Reviews

Review: Emirates Airbus A380 first class 'shower spa'

It's been 11 years since Emirates debuted its A380 shower spa, but there's still something special about showering in the sky.

By Chris Chamberlin, September 10 2019
Emirates Airbus A380 first class 'shower spa'
Aircraft Type

Airbus A380-800

Airline

Emirates

Cabin Class

First

Notes
The Good
  • It's a shower, at 40,000 feet
The Bad
  • You get just five minutes of running water, so use it wisely
The Unexpected
  • There's a heated floor, and you can even control the temperature

Introduction

It's not often that a cabin crew member will stop by your seat and ask, "what time would you like to shower?", but in first class on the Emirates Airbus A380, it's nothing short of expected.

With two shower spas on every A380 first class flight, passengers can make the most of the Emirates first class lounge if transiting in Dubai; arrive at their destination ready to tackle the busy business day ahead; or return home to loved ones without rushing to revive.

Emirates shower spa: where and when it's available

You'll find these 'shower spas' on every Emirates Airbus A380 first class flight, including the longest legs from the likes of Australia, New Zealand and the United States to Dubai, through to shorter flights such as Dubai to Europe, and even Sydney-Christchurch.

However, the shower is exclusive to first class on the A380: they aren't available on Emirates Boeing 777 flights, or indeed, on two-class Emirates Airbus A380 services which don't have a first class cabin.

Unlike regular aircraft restrooms, the shower spas are accessed by appointment: before take-off or shortly thereafter, a member of the cabin crew will stop by your seat to confirm your preferred time.

Many passengers choose to shower as close to landing as possible, although those wanting to maximise sleep on long overnight flights might instead opt to visit the spa after dinner, before turning in.

On these flights, Emirates brings along up to two additional crew members, devoted solely to cleaning and maintaining the spas so that first class passengers aren't kept waiting.

When it's your turn to shower, expect to be escorted to your assigned spa, and if it's your first time, the crew will provide an overview.

Emirates shower spa: step inside

Welcome to your private shower spa at 40,000 feet!

Lock the door, take your shoes (or slippers) off, and the first thing you'll notice is that there's a heated floor:

You can control the temperature of the floor via a control panel to the side. As the room itself can get quite cold because of the air conditioning, cranking the dial right up to '9' helps to warm the room for after your shower, while a mid-level setting like '4' or '5' is more comfortable when standing on the floor itself.

Moving around the room, you'll spot a print of the Dubai skyline, impossible to miss above your towel:

In front of that, a sink with large make-up mirror aside a separate shaving mirror, with a power outlet for razors. Remember, this room isn't merely a shower: instead, more of a flying hotel bathroom.

You'll find a sea of amenities at your disposal, for before, during and after your shower:

Beyond that, the spa provides full-length mirrors, hanging space for your outfit, and even a TV screen displaying the 'moving map', if you're curious as to which country you'll be showering over.

Emirates shower spa: the shower

Ready to shower? You're all set!

Every passenger gets five minutes of running water, and there's a gauge in the shower itself so you can keep track. Fortunately, you can pause the water flow when it's not needed, such as while you're conditioning, to make the most of those five minutes.

The water will stop when you have just one minute remaining as a reminder, from which you press the same 'start' button to enjoy those final 60 seconds. In all cases, the water was nice and hot within a mere second of beginning the flow.

Emirates crews have the ability to extend the total shower running time beyond five minutes, but it's not routine and not to be expected, particularly on full flights where both time and water are limited.

Also, while the floor may appear slippery in pictures it's actually a non-slip surface – so even with mild turbulence, you shouldn't have any problems.

Emirates shower spa: what happens when the seatbelt sign comes on?

While the room may resemble a high-end hotel, you're still on a plane, which means that pesky seatbelt sign may come on at any time.

That's why the shower also features a seat, and a grab rail: so if that light does illuminate, you can sit down and hold on, until things get a little smoother.

Just for emergencies, there's a cabin crew call bell in the shower itself, as well as an oxygen mask warning light.

As the shower cubicle has an exhaust fan on its roof, there's no space for an oxygen mask: so if oxygen is needed, you'll need to quickly return to the 'main' part of the spa, where a mask will drop down: but here's hoping you never have to worry about that!

