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FLIGHT#31 Emirates #412 A380 First Class SYD-AKL Shower Pics/Video

FLIGHT#31 Emirates #412 A380 First Class SYD-AKL Shower Pics/Video

Old Mar 19, 11, 11:21 pm
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FLIGHT#31 Emirates #412 A380 First Class SYD-AKL Shower Pics/Video

Emirates Airlines #412
Sydney, Australia (SYD) – Auckland, New Zealand (AKL)

Date: March 5, 2011
Departure 08:45
Arrival: 14:00
Length: 03:15
Miles flown since start of trip: 56,956 mi.
Aircraft: Airbus 380-800

I’m a travel geek. I’ve written this before. When I first heard that Emirates would be installing two showers for their first class passengers on their A380s, I immediately added that as a new travel goal. I WANT THAT! I had already experienced Emirates First Class suite on a flight to South Africa. BUT I WANT TO TAKE A SHOWER AT 39,000 FT.

So March 5 has been a date that both Corbin and I have been looking forward to for quite a while. I used EK Skywards miles to get me a roundtrip SYD-AKL-SYD First Class ticket. I also got Corbin a one way ticket SYD-AKL in First Class. Terry just rolled his eyes and didn’t mind sitting in economy for the three hour flight.

Inevitably when talking about our year of travel with other people, taking a shower on the Emirates flight was offered as one of the highlights. It also seemed like a good field trip activity as part of our son’s “Fifth Grade Around The World”. Emirates is the only commercial airline that offers in-flight bathing so most people have never heard of this!

We arrived in Sydney the day before from Melbourne and stayed at a simple airport hotel. I had forgotten to book our chauffeur transfer until that afternoon. So I called the local EK office in Sydney and she said she would try hard to get it confirmed for us. A bit later the limo company called saying they would be there at 7:00 am for our 8:45 am flight. I warned them that we have lots of bags so we needed something more than just a sedan.

I also noticed when failing once again to use online check-in that they had Corbin down for a child’s meal. I know that I would never order him that muck. So when I was calling about the car, I also mentioned that he would prefer not to eat “kid food”. Even though the flight was within 24 hours, she would call catering personally to make sure they got the request. It’s nice to fly first class.

At 06:55 a very nice Mercedes van pulled up and the driver quickly loaded our five big bags. I made my typical joke “I’m really glad we travel so light!” The driver tried to fake a laugh.

The hotel was immediately adjacent to the airport so the journey was maybe five minutes. I had called the hotel asking if we could just walk it but they said it was too far with suitcases. Terry decided that he wanted to walk it for some exercise and would meet us at the curb. Corbin and I pretended that he was our personal secretary who had gone ahead to make sure everything was arranged properly.

The first class check-in desk was available when we walked up. Check-in took a very long time. At some point she asked about paperwork for our electronic Australian visa since we would be returning there. Since it was electronic nothing was in our passport. I really didn’t have a clue where that paperwork was and she said she would look it up. Since one of us was in economy and the other two in first, she let me know that she was doing me a favor by tagging all the bags with the first class priority tag. Most people would have just done it and not said anything. Corbin and I were so excited about this flight and tried to ignore her unfriendly attitude.

She gave us a Fast Track pass but it wasn’t needed at this time of day. Soon enough we were following the signs to the Emirates lounge. I thought the lounge signage for all the airlines was very good throughout the airport.

I had booked the first class tickets in Terry and Corbin’s names because if we were going to purchase a real ticket I wanted the miles. Also EK gives me 12K extra baggage allowance as a EK Silver. I wasn’t sure they would let me in the lounge as a guest so when we entered I told them that Terry and Corbin were in First and I’m in Economy. Could I be their guest? At first she said no but then asked if I was Gold. No but I am a Silver. She took my card, punched some keys and said she would let me in this time. Yeah!

The Emirates Lounge serves both First and Business class passengers. This ends up being good for the business passengers because the food offerings are amazing for non-hub lounge. For the first class passengers it is a bit crowded. Either way it is a great lounge.

A view across the lounge

Chairs with views of the tarmac

We chose a nice location by the window with lots of power points and headed off for some breakfast. On my first pass, I chose a wonderful ramekin of poached egg over spinach topped with Hollandaise with a hash brown. Flying First is also a great reason to have a mimosa at 7:30 in the morning. On my second pass I chose a bagel with smoked salmon, egg frittata, sausage and another hash brown. It was all great but knew I’d be eating a First Class breakfast soon on board.

