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First class on Emirates is a bucket list item for frequent and infrequent travelers alike. The airline's reputation for luxury and top-notch service make its first class experience highly sought after. These exclusive seats are attainable, even for travelers on a budget.
Here's what you need to know before flying Emirates' most premium class.
What to expect flying first class with Emirates
Any Emirates Airlines first class review will rave about the food, service and opulence of its first class cabin. However, there are some less luxurious logistics to flying first class.
Bag allowance. Emirates restricts baggage based on the total weight of all luggage, rather than the number of pieces, for the majority of its flights. Most first class flights have a total allowance of up to about 110 pounds (50 kilograms). However, flights between the U.S. and Europe are limited to two pieces of baggage, up to about 70 pounds (32 kilograms) each.
Boarding. Beyond boarding first (with enough time to enjoy premium bubbly), first class ticket holders have the benefit of boarding from a private jetway via the first class lounge, if they so choose.
Seats/Suites. Emirates first class seats on both the A380 and Boeing 777 have spacious suites with lie-flat seats.
Lounges. First class Emirates lounges are a special stand-alone treat for travelers. Depending on the origin of your flight, your first class ticket will provide access to Emirates or partner lounges. Flying out of Dubai? Arrive at the airport early to enjoy the spacious lounge with a cigar bar, shower spa, in-lounge duty-free shopping, business center, wine cellar and ample quiet seating areas — along with premium food and drink.
» Learn more: How to save money on international flights
How to book a first class ticket with Emirates
Booking first class seats with Emirates is simple, whether you’re searching by dollars or miles. There’s an easy drop-down that allows you to search only for first class seats. If you’re booking an award, be sure you’re signed in to your Emirates Skywards account to see the option to book flights using miles.
Ways to get good value
Use the amenities
Plan ahead to make sure you’re not letting any of the Emirates first class luxuries go to waste. For budget travelers, an Emirates first class experience may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From the high-end amenity kits complete with Bulgari fragrances to the A380’s onboard showers with heated flooring, the luxuries make the flight a vacation in and of itself.
Plan ahead to see if you can use the complimentary first class perk of a chauffeured driver to or from the airport. If it’s not available with your booking or in your city, you will still want to plan to arrive at the airport early to take advantage of the Emirates lounge or its partner lounges.
» Learn more: Are the new Emirates Mastercards worth their annual fee?
Book a long flight
With all the amenities we listed above, you should give yourself enough time to enjoy them. Whether you book with miles or cash, you’re paying a premium for the experience.
The longest U.S.-based Emirates flight you can nab is the Los Angeles to Dubai route, which is over 8,300 miles. On this A380 flight, you’ll have enough time to take a shower at 35,000 feet, enjoy multiple meals, watch a movie on the award-winning entertainment system and still lie down for some shut-eye in your moisturizing pajamas — yes, pajamas specifically designed to keep your skin moisturized while flying. A long flight will give you extra time to enjoy plenty of Dom Perignon and incredible first class food.
Book a short flight
If the long flight isn’t in the cards for you, some shorter flights can give you the Emirates first class flight experience for less. Look outside the U.S. and use Emirates to hop between other locations. Emirates partner Japan Airlines, for example, has a distance-based miles chart, making JAL a great partner to consider for booking shorter Emirates flights with miles.
Consider transfer partners
Since Alaska Airlines devalued its rewards with Emirates, there aren’t many super incredible, secret ways to get these flights for much less, especially when you factor in fuel surcharges and fees on top of the miles you spend on the ticket.
Still, consider both airline partnerships and transfer partners when looking for the best value. Emirates has transfer partners with a number of programs, including Chase Ultimate Rewards®, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points, Capital One Miles and Marriott Bonvoy, making it easier to gather the miles needed for your Emirates redemption.
If you fly first class on Emirates
There’s a reason Emirates has won “Best First Class” in the Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice Awards four years in a row. The first class experience is phenomenal, so you’ll want to be sure you make the most of your Emirates Airlines first class flight. With a little planning, even the most budget-minded can be blown away by this incredible experience.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card