23On my final flight to bring me back to North America, I had the chance to try out Emirates’s 777 business class on a nearly 15-hour journey from Dubai to Seattle.
Over 14 hours is a long time to spend on any aircraft, and I was curious to see how this product would stack up compared to my previous Emirates flights, especially the A380 business class flight that I had just stepped off a few hours ago.
Emirates 777 Business Class – Booking
As mentioned in my previous review from my inbound flights back from South East Asia, I booked my entire journey from Bangkok to Seattle via Dubai in Emirates business class for 87,500 Aeroplan points.
This time, I didn’t need to leverage Aeroplan’s 5,000-point stopover policy on my inbound journey, having transited in Dubai for just a few hours.
With the Bangkok–Dubai–Seattle route measuring under 11,000 miles in distance, I was able to make full use of the “Asia 3” sweet spot on the Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart.
As I live on the West Coast, the “Asia 3” sweet spot gives me the option to fly over the Atlantic or the Pacific, with plenty of choices for carriers. If I’m unable to find business class or First Class availability with an Asian carrier, then I also have the option of flying via Europe or the Middle East with a single connection.
Emirates 777 Business Class – Ground Experience
Prior to this flight, I killed some time in the Emirates Business Class Lounge (Concourse A) after my flight to Dubai on the Airbus A380.
It’s a sprawling space that mirrors the airport layout, albeit on the uppermost floor. Food-wise, there’s a decent buffet offering; however, it could definitely be of a higher calibre, and there’s no à la carte dining or unique offerings to elevate the experience.
Nevertheless, I made the most of my time there, finishing off some work and partaking in a light breakfast before boarding my flight to Seattle at Gate A21 directly from the lounge.
It doesn’t get much more convenient than heading straight from the lounge to the gate, which is one of the lounge’s best features.
Emirates 777 Business Class – Cabin
Emirates operates three versions of the 777-300ER, with business class spread over two sections at the front of the aircraft.
The two-class version has a business class mini-cabin between the main business class cabin and the economy class cabin. In contrast, the three-class versions of the plane have a min-cabin between the main business class cabin and the First Class cabin.
Regardless of which version of the 777 you find yourself in, you’ll either be in a more intimate mini-cabin setting, or the larger cabin spread over four or five rows.
While Emirates’s 777 business class cabin offers an opulent and sleek-looking interior, it falls short with a 2-3-2 configuration, offering no direct aisle access from every seat.
This is a departure from the more favourable 1-2-1 configuration that you’ll find on the Airbus A380, and leaves you with less privacy while sitting immediately next to your seat mate.
Upon boarding, we were greeted by the cabin crew and welcomed to our seats.
This Boeing 777-300ER has a refreshed take on the classic Emirates design, with bold gold and wooden inlays and seats inspired by Mercedes-Benz.
If you’re not careful with your seat selection, you could find yourself sandwiched in the middle with two people on either side. This is indeed the worst type of seat in business class, unless you’re flying as a group of three and don’t mind bothering each other.
Solo travellers or couples should opt for the windows, as they have a little more privacy and better views. However, prepare to either have someone step over you while seated in the aisle, or to step over someone when you’re seated at the window.
As I made my way to Seat 11K and took stock of my surroundings, it was clear that these business class seats would be somewhat lacking in terms of the hard product.
And just to rub it in, it initially appeared that I’d luck out with an empty aisle seat next to me, but unfortunately the seat became occupied last-minute by a deadheading crew member.
Emirates 777 Business Class – Seat
The seats are inspired by the design and aesthetics of Mercedes-Benz cars, and feature leather upholstery and adjustable headrests.
However, while the seats are certainly quite visually appealing, the seat itself lacks storage space and privacy. You can clearly see your neighbour’s entertainment programming, and there’s also a lack of places to put your belongings.
As I settled in, I took a closer look at the business class seat around me, drawing my attention to the in-flight entertainment screen immediately in front. These 23-inch screens are smaller compared to 32-inch screens offered in First Class.
There’s a small storage compartment just below the screen. The compartment was pre-stocked with a few bottles of Evian water, socks, and an eye mask upon boarding, and it can be used to stow away small personal items during the flight. A padded shelf forms the tail end of the bed when the seat is in lie-flat mode, and it also functions as a dual-purpose footrest during the flight.
There’s ample storage space underneath here for carry-on bags or shoes.
Adjacent to the footrest is the literature pocket, located on the left side of the seat.
The center console has limited surface space that must be shared with your seatmate; however, each passenger has their own deployable shelf on the vertical surface of the console. The shelf wasn’t reliably sturdy, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your drink if you choose to put it there.
Beneath the shelf is an un-chilled minibar that holds sparkling water and canned beverages. Below here is a storage pocket which is large enough for laptops and other similar devices.
A set of shortcut seat controls with two options can be found near your shoulder along the left-hand console. One option brings the seat to the upright position, and the other puts the seat in lie-flat mode.
In this area, there’s also a reading light just to the right, and the entertainment controller below that can be withdrawn for handheld use.
Promptly above is a tablet that also doubles up as a secondary entertainment screen.
Continuing along the left-hand console, you’ll find the primary set of seat controls with seven functions, including lighting controls.
