Which Routes Feature The New Emirates First Class?

Which Routes Feature The New Emirates First Class?

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I rank Emirates’ new first class as the world’s best first class product. Readers often have questions about whether a particular flight is scheduled to feature the new first class, so in this post I wanted to cover that in a bit more detail, and provide an update on which routes are currently scheduled to have the new product.

What makes Emirates’ new first class special?

While Emirates first class has long been a world class product, the airline took it to the next level with its new first class, introduced in late 2017. The new first class is available exclusively on select Boeing 777-300ERs, and features just six seats. It’s simply the most impressive first class hard product in the sky.

Emirates’ new first class seat
Emirates’ new first class seat

While there are lots of first class suites with doors nowadays, this one is actually fully enclosed, floor-to-ceiling. This suite also has an incredible number of gadgets, from temperature controls in your private suite, to lighting controls where you can choose the color and intensity of the lighting.

Emirates’ new first class seat

To get a sense of how awesome this product is, check out my full Emirates new first class trip report from a flight I took between Washington and Dubai earlier this year.

Which planes feature Emirates’ new first class?

Even though Emirates has a fleet of over 250 aircraft (exclusively Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s), only nine planes feature the new first class seats. More specifically, the last nine Boeing 777-300ERs that Emirates ever took delivery of have this cabin. Emirates took delivery of these planes between 2017 and 2018, and they have the following registration codes:

Nine Emirates 777-300ERs feature new first class seats

The above links go to the Flightradar24 pages for each of the planes, so you can track where they’ve been flying.

Just to be perfectly clear, while Emirates’ A380s offer an incredible first class experience with onboard showers and a bar, no A380s feature the new first class seats.

Emirates’ A380s have onboard showers, but not new first class seats

How can you tell if your plane features Emirates’ new first class?

The best way to tell for sure if you’re scheduled to be on a plane with Emirates’ new first class is to look at the seatmap. If the seatmap shows eight seats in first class (two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration) then you’re scheduled to be on a 777 with the old first class.

Meanwhile if the seatmap shows six seats in first class (two rows in a 1-1-1 configuration) then you’re scheduled to be on a 777 with the new first class.

Let me once again emphasize that aircraft assignments are subject to change, especially if you’re still a long time from departure.

Emirates’ old 777 first class cabin

Which routes feature Emirates’ new first class?

Emirates is constantly adjusting its schedule at the moment in light of current travel demand and restrictions, so I’m not going to fully list the exact dates, flight numbers, and routes that 777s with new first class are scheduled for, since that information will already be outdated within a few days.

That being said, at the moment Emirates most regularly flies 777s with the new first class between Dubai and the following destinations:

  • Brussels (BRU)
  • Frankfurt (FRA)
  • Geneva (GVA)
  • London (STN)
  • Nice (NCE)
  • Riyadh (RUH)
  • Tokyo (NRT)
  • Zurich (ZRH)

While these are destinations that pretty consistently have 777s with the new first class scheduled, there are plenty of other routes where we sometimes see 777s with the new cabins substituted at the last minute. For example, it’s not unusual to see a route to the United States swapped to one of these planes close to departure.

The problem is that these assignments often happen within 24 hours, so there’s no way to really bank on it. I have a bad habit of checking Flightradar24 every couple of days to see if any of the new 777s are bound for a route to the US with award availability.

Emirates 777s with the new first class sometimes fly to the US

Will more planes get Emirates’ new first class?

Emirates introduced its new first class four years ago, and still only nine planes have the new first class. When can we expect more planes to get this new first class product?

