Although I’ve been collecting points and miles for years, I’ve yet to cash in on something spectacular for myself. Sure, I’ve claimed business class tickets to Asia for my parents and my brother, but I’ve mostly only used my points on short-haul flights and stays at the Courtyard Marriott in Ottawa.

To date, the only real luxury redemption I’ve made was at the St. Regis in Rome and that was 10 years ago during my honeymoon. Back then, I wasn’t even into collecting points, SPG just had a partnership with MBNA so it was easy to earn points. 

Back in December, I decided to visit one of my best friends who happens to live in Dubai. I’ve been pushing this trip off for a decade so I’m glad I finally made the decision to go. Since I was flying solo, I decided to fly business class. Then I remembered, I had a bunch of Alaska Miles saved so I decided to fly Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto (it took 150K Alaska Miles). For reference, I booked EgyptAir in business on the way down which only cost me 82.5K Aeroplan miles. Taxes came out to about $280 total.

Emirates A380 First Class is one of the most luxurious seats you can buy in the world. Many people have it on their bucket list and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to enjoy it. As you can imagine, any flight I take from now on will not come anywhere near what I experienced on Emirates. Here’s my Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto review.

If you’re paying cash or using Skywards Miles for First Class, Emirates sends you a driver. Since I booked on Alaska Miles, this service wasn’t available to me. I took an Uber to the airport which dropped me off at a separate section for business and first class passengers. As soon as I got out of the car, there was an Emirates employee who greeted me and someone who carried my luggage for me. First class passengers have check-in desks just after entry while business class passengers check-in a few steps further.

Ahhhhh, my first class ticket! As you can see, it’s an early flight. Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto takes off at 3:55AM local and lands at 9:15AM local. That’s a 14 hour flight! The good thing is I get access to the Emirates first class lounge. You’re technically only allowed in six hours before your flight, but that’s a rule that’s rarely enforced.

Emirates operates out of Terminal 3 at DXB. The Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto flight is out of the A section of the wing which you need to take an automated shuttle to. This ride lasts about 30 seconds.

The Emirates first class and business lounges are located on the second and third floors respectively but I decided to check out the duty free and shops in the public areas first. Although there were a lot of shops, I’ve been to airports that have even more shopping available. I was also somewhat surprised that there were only a handful of food options. Even my home airport in Toronto has more food choices available.

After showing my boarding pass, I entered the Emirates first class lounge in Dubai. This lounge is separate from the business class lounge and is an entire floor. The lounge is basically mirrored and has two of everything so it makes no difference if you turn right or left when you enter the lounge. You’ll notice that there’s duty free shopping available up here so there was really no need for me to browse below. In other words, head straight to the Emirates first class lounge in Dubai if you have access.

When you arrive, things can be overwhelming, the lounge is massive and there are leather seats everywhere. You might want to take a look at the map to get oriented or at least just go exploring a little bit. This was the first seating area I came across. I was there at 9PM and there was barely anyone around.

A few steps further was the first cafe. Out of frame, there’s a bar but as soon as you take a seat, someone will come by with a menu where you can order whatever you want. Since it was rather late, I just wanted tea.

Of course, 30 seconds after I got my tea, I noticed that there was fresh sushi available. I’ve never had sushi at a lounge before so I decided to have a few pieces. It definitely did not disappoint.

There was a pretty big business centre nearby with computes and desks available. There was also a printer and a TV.

Of course, one of the other things I had to check out was the washroom. It was spotless and did not smell like a washroom. The toilet stalls were quite spacious and there were plenty of amenities available.

I’ll admit it, I took 3 shaving kits, 3 dental kits and a comb. Look at them, they’re so pretty, how could I not help myself to them!

There was even a children’s lounge with Playstations set up. At first, I thought the Platstations were impressive but then I realized that if you’re a child and you’re in first class, a PS4 is nothing special.

The long hallway is the rest of the lounge. As mentioned, it’s on the second floor and it spans the entire wing. You can see below where the regular duty free is. An Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto review wouldn’t be complete without showing off the lounge, so let’s see what else they have to offer.


I decided to head to the dining area. I was greeted at the door and immediately seated. Since it was late, there weren’t many people. Everything in the lounge is included so you could order whatever you wanted without having to worry about destroying your wallet.

As for what to order, you have a lot of choices. I honestly looked at the menu about three times before I decided on the Miso cured Chilean seabass. I was tempted to get an appetizer too, but it was close to 9:30PM so I didn’t want anything heavy.

While waiting for my entree, I decided to check out the buffet. There were about 8 hot dishes and a bunch of salads and dips.

There were plenty of different salad options available. Mixed greens, pasta salad, vegetables with prawns and more.

A variety of appetizers were also available. These were mostly middle eastern dishes, but there was also salmon sashimi available.

With the hot dishes, there was Arabic, Indian, Asian and American food available. I love how they catered to all their demographics. I was really tempted to try some of the buffet items, but I knew I had my main coming shortly.

