Emirates’ Disappointing New 777X Business Class

Filed Under: Emirates

Emirates is the biggest customer of the next generation Boeing 777X. The airline has a massive order of 150 Boeing 777Xs, including:

I’d note that while this is still a firm order as of now, Emirates President Tim Clark has indicated that they’re reconsidering at least part of that order, so we could see their 777X order scaled back a bit.

So, what should we expect? Clark has revealed some details about the new plane on his latest podcast interview for Emirates’ inflight entertainment system.

Emirates’ New 777X Business Class

While Emirates is known globally as a top airline, overall they have a rather disappointing business class hard product. The backbone of their fleet is the 777, and a majority of their 777s have slightly angled seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, which isn’t exactly industry leading.

Emirates’ 777 business class

All along we’ve been told that Emirates will introduce new business class seats on the 777X, though it sounds like maybe we shouldn’t get that excited.

Clark has indicated that the 777X will have a new business class, but it will basically be the same seat that they have on the A380.

For those of you not familiar with Emirates’ A380 business class, the airline has pretty standard staggered business class seats on the plane. On the plus side, they’re fully flat and feature direct aisle access.

Emirates’ A380 business class

Emirates’ A380 business class

However, to see this seat introduced on a brand new plane in the 2020s, and for this to be their new business class, is disappointing. That’s especially true when you consider how much innovation we’ve seen with business class seats nowadays, as other airlines introduce seats with doors in business class.

No Bar For The Emirates 777X

It has also been revealed that the Emirates 777X won’t have an onboard bar, unlike the A380.

Emirates’ A380 onboard bar

Rather the plane will have a small comfort area in the middle of the cabin. Don’t get excited about this at all — it sounds similar to Emirates’ 777-200LR comfort area, which isn’t that special.

Emirates’ 777-200LR comfort area

Emirates’ 777X Will Have New First Class

Just over two years ago, Emirates introduced their new first class. As of now fewer than 10 of their planes have these seats. The next planes to get the seats will be Emirates’ 777Xs. So that’s at least good news, that we should see more planes with these seats.

Emirates’ new first class

Emirates’ new first class

Emirates’ 777X Will Have New Premium Economy

Emirates was supposed to debut their new premium economy product on the 777X, though due to delayed deliveries, it looks like premium economy will now debut on the A380 in December 2020, since it looks like they may not get any 777Xs until 2021.

We still don’t know what Emirates’ new premium economy will look like. During the Aircraft Interiors Expo earlier this year HAECO revealed their new “Eclipse Cabin,” and in the press release they noted:

The launch customer − an as yet unnamed Middle East-based airline − will begin flying with the seats in 2020.

So my best guess is that this is the new seat, but I’ve also heard reputable people suggest that it won’t be, so who knows.

Bottom Line

Emirates is probably still well over a year from taking delivery of their first 777X, given the delays with the plane. While they haven’t revealed all the details of their 777X cabins, it’s disappointing to hear that the airline essentially plans on using the same business class they have on the A380.

Staggered seats like this are well over a decade old, and with other top airlines (and heck, even mediocre airlines) introducing great business class seats, this seems like a missed opportunity.

Emirates relies so heavily on marketing to maintain their reputation, though I wonder to what extend they’ll maintain that reputation long term, especially when they retire their A380s. What will Emirates be like without bars or onboard showers, and with just mediocre business class seats?

What do you make of Emirates’ 777X business class seat decision?

(Tip of the hat to ET)

  1. What’s the difference really with, let’s say, Delta’s Suites that are a hype now? It’s a staggered seat with a door.
    Emirates has a similar seat but without a door. So it’s only a door we are talking about.
    Emirates will be leading with their IFE, catering, service and total bling bling which many people give a feeling of luxury. I don’t think the door is that important and I think it’s overrated.
    Luckily they don’t have a 2-3-2 lay out in J, that’s more important.

  2. “What will Emirates be like without bars or onboard showers, and with just mediocre business class seats?”

    Well, to be fair, business class passengers don’t have access to the showers anyway.

    “What’s the difference really with, let’s say, Delta’s Suites that are a hype now? It’s a staggered seat with a door.”

    Door aside (which is just for privacy fetishists mostly), there are some design elements in Emirates’ favor. The footrest is larger, and there is a small bar at the seat too. Delta’ seats do have better finishing details, though, and it is nice to be on the aisle and not have people bumping into you accidentally while you are sleeping.

    So it isn’t like Emirates’ staggered seat is horrible, though I myself prefer a nice reverse herringbone seat.

  3. If they have the same staggered 1-2-1 in a 777X, you get almost an extra metre in width over the A380 upstairs (basically an A330 in useful width). That should make for quite comfortably wider seats.

  4. It was an interesting & correct article . This airline has been profitable in the short term, but now it must be more flexible, because competition is getting tougher . Emirates shouldn’t forget its originality for the benefit of the company .

  5. QR continues to beat everyone else to the punch in J. EK does not care about J, the way QR does not care about F.

  6. I don’t know why it is disappointing. The only real downside to those seats is the gaudy finishings that Emirates chooses. Emirates business class has never been cutting edge. I reckon the majority of people who fly on Emirates 777s will be rather pleased with this update.

  7. Emirates has an outstanding Business Class on the A380. But I agree the aligned horizontal seats aren’t on the 777 isn’t the best option. In March I flew to Dallas and my fellow passenger on the window had to jump each time to exit the seat. I am not sure why EK doesn’t come with a new layout on their 777X. The service onboard and on the ground is still great.

  8. Emirates BC is quite OK, never had a problem with it.

    On another note, why all those ads spread through the post?

  9. This is not about the seat, but about the ground service, mentioned in last comment. Some few months ago I travelled from Delhi to Nairobi via Dubai. The plane from Dubai was late due to bad weather, and I missed my plane to Nairobi from Dubai. Everything was arranged I was told, just go to the transfer desk. When I came there, several hundred angry people were in five, six rows, waiting for re-booking/ hotel for the night. I asked one staff member if they could help me to get my re-booking faster, given I am an elderly person. She just cut me off and told me to stay in a row If I wanted my ticket changed, age or no age. I had to stay in this row for five hours, and was deadly tired when my turn came. I simply think that an airline as other things in line is as good as its weakest link. And this horrible experience made me promise not to travel with Emirates again. No excuse, no response, despite complaining.

  10. Seriously. Those seats on the A380 are awesome. Footwell has plenty of space. Big TVs. You’re coming off a bit jaded, Lucky, especially since they have a sick first class as well.

  11. Because Emirates has one of the, if not the best first class in the world it creates a sort of “halo effect” this happens in many industries through out the world. Foremost of which is automotive where certain car companies release ridiculously fast and expensive cars which changes people’s perceptions of the company as something better than it actually is. How does this relate to Emirates? The incredible first class makes their mediocre business class offering better in some people’s eyes. So this business class will be in the middle ground but because of their first class they believe that it is somehow the best in the world. Good food and IFE can massively improve the experience but if the hard product is not as good it makes the whole experience seem hollow and sub-par.

  12. I think Emirates A380 business class seat is a perfectly pleasant place to spend 8-10 hours (though I find the bling a bit tasteless). Their other business class seats are simply poor, compared to many other airlines — and aren’t even in the same league as Qatar’s old reverse herringbone seats, let alone Qsuites.

    So Emirates is going to do a catch-up — but the smart airlines have already moved on. Even crummy old BA has leapfrogged to a more private seat with a door.

    And, whether you value it or not, a door is the new aspirational standard in J. If you don’t like it you can leave it open and be happy. But if you do like it, you love it!

    Lucky always used to say that J class was “all about the seat”. He’s not saying that so much these days, but I still think he was right. It’s why I don’t care about the Virgin clubhouses, when their onboard hard product is so dated and manky.

    Emirates increasingly feels to me like an airline that’s losing its way, that’s living off an out-of-date reputation and lashings of brand hype. It’s a pity.