  • There are no concrete plans for Emirates to reconfigure any existing planes with the new first class product; while Emirates plans to reconfigure some existing 777s with premium economy and possibly a new business class, apparently installing the new first class isn’t part of the plan
  • Rather the new first class product will be rolled out on Emirates’ upcoming Boeing 777Xs, as the airline has 115 of these planes on order
  • The catch is that Emirates was supposed to start taking delivery of the 777X in 2021, but that has now been delayed until 2025 at the earliest, and the airline has even threatened to cancel its order if Boeing can’t become more reliable (then again, there aren’t many alternatives)
  • Emirates also has A350-900s and Boeing 787-9s, but those aren’t supposed to feature first class

Unfortunately it sounds like we shouldn’t expect any more planes to feature the new first class for another three years, which sure is disappointing. Hopefully Emirates management has a change of heart, and reconfigures some existing planes with these seats. Unfortunately with the losses stemming from the pandemic combined with the fast recovery in demand, I doubt that will happen.

Emirates’ upcoming Boeing 787s won’t feature first class

How do you redeem miles for Emirates first class?

The best way to redeem miles for Emirates first class is directly through the Skywards program. The good news is that Skywards is transfer partners with all major transferable points currencies, including Amex Membership RewardsChase Ultimate RewardsCiti ThankYou, and Capital One, so there are lots of ways to earn Skywards miles.

First class award availability can be tough to come by on planes with the new first class, given how small the cabin is. That being said, we often see one seat released in advance, and then more seats released as the departure date approaches.

The real trick to scoring an Emirates first class award seat is to book a business class award, and then upgrade at the airport or on the plane using Skywards miles, as that generally gets you last seat availability.

Upgrading to Emirates first class is easy day of departure

Bottom line

Emirates’ new first class product is incredible, and I rank it as the best in the world. Unfortunately it’s only available on nine aircraft, so a vast majority of Emirates first class passengers won’t get to experience it.

Hopefully the above is a useful overview of what makes the product special, and what routes you can regularly find it on. At the moment Emirates isn’t regularly flying 777s with the new first class to any destinations in the United States.

If you’ve flown the new Emirates first class, what was your experience like?

Conversations (19)
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  1. Frank Guest

    We fly on first class on Emirates A380. Great food and service but their pillow is too soft and has little support. We always ask for a second pillow. We sleep better on a firmer pillow!!! Please Emirates provide pillows with more support!! Also avoid Seats 4A and 4K as too close to the galley and can be noisy at times!!

  2. reinevictoria New Member

    Next month I'm scheduled to fly F on EK to DXB on the 380 out of IAD and return in F on a 777 to ORD. Seat map shows 8 seats, but registration code is listed as one of the 777 with the new first class. Maybe I'll get lucky.

  3. Dr. Rodrigues Guest

    Emirates is playing the mighty king with us ! Their prices went incredibly upwards, while other perfectly decent carriers ( Turkish, Ethiad , aso) kept with several promotions.
    Furthermore, they are not honnouring skywards miles upgrades as they did before : Booked a flight LIS/DXB/LIS a couple of weeks ago . Since I had miles expiring, I booked Y to upgrade to C. Only after paying for the ticket did I get their message...

    Emirates is playing the mighty king with us ! Their prices went incredibly upwards, while other perfectly decent carriers ( Turkish, Ethiad , aso) kept with several promotions.
    Furthermore, they are not honnouring skywards miles upgrades as they did before : Booked a flight LIS/DXB/LIS a couple of weeks ago . Since I had miles expiring, I booked Y to upgrade to C. Only after paying for the ticket did I get their message that there was "no current upgrade availability" . But there were more than half of C class sears available . I think I am going to change my preferences ...

  4. Marcus Guest

    I do have a question. Why would anyone upgrade on the NRT-DXB route? The flight leaves at around 10 pm and lands in DXB at 4 am approx. basically you board after dinner and land in time for a shower and breakfast in DXB. You would admittedly get a set of PJs. Since I am booked on that route am wondering whether I should blow miles to upgrade at the airport if available…

  5. Omar Guest

    I'm curious have you ever seen the new seats swapped on the MIA route?

    1. Todd Guest

      Yup

      26 Jun a6-eqh MCO
      23 Jul a6-eqi MCO
      24 Jul a6-eqp MIA

    2. Julie Guest

      I would love to fly it out of MCO sometime! I need to keep an eye out I guess.

