The Playbook For The Modern Man

15 Hours In The Worst Seat On Emirates’ A380 Business Class

Didn’t think it was possible to get a bad seat in business class? Think again.

With only a month to renew my Qantas platinum membership, I decided to fly a QF Emirates flight to France with a client. Pure genius. You get a Dubai stopover, the Emirates business class 1-2-1 layout and all the status credits you can eat. It’s a win/win — or so I thought.

A week prior to the trip I tried to allocate my seats. Turns out I couldn’t as the flight was full. What happens in these situations is you’re automatically allocated a seat regardless of your status.

Arriving at the check-in counter I knew I could work some charm on the person checking me in. I immediately ask if there are any window seats. The woman looks at me as if she’s about to break the news that she has run over my dog.

“I’m sorry, but your seat has already been allocated and it’s probably the worst seat on the aircraft.”

Her look of sorrow continued as I wracked my brain as to which was actually the worst seat on Emirates’ A380 business class. The worst seat(s), as I discovered, are the middle two, at the very back, right next to the Emirates Sky Bar.

In other words: the place where holidaymakers can relax, chat and enjoy a drink or ten. The problem here is it’s 15 hours of non-stop service, talking and toilet hovering for the poor sods in 26D and 26E. I was one of those sods. Regardless I sucked it up and sat in my seat like a good little princess.


The Sky Bar, as seen from seat 26E.

Anyhow, after dinner service — and just as people began to sleep — a certain Australian television personality and his partner decided to saddle up at the bar. Maybe they were going on holiday, maybe a work trip, but these guys lit up the back of the plane for hours. Many many hours.


Martinis, stories, laughter, yelling — they did it all. It was a scene out of Wolf of Wall Street. Meanwhile, my earplugs and Bose noise cancelling headphones did nothing to drown out the party for two. Not even a sleeping tablet was bringing this party to an end.

Upon landing in Dubai I caught a glimpse of my nemeses. The two of them looked like they had been chewed up and spat out of the plane’s engines — a cautionary tale for anyone considering taking on David Boon’s record for martinis across the Indian Ocean.

Besides being a warning to Business Boozers and travellers-who-check-in-late, this story also contains a few important lessons about booking your next Emirates business class ticket. Namely — book early, and — if you can — choose a K or an A seat, which are more tucked away, and — no matter which letter seat you choose, make sure it’s not one of the two that look into the Sky Bar (26D & 26E).

This experience also revealed to us that even though there is a codeshare between Qantas and Emirates, unless you are also a member of Emirates’ Skywards program, Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyers — while they get access to the lounge like their One World cousins — should expect no special treatment (let alone an upgrade) when it comes to last-minute seat allocation.

While we discovered this in the awkward realisation that no matter how much charm we turned on, we were going to be unable to switch seats (as well as observing the less optimal part of the cabin seemed to consist of those of us who weren’t Skywards members), now you — the reader — can (we hope) learn it the easy way.


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  • Pog Mohone

    Curious as to why you didn’t politely ask these 2 gents to tone it down some. If that didn’t work then follow up with hay idiots, I’m trying to sleep here and you’re talking over my noise canceling headphones. But then I’m an ass and have no issues telling someone to STFU. You paid your money same as them, I don’t care if they’re royalty or not. Well I’m that case they’d probably fly first class but you get the idea.

  • JC

    First world problems.

  • ramy hammoud

    Skyward members and Qantas member get the same treatment based on their tier. I agree it’s best to book early for busy flights, but for business class you can select a seat even before you have a ticket issued. Things like one shot upgrades have nothing to do with membership tier. It depends on a few other factors and a bit of luck. The passengers that will get upgraded are normally decided before check in even opens. It sucks you had to sit through that, but it could have happened to a platinum skyward member as well

  • Jo Evans


    Look at all the clearly salty, jealous people commenting about ‘first world problems’ just because they can’t afford a seat on Emirates, on a regular basis. Read the article again.

    This has nothing to do with whether someone can afford to pay $100, $1000 or even $10,000 for a seat. I happen to be dirt poor and even I can agree that this has nothing to do with ‘first world problems’.

    The vast majority of humans on the planet have been on a plane and can agree that some basic tenants are not a luxury — in fact, a little peace and quiet from your neighbors is basic common courtesy.

    So it should go without saying that having to put up with 15 hours of listening to other people get obnoxious, loud, and drunk and carry on without end is unacceptable. No human being — whether they be a bum or a billionaire — should have to put up with that. Period.

  • Rich Richards

    Why didn’t you ask a flight attendant to switch seats with one of the booze hounds? Sorry…but this is a “first world problem”!

  • P.J

    My God… you had to undergo too much suffering… travel in business class, have a bar, complete 180 degree bed, good food and you couldn’t sleep.

    Well it’s time you actually visit countries like Africa, the slums of India, Bangladesh or even the conditions in which the Chinese factory workers stay in order to make the low cost goods. Probably then would you stop your whining and whinging.

  • QF Frequent Flyer

    What a very timely article. My partner and I flew Emirates yesterday to Europe from Melbourne. We booked through Qantas and try to avoid Emirates at all costs are a luggage destroying instance a few years back.

    We flew economy this time and are QF Platinum and QF Platinum One flyers. The food options ran out by our row for dinner. Ok, this happens. Then the same again for breakfast. Poor. No options of any leftover alternatives and unable to select our seats before the trip, so ended up near the back.

    Then on a 50% full flight from Dubai, we were one of only a few rows that had all 3 seats allocated whereas Qantas would have reallocated based on weight distribution and status (we’ve had that before).

