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Our local ski hill that is closest to our house is Whistler / Blackcomb. It’s situated in the Coastal Mountains about ninety minutes drive from beautiful Vancouver. As a world class destination, it had a serious shock from the lack of international and American visitors to the hill during this ski season. Most visitors were locals or visitors from Vancouver and other parts of Canada. Let’s take a look at how the season shaped out…


This post is one chapter on our trip through the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status and Hertz President’s Circle. 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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.



Activity: Skiing the Coastal Mountains of Whistler / Blackcomb – Canada during a Pandemic.


Planning a Visit to Whistler / Blackcomb:

The Whistler / Blackcomb response to the pandemic was about as safe as you could imagine. Firstly, the resort used a reservation system to limit the amount of visitors on the hill. While it was great to have a general capacity system, the weekends frequently booked out several weeks, if not months in advance making it difficult for any spontaneous skiing.

A Long and Lengthy Mountain Upload:

Regulars to the Whistler valley would recognize that the upload to the alpine is typically through shared multi cabin gondolas. Vail Resorts took a pandemic policy of only uploading one family bubble per cabin. This resulted in tremendous lines, which further appeared much longer through social distancing measures.

A Socially Distant Initial Upload Line: Blackcomb Gondola

The initial upload lines were typically 30 – 60 minutes on a weekend day, which really cut into your skiing times. A morning of stretching lines throughout the upper village in the Blackcomb Benchlands would be the usual routines of the day.

A Somewhat Slow Start to the Day
Yikes: Difficult Inspiration During Pandemic Ski Times
A Day Starts with Forty Five Minute Lines

Once you finally got into the gondola, the upload was marked with solid signs that encouraged advanced booking of restaurants. There was also signage that encouraged open air gondolas.

Making Lunch Reservations, on a Gondola, with a QR Code
Face Coverings and Windows Open

Needless to say, pandemic or not, the Blackcomb Mountain upload still had great winter views of the valley. The West Coast snow dumps were ever present on our visits. The snow lines stretched down one side of the mountain and up the other side of the valley.

Powdery Upload Views

On the hill, we were treated to great skiing conditions on some exceptionally empty slopes and hills.

Vast Empty Slopes with no other guests
Seventh Heaven Views Towards Whistler

The lack of crowds made the season all the more unique thanks to no one being around.

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On Hill Eating at Glacier Creek Restaurant:

Since it’s a long way from the top of Whistler / Blackcomb Mountains to the valley floor, it’s typically much easier to eat directly on the hill. The Whistler Blackcomb restaurants were set up through reservations system administered using the Tock system. Fortunately, it wasn’t all to bad to get availability. We would be able to book and usually get a table within 60 – 90 minutes of requesting one. As a result, we often played it day by day and hour by hour. We typically ate late in the day.

Even the Skis Were Parked in a Socially Distant Manner

Once you arrived to the restaurant to claim your reservation, you were led to a table by a host. The tables were all socially spread out and distanced, with the usual plexi glass divider screens; certainly a strange look for a remote on hill ski lodge.

Your Claim Slip
Finding Table D604
Locating a Table Separated by Plexi Glass
Odd layouts in the usually packed five hundred seat restaurant
A Divided Glacier Creek

The cafeteria flows through the Glacier Creek lodge were also reformed into a one way path. It was the same general food, which has gotten a little less exciting over the years. It’s become a bit more cafeteria versus upscale casual.

Vail Resorts Makes an Effort at Apres Ski:

Merlin’s Restaurant Runs at Part Capacity and Part Hours

Vail Resorts has taken a very conservative use of it’s food and beverage outlets under the “new” management. Most of them have been closed in the evenings after apres ski; sometimes they haven’t even made an effort to keep any of them open.

We were able to get in some Apres Ski at the legendary Merlins Restaurant and Bar which has anchored the base of Blackcomb Mountain since 1987. Despite the pandemic making things a little gloomier than normal, it was still nice to sit on an open patio and enjoy a crisp Kokanee Gold draft beer.

The Merlin’s Bar Apres Ski Patio
A Kokanee Gold and a Growers Cider
Views up the Hill
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Winter Snow Blasts through the Whistler Valley:

The snow at Whistler Blackcomb was deep at times. There were days that the valley got deep winter blasts of snow. This was a mixed blessing of providing additional snow base, but reservations some times precluded our access to the alpine.

Whistler Winter Snow Dumps
The Covered Olympic Rings at Medal Plaza
A Walk through a snow covered village
White Lanes

Experiencing Skiing at Whistler during a Pandemic:

Well – like many things in the pandemic, it wasn’t perfect. Long lines, reservations that weren’t always available and a ski hill that gave up hope almost immediately when times got tough. I’m fortunate that I didn’t have to a long way domestically or internationally for limited services and experiences. However, better days are ahead and it’s hopeful we’ll be beyond the worldwide pandemic real soon.


If you’ve travelled for downhill skiing, did you have long lines, reservations or a lack of services?

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As an avid downhill skier, the pandemic health conditions were not at all favourable to downhill skiing. The activity of downhill skiing of being outside in the outdoors, away from all other people was deemed to be safe, whereas the crowded employee housing and other après ski venues were not. We had a patchy ski season in the winter of 2020 – 2021, with reservations needed at almost all ski areas throughout British Columbia. As this year’s international trips were all put cancelled, we ended up travelling around our home province of British Columbia for a little skiing.


Trip Introduction: Skiing Around British Columbia, Canada during in a Pandemic.


Trip Background:

My local and regular ski hill at Whistler Blackcomb, was not easy to do business with these days. Since being taken over by Vail Resorts from the locally owned Intrawest, the Vail Resorts management had been a lot less kind and generous to visitors.

After I had used up my shorter five day ski pass, the discounts during a pandemic season were only 15% off the full price lift ticket at $167 CAD a day.  This was an interesting value proposition considering their only guests able to visit were Canadians since the international borders remained closed and locked out to all international travellers. Seeing discounted $100 spring lift ticket days were not uncommon under the previous management. However, the deep discounts to attract the Vancouver visitors would never arrive and it seemed as though Vail Resorts had just given up on the 2020 – 2021 ski season. As a result, we opted to take our money elsewhere and get in some extra spring days at other local British Columbia ski areas. For this trip, it would involve a trip up to Big White, Kelowna and another stop at Sun Peaks Resort outside of Kamloops.

It turns out, Whistler Blackcomb would eventually be ordered closed by the provincial health authority for 3 weeks, and Vail Resorts under it’s unfriendly customer applications would close out its pass holders and would elect not to re-open for the rest of the season thanks to a management decision that they didn’t think it was worth re-opening for the last 4 weeks of the April ski season.

Trip Planning and Constructing the Trip:

For the first leg of our adventure, since the west coast Sea to Sky Highway is almost dry and snow free, we used our own car to get to and from Whistler from Vancouver.

Given the distances involved, for the portions of the trip involving the travel to the interior of British Columbia, we elected to rent a car through our local edition Hertz. The highways in the region are famous for rock chips and given the mess that are Canadian roads in the winter, it was almost easier to return a dirty car to Hertz than spend my weekend time attempting to get my own car clean.

Given that Marriott was offering a “height of pandemic” promotion of Double Elite Nights and Double Points, we opted to stay at Marriott properties throughout this trip. We elected for the Delta Grand Okanagan in Kelowna, and for the less inspiring Fairfield Inn and Suites in Kamloops, British Columbia. While no one is ever excited to stay at Fairfield Inn, both properties met our needs and were reasonably comfortable for the 1,200 kilometer spin around British Columbia.


This post is one chapter on our trip through the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status and Hertz President’s Circle. 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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


We had a great short and circular trip through the various regions of British Columbia, enjoying one of the more empty ski seasons British Columbia had to offer.

