Review: Emirates Airbus A380 inflight cocktail bar and lounge

Review: Emirates Airbus A380 inflight cocktail bar and lounge

When you're flying in business class or even first class aboard Emirates' flagship Airbus A380s, your ticket buys more than just a seat – you can also head to the inflight cocktail bar and lounge to unwind in between movies or to relax as you journey home from a productive business trip.

It's equally great for solo travellers looking to socialise as it is for small groups of colleagues sneaking in one last drink before returning to the office, and provides space for passengers to both stand and sit.

You'll find the bar and lounge area behind business class at the rear of the A380's upper deck – and with all business class restrooms located even further back, it's impossible to miss no matter where you sit.

Unlike the self-serve or on-call service in Qantas' A380 lounge area or competitor Virgin Australia's Boeing 777 Sky Bar, Emirates' bar is staffed throughout the flight with crew members mixing up cocktails and serving Champagne...

... even in the middle of the night while most other passengers are asleep.

You'll find Moët & Chandon NV Champagne behind the bar along with a range of spirits including those on the more premium side such as Chivas Regal 18yr Scotch Whisky and Grey Goose Vodka...

... plus your standard liqueurs. We also spotted Hennessy XO Cognac on our flights which retails for around $200/bottle – not a bad nip for business class passengers!

But if it's a cocktail you seek, the staff are well-trained: we ordered up a Mojito which tasted just as you'd expect on the ground.

(And yes, they have fresh mint on board.)

You'll find seating areas on both sides of the bar. On older A380s, be sure to duck as you stand to avoid the overhead lockers...

... while on newer birds it isn't a problem:

A little trivia: We're told that the overhead lockers were installed here on earlier aircraft in case the inflight bar concept proved unpopular.

That would allow Emirates to easily nix the idea and install more business class seating here without totally revamping the aircraft – yet as the bar became a proven hit, future A380s were delivered sans lockers to make the area feel more spacious.

But if you've been sitting for hours on end, it's always nice to stand and stretch your legs. Excluding flights across the Tasman, Emirates attaches a shelf across the adjacent exit doors to allow for this, which also doubles to make room for more travellers during busy times.

(These are fitted only after take-off and are removed again before landing.)

Feeling peckish? You'll find snacks such as fresh fruit, sandwiches and rolls at the rear of the bar...

... often joined by dessert-like sweets and nibbles in front of a screen showing where in the world you're currently enjoying your cocktail.

You can also order other hot snacks straight to your seat in the lounge such as pies, empanadas and prawns:

Flying high in first class? Let the crew know you'll be heading back to the bar and they'll send a bottle of your preferred drop aft – a great option for Champagne aficionados who are happy to mingle but while sipping their 2004 Dom Pérignon.

That said, it's a bit of a walk from the front to the rear of the aircraft, so there's also a smaller bar area ahead of Row 1 exclusively for first class passengers.

You won't find any additional seating here, but you can mix your own drinks if you so desire or can call on a crew member do it for you.

All that's missing from the experience are power points in the lounge area, which would allow you to surf the Internet on your tablet even after its battery has been depleted.

But even so, when our only complaint is having to charge your gadgets at your seat before enjoying the free Wi-Fi, it's safe to say that Emirates has forever raised the bar for business class travel.

You can experience the inflight bar and lounge for yourself aboard Emirates' A380s from Auckland to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, non-stop from those cities and also Perth to Dubai and then onwards to over 30 other destinations including London, Paris, New York and Milan.

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Dubai as a guest of Emirates.

Also read:

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Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

10 comments

  • gumshoe

    gumshoe

    5 Jun, 2015 09:39 am

    Have spent many an hour there, its a fantastic idea, met lots of interestng people too, pitty more airlines dont take it up.

    No member give thanks

  • Ross

    Ross

    5 Jun, 2015 06:38 pm

    Ditto having spent time there and met interesting people. I rather like the irony that it is the M3 who have made the walk-up bar their own.

    No member give thanks

  • Peter  Rutten

    prutten82

    5 Jun, 2015 11:02 am

    Is it just me or is Emirates just becoming another Pan Am ?

    No member give thanks

  • gumshoe

    gumshoe

    5 Jun, 2015 11:51 am

    No Pan Am is just EH being gaudy inside, but the bar is excellent.

    No member give thanks

  • Brian Williams

    evilbrian

    5 Jun, 2015 12:02 pm

    Yep - this is the feature that takes EK Business to a level above most others as far as I'm concerned. Like @gumshoe, I've spent many an enjoyable hour there.

    No member give thanks

  • Phil Young

    Phil Young

    5 Jun, 2015 09:52 pm

    It's a pity that the QF A380 has only the miserable lounge area for F & J pax.  The bench seat is seriously uncomforable, and there's not even a cushion available to relax against.  It's a waste of space.  Yet right beside it is a stairway between the two levels that is excessively wide for the few pax that ever use it.  And on the other side is a office, presumably for the CSM.  I see the opportunity for a serious re-design of this area.

    No member give thanks

  • flatout

    flatout

    6 Jun, 2015 01:13 pm

    The Qatar A380 bar is a bit bigger and serves Krug to J pax, not that there were many takers.

    No member give thanks

  • Flavio

    Flavio

    8 Jun, 2015 07:23 pm

    They ran out of Moet one time coming back from AKL and kindly pooped up to First and bought back some bottles of Dom

    No member give thanks

  • W

    W

    9 Jun, 2015 12:26 am

    The A380 bar is by far the best reason to fly Emirates business class and as others have mentioned really differentiates them from the competition.  The quality of the crew that staffs the bar really puts it over the top for me - they sincerely make you feel they enjoy their job.  They are also extremely friendly and sociable, and are adept at introducing fellow travellers to one another.  It really makes a 14 hour trip seem much shorter.

    No member give thanks

  • sgb

    sgb

    15 Dec, 2015 11:19 am

    Have done a few Business class flights and the A380 bar is fantastic, on my first flight the staff put me behind the bar and took my picture with a Poloroid camera, and put the picture in a lovely Emirates cardboard frame and wrote the flight number and date and drew smiley faces, when I show that to friends they are all very envious. BTW, on my first visit to the bar I noticed little dishes of snacks, when I asked could I take a few olives, I was told to take the entire plate, Gee... these days I just take the entire bowl and my refreshed drink and have it there or back at 9A. The quality of staff really make the Business Class difference.

    No member give thanks

Guest

16 Jul, 2019 04:43 pm

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