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
- Review: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (new) First Class Dubai to Brussels (today)
Today: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER new First Class Dubai to Brussels.
Last March, I flew in an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER featuring the carrier’s newest and game-changing First Class product from Dubai (DXB) to Brussels (BRU). With floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, virtual windows, a fully flat bed with zero-gravity position, and a sleek design inspired by Mercedes-Benz, Emirates’ new B777 First Class suite takes luxury and privacy to the next level. Emirates’ new First Class is only available on a small subfleet of B777-300ER aircraft which operate a limited number of routes. It’s unclear if Emirates plans to retrofit its existing B777 and A380 fleet with the new First Class suites due to exorbitant costs (upwards of $30 million USD per aircraft).
Have you ever flown in Emirates’ First Class? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.
- Trip: Dubai (DXB) to Brussels (BRU)
- Airline: Emirates
- Aircraft type: Boeing 777-300ER
- Aircraft registration number: A6-EQP
- Flight Number: EK181
- On time departure: yes (2 pm)
- On time arrival: yes (:30 pm)
- Miles: 3200
- Flight time: 7 hours
- Seat: 1K
- Class: First Class
In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Emirates First Class Lounge at Dubai Airport
- Facts & figures about Emirates’ longhaul fleet
- First Class cabin
- First Class suite (+ best & worst suites)
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences (views, crew, lavatory)
- My verdict (score)
1. EMIRATES FIRST CLASS LOUNGE AT DUBAI AIRPORT
All Emirates flights arrive and depart from Emirates Terminal 3 at Dubai International airport, currently the world’s largest airport terminal, with over 1,713,000 m2 (18,440,000 sq ft) of space. This terminal comprises two concourses: Concourse A (the world’s first A380 purpose-built facility, accommodating 20 air bridge gates) and Concourse B. Both concourses feature Business and First Class lounges. My flight departed from Concourse A, so this is a review of the Concourse A First Class lounge only.
The Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai is one of the most spacious, unique and innovative lounges in the world. In fact’s, it’s more of an ultra-luxe concourse floating above the terminal’s ground floor rather than a defined space like you find in other First Class lounges around the world. The lounge is enormous as it spreads the entire length of the terminal, offering direct access to most gates with multi-level boarding. Immediately behind the lounge’s elegant reception area is a gallery lined by high-end, duty-free boutique shops, including brands such as Tiffany&Co and Chopard. From there, two walkways run along both sides of the lounge, offering a nice view of the terminal’s ground floor below, and with plenty of seating areas along the way, most of them centered around the gates. At the opposite side of the lounge, the two walkways converge into the main seating area, which features a gorgeous chandelier.
Most seating areas in the First Class lounge come with their own food stations, with food varying from light snacks, sandwiches and sushi, to desserts and cheese spreads. The main restaurant with its semi-open kitchen is located halfway the lounge, and offers both a la carte dining and an varied buffet. The restaurant ambience does not feel very cozy nor intimate, due to the terminal’s incredibly high ceilings with gigantic pillars seeming to reach for the skies.
Emirates First Class passengers can also enjoy complimentary spa treatments at the Timeless Spa, which is located next to the First Class lounge’s entrance. The lounge also features a business center, a stylish decorated cigar room, a wine cellar, and two sleeping rooms (each featuring a dozen day beds).
It’s pretty insane that this ridiculously overwhelming space and the large number of seats accommodate only a few First Class passengers, but I guess that is what Emirates aims to reach: impress their First Class passengers and make them feel very privileged.
As already mentioned, the lounge has direct gate access. When it was time to board, a staff member scanned my boarding pass, after which I took the elevator down to the Boeing 777’s jet bridge.
2. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT EMIRATES’ LONGHAUL FLEET
Emirates is by far the largest Boeing 777 & Airbus A380 operator on the planet.
- Emirates has a total of 121 A380s in its fleet, including the last one ever to be built. It has been often argued that Emirates is the only airline to profitably operate the plane. Certainly the role of the A380 in building traffic at bustling Dubai International Airport, the world leader in international travelers with 88 million, is undeniable, as they are a great fit for the airline’s business model of moving large numbers of passengers on its long-haul flights. At the 2021 Dubai Airshow in November, Emirates also announced a major retrofit program which will see 52 of its existing A380 aircraft fitted with Premium Economy cabins and other enhancements, highlighting the airline’s ongoing commitment to ensuring its A380 experience remains best-in-sky.
- Emirates has 134 Boeing 777s in its fleet, one of the most popular and advanced wide-bodied aircraft in commercial operation today. The airline welcomed the first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft into its fleet in March 2005 and over the last two decades years, the 777-300ER has become the backbone of Emirates’ fleet operating currently to over 119 destinations across the airline’s global network. Emirates has operated one out of every five Boeing 777-300ER aircraft produced to date and the average age of a Boeing 777-3000ER in Emirates’ fleet is a mere 6.5 years.
3. FIRST CLASS CABIN
Emirates’ newest B777-300ER planes feature only 6 First Class suites arranged in 1-1-1 layout: two window suites on each side and two suites in the middle aisle. That’s a 20% downscale compared to Emirates’ B777s with the old layout, which feature eight First Class suites (four along the windows and four arranged in the center).
The cabin itself feels a little claustrophobic and the aisle is very narrow, but that’s because the six suites – each one offering up to 40 sq ft (3,7 sq m) of personal space – take most of the cabin’s space. The suites are so large that they have ample space to change in the privacy of your suite even after the bed has been made.
The most remarkable cabin feature outside the suites is a magnificent artistic motif printed on the front wall of the first middle suite, which represents the Ghaf (prosopis cineraria) tree, a figure that is used as a design highlight throughout the aircraft. An indigenous evergreen plant, the Ghaf is a considered the national tree of the United Arab Emirates, and has deep cultural and ecological significance.
4. FIRST CLASS SUITE (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
I had selected suite 2K for the 7 hour flight from Dubai to Brussels.
Each suite is fully enclosed with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, a first in the airline industry. This creates a level of privacy otherwise experienced only on a private jet. Contrary to Emirates’ older B777 and A380 First Class suites – which have a lot of walnut veneer and gold trim in their design – the new B777 First Class suite features a sleek interior with a soothing color palette of soft greys, cream and champagne, conveying a contemporary, open and airy feel. Above the suite’s three windows (which feature stylish curtains instead of traditional blends) as well as on the suite’s front wall, there’s a motif of the Ghaf tree.
The suite’s layout is very similar to Emirates’ old First Class product (which I reviewed here). It has an ergonomic soft leather seat at its center, which can be adjusted by a control panel in the arm rest into dozens of custom positions for optimal comfort, including the fully flat-bed position (a bed of 86 inches or 218 cm long with retractable armrest). The suite’s side (towards the aisle) features a personal wardrobe, which is large enough to hang a jacket or coat. The wardrobe’s external wall has another control panel, which allows you to adjust the suite’s temperature and lighting. On the other side of the seat (towards the windows), you find a tablet and another control panel, which can be used to command the inflight entertainment system or even to video call ‘room service’ (more on that below).
In front of the seat is a 32-inch full HD LCD TV screen. There’s a non-cooled minibar on one side of the TV (containing non-alcoholic drinks) and a small cabinet on the other (with a glass and a bottle of Evian water). Below the TV screen is a large desk, which has a vanity unit on the inside (with mirror, writing kit, and an “inspiration kit’ with Breydo skincare products). The suite’s large tray table is hidden under that desk and you need to pull on a robe-like bar in front of you to release the tray table and slide it towards you. Underneath the desk is a lot of open space and another cupboard to store personal belongings and hand luggage during the flight.
There are subtle differences with Emirates’ old First Class suite, such as the location of the private minibar on both sides of the TV screen instead of in the arm rest, but overall, the new B777 First Class suite’s layout feels very similar. That said, the new First Class suite does feature some new spectacular design elements:
- The soft leather seat reclines into a fully flat-bed that can be placed in a ‘zero-gravity‘ position inspired by NASA technology, giving a feeling of relaxation and weightlessness, similar to what astronauts experience onboard spacecraft.
- To ensure all First Class passengers have a view, Emirates introduced the industry’s first virtual windows for the two suites located in the middle aisle. These virtual windows project the view from outside the aircraft using real-time technology with fibre-optic cameras. Wow! This is probably the first plane where I would prefer an aisle seat over a window seat.
- Passengers can easily communicate with the cabin crew or request ‘room service’ using a video call function on the suite’s tablet (similar to a 5-star hotel).
- The suite comes with a service window where you can be served drinks and canapes undisturbed after closing the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors.