I hope you enjoy following along on another adventure through British Columbia’s mountains.


If you’ve designed a pandemic road trip, how did you make it to the ski hill ?

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For our short flight leaving Seattle, we opted for jet service with Delta Airlines, instead of propeller service on competing brands Air Canada and Alaska Airlines. Our First Class flight was competitively priced, and offered us lounge access at the Delta Sky Club, in addition to heavy baggage allowance.


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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: Delta Airlines First Class E135, Seattle Tacoma International Airport – Vancouver International Airport


“Delta Airlines offered jet service between Seattle and Vancouver when most competitors offered propeller service”

Wow. We made it to the end of a North America – Africa trip; the last flight of of our thirteen flight trip. We were eager to get home at this point as this was the third flight of the day.

After leaving the Delta Sky Club S Concourse Seattle Tacoma International Airport, we stocked up on duty free at the South Terminal. Seattle, like most other United States of America departure points, does not actually allow you to take the duty free with you on purchase and instead deliver it to the gate.

The Standby List for Our S Gates Departing flight to Vancouver


We had a last minute gate change from the South Satellite Terminal over to the A Gates in the main terminal. We tore over there, via the subway, and unfortunately, the re-assigned gate agents had already started boarding despite being among the first group of people getting off the train. It seems there were some people that were either watching the monitor or had plum luck that they didn’t make it out to the S satellite terminal.

Our New Departing Gate in the A Concourse
Pilot Briefing Prior to Departing
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Delta Airlines
First Class
SEA-YVR (SeaTac Airport – Vancouver International Airport)
DL5874
May 5, 2016
Booked: Embraer 135
Flown: Embraer 135
Departure: 9:59 PM
Arrival: 11:12 PM

On Board Delta Airlines First Class:

We had to wait for the duty free girl as well so we ended up boarding late so unfortunately. Today’s photos are recycled cabin photographs from our past Delta Airlines First Class Vancouver – Los Angeles flight on the same equipment type. The seating remains a 1-2 configuration in First Class, with the usual compact seating and overhead bin cabin storage arrangements on the Embraer equipment type.

Delta Airlines First Class Embraer Seats
Delta Airlines First Class Seating

We ended up sleeping through the beverage service and it was less than one hour before we were landing back in Vancouver. We were home after a day and a bit of travel. There isn’t typically a lot of service on the Seattle – Vancouver routes, as the flight is only approximately 26 minutes in the air, and is usually scheduled at 50 minutes gate to gate.

The Bottom Line: Delta Airlines

Delta has continued to impress me compared to the legacy carriers. They’ve always been pleasant to deal with when compared to United and our past usual Air Canada. It’s another two thumbs up for Delta.


If you fly transborder from the United States to and from Canada, is Delta Airlines your first choice ?

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The Sky Team network is one that doesn’t happen to have a lot of footprint in my home country of Canada. While it does offer many international connections to and from Canada to China, the lounges are something that have always escaped me. We would get the opportunity to visit the Delta Sky Club “S” Concourse at Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle, Washington, United States prior to our International Flight in First Class to Canada. The Delta Sky Club offered a contemporary space that was slightly more cutting edge and hip as compared to the usual American Airlines and United Club offerings.


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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: The Delta Sky Club, Sea-Tac International Airport – South Satellite “S” Concourse, Seattle, Washington, United States of America

This review is of the Delta Sky Club S Concourse. For another lounge in the Priority Pass network available at the Seattle S Concourse, please see our review of The Club at Sea S Concourse.


“The Delta Sky Club Sea Tac ‘S’ Concourse offered the usual contemporary Delta Sky Club furnishings, in a nicely decorated and conservatively ‘hip’ space”


Since I couldn’t find any award space over a six month period between Los Angeles and Vancouver on Alaska Airlines First Class, we had routed ourselves to Seattle via Alaska Airlines First Class Los Angeles – Seattle to end our journey as part of our award ticket. I was toying with the idea of dropping the last Los Angeles to Seattle Leg on the award ticket, but by the time I got around to it, the change fees for the ticket outweighed any savings that we would have had. I could have purchased another ticket and just not shown up for the last leg, but I think that it’s poor form failing to show up for a flight (especially since we would have probably been on another Alaska or Delta flight trying to credit to Alaska Mileage Plan). We ended up just buying a revenue ticket on Delta Airlines First Class Seattle – Vancouver on a separate ticket to get ourselves home. With our Delta First Class Ticket, we also got access to two free checked heavy bags, which was handing coming off an international flight with bags stuffed with African souvenirs.

Checking into Delta Airlines First Class:

On landing, we collected our bags and re-checked in at the Delta counters on the public side at Seattle – Tacoma airport. The check in was well marked, and distinctive with bright red Delta Sky Priority branding.

Delta Sky Priority Check In: Seattle
Delta Sky Priority Kiosks: Sea-Tac Airport

Since Seattle, USA to Vancouver, Canada is an international itinerary, and thanks to having a First Class ticket, we were given access to the Delta Sky club in the South Satellite Terminal. We took the tram over there and found ourselves a place to hang out. Our flight was scheduled to depart from the Seattle S Concourse where many international flights would depart fom.

Locating the Delta Sky Club:

South Satellite “S” Concourse

The Seattle Tacoma Airport is spread out in an odd layout. It’s got several wings off the main terminal and two out lying satellite buildings that are accessible by an underground train. There are currently two Delta Sky Club’s at this airport. Their flagship location is located in the “A” Concourse, whereas at the time of our visit, this was the only Delta Sky Club at the “S” Concourse located in the South Sateliltte building.

The South Satellite Lounge is accessed through the South Train Loop.

The Delta Sky Club “S” Concourse is located on the roof top level. It’s above all the gates and is accessed by stairs or a nearby elevator.

Stairs Access to the Delta Sky Club “S” Concourse
Delta Sky Club Reception: S Concourse Sea Tac International Airport
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Accessing the Delta Sky Club Lounge:

The Delta Sky Club offers access through a variety of ways.

As a Delta Sky Club Individual Member (an annual lounge membership), you would get access for yourself and two guests, or spouse / domestic partner and children under 21 (at $39 USD), with a confirmed same day boarding pass.

As a Delta One or Sky Team Premium Cabin Passenger, access is granted for passengers travelling in the flagship Delta One cabin on a Domestic Flight, or in a Delta One cabin on an international flight, or on a domestic flight connecting to an international flight. For Sky Team passengers (excluding Delta), customers need to be travelling on an international First Class or Business Class ticket. International Travel is considered to me almost anywhere outside of the United States, except Guam, Saipan, Palau and the Carribean. There are no guests permitted for premium cabin passengers.

If you are a a Skyteam Elite Plus member, including Delta Diamond, Platinum or Gold Medallion Members, you get access when travelling internationally, or connecting to and from an international flight. One guest is permitted.

If you happen to hold a variety of American Express cards, including the American Express Centurion or Platinum Cards, and the American Express Delta SkyMiles Reserve, you are given access with a confirmed same day boarding pass on a departing Delta Airlines flight. No guests are permitted.

Westjet Business Class Passengers and Westjet Rewards Gold and Platinum Members are provided access in conjunction with same day international travel on a flight operated by Westjet or Delta Airlines. No guests are permitted.

In our case, access was granted through travel on a confirmed international flight (to Canada) in a Delta First Class cabin.

Inside the Delta Sky Club “S” Concourse:

Once we were inside, we bunked down in the corner after our long travel day. The space was nicely re-freshed and re-modeled similar to other Delta sky Clubs in the system. There was Dom Perignon champagne available for purchase at the bar but we didn’t indulge this time around; at least not at the prices that they were asking! 

