Impressions Of Emirates 777-300ER Business Class

Filed Under: Emirates, Travel

Hello from Dubai! After flying Air France’s 787-9 business class from Detroit to Paris, MEA’s A330 business class from Paris to Beirut, and then spending a few days in Beirut, it was time to continue to Dubai.

I flew Emirates’ 777 business class on the route, and chose them over MEA to avoid Syrian airspace, or something. I booked a paid economy ticket on Emirates, and then redeemed Skywards miles to upgrade.

I’ve flown Emirates first class a countless number of times, though I’ve only flown their business class once, which was on an A380 from Dubai to Los Angeles.

So, what was Emirates’ 777 business class like?

Emirates 777-300ER business class cabin & seats

People often have the impression that Emirates has these extravagant cabins that other airlines can’t compete with, though the reality is that their 777-300ER business class is sort of underwhelming.

Seats are in a 2-3-2 configuration, and are slightly angled (the angle is barely noticeable, and I can sleep in it without issue, even though I’m usually sensitive to this stuff).

The decor is absolutely hideous, as I find Emirates’ faux-wood cigar bar vibes to not be very appealing. However, Emirates has introduced a new style of seat, and I find that decor to be more appealing, even if it’s essentially the same seat.

All that being said, as far as seven abreast business class seats go, these seats are actually really cozy and comfortable. It’s nice that you don’t have to put your feet into a footwell, and the seats have a ton of privacy thanks to the huge partitions between them. I’d highly recommend a window seat.

So in my opinion these seats are more comfortable than you’d expect, but not cutting edge. The cabin is most definitely hideous, though.

Emirates business class food

I was actually shocked by how not-good the food was on Emirates. The airline has a different catering philosophy on short haul and long haul flights, and while Qatar and Turkish have exceptional food on short haul flights, Emirates doesn’t.

Service began with mixed nuts and drinks.

Then the appetizer — which consisted of a small mezze — and main course were served on a single tray. Fair enough, except the mezze wasn’t exactly great, and the mains weren’t very good at all.

I had the Arabic-style sautéed prawns, while Ford had the ghuzi chicken, which frankly looked disgusting, and apparently didn’t taste much better.

For dessert there was the choice of a sweet option, cheese, or fruit. My layered pistachio muhallabia was excellent, and was the only great part of the meal.

Then after the meal some packaged chocolate was passed around.

Emirates business class amenities

Emirates offers pillows and blankets on these flights. The pillows were pretty good, while the blankets were scratchy.

Emirates business class entertainment & wifi

Emirates’ ICE system is the best entertainment system in the world, with an incredible selection of movies and TV shows. There’s not an airline in the world with a selection like that.

Emirates offers free wifi to Skywards members in first & business class. The catch is that it’s provided by OnAir, which is extremely slow. However, it was actually fast enough to be functional on this flight, as I’ve generally found speeds to be better on the 777 than the A380.

Emirates business class service

Service at the Gulf carriers tends to be hit or miss. This crew was definitely on the “miss” side of things. Service wasn’t good at all, but it also wasn’t bad. The crew went through the motions with zero charm, but they also didn’t do anything wrong.

I’d note two things that annoyed me about the service flow, neither of which were the fault of the crew, but rather were due to how they are trained:

  • The cabin had to be prepared for landing 45 minutes before arrival, meaning you already had to put your seatback upright, etc., in spite of it being a smooth flight; that’s simply ridiculous
  • The service very much feels like an assembly line, and you’re served your meal tray with a glass of water; by the time they come around to offer you a drink (including wine) you’re usually done with your meal; this seems poorly thought out

Emirates business class bottom line

All things considered this is a good product for the 3hr15min flight from Beirut to Dubai. The seats are comfortable (especially the window seats), the entertainment is excellent, and the wifi is free.

However, the service, food, and decor do leave a bit to be desired. In my opinion the soft product doesn’t hold a candle to Turkish or Qatar.

If you’ve flown Emirates’ short haul business class, what was your experience like?

Comments
  1. I had an incredible experience for my first Emirates 777 business class! Though that was my first ever business class flight back in 2013 but the service was still incredible. But last summer i flew Qatar on their 777 short haul and long haul (in qsuite), and then flew Emirates 777 again. I too was a bit disappointed and had a similar experience as you.