Lots of hot breakfast options

Cold Breakfast items

Juice and Cereal Stand

Eggs Florentine without the muffin

More of my breakfast choices


The lounge had a nice massage chair that Corbin and I both enjoyed. He tried it first and then enthusiastically said I must try it. Ten minutes later I did really refreshed and ready for my next mimosa.

Corbin enjoys the massage chair

The lounge was filling up as our departure time grew near. Finally they announced that the incoming aircraft was late and so we would be departing about thirty minutes late. We were meeting Terry’s parents at the Auckland airport who were flying in from California and arriving four hours before us. I hated to make them wait longer but I can’t make an A380 appear!

As we sat there, a Singapore Airlines A380 drove by and I managed to snap a picture. Flying in one of her suites is my next goal. Soon they will fly it to the West Coast of the US so I’ll have more opportunity.

A SQ A380 drives the lounge

Finally our aircraft landed and Corbin and I snuck out of the lounge to get our first glimpse of our bird of the day. Due to the way the gates were positioned we could really only see her nose but we still got excited!

Our EK A380 ready for boarding

Back in the lounge we waited patiently as the ground crew cleaned the plane and loaded our food and drinks. I’m not sure who was more excited about our upcoming shower, Corbin or me. I kept making silly comments like “Corbin you sure smell like a little boy. But there isn’t enough time to shower in the lounge. WHATEVER CAN WE DO?!?! WAIT!!! We can shower in-flight! Thank-you Emirates!” Terry’s eye rolling persisted throughout.
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Old Mar 19, 11, 11:21 pm
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Finally we were invited to board andthe lounge emptied out quickly. Unfortunately, they were checking passports so I had to stand in the economy queue while Corbin and Terry entered quickly through the premium queue. Once inside the jetway, Corbin and I bade adieu to Terry who made his way down the lower jetway as we entered the upper jetway to First and Business class.

We were greeted warmly at the door by several flight attendants and upon seeing our ticket the purser escorted us to our suites. I had only had the suites on the Airbus 340-500 before and the First Class on the A380 seemed to be similar. With six total passengers, the cabin was only half full. This ensured that the service would be top-notch.

We were offered a pre-flight beverage and I chose champers. It had been SEVERAL minutes since I last had any champagne. Corbin stuck to the fresh squeezed orange juice. I told a FA that both Corbin and I wanted to take a shower at last possible opportunity. She said that she would book both of us for one hour before landing. SWEET! Next she delivered a whole pamphlet about the shower experience including descriptions of all the toiletries. Two lines of products were available: REVIVE to wake you up and RELAX to bring you down.

The suite is a techno-geeks dream. Corbin quickly started pressing all the buttons to explore the power at his fingertips. He loved the built in mini-bar the best. He couldnt believe all the space around him.

Standing in front of the suites TV

A view of a suite from the outside

The First Class cabin

Dates and Arabic coffee came around next. The coffee was a bit weak but I finished my tiny cup. I figured that the caffeine would be a good balance for all the champers of the morning. Corbin liked his date, a taste I have never learned to love.

Next came our menus in a lovely leather folder. Corbin and I both enjoyed seeing our options for todays flight. While the meal would be fun, todays flight was all about the shower.

Once settled, its time to peruse the menu

Corbin and I next started to look over our entertainment options. Emirates ICE system is wonderful and I was pleased to find the Kings Speech. It had just swept the Oscars and I still hadnt seen it. My 23 LCD screen was big enough for me to enjoy the film.

I showed Corbin how to view the external tail camera and we watched our plane beautifully and quietly take off into the clouds. A month earlier we sat in about the same place on Qantas A380. Immediately, we were struck once again how quiet it is upstairs on the A380.

Our three hour flight would be aided today by tailwinds making it much shorter. We would even arrive early in spite of our late departure. Grandma and Grandpa would not be left waiting too long!

Overall I was very impressed with the in-flight service. As expected with a light load in First, we were well attended the entire time. The service was very typical of all my Emirates First Class flights. It is professional and formal but lacking in any personal conversation. Ive had more luck getting the crew to talk while standing in the galley over out in the cabin.

The meal service began immediately as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign was turned off. The large white table cloth covered the huge tray table. I was surprised when the meal was presented on a tray! Even for a shorter flight this seemed out of place for Emirates First Class. The breadbasket and drinks were offloaded from the tray but this seemed very businessclassy to me.