Sky Club Bar
Delta Sky Club Space with Floor to Ceiling Windows
Delta Sky Club Lounge Space

The lounge, like several others on this trip, offered good air side views thanks to giant floor to ceiling windows. It was much better than the old United Red Carpet Club in the basement of the North Satellite terminal, which was a windowless dungeon by comparison.

Views of the Alaska Airlines Hangar from the Delta Sky Club

We would end up relaxing in the Delta Sky Club S Concourse prior to heading to our Delta Airlines First Class Seattle – Vancouver flight.

The Bottom Line: The Delta Sky Club Seattle S Councouse

In summary, the Delta Sky Club lounges are nicely decorated and we’ve found them reasonable and comfortable places to hang out before a flight. The food offerings seem to have improved in the last few years to a better level than the comparable United Clubs in the Star Alliance network. There isn’t anything all to special about the Seattle version of this – other than it offers nice day light windows which you don’t always get in every airport.


If you have visited the Delta Sky Club in Seattle, do you make an effort to get there early to visit it?

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There are many carriers that operate from the mega airport of Los Angeles International Airport. While many carriers operate smaller regional jets up and down the coast, Alaska Airlines exclusively offers a Boeing 737 in it’s fleet, with the occasional Airbus 320 that is left over from it’s Virgin Australia acquisition. In Alaska Airlines First Class, this affords a little extra room over its competitors that usually use an smaller Embraer aircraft. We’d have the opportunity to test out of their First Class product for our short flight up the West Coast today.


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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: Alaska Airlines First Class B737-8, Los Angeles International Airport Terminal Six – Seattle Tacoma International Airport


“With cheerful service, Alaska Airlines offers more space in First Class in their Boeing 737 product that most of the competitors do in their Embraer First Class Products”

We ended up departing the Alaska Lounge Los Angeles Terminal Six and we headed down to our flight. Coming off a wonderful Emirates First Class Dubai – Los Angeles flight, we were getting pretty tired by this point as with a 12 hour time change, as it was about the equivalent of 4 AM our time. We dragged ourselves the short distance to the gate and onto the plane.

Alaska Airlines
First Class
LAX-SEA (Los Angeles Terminal 6 – SeaTac Airport)
AS 479
May 5, 2016
Booked: Boeing 737-400
Flown: Boeing 737-800
Departure: 4:35 PM
Arrival: 7:20 PM

On Board Alaska Airlines First Class:

The Alaska Airlines First Class seat is a large deep blue puffy wonder of a seat. It’s deeply padded and plush. It’s exceptionally comfortable for short distances such as this two hour Los Angeles – Seattle hop. Whereas it’s less exciting for those longer Alaska Airlines Bellingham – Honolulu flights or Alaska Airlines Seattle – Los Cabos Mexico runs.

Alaska Airlines B737-8 First Class Cabin
Alaska Airlines First Class Cabin
Rows 2 – 4
Our Seat

Pre-Departure Services:

In my experience, Alaska Airlines doesn’t typically offer a pre-departure beverage. Instead, we found a small Dasani water waiting for us on our seat.

Dasani Bottled Water substituting in for a pre-departure beverage

We had a smog free departure from Los Angeles today, with coastal views to the south.

Departing from Los Angeles with Southern Views
Coastal Views Departing Los Angeles International Airport

In flight Entertainment:

Alaska Airlines doesn’t offer in seat back video monitors in First or Economy. While some longer cross continental and Hawaii flights offer tablets for rent, this short flight was not one of them. Instead, entertainment was available through to GoGo entertainment app. A few free movies were offered.

The Alaska Airlines in flight magazine was promoting the recent Alaska / Virgin airlines merger.

Alaska Beyond – In Flight Magazine
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The Meal: A Two Course Meal

Alaska Airlines offers a pre-dinner drink as part of their regular meal service. Meals in First Class are complimentary, consistent with most competitors in this class.

For the dinner beverage service, I went with the jet lag standby. A Gin and Tonic and a coffee. These two don’t necessarily pair together, but a drink and a coffee was meeting the tired need.

Brewed Coffee and a Gin and Tonic

We were served a scrumptious green salad as a starter. The green salad featured romaine, cherry tomatoes and jullienne carrots with creamy italian dressing. This was a welcome treat after all the cooked food we’d had in Africa and the Middle East.

A Fresh Green Salad

The main was a very strange looking Chicken Breast with a white sauce on top of it. Alaska has some pretty strange mains that don’t get many awards for visual presentation. They also don’t print menu cards so there is nothing more specific that I can offer other than it was served with cubed carrots, kale and a large onion slice.

Sauced Chicken Breast, Cubed Carrots, Onion Ring and Kale
An Interesting Looking Chicken Breast

I napped for the balance of the flight until we touched down in a partly cloudy Seattle. Since Alaska doesn’t offer screens in its headrests, the entertainment offerings were minimal. It was pretty tired anyway thanks to our earlier international flight.

Landing in Seattle:

We arrived at the gate next to an Alaska Hawaii aircraft, which you can tell by the lei around the Alaska Eskimo head.

Arriving to the “N” Concourse in Seattle
Arriving next to Alaska’s Airlines Hawaiian Livery

My Thoughts on the short hop with Alaska Airlines :

I haven’t been disappointed with my Alaska flights. They’re a quirky airlines with some strange food on offer. Aside from that, the service levels are really good with a great positive attitude by their staffers. They are a reasonable option for those preferring a larger aircraft over the regional Embraer style aircraft typically offered by their competitors.


If you had the choice of carriers on the West Coast of America, has Alaska been your first choice?

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As a smaller company, Alaska Airlines operates a small suite of lounges across the Western United States. It features lounges in Seattle, Portland, Anchorage and Los Angeles. It has since opened a space in New York and is soon to open San Francisco. Alaska Airlines describes these spaces as a an unparalleled airport lounge service in a quiet space to relax and recharge, or get a little work done between flights. We’d try out their Alaska Airlines Los Angeles lounge offering before our onward flight.


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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: The Alaska Lounge, Los Angeles – Terminal Six, Los Angeles International Airport, United States of America

This review is of the Alaska Lounge in Los Angeles International Airport Terminal Six. For another review of a competing lounge in Los Angeles Terminal Six, please see our review of the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Los Angeles Terminal Six.


“The Alaska Airlines Lounge offered a functional space to relax in at Los Angeles Terminal Six with great airside views. Getting in will be the hardest part, thanks to restrictive access and limited Priority Pass accessibility”


On an Emirates Award redemption, Alaska Mileage Plan allows a free connection to a city of origin paired with the Emirates award space. I couldn’t find any business reward space on our Alaska Airlines ticket from Los Angeles to our home city of Vancouver. As a result, we had to settle for Seattle, or end the ticket in Los Angeles and buy our own way home. I figured we would just get ourselves to Seattle in First Class and worry about the shorter distance home.

Locating the Alaska Lounge:

After floating off our Emirates First Class Dubai – Los Angeles flight, we dropped our connecting bags at the connection desk in Tom Bradley International Terminal. We wandered over to Terminal 6 and located the Alaska Lounge, previously known as the Alaska Board Room.

The Alaska Lounge was located up one level from the main Los Angeles Terminal 6 concourse.

Accessing the Alaska Lounge:

The Alaska Lounge is accessible through a variety of means.

