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