Get what you pay for in Emirates First Class: Bottomless champagne and endless caviar

Flying first class on Emirates is one of the most exclusive experiences in the sky, and the price is sky high.

After all, suites with closing doors, unlimited caviar, bottomless champagne, meals on demand, hydrating pajamas and even in-flight showers come at a cost.

No wonder tickets between Dubai and the United States in Emirates First Class regularly cost over $10,000…each way!

In September, however, I was able to book a one-way from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) via Dubai International Airport (DXB) for the grand total (relatively) good market of $3,168.

The first stop would be on board an Airbus A380 with the airline’s older but still fabulous First Class suites. For the second segment, I would finally get the chance to review Emirates’ groundbreaking new first-class suites aboard a Boeing 777, which I’ve wanted to fly for years.

Upon learning of my over-the-top trip, some of my colleagues at The Points Guy challenged me to “try to get my money back” on one of the flights. I figured it would be around $1,584 since both legs were about the same length of just under seven hours.


I was intrigued. Could I drink enough Dom Pérignon or drink enough caviar to make up for the plane ticket? How could you put a price on a shower at 39,000 feet? What else was mine that I could add to my bottom line?

As I was working on a full review for my second flight, I decided to play a game of “get your money back” on my A380 flight from Bangkok to Dubai. I researched the cost of every item and gear I could enjoy on board and set about coming up with a plan.

On the day of my flight, everything went like clockwork. I counted the cost of every sip of champagne, every bite of filet mignon, and every soap bubble of Voya spa products down the toilet.

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Was that a little rude? Without a doubt. But was it one of the most fun flights I’ve ever had? Absolutely.

Even the flight attendants got in on the fun and were always there to pour me another glass of Dom…to help me with my running count, of course.

Here, without further ado, is the result. And don’t worry, I didn’t get my money back just by drinking my weight in Hennessy Paradis cognac ($1,500 a bottle).

Earning my money in Emirates first class

Drink and eat, nickel and diming

If you’re curious how I made it, here are some of the highlights and how much I calculated each was worth.

Breakfast in the lounge: $20

I passed by the Emirates Lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport before my flight and devoured an omelette, a fruit plate, pineapple juice, sparkling water and a cappuccino.

Bulgari toiletry bag: $130

Emirates first-class passengers are treated to fancy amenity kits filled with high-end Bulgari products, including Tygar cologne from the Le Gemme range, as well as aftershave and moisturizer. Looking for similarly priced items online at department stores, I calculated that my kit was worth well over $100.

Dom Pérignon 2003 P2: $300 ($100 a glass)

Dom Pérignon P2 (the P stands for Plénitude) is a limited edition Champagne. The house retains a small number of bottles from very special vintages and ages them for another 15 years for more complexity and character. Each bottle sells for about $600…and I drank (but didn’t finish) about three glasses during the flight. All for the challenge, of course.

Unlimited caviar (and fixings): $350

Emirates serves Gourmet House caviar on Royal Doulton fine china in First Class and passengers can request as much as they like. I estimated I had about 3 ounces at $80-$100 each, plus all the fixings, so I rounded up to $350 for the nice presentation.

Hennessy Paradise Cognac: $150

Available only to first class passengers (who can also request the bottle be returned to the A380’s cocktail bar for a drink), Hennessy Paradis is one of the most famous cognacs in the world. It is actually a blend of many eaux-de-vie ranging in age from 30 to 130 years and sells for around $1,500 a bottle. Got a good shot at the bar and estimated it was worth $150 worth of spirits. Worth every drop!

Mezze and filet mignon: $130

For my main meal, I started with a platter of mezze worth around $30 (based on a restaurant where I had just had a similar spread) followed by a juicy cut of filet mignon with garlic sauce. mushrooms, potatoes and asparagus worth about $100 more if you were to order everything from a steakhouse.

Chardonnay, Syrah and Bordeaux, oh my: $120


Along with my meal, I tried the flavors of Howard Park Allingham Chardonnay from Western Australia, Clarendon Hills Astralis Shiraz from South Australia, and Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, which brought me around $120 from more.

Dessert, port and Sauternes: $110


What, you thought I was done? I am a professional!

I ordered a crispy crunchy peach crostata and a cheese plate with several slices of dairy delights on it. And for pairing? A glass of one of the world’s most famous dessert wines, Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes from Bordeaux, accompanied by a taste of 40-year-old Sandeman tawny port. What a way to end.

Moisturizing pajamas: $110

In 2016, Emirates introduced the so-called hydra-active moisturizing pajamas in first class, then sold them in its store in 2018. When I searched for them in the Emirates online store, I could not find them, although they were announced. at 200 UAE dirhams (about $55) per piece, so I counted them at $110 for the set. Interestingly, the Emirates store US site has different sets of hydra-active pajamas for sale for $55, but these are different from the cowl neck ones I have, so I’m sticking with my higher price .

Voya spa set: $80

Then it was time for a quick rinse off in one of the two showers on board the plane. The experience of swimming at high altitude is priceless, if you ask me. But one thing I was able to monetize was the set of Ireland-based Voya spa products available to passengers. I priced a similar travel kit I found online at $80.

Moleskine notebook and pen: $20

It might not seem like much, but I also swiped a Moleskine notebook and an Emirates pen from my suite console — you know, to document the experience — and added another $20 to my tab. What did I forget to take? Byredo skincare products in the console vanity. I also skipped the fries and sweets, including the luscious Danish licorice-flavored Lakrids from Bulow that I love that were stocked in the suite’s minibar. The next time!

Escort and driver service at the airport: $130

Although not a guaranteed amenity, along with other first class passengers on my flight, I was met by an airport escort upon disembarkation. He took me past other arrivals on a golf cart and through an expedited queue at immigration and customs so I was at the airline driver’s office within minutes. There I got a ride in a BMW 7 Series to my resort town about an hour away. Based on the prices for VIP services at Dubai airport as well as the cost of my taxi back to the airport from the resort, I would bundle these two services together at $130.

Grand total: $1,650


Mission accomplished! I beat my goal of getting my money’s worth from the flight by nearly $70. And it wasn’t easy, even though it was delicious. I think it will be a while before I get another scoop of caviar…although I wouldn’t mind another glass of Dom Pérignon P2 very soon.

Aside from the sheer monetary (and purely fun) value I got from my flight, the other elements – the amazing suite with its buttery leather recliner and massive in-flight entertainment system, the friendliness of the crew (and their willingness to accommodate all of my crazy requests), and the sheer satisfaction of being able to savor a truly luxurious experience – are things I’ll be telling people about for the rest of my life.

Or they could just watch the video and try to see the moment when I realized maybe I had too much caviar.

Want to experience a little more luxury in the sky? Check out these recent flight reviews:

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