Alaska would probably prefer that you purchase an annual membership for it’s lounges. Holding a membership card allows you access prior to your departing flight. Unlike many other American carriers, you can also get access as a paid first class passenger. You unfortunately don’t get access as an elite upgrader if you’ve purchased an economy fare and have found yourself upgraded to First Class. Select One World Sapphire and Emerald Members get access, dependent on the rules of their itinerary per the One World access policies. You may also get access by purchasing a one day pass. Lastly, this lounge belongs to Priority Pass, but has a reputation of not allowing Priority Pass members to attend due to over crowding. As a result, I wouldn’t rely on Priority Pass if you were insistent on visiting this location.

Our access today was courtesy of our Alaska Mileage Plan First Class Award redemption, which is one of the categories that allows complimentary access. Even upgraded fares do not allow Alaska Lounge access., making access to this location a little challenging at times.

Inside the Alaska Lounge:

This visit marked my first visit to an Alaska Airlines Lounge. On our visit, it was quite an earthy looking place as a result of the brown tones throughout the space. The lounge area was compact and contained both a lounge seating, dining and short bar area.

Alaska Airlines Lounge with Earthy Chairs
A Lounge Seating Area with Small Dining in the Foreground
A Small Bar Area with Flat Screen Televisions

One of the best features of the lounge was the nice air side views, through large windows. Day light is the best feature of any airline lounge, of which the Alaska Lounge offers plenty of light.

Sit Down Bar Airside Views
Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 views
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Food and Beverage:

The Alaska Lounge offered some light snacks. These included snacks you don’t always find in lounges: – nacho chips and a chili cauldron!?! The usual cubed cheese also made an appearance as an offering in the fridge.

A Chili Cauldron
Cheese Cubes and Refrigerated Salad

While it was nice to have the offer of some food, it’s not a location that I’d treat as dining for a meal replacement.

There was also a kids room available. Although after the jet lag today, the kid in me was not ready to come out and play.

A Kids Room

We would spend just a little time in the Alaska Lounge Los Angeles, prior to heading off on our Alaska Airlines First Class Los Angeles – Seattle flight to take us home.

Summary of The Alaska Lounge LAX:

The Alaska Airlines Board Room was a perfectly satisfactory place to check in for some free wifi, and perhaps a drink or a snack. It wasn’t by far the nicest place around, instead it was perfectly functional. The worst part was that our last lounge was the beautiful Emirates First Class lounge Dubai, which made this place look a little worse for wear. We didn’t stay too long and just stopped for a quick fuel up and water before the next leg.


If you regularly visit Los Angeles International Airport, what is your “go to” lounge to visit ?

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The Emirates First Class Cabin on the Airbus 380-800 is one of the most featured First Class suites in the sky. The experience includes a First Class Shower Suite, a private cabin with doors, and a stand up bar at the rear of the first class deck that is shared with economy. We redeemed Alaska Mileage Plan miles for a 16 hour experience in Emirates First Class. How did it fare for the lengthy 12 hour time zones crossed experience?


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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: Emirates First Class A380-8, Dubai International Airport – Los Angeles Tom Bradley International Terminal


“The Sixth Longest Flight in the World was hallmarked by traditional caviar service, the famous Emirates A380 standup bar, a shower suite, and a broad selection of movies to keep you fully entertained while crossing 12 time zones”

Booking the Ticket:

If you’re going to book an award ticket in First Class, you might as well get the most out of it. With ample award availability at the 6 month mark, and before the no warning Alaska Mileage Plan devaluation, we had booked two reward seats on the Emirates First Class Mauritius – Dubai, and Emirates First Class Dubai to Los Angeles through Alaska Mileage Plan. The tickets were for 100,000 miles per ticket for an Emirates First Class Africa – North America First Class redemption, $90.96 USD in taxes and other fees and a partner award fee of $12.50 USD totalling $103.95 USD.

Emirates First Class is uniquely positioned in the market. It’s the only carrier to and from the Middle East that offers a First Class Suite in all it’s cabins and typically flies a large amount of Airbus 380’s to and from the Americas. It’s competitor Etihad doesn’t offer a first class suite on all it’s aircraft and flies a combination of smaller wide body aircraft, whereas Qatar doesn’t offer First class on all its planes.

At the time of writing, the Emirates flight was the sixth longest flight in the world. It was blocked at a scheduled 16 hours and 35 minutes of travel time, covering a distance traveled of 13,240 km or 8,339 miles traveled.

Boarding Emirates First Class:

We left the Emirates First Class lounge and walked through the concourse towards Gate B14. It was a massive sea of humanity on the concourse, which we aimed to get through quickly.

Locating Boarding Gate Area B14
Our Emirates A380 Taking Us to Los Angeles

We got down to the gate, which was the smallest A380 gate I’ve ever had the pleasure of passing through. Boarding was pretty much a mess, but thankfully there was a priority lane that was sort of unblocked on the left hand side.

An Easy Priority Boarding? Not today…

There was a long line of boarding, with an apologetic ground agent when they saw the queue which meant up the jet bridge for most of the way. It was a very un-first class boarding experience.

Queuing for First Class Boarding

I’ve never had the opportunity to see a bag of menu cards but with the elegant packaging, it’s evident that they need a means of getting them to the aircraft.

A Bag of Emirates Menu Cards
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Emirates
First Class
DXB-LAX (Dubai International Terminal 3 – Tom Bradley International Terminal Los Angeles)
EK 215
May 5, 2016
Booked: Airbus 380-800
Flown: Airbus 380-800
Departure: 8:55 AM
Arrival: 1:55 PM

On Board Emirates First Class:

At the top of the jet bridge, we were asked to head to the top of the stairs for our first class experience. Today’s boarding was onto the main deck so we carried our rolling suitcases up the stairs on the aircraft. It’s unusual not to be greeted when flying first class. With no one around, we led ourselves to our seat. I was in 2K and Mrs WT73 in 1K today on the opposite right hand side of the aircraft from our last Emirates First Class Mauritius – Dubai flight. The Emirates First Class configuration is 1-2-1 on the A380-800 series. Each suite has walled doors.

The Emirates First Class Cabin itself is a combination of pale birchwood and gold. It’s a pretty over the top looking cabin. You certainly won’t mix this cabin up with any other First Class cabin carrier out there.

Emirates First Class Cabin A380

We located our First Class Suites and started to settle in. They offer a good amount of space, with features that include a large screen, a vanity mirror, an individual reading light, a room temperature mini drink bar, along with a fresh orchid flower.

Settling into an Emirates First Class Suite
Profile of the Emirates First Class Suite
Suite 2K
The Emirates First Class Seat
The Emirates First Class Cabin

The Emirates First Class Suite offers a room temperature mini bar. While it’s a neat and convenient feature, I’d personally rather just ask for a cold drink. The Mini Bar on our trip was stocked with Pepsi, Voss Water, fruit juices, Perrier Sparkling Water and Sprite.

The Mini Bar Suite

While we were waiting for the rest of the plane to load, we had a flight attendent introduction. A glass of champagne was brought around for us to enjoy while we settled in.

A View of the Emirates Monitor, Snack Basket, Vanity and Orchid Flower
Welcome to Emirates First Class EK 215 Dubai – Los Angeles
Champagne and a Snack Basket
Champagne and our First Class Boarding Cards

While we waited, the views over the wings showed a mostly Boeing fleet of Emirates tails at the Dubai International Airport under the usual hazy UAE skies.

Emirates Boeing Vertical Stabilizers
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Pre Departure Services:

A welcome beverage of champagne was offered, in addition to the dates and Arabic coffee served from the traditional Arabic coffee pot. Whoops, that champagne went awfully quickly!

Arabic Welcome Coffee Service with a Date

The Amenity Kit: Emirates Branded with Bvlgari Lotions

The amenity kit, pyjama, slipper order came around. The Emirates Amenity Kits are study, classy looking and are large enough to be kept as a souvenir after the flight. The kits featured Gillette and Blvgari Lotions. I find that the Blvgari Lotions are common in the middle east. While they are fancy, I don’t find them to be that exotic and sometimes the Blvgari lotions have an oily feel to them in my humble opinion.

