Which Is Better: Emirates’ A380 First Class Or New 777 First Class?

Yesterday I published my review of Emirates’ new 777 first class, which is so far only available on a few Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. On this post, reader ah left the following comment:

@Lucky – does the new suite outweigh the benefits of a shower and bar on-board?

It’s an interesting question that I’ve been asking myself as well, and in this post I wanted to address that. On the surface you may say “well of course the new first class is better than the old first class,” but the A380 has some unique amenities that give it an edge in some ways.

Emirates’ “old” A380 first class

In terms of the cabin itself, Emirates’ A380 first class isn’t that great. The cabin has 14 seats so doesn’t feel especially private (even though it’s rarely full). The cabin is narrower than first class on the 777, since the upper deck of the A380 isn’t as wide as the 777. I actually think Emirates’ old 777 first class is better than their A380 first class, if we’re purely talking about the cabin.

But the A380 has two features that make it oh-so-fun. Of course I’m talking about Emirates’ ridiculously over-the-top shower suites, which are unlike anything offered by any other airline, in my opinion. The novelty of showering on a plane just doesn’t wear off, in my opinion.

Then there’s the onboard bar. When you get tired of being at your seat and want to stretch your legs, there’s nowhere better to hang out than at the onboard bar.

Emirates’ “new” 777 first class

Then you have Emirates’ new first class, which is better in just about every way. The suites are fully enclosed (floor to ceiling), are significantly more spacious, and have so many more gadgets.

The downside? The obvious difference is that there’s no onboard bar and shower. But the other major difference is that the new product isn’t ideal if you’re traveling with someone. You have so much privacy that you won’t even really be able to spend any time with a travel companion. There’s no option to dine together, no option to combine two suites into one, and the suite doesn’t even have a buddy seat, or anything of the sort.

So, which is better?

I think that if you haven’t flown Emirates’ new first class, it’s a must for the novelty. But if you take the novelty factor out of it, here’s my philosophy:

  • If traveling alone, I’d choose Emirates’ new first class for the incredible amount of personal space and unrivaled privacy
  • If traveling with someone, I think I’d actually choose the A380, for the ability to sit together, shower (not necessarily together), and go to the bar; I consider Emirates first class to be the most fun first class product in the sky, and it’s a lot more fun with company, and that’s something you’re giving up with the new first class

Big picture, the thing to keep in mind is that so few planes have the new first class, so it’s rare you’ll ever have the chance. Emirates plans to have their new first class on nine 777s by the end of 2019, which is just a few percent of their fleet. For a vast majority of first passengers, you’ll be choosing between Emirates’ A380 first class and their “old” 777 first class.

I’m curious what you guys think — would you prefer Emirates’ new first class under all circumstances, or does anyone think they’d prefer Emirates’ old first class?

Comments

  1. Personally I think that the novelty of going on the upper deck of an aircraft will never wear off. A380 wins just for that alone. New First Class looks awsome though…

  2. Agreed, I would never choose to spend the points on a fully enclosed first class product if I was traveling with my spouse. I’d rather travel in business and be able to chat, eat together. These flights are really an experience. If you are going with someone you want to experience it with them. Not be in tiny separate rooms.

  3. Well, on Etihad, which is close to fully enclosed, you can dine with each other in one cabin (same on CX, SQ), but it didn’t like you could on Emirates.

    Given that we took meals together, we loved the extra space even though we were separate. Sleeping and watching movies were fine solo when we had two meals together and some chats.

    The award miles differential between J and F wasn’t as big at the time.

  4. I do like the shower but never use the on-board bar anyway… the new suite (having flown it) blows away the old one and I’d take it (and the passionate, excited crew that come with it) over the old one any day..!

  5. “Fun”. Fun organised by some faceless corporation as part of their “brand values” and USP offer. Not really what I’m looking for in premium cabins. I can make my own fun, thanks.

    So I’ll take the tranquility and privacy over a tacky bar and novelty shower.

