Curry with farmers rice, sautéed Snake Gourd and green beans
Mauritius Chicken Curry with farmers rice, sautéed Snake Gourd and green beans

After dinner, I went for a little nap afterwards. I slept really well for 2 hours under an Emirates starred sky.

Towards the end of the flight, I was woken up for shower suite as requested. What a bespoke experience to be showering on board a plane at 39,000 feet. The water was nice and hot and the towels provided were almost 5 feet long with a heated floor. The shower itself was not too roomy and I felt almost guilty using up all 5 minutes of water but it was more than enough. I forgot to bring my camera to the shower suite so regretfully, there are no shower spa photos. Please see the next segment of Emirates First Class Dubai – Los Angeles for shower suite photos and a write up of the shower suite experience.

I returned to the suite and had a green tea after the shower, just like a real spa. I decided to have dessert and asked for the raspberry cheese cake although they had run out. They must cater light as they also had ran out of Arabic mezze as the other first class passenger whom we ended up chatting with in the immigration lines didn’t get any herself.

An after shower green tea
Almost at the end of a wonderful flight

Instead, I had a pineapple dessert with a glass of the Bordeaux Margaux.

A Pineapple Cake Instead for Dessert

The fast track cards were also handed out while I had napped. I took some last cabin shots before we started the descent.

The Glow of Emirates First Class
Emirates First Class Comes with a Bag of Souvenirs
Final Moments on Board
Emirates First Class Cabin

Landing at Dubai International Airport:

We landed quickly at D5 and took the train to the main terminal at Dubai Airport. I have to say it’s a shiny place! The bags were out fairly promptly. We also took a look at the Duty Free on arrival in the baggage hall. It’s well stocked with nice wine so if you need to grab some on landing in Dubai (flying Emirates only), it’s certainly an option as there isn’t any in the local store out on the street.

Arriving at Dubai International Airport
Arriving to Dubai
Indoor Palm Trees! Why not?
Locating Our Bags
Bags with First Class Branding

My Thoughts on the Emirates First Class Experience:

The Emirates First Class Mauritius to Dubai flight was a great way to test out the Emirates First Class product. Since we had the whole cabin (save one person) to ourselves, we had a really high level of service and attention. There is nothing like having access to a shower suite, a stand up bar and a terrific food and beverage menu to enhance your travel experience.

For once, MrsWT73 summed up her thoughts about the experience as: “I have nothing to complain about… …for once I am speechless. This makes Air Canada seem like Ryan Air.” This statement in itself is a tremendous rarity, so we’d have to give two thumbs up for this flight. Even though this version of the Emirates First Class suite is nearing the end of its life cycle, it’s still a pretty neat way to go.

If you have flown Emirates First Class on the Airbus 380, did you find that it lived up to your First Class travel expectations?

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