  6. Alonzo Diamond

    Flying these planes on anything under 7 hours is a waste of a redemption imo. Just like Singapore suites, you need 10+ hours to really enjoy the product.

  7. mark Guest

    Have flown F on the 380 from time to time. I don't think they are true 180 beds in F. They may be 170/175, but not 180. Due to the nature of the seat. Very weak vs. true 180. Do you/others agree on the 380, and what is the situation with F seats on the Triple 7? Personally, I would live without all the other fluff if there is a 180 seat.

  8. SS Guest

    All routes listed to fly the newer 777’s with the cutting edge First class cabin are high yielding with tremendous potential attracting business travellers as well as high net worth leisure travellers. Emirates has made a good choice on this by selecting these particular routes. Probably the only odd one out for me is London Stansted as I wonder the high flying business traveler would go out of the way to fly the new first...

    All routes listed to fly the newer 777’s with the cutting edge First class cabin are high yielding with tremendous potential attracting business travellers as well as high net worth leisure travellers. Emirates has made a good choice on this by selecting these particular routes. Probably the only odd one out for me is London Stansted as I wonder the high flying business traveler would go out of the way to fly the new first to STN as it takes a long time to reach central London and for them time is very essential and also the airport experience is not that good like Heathrow. But then again EK does not fly 777’s to LHR/LGW and they need a route to London as it’s high yield. So STN is the best alternative.

    1. Tom Guest

      You’d be surprised on STN, don’t be fooled by the fact Ryanair use it - EK isn’t stupid. Even without the boost from LHR capacity restrictions it has a very wealthy catchment area (a large swathe of North London, Hertfordshire and Essex which includes some of the world’s most expensive residential areas), a huge private jet operation, etc. It was double daily new first (the only route globally, I think?) before COVID hit.

      Very glad...

      You’d be surprised on STN, don’t be fooled by the fact Ryanair use it - EK isn’t stupid. Even without the boost from LHR capacity restrictions it has a very wealthy catchment area (a large swathe of North London, Hertfordshire and Essex which includes some of the world’s most expensive residential areas), a huge private jet operation, etc. It was double daily new first (the only route globally, I think?) before COVID hit.

      Very glad it restarted this month. I was on the flight in F this weekend and it was showing sold out in F weeks in advance. Presumably all cash passengers / no redemptions. Doubt any of these other routes can claim that very often currently.

    2. Tom Guest

      Also I don’t think “high flying business traveler(s)” matter as much to first any more as you think, that’s why it’s sadly dying out. On carriers like Emirates where lots of people are connecting, first is largely families and leisure travelers in my experience. Corporate travelers are generally stuck in business (or, God forbid, economy) by policy these days. The senior execs / board level ones who would be allowed to book first are probably...

      Also I don’t think “high flying business traveler(s)” matter as much to first any more as you think, that’s why it’s sadly dying out. On carriers like Emirates where lots of people are connecting, first is largely families and leisure travelers in my experience. Corporate travelers are generally stuck in business (or, God forbid, economy) by policy these days. The senior execs / board level ones who would be allowed to book first are probably in a corporate jet instead because “time saving” and wouldn’t take a connecting flight. The only routes that seem to see a lot of business travellers in F are the likes of LHR-JFK with a lot of direct demand, in my experience.

  9. Ivo Sio Guest

    I was supposed to fly this new first class produce DXB-BRU on May 22, 2022. There was 6 seats on seat map when I made the redemption. I was so happy at that time. But I realized the seat map changed to 8 seats (old first class) on May 20. I then made a phone call to ask about that, but represent told me that I am still on the new 6 seats first class,...

    I was supposed to fly this new first class produce DXB-BRU on May 22, 2022. There was 6 seats on seat map when I made the redemption. I was so happy at that time. But I realized the seat map changed to 8 seats (old first class) on May 20. I then made a phone call to ask about that, but represent told me that I am still on the new 6 seats first class, even seatguru show that my flight still on 6 seats. But just Emirate show 8 seats. Ok I trust you represent. Then what? I end up taking the old first class on 777 on May 22, 2022. ok.....I have nothing to say but just disappoint.