I’m glad I waited as this ended up being one of the best fish dishes I’ve ever had in my life. The portion wasn’t huge which was perfect since it was so late. If I was starving, I would have felt no guilt ordering another entree or sampling the buffet.

After dinner, I decided to explore the rest of the lounge. This was at the end of the terminal and the largest seating area. For some reason, all of the tables here had roses but they weren’t anywhere else.

In this area, there was a bar and a cafe. There was also more food available.


Look at those appetizers. You could just bounce around the lounge eating appetizers and be very happy.

After dinner, I decided to take a shower (which I forgot to take pictures of). Each shower was in an individual room with a toilet and the same disposable amenities found in the washroom. There were slippers and a hairdryer available which was sweet. Once I was nice and clean, I went to the quiet room to try and sleep for a few hours before my plane. There were many seats available with a fresh pillow, blanket and eye mask. There was also a charge port by every seat.

There were different seat configurations available. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t able to fall asleep. I was just way too excited. The room is soundproofed as I barely heard anything when I was inside. Note that boarding announcements aren’t made in the quiet room so set an alarm!

At 3:15am, it was time to board. From the Emirates first class lounge, there’s an elevator that will take you right to the bridge. Here’s my first look at my home for the next 15 hours and where my Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto review begins.

Let’s be clear, the Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto experience lives up to the hype. As soon as I got on the plane and the staff saw that I was in first class, I was handed off to a flight attendant who walked me to my suite. She assumed it was not my first time (not sure why as I didn’t exactly look like a first class passenger). Once I told her it was my first time, she asked if I wanted a picture. Yes, I wanted a picture. Can you tell I was excited?

The flight attendant immediately gave me a tour of my suite and explained all the different options available to me. The suite has doors that can be fully closed so you can have privacy.

First class has 14 suites total but there were only 4 occupied on my flight. You can see that each suite also includes a mattress, blanket and pillow. When you’re ready to sleep, they’ll set it up for you. 

There are two toilets and showers located at the front of the plane. If they’re both full, you can also use the business class washroom. Two washroom for 4 people (or up to 16 at max) is a pretty good ratio.

There’s no overhead storage when flying Emirates A380 First Class. The storage is located in front of you and there’s plenty of space even when you’re in lie-flat mode. There’s even a little closet behind your screen so you can hang your coat. There’s a good amount of storage space beside the tablet so you can put anything you want to access on a regular basis. In case you’re wondering, the tablet was practically a secondary screen. It didn’t have entertainment on it, but you could get info, maps and seat adjustments from it.


This is the point where I got really excited. I was flying Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto and I did it on points. Although you can have as much Dom Pérignon as you want, I’m actually drinking an apple spritzer here. 

Before I took off, I decided to check out what else I had available. I was instantly attracted to this bowl of snacks. I don’t know why, but I was pretty impressed with the selection here. It came with chocolate, caramel popcorn, roasted nuts, tomato and olive oil chips, mints and more. Oh, that flower is real, another nice touch.

Before taking off, the staff asked me if I wanted pyjamas. I sure did, but for some reason the smallest size they had was medium. I was already in my “plane clothes” so I didn’t change, but I wish I did. I tried the pyjamas on at home and they’re so soft. They also gave me an amenity kit that was full of Bvlgari products and slippers. Everything came in a big tote bag which was handy since I ended up putting all my snacks in there and asking for refills.

There’s also your own little mini bar which is a bit crazy since you can already get whatever you want, whenever you want. Funny enough, as soon as I drank something from the mini bar, they refilled it right away. The pop cans are only 150ml so it was pretty easy to polish those off quickly. I could have easily drank 10. It didn’t take long for the staff to realize Pepsi was my drink of choice so whenever I asked for a glass of ice, it came with Pepsi already in it.

There was an Emirates notepad and pen available. This is especially handy to fill out customs forms because no one ever seems to have a pen on planes.

There was also a little vanity kit and mirror with some different products which would help with your sleep. If you look closely, everything is wrapped to ensure cleanliness.

The tray for dining was ridiculous, it was the size of a small table. There were no issues with space and I knew it would make dining and working on it with my laptop comfortable.


Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto has 27 inch screens and uses Emirates ICE system. ICE stands for Information, Communications and Entertainment. Information covers things about your flight and the history of Emirates/Dubai. Communications allow you to chat with other people on the plane and to make phone calls to the ground. That’s right, you can make calls while on the plane but you only get 30 minutes. There’s also wi-fi available.  If you’re in first class, sign up for Skywards Rewards and your internet is free. Finally, the entertainment has 4,000 channels, movies, and tv shows available in multiple languages. You’re provided with noise cancelling headphones for maximum sound and that ICE magazine you see there is actually a TV guide. 

Before choosing a movie, I was playing with what else was available on-screen and came across the exterior cameras. I believe there are 3 cameras total and this is a shot of the tail camera facing forward. As you can see, the bridge was detached and the plane started to pull back so I put on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and was ready for takeoff.