Emirates Branded Amenity Kits & Emirates Branded Pyjamas
Contents of the Emirates First Class Kit, Including Blvgari Branded Toiletries

There was not too much passenger appetite for the shower spa appointments and it was easy to get an appointment one hour from landing at LAX Los Angeles.

There was an introduction by the crew, and both pilots and first officers. During the flight announcements, there were some techno facts provided, in that they had 550 tons of weight loaded, in addition to 220 tons of fuel for the flight. The track was to take us over the north pole, less 80 miles from the polar north.

Our Planned Flight Track via the North Pole
A Fifteen Hour and Fifteen Minute Journey

The Entertainment System: Emirates ICE

It was a slow departure from Dubai International Airport today, with us still on the ground at DXB waiting for runway clearance at T+50 minutes from the scheduled departure time. There are heaps of movies available on the flight, with a phone book like directory that features them all.

A Phone Book Directory of Movies
Controlled by a Tablet

The aircraft was equipped with wifi. I was able to use the free wifi to do some light internet. It was a bit slow overall, but good enough for an Instagram post of the Emirates First Class Experience.

Discounted Wifi on board Emirates

We were underway and I watched the climb out with a view of Sharjah on the right hand side of the aircraft. Thanks to some poor visibility, there was not a lot of sights to see.

I watched Argo for the first two hours with a Mojito.

Getting Underway with a Mojito Cocktail
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The Meal: A Full Breakfast

Today’s menu presentation had breakfast on offer first, following by a lunch service later on in the flight. The menus on Emirates are surely impressive and they are always a delight to look through.

Emirates First Class Breakfast DXB-LAX
A Sole Champagne: Dom Perignon
Emirates First Class Wine List: White Wines
Emirates First Class Wine List: Red Wines
Emirates First Class Dessert / Port Wines

For the first service, I went with a second round of breakfast. I had the scrambled eggs with chives paired with a grapefruit juice and watched the movie Sicario.

A First Class Table Setting
Scrambled Eggs with Chives, Sausages and Roasted Potatoes and Baked Beans

As we were seated in seats 1 K and 2 K, there isn’t a lot of interaction between partners. The load in First Class was 12/12 today, so there was no opportunity to get into the middle seats to share dinner.

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The On Board A380 Emirates Bar:

In a genius move, Emirates installed stand up bars in the back of all their A380 aircraft. The bar are accessible to business and first class passengers. It is probably one of their best features that they have going for them in their premium cabins.

We ended up wandering back to the bar and chatting up some of the people back there. Since the airplane was completely dark, there were about 8 people passing the time back there.

The Emirates Moving Map & Canapes at the Emirates Bar
MrsWT73 helping herself to a snack at the Emirates Bar

We took up a position at the bar just chatting with random people; we met a manager from Visa, a tech entrepreneur and a IT consultant. After 3 rounds and 3 different proactive bartenders (they seem to work a 1 hour rotating shift), we managed to consume a full 3 hours of flight time. I had a great time chatting up these people and just killing the time away with no time limitations on our conversations. It was a super pleasant way to get out of your seat and chat, talking about all sorts of things from life in Dubai, great diving destinations, and hidden city ticketing.

Nearing the North Pole
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The Second Service: A Full Course Dinner

After the bar, we were almost flying over the North Pole. I was pretty hungry at that point we decided to order some dinner.

Emirates First Class Main Course DXB-LAX

There was also a snack menu offered as well, in the event you didn’t want the full service.

Emirates First Class Snacks DXB-LAX

MrsWT73 started her dinner with the Arabic Messe presentation, captured through the drone aerial photography that is my long muppet arms.

I started with the Caviar presented with a traditional selection of finely chopped onion, grated egg, sour cream and lemon, served with melba toast and blinis. I paired this with the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc.

Caviar with the Traditional Garnishes
A First Class Caviar Setting with Traditional Garnishes

My second course was a fresh mushroom soup served with full fresh chives. It was quite tasty and pleasant.

Mushroom Soup and Chives

My main course was the Beef tenderloin with green beans and truffled potato coquetes. It was a good news / bad news situation. The bad news was that it was pretty much cooked through and not the best meal I’ve ever had on a plane. The good news was that it was paired with the Cos Estournel 2004 Bordeaux Red Wine which was among the best wines that I have had on a plane. Thanks to the high tax in British Columbia, which is amongst the highest in North America, this wine is retailing for about $190 USD. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity to enjoy a second glass.

Beef Tenderloin with Potato Croquettes
Beef Tenderloin

I closed with the cheese board with more Cos Estournel 2004. They were not plating the cheese individually and the cheese was presented all at once without options. I was pleased to report that I was fully “First Class” stuffed with food by this point.

Emirates Selection of Cheeses

Overall, the service was a bit more diluted and less personalized, more assembly line, than our Emirates First Class Mauritius – Dubai flight. This was probably in part due to the 12/12 load, and the fact that the flight was so long and the staff took crew breaks.

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The Emirates First Class Bar:

I took a bit of a walk around and looked at the separate First Class bar. Emirates does offer a smaller First Class bar at the front of the First Class cabin. However, it’s typically a dull place being placed in the middle of a small hallway. You certainly won’t miss this one for the larger, and more pleasant space at the stand up bar at the rear of the cabin.

The Less Exciting and Dark Emirates First Class Bar
…with a View of Stairs down to the Lower Deck
However, it did have beautiful wines available

After a wonder around the plane to nowhere, I decided to turn in for a little nap. I laid down the bedding and duvet. I found it pretty warm temperature wise in the suite with the doors closed. I rested for about 4 hours. I let the flight crew know to come and wake me up for the shower suite about one hour ahead of our landing time in Los Angeles, United States of America.

The Emirates A380 Shower Suite:

Along with a wonderful stand up bar, Emirates has a treat in store for it’s First Class passengers. In the hollows of the plane’s fusilage, they have installed two terrific shower suites. The shower suites are available to it’s first class passengers and are typically booked through reservation at the start of your flight.

I woke up at about 2 hours prior to the end of flight (or 10:30 PM DXB time). I went for my shower suite appointment at the pre-arranged time. I was looking forward to a relaxing shower a la Jennifer Aniston in the Emirates television commercial. Unfortunately, one shower had since become defective due to flooding issues so they were cycling everyone through one of the two remaining showers with only 10 minutes of allotted time instead of the usual 20 minutes provided. It was a pretty rushed experience, but I was still able to get a shave, shower and a hair wash in, prior to the polite but firm knocks on the door reminding me that my time was up.

It’s such a thrill to be able to take a shower on an aircraft at 38,000 feet. You even have a moving map that you can look at as you fly away scrubbing yourself clean.

A Shower Moving Map
A Flat Screen in your Spa

The Emirates Shower Suite is truly one of the most unique and cool aviation First Class experiences in the world today.

The Third Service: A Snack

After the Shower Suite, there was still time to get a snack in as I was feeling a little peckish. I went with the chocolate cake with raspberry coulis paired with a glass of French Sauternes. A cold dessert (they had run out of hot ones) and it was quickly prepared and served.

A Chocolate Cake along with French Sauternes

Arriving to Los Angeles:

It was a super long flight but it sure rips by quick when you’re flying in this comfortable of an environment. Sixteen hours flew by made very easy by great food and better, the on board bar to keep you entertained, a shower spa to keep you clean, and a nice nap to keep you rested. We had a last look at the cabin before we got off at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

The End of a Comfortable First Class Flight

MrsWT73 thoroughly enjoyed her flight ensconced in her cocoon “where they brought her things” including several glasses of Dom Perignon champagne.

