Details Of Emirates’ New 777 Business Class

Even though Emirates is generally very well regarded for their premium cabin products, their business class product on the 777 is actually pretty underwhelming.

On the 777s, Emirates still has angled business class seats, in a 2-3-2 configuration. Given that the seats are both angled and don’t all feature direct aisle access, that’s a pretty disappointing product for one of the world’s leading airlines (though it also shows you the power of marketing in creating positive impressions, given that virtually all US airlines have better hard products, yet almost anyone would assume Emirates business class is superior).

Emirates-Business-Class-1

Emirates-Business-Class

Emirates’ A380s have a more competitive business class product, which is in a staggered configuration with direct aisle access from every seat.

Emirates-Business-Class

Well, it looks like we’ll finally be getting an update to Emirates’ 777 business class seat… but don’t get too excited.

Per a press release, Emirates will reveal their new 777 business class seat at ITB Berlin (one of the world’s leading travel trade shows), which takes place March 9-13, 2016. The new business class product should be installed starting in November 2016, when Emirates takes delivery of their 170th Boeing 777 aircraft.

Emirates-777

Emirates is in many ways an innovator in the airline industry, so what great product can we expect from them? Well, unfortunately it seems we shouldn’t expect much at all:

Emirates will retain its current seat layout of 2-3-2 across its Boeing 777 Business Class cabins, as well the total number of Business Class seats per aircraft at 42. All newly delivered Boeing 777s after the arrival of the first aircraft in November will have these new seats on-board. The seats are manufactured by the United States based B/E Aerospace at their facilities in Ireland and North Carolina in the US.

Based on the fact that they’re keeping the same exact configuration and number of seats, it sounds like they may be doing more of a refresh of the seats, rather than actually installing new ones.

Emirates is using B/E Aerospace, which produces some great business class seats, like Qatar Airways’ A350 business class

Qatar-Airways-A350-Business-Class-30

And Oman Air’s 787 business class

Oman-Air-787-Business-Class - 5

And American’s A321 business class

American-A321-Business

But instead it sounds like Emirates may be going with something very similar to what they have now. In theory the 2-3-2 configuration could be maintained while installing the Apex Suite (shown above for Oman Air). Still, if Emirates is still going to have 42 business class seats, the size of the business class cabin will increase significantly, which I doubt Emirates is willing to do (since it would come at the expense of economy seats).

And frankly I think Emirates is a bit delusional in how they view their current 777 business class product:

“Our current Boeing 777 Business Class seats are already an industry-leading premium product, and what this new seat does is to take that design and comfort to the next level. We gave the seat a fresh and modern look, retained all the existing features that our customers love and added a few more, while improving the seating and sleeping comfort,” said Sir Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline.

If they think their current 777 business class product is “industry-leading,” then I don’t have much faith in the updated product.

Here’s how the new seat is described:

The design and shape of Emirates’ new Business Class seat was inspired by the interior of a modern sports car, captured in the diamond stitch pattern of a light grey full leather cover, ergonomically designed headrest, and its sleek overall look and feel. Designed with enhanced customer comfort in mind, the new seat has a pitch of 72 inches and can be electrically moved into a fully flat sleeping position at 180 degrees.

Retaining many of the most popular features of the current Business Class seat on Emirates’ Boeing 777s, the updated seat layout and additional amenities feature a conveniently located mini-bar, one of the industry’s largest personal TV screens at 23 inches, and the latest touchscreen controller for the seat and award-winning ice inflight entertainment system.

At least it sounds like the new seat will be fully flat, and it does have more pitch than the current seat. On one hand that leads me to believe that they may be going with the Apex Suite, since that’s roughly the pitch it has, and on a 777 such a product would be in a 2-3-2 configuration.

At the same time, the fact that Emirates focuses almost exclusively on the finishes when discussing the product doesn’t make me especially optimistic.

Bottom line

I’m excited to see Emirates’ new business class product. Whatever it is, it’s long overdue for the 777, which has a sub-par product for a leading airline.

Emirates is sending really mixed signals in terms of what we should expect — on one hand they’re focusing mostly on the minor details, while on the other hand they’re indicating that the pitch is increasing to 72″ and the seat will be fully flat, so perhaps it will in fact be the Apex Suite? That would be fantastic news, if so.

What are you expecting from Emirates’ new 777 business class product?

Comments

  1. Hopefully they would have a reverse herringbone product, but by the looks of it, an Oman 787 style product may be in store.