After the movie and sleeping a bit, I was getting a bit hungry. In first class, there’s no set mealtime, You just order whatever you want from the menu (no picture), whenever you want and they’ll prepare it for you. Hot meals take up to 30 minutes to prepare but cold dishes can be had instantly. I had the mushroom and cheese omelette with home fries and asparagus. I alose decided to have a pot of tea. As you can see, my table tray comfortably fit everything.

The quality of the food was excellent. I swear there was a staff member on board who’s only job was to prepare the meals. It was served on a real plate with metal cutlery. Despite caviar being an appetizer option, I decided to skip it and just had this one main.

I should have mentioned by now that the washroom in first class is like visiting a spa. It’s so spacious and comes with a variety of body lotions, shampoo, soap and body washes. Instead of paper towels, there were cloth towels. Every time I went to the washroom, it was super clean. I’ve never been so excited to use an airplane toilet in my life. If you’re sitting on the toilet, you could fully extend your legs without touching the wall in front of you.

Many people have probably heard of the shower available to Emirates A380 First Class passengers. At first, I didn’t think I wanted to take a shower, but once I saw it, I knew I wanted to. You can book a time for the shower, alternatively, you could use it whenever it was free. Once I told the staff I would like to take a shower, they prepared it for me. As in, they cleaned everything again. There’s literally a staff member who just cleans the washroom.

Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto passengers each get 5 minutes of water flow. It’s clearly marked with a timer so there’s no reason why you wouldn’t run out of water without know it. The shower was of a good size, but it’s still smaller than a standard standup shower. 

You can control the temperature of your water, but it gets warm at max. I like hot showers, and the water definitely didn’t get to the temperature where I like it. There’s an on/off button which you should use when applying shampoo or soap. By turning off the water at that time, you can conserve how much you have left. There’s also a seat in the shower that’s not pictured, if there’s turbulence, they advise you to sit down and wait it out. 

While I was in the shower, the staff removed my mattress and blanket since it was the morning. That was smart as I didn’t even need to ask for it to be taken away. Although it was 6AM in Toronto, I decided to have lunch as it was 3pm in Dubai. This time I started with an assorted cheese plate as my appetizer. 


I followed that up with the lamb koftka which was one of the specials of the month. It came in a tomato sauce and was served on a bed of vermicelli rice. The bread was warm and delicious. The mini bun you see in the front of the basket is a little piece of garlic bread which was excellent. I decided to have a strawberry smoothie with my meal.

After the main course, I was given a small plate of fruit to cleanse my palette. I’m not sure what the dip was but it was sweet and tasted great.


I wrapped things up with dessert. What you see is actually a collection of the bite-sized desserts that can be had at any time. I didn’t order from the dessert menu because I was already quite full. The staff was surprised I ate so little, they told me a few passengers ordered 4 meals!

Due to the recent tensions in Iran, my flight path avoided their airspace (normally it goes right through it). Despite the detour, it didn’t actually add any time to my flight. The flight route included us flying over Turkey, Romania, Germany, the U.K. and Canada. Sometimes the flight path will take you through Ukraine, Belarus, Norway, Sweden and then coming down above Greenland.

Final thoughts

As you can imagine, Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto Review is positive. The flight is everything I could have imagined and is an experience I’ll never forget. It’s incredible to think that I was able to fly first class on Emirates because I used some of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Travel hacking takes time, but the rewards clearly payoff. 

Emirates A380 First Class Dubai to Toronto Review

9 Comments

  1. Bibi on February 11, 2020 at 8:01 PM

    This was great. Thank you for posting.
    I wish I was at least 1% travel hacking person as you are – to check the right credit cards, save point ecc.
    But this was inspiring so who knows 🙂

  2. Bibi on February 11, 2020 at 8:04 PM

    And oh,..this post made me so hungry…I don’t know how you managed to not eat Everything!!

    • Barry Choi on February 11, 2020 at 8:49 PM

      Bibi,

      I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t eat more.

      Travel hacking is easy, just take advantage of sign up offers whenever you can.

  3. Tawcan on February 12, 2020 at 4:59 PM

    Wow that looks fancy. How much weight did you gain after the flight? 🙂

    • Barry Choi on February 12, 2020 at 7:04 PM

      Not enough, I really didn’t eat that much.

  4. MC on March 4, 2020 at 9:02 AM

    Excellent review. How many points did it take to do that?

    • Barry Choi on March 4, 2020 at 9:12 AM

      MC,

      It was 150K AlaskaMiles for the one way journey.

  5. Helen on March 22, 2020 at 12:17 AM

    Can I ask how you a accumulate so many points and what cards you side to do that. Would love to know you travel hacks with points.

    • Barry Choi on March 22, 2020 at 9:07 AM

      Hi Helen,

      At the time, I applied for Alaskan Airlines and Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. Now that Alaskan is joining the Oneworld network, things are becoming a bit harder to earn enough points for Emirates. That said, I now mainly collect American Express Membership Rewards points as there is a lot of flexibility with their points.

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