Here's How One Traveler Got a $60,000 Trip Around the World on Emirates for $300
Not everyone can fly first class. Given that amenities are constantly being improved to new levels of swag-envy, it's truly a shame that more people can't experience it. Sam Huang—a travel writer who certainly knows the ins and outs of using frequent flyer miles to their full extent—recently embarked on a trip around the world aboard Emirate's first class cabin and shared the experience on his website, TopMiles. He paid for the $60,000 world adventure by cashing in his Alaskan Airlines frequent flyer miles and forking over a small fee of $300. Huang cleverly used a company loophole to his advantage, avoiding having to pay much more by booking the flight as one long trip with multiple layovers, turning the entire experience into a jaunt across the world.
While the video above gives a good look at his trip in whole (also check out this in-depth article on Business Insider), there were a few stand-out amenities and services that caught our eye. Ahead: six things to expect when flying first class on Emirates.
As Much Champagne As You Want
After reading about Huang's journey, one thing is evident: there's a glass of champagne waiting around every corner. From the airport lounge breakfast to the post-shower refreshment, there's no shame when it comes to greeting the day with some bubbly on an Emirates flight. Champagne not your thing? Try a glass of Hennessy Paradis cognac—otherwise known as the most expensive drink in the sky, coming in at $700 per bottle. Even better: refills are available at the touch of a button via your very own iPad control.
Fine China and Gold-Rimmed Amenities
From the automated bar to the adjustable air vents, the entire suite is edged in gold trimming—a perfectly poetic touch for the one-of-a-kind experience that's to come. The in-flight meals are far from pre-packaged. Huang calls attention to the stunning plating, something that's hard to find when dining 40,000 feet in the air. And, yes, it does come prepared on fine china.
A Spa Shower—with Heated Floors
There's a good chance the Emirates bathroom is larger than your kitchen. Maybe even your entire apartment, if you're making ends meet in a stylish closet-sized apartment in New York City. According to Huang's description, you could probably fit three-four regular sized bathrooms in the entire space. Not only does it have a flight tracker on an LCD screen so you can kind of tell where you are while showering, but there are eight bottles of shampoo and body wash to choose from—and they offer you Godiva chocolate once your shower is done. If only all showers could be followed up with the sweet, sweet taste of Godiva.
Post-Meal Cheese Platters
Sure, you get your choice of five-course dinners, but Emirates goes an extra mile with their dessert cheese platters (which come with a side of chocolate cake, might I add). As Huang puts it, you don't choose your cheese—they give you all of the offerings up front.
When you've got a lie-flat be, automated blinds are only a small perk in the greater scheme of things. More specifically, it's the "private room" feel the closed blinds give that puts this airline on an entirely new level of service. According to Huang, "After about six hours, I woke up and felt completely refreshed, as if I was waking up in my own apartment." Considering a "good night's sleep" on an airplane is practically nonexistent, this is truly an accomplishment.
This doesn't actually happen on the airplane—it's one of the many perks available to first class passengers in the Emirates lounge. Flyers are given a complimentary spa treatment while waiting to board their flying chariots. Follow it up with an on-site shoeshine, and there's no way you won't feel (and look) completely first-class.
Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.