  2. Since it would be B/E Aerospace and with the 2-3-2 configration and the size of the C cabin, I would believe that Emirates might opt for a diamond-configuration similar what LH has in their 747-400 maindeck.

  3. Maybe it will be like JAL business class sky suite on there 777? That’s 2-3-2 and all have direct aisle access. Just a thought.

  4. @ Ryan — There are details. The number of seats will remain the same, the configuration will remain the same, and there’s information about some aspects of the seat. They haven’t “revealed” the new seat, but there are definitely details.

  5. @Ben – As per seat guru the seat pitch for first class on the 777 is 69″ so by Emirates increasing the pitch of business class to 72″ wouldn’t they be offering a product superior in terms of pitch?

  6. I am confused. When I went to the Emirates website, it claimed most 777s have flat beds in business. Is that misleading? Any clarification would be appreciated.

  7. @ Kate – By flat beds, they didn’t mean beds that lie at an 180˚ degree angle. Lucky’s first two pictures here are of Emirates’ current 777-200LR, 777-200, 777-300 and 777-300ER business class, all of which operate on longhaul routes and all of which are exactly the same. False advertising.

    Emirates may also simply just go with what Korean Air currently has on their 777-200s, which isn’t good.

  8. @Kate They don’t really have ‘flat’ beds on any of their 777s (not even the new ones so far). They all have an angled lie flat seat. I too was confused about what they claim on the website, but it was clarified when I checked the seats onboard in person.. So yeah, their website is misleading in that regard.

  9. Emirates doesn’t give a shit about hard product; just look at that last generation first class they love to tout. All the painted gold in the world wouldn’t get me to fly them (again)

  10. At 72″ it will be very short if the go with the Apex Suite, JAL is 74″ and Korean is 75″.

    In fact 72″ is very short for any product fully flat non angled product, if it was angled I would say that EK was planning to install the angled F seats from their A332’s.

    The only fully flat 72″ product I know of straight way that is BA Club World, at least it would better than BA B777 2-4-2. But that ain’t saying much.

  11. I flew on their 777 business class from Dubai to Seattle two years ago. Meh…it was okay….I just wish I had slept more than 2 hours.

  12. I flew Emerates business in the 777 and it was the most underwhelming experience I have ever had and that was 6 years ago in the same configuration. With products such as the new business class cross continent like on virgin Australia domestic I recently flew, they clearly need to up the game.

  13. I generally find the emirates soft n hard product of a superior standard unlike qantas as an example.
    The staff are very proactive and the check in and lounge experience and limousine service to boot is above expectation of most j products out there.
    I like the cradle effect of the 777 j product when it comes time to sleep.
    Some people like some dont.
    And when people ask who you flying saying emirates always arouses people’s conversation.
    Unfortunately the only thing i despise about the emirates experience is the hideous business class lounge arrangement in dubai, omg its just plain revolting.
    Thank god for elite level ffp membership which now allows me to utilize first lounge with emirates in dubai.
    Happy mardi Gras sydney!

  14. I’m expecting it will be similar to Turkish Airlines 777-300ER Business Class (though they’re only at 177 degrees flat). But Australian Business Traveller reported earlier that the seats will have direct-aisle access. So maybe it will be the Apex Suite, your new favorite J Class product.

  15. Hey Lucky – EK new business class is out – I saw the picture – and I’m not amused. Still 2-3-2 with some improvements. I was flying EK very often in the past – since then I really enjoy LH, LX and especially EY very much again (on the right planes) ;-D…

    It’s nice to read your blog! Thanks for your thoughts! If you like, I can provide some feedbacks as well (got my 1.2 mio. miles on several airlines and I could explain my illness to my wife with your blog ;-D)…

    Cheers from Switzerland,
    André

  16. I find Emirates in Business Class to be one of the most over-rated products on the market. I have flown them four times over the last several months on the A380 and B777 variations. The B777 Business Class hard product – in a very tight 2-3-2 configuration – is on par with a mid-range carrier and is no longer competitive in today’s market. The food is also very mediocre and surprisingly insufficient – small portions of uninspired food.

    Emirates has two things going for them: the chauffeur service and hands down the best inflight entertainment system. Still, I find Etihad overall a far superior product in both business and first class.

  17. Very disappointing product. Etihad business class is clearly superior with 1-2-1 layout. Also if you upgrade with Etihad they let you use their lounge. Emirates on the other hand will tell you that you used promotional fare so you can’t use their lounges unless you pay another 100 $.

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