Emirates 777 Vs. A380 First Class: Which Is Better?

Reader Danie left the following comment in the “Ask Lucky” forum:

Never thought I’d say this, but I just took longhaul Emirates first class flights — one in a 777 and one in the A380. Of course the bar and the shower were awesome, but aside from that I unexpectedly enjoyed the 777.

Why? The ceiling was super high and felt so spacious, there were fewer seats, the concave of the fuselage didn’t curve into the seat, and the seat felt bigger (don’t know if this is from the roomier-feeling cabin or if it actually was).

Does anyone else have a similar opinion? I am shocked to be writing this.

That’s an interesting point Danie raises. I love Emirates first class. No, it’s not a perfect product — service can be hit or miss, the seat itself isn’t actually that spacious, and the product overall can be style over substance at times.

But there’s something still awesome about Emirates first class, which makes it one of the most fun products out there, in my opinion.

So, is it possible that the Emirates 777 first class product…

Emirates-777
Emirates 777

…is better than the Emirates A380 first class product?

Emirates-A380-First-Class-01
Emirates A380

Let’s take a moment to compare the advantages to the product found on the two plane types. And let me start by saying that we’re comparing the longhaul products here — Emirates also has regional 777s with a different first class product.

Emirates 777 first class

The seats themselves are almost identical on the Emirates 777 and A380 (the 777 seats are actually slightly wider). So what are the advantages of flying first class on the Emirates 777?

  • The cabin consists of just eight first class seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration (as opposed to A380 first class, which consists of 14 seats)
  • The cabin does feel more spacious — not only is the fuselage considerably wider, but the ceiling is also higher, so it’s an all around roomier cabin (keep in mind that Emirates has A380 first class on the upper deck, which is quite a bit narrower than the 777)
  • On 777 flights under 12 hours, the purser works the Emirates 777 first class cabin, which in general should mean service is more polished… not just because the purser should be the best at service (in theory), but also because presumably the purser will also be observing the rest of the first class crew more carefully; on the A380, and on 777 flights over 12 hours, the purser simply manages the entire plane

Emirates-777-First-Class-1
Emirates 777 first class cabin

Emirates-777-First-Class
Emirates 777 first class bed

So simply from a sleep, space, and service perspective, the 777 may indeed be a better ride than the A380.

Emirates A380 first class

I think most people would naturally choose A380 first class over 777 first class, but is it for good reason? What are the advantages of the A380 over the 777?

What the A380 definitely has working against it is that it has 14 first class seats, so the cabin is almost double the size of the 777. That means (at least in theory) that service won’t be as attentive and the cabin doesn’t feel quite as exclusive.

Emirates-A380-First-Class-001
Emirates A380 first class cabin

Emirates-A380-First-Class-002
Emirates A380 first class cabin

But do other features more than make up for that slight negative? What are the advantages of flying the Emirates A380?

  • It features two shower suites; showering on a plane is possibly the coolest thing ever
  • There’s a bar in the back of business class, which is a really fun place to hang out and kill some time
  • There’s a further small walk-up bar at the front of first class, where you can grab a drink; the 777 doesn’t have that
  • The A380 is considerably quieter and smoother than the 777; you almost don’t feel like you’re on a plane
  • All Emirates A380s have wifi, while only some 777s have wifi (unfortunately it’s outrageously slow on both planes, given that it’s free for all passengers)

Emirates-A380-First-Class-079
Emirates A380 first class shower

Emirates-A380-First-Class-068
Emirates A380 business class bar

Emirates-A380-First-Class-060
Emirates A380 first class bar

The A380 definitely has a couple of downsides, though for me the shower and bar are half of the fun of flying Emirates, which is why I have a strong preference for the A380.

Bottom line

Danie‘s observation is interesting, and I’m sure there are others who feel the same. And I suppose I don’t disagree. If you take out the bar and shower, then the 777 is possibly preferable to the A380.

If all you want is sleep and attentive service, I’d choose the 777 over the A380. However, if you want the overall “bling” experience, you can’t beat the shower, bar, guaranteed wifi, and smooth ride of the A380, in my opinion.

If you’ve flown Emirates, do you prefer their A380 or 777 first class product?

