I flew in a R360,000 First Class seat – this is what it was like

On a trip to Las Vegas and Los Angeles with Samsung for CES 2017, I scored a free upgrade to First Class on my Emirates flights back to South Africa.

From Los Angeles to Dubai, a First Class ticket starts at R360,000 (while flights in the opposite direction cost half as much).

The Airbus A380 Emirates uses for its long-haul flights not only offers one of the most luxurious First Class experiences in the world, the routes between the US and the UAE are also some of the more interesting.

It cuts almost due north over the western United States and Canada, over the Rocky Mountains, and through the Arctic Circle.

The route

Emirates A380 LAX-DXB route

Getting this ticket felt as good as flipping a blackjack in Vegas

Emirates First Class ticket blurred


Emirates Lounge in the LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal

While there is no exclusive First Class Emirates lounge at LAX, the shared Business/First Class lounge offers great amenities.

Emirates Lounge LAX view of buffet

Emirates Lounge LAX view of drinks

Emirates Lounge LAX Voss Norwegian water

Emirates Lounge LAX soup

Emirates Lounge LAX soup in bowl on LA Times

Emirates Lounge LAX buffet

Emirates Lounge LAX dinner

Emirates Lounge LAX men bathroom

Emirates Lounge LAX spirits

The Dom Pérignon tax conundrum

From the moment I boarded the aircraft, I received excellent service from the cabin crew – beginning with an apology for being unable to serve Dom Pérignon in Los Angeles as a welcome drink due to tax reasons.

They could serve Moët while on the ground, and when airborne, the corks in the Dom Pérignon would pop, I was assured.

Dom Pérignon 2006

Emirates First Class suite view

Moisturising sea kelp pyjamas

The Emirates welcoming ceremony also included an offer of Arabic coffee and dates, after which cabin crew provided evening wear and toiletries.

Emirates recently launched pyjamas exclusive to First Class passengers which moisturise your skin while you sleep.

“The patented Hydra Active Microcapsule Technology uses billions of capsules applied to the fabric which gently releases naturally-moisturising sea kelp during movement,” stated the packaging.

Emirates First Class pyjamas

Emirates First Class vanity bag contents


In First Class, you can order anything on the menu whenever you want, allowing you to eat based on where your body clock is. I did a lot of sleeping, so I ended up only ordering breakfast.

Emirates EK218 breakfast

Emirates EK218 breakfast bread basket

The spa bathroom and shower

If you’ve heard anything about First Class on an Emirates A380, you’ve heard about the on-board shower.

The larger bathroom makes it feel like you’re in a flying 5-star hotel. Showering while hurtling over 800km/h through the air, at 10km above the ground, is an audacious luxury.

Emirates EK218 spa bathroom door and shower

Emirates EK218 spa bathroom basin and towel

Emirates EK218 spa bathroom toiletries

Emirates EK218 spa bathroom view from inside the shower

Emirates EK218 spa bathroom shower floor

Emirates EK218 spa bathroom shower interior

Emirates EK218 Schick razor

Before and after my on-board shave and shower

After a 16-hour flight, a shave and shower can make you feel like a new person.

Emirates Lounge LAX - before shave

Emirates EK218 shower - after

Signature tea service

As the flight nears its end, the First Class bar is converted into a serene tea serving station.

Emirates EK218 signature tea service

Emirates Airbus A380

Emirates A380

Video review of Emirates First Class

If you haven’t watched it, Casey Neistat’s video review of an Emirates A380 flight gives an excellent overview of the luxuries of First Class.

Jan Vermeulen was a guest of Samsung at CES in Las Vegas. The flight was a free upgrade arranged by Travel With Flair.

Now read: Inside Samsung’s audio research laboratory in Los Angeles – Photos

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I flew in a R360,000 First Class seat – this is what it was like