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
- Review: Soneva Jani Chapter One
- Review: Soneva Jani Chapter Two
- Review: Velaa Private Island
- Review: Anantara Kihavah Maldives
- Review: Soneva Fushi
- Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (old) First Class Male to Dubai (today)
- Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (new) First Class Dubai to Brussels
Today: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (old) First Class Male to Dubai
Last March, I flew First Class with Emirates in a Boeing 777-300ER from Velana International Airport in the Maldives (MLE) to Dubai (DXB). The privacy of the suite (with sliding doors), excellent bedding, top-notch amenities, and impeccable onboard service made for a superb flight experience. I only wished the flight would have lasted a bit longer, since 4 hours – the flight time between the Maldives and Dubai – is not enough time to be completely submerged in Emirates’ First Class luxury. The (old) First Class product of Emirates (which I review here) still lives up to its reputation, although it definitely pales in comparison to Emirates’ newest First Class cabin, the greatest aviation experience you can have as a passenger (which I will review next week).
Have you ever flown First Class with Emirates? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.
- Trip: Male (ME) to Dubai (DXB)
- Airline: Emirates
- Aircraft type: Boeing 777-300ER
- Aircraft registration number: A6-EGY (built in 2012)
- On time departure: yes (9:50 am)
- On time arrival: yes (12:50 am)
- Miles: 1890
- Flight time: 4 hours
- Seat: 2K
- Class: First Class
In this review (more information & photos below my YouTube video):
- Lounge at Velana Int’l Airport
- Emirates Boeing 777 fleet
- First Class cabin
- First Class suite (+ best & worst suites)
- Amenities & bedding
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences
- My verdict (score)
Velana International Airport is quite small and has only one Business Class lounge, located one floor above the main concourse. Called Leeli Lounge, the contract lounge is used by all airlines, including Emirates. The lounge is essentially one large room, with plenty of seating areas, some of them equipped with in-seat power outlets. The lounge is quite dark (there isn’t much daylight) and the decor is rather unappealing, which is disappointing in a country that revolves around luxury travel. A buffet area with some dining tables is located close the lounge entrance and offers a selection of international food, including sandwiches, pastries, fruits, yoghurt, and some hot dishes. No alcohol is served inside the lounge because the Maldives is an Islamic country. Complimentary high-speed WiFi is offered to all lounge guests.
2. EMIRATES BOEING 777 FLEET
Emirates operates the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft. The Dubai based carrier has 134 Boeing 777 in its fleet, consisting mainly of the Boeing 777-300ER. The carrier flies these modern aircraft to nearly 100 cities on six continents, carrying millions of passengers across the globe each year. The carrier plans to start phasing out older first generation “classic” 777s (777-200ER, 777-300) in favour of the new Boeing 777X.
3. FIRST CLASS CABIN
Emirates’ Boeing 777 First Class cabin is located in the nose section of the plane. The cabin features 8 enclosed suites in a 1-2-1 configuration, all of them having direct aisle access of course. The four suites along the windows and the four middle suites are spread across two rows. All suites enjoy complete privacy, as none of the rows quite line up, so nobody is directly looking into the suite across the aisle, even when the sliding doors of the suites are left open. The First Class suites on the side are ideal for solo travelers (with a three windows per seat), while the two pairs of suites in the middle are perfect for travel companions since dividers between these suites can be raised or lowered to provide a feeling of extra spaciousness.
Emirates’ (old) First Class cabin features a sumptuous and somewhat kitschy decor. An abundance of walnut veneer, gold trim and pearlized plastic frames the suites, doors, seats and windows, which does not completely suite my taste (I prefer the more minimalist and contemporary design of Emirates’ newer First Class cabin, which I will review next week).
4. FIRST CLASS SUITES (+ BEST & WORST SUITES)
Emirates’ First Class suite is a fully enclosed space: there are two sliding doors connecting the suite to the aisle, which can be closed to create a completely private space. The ergonomic seat, which has a width of 23 inch (58 cm), is very comfortable, and its various positions as well as built-in massage systems are controlled via a tablet on the side as well as a small panel in the armrest.
In front of the seat is a gold framed, 32 inch (81 cm) video screen, the largest of its kind in the skies, with a desk below. The latter features a fold-away mirror with vanity kit, as well as a drawer containing a writing kit. Upon boarding, the crew also puts a basket with several snacks (e.g. nuts, chocolates, etc …) on the desk; the basket is removed though during takeoff and landing. Under the desk is a large space, which can be used to stow away personal belongings, as the First Class suite lacks overhead bins nor does it have large storage compartments
One side of the seat features a minibar with soft drinks and juices (on room temperature). It’s more a fancy decoration to impress passengers than a functional amenity, as you can order whatever (cooled) drink you want during the flight. Next to the minibar is a tablet to control the seat movements and the inflight entertainment system (more on that later) as well as a storage box for smaller items (e.g. glasses, wallet or cellphone).
At the push of a button, the seat automatically reclines into a fully-flat bed of 86 inches (218 cm) long, with fully retractable armrest. Turndown service is provided by the crew, who put a mattress, fluffy pillow and soft duvet on the seat, guaranteeing impeccable sleep comfort.
What are the best First Class seats?
- Solo travelers should select a window suite, while travel companions should choose the middle seats.
What are the worst First Class seats?
- There are no bad seats in Emirates’ Boeing 777 First Class cabin.
Click here for a seat map of Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER.
Unfortunately, this was a dayflight, and Emirates only provides amenity kits and pajamas on long-haul flights. Eyeshades, a vanity kit (inside the seat desk) and noise cancelling headphones were provided though. Other goodies included a writing kit, hygiene kit, and a selection of welcome snacks.
One meal service (breakfast) was served on this four hour morning flight. Breakfast started with fresh fruits and a bread selection, which included paratha, pav, brown roll, Danish pastry, muffin and croissant. As a main breakfast course, I had the waffles served with berry compote. Unfortunately, the waffles did not taste very well nor did I found the dish to be nicely presented. I guess I choose the wrong option from the menu (the other meals looked much better), but I was not very hungry anyway.
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). When not in a window seat, it can be nice to watch the aircraft’s takeoff via the cameras.
8. 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.
9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
I am huge fan of Emirates’ multi-national cabin crew and it was not different on this flight. The purser, a superfriendly lady from India, personally welcomed me onboard, escorted me to my suite, and made sure I was looked after very well during the flight. Service was top-notch and the crew were all smiles. During the flight, I learned that the crew flew in with the overnight flight from Dubai, so they had not slept and there was no layover in the Maldives for them (except for the pilots).
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.
We enjoyed some terrific views of the Maldives right after takeoff.
10. MY VERDICT
- Seat comfort (upright): 9/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 9/10
- Food (quality): 6/10
- Food (quantity): 8/10
- Inflight entertainment : 10/10
- WiFi: 8/10
- Service: 10/10
- Cabin design: 7/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8,6/10