Emirates Business Class Toronto to Dubai Review | Airbus A380

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I recently had the chance to fly Emirates Business Class Toronto. Loyal readers of mine may recall I flew first class from Dubai to Toronto a few years ago. Since Emirates is the best airline I’ve been on, I figured trying their business class product was worth it. Best of all, I was able to bring my brother, who has never flown on Emirates or been to Dubai.

The Toronto to Dubai flight time is 12.5 hours. EK242 takes off from Pearson International Airport’s Terminal 1 at 2:30PM EST. The arrival time in Dubai is roughly 11:15AM local time. Since there’s an 8-hour time change, you land at 3:30AM EST. Emirates flies this route five times a week. There’s no service on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so you’ll need to plan accordingly.

Normally, a one-way business class fare on Emirates from Toronto to Dubai is about $6,500. That means a return ticket is roughly $13,000. That’s obviously expensive, but you’re getting one of the best flight experiences in the world. Alternatively, there are a few points programs that allow you to book Emirates business and first class flights.

If you’ve purchased a revenue ticket, you get access to Emirates chauffeur service. That’s where a private chauffeur will pick you up from anywhere within an 80km radius of Pearson International Airport. If you’re travelling from further away, a surcharge applies. Read my Emirates Business Class Toronto to Dubai Review now for what you should expect.

Emirates Toronto to Dubai review

The Emirates check-in counter is located at the far end of Terminal 1 in Toronto. Since Emirates flies the Airbus a380, there’s always a healthy line of people waiting to check-in. That said, business class has dedicated check-in staff to help you, so the wait is very short. If no one is checking in with First Class, the staff will also assist business passengers. It’s worth noting that paper boarding passes don’t say priority lane access at the security lines, but you definitely get it. Just scan your boarding pass at the electronic gates, and they’ll open for you.

Emirates Toronto to Dubai review plaza

Emirates business and first class passengers get access to the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal 1. If you regularly fly out of Canada, and have visited this lounge in the past, you’ll likely be disappointed. This lounge is normally packed, has mediocre food, and limited seating. That said, it’s still better than sitting in the common areas.

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As I approached the entrance to the lounges, I was surprised to learn that it’s exclusive to Emirates customers from 10:30AM to 2:30PM. This is significant since there’s only a single Emirates flight going out at this time. So you can only get into the lounge if you’re flying on Emirates and have access via business/first class or if you have a Plaza Premium membership. I saw multiple people turned away even though they had a Plaza Premium membership because they weren’t flying Emirates.

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Normally, the food in the Plaza Premium Lounge in the international wing of Terminal 1 at Pearson International Airport is lacking. To my surprise, the food was excellent. There was daal, teriyaki chicken, linguini, rice, and meatballs available. I suspect that since Emirates has this lounge reserved for passengers, they probably subsidize the costs of better food.

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There was also a bean salad, coleslaw, couscous, and an open bar. Note that the free alcohol was limited to drinks on a list, so you couldn’t order whatever you wanted. There was also a soda and juice machine (not individual cans). You could also get hot coffee and specialty drinks from a machine for free.

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In addition to what was available, they also had samosas, cookies, and bread. It’s worth mentioning that this lounge is pretty small. If every business and first class passenger visited the lounge, all the seats would likely be taken. Presumably, most people would arrive at the airport around 3 hours early. That means they would be in the lounge around 12 – 12:30PM. Since Emirates serves their first meal around 3:30PM, you’ll want to manage your eating.

Emirates Toronto to Dubai review plane

EK242 is the only Airbus A380 that flies into Pearson International airport. When you see it for the first time, you’ll be amazed at how large the plane is. First and business class passengers board directly onto the second floor. 399 economy seats are on the lower floor in a 3-4-3 configuration.

Emirates Toronto to Dubai review wide

It’s now time to talk about the seats in my Emirates Business Class Toronto to Dubai review. Emirates operates an Airbus A380. This is the largest passenger jet in the world. There are 72 business class seats located on the second floor of the plane. While that may seem like a lot, it doesn’t feel so bad considering the space of your seat and the service of Emirates staff.

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The seat configuration is 1-2-1. With the numbers A, D, E, F, G, J, and K assigned to them. If you want to sit directly beside your travelling companion, you should choose seats E and F. Some people don’t like how seats B, D, G, and K are located directly beside the aisle. Admittedly, it gives you less privacy compared to reverse herringbone seating found on other airlines, but I don’t think it’s a big deal. That said, seats A and K are ideal since your seat is flush with the window and your mini-bar is beside the aisle.

Emirates Toronto to Dubai review seat

Here’s my seat 19J, which is adjacent to the aisle. As soon as I sat down, I was offered a welcome drink of champagne, orange juice, or apple juice. I took an orange juice and was excited to explore my business class seat.

The first thing I notice is how spacious the business class seat is. While individual pods featured in business class on other aircraft are nice, you’re getting much more room with Emirates. I had enough room to place my backpack on the ground beside me without it getting in the way of my feet. There’s also an individual bar that comes preloaded with a Pepsi, 7up, Perrier, and two Evian’s.

Business class seats on Emirates fully extend flat. In addition, you get a mattress (Staff will set this up when you’re in the air), a pillow and a blanket. One thing to note is that there is no overhead storage above the window seats, so you must place your luggage above the aisle seats. This isn’t a big deal, as there’s more than enough room.

For reference, this is seat 20K, which my brother was sitting in. As you can see, his seat was flush with the window, which made looking outside slightly easier. Try not to book a seat beyond row 21, as you’ll be close to the bar. It can be quite loud at times in the bar, so it could affect your comfort/sleep. We didn’t hear anything in rows 19 and 20.