The croissant in my basket was warm, buttery and flakey. It was the best croissant I have ever tasted in the air. The bowl of fruit was beautifully presented and we both finished it off. For my main, I chose scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and Hollandaise sauce and Corbin decided on the plate of cheeses. He said he wasnt in the mood for a big breakfast. Mine was delicious and I easily cleaned my plate.

Corbin attacks his breakfast

Close up of Corbins breakfast

My breakfast sans the main dish

Fruit plate

Eggs with smoked salmon

Right after we were done with our meals, a FA came by to let us know that our showers were waiting. THIS IS THE MOMENT WE HAD BEEN WAITING FOR. When we got down to the shower area, I was impressed with the water fountain behind a beautiful floral arrangement. We met our attendants one for each of us that would be standing outside the door the entire time we were in the shower room in case we needed anything. This seemed a bit extravagant but I guess the whole thing is extravagant!

Water feature and flowers outside the showers

The attendant asked if this was my first time and proceeded to show all the features of the shower room. The sink was huge and had a big lit mirror perfect for putting on my make-up if I wore any. The toiletries selection was overwhelming but I managed to select some REVIVE products to get me clean.

View toward the sink and shower

Another view of the shower room

Many different products on offer

A flower on the towel

Pile owashcloths

More toiletries

The vanity area

Soon she left and locked the door and I was finally alone. I immediately started to giggle. I started to take off my clothes and couldnt believe that I was going to be entirely naked on a place for my first time ever. Then it dawned on me the REAL reason that each shower has an attendant: to prevent me inviting someone else to join the mile high club. There was enough room to invite four people in for a mile high fourgy or fivegy.

The super plush towel had a nice orchid place on top that gave the place a nice spa-like feeling. I wrapped the towel around me and made a brief video documenting this momentous moment.

You can view the Showering at 39,000 ft on YouTube. The following video is rated PG, Parental Guidance is suggested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9E-0HB_EiI The X-rated version is also available on Xtube. Just kidding. Dont even bother looking there. I teach math. And my students know how to use the Internet.

At last I walked in the shower and began my five minutes of bliss. A colored light indicator lets you know how far you are through your five minutes and then shuts off at one minute as a warning. From the time the water began to flow, I got the giggles again and then lasted for the whole five minutes. I just couldnt believe that I was showering on a plane.

I can only imagine how much it costs to haul all that water for the possible twelve passengers. I guess when youre paying tens of thousands of dollars for your ticket, Emirates doesnt mind moving some water around the world for you.

After my shower, I used the hair dryer to get me looking presentable again. I tried to use as many of the different products available but didnt get far. Im a guy with pretty simple needs. I was sad to be getting in my clothes and would have loved to return to my seat in a big, fluffy bathrobe.

When I opened the shower room door, the attendant told me that Corbin had already finished and was back at his seat. I went by and got him so we could go visit Dad downstairs. We descended the front staircase and unbuckled the cord that prevents economy class passengers from climbing upstairs. Terry was seated near the front and he looked surprisingly happy! He said the breakfast was very good and he was happy to have a free seat next to him. Corbin made him smell his hair which is our tradition after a shower so he can prove to us he actually used shampoo and just didnt let the water flow over his body.

Once back upstairs, Corbin and I decided to take a look at the bar area for First and Business Class passengers. It was empty except a bartender waiting to serve us. They also offered a variety of nibbly-bits for the hungry. On a long fifteen hour flight, Im sure the bar area is a welcome distraction.

Back up at our suites, I finished the Kings Speech and really enjoyed it. I was not familiar with any of the story and found it fascinating. I speak Spanish with a Castilian accent. This accent is unique because it has forced lisping. One of the kings had a lisp so he made everyone speak that way. Now hundreds of years later, Spaniards continue this tradition even though it sounds quite funny. Whats the deal with so many kings with speech issues?

Throughout the entire flight my bottomless glass of Dom was topped up faster than I could drink it. Im not a big champagne connoisseur but Dom has a lovely taste. I look forward to drinking more of it on the way back to Sydney at the end of the month.

Near the end of the flight, I requested a cappuccino. The FA served it to me in a to-go cup with the word CREW printed on the side. It was probably too late to serve it in a nice china cup so this was a great solution.