Comments

  1. It would be great if at some point you could do the same comparison for business class on the 777 vs. the A380. I am based in Portland, but go out the way to leave via LAX or SFO which fly the A380 and not take Emirates via Seattle because it is a 777. And with 2 of us traveling 2x a year, the extra AS miles for first class isn’t going to easily happen.

  2. I have been on EK’s A380 in first about 15 times, and on the 777-300ER/200LR in first probably about 25-30 times. I would take the A380 in a heartbeat, mainly because I enjoy the overall experience much better: bigger bathrooms with showers, the onboard lounge, and the bigger plane. Emirates used to have better crews on the A380’s too. When it first launched, they deployed a dedicated, specially-trained crew (kind of the elite squad of flight attendants). They also used to have an upgraded menu. For example: BKK-DXB on the A380 would have caviar service, while the 777’s wouldn’t. I don’t think that’s any longer the case, and I can certainly see the point about the more private experience on the 777 if you want to spend nearly every moment in your suite.

    One note about the width. As far as I know, all of the suites are the same size with one exception: Seats 1 A and K on the A380 are about an inch and half narrower at the front of the suite due to the curvature of the A380 on the upper deck. You mainly notice this if you have a rollerbag that is large in size. It will not fit lying down in 1A and 1K and must be stood upright and belted in.

  3. I flew both products in the last 24 hours for the first time, and I did have a strange feeling that I prefered the 777 over the A380 first class. Looking back the ceiling was higher and the windows not as deep allowing a view out from more angles. I won’t comment on the service since the 777 flight I was on was quite short. I thought the shower would be a gimmick but it was an incredible feature that causes the A380 to trump the 777, but in the absence of the shower the 777 would be my preference.

  4. @Pam – totally worth it to fly via SFO or LAX on the A380 in business. The seat is much better than on the 777 (true lie flat, and all with direct aisle access), plus you have the onboard lounge. Plus great seat choices whether traveling as a couple or solo. For business, it’s no question in my mind.

  5. Given that I’m usually stuck on one of the miserable A330s or A340s, I’d take either the 777 or A380 any day of the week! 🙂

  6. Also, direct boarding onto the A380 from the DXB Concourse A lounge and a couple of out-stations. And the 777 WCs are as small as economy. Unless I’d had too many adult beverages I’m sure I’ve seen the drinks set up on the 777 too? I do prefer the 777, I didn’t realise the better service was likely down to the purser presence but it makes sense. Could never get tired of the shower though!

  7. @Pam & @Chris. Yes, in business class, the A380 is far and away better than the 777. I flew both of them earlier this year, and the hard product is so tremendously better on the A380. If I had the opportunity again, I would go out of my way to fly the A380 over the 777 in business class.

  8. Agree with other commenters that the difference between aircraft is bigger in business class.

    The gap in first class will open up when Emirates introduce their new first class product onto the A380.

  9. I have flown both the First Class 777 out of Seattle and the A380 Dubai to Houston. While I very much liked the shower on the A380, overall, I much prefer the 777 out of Seattle. As you say, the smaller cabin just feels extra “cosy” with only 8 seats even though the seats seemed bigger. It also helped that I was the only passenger in first so the service was ridiculous.

    I have also flown Dubai to Seattle in Business Class and loved it. Just loved it. (I am typically a Delta or BA Business Class passenger so that might explain how impressed I was.) While I haven’t flown Business Class in the A380 I did walk around through it multiple times on the way to and from the bar and it just felt too big. Just a sea of Business Class seats. So my vote it the 777 for both Business and First over the A380.

  10. Dear Moderator — please edit for grammar in my above post. Please! I thought I’d proofed but evidently not. — Thanks

  11. Having flown both on extra long haul I prefer the 380 for the shower and the bar in the back, shower because it allows me to be fresh upon arrival, the bar because it affords you a chance to get and walk around. I too fly our of SFO to catch the 380 and generally switch over in Dubai. We are doing the 380 FC R/T JNB this coming January next trip considering SEA 777, and I agree the 777 is a nice bird to fly especially when it’s a GSC.

  12. The shower means I arrive refreshed which is why I prefer the A380. As a (past) regular on the DME-DXB-SFO route and noting there is not enough time to get the full lounge experience at DXB the shower on the DME-DXB route came in handy. So for connections where there is not enough time and one segment is on 777 and one on the 380 the shower is invaluable.