We were off and into the arrivals area of the Tom Bradley International Terminal and had an easy connection thanks to Global Entry (a life and time saver) and easy connection desks after customs.

Arriving to Tom Bradley International Terminal
Arriving to US Customs and Border Protection Zone

My Thoughts on Emirates First Class:

The Emirates First Class experience was a pretty nice way to go. Although it wasn’t the best First Class of our lives, I can’t think of a better way to get from the Americas to the Middle East, including having to connect on Lufthansa First Class. The service was very good, but not excellent. In some ways, the service was similar to what you’d expect on an overseas business class flight. All in all, it was a great experience and a nice way to experience the sixth longest flight in the world. We hope to be able to do it again someday. I certainly still taste the Cos Estournel Bordeaux wine which was a highlight of the journey.


If you have flown Emirates First Class to the America’s, did you find it an enjoyable experience?

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The Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is one of the flagship lounges in the global Emirates Lounge network. Thanks to its consistent First Class Cabins across it’s fleet, and the ability to connect to many worldwide destinations through its hub in Dubai, Emirates is well poised to offer an upscale first class experience. We tested out their Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai Terminal Three “B” Concourse prior to our Emirates First Class Dubai – Los Angeles flight.


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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: The Emirates First Class Lounge – Dubai Terminal 3B, Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates


“The Emirates First Class Lounge offered a quiet, if not austere, place to relax prior to your flight in stark contrast to the busy Dubai Terminal Concourse”


After a few days of enjoyable heat, Jumeriah Beach time and some exploring to Al Ain, it was time again to leave Dubai and start the journey back to Vancouver, Canada.

We took the complimentary limousine transfer from The Grosvenor House to the Dubai International Airport Terminal 3. The hotel offered a brand new white Ford Expedition today, presumably because they had heard that MrsWT73 had a lot of luggage. It was about 30 minutes up the road and we were at the airport.

Arriving to Emirates Dubai Terminal 3 First / Business Class Check In

Checking into Emirates First Class:

Emirates offers a dedicated check in area for First and Business Class passengers for our upcoming Emirates First Class Dubai – Los Angeles flight. It wasn’t a very first class or exclusive experience. It was quite reminiscent of a bus terminal with streams of people checking in and line ups for the First Class check in desk. There was no swish-ness or elegance here, since there were literally hundreds of people streaming through. They weren’t on top of you, but you were sharing the space with all their business class travellers. Since Emirates has a global hub in Dubai, this was a lot of travellers.

The Emirates First Class Check In
Emirates First Class: A Few Queues to Get to the Counter
Emirates First Class Check In Counters

Our check in agent had some trouble with the on line passport information system linkage and it took about 10 minutes to get the check in fully processed. We were able to get our boarding cards and checked bags processed all the way through to Seattle, including our connecting Alaska Airlines First Class Los Angeles – Seattle flight. Our check in agent provided no instructions on how to access the lounge so we figured we would just find it on our own.

After the check in, we headed down the long corridor towards the general exit immigration check points. There was no fast track offering and we queued with every other Emirates business class passenger departing in the morning.

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Locating the Emirates First Class Lounge:

Dubai International Airport – Terminal 3 B

It is worth noting that there are several Emirates First Class Lounges at the Dubai International Airport. Emirates First Class lounges exist in Terminal 3 at Concourses “A”, “B” and “C”. Today’s visit was to Emirates First Class Lounge in Concourse “B”.

After the security screening and check point, a confusing set up directing passengers to either Terminal A or Terminal B & C. We headed up to the B Gate area as our flight was departing from B14. The First Class and Business Class check in deposits you directly into the middle of the airport. The Emirates First Class Lounge access is located in the middle of the “B” Gates Concourse.

Dubai International Airport “B” Concourse

It was my first time in the Dubai International Airport “B” concourse and what a crowded sea of traveling humanity it was. It was very similar to passing through the Istanbul Ataturk and the crowding that seems to happen there. It didn’t make for a relaxing travel experience.

The Dubai International Airport “B” Concourse
Navigating the Dubai “B” Concourse

I had hoped to see the large Emirates First Class Lounge in Terminal “A” that was supposed to be the largest in the world. Unfortunately, through a gap in my research, I didn’t get the opportunity to research this in advance and had assumed on arrival at the airport that it would be obvious which one was their flagship lounge. I asked Emirates ground staff and airport staff where the largest First Class Lounge was but despite asking two sets of people, none of the Emirates staff knew which one was the biggest and best. Nor, did we get any consistent direction or information about the locations of the First Class lounges.

After being mis directed by a staffer over to Terminal C for 25 minutes walk there and back, we ended up back at Terminal B First Class lounge. All in all it was a bit disappointing not to get to see the largest First Class Lounge in the world, but the old First Class Lounge near the B Gates was a nice and pleasant, if not a super remarkable space.

Locating the Escalators Up to the First Class Lounge “B” Concourse

Accessing the Emirates First Class Lounge:

Emirates offers access to its first class lounge on a limited basis.

Entry to the Emirates First Class is complimentary for First Class passengers and eligible Emirates Skywards customers.

Emirates most frequent fliers in the Emirates Skywards Platinum category are afforded access to the Emirates First Class lounge, with 1 guest and 2 children also permitted to accompany them.

Most recently, Emirates is allowing paid access to the Emirates First Class Lounge for $300 USD per passenger, or a more reasonable upgrade from the Emirates Business Class Lounge to the Emirates First Class Lounge for $150 USD per person. These upgrade charges are also subject to the United Arab Emirates 5% local tax.

Locating the Entry to the Emirates First Class Lounge
The Emirates First Class Lounge Reception

We had some more minor challenges getting into the lounge as the boarding cards did not permit automatic entry, but with some comments of “Alaska” the lounge dragon agents were able to figure out their work around’s. There was a prior issue of Alaska Airline reward tickets not being recognized in the Emirates computer system to afford lounge access. The staff cleared up that issue and we were granted entry courtesy of the first class cabin of our departing ticket.

It’s worth noting that despite having priority services as premium passengers, it took us approximately 1 hr and 20 minutes to get from the car drop off, through check in, baggage bag drop, exit customs, security and a 25 minute mis-direct walk. We arrived to the airport at 3 hours before the departure time of our flight, but this really didn’t leave us a lot of lounging or exploring time to check out anywhere else.

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Inside the Emirates First Class Lounge:

Getting inside the Emirates First Class Lounge, it was a nice space inside. There were lots of spaces to sit, as can be expected for a First Class Lounge. The lounge itself was the most serene and peaceful part of the Emirates Dubai departure experience as everywhere else was just crowded!

Emirates First class Reception Space

One of the nicest features of the Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai was the amount of available seating space. The lounge covered a large portion of the floor above the regular departure concourse and had a lot of room. I found the place a little austere and not super exciting; moreover it was a pleasant place to hang out with many quiet corners.

Lounge Area with Water Fountains
Spacious Lounge Area
Spacious and Comfortable Chairs
Lounge Space with Soothing Fountains
Arabic Accents mark the Lounge Space
To Many Destinations: Emirates Flight Departure Board

The lounge had lots of different spaces; some spacious and some more confined. Some were opulent, whereas others were more functional. The Emirates First Class Lounge stretched on for what felt like miles, making it one of the more empty First Class Lounges I’ve had the opportunity to visit.

Many Seating Spaces around every corner
Many Corners Were Available to Relax In
Some Seats with Lower Concourse Views

The shape of the Dubai International Airport windows also offered plenty of natural daylight into the lounge through giant triangular shaped windows.

