360° VR Flight Review: Emirates First Class (EK164 + EK412)

Flight Review: Emirates First Class EK164 + EK412 (360° VR)

  • 360° look inside Emirates First Class suite on the 777 and A380
  • 21 hours of first class flying from Dublin to Sydney
  • Travel like an oil baron for $848 + 192,000 Qantas Points

My rating

5.00 out of 5
  • Amenities & IFE
  • Cabin & seat
  • Food & drink
  • Service

In the era of flying on low-cost economy airlines, Emirates First Class is about as far away as you can get from that experience. And long may Emirates soar the skies. Is it worth splurging 192,000 Qantas Points on the Emirates First Class from Europe to Sydney?

Emirates First Class Suite on Boeing 777-300ER
Emirates First Class Suite on Boeing 777-300ER

Flight details

  • Airline: Emirates
  • Flight number: EK164 + EK412
  • Route: Dublin (DUB) - Dubai (DXB) - Sydney (SYD)
  • Duration: 23 hours 10 mins (EK164: 7 hours 25 mins) + (EK412: 13 hours 50 mins)
  • Cabin: First Class all the way
  • When: Nov 2018
  • Cost: 192,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points plus $848 AUD in taxes
  • Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER and A380-800
  • Seat number: 1A / 4A
  • Overnight flight: Yes 
  • Meal included: Yes 
  • Amenity kit provided: Yes 
  • Pajamas provided: Yes 
  • In-flight Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Baggage: Carry on

Booking this flight

If you buy an Emirates First Class flight straight with the airline or flight booking site then you'll be on the hook for around $7,000 AUD. However, you will also a ton of status credits with Emirates. Qatar also fly the DUB - SYD route via their Middle East hub in Doha but only offer Business Class on the Dublin leg. I choose you Emirates!

Dublin to Sydney in Emirates First

Booking on points is a lot more achievable. You can book this flight on Emirates.com using 168,750 Skyward Miles + (€525 EUR). Or more likely for our Australian readers, book on Qantas.com using 192,000 Qantas Points + $848 AUD (€525 EUR) points. Compare all of the frequent flyer credit cards on our comparison page to find yours.

Emirates First Class Dub - SYD Booking

That's a hefty cost in points. I was only able to yield a rather mediocre 3.6 cents per point spent on this whole journey. For context, the same DUB to SYD trip in Emirates Business Class will cost 123,750 Skyward Miles or 128,000 Qantas Points.

I booked my flights the day before it took off

There's typically some availability of points seats make booking Emirates First a real possibility. I booked my flights the day before it took off. So if you see the First Class seat icon come up in your Qantas or Emirates flight search, smash that button! 

In Australia you can build up points directly with Qantas on about 50 cards and directly into Emirates Skywards with one card or with about dozen cards indirectly via Amex. Get the right credit card and you'll be well on your way to getting airborne.

Emirates limo service from Belfast to Dublin

Emirates contract out their limo service to the leading private car hire companies. I was picked up in Belfast in a new black Mercedes (think Uber Black) and whisked the 100 miles / 160 km to the Dublin Airport. This was a stress free way to end my time back home in Northern Ireland and a great start to my Emirates First Class experience. Probably valued at $300 AUD / $200 USD.

Skip the airport lounge in Dublin

Sad to say but the airport lounge in T2 of Dublin Airport is bland and mediocre. It's not in keeping with the super expensive first class flight I was about to board. It's one of those times when there's no advantage in going into the lounge. Better to stay out in the main airport concourse unless it's super busy and crowded. The other lounge in the airport, the DAA lounge by Swissport, looks much better.

360° look inside at the Emirates First Class suite on Boeing 777-300ER

Emirates first DUB to DXB - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

The first thing you'll notice in First Class is the feel of the cabin. To some it is suave and luxurious - everything First Class should be. To others, the mahogany bling is gaudy and kitsch.

EK164 quick selfie in First Class
Seat 1A on EK164

I'll leave that up to you to decide should you choose to fly with Emirates.

The second thing you'll notice is how much room you have in your suite and how private it is. It isn't just a seat. It's a private suite with touch button closing doors to give total privacy. 

There's ample room to store your bags in your suite. Perfect for carry on cases. There are no overhead bins in First. And there's even a little wardrobe for hanging up your jacket.

The third thing you'll notice is high standard of the cabin crew. No corners are cut on service. Cabin crew work their way up the ladder with Emirates to end up working in First Class! Only the longest-serving, most professional cabin crew make it. And you can tell.

No corners are cut on service

After a quick traditional Arabic mezze plate and a night cap I asked for my seat to be turned down into a bed for the overnight flight to Dubai. And with that, a few hours sleep this flight is all over. What a great way to get to Dubai from Ireland!  Imagine starting your holiday like this?