    But I’m glad you enjoy both.

  6. Ben, did you try the zero gravity function of the new First seat? I’m still perplexed as to what this function does. What is the effect that is suppose to be achieved?

    To the question at hand:

    Yes, the new First suites look beautiful; however, for a 14+ hour flight there is no greater luxury then to be able to break up the monotony by strolling to & socializing in that wonderful bar. And to revive and refresh oneself halfway through the ordeal with a nice, brisk shower.

  7. For a 14+ hour flight there is no greater luxury than not having to mix with avgeeks travelling on points or the nouveaux riches who’ve added onboard showers to their bucket list.

  8. Hi Ben,

    Actually SQ new first is my go to for couples. You’ll see what i mean when you try it. Was amazing.

  9. Wow. so angry

    Did you have to mix with av geeks and nouveau riches in the old first class?
    Was there some law mandating you shower with them?
    Did they leap over the half wall and try to socialize with their betters?

    I like that Lucky is finally talking about pros and cons of luxury travel for couples

    We aren’t all terrified that someone might glance at us for 1 millisecond

    Although the ME3 don’t fit my values, I still don’t see the need to be so hostile

  10. Not all of us are boozers and I personally won’t miss the noise emanating from the onboard bars.

    777 all the way now.

  11. you know what I think? Its not even an aspirational redemption for most or your readers. Honestly if I read one more review about the fine points of the ME3 experience I may lose my mind.

  12. @Imperator

    The zero g sleeping mode adjusts a bed such that the sleeper’s upper and lower body are raised and the weight of the body is transferred towards the hips. It’s a preferred sleeping mode on many electronic bed frames. It improves circulation and relieves pressure from the back for those suffering from back pain. I use the function on my Tempurapedic bed at home.

  13. Meh. I love the shower. Most of the flights I’ve been on with EK are fairly long long-hauls and I’m asleep for a fair portion of the flight. Plus I love the option to shower after I wake up. And when I’m asleep, I don’t care about the enormity of the suite itself, just the bed. So having a bigger suite during waking hours is cool, I guess, but ultimately not that important for me. A nice bed (seat) and a shower are best. And being able to talk to my partner. So A380 all the way.

  14. @ JRMW – If this Paul is for real and not another troll, maybe he’s just inflamed by the fact he must breathe the same air as everyone else on the plane, which is simply a reminder that he isn’t rich enough to actually fly solo.

  15. Is there any chance that this “new” First Class is not actually new, but is just being rolled out on certain planes specifically for routes where they have the the most demand for people who actually purchase F?

  16. Back when Emirates first debuted its A380 in 2008, it, too, was quite rare. However in 10 years EK has so many A380s that it has actually become relatively easy to redeem miles on them (especially after EK partnered with AS in 2013.) In the next few years I really hope EK will put the new F on the A380.

  17. Arriving at the destination perfectly refreshed after a long flight is a key reason for me to prefer the A380 at any time. I don’t understand, why they didn’t create this Jennifer Aniston-First Class-feeling on the new 777 First.

  18. @mitroy

    I live in Dubai and I play football with a group of all Emirates crew (I am the only one that pays to fly just to make a point). Rules change every now and then and at times it’s one of the best carriers to work for while some other time it’s less appealing. Whenever they introduce some new restriction is because a number of people abused it and I see it as a strike back and maybe it’s not even coming from the airline.

  19. Well i flew munich-dubai-cape town yesterday.
    A380 for the first leg, a 777ER for the second leg
    While the 380 was nice as always (not to compare with singapore or LH 747-8 of course)
    The 9,30 hour tripfrom dubai tocape town was horrible.
    A VERY old plane, everything was worn out
    Not quite the video selection like on 380 half of the stuff didnt work ( the handheld tablet, the sliding door, the seat etc…)
    Food was a mess, wine too warm…
    Im not at all used to these things in emirates first.
    Its a shame to charge such an amount of money for a very indecent product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *