I recently flew Emirates’ new Boeing 777 first class on a long haul flight for the first time, and a reader asked me in the comments section whether I prefer Emirates’ “new” 777 first class or “old” A380 first class. So I wanted to address that in this post.
Emirates’ two types of first class seats
While Emirates has a fairly consistent fleet of just Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, the airline has some different premium products. In this post I wanted to address whether I think Emirates’ A380 or 777 first class is better. On the surface you may say “well of course the new first class is better than the old first class,” but the A380 has some unique amenities that give it an edge in some ways.
Emirates “old” A380 first class pros & cons
Emirates is probably most well known for its Airbus A380s, as the carrier has by far the largest A380 fleet in the world. Ironically in terms of the cabin itself, Emirates’ A380 first class isn’t that cutting edge.
The cabin has 14 seats, so doesn’t feel especially private (though often the cabin isn’t full). Furthermore, in terms of the footprint dedicated to each seat, there’s not actually that much space. As a point of comparison, Singapore Airlines puts just six first class seats in the same space on the A380.
In terms of the cabin as such, I’d argue that Emirates’ “old” 777 first class is better than the A380 first class. That’s because 777s have just eight first class seats, and the cabin on the 777 is also wider than on the upper deck of the A380, so it feels more spacious.
But the A380 has two features that make it oh-so-fun, which for many of us never get old:
- Emirates has two ridiculously over-the-top shower suites in A380 first class, which are unlike anything offered by any other airline; the novelty of showering on a plane just doesn’t wear off, in my opinion
- Emirates has a bar at the back of A380 business class, which is a great place to stretch your legs, socialize, and just generally have fun
I should note that there are mild differences between the cabins on various A380s, depending on when they were delivered. Some have slightly have different finishes, some have different bars, and the seats have slightly different technology. However, the “bones” of the cabins are consistent.
Emirates “new” 777 first class pros & cons
I rank Emirates’ new Boeing 777 first class as being the best first class product in the world. Each 777 has just six first class suites, and they’re better than what you’ll find on the A380 in just about every way. They’re incredibly spacious, they’re fully enclosed (floor to ceiling), and there are endless gadgets, from temperature controls, to lighting controls, to the ability to order room service by video, to virtual windows.
There’s simply not a first class product in the world that offers this much privacy or opulence.
What’s the downside to Emirates’ new 777 first class?
- There’s no onboard shower
- There’s no onboard bar
- It’s not ideal if you’re traveling with someone; you have so much privacy that you won’t even really be able to spend time with your travel companion, as there’s no option to dine together, to combine two suites into one, etc.
The other major consideration is that Emirates’ new 777 first class is only available on very select routes, as only nine 777s feature these cabins. So a vast majority of 777s don’t have this new first class.
Which Emirates first class product is better?
If you haven’t flown Emirates’ new first class and have the opportunity to, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a spectacularly good product, and then there’s the novelty of it. But let’s say you haven’t flown either product, or you’ve flown both products multiple times.
Here’s my philosophy on which product is refer:
- If traveling alone, I’d choose Emirates’ new first class for the huge amount of personal space and unrivaled privacy
- If traveling with someone, I may choose the A380, for the ability to sit together, shower (not necessarily together), and go to the bar; I consider Emirates first class to be the most fun first class product in the sky, and it’s a lot more fun with company, and that’s something you’re giving up with the new first class
- However, if I were traveling with someone in Emirates first class on an overnight flight where I mostly intended to sleep, I’d choose the new first class, as it’s much better for sleeping
Bigger picture, with so few planes having Emirates’ new first class, there are limited situations where you’ll be choosing between the two products. Emirates has 250+ jets, yet only nine feature the first class, so the cabin sure is tough to come by.
Emirates is known for its first class product, and personally I love both the carrier’s A380 and new 777 first class. The new 777 first class is in my opinion the best in the world, and offers an unbelievable amount of privacy and some amazing gadgets. The A380 first class offers showers and a bar, which are some of the coolest amenities you’ll find on planes. On top of that, the A380 is great if you’re traveling with someone and want to enjoy the flight together.
I’m curious to hear what OMAAT readers think — which Emirates first class product do you prefer?