You also get noise-cancelling headphones, socks, and eyeshades. Admittedly, the noise cancelling headsets aren’t as good as other ones I’ve used. They’re not bad, but they definitely don’t drown out as much noise. I have no complaints about the seating in my Emirates Toronto to Dubai review.

As soon as you sit down, you’ll notice the giant 13.3 inch size entertainment screen. Emirates’s ICE system has over 5,000 channels and features movies, tv shows, music, podcasts, and more. I personally enjoyed watching the live cameras on the airshow view.

There’s also a side controller that detaches that you can use as a secondary screen. I would often put the live maps on this screen so I could casually monitor the flight. This screen was also handy when I was trying to search for something specific in the entertainment system.

Bvlgari amenity kits are provided before departing. They have different ones for women. As you can imagine, it comes with all the essentials that you’ll need for a trip to the United Arab Emirates.

Included in the amenity kit was a dental kit, tissues, a comb, hand lotion, shaving cream, a razor, cologne, deodorant and more. These items are standard travel sizes and would likely last you about a week. Since you’ll be getting an amenity kit for sure, you wouldn’t need to pack a few toiletries.

As part of this Emirates Toronto to Dubai review, I’m going to talk about the lounge. This area is acessible to both first class and business class passengers. It’s a full bar and is always staffed. While at the bar, you can order any drink that’s on the menu at your seat or a selection of premium alcohol. Of course, non-alcoholic drinks are available too. On the bar itself is also the desserts that you can grab at any time.

Facing the bar is a giant screen with a map and news updates. This is also where you’ll find some of the tastier snacks such as chips, nuts, fruit, candy, and sandwiches. The sandwiches were quite good.

In the lounge there’s also seating available. There are two benches that seat three people each they even have seatbelts. This is a great place to just sit and relax while chatting with other passengers.

There’s also a standup section where you can place your drinks and chat. One thing that’s not advertised is that there’s a polaroid camera available at the bar. The staff will take your picture, so you have a momento to take with you.

Just past the bar are four bathrooms. The bathrooms are maybe a tiny bit bigger than standard economy bathrooms, but they come with more amenities. Dental kits, shaving kits, and sanitary napkins were available. In addition, there was cologne and perfume.

Many people are likely looking forward to the food in my Emirates Toronto to Dubai review. Menus are handed out shortly after you sit, with the first meals being served about an hour after takeoff (3:30PM). There are about three appetizers, three mains, and two desserts to choose from. If you’re not that hungry, Emirates allows you to choose just two appetizers or one appetizer and a dessert. I chose the traditional Arabic mezze platter, and it did not disappoint. It came with hummus, eggplant, a stuffed grapevine, spinach with chickpeas, salad, and pita bread.

Emirates Business Class Toronto to Dubai food 2

For my main, I went with lamb rogan josh (curry). It was served with rice and vegetables. This meal was also excellent. I should note that the portions were quite generous, so I didn’t finish everything on purpose. I knew there was dessert and more snacks available.

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My brother got the stripped seabass with roasted vegetables. This was also an excellent dish and was not overcooked at all. Overall, we were very happy with our meal selections. Emirates lists their meals online, so you can plan what you want to eat in advance.

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I’m glad I saved room for dessert since chocolate mousse cake was on the menu. This was honestly one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. I ate the entire thing. The box in the picture is a date, which is a popular fruit in the middle east.

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There’s about an eight-hour gap between meals, so this is when you’ll want to snack. Here are the virgin mojito and chocolate walnut cake found in the bar. Even though I didn’t overeat, I should have still paced myself better. Snacks that I could have ordered at any time included antipasti, butter chicken, chilli con carne, and a lemon tart.

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About three hours before arrival, breakfast is served. This is arguably an awkward time for those flying from Toronto. Remember, the flight lands at 3:30AM EST, so you’re being served another full meal at 12:30AM EST. Most people would be sleeping at that time. I obviously get why it happens, I’m just pointing out that you may not be hungry. Of course, I still ordered the pancakes which were wonderful. The other options on my flight were scrambled eggs with chicken sausage or a herb omelette.

Since we were flying in from the north and I was seated on the right side of the plane, I had a nice view of downtown Dubai as we descended into the airport. This was not my first time in Dubai, but there’s no denying that the skyline is pretty.

If you’re curious, EK242 flew over the United Kingdom and eastern Europe. It then flew through Turkey and Iran before landing in Dubai. My flight was 12 hours and 27 minutes, so it arrived a few minutes early. The Dubai airport is huge and could require a lot of walking depending on where your gate is. When going through customs, I was given a SIM card with one gig of data that was good for 24 hours. What’s interesting is that the airport also offers a currency exchange service. If you hold onto your receipt, you can exchange any leftover money when you depart for the same rate. The rate offered was very similar to the spot rate, so I decided to change my money there. By the time I reached the baggage carousel, my bag was already there.

For revenue business class tickets, you also get a chauffeur service when you land. You technically need to book this in advance via the Emirates website or app, but Emirates has a dedicated chauffeur service counter to the right when you depart the baggage area. All you need to do is show them your boarding pass. We had a BMW with leather seats. Fortunately, traffic at 11:30AM in Dubai is quite light, so getting to our hotel only took 20 minutes.

As you can imagine, my Emirates Toronto to Dubai review is positive. Regardless of what class you’re flying, you’re going to get great seats, service, and food. Emirates is one of the best airlines I’ve ever been on, so it’s pretty obvious why people choose them. If you’re ever thinking about travelling to the Middle East, Africa, or Asia from Toronto, Emirates could be a good option. You can stop over in Dubai for a few days and then continue on with your travels. Plus, you can now use your Aeroplan points to book an Emirates flight.

For more info on Dubai, check out the following guides:

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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