  13. Chauffeur in J, Excellent J lounges worldwide, Fleet consistency in J (especially for shorthaul), Great wines and catering.

    Only thing that will disappear long-term is the shower and bar (which go with the A380).

  14. The difference is that the airlines such as Delta that have added “nice little doors” to their seats don’t have first class, so they must have a great business class product, at least on the hard product. However Emirates offers an over the top first class on their 777 which is 10x better than Delta’s business class with door’s seat. And their soft product beats Delta even on economy. If you want a door on Emirates, pay up. Otherwise their business class product it’s where it needs to be, otherwise they would be canalizing their own first class sales.

  15. Saying these are a disappointment is a huge understatement. They weren’t good when they were introduced and they sure will not be a desirable option next year much less a decade from now. Who are they kidding? It is all about the seat and the real estate not some silly soft product frills. For the same money, I can fly DL One Suites or even AA 772 J class with a 1-2-1 configuration not to mention Qatar’s Q Suite. Compared to a Q suite, this is nothing but a glorified PE seat.

  16. From someone who is from the Gulf, I can tell you that EK is slowly but surely losing its appeal. The only reason many people from this part of the world still fly them is because of their A380, and the fact that QR is still barred from flying into our airports.
    I agree with some of your readers that EK is still living off its reputation, but the fact is they offer the worst J class seats and config on their 777s than all other regional carriers, including Gulf Air now, and the highest fares in the region.
    I for one, will not fly on their 777s for longer than a couple of hours as the out dated seats on majority of their aircrafts give me back pains, that is if I’m lucky enough to avoid the MIDDLE seat !!

  17. @The nice Paul – Let’s see, I fly to the subcontinent more often than not from AUH. EK provides a chauffeur for me at both ends. The food in the DXB lounges is so good that I seldom eat on board. A (nearly) flat-bed awaits me, and F is sold (which I sometimes opt for). Their F is available on nearly all routes and is really the best product in the world in my eyes, because you never need to transfer onto an inferior J class product.

    Compare that to EY, where what I would see on 90+% of my travels are back-breaking recliners (320’s) on redeyes. When I fly elsewhere, I am pretty much always on EK’s 380’s which I find to be great.

    Your beloved Qsuites are trash to me, for the Al Mourjan is rubbish, the seat uncomfortable and overhyped (I expected an F seat, not a staggered seat with a “door”), no chauffeur and on many occasions 320’s, some with NO IFE!!!!

    And KLM :DD please, what are you smoking Paul…. Middle seat inter-europe J, useless lounge in AMS, bottom shelf booze and frozen dinners…. need I go on…

  18. @EYrevanchist

    Yes, yes, you’ve said all that already. It’s irrelevant though – you claimed that you loved Emirates because of “fleet consistency in J”.

    There is no fleet consistency in J.

    You are wrong. And your weird views about other airlines don’t alter the fact that on the point of fleet consistency, you were talking out of your, er, hat.

  19. Are any seat layouts of the new 777X planes available?

    The Emirates model does not seem to be as seat focused as other airlines- it’s about overall grandeur, service, and connections. Very few airlines offer such incredible connectivity as Emirates at Dubai. Their ground service (lounges, chauffeur cars, etc) is impeccable, and service in the air, though sometimes a bit variable, is generally very good. And ICE, their inflight entertainment is second to none.

    Yes, sure, other airlines offer better seats. Even Delta, American, and United in the US arguably have a better Business class seat on their flagship planes. But there’s a reason Emirates is one of the world’s best airlines and they are not. It’s not just about the seat.

  20. Emirates is inconsistent across all premium cabins and any time they introduce new products, they are always gimmicks for advertising! Making people think that whenever they book, they will get the advertised product which is available on 2 planes!
    That said, there’s only so much innovation you can have! There are only so many ways you can cut the cardboard and shape it into a seat! Other than bespoke touches and overall design adjustments, I can’t see how else you can innovate seats that turn flat!

  21. @The nice Paul – Hmm… let me break it down for you.