  13. One most important element gets overlooked here. The 380 is dramatically more quiet than the 777 due to the fact that Boeing still has not mastered a cabin pressurization system that doesn’t sound like a typhoon.

  14. The shower is just a gimmick to me on the A380 (due to the low water pressure and short time limit, luxurious it ain’t, it’s just all about the giggles of getting wet while flying) and there isn’t any great benefit of the A380 bar if you are in First, given it’s almost at the other end of the plane (and anything at the bar you can get from your First seat).

    I have to agree that EK’s 777 generally has better service and a less crowded feel, and if it wasn’t for the lack of a spacious toliet (the best thing about the First bathrooms on the A380 isn’t the shower but the generous space and fit-out of the rest of the bathroom), I’d always give it preference over the big whale (despite being a fan of A380’s generally).

  15. Showers seem to be the key advantage of the A380. What’s the time limit on using the shower? Is it possible to reserve a time to use it? Is a FA deducated to cleaning the showers and if so does this detract from other service? The most popular time for using the showers must be after last meal and just before landing. Does that create problems?

  16. Ben, you have compared so many first classes on so many airlines. Now I’m curious which one is your absolute favorite? The one that you’d love to fly the most?!

  17. @john

    There is a five minute time limit on water usage in the Emirates A380 First bathroom (cuts out automatically, although you can pause water flow/time run-out to save the water for when you need it).

    Appointments are taken by flight attendants and it’s first in, first preference for time slot. Shower usage is typically staggered, so there is bathroom free for non-shower use (if one is being used as a shower, the other generally isn’t available for a shower).

    Emirates flight attendants don’t clean or prep the bathrooms, as they have dedicated cleaners/attendants on-board that service them.

  18. @ 31583 — Really probably depends on the day, route, and my mood. Tough to beat Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, JAL, and Singapore, though.

  19. @ wim — In fairness I did mention it in the post. 😉 “The A380 is considerably quieter and smoother than the 777; you almost don’t feel like you’re on a plane.”

  20. @ D93 — There’s a data allowance that’s free to begin with, and then it’s $1 if you want to buy more.

  21. Ah, yes, the dilemmas of the 1%…to fly the 777 or the A380 in F?! (I suppose with Concorde gone, the new one-upmanship is “I’ve showered at 35,000 feet”.)

  22. Hi Ben,

    “And let me start by saying that we’re comparing the longhaul products here — Emirates also has regional 777s with a different first class product.”

    Do you know what kind of product the regional 77Ws offer in F ?
    Do the 77Ws that operate the CGK route have suites in F ? If not what kind of product do they offer in F ? What about the 77Ws that fly to MLE ?

    Thanks

  23. @ Nizar — The regional 777s have six seats per row, so aren’t nearly as comfortable. To see which product a route is operated by, take a look at the seatmap. If it features six seats per row then it’s a regional 777, while if it features four seats per row it’s a longhaul 777.

  24. I am quite clearly in the minority on this on these blog forums. But, I see virtually no appeal to an on-board shower. I have never once walked off of a flight of any duration and thought to myself, “boy, I really could have used a shower on that flight.” The on-board bar I could see though. Otherwise, give me a more spacious seat and I’m golden. Not sure I’d notice the difference between the 2 though.

  25. A380 is much better than that boeing of yours
    A380 has more space so what’s your problem

  26. @David B: I would guarantee that the bulk of the comments on this post are NOT coming from 1%ers, rather, from people who care enough about how and where they travel to become educated on manufacturing spend for airline mileage.

    I am one of them: semi-retired, with a husband who works 60 hour weeks as a management accountant, I’m the one in charge of getting the miles so we can visit our far-flung kids in SF, DC, and northern Italy.

    I have yet to experience Emirates’ *any* class, but can say from too many long hauls in coach that the time and effort to earn miles for the front of the plane is definitely worth it, even on the mediocre products that are flown by US airlines. The front is mediocre. The back is torture.

  27. You guys know you have only 5 mins water in those shower?
    for me its 777 my lucky number. I wouldn’t use shower and I am not interested to go to the bar and talk to strangers and get any known and unknown bacteries and viruses from them.

    One more thing WIFI is not free on any of these planes.

  28. Y’all do not make the decision easy. About to take a DFW-DXB suites on A380. They just switched that route to the 777. Really has me torn.