  2. I flew Emirates business class 2 years ago, Sydney to Auckland on the A380. I was on the upper deck, so relatively quiet. The seat reclined into a true flat bed, great for a 1 hour nap. The flight attendants could provide more personable service due to the mostly empty cabin. Though I didn’t appreciate the flight attendant interrupting my movie to try to get me to sign up for their rewards program.

  3. Ben – didn’t you fly this product to Oslo about 5 years ago, in early September 2014 (if memory serves it was the second of September) but never got round to reviewing it (which is how you know that you can sleep in the seat just fine) ?

  4. Ben – didn’t you fly this product to Oslo about 5 years ago, in early September 2014 (if memory serves it was the second of September) but never got round to reviewing it (which is how you know that you can sleep in the seat just fine) ?

  5. I had five Emirates business class flights last year – the service was comically bad across all five flights. They made me feel bad requesting a glass of water or an extra pillow…

  6. Emirates is slipping in terms of the hard product. For me, service has always been disappointing. The crew seem to be on robot mode all the time and too busy looking out for their physical image of themselves and the brand. Yet they forget basic things as you mentioned. I remember once having to wait SOO long to have the food cleared, we ended up putting the food on the floor to be able to use the bathroom. They generally seem to be stressed and a bit too young/inexperienced to execute better service. Although I have to say lounge staff are generally better, except for the DXB lounge.

  7. My experience is consistent with this review. In fact even for long haul I find Emirates business class underwhelming. Their focus seems to be on First and given the general disengagement of their crews and poor service if something goes wrong I only use Emirates and their Business product as an absolute last resort.

  8. Emirates’ 2 x 3 x 2 configuration in Business SHOULD make them uncompetitive, but clearly something is working for them and their service (although admittedly slipping) is still among the best.

    Also, on the 777s, even though you don’t get the absolute full-flat, and there’s no bar onboard, the seats are actually wider than on the A380, and the monitors are larger.

  9. Honestly speaking, it’s such an overrated airline.
    I avoid DXB and EK as long as i have the option.

  10. I fly a lot between Seattle and DBX and fly business class when I can get it for a reasonable price . I had one flight where the FA told me she would make almost anything g I wanted for breakfast (and she did a stack of great French toast )to mediocre service maybe only couple of times but overall I believe them to be one of the best airlines in the world for the service , seats and food .

  11. I will take the Emirates service and seat in business ANYDAY for a 3 hr flight instead of the big 3 or 5 here in the US.

  12. I’m guessing they double-cater regional flights… food ex-DXB is pretty bad. The US outstations do a great job.

  13. Just had my first EK Biz class experience, and must admit was a little underwhelmed. I did have the “newer” cabin on a 777-200LR with the tan leather (which was nice) and the wood was certainly not as “bling” as I thought it would be. The food (out of ADL to DXB) could only be described a “meh” (let’s call the style “International Bland”). However the leg from DXB – LHR was on an A380 and my wife and I sat in a “honeymoon pair” in the middle and it was actually quite nice. The food too was much better. I get what you mean about the looooong wait for a class of wine. Our return flight was on the new(ish) Qantas Dreamliner service LHR-PER. The cabin was great, the seats comfortable and the food and service wonderfully Australian and warm (even though the crew were mostly British). I don’t think I need to be rushing back to EK any time soon.

  14. @Simon, I’m guessing you transited back to ADL through PER? Perth is my hometown although I live in Europe now. But I’m interested in what the transit experience was like? I’m thinking from a logistical point of view (was it easy/cumbersome to get through immigration and customs) and also the experience (does QF do a good job seeing as the LHR flight lands on the domestic side)?

  15. Did you book a saver, flex or flex plus ticket? They’re quite a difference in the upgrade cost between the different fare codes, I sometimes see very little value in flex plus tickets versus just purchasing business class outright.
    Also, could the poor quality of food have anything to do with catering in Beirut? Because I’ve had some nice meals on Emirates to/from India/Africa/Middle East, usually quite a bit better with India than Tanzania/Kenya/Egypt. I’ve also had good meals on flights to/from Heathrow but average food to/from Narita/Guangzhou.