    On EK, there are TWO aircraft, the 777 and the A380

    On the 777, Business is in a 2-3-2 configuration on the 77W’s with 90% having (slightly) angled flatbeds and the others having full flatbeds. The 77L’s have 2-2-2 seating with full flatbeds. The new model of EK seat that goes flat is the most comfortable in the sky (from a purely comfort perspective, it’s like a flying spur). In Business, you never have to connect onto recliners or other short-haul products.

    On the A380, Business is in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration that offers flatbeds. An onboard bar is available. The A380 operates most of EK’s longhaul OPS.

    Consistent, maybe not by your definitions, but simplified – sure and better than any other carrier around. Including your lovely “gutter” airways.

  22. @EYrevanchist


    So, as you now agree, there is NO consistency in J. There are now no fewer than FOUR different products in longhaul.

    Of course, if you’d read Lucky’s article properly you’d know that. And you wouldn’t be making mad (and just plain wrong) claims to Emirates’ superiority on those grounds.

    Now as it happens, I think the chauffeur service is a nice feature. But, as Lucky says, J is “all about the seat”.

  23. I feel that those who love to fly EK because of the what they offer on the ground, like the chauffeur svc, and not what seat they sit on, dont pay for their tickets.
    For those like myself who pay out of their own pockets, the layout and seat comfort are very important.

    After all, wouldn’t you rather pay for your car svc, but get a better product .. and pay less airfare ?

  24. The current 777 layout is not good. Not only do you have jump over a sleeping person if you are on the window (which is not easy), the side by side big screens mean you see everything your neighbor is watching. If staggered means these issues are cured and its more like the A380, I am happy with it.

  25. Any 2-3-2 configuration in J, on any aircraft, it hopelessly outdated. Emirates seems to make that experience even more unpleasant. Even Qantas, always the follower, never the leader, has recognised that that config. has had its day.

  26. @Runar Soerensen: you received the famous EK blank stare. Like I received after flying Business Class, DXB/IAH. I had pre paid for internet, which did not work for the duration of the flight. Refund? No way.

  27. Anyone who is not satisfied with their business class seat is welcome to trade seats with me. I will be in economy class and I’m sure I will NOT be dissappointed in the seat. I will be disappointed when faced with the reality that there are people out there who have the means to travel in such luxury and have the gall to whine about it.

  28. @Aaron – Maybe you don’t understand the definition of the word consistent. Just try to find a more consistent airline in the world that operates flights of all lengths – it’s a dare!

  29. @Marc

    I think you’ll find the reason the internet did work the whole flight was because you were over the polar region for many hours.

  30. @Mark3

    Internet is sold through Emirates by a different service provider. It’s not provided directly by Emirates. It happened to me also with other airlines that internet wasn’t working although I paid.

  31. All part of the cycle 20 years ago BA where world number 1 now they are at the lower end of the spectrum but have LHR. Emirates will go down hill but have a large part of the world within 6 hours

  32. @EYrevanchist

    Nope, you clearly don’t understand the meaning of the word. And you’re trying to distract from the issue by bringing in other airlines, which has nothing to do with your post saying Emirates has fleet consistency. 3 or 4 types of seats is hardly consistent.

  33. Emirates have fallen far behind SIA, ANA, Eva, Hainan or even Etihad.

    For me the choice is clear: Qatar Qsuites! Whenever I fly SE Asia (3-4 times a year), I always book Qatar Qsuites for me. Can’t beat their class, luxury, food, ambiance and comfort.

  34. @EYrevanchist says: “EK provides a chauffeur for me at both ends. The food in the DXB lounges is so good that I seldom eat on board.”

    EK’s J class comfort.., where? Something tells me you’re one of those big mouthed fella flying AA in domestic routes and EK for international because your IT company can’t pay for better airlines!

    I don’t give two rat’s a$$ about chauffeur driven smelly cars and nasty seats!

    Have you been to the Al Safwa lounge in Doha?? The classless EK lounges can only dream about such a lounge.

    But hey if you like abysmal comfort and crappy food who am I to complain? Go ahead, ride on a car thumping you chest instead of flying in comfort.