    Shower – cool… but have one more flight to do that.
    Bar – the idea of standing, meeting others, and not spending 14 hours in one seat is a biggie.
    Quiet – on a 14 hour flight, that adds up.

    Of course I can not change this flight, but MIGHT be able to talk them into flying from Houston instead – it still has the flight for awhile.

  29. Yeah, just read about the switch on DFW-DXB that has affected us this summer. While smaller cabin of 777 with possibly more attention is great, the big bonus of A380 are the showers and bars.

  30. I am late in this thread about the Emirates 777 vs. A380 First Class, but I just travelled twice on the 777 and twice on the A380. The Emirates attendants on the 777 were hands down better than the ones on the A380. Think old and tired of this gig vs. young and ready to impress. The A380 shower was awesome & I liked the experience more than I anticipated. Who doesn’t want to arrive after a 16 hour flight looking fresh & fabulous?! Admittedly, I am a women so men may think this is far less important. On the other hand, I liked the bar much less than I anticipated. I was traveling with my husband so I had a conversationalist next to me anyway. Plus, the drinks and service were better in First Class. It was hard to leave the suite where I could just ring the attendant for a drink 😉 That being said, the onboard bar was still pretty cool. I think it all depends on what you are interested in and what is most important to you. BTW: I am a big fan of your blog Lucky!

  31. I noticed too that the attendants on the 777 were way better than on the A380 in First. I don’t know in Business as I only used the A380 , which is quite bad, too many seats and the last time I couldn’t even get
    a coffee in the morning ( I was awake but they run out of it and never came back).

  32. Hi, I’m new to this forum….I’m planning on a trip from BNE – MAN next year…with an 18 month old ….what would you recommend 1st class or business ….and seats etc …this will be our 1st long haul trip as a family

  33. RE: traveling with family. How many TOTAL are flying? The paired seats in business are a bit closer to each other which might help. Will the child be in a seat or a lap child? Also guessing you are flying Emirates? I would search online to see what each cabin looks like.

  34. Last week (Aug/Sep 2016) I flew first class Emirates routes as part of an around the world itinerary:
    ICN-DXB A380, 9.5 hours, first class
    DXB-DFW 777, 15.5 hours, first class (this was an A380 when I booked it, but downgraded to a 777 some months before my departure)
    Prior to this trip I had flown first class on A380 but not via EK.
    I agree that the 777 feels more spacious. I actually suspect that the bed in the suite on the 777 is a tad wider.
    I was not disappointed with the 777 since I’d had the opportunity to fly the A380 and take the shower in the sky out of ICN. Although it would’ve been cool to board directly from the A lounge at DXB.
    Now, had I only one segment and they had changed the A380 to a 777, and I’d not any time soon be able to experience the EK First A380, I’d’ve been disappointed. It’s one of those things you wanna try at least once. But honestly, other than the shower (I took a 30-second shower just to see what it was like), and the aft lounge (which I visited just for a photo session), I preferred the 777’s more spacious cabin and, imo, slightly larger bed. Crew was also slightly better on the 777, but that can vary from FA to FA, so I won’t attribute that to the 777.
    Bottom line…if it’s a one-time thing, I understand the desire for the A380 experience. Otherwise, not a big deal to fly the 777 first vs the A380 imo, on EK.

  35. Hi i like the boeing 777-300 first class it has soft drinks at the seat ,first class bar ,automatic doors at the seat , light mirror, and big table , new big controlers ,big TV , amenity kits . seats are big and comfortable, it has a wide corridors . the ticket coasts about 30,000 $ . seat number 2A looks good . the bar service was good . seats are big and have lamps.
    The b777-300 can fly 6005 nautical miles and can cruise 100ft higher at 43,100ft.
    it’s speed is 587mph.

  36. For example if you are rich guy a rich king or a rich prince.
    if you just want, you would choose and buy b777-300 or a380-800 in emirates ?!?! ,
    would you choose version 2 of your plane that you would buy or version 1?!

  37. Also for example, if you would choose the new type of your plane, or the old type.,
    Also would you choose the first type or version of your plane or second version?!

  38. You know Iam a very rich guy I bought the Emirates Airbus A380-800 yesterday at DUBAI from expo 2020, its the newest a380 version if you know,Iam the prince of UK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. This coming December will be my first experience from Ft Lauderdale to Dubai on a 777.
    Mustafa, is your plane available?

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