I went inside an exclusive first class spa onboard an Emirates Airbus A380 and saw why wealthy travelers pay a small fortune to live well at 35,000 feet

The overhauled Airbus A380 from Emirates at the Dubai Airshow 2021. Thomas Pallini / Insider
Emirates is known for its luxurious flight experiences, especially in its premium cabins.
The Airbus A380, in particular, offers amenities that cannot be found in any other Emirates aircraft.
First-class flyers have access to two shower spas with walk-in showers, wood-laminate toilets, and Bulgari products.
Emirates First Class is widely recognized as one of the best flying experiences in the world, and nowhere is the experience more glamorous than on the Airbus A380.
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Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
The largest passenger jet in the world has 14 first-class suites on the upper deck of the aircraft, quietly hidden from the economy class cabin below and the spacious business class cabin with 76 seats behind it.
The first-class cabin of an Emirates Airbus A380
A true five-star hotel in the sky, travelers are not in the mood for Dom Pérignon champagne or even caviar. Meals are even served on demand in first class, while other cabins have fixed meal times.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
And for all of this luxury there is a small fortune to be paid for. "We like to say that JFK-Dubai is the price of a small car in first class," an Emirates cabin operator told Insider.
The first-class cabin of an Emirates Airbus A380 at the Pfaffenbach / Reuters quay
Exclusively for the Emirates A380 First Class there are two spas where passengers can take a hot shower during the flight. So they are inside at 35,000 feet.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
I was traveling with Emirates from New York to Dubai for the Dubai Airshow when the cabin crew asked if I would like to see the First Class Spa. As an economy class traveler on this flight, I couldn't turn down the opportunity to fly onto the upper deck of the A380.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
The top floor is reserved exclusively for seats in Business Class and First Class, while the lower level is reserved exclusively for Economy Class of the A380 with three cabins.
The overhauled Airbus A380 from Emirates at the Dubai Airshow 2021. Thomas Pallini / Insider
I was shown to the front of the aircraft where the main stairs lead straight to the first class cabin.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
Discretion on this first class visit was paramount as VIP passengers traveled in the cabin. We climbed the stairs and found the two shower rooms upstairs.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
The location of the two spas is not so secret, but clearly marked. However, access is very restrictive as first class passengers also pay for privacy.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
Inside was a room that probably fit two of Emirates' first-class suites, all lined with laminate wood paneling.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
Aside from the galleys, this is probably one of the largest spaces available on the plane.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
The shower room is basically a master bathroom in an apartment, complete with a sink and vanity with multiple mirrors in the room.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
Above is a mural of a futuristic urban landscape of Dubai with the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, in all its glory.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
Visitors can hang up their clothes in the designated hangar or fold them up and place them on the padded bench.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
At the heart of the spa, however, is the walk-in shower, which is incredibly rare on an airliner and only available on the A380.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
The shower can be found in any home, complete with a detachable hose that carries hot and cold water.
Fly from New York to Dubai on an Emirates A380.Thomas Pallini / Insider
Something as simple as showering can vastly improve the traveler's overall wellbeing while driving. The flight from New York to Dubai, for example, takes 12 hours and business travelers can fly straight from the plane to business meetings in the city.
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