  16. It’s a long time since I flew Emirates business and having just flown with Qatar in J then Emirates are a light year behind in hard and especially soft product. Honestly, just fly Qatar.

  17. I’ve been saying this for Years about Emirates- thanks for validating this Ben! I even find EK first class food mediocre and definitely hit and miss with crew service. More on the miss side in my opinion. Middle seat in business class for such a supposedly premium airline is unacceptable. Imagine doing a long haul in that.
    One of the issues they have is that regional flights on EK in first and business are usually consistently overbook (especially to Saudi), so they try and maximize capacity on those flights and since they only have 2 aircraft types they mix and match those aircraft between short and long haul.
    Overall I don’t get how Emirates still maintains such a good reputation. It’s quite mediocre especially in business. Economy is the way to go in my opinion while avoiding south East Asian and Philippines routes. Those ones are hell in economy.

  18. I find the male flight crew on Emirates a little too camp. On my last flight with them, the overhead luggage compartment was full and the attendant swished along to assist and came out with an obviously quite rehearsed (and entirely unnecessary) line “Well let’s try it on the other side – that usually works for me”.

  19. Yes ..Emirates in 777 Biz both longer as shorter flights is known to me..and yes I prefer A380 but as I travel largely eco ANYTHING is better than 777 eco long haul ! This Beirut Dubai vv flight can take an hour longer depending on wind (or something) so either across Saudi or Turkey/Syria/Iraq (which I flew across when there was war..just like i flew across Ukraine MH17/18 )
    So 3 or 4 hours decides my choice often
    Like you say hit or miss service (don’t forget this flight can be very crowded) but boy was I glad I had upgraded myself last time exiting Beirut..ready to take off : a cloud broke.. accompanied by a hurricane..it was the heaviest turbulence ever..on the runway..
    But being rocked & shaken in a business seat is so much more relaxed !
    Anyway, who cares about movies or food..I want comfort !

  20. Underwhelming as one person said is a good way to describe it. I could never understand how they won award after award but a flight attendant who was dating a friend told me. She said crew and staff were told to fill up the forms and questionnaires relating to awards.

  21. What a coincidence! I’m writing from an EK flight from Dallas to Dubai. So here’s the thing, Flight outbound was with an old (so to say) B777 configuration and yes, it wasn’t really appealing. Exactly the one you have pictured in this article. Then today by surprise the B777 is the latest one. Wow! A different experience. The seat is way more comfortable. The design is definitely better. So the improvement is definitely there. Only one comment: I’m not a fan of the lined up seats. I love those in which you have your own entrance (i.e. in Etihad wide body, Cathay and AA). In fact the fellow passenger had to jump when I was on flat bed position to get out. Beside this the inbound flight is awesome as it is a huge screen and the award winning entertainment.

  22. Dear Ben,

    45 minutes for cabin preparation is normal to avoid ‘go around’.
    Many airlines loss the approach slot due to cabin not secure for landing and traffic nearby airport. That’s many reasons how airlines trying to catch the On Time Performance, control the cost and getting the designated gate or parking bay.

  23. While not exactly a short-haul (HKG-DXB) my experience on a EK ‘old’ 2 cabin which was substituted for a 3 cabin with F, was similar to that described by Ben. Of course my displeasure was compounded by being downgraded from F to Business (I knew this before boarding due to keeping on top of my booking all through, eliminating the shock factor).
    Hideous is an apt descriptor of the hard product, and unmemorable sums up the soft product.
    I will go to pains to avoid wasting miles/money/time on this particular product in the future.

  24. I wish someone could travel back in time and shoot the idiot who came up with the footwell idea for business class. I am a bigger guy and I sleep on my side, which is impossible with a footwell! I traveled the world for 20 years flying business class on long hauls. There is no way I will ever spend miles or money to try and shove my feet into a shoe box for 8 to 12 hours. What were they thinking…oh yeah..let’s start ripping off the business class customers.

  25. @David
    They were thinking aisle access from all seats, and they were thinking I don’t have to either be as nimble as a ballet dancer or wake my neighbour if I need to leave my non aisle seat.
    There is only one seat offering aisle access and no footwell in J, the Apex suite. And it is not space efficient, so it never caught on.
    In the end it is a trade off, and people seem to be mostly happy with the aisle access, and that is what most airlines are aiming for.