Directly beneath is the headphone jack, USB port, universal outlet, and HDMI port.
The tray table is hidden beneath the armrest. Opening it up, the tray remains in a static position and can be simply pulled out and folded down over your lap.
It’s worth noting that the tray table, once deployed, essentially traps you in the window seat without the ability to get out comfortably.
The seat’s outer shell provides some privacy, as a partition can be raised between you and your seatmate for a bit of separation.
Overall, the seat on Emirates 777 business class definitely leaves a lot to be desired, and probably ranks as one of the worst business class products in the skies in terms of the seating layout alone.
While there are a couple of nice features and a compelling visual identity, it’s safe to say that the 2-3-2 configuration is far behind the times, and Emirates needs to consider phasing it out as soon as possible.
Emirates 777 Business Class – Amenities
Shortly after settling into my seat, the flight attendant came by to offer a warm welcome and a pre-departure beverage. Not necessarily in the mood to drink on this morning departure, I chose a glass of orange juice over the other options.
Prior to boarding, a comfortable blanket and pillow were set at each seat, along with noise-cancelling headphones. Shortly after, amenity kits were distributed to all business class passengers.
The amenity kit provided was the Bvlgari kit, identical to that of my recent flight on Emirates A380 business class.
This comprehensive kit is jam-packed with useful amenities. You’ll find a dental kit, Bvlgari aftershave and body lotion, a small bottle of cologne, deodorant, shaving cream, and a razor.
Emirates 777 Business Class – Meal Service
The flight attendants doled out the in-flight menus upon boarding, and took our orders prior to takeoff.
The menu read as follows:
And the wine list read as follows:
I was feeling quite tired at this point in my journey, and decided to forgo breakfast service this time, although the steak and eggs on the menu sounded mighty tempting. Instead, I managed to sleep for the first seven hours of the 14-hour flight, which is quite unusual for me but reflects my fatigue at the end of this long round-the-world journey.
After a restful sleep, I woke up just in time for dinner. The three-course meal began with salmon gravlax, which was a holiday-inspired appetizer.
The appetizer was of a generous size, and I enjoyed the delicate richness of the salmon, complemented by the mustard crème fraîche. I also found that the flavour of the dill added a bright and fresh element to the dish.
I asked the crew to pour a glass of the Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Emirates is known for its impressive selection of Champagnes on its flights, with a variety of brands and vintages.
It’s worth noting that Veuve Clicquot is exclusively served on flights to North America and Europe.
Next up was a mouth-watering prawn makhbous. This is one of Emirates’s most popular dishes, so much so they have the recipe on their website.
The huge succulent prawns were cooked to perfection, bursting with juicy flavours and expertly balanced with a delicately spicy and tangy sauce. It was a great dish indeed, and I can see why it’s a favourite.
Concluding the meal service was another holiday-themed creation, shaped in the figure of Santa Claus. The playful dessert added a fun and imaginative element of surprise to the overall meal.
Wrapping up a delectable meal, I reflected on a positive showing by Emirates’s onboard catering this time, especially in comparison to some mediocre experiences with Emirates’s food on precious flights.
Emirates 777 Business Class – Entertainment
Emirates offers complimentary Wi-Fi for business class passengers by attaching your Emirates Skywards rewards number. You’ll want to keep this in mind and ensure to connect it with your booking beforehand to enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the journey.
When it comes to entertainment, the Emirates ICE in-flight entertainment system offers a wide selection of movie titles to choose from. You’ll also find an equally impressive selection of TV shows, including entire seasons of shows across many genres.
I’m not usually someone who watches a lot of shows on flights, but if you’re someone who does, you won’t run out of options during long-haul flights.
Emirates 777 Business Class – Bed
Since this journey was by no means a short one, I wound up sleeping for another three hours or so in the recline mode as we passed over Yukon.
The bed was comfortable, and I didn’t at all feel restricted with movement, especially given the absence of a footwell. However, because of the seating layout, I couldn’t help but feel quite close to the passenger next to me while I was sleeping.
Emirates 777 Business Class – Snack Service
I woke up for a second time with just enough time to dig into the snack menu and have some light bites before landing in Seattle.
This time, I had the vegetable tortellini, which wasn’t particularly noteworthy. The pasta was cooked well and had a nice texture, but it could have used more flavour.
I was then in the mood for something sweet, so I went for the vanilla dome cake. The cake was tasty, but not quite as delectable as the Santa-themed chocolate mousse cake I had earlier.
As the 14-hour long-haul flight was nearing its end, I indulged in a refreshing glass of mango juice. Later, I decided to switch to a hot cappuccino, giving me a much-needed energy boost for my arrival in Seattle.
Overall, my flight experience in Emirates 777 business class left quite a bit to be desired. The 2-3-2 configuration of the seats was a significant weakness, as it resulted in a lack of privacy, space, and comfort.
Having now flown Emirates business class on the A380 and 777, I’d confidently say that the A380 had a clear edge. If you’re shopping around for flights, be sure to pay attention to the aircraft type, as it can greatly improve your overall experience.
On the backs of this showing, it’d be essential for Emirates to re-evaluate its hard product on the 777 aircraft, which forms a large part of its long-haul fleet, in order to uphold the level of luxury and comfort that the airline promises.
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