Sunshine pours into my Emirates 777 window seat as we line up for descent
Sunshine pours into my Emirates 777 window seat as we line up for descent
The view from EK164 on our final approach down into Dubai airport
The view from EK164 on our final approach down into Dubai airport
EK146 arrival into Dubai
Looking out the mahogany frame window
A380 only gate Dubai
Better keep going past this "A380 only" gate at DXB

Connecting at Dubai airport

After EK164 arrives from Dublin there's a very fast connection time before the next flight to Sydney. How fast you say? Only 1 hour and 25 minutes between flights. There are two ways to look at this. It's great if you're in hurry to get to your end destination. But arguably it takes away from the pleasure of stopping off in Dubai. Since this journey connects in DXB airport I'd rather not be in a big rush.

EK412 takeoff over Dubai
Bye Bye Dubai already

I'd personally like to unwind at the Emirates First Lounge for a little while. It has plenty of food buffets, free Wi-Fi, business areas for working and making calls, shower spa's to freshen up and quiet areas for resting. There's also a wine cellar and a cigar bar ... as you do. When it's time to leave you can board directly from the First Class Lounge directly onto First Class cabin.

EK412 tailcam
EK412 tailcam

There's something seriously fun about watching the A380 take off from the camera mounted on the tail. 

One of the benefits of flying in first is the free baggage allowance. If you are taking checked luggage you get a massive 50 kg of checked baggage. And you can carry on luggage so long as no single piece of baggage doesn't exceed 32kg (70lb). When travelling for business I only ever take carry on luggage: 1 x case and a small laptop bag.

360° look inside the Emirates First Class suite on A380

Emirates First A380 Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

I took my 360° camera onboard this journey to give you a better sense of just how good it is. Step inside this A380 first class suite for the next 14 hours. You'll have two windows and massive armchair, huge inflight entertainment screen, pop up mini bar, personal reading lights, person mirror, charging ports, and loads of storage beside your seat. There's even a basket of snacks. 

As for being close to the galley just behind me? I didn't notice it the whole time and I doubt that it'll bother anyone.

Your private suite

Emirates First A380 suite with doors closed Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Push a button to close the privacy doors. Play with the button controlled pleated window screens. 

Ready for food or work

Emirates First A380 fold down desk Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

The massive pull out table must be three or four times bigger than any seat-back table in economy. Perfect for setting your laptop on for working, yes work in First Class. And eating of course.

The lie flat bed

Emirates First A380 bed turned down.Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Take the 360° look inside the Emirates First Class turned down into the bed. Your seat reclines all the way back to lay completely flat. Just ask your flight attendant to turn your seat into a bed at any time. 

Now, this may come as a surprise. Even though I travelled in Emirates First for a combined 21 hours in the sky and got 8 hours sleep across the two legs I still experienced some jet lag in Australia. It must be inevitable that when crossing 11 timezones the body still experiences jet lag.

The food

Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

You can order anything you want, anytime you want. Caviar and champagne. And it's hard to say no. Passengers redeem 10,000's of points to be there so naturally, you want to make the most of it. My advice is to eat lean on the day of your flight because the very attentive cabin crew will offer you food and drinks for the entire flight.

Get a feel for the First Class cabin

EK412 First Class 14 suites on the A380 in the 1-2-1 configuration
EK412 First Class 14 suites on the A380 in the 1-2-1 configuration

If you're travelling with someone then the middle two seats are probably better so that you can be closer. There's a divider that comes down between the seats.

The view along the fully enclosed First Class suites on Emirates A380
The view along the fully enclosed First Class suites on Emirates A380
The shower spa toilet on the Emirates A380
The shower spa toilet on the Emirates A380
EK412 engines
The massive Rolls Royce engines on the A380 somewhere over the Indian Ocean

Arriving into Sydney

Approach to Sydney on a sunny day
Approach to Sydney on a sunny day

The Emirates A380 taxied to the terminal past this recent addition to the American Airlines fleet, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. If you want to what the AA72 Sydney to Los Angeles flight is like then check my full AA72 business class flight review.

Emirates A380 meets American Airlines (AA72) Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Emirates A380 meets AA72

Final thoughts

Booking Emirates First Class on Qantas.com will take a hefty toll on your Qantas balance but then it is an amazing experience.

This wasn't my first time to fly do the Kangaroo route in Emirates First but it was still very impressive. 

Thanks to the Qantas / Emirates partnership it is not typically that hard to find a seat on the day you want to travel. So long as you can be flexible. I left booking this flight very late with only one day before I flew. 

My only negative criticism is that most of Emirates A380 fleet have flown zillions of miles for 10+ years. So the design and overall feel is a getting a bit dated compared to the newer versions. If I get the chance to try the new Emirates First Class cabin on limited routes then I may just have to try it.