    General lack of service and doesn’t do the code share any favours. Not Qantas fault who we can fly 200+ times per year with, without issue.

  • Oliver Alphonso

    Hey.. I am a travel agent and I could only advise you this. Since quite a few Business travellers decide to make trips at the last moment, you could opt for a few options like Etihad, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, Swiss (which has very good Business class and service).
    Before you ticket, look at the seating options. Then choose the best your comfortable with.
    Ultimately, you’re just sitting in a luxury seat and getting better service.

  • paul costello

    I had a similar issue at the front. I was beside gally and toilets and noise cancelling earphones only nullified all the other sounds. If they had perhaps sleep inducing music on the entertainment system it would have helped. That was on an a350 Philippines Airlines so not exclusive to Emirates, but yeh first world problems

  • mtang65

    What a spoiled brat, pompous, jerk Mr. Booth is. Shut up with your whining. I flew from Los Angeles to Cambodia in an A380 in an Economy class. It wasn’t the ideal way to fly but I enjoyed the trip nevertheless.

  • mtang65

    I’m not jealous. The author of this article just open himself up for whining.

  • Palaniappan Rajaram

    Don’t see how those two seats could be the worst. I have sat in the seats just ahead of those 2 seats. It might not have been as long as the author’s flight but it was certainly long: 14 hour flight from Dubai to Washington DC. A simple request to the attendant at the bar would have worked, to keep the voice down.

  • S.D.

    Could have just informed the flight attendant to get those ozzies to tone it down a bit…

  • Drewzilla

    I think every time someone says “first world problems”, our browsers should auto-translate that to “I can’t afford this, and rather than ignore an article that has no relevance to me, I’m going to take a crap on it”

  • omshhaol

    I’m not sure what part of asking for a window seat you consider “charming”, then again, I also doubt the response you received included words describing yours as being “the worst seat on the aircraft”.

  • Dan Bonn

    If you can post a comment you ain’t dirt poor bitch, curb your virtue signalling

  • Dan Bonn

    This is normal for business class the richer you get the more you compensate

  • YouAreWhatYouBleat

    Jesus what a lightweight piece. Written by a 12 year old?

  • Johan Tessens

    Full planes?.. I flew from Madrid to to Dubai in A380 with less passengers then an half loaded A220.

  • Kolapor Mhykel

    Uhmm, Africa is not a country. It’s a frigging continent. Botswana, for example, is a country in Africa. Just like Nigeria and 50+ others.

  • Johan Tessens

    If articles like this unwanted keep showing up in my news feeds then yes your entitled to take the crap on it!

  • Drewzilla

    News aggregator sucks? First world problem. 😉

  • Frank Pineda

    OMG I almost die of compassion by reading the Greek tragedy this guy went thru.

    Maybe you need some counseling and emotional support to overcome this setback.

  • Matthew Canavan

    Would you have been happier in the best seat in Economy Class? I think not.

  • Dan Bonn

    carry on without end is unacceptable. No human being — whether they be a bum or a billionaire — should have to put up with that. Period……..this is all virtue signalling

    The triggered calling me triggered lol
    I travel economy all the time no one ever gets drunk because rich people are way more rude

  • del13r

    Maybe you should have asked to swap seats with the people hanging at the bar since they were bothering you.

  • P.J

    Use your brain and I’m sure you know what I meant… I meant countries in Africa. I can’t list all the countries in Africa. The above comments are right. You are a spoiled brat.

  • james tohl

    Totally! This “article” should have just been the caption to an Instagram picture.

  • Jacky Denning Sudding

    Exactly the same happened up me. I was so excited to be able to use my frequent flyer points to get a seat in business class. I was seated in the same seats and boy was it a loooong night. People are very quick to jump saying business class passengers should not whine and complain but I’ve worked hard to remain loyal to Emirates accumulating as many miles as possible. Thank you for your informative post. It’s really helpful knowing which seats to avoid should I have the pleasure of flying Business Class on Emirates again.

  • Jacky Denning Sudding

    Sour grapes!!!

  • Jacky Denning Sudding

    When people are drinking to that extent nothing will quiten them down and we all know this. Do you honestly think there is any reasoning with a person that’s intoxicated? They may quite down for a minute or two but will soon start being loud again

  • Chris

    Oh my God! That is OUTRAGEOUS! I hope you notified Amnesty International. Please tell us how to help you over come such trauma.

  • Kolapor Mhykel

    No need to get your intestine in a twist. You wrote something wrong and I was merely pointing it out. Don’t be too much of a twat not to know how to take correction

  • Robert Macrowan

    March this year Auckland to Dubai 16+ hours in 22k .Family with todler in business class. Todler was allowed to crawl on the floor unsupervised which was great for tripping over on trips to the loo .Baby screamed for the whole flight but mum shared the pain she walked up and down the cabin making sure every passenger was awake. I lost the will to live

  • Aida

    Get your facts straight…’s not the seat on the plane that is the problem, nor the airline that’s fully booked… is your ego…. arrogance….
    You Feel you deserve so much more, as a platinum member, more than anybody else on that aircraft….
    Whining over a mere seat allocation as opposed to bigger problems in the world.
    Blame it on the passengers who made your trip uncomfortable….not the airline or the seat…..

  • Lil Peep

    fuck you

  • kc1174

    I find it hilarious people read a few lines, comment “first world problems”, then blame a news feed. Presumably the news feed automatically opens these unwanted articles for them, and reads them too… 😉


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