I recently enjoyed an AMAZING holiday in the Maldives. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (new) Business Class Brussels to Dubai
- Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (old) Business Class Dubai to Male (today)
- Review: Maldives seaplane flight with Manta Air
- Review: Soneva Jani Chapter One
- Review: Soneva Jani Chapter Two
- Review: Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
- Review: Velaa Private Island
- Review: Soneva Fushi
- Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (old) First Class Male to Dubai
- Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (new) First Class Dubai to Brussels
Today: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER old Business Class Dubai to the Maldives
I finally made it to the Maldives again, after a gap of more than 3 years. To get there, I booked flights with Emirates: Business Class on the outbound journey and First Class on the inbound journey. The first flight leg of my journey with Emirates (Brussels to Dubai) was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER featuring the carrier’s newest Business Class product (read my review here). The second leg of my journey (Dubai to the Maldives) was also operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, this time equipped with the airline’s older Business Class cabin.
The older Boeing 777 Business Class cabin shares the same layout as the newer cabin (featuring a 2-3-2 seat arrangement) but does not feel as luxurious and modern: the seats are not fully flat in the bed position; there’s no ottoman or footrest; and the seat’s pitch is less generous. Nonetheless, the flight – which only lasted 3 hours and 30 minutes – was still an enjoyable experience, mainly because of the fantastic Emirates cabin crew who provided stellar service.
Have you ever flown in Emirates’ Business Class? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.
- Trip: Dubai (DXB) to Male (MLE)
- Airline: Emirates
- Aircraft type: Boeing 777-300ER
- Aircraft registration number: A6-ENQ (delivered to Emirates in 2014)
- On time departure: yes (4:30 am)
- On time arrival: yes (9 am)
- Miles: 1890
- Flight time: 3 hours and 30 minutes
- Seat: 6K
- Class: Business
In this review (more information & photos below my YouTube video):
- Business Class cabin
- Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
- Amenities & bedding
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences
- My verdict (score)
Emirates has its own dedicated terminal – Terminal 3 – at its home base of Dubai Airport. Consisting of three Concourses (A, B & C), Terminal 3 is the world’s largest airport terminal and the world’s second largest building. Emirates operates a lounge inside each Concourse. The Business Class lounges in Concourse A & B are the most impressive and largest ones, as they span the entire length of the terminal (creating the feel of an airport within an airport). The lounge at Concourse C – which I review here since it was located closest to the gate where my Maldives flight departed from – is much smaller and has fewer facilities on site but it offers a great (and much quieter) experience nonetheless.
Decorated in Emirates’ signature opulent style, the lounge’s interior has a beige and brown color scheme with some local design touches. One side of the lounge features gigantic curved windows, which span the entire length of the rectangular space (offering nice views of the planes on the tarmac). There are plenty of leather armchairs – most of them equipped with power ports – while the center of the lounge features a small open layout ‘business center’ with four computers and a printer.
Next to the main sitting area is a dining room with self-serve buffet. The food spread at the buffet is excellent and varied, with several hot dishes, cold items, mezze, cheeses, a salad bar, and a variety of desserts on offer. Hot dishes include raised mutton, chicken curry, beef stroganoff, and baked white fish to name a few. There’s also an ice cream carton on display; the ice cream – branded Emperor – is made in-house by Emirates’ flight catering department.
The lounge has two levels, with the upper deck featuring more sitting areas, another dining room with buffet station, as well as an open smoking room (which I found rather odd since the smoke could reach the non-smoking area, although I assume there must be some ventilation system in place).
The lounge features several amenities, like shower rooms, complimentary high-speed WiFi, and shoe shine service (for a fee).
2. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
Business Class on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER is located between First and Economy Class and spread over two cabins. A front Business Class mini-cabin contains two rows of 14 seats and feels quite intimate, while a second and larger aft cabin contains 28 Business Class seats spread over four rows. The two Business Class cabins are separated by a galley kitchen, the lavatories and the main exit doors.
The Business Class seats on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ERs are arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, which implies that not everyone has direct aisle access: passengers in the center and window seats will have to scramble over their neighbor’s legs to reach the aisle. Nevertheless, this ‘traditional’ layout is quite good if you are traveling with a group of friends or family. In comparison: Emirates’ A380 aircraft feature a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, which is much better for solo travelers (and which I reviewed here); also, the carrier is currently in the process of refurbishing its B777-200LR aircraft (used for its longest B777 routes) with a 2-2-2 layout (instead of 2-3-2 across).
The Business Class cabin is decorated in a rather opulent Arabian style, with excessive use of burled walnut veneer, gold trim and pearlized plastic framing the seats (some may judge the design to be kitch and dated).
For a seating map of Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER, click here.
3. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
The ‘old’ Business Class seat on Emirates Boeing 777 aircraft has a width of 20.5 inch (52 cm) and a pitch of 60 inch (150 cm), which is considerably less compared to Emirates ‘new’ Business Class seat. When not travelling with a partner, a privacy divider can turn the seat into a little self-contained pod. There is plenty of storage space in the overhead bulkheads but storage space around the seat is rather sparse (just a small box in front of the seat to store your shoes). Each window Business Class seat has 3 windows that come with 2 electronically controlled shades: one paper-type shade and then a black-out shade.