One nice perk that Emirates offers children is a Poloroid picture of them during the flight. Its kind of fun and obviously doesnt cost them much. The FA took two pictures and gave them to Corbin. His last Polaroid from Emirates lived on our refrigerator for over a year!

Once Corbin got back form this shower, he shut his suite doors and left them closed until we were preparing to land. This made me laugh seeing him pursue his privacy. Prince Corby hates to be bothered.

When he was two, we took a wonderful video of him in First Class on Cathay Pacific. He looked so tiny in that big seat. Most of the video is of him eating a chocolate truffle and then the flight attendant meticulously cleaning his hands and mouth. I set the whole video to Prince Ali from Disneys Aladdin and Prince Corby was born. One of these days Ill get the video on YouTube. Its priceless.

My close, personal friends Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte all took Emirates First Class on their improbable flight to Abu Dhabi from New York. They were very impressed with their surroundings for the long Hollywood flight over.

Corbin and I with noticeably less glamorous footwear equally enjoyed our seats. Obviously Emirates has a top notch product. The privacy afforded by an enclosed suite easily beats most airlines offerings. I have flown several times on Emirates mini-suite First Class seat and the real suite version with doors is vastly superior. I took a short nap after my movie ended but didnt bother to have them roll out the mattress that is available. The seat is comfortable for both sitting and sleeping.

With that said, I think the suite has a number of gimmicky features. The makeup mirror with additional toiletries seems silly but maybe better appreciated by a woman. The built in mini-bar is another gimmick. The drinks are all warm. Since it is First Class, I have no problem getting any drink I want at the press of a button. But maybe it works for bashful passengers.

Finally at the start of each flight, the flight attendant provides each passenger with a basket of snacks. Im not sure who their intended audience is but I cant imagine too many passengers flying First Class crave Pringles or Nutrigrain bars. They only item that is edible is the small bar of Toblerone. I think they need to rethink this snack basket with items more suited for adults.

Corbin with his suite doors closed

In the bed position after the great shower

We have the suites in the middle with the privacy barrier down

Prior to arrival, we filled out the arrival cards for New Zealand. They were equally concerned about the importation of food products and other banned items as Australia. We also received Fast Track passes to get through immigration.

Once we landed and were waiting by the door, the Purser asked Corbin how he liked his shower. Corbin said that it was lots of fun. The Purser added that Corbin now has a great story to tell his friends. Corbin just smiled. Hes just not the kind of person to even bring that up unless asked. Me on the other hand, Ill have no trouble slipping it into conversations!

I posted the Showering at 39,000 ft on my Facebook page and got lots of comments from my friends. Most didnt even know that showering was ever a possibility when flying.

We met up with Terry almost immediately after deplaning because he was seated in the front downstairs. Passport control was a breeze but I did mention that Corbin and I both had rock climbing shoes that I had cleaned. This got us a red circle on our forms that meant we would have to show an agent our shoes.

The Priority First tags on the bags worked wonderfully and our bags were the first to exit. The secondary screening was simple once he saw that I had cleaned the shoes very well.

As we exited the customs hall, we saw Grandma and Grandpas smiling faces for the first time in seven months. Grandma had made a cute sign welcoming the Haley Boys to New Zealand. Corbin ran up to them and gave them huge hugs. He has missed them so much over the past two and a half years that weve been living abroad.

After anticipating this flight for many months, I can say that it lived up to all our expectations. Taking a shower on a three hour flight doesnt make that much sense but for two travel geeks, it was a wonderful experience. I look forward to showering at the end of a fifteen hour flight some day when it will feel even better.

Emirates has a strong lounge system worldwide and excellent in-flight service to match their leading hard products. At the end of the month, were back on Emirates in First Class this time for a dinner service.

