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Emirates A380 Business Class Review: Dubai to London

This is a review of Emirates business class on a refurbished A380 aircraft.

 

Since 2021, Emirates has embarked on a major refurbishment programme to revitalise its long-haul fleet. This project targets both its iconic A380s (22 out of 110 completed so far) and Boeing 777s, with the first revamped 777 expected to take flight this summer. For the A380, Emirates has retained the existing 1-2-1 seating configuration but updated it with new finishes, fabrics, and technology.

Thinking of a business-class experience on a refurbished A380 from Dubai to London? This is what you can expect:

Emirates App and Seat Selection

The Emirates digital experience is impressive, and the 3D seat cabin renders allow you to pick your desired seat. You can preview the menu and wine list on your flight and even pre-order your main course, which is a nice touch.

The Emirates Chauffeur Service

Emirates stands out as one of the few airlines offering a complimentary chauffeur service for premium passengers. This perk is available for First and Business Class travellers with bookings in Saver, Flex, or Flex Plus fare categories.

This chauffeur service applies at both ends of your journey, including getting to your departure airport as well as on arrival. However, the chauffeur drive services are not available if you have booked a Basic Business Class fare. Redemption tickets are also excluded, sadly.

While Emirates’ complimentary chauffeur service is a fantastic perk, there are a few things to keep in mind. In London, the service has a maximum distance of 70 miles (though you can extend it for a fee). In Dubai, you can enjoy unlimited chauffeuring within the United Arab Emirates.

Also read: Premier Class: Inside Emirates’ Boeing 777

Rhys Jones, one of the UK’s leading aviation writers, wrote in his Dubai to London flight review on the Emirates chauffeur service, “My driver arrived approximately 10 minutes before my scheduled booking. As I was ready early, I headed straight down. Business class customers get a BMW 5 Series Touring car; the inside was smart with tan leather seats. There were two USB-C charging points.”

Business Class Check-In at Dubai

Your chauffeur automatically drops you off in the designated first class/business class drop-off area of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, which is used exclusively by Emirates.

While the chauffeur service itself is a great benefit, it is worth noting that the drop-off area at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 is not as grand as those offered by some competitors like Turkish Airlines in Istanbul or Qatar Airways in Doha. The transition to the flight might not feel quite as exclusive with Emirates. There is very little to mark this out as a premium departure experience. It feels just like the rest of the terminal.

Onboard A380 Business Class

Stepping into the Business Class cabin on Emirates’ refurbished A380 is an experience in itself. The sheer size is undeniable, with a whopping 76 seats spread across the upper deck behind First Class. Divided into a large forward cabin (14 rows) and a smaller rear section (4 rows), the vastness can create a slightly impersonal, almost dormitory-like, and crowded atmosphere.

Also, the refurbished A380 business class retains the old cabin staggered 1-2-1 layout, with seats alternating between aisle side and window/internal side.

While the Business Class seat layout remains the same, it has received a makeover. The previous burl walnut and gold accents have been swapped for a more classic high-gloss walnut veneer and cream leather. This new design, while undeniably Emirates in style, feels a touch less modern compared to the airline’s recently unveiled Premium Economy seats.

Your Space

There are also some unique features, including the large hand-held tablet that you can use to control all the functions of your seat or watch films and TV on. Tucked behind the seat is a handy storage shelf that keeps essentials close at hand. Below, a well-stocked mini-bar includes Evian and Perrier water, plus soft drinks for refreshment. Personal amenities include a reading light, power outlets, USB ports for charging, and even an HDMI port for added entertainment options. A dedicated remote with a screen completes the in-seat technology package.

The sizeable tray table folds out from the console, but its tucked-away design might create some awkward shuffling during meal service. Overhead vents provide customisable airflow, while a large 18-inch HD screen keeps you entertained. Also, the footrest—deep but not particularly tall—adds comfort during your flight.

Business Class Amenities

There are five business class lavatories on board: four at the rear and one at the front of the cabin. Two of the rear lavatories feature windows. Surprisingly, they also have cloth hand towels and fresh orchids. There are Voya toiletries for both men and women. Dental kits and Voya-branded hand creams are also available in the bathrooms.

While some airlines are ditching single-use plastics, Emirates lags behind a bit here. Business Class amenities include a pillow and plastic-wrapped blanket, along with headphones in a plastic bag. However, for both short and long journeys, you’ll receive slippers and an eye mask in a fabric pouch.

A380 Onboard Bar and Business Class Dining and Service

Champagne, orange juice, or a mocktail made of hibiscus tea, grape juice, and ginger are served as pre-departure drinks. The airline is renowned for its vast wine cellar. Lunch follows, and for the main course, there are more than two options.

Emirates Chauffeur Drive at Heathrow Airport

Due to the sheer volume of passengers, Emirates operates a dedicated pick-up zone for Chauffeur Drive customers. You simply head to the desk on the side to register yourself and then head outside. After a few minutes, your name will be called by one of the Addison Lee drivers.

Conclusion

Despite a few shortcomings, the Emirates A380 Business Class experience is quite enjoyable. The iconic upper deck and impressive bar (though underutilised for solo flyers) offered undeniable charm. While the updated cabin lacked privacy due to the missing seat door, the modernised finishes impressed. The absence of a proper amenity kit on shorter flights felt stingy compared to competitors. However, the biggest hurdle is the incredibly slow food service, taking a staggering four hours to complete the main meal. Thankfully, the fantastic crew saves the day, always attentive and friendly, making the overall experience positive.

Haleed Nurudeen

Nurudeen Haleed Olamilekan is a graduate from the Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife where he got awarded LLb Law. A cheerful team member who is passionate about human rights and believes that societal problems can be solved by the selfless service of all members of the community. Vast in policy formulation and implementation. Has spectacular leadership skills. Experienced Public Relations Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the legal services industry. His area of expertise includes youth activism, politics and management, proposal writing, articles and publications writing, legislative monitoring and youth advocacy. He is an avid reader,… More »

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