In an effort to maximize my Marriott points before the reward redemption changes in March 2022, I booked a long stay at one of Marriott’s best properties – the Al Maha Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa about an hour outside Dubai. We’ve got an in depth guide on that property and all the insider secrets if you’re planning your own stay, including a bucket-list pre-dawn hot air balloon ride you can’t miss and a packing list for Al Maha. Then came the fun part…booking Emirates first class from Seattle to Dubai.
As much as I love luxury travel, I also love a good deal. I hoard Emirates miles and Chase and Amex points that I can convert into Emirates miles in order to snag first class on Emirates. Many consider it to be the best commercial flight experience available. I haven’t flown every airline, but it is a pretty incredible experience.
Emirates First Class Seattle to Dubai (SEA to DXB)
I flew on Emirates’ non-stop route from Seattle to Dubai. On my flight, there was only one other passenger, so we had plenty of room to stretch out and move around. I chose seat 1K, which is a window seat on the right side. The other passenger was in 1A, so we had the 2 middle seats between us and all the rows behind us empty.
This routing is on a Boeing 777-300 with the 1-2-1 configuration. It has a door that closes, though it is not the newest configuration of the Boeings that have a 1-1-1 configuration and the door that fully closes up to the ceiling. I took that flight from SFO to DXB last July and it was a truly next-level flying experience. Once you have that, it’s hard to “step down” even to the luxury of the typical 777 product.
The Check In and Boarding Process
Check in and boarding was a smidge rocky. The line for check in was long, even though I knew I was one of two first class passengers on this flight and Emirates doesn’t have many flights out of Seattle each day. I waited much longer than I would have expected for a first class ticket and for the fact that I wasn’t checking bags. I only had to go to the counter to have my Covid requirements checked. There was some confusion about whether my electronic vaccination card was valid in Apple Health, but eventually it was deemed valid and I was issued a boarding pass. I was never asked to show my vaccination card again.
One thing I will caution you about the boarding process with Emirates is not to trust the boarding time on the ticket. It always shows that boarding starts ~20 minutes before takeoff, which is completely false and frankly impossible to load a plane that big in just a few minutes. If you are someone who likes to cut things close and board last minute, two thoughts…if you are flying first class on Emirates, you will want to be there as long as possible. And two, you will end up waiting in a long line to board and risk missing the flight if you leave it too long. Show up at the gate earlier than you think you need to, and definitely earlier than the ticket shows the boarding time.
After showing you to your seat, the purser will welcome you, explaining anything you need about your seat, answering questions, and sharing a menu. Emirates ‘dine on demand’ service means that you can eat whenever you like throughout the flight, so the staff leaves the menu with you to review and order at your leisure.
After you are settled, flight attendants come around with Turkish coffee and a date snack. They also offer champagne, though on this flight, they did not serve the signature Dom Perignon 2008 until after takeoff.
Finally, the flight attendant will ask your preferred size for the pajamas and slippers provided for your use in flight.
Emirates First Class SEA to DXB On Board Experience
Each first class seat came with a snack basket full of small-batch goodies like fancy gummy bears, a chocolate bar, sweet potato chips, trail mix, and chocolate covered nuts. The basket is removed just prior to takeoff for safety and returned after the flight is in the air.
Guests are also provided a small bottle of hand sanitizer, a medical grade mask, and an eye cover. There is a hygiene kit recessed into the seat vanity with eye cream, a towelette, and hydrating mist.
The amenity bag is gendered, with one for men and one for women. It contains a toothbrush and toothpaste, comb/brush combo, deodorant, Bulgari perfume/cologne, tissues, and lip balm.
The first class seats come with their own minibar with soft drinks and water. The newer 777 configuration with the larger first class seats have the minibar refrigerated, which is a super nice touch, as I prefer my drinks very cold and always have to ask for ice.
Emirates First Class Seattle to Dubai Food and Drinks
Now to the fun stuff…if you take an Emirates first class flight, do your absolute best to come hungry The food and beverage program on Emirates is exceptional, and you can’t possibly eat or drink as much as you will want.
Here are pictures of the menu on EK230 from Seattle to Dubai.
I started with the canapes, a trio of appetizers especially designed to pair with the Dom Perignon served on board.
Left to right, this was duck confit with curried pineapple, a parmesan and truffle arancino (fried cheesy rice ball), and a poached prawn and guacamole tartlet. My order of preference was the arancino followed by the duck confit, followed by the tartlet. I’m not a big fan of cold prawns, so this one was good but not for me.
Next up was of course the caviar, which you also have to have with the Dom Perignon.
Throughout the flight, I tried several other dishes, most of which were quite good. One was a cold appetizer called the tuna tataki, a seared tuna over cucumber with a prawn.
Next up was the Arabic mezze, which is big enough to be a meal in itself.
For my main courses, I had the fettuccini pomodoro and as a snack later, I had the pan-fried prawns with orzo, which was my least favorite dishes. It was fine but didn’t have much flavor.
For dessert, the flight attendant mis-heard me and brought me the Mediterranean tapioca cake instead of the chocolate fondant that I wanted, so I got both desserts. The chocolate was my favorite of the two, but the tapioca cake was bright and zesty and good.
Seeing the Northern Lights from the Plane
Our route took us up over the north pole at night, and I knew there was a chance we might see the northern lights. I was lucky enough to be awake when a flight attendant rushed back to our cabin to see if either I or the other first class passenger was awake. Thankfully, I was! She directed my attention out the window, where I got to see a green haze for several minutes. None of my photos turned out very well, but she shared a photo they had taken in the cockpit, which shows just how beautiful it was!
Emirates First Class Bathrooms
The first class has 2 bathrooms, and they are refreshed after each use so there is always a fresh seat cover waiting for you.
The bathrooms are slightly different sizes, with some toiletries available in one that aren’t in the other. The bathrooms were clean, bright, and spacious for a plane. I was able to change into my pajamas without bumping elbows.
Must-Haves on Emirates First Class from SEA to DBX
You want for nothing on Emirates, but it’s still nice to come prepared for a long flight. My must-haves on any long flight include:
My Amazon history says I’ve bought this eye mask 5 times, and it’s true – I give it as gifts to friends and family because it is so comfortable and functional. I don’t travel anywhere without it.
Long flights need 2 kinds of headphones: lightweight ones and noise-canceling ones.
My favorite lightweight in-ear headphones are the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 2100. I’ve had several pairs and they are comfortable, don’t get lost on planes, and are good for working out as well as traveling – I can even spin and jump in these as a figure skater and they don’t fly off.
My ears are sensitive to things pressing on them, so I don’t wear a lot of over-ear headphones, but for noise canceling, I go with the Bose 700 headphones. My husband has worn these for years and I frequently borrow his spare pair for flights. They effectively block out the noise while still being comfortable for hours.
I never travel without my Kindle, because there’s only so many movies I can watch before needing a break. I’m a big fan of audio books, so I switch between reading on my Kindle and listening to a book (sometimes the same book, sometimes a different one). As much as I love a physical book, there’s nothing more convenient for travel than an e-reader.
This was my third Emirates first class flight on a Boeing 777 and it truly ruins you for any other flying experience. The crew is polite, helpful, and fast. The food and drinks are top notch. The seat is spacious, comfortable, and private. Every touch speaks to the luxury and practicality they balance in the on-board product. Emirates first class absolutely lives up to the hype.