The new Emirates first class launches December 1 flying to Geneva and Brussels. The cabin was revealed this morning at the Dubai Air Show after a long wait.
Emirates originally announced they were doing a new first class immediately after Etihad announced the First Apartment and Residence and even suggested we’d see it flying two years ago.
It’s a gorgeous suite. It’s far more understated than the current bright golf motif. But it doesn’t offer nearly as much space as the new Singapore Airlines Suites that will go on all of their Airbus A380s. The Singapore Suite is 25% larger than the new Emirates offering.
- There will be 6 suites in the cabin (in 1-1-1 configuration) down from 8 today. That’s the same number that Singapore will offer on its A380s, and that Cathay Pacific offers on its 777s.
- Crew won’t have to open the suite’s doors to provide passengers with food and beverages because there’s a panel that opens in the door to pass through items.
- The center suites that don’t have windows have virtual windows — screens that show images from outside the plane.
- Passengers receive tablets with two-way video to communicate with flight attendants in the galley.
Though Emirates CEO Tim Clark insists first class is core to the airline’s business, they aren’t retrofitting their full 777 fleet with this seat at this point, which isn’t surprising since they haven’t retrofitted their 777 fleet with a fully flat business class either. Including new delivery 777s they only expected to have 8 or 9 planes with the new suites two years from now. The one U.S. destination mentioned for new suites is Chicago. They’ve also mentioned Perth in Western Australia.
Here’s Emirates President Tim Clark talking about the new suites — and suggesting that demand for first class remains strong on the airline because of the quality product that they offer.
— Gulf News (@gulf_news) November 12, 2017
As 777s are reconfigured though they will get the new dense 7-across flat business class. 777-9s will be delivered new with the seats beginning 3 or more years into the future. There’s no retrofit timeline for Airbus A380s, though that is said to go from 14 down to 11 when (if) it happens. Since the A380s have showers and the 777s do not, until the new suite is introduced on the A380 in the future I’m not sure whether I’d choose this new product over the existing A380 one.
The new Emirates first class suites look absolutely gorgeous. They won’t go on very much of the fleet at least for many, meany years. While a true comparison requires flying long haul on the product not seeing photos of trying out mockups in a ballroom, this seems an order of magnitude behind Singapore’s new offering.
However I love to see continued investment in first class products as most of the airline world transitions to business class as their top premium cabin outside of a few niche markets. And while it’s not possible to book first class awards on Emirates’ initially announced new first class flights eventually it will be.