After your shower, there's a hairdryer tucked away inside a panel, just below the 'moving map' screen.

Ultimately, at the end of a long journey, there’s nothing quite like arriving well-rested, relaxed and showered for the day ahead!

Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of Emirates.

Also read: Etihad Airbus A380 first class 'shower suite' review

ChrisCh
ChrisCh

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive 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!

Phil Young

Phil Young

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 260

Even if you don't feel like a shower, being in First gives you access to the shower room just to use the toilet and washbasin. It's such a huge bathroom for an aircraft, making it a pleasure to use whatever the purpose.

tommackay

tommackay

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Oct 2015

Total posts 3

Looking forward to my first flights in EK A380 First Class out of Prague to Singapore via Dubai in November. Might even have a shower on both legs!

Is there shower suites in the First Class lounge in Dubai?

eminere

eminere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1127

Yes of course. But the showers in the lounge are nowhere near as fancy as those on the plane (ironically).

Phil Young

Phil Young

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 260

The showers in the First Lounge at Dubai can be very busy, so that needs to be your first priority. There is usually a queue and they'll log your details.

lafleche

lafleche

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 27

Thanks Chris. I've got 6 flights in F with EK coming up in the next couple of months. Four on the A380 and 2 in the new F on the 777.

I've always joked with friends that, with my luck, I'll be in the shower when turbulence hits so I much appreciated that you covered that aspect of it!

born2fish

born2fish

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 50

I have encountered heavy turbulence when in the shower suite twice before - both times the return to seat light illuminated. Once I just sat down in the shower and held on and no probs from the cabin crew, but on another flight was more severe and I was not in the actual shower itself and the cabin crew called out and asked me to return to my seat. Not sure what the policy is with staying inside the shower suite, and whether them noticing the water actually running (i.e. you are in the shower) makes a difference to them requesting you to return to your normal seat. Holding a J**us bar (A**ah bar) without a lap belt won't be enough to stop you hitting the roof in severe turbulence anyway.

tommygun

tommygun

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 82

Disappointing QF didn't take the opportunity to put in at least one F shower during a380 refit.

AnthonySyudney

AnthonySyudney

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Oct 2016

Total posts 4

I love showering on the A380.

Only problem now is that even though you have booked a flight on A380, Emirates are known for swapping this for the B 777 at the last minute.

I have been caught out on three occasions.

I find the A380 more comfortable than B777

521303

521303

03 Jan 2012

Total posts 83

Absolutely the best thing about flying Emirates by a Country Mile*.

*Apart from the self-serve bottle of The Dalmore King Alexander III Scotch and the Hennessy Paradis Cognac!

AfricaTraveller

AfricaTraveller

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

20 Jan 2018

Total posts 32

Sadly the Hennessy Paradis is no longer on the spirit list. I haven't seen it on several flights recently. I'm told it has been replaced with a lesser offering

ChrisCh

ChrisCh

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2925

It was on all of my flights earlier this month, although like the other most expensive bottles on the list, it's just no longer displayed at the bar at the front of first class. Could vary from flight to flight, of course.

qldtraveller

qldtraveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Sep 2011

Total posts 6

Had an interesting experience from Barcelona to HK via Dubai. We missed out on a shower in the Barcelona Emirates Lounge before our flight due to overcrowding. Then we boarded and were told of a 90 minute delay to our 10pm take off. In chatting with the flight attendants we told them of the lounge situation and they graciously allowed my wife and I to shower our 2 year old daughter whilst we were on the ground. They gave us 15 minutes water time.

BevanMcBevan

BevanMcBevan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 124

Well Done Chris. Having used the EK & EY Showers I do enjoy the space on the EK, enough to swing a cat. It's a nice way to finish the flight feeling fresh and looking sharp. It is, though, a luxury I think we won't see much of in the future (SQ, QF, etc). Cheers!

AfricaTraveller

AfricaTraveller

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

20 Jan 2018

Total posts 32

I have literally got home after the EK408 flight to Melbourne. Usually I don't have a shower on board, but I was returning from Ethiopia where I had been 12 days without the opportunity to wash. The F lounge showers uncommonly had queues, so I took the earliest possible shower slot on board. It was total heaven and I used all of the five minutes to get myself clean again.


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