After berating the old Emirates 777 Business Class product and mocking the layout of the new cabin when it was unveiled years ago, what I’m about to say may seem absurd, but give me this Emirates New 777 Business Class over the Emirates A380 Business Class every day of the week.
I’m the last person to believe that I just typed that but it’s legit, this new Business Cabin from Emirates is superb, minus a couple of niggles, which I’ll get to post a few flutes of Veuve Cliquot.
There’s a good chance the frequent flyers among you are questioning my sanity, at the very least how a seasoned traveller can claim that a 2-3-2 layout trumps a 1-2-1 layout of individual suites complete with standalone onboard bar.
Let’s get one thing straight, I love the A380 bar, it’s a novelty I will never take for granted, but I’m just as capable of getting inebriated from the comfort of my own seat, and when it comes to this Emirates New 777 Business Class, there’s no Business Class seat more comfortable. Sorry, Etihad and Cathay. A bold statement no doubt, but a deserving one nonetheless.
Emirates collaboration with Mercedes-Benz has resulted in seating inspired by the grand S Class, a car I spent eight hours in last week driving from Stockholm to Are in Sweden’s north. By the end of this European trip, I will have clocked a cool twenty odd hours in S Class seating, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any seat, in any form of transport, more comfortable.
What the Emirates New 777 Business Class seat lacks in personal storage (and accessibility for the dreaded middle seat!) it more than makes up for in comfort, design and functionality. In all three positions, upright, lounging and as a bed, it eclipses all of its competitors and blows Emirates tired A380 seat out of the water. Ultimately it’s a car seat, or at least heavily inspired by one, with a bolstered backrest and plush quilted leather.
I found the sweet spot for lounging to be somewhere between upright and the preset ‘lounging’ mode, which I felt was a little too close to a bed, and not conducive for informal work or staying awake. Dressed with a mattress, the seat continues to envelop you in enjoyment, converting to a flatbed with the inbuilt headrest acting as a lovely pillow for those who can’t stand having their neck shaped into a shelf bracket by the overly plump onboard cushion. Armrests for all seats also stow for an additional bit of space while sleeping, and for the aisle aficionados, easy access to the bathrooms mid-meal.
The space itself takes design cues from the somewhat garish product that precedes it but is noticeably more elegant and contemporary. Wooden veneer borders the multimedia screen and mini bar and covers both the table top and privacy screen but remains subtle, contrasting tastefully with the cream leather surrounds and chrome accents. The table is a great size, manoeuvrable and extremely sturdy which I love. Seat lighting and buttons are thoughtfully placed, and the ICE entertainment unit can be controlled via the sizeable main screen, stowable mini controller or portable iPad thing, which you’re likely to forget is even there because you never touch it. The video scrolling on the updated ICE system is fantastic and there’s no lag on any of the touch commands. I must also reiterate that the Emirates Amenity kit is one of the best in the sky.
When dinner arrived, I struggled to find somewhere to put my MacBook, opting to rest it on the small footwell in front of me. There’s a dicky little space under the screen in front of me which isn’t big enough for anything. The magazine storage in front of me is overflowing with a spare bottle of water and my amenity kit, and I have my headphone case stuffed down beside my seat. Unlike the A380 space, it feels crowded, which is perhaps the most pressing issue with this new product. Maybe I’m to blame not organising myself a little better from the get-go, packing things back into the overhead compartment. Finally, I can’t help but feel the mini bar, while a nice touch is just redundant, who is drinking a room temperature drink when you can just ask for a cold one. It would be much better allocated to storage. Fortunately, the small drinks tray that pulls out from above it provides additional space to place things.
Interestingly, Emirates has just announced they’re changing the layout on their 777-200 refits, offering customers the same style seat but 2 inches wider in a 2-2-2 configuration. Apparently, they’ve listened to feedback from the new cabin users.
Unfortunately, that config doesn’t fix my only other qualm with this product, foot and leg space while sleeping (which you can see in the background of the image below). I’m not a big fan of distorting my spinal cord by angling my lower body and legs into a gap on one side of the seat in front of me. The bulkhead seats avoid this conundrum, giving flyers the ability to lie with their body straight and offering a considerable amount of additional foot space. Despite choosing to bring this issue to light, I had much better sleep on this seat than I did the A380 before it, and if you’re a fan of sleeping on your side or stomach, you will too.
I won’t go into too much length about the Emirates food and wine service as I’ve found it to be consistently very enjoyable. The staff, on the other hand, can be a little hit or miss, on this 777 Refit they were excellent, on the A380 before the fellow who served me seemed surly and unwelcoming.
Let me finish with some tips for flying Emirates New 777 Business Class:
- If possible reserve a bulkhead, you’ll have a wider space for your feet when lying flat.
- Chose a seat in the front business class section, it’s smaller, quieter and gets no traffic from the First Class section in front.
- Avoid the middle seat, I had a quick sit in it before the rest of the plane boarded and it the privacy screens make it almost unbearable for anyone who feels even remotely claustrophobic.
- If you’re travelling as a couple I would actually consider both getting aisle seats next to each other. The privacy screen is so high between the seats that it’s almost impossible to see each other let alone touch.
- Next time I’d take a small tote to store earplugs, headphones, laptop and charging cables that I could hang off the magazine/safety info pocket for a bit of additional space.
- If you can find a 777-200! I think these will be absolutely perfect given the extra two inches of space.
To book Emirates New 777 Business Class head to their website.