Previous reports in this year of travel:
My Sons Fifth Grade Year, 97,737 miles, 40 flights, 6 continents, 16 countries
FLIGHT#28: QF32 A380 Biz Class & QF/CX SIN Lounges with photos
FLIGHT#27: Five OW Lounges & JL 719 NRT-SIN Biz Class with photos
FLIGHT#23: BKK CX/QF/BA Lounges CX751 BKK-DEL Biz Class with photos
FLIGHT#26: Delhi Green Lounge & JL 740 Business Class with photos
FLIGHT#22: SGN International Sasco Lounge & TG 551 Business Class with photos
FLIGHT#20: SGN Dom Sasco Lounge, VN452 SGN-NHA Biz Class and Sheraton Nha Trang
FLIGHT#19: BKK Royal First Lounge & LH772 BKK-SGN in First Class with photos
FLIGHT#18: TG242 KBV-BKK in Biz Class with photos
FLIGHT#17: TG245 BKK-KVG in Biz Class with Photos
FLIGHT#16: THE CABIN & CX751 HKG-BKK in Biz Class with photos
FLIGHT#15: CX748 JNB-HKG Biz Class with photos
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Last edited by olafman; Mar 19, 11 at 11:30 pm
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Old Mar 19, 11, 11:24 pm
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Very cool stuff. Thanks! ^
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Old Mar 19, 11, 11:31 pm
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Wow! What a brilliant TR!!!!^^^^ I'm glad you had a great trip. I'm glad that you are so enjoying the shower on 39,000 feets. I can see your small Nikon camera and it was so incredible! I am never hear the shower during in mid-flight. You looks so good! I can't wait to see your next TR for your returns back home. Looking forward to it.
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Old Mar 20, 11, 12:14 am
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Hard to believe, water feature and palms in a plane
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Old Mar 20, 11, 12:50 am
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I wish I was your son!! I am still 22...so I can still be counted as a kid, right?

Seriously though, what a great memory for him to cherish and it looks like a lot of fun flying IN STYLE! I hope I have enough money/miles on day to go on a similar journey.
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Old Mar 20, 11, 2:54 am
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I really enjoy reading your trip reports, although this might be the first one Ive ever commented on.

Totally appreciate the effort you put into these, your descriptions make it all seem very real. As if Im there.

As much fun as it was to read this I kinda felt sorry for the unfortunate bloke you left downstairs. Poor Terry!
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Old Mar 20, 11, 3:04 am
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Great report Olafman.

The shower is a beaut and believe me, it is a really nice facility to have if you're going all the way from Dxb-Akl!

Just one question - the water feature looks (to me) a bit like the First Class bar but with no bottles set out - is that the case? (This bar is usually just outside the shower entrances at the top of the stairs?)
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Old Mar 20, 11, 3:23 am
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Originally Posted by olafman View Post
I can only imagine how much it costs to haul all that water for the possible twelve passengers. I guess when youre paying tens of thousands of dollars for your ticket, Emirates doesnt mind moving some water around the world for you.
'Tis ok.... the runoff is recycled and fed to us passengers in the back of the bus

Nice trip report!
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Old Mar 20, 11, 3:39 am
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Another great report olafman!

Like you, I also have the Emirates A380 shower experience on my list and was thinking of doing exactly the same flight that you did. My only fear is that with a 3 hour flight time, it isn't really enough time to take in the full experience.

Have fun in NZ.
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Old Mar 20, 11, 5:53 am
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Math teacher's son's 'homework'...

Fantastic TR as usual!

So what educational value has Corbin gotten out of this extraordinary experience then?

Profit margin for EK from each paying F pax?
Cost (e.g. flower arrangement and extra shower water and bottomless Dom) for F pax vs. that of Y pax?

The possibilities are endless!
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Old Mar 20, 11, 7:19 am
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Fantastic trip report! May thanks!
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Old Mar 20, 11, 8:25 am
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Thanks for sharing! Corbin is very lucky to have such cool parents.
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Old Mar 20, 11, 12:18 pm
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Another impressive and inspiring trip report, olafman ^

I'm tempted to do the EK A380 in F HKG-BKK-HKG when I'm in HKG next week...
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Old Mar 20, 11, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by olafman View Post
You can view the Showering at 39,000 ft on YouTube. The following video is rated PG, Parental Guidance is suggested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9E-0HB_EiI The X-rated version is also available on Xtube. Just kidding. Dont even bother looking there. I teach math. And my students know how to use the Internet.
lol, that's funny, you can just show from the neck down without your face, that's how some people post vids on xtube ! However, your youtube one is definately "as I expected".

I totally admire your trip report, as there are very few really would call themselves as gay or gay couple or even showing the face, rather than just refer as partner. As "out" as I am, I would only write "the cute/good looking male FA" to give a hint, and people see I am a guy from my trip reports that I wrote.

P.S. Actually from your tiltle of the thread, my first thought was "finally get to see you naked !"

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Mar 20, 11 at 2:38 pm
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