Bright Day Light Spaces
Enough Space for Lounging
There were many corners to explore

I had some challenges getting connected to the Wifi, which didn’t particularly work very well. I was never actually able to connect to it.

Hard to Work Wifi on my Visit

There was a very small area where you could board direct from the lounge, although it didn’t appear that any flights were actively using this feature.

Boarding Direct from the Lounge
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The Emirates First Class Dining Room:

Once we had orientated ourselves inside, we went for a table service breakfast. There was an ample breakfast menu was offered. The table service was prompt and attentive. There was also a small buffet available (not pictured), but why have buffet eggs when you can have fresh ones?

The Emirates First Class Dining Room
The Emirates First Class Dining Area
The First Class Breakfast Menu
The First Class Breakfast Menu

A Nicely Appointed Dining Space

I had soft poached eggs, a rarity on our Middle Eastern and African travels, paired with a cold glass of Moet and Chandon champagne. A fabulous bread basket was also offered. The ability to dine in the lounge with a proper breakfast has always been a terrific way to start a flight.

Fresh Soft Poached Eggs, served with Moet and Chandon Champagne

We enjoyed a great breakfast, which was probably the highlight of our lounge visit. In other food and beverage items, as we left, there were also some snack areas for the collection of fresh buffet styled food.

Lounge Snack Areas

There was a small wine shop that was located inside the lounge. The prices were slightly better than street, but there were no great deals.

Given the distance between terminals, we were not able to get to any of the other lounges since they were about 20 minutes walk, or in some cases, 15 minutes away by train.

The Bottom Line: The Emirates First Class Lounge

All in all, Emirates First Class Terminal “B” was a mostly pleasant place to spend some time in, although there wasn’t much to do there. The lounge did feature lots of space, which was much nicer than the busier concourses below. Although I was really disappointed at the time for not getting to the flagship Emirates Terminal “A” First Class Lounge, the “B” lounge was pretty good, if not super memorable. If you’re through here, come for a pleasant breakfast and some quiet time before you head off around the world.


If you have visited the Emirates First Class Lounge, what is your favourite feature of the lounge ?

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Instead of staying another day at Dubais’ beaches, we rented a car and headed out into the United Arab Emirates’ heartland. We headed to Al Ain to see one of the United Arab Emirates most historic sites at the Al Jahlili Fort. The fort used to be a summer residence belonging to the the ruling Sheikh’s of the United Arab Emirates and now stands as part of the countries fledging history.


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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Attraction: In the Heat at Al Jahlili Fort, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates


“Our day off took us to the Shiekh’s summer residence at Al Jahlili Fort in Al Ain for an interesting walk down the United Arab Emirates’ history”

Since we’d visited the United Arab Emirates on several visits before, I was looking to explore a little bit more in the region. We had previously visited the Empty Quarter south of Abu Dhabi, the Shiekh Zayed Mosque and Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, along with several visits to Jumeriah Beach, the Burj Al Arab, the Burj Khalifi along with the dhow rides in old Dubai. It was time for something different a visit to the heartland. We rented a car for the day from the National in The Grosvenor House Hotel itself and drove ourselves to Al Ain.

Getting to Al Ain:

Al Ain was an easy 2 hours drive south of Dubai on E66. As with most roads in the United Arab Emirates, the highways were excellent. We departed The Grosvenor House hotel and had an easy drive to Al Ain. We passed by the entrance to the Al Maha resort on our way (not pictured).

Driving to Al Ain
Wide Open Freeways in the United Arab Emirates

Arriving to Al Ain:

We eventually arrived to Al Ain, even finding a mirrored Starbucks in the area to get ourselves a drink before we set out exploring. We parked near the Starbucks near the angle parking on the street and walked through the park to access Al – Jahlili. Most amusingly to me, there was a long line of Range Rovers in the drive through waiting for their coffees in intense desert heat.

Range Rover Line Ups for Starbucks near Al Ain
Starbucks Coffee Snacks at Al Ain

The main purpose of visiting Al Ain is to visit the Al – Jahlili Fort. The fort holds a lot of history for the United Arab Emirates ruling family. At the end of the 19th century, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi was ruled by Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa. During summer, Abu Dhabi’s rulers left the intense humidity of the coast for the more temperate weather of Al Ain. Sheikh Zayed owned a farm in Al Ain, and he ordered construction of Al Jahili Fort to control the tribes who lived in the area. He also would use the fort as his summer residence. Work on the fort began in 1891 but it was not completed until 1898. When Sheikh Zayed died, his eldest son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed died, chose not to become ruler of Abu Dhabi and instead remained in Al Ain. He lived in the fort with his family. In 1985, early restoration work was done on the fort, while in 2007-2008, the fort underwent a major rehabilitation project.

We crossed the park on foot as we approached the massive sand castle like structure.

Al Ain Gardens
Al Ain Gardens
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Visiting Al – Jhalili Fort:

The Al-Jahlili fort looks like a large sandcastle on both the first impression and after continued observations. It was definitely one of the more interesting buildings that I’ve seen in my travels since the structure is very different looking.

Approaching the Al Jahlili Fort
The Towers of the Al Jahlili Fort
Towers of the Al Jahlili Fort

I was glad that we picked up some bottled water at the Starbucks. The temperatures were a warm 43 degrees Celsius (109.4 Fahrenheight) as we were walking towards and around the fort. It seems that no one walks around in the heat and, I’m guessing, the area is more lively after the sun goes down.

The Al Jhalili fort was completely deserted and we were the only visitors during our time there. The inside was somewhat austere in its presentation.

The Imposing Front Entrance Gate
Inside the Al Jhalili Fort
The Al Jahlili Fort Grounds
Intriguing Round Cake like Columns’
Castle Fortresses
Empty Grounds
Sand Stone Walls

The inside of the fort featured a photography exhibition from Sir Wilfred Thesigner, who crossed the Empty Quarter desert twice in the 1940’s. There were lots of photographs and stories of him, his camels and his guides.

Al Ain Visitor Center: Exhibition from Sir Wilfred Thesigner,

All in all a peaceful and serene visit that was completely empty of any people. . .

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Walking in the Peaceful Al Ain Oasis:

We continued with our self guided driving tour as led by the Lonely Planet guidebook. We drove a short distance into town and went to explore the Al Ain Oasis. The Al Ain Oasis is an area of over 150,000 date palms. The trees are irrigated by a unique canal system. There isn’t much else here, but we did take a 20 minute walk through the area in order to gain an appreciation for the place. It was, like the Al Jahlili Fort; completely deserted.

Souvenir Shops near Al Ain
Walking the Al Ain Oasis
A Peaceful Walk in the Al Ain Oasis
Irrigation in the Al Ain Oasis
Quiet Parks in Al Ain Oasis

After our walk in the Oasis, we headed back towards the car with a brief walk through Al Ain. It was far less commercialized than Dubai, and gave a feeling of being in the midst of town. There was even a “contemporary mosque” with digital prayer timings in the minarets.

Walking through Al Ain
A Contemporary Mosque
The Streets of Al Ain

Trying to Locate the Camel Market:

One of the attractions of Al Ain is the camel market where you can see a traditional market where camels are sold and bartered. It was a little ways out of town on the south side. We passed by some photos and structures of the Sheikh’s on our way there.

Images of the Sheikh’s on Local Highways
Images of the Sheikhs

Unfortunately, the camel market appears to have moved on from the version of the Lonely Planet that we had. I tried with google maps to find it, but instead we were led to a newer looking mall. We walked through the mall and it contained a variety of unexciting western stores. We did have a lunch at the mall before taking the drive home.

Lunch at the Local Emirati Mall
Heading Home
Approaching Dubai

We filled up the car with gas. It cost 0.45 USD cents a liter or $1.72 a gallon for our trip and as a result, was a remarkably cheap way to get around.