  10. D3kingg Guest

    I’m so excited to fly Emirates first again on the a380 from Dubai to JFK in October. Nothing about that cabin feels old or outdated to me.
    Don’t think I would go out of my way to try the newer product on the 777. I’d rather take 2 showers.

  11. TravelinWilly Diamond

    The only route this plane isn’t wasted on currently is Tokyo.

    They should start flying these birds to truly long-haul destinations.

    They need to bring them back to DC; flew it in early April, talk about a game-changing product!

    1. Stuart Guest

      From a personal perspective I totally agree as it seems better served on ultra long haul. However, I understand EK's positioning of these. My take is that there are far more actual revenue passengers in F on the European flights. As well, far less total F passengers. Given the smaller cabin and more likelihood of actual paid butts in seats this makes total sense. Europe is the bread and butter for EK. And I imagine...

      From a personal perspective I totally agree as it seems better served on ultra long haul. However, I understand EK's positioning of these. My take is that there are far more actual revenue passengers in F on the European flights. As well, far less total F passengers. Given the smaller cabin and more likelihood of actual paid butts in seats this makes total sense. Europe is the bread and butter for EK. And I imagine that F cabins from the U.S. have much higher redemption numbers.

      I also flew it in April from IAD and it is truly an amazing product. However, I just flew yesterday in the A380 F cabin on the same route and no complaints. Still wonderful and with so many seats in F it was half empty giving me an additional seat for a bed. And the bathrooms and bar make it unique.

    2. TheBestBlackBrent Gold

      Yeah, but for every long haul destination you need about 3 pieces of metal for a single rotation, so with 9 planes they obviously cannot add a ton of long hauls.

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      That's an easy assumption to make, but not a very accurate one.

      If they're getting the desired yield from this cabin on relatively shorthaul flights, then they have every incentive in the world to KEEP IT THAT WAY, because longer hauls would require the use of more aircraft for a single destination, but the yield won't double in tandem with that use.

      Thus, from an Opportunity Cost basis, they'd be losing money by sending this...

      That's an easy assumption to make, but not a very accurate one.

      If they're getting the desired yield from this cabin on relatively shorthaul flights, then they have every incentive in the world to KEEP IT THAT WAY, because longer hauls would require the use of more aircraft for a single destination, but the yield won't double in tandem with that use.

      Thus, from an Opportunity Cost basis, they'd be losing money by sending this product on longer hauls. Which is likely the reason they aren't doing it.

  12. Alex Guest

    Flew the “Game Changer” on the DXB/MLE leg of my honeymoon back in September 2019. Only four hours or so but wanted another four hours!

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Tom Guest

You’d be surprised on STN, don’t be fooled by the fact Ryanair use it - EK isn’t stupid. Even without the boost from LHR capacity restrictions it has a very wealthy catchment area (a large swathe of North London, Hertfordshire and Essex which includes some of the world’s most expensive residential areas), a huge private jet operation, etc. It was double daily new first (the only route globally, I think?) before COVID hit. Very glad it restarted this month. I was on the flight in F this weekend and it was showing sold out in F weeks in advance. Presumably all cash passengers / no redemptions. Doubt any of these other routes can claim that very often currently.

1
Todd Guest

Yup 26 Jun a6-eqh MCO 23 Jul a6-eqi MCO 24 Jul a6-eqp MIA

1
Stuart Guest

From a personal perspective I totally agree as it seems better served on ultra long haul. However, I understand EK's positioning of these. My take is that there are far more actual revenue passengers in F on the European flights. As well, far less total F passengers. Given the smaller cabin and more likelihood of actual paid butts in seats this makes total sense. Europe is the bread and butter for EK. And I imagine that F cabins from the U.S. have much higher redemption numbers. I also flew it in April from IAD and it is truly an amazing product. However, I just flew yesterday in the A380 F cabin on the same route and no complaints. Still wonderful and with so many seats in F it was half empty giving me an additional seat for a bed. And the bathrooms and bar make it unique.

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