In front of the seat is a personal TV screen. Contrary to Emirates’ newest Business Class seats, there’s no ottoman (footrest) under the TV though. The seat’s center armrest features a tablet to control the inflight entertainment (IFE) system, and also holds the bi-fold tray table (which can be easily pulled from its container). Below the armrest are the power and USB ports.
The Business Class seat can be reclined into an angled lie flat-bed; although it’s not a fully flat seat, it is quite comfortable nonetheless as you don’t slide down the seat (as is the case with angled lie-flat beds of other carriers).
What are the best Business Class seats on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER? Click here for a seat map.
- Seats in row 6: at the front of the smaller cabin, these bulkhead seats immediately behind First Class have a little extra legroom for maneuvering (and hopping over the aisle passenger if in a window or middle seat). In addition, the smaller cabin is quieter and further away from the noise and bustle of Economy Class.
- Seats in row 8: at the front of the larger second cabin, these bulkheads again have a little more legroom. But they are also bassinet crib seats, so business travelers are slightly more likely to be moved for a passenger with an infant.
What are the worst Business Class seats on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER? Click here for a seat map.
- Seats 7A & 7K: these window seats are missing a window, so if you lean back you’re just looking at a wall.
- Seats in row 11: all the way at the back of Business Class and separated from Economy by only a thin wall and curtain, these are right in front of the Economy Class bassinet crib spots. In addition, these seats also lack a window.
- Middle seats (designated by the letter ‘E’ on the seat map): these seats are flanked by other seats on both sides, so avoid them if flying alone, and if traveling with a partner aim for the window pairs (A&B or J&K) instead.
4. AMENITIES & BEDDING
The following amenities were offered during the 4 hour overnight flight from Dubai to the Maldives:
- An amenity kit, which has been designed for multipurpose use after the flight to store headphones, make up and/or jewelry. The bag is filled with Bvlgari toiletries, and also contain skincare essentials, deodorant, dental kit, tissues, comb, and a shaving kit.
- A travel hygiene kit, comprised of a face mask and Emirates branded hand sanitizer
- A thin but comfortable blanket
- A decently sized pillow
- A duvet (provided by the crew during the flight to enhance the sleeping comfort)
- Emirates-branded noise cancelling headphones (you cannot keep these as they can only be powered within an aircraft)
- Flight socks and earplugs
One meal service (breakfast) was offered on this short flight (about 2 hours prior to arrival). I choose the scrambled eggs, which was served with lyonnaise potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and roasted tomato with peper. The breakfast service also included bread, pastries, fresh fruit and yoghurt.
Emirates entertainment system, called ICE (information, communications, entertainment) is the best in the industry, albeit a bit overwhelming when you are using it for the first time. You have three options on how to control the system: touching the screen (problematic given the seat pitch), using a small wired remote, or using a touch-screen monitor that is about the size of a small tablet.
ICE has an extensive range of new-release and classic films, television shows, box sets and audio options to choose from. You can choose from up to 1,800 channels of the latest and greatest movies and must-see TV shows, on demand and in multiple languages. You can also relax to music from around the world or play a range of fun games. There’s even satellite TV on offer (CNN, BBC World, and Sport 24).
My favorite ICE feature is the outside camera that you can access on your screen. Emirates’ B777s are equipped with two cameras: one facing forward and once facing straight down (no tail camera like on the A380). It’s always fun to watch the aircraft take off or land via the cameras, especially when you are not seated in a window seat.
7. ONBOARD INTERNET
Emirates offers several WiFi plans
- Unlimited chat. Connect to all your favorite text apps for the whole flight
- USD 2.99 ‑ USD 5.99 depending on the length of the flight
- Chat using WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line or Viber with text‑only service
- Wi‑Fi internet for the whole flight: $ 9.99 – 19.99 USD depending on the length of the flight
- Easy connect ‑ available in selected regions: $ 9.99 USD for 30 minutes with no data limit
Emirates Skywards members can take advantage of free Wi‑Fi services (to make sure to enroll in the program before boarding your flight).
- Free unlimited chat: use WhatsApp, Messenger and other text services for free as an Emirates Skywards Blue, Silver or Gold member traveling in Business Class or an Emirates Skywards Gold member traveling in Economy Class.
- Free Wi‑Fi internet for the whole flight: enjoy free Wi‑Fi throughout your flight as an Emirates Skywards member traveling in First Class or a Platinum member traveling in Business Class.
To use the free Wi‑Fi services, you must add your Emirates Skywards membership number to your booking at least 24 hours before your flight.
8. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
# CREW: the cabin crew on this flight did an amazing job and provided stellar service. I was impressed as how enthusiastic yet discrete the entire crew behaved, despite the unreal timing of the flight (local time of departure was 4:30 am). Also, I was surprized to learn that the cabin crew did not have a layover at Male, but immediately returned with the next flight (I cannot even imagine how exhausting this flight schedule must be).
# LAVATORY: there are two decently sized lavatories for Business Class passengers in the galley between the 2 Business Class cabins. All lavatories were kept very clean during the flight.
9. MY VERDICT
- Cabin design & layout: 5/10
- Seat comfort (upright): 6/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 6/10
- Food (quality): 8/10
- Food (quantity): 9/10
- Inflight entertainment : 10/10
- WiFi: 8/10
- Service: 10/10
- Overall experience: good: 7/10