My thoughts on our visit to Al Ain:

In closing, the day trip to Al Ain was interesting and a break from the usual commercial (and artificial) Dubai. It was a good break from the usual attractions of Dubai and gave us something different to look at. I found the history of it really interesting, although admittedly, it might not be for everyone.


If you’ve visited Al Ain in the middle of the UAE, did you find it worth the trip?

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The Grosvenor House has been our go to property in the Dubai Marina. It’s excellent location steps from the Dubai Marina, upscale accommodations and a vast combination of room configurations makes this property a win in my playbook. Our third stay would have us upgraded to a Deluxe Suite, an upscale car transfer and access to a terrific lounge courtesy of Starwood / Marriott Platinum status.


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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


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Review: The Grosvenor House by Luxury Collection – Deluxe Suite, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This is a review of what would end up being our third visit to the hotel, staying in a Deluxe Suite. For our first visit, please see our review of The Grosvenor House, and for our second visit, please see our visit in The Grosvenor House Apartment Suite.

“The reliable Grosvenor House welcomed our third visit to the property with a Suite Upgrade, a BMW 7 Series airport transfer and access to a wonderful lounge”

Booking The Grosvenor House Dubai:

We have stayed at The Grosvenor House Dubai on several occassions and have always been impressed with the property. Why mess with success? For our third trip to Dubai, it made sense to stay here and enjoy the hotel and the surrounding area in Dubai Marina, which we have come to enjoy.

I had booked our reservation in a base level room and applied a SPG Platinum Suite Night Award to it. We were upgraded well in advance at the seven 7 day mark into a Deluxe Suite. It’s usually reviewed and approved at the 5 day mark. The suite upgrade features included complimentary return limousine transfers from the Dubai International Airport to the hotel in the Dubai Marina both ways. I emailed the hotel with our arrival details and it was handled promptly.

We met our driver at the airport and he escorted us curb side to a waiting white BMW 7 series that was very nicely appointed. What a great deal as a perk for a Suite Night Award to get a ride in a car of this caliber included.

The Grosvenor House BMW 7 Series Car Transfer: Included in a Deluxe Suite Room
A Comfortable Seven Series Transfer

We took our car transfer to the hotel property. The Grosvenor House is located on the edge of the Dubai Marina making it very easy to access the restaurants in the area.

We arrived to the property. It’s our third stay here over 4 years and we’ve yet to be disappointed or let down.

On our visit, the lobby was decorated in orange flowers. The hardcore Starwood Preferred Guest loyalists will recognize the setting of the lobby as featured on the SPG TV loop in the Emirates Skywards Your World Rewards feature. Unfortunately, those days are long over and now it known for being among the many great hotel stay memories.

The Shiekh’s of the United Arab Emirates
Orange Floral Display in the Lobby of The Grosvenor House
A Classy Setting for an Elegant Lobby
The Lobby Lounge
The Lobby of The Grosvenor House
The Hotel Reception and Front Desks

Our check in was handled promptly and professionally. We were assigned our Deluxe Suite as awarded through the Suite Night Award program. There was no further upgrade on the Suite Night Award, which was fairly consistent with my experiences with this particular property. The Starwood / Marriott Platinum & Titanium upgrades are possible, but not overly generous for elite level loyalty members.

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The Room: A Deluxe Suite

Our deluxe suite of Suite #1110 was smaller than the apartment that we had on our last stay. I actually prefer the size of the apartment, and the fact that it comes with a proper kitchen and fridge. Unfortunately, the apartments at the Grosvenor House don’t seem to have many sea views, as many of them face the buildings and inwards toward land and the surrounding Dubai Marina.

It featured a medium sized living area and a reasonable but partially obstructed sea view.

Our Suite Entry with Arabic Numbering

A Living Room Space:

The Deluxe Suite offered a comfortable living and seating area. The seating area was more livable than many usual hotel room suites as it featured a spacious area consistent with a comfortable and proper living space.

Deluxe Suite: Living Room
Deluxe Suite: Living Room

The Bedroom:

The bedroom featured a large king sized bed. The bed had terrific and high quality thread count sheets. The bedroom also had a small desk suitable for charging devices, among other convenient storage spaces.

Deluxe Suite: King Size Bed
Deluxe Suite: King Size Bed

The Bathroom:

The bathroom was spacious- room enough for two. It featured the Bvlgari toiletries which are of reasonably good quality.

Shower Stall next to hallway door
Bathroom with a Single Vanity and Bathtub

A Room with a View:

There was a small out door space. The room offered some nice ocean views, along with a small thin deck area. There were peek a boo views of the Palm Jumeriah, The Palm Atlantis in the far distance, and with a wrap around deck, you could look down at the Grosvenor House pool. Our view today was of the Grosvenor House Tower Two with obstructed views towards the water.

An Small Outdoor Deck Space
Views Towards The Burj Al Arab (right distance)
…and peekaboo views to Palm Jumeriah
A Marina in its infanacy
Views of Dubai Marina from the Room
A Peek a Boo View of the Hotel Pool
A View of the Hotel Pool
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Level Five Lounge Privileges:

We had several opportunities to use the Level 5 lounge. The Lounge is located in Tower Two, which is one building over from Tower One.

The hotel offers SPG / Marriott Platinum’s and higher access to the lounge. In addition, if you book a Deluxe Suite or higher, you also get complimentary access. There is a terrific perk since lounge access isn’t guaranteed for SPG / Marriott Platinum’s in the Marriott Bonvoy Terms and Conditions for Luxury Collection resorts like this one. If one takes a strict interpretation of the Marriott Bonvoy Terms and Conditions, only Marriott’s, Sheratons and Westin’s are officially included for this benefit. In the era of cutbacks, it also may come a time when the hotel may cease to make it available. Until then, it’s a pretty nice place to visit and a nice perk to have in a property where food and alcohol are typically quite expensive.

Level 5 Lounge Entrance
Twenty Four Hour Lounge Timings with Set Food Hours

We were able to take breakfast in the lounge, in addition to happy hours, on a few of the days of our stay. Service for alcohol is through a waiter, and a zero balance bill was presented. I don’t have many photos since the staff were very attentive and would approach you if you stopped anywhere for any reason. I actually got the feeling that I would have been told “no photographs” had I been caught taking any so I had to go the discreet route.

A Nicely Decorated Level Five Lounge
Work Computers Were Available
Comfortable Couches were also available

The lounge was very nicely decorated compared to other lounges in the system. The furnishings were of high quality and better than the usual hotel lounge in the Marriott / Starwood system.

Surprisingly, there was a religious holiday over part of our visit. During this time, service was alcohol was suspended. It was well posted in advance, but if you had your heart on de-compressing over a drink after you land, at times you may be disappointed.

Limited Alcohol Available at Times: It’s the UAE
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Around the Hotel:

The Dubai Marina

The Dubai Marina is immediately outside the front doors of the hotel. It seems that there is always a Ferrari or Bentley parked here. More importantly, there is a great promenade where you can walk along the man made waterway through the marina. We’ve run along here in the early morning before the heat gets too much and it’s a neat area to take a run in.

My Thoughts on our Return to the Grosvenor House:

The Grosvenor House was super comfortable as always. We’ve stayed three times and every time it has been a pleasant experience. We enjoy the location of the property and the proximity to the subway, and to the beach at the sister Le Meridien property which is available for use. Having the Dubai Marina at your footsteps is also very convenient as well.


If you’ve based yourself at The Grosvenor House Dubai, have you returned time after time?

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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.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.


Read More from This Trip


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.

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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
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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.

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Emirates
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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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?