    There’s a reason why EK is a 4-star airline and how much their business class sucks!

  35. Maybe Emirates have realized that there are very few revenue demand for full fare customers for those fancy showers and bars. That people fly private.
    Reality is that they need to be competitive but still offer a good product. They have come down to realize that the industry is full of customers that wants to pay as little as possible and expect as much as possible like all these bloggers / mike chasers

  36. I think these seats look great. These are the same layout that many others have, but better than Delta in my opinion, as they have ‘couples’ seats as well as singles seats. Every other row in the middle have two together which is great. This looks quite nice. As for the elimination of the bar, that is sad.

  37. @KK13 – “Al Safwa” LOL, Al Safwa is Qatar’s F lounge – which while superior to EK’s J lounge is inferior to Emirates F lounge in all aspects except for those who like water features.

  38. @EYrevanchist: umm, what? Al Safwa is inferior to EK’s F lounge??

    Okay I’m done with this idiot! Waste of time.

  39. My blogs over the years have not been favourable to EK, especially in Y.

    In the last three years we have flown:

    China Eastern
    Ukraine International
    Air Canada

    The hard products have been:
    787-8, -9
    777 300ER
    777 200
    767 300ER
    747 400

    I tend not to have a problem with angled lie flats as I like my head higher than my feet – so I tilt my flat bed anyway.

    What matters more is service, decent food and decent wine.

    Recently the only airlines that even partially satisfy this requirement are somewhat surprising:


    Condor and SAA surprisingly served two of the best meals and decent wines.

    But the best was EK on two occasions. Albeit the EK experience was 3 years ago so things might have changed.

    Definitely will miss the bar.

  40. Have they not seen the new ANA Business Class? This (Emirates) will look, feel and offer a 1990s experience compared to many other Business competitors………..even BA A 350!

  41. I just returned from IAD-DXB-MLE, outbound on the EK A380 First, then onwards to Maldives in the new 777-300er configuration. The return was MLE-DOH-IAD on Qatar Q-Suites. The A-380 bar, especially on a 13+ hour flight is the most valuable perk in the air. The ability to get up and walk around, be a little social and simply stretch out can’t be overstated. Yes, the showers are nice, but I don’t really miss them on other flights. I would definitely pick the 777 over the 380 for the first class cabin, even without the bar. The Q-suites are incredible and the flight crew attentive, but the leg space feels cramped. If Qatar is considered the best business class in the industry, I’m left wondering how easy it would be for EK to give some leg room and add the bar area and -boom- new business class leader? The privacy door is nice, especially if your neighbor is annoying, but generally I leave mine open to feel less confined.

  42. Never rated Emirates – All hype and marketing a bit like virgin has been for years – biz class seats are average – like a school bus ! And stewards / stewardesses are functional – no personality – like robots
    Qatar are far better in terms of product / service

  43. Very interesting to read through the comments!

    I can only say from my own experience (and this includes a few flights with The Residence): Emirates hits it out of the park with their Wine selection in First Class! I do like their showers of the A380, I love their new First Class of the 777, but for me it is really about sipping a glass of Chateau Margaux in First Class from time to time to make sure I am booked on Emirates. That’s why I always check their wine list before making a decision about which airline to take on private trips, truth be told.

    And by the way, I like very much their new business seat on the 777, very comfortable (but the food is not that great, though even the French Bordeaux in business was good). Those with complaints about their business class should first check the new 777 out, and also acknowledge that Emirates A380 business seats are much better than (for example) those tired, old seats on Austrian. (I am based in Vienna, so I know Austrian and their mediocre lounges best.)

    For some reason, I never warmed to Qatar and their seats, even their FC lounge was way too sterile for my personal taste.
    And for what it is worth: the Champagne/wine selection on The Residence is laughably bad for a product this expensive (when I complained after my flight, they sent me a wine list to choose from for my return flight – but I would have had to pay a lot extra for one of those “nice” bottles (that Emirates offers in “simple” First Class regularly)).

    #firstworldperks 😉

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