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Flying Business Class with Kids – An Honest Review
30 March 2023 |  Travel News
I was apprehensive when I had the opportunity to fly business class with Emirates to Dubai. I know, first-world problems. Poor me! But traveling with two children (3yrs and 18 months) made me anxious, and I knew there could be some glares from other passengers expecting a peaceful experience.
But we decided that since we had the opportunity, you won’t say no, right?!
Here is my review of traveling with two young children in Emirates A380 Business Class.
Emirates includes a complimentary chauffeur pick-up (up to 70 miles from the departure airport). I’m based in Reigate, near Gatwick, but the chauffeur made life much easier. As there were 4 of us, I needed to call Emirates to arrange a larger vehicle. All sorted within 15 minutes.
Our UK and Dubai drivers were excellent and friendly with the children, making us feel relaxed and supported. Shoutout to our pick-up in Gatwick on the return leg, which allowed us time to grab milk and bread from M and S before heading home! A lifesaver.
The dedicated check-in for Business Class meant I only had to queue/juggle our luggage/pram/kitchen sink for a short time. It took less than 10 minutes for our passports to be checked and boarding passes issued.
Airports have calmed down (slightly) since the summer carnage, but the bonus of fast-track security helped us avoid an early morning screaming session. Anyone that has traveled with young children will appreciate Security can quickly become a meltdown city! Mya, our eldest, didn’t take too kindly to her bunny going through the scanners, but the staff was great, and the process didn’t take too long. Phew.
It was time to visit the Emirates lounge. Despite the lure of complimentary champagne, our goal was to tire the girls before the flight. I swapped Veuve Clicquot for hide-and-seek. The lounge was relatively quiet, which made us feel more relaxed; we found a quiet corner, counted to 3, and proceeded to commence operation’ exhaust the girls.’
As the lounge started to fill up, we decided to head downstairs to the kid’s play area, saving other travelers from the excited screams of kids. The play area in Gatwick serves its purpose well. A small pirate ship, various games for them to play, and other children to run around with helped tire the kids before the flight.
It was now time to board the A380. The moment we stepped on board and saw our seats, all of us were amazed—and relieved! The extra legroom was incredible; no more kicking the seat in front or climbing up on the seat.
The cabin crew brought around age-appropriate activity packs and made the children feel welcome. Plus, the built-in entertainment system kept them occupied for most of the flight (so much better than having to bring books!).
I won’t pretend they were angels for the whole flight; the last couple of hours, in particular, were tricky as all they wanted to do was get off. We got there despite a few tantrums and countless episodes of ‘In The Night Garden’ and ‘Encanto’ on repeat.
My wife and I weren’t under any illusion that we’d get to relax on the flight, which was vital. You’ll be shocked if you imagine laying back, watching movies, and drinking champagne.
Top Tip: Please remember to pre-book a children’s meal if your infant is eating solids. An infant ticket will automatically receive a pureed meal if not selected before departure.
Our girls enjoyed their mac-and-cheese, puddings, and snacks during the flight. So much so that our youngest even managed to get a short nap. Winning!
The onboard bar was an added benefit of flying Business Class on the A380. The onboard bar with Emirates on an A380 offers a wide selection of refreshments and snacks, plus room to walk around, play stickers, and provides a change of scenery.
Arrival into Dubai
Landing can be tricky with children, and the pressure on their ears can cause discomfort, and waiting around to depart the aircraft can cause impatience. Maybe the latter is just me!
I don’t know if it was a fluke or whether the comfortable seats helped, but the pressure didn’t affect the kids. Phew.
Business Class passengers get priority for leaving the plane, and as we took our pram onboard, leaving the plane was pretty stress-free, even after 7hrs of flying.
I paid extra for the Marhaba meet and greet service in Dubai. The family package includes a porter to assist with luggage at the baggage reclaim, fast-track through immigration, and an escort to the car pick-up. The Marhaba service is separate from Emirates Business Class, but I’d highly recommend it! We saved 30 minutes at immigration, and the help with baggage reclaim meant we could play with the girls without worrying about missing our luggage.
The porter from Marhaba services walked us to the Emirates pick-up location, arranged the car seats, and waved us on our way. As before, the driver was friendly and great with the kids.
The drive to our hotel took around 40 minutes, which is pretty good for Dubai. The pleasant journey offered additional room/comfort, making life much easier.
The opportunity to fly business class was terrific and certainly provided our family with a much better flying experience. As great as the seats were, all the additional perks, such as chauffeur pick-up, lounge, priority boarding, etc., helped.
Business Class isn’t a magic wand that will turn your trip into an experience; you’ll be busy the whole time. Changing channels, getting snacks, and playing games with the kids are part of the journey. My wife and I came off the flight exhausted but in a good way.
Please don’t be discouraged by flying business class because of other passengers’ thoughts. The reality is that 95% of passengers had headphones in and didn’t even hear the occasional tantrum. There were undoubtedly more disruptive passengers on board!