  26. I’m surprised you mentioned very little about the 2-3-2 configuration! Can you imagine being in a middle seat in business? Is it acceptable anymore not to have direct aisle access for every premium passenger? Is it ok if you have a window seat to clamber over your sleeping neighbor’s legs to get to the aisle? Not in my opinion. Emirates’ direct rivals Etihad and Qatar never box you in next to another passenger.
    I agree with you the cabin is hideous. Reminds me of the interior of 1980s and 1990s Korean cars.

  27. Compared to Lufthansa Business Class from FRA to TLV (A321) with a slightly longer fligth-time, this Emirates 2-3-2 configurated Business Class with lie-flat seats is a perfect product. It’s ok for me on a 3 hours trip.

  28. @Dennis the QF experience was great! They’ve literally got their own little “Int’l arrivals” section at the end of the terminal. Couple of immigration counters, a baggage belt and customs section. We were through it and into the lounge waiting for our ADL leg in about 15-20 mins…

  29. It interesting that you constantly mention how you’re sensitive to the slight angle of seats. Are you aware that most planes fly at a 2-3 degree nose up attitude so a completely flat bed actually has you at an angle with your head down (and thus worsens sleep) and the angled beds actually are closer to a flat bed?

  30. Our last two flights on EK 777 business last year were poor.
    One flight had an older cabin, with fantastic service but an out-of-service toilet (this was out of Dubai). The queues for the working toilets were constant. There always seems to be something broken on Emirates!
    Our other flight was on a near new beautiful 777 and was only half-full. But the service was terriable!
    We chose Emirates again as our other leg was on a 380 but maybe next time we will fly Qatar (again).

  31. It’s refreshing to see this write up and comments (most supporting). I too would testified to many of these facts. The few times I’ve upgraded with miles or cash last minute; at least 50% of the time, the business class crew taking my order would say since you were a recent (free) upgrade you may not get your desire food order etc. On my last flight (which was the worst experience) from Bali to Dubai, the crew host said, ‘you have a free upgrade so I can’t serve you food until everyone is served’. I was very perplexed because I paid in full (cash) for my upgrade which I was asked whether I was interested to do so at the check in at the airport. I think the crew gentleman discerned my disappointment and shock at his statement. I waited for him to finish his speech. Then he inquired at the end – was this free or miles upgrade? I said I paid for this upgrade , do you want to see my receipt? It made me feel very disturbed through the entire 9 hr flight; I’ve been flying with Emirates the last 11 years as a passenger. I didn’t expect this to happen…. but it did. It’s a pity. So my question is – service is dependent on the type of ticket in business class?

  32. I had one flight with Emirates and had basically the same experience. I wouldn’t fly them again for the price they usually charge. The crew I think was even a bit worse than yours, 9h flight, showed up two times with the meal services and kept the cabin dark even though we landed at 16.00 local time. So you basically had lunch in the dark. What you forgot to mention is that these seats have no storage space at all. So you have to store everything in the overhead lockers. But to access it you have sometimes to step over your seatmate. Also, the power plug is located really badly. It’s almost below the seat itself (in the wall separating you from your neighbour) and is so small and open that I was constantly feared that my phone would fall under the seat. The entertainment was nice and all but the screen was so big you saw everything anyone watched. Also they run ads. I thought I’d have bought the premium product here, especially as this flight had no first class. In the end, absolutely disappointing experience. Probably one of the world’s worst business classes for me if you take price into consideration. Emirates could have improved their product when introducing their new 777 business class but they failed to do so. I would prefer almost every middle eastern airline over Emirates in business class. Their eco and first is alright though. Not the best but at least solid.

  33. I was kinda hoping for more details about the seats/etc. Seemed like a really short posting for a review, IMO. Was this previously reviewed elsewhere and this one is just an update?

  34. What’s funny is that in economy, they serve your choice of drinks with the meal, I’m often surprised at just how much stuff they can cram into their carts at Emirates.

  35. This is a total joke of a business class product for families. Traveling with my wife on the new 777 product I can’t even talk to her as the divider doesn’t go down to the point where I can even see her head. I can’t believe anyone has anything nice to say about this product.

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