- The suite features impressive temperature & LED lighting controls. There are different lighting themes available (with adjustment of the brightness within each theme), ranging from red, orange and yellow to green, blue and purple. Your chosen colour will appear throughout your suite, such as on the floor-level mood lighting, behind and around the curtains, and in the wall pattern.
What are the best First Class seats on Emirates’ new B777?
- All six suites in the First Class cabin are equally excellent (especially since the middle seats feature virtual windows, allowing a view for all First Class passengers).
What are the worst First Class seats on Emirates’ Airbus A380?
- There are no bad seats in Emirates’ new B777 First Class cabin. That said, couples or travel companions may want to choose the pair of suites 1A & 1E or 2K & 2F since these suites have their entrances located in front of each other (so you can still communicate with each other when you leave the doors of these suites open).
Emirates First Class passengers receive the following amenities:
- Emirates offers an ‘inspiration kit‘ with Breydo skincare products to its First Class passengers. The kit, which is hidden in the desk’s vanity unit, includes a cleansing face towelette, facial toner, eye cream, chamomile roll-on sleep oil and chamomile pillow mist spray.
- Emirates’ First Class pajamas are the world’s first moisturizing sleepwear range to ever be developed for an airline. Designed to prevent skin dehydration, the pajama’s fabric is crafted with the use of natural ingredients – Shea Buter and Argan Oil – which are released with every motion, keeping your skin moisturized and protected. The patented Microcapsule Technology locks in the natural benefits, allowing you to wash the pajamas and use them again them again. Catering to female and male sizes – the pajamas come in four sizes and in a jersey travel pack. The dark grey men’s pajamas come with wide leg pant and ribbed collar, while the female’s pajamas come in a light grey tapered pant and reverse darker color collar. Slippers are provided as well.
- The inflight entertainment experience is enhanced with brand new Bowers & Wilkins Active Noise Cancelling E1 headphones. These headphones were designed exclusively for Emirates to ensure the sound was optimized for the First Class cabin. The headphones are lightweight and made of aluminium and sheepskin leather for a comfortable fit. You cannot take the headphones with you after the flight since they can only be powered within a plane.
- In the suites located along the real windows, binoculars are provided in case you want to explore the sky outside their windows.
- When you want to sleep, the crew provides turn down service and will make up your bed with excellent bedding and plush pillows. This includes a cream colored, furry blanket, which – when opened – has armholes and pockets to keep hands and feet warm. The blanket can also be converted into a travel pillow, providing comfort and support for the neck.
Unfortunately, an amenity kit was not provided on this medium-haul day flight.
6. FOOD & BEVERAGES
After boarding, I was offered Arabic coffee, dates, and a hot towel. The crew also put a basket with several snacks on the desk, which was removed during takeoff and landing.
Lunch was served shortly after takeoff (although as a First Class passenger, you could have your meal at any time during the flight). I choose the following selection from the impressive menu:
- Aperitif: a glass of Dom Pérignon Champagne (Vintage 2012)
- Canapés: sweet potato tartlet + humus with lamb baharat + smoked salmon crêpe with poached peer
- Appetizer: caviar, served with inion, chives, grated egg, sour cream, lemon, melba toast and blinis
- Soup: roasted butternut squash soup with Turkey rashers and green apple
- Main course: pan fried beef tenderloin, served with porcini mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, and sautéed green beans
- Dessert: passion fruit tart served with raspberry coulis
The food tasted excellent and was nicely presented. The caviar was an absolute highlight!
Shortly before landing, I ordered some more items from the menu for dinner:
- Starter: tomato consommé with vegetable julienne
- Main course: eggless mushroom ravioli, served with cherry tomato râgout and broccoli
- Dessert: an assortment of fresh cut fruit
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
#CREW: the crew during this flight was excellent (as is always the case with Emirates). There were two crew members that took care of the only two passengers in the First Class cabin. They almost made me forget I was flying (although I am a nervous flyer), and genuinely talked about how they loved working for Emirates.
# LAVATORY: there are two decently sized lavatories for First Class passengers in the galley behind the cockpit. Both lavatories were kept very clean during the flight.
# VIEWS: we enjoyed clear weather for most of the journey, resulting in some great views (especially above eastern Iraq).
10. MY VERDICT
- Cabin design: 10/10
- Seat comfort (upright): 10/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 10/10
- Food (quality): 9/10
- Food (quantity): 10/10
- Inflight entertainment : 10/10
- WiFi: 8/10
- Service: 10/10
- Overall experience: exceptional: 9,5/10