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.

What’s especially exciting is that Emirates has scheduled its new first class product on a route to the United States this winter, and there are opportunities to redeem miles for it.

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 Dubai and Brussels back when the product launched.

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 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, most regularly Emirates flies 777s with the new first class between Dubai and the following destinations:

  • Brussels (BRU)
  • Geneva (GVA)
  • Paris (CDG)
  • Tokyo (NRT)
  • Singapore (SIN)
  • Washington (IAD)
  • 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 substituted at the last minute. For example, looking at routes to the United States in the last several days, the following destinations have seen the new 777 swapped in at the last minute:

  • Dubai to Boston on November 26 & November 27
  • Dubai to Houston on November 28
  • Dubai to Newark (via Athens) on November 28
  • Dubai to Orlando on November 24 & November 26

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. I fantasize about booking one back to Dubai if I do see it, but then realize that’s not a priority right now.

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

Emirates new first class on Washington Dulles route

The interesting update here is that Emirates is about to regularly start flying a 777-300ER with the new first class between Dubai and Washington. Between December 1, 2021, and March 26, 2022, Emirates has scheduled the new first class to Washington Dulles on most dates.

Note that there are some days during that period that aren’t scheduled to feature the new first class, so you’ll want to consult the seatmap to double check. For those wondering about the timeline here, Emirates has been flying an A380 to Washington for the past several months, and plans to fly an A380 to Washington again starting in the spring. However, for the several months where the route will be operated by a 777, at least there will be a good first class product.

If you want to redeem miles for this flight, many dates have award availability. Emirates charges 136,250 Skywards miles one-way between Washington and Dubai, though you can of course book this as part of a larger itinerary, if Dubai isn’t your final destination.

Let me once again emphasize that aircraft assignments are subject to change, so while the plan is for the route to feature the new first class, there are no guarantees that this will stick.

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 2024 at the earliest
  • 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 pandemic I suspect that’s unlikely, since airlines are looking to conserve cash wherever possible right now.

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. In addition to the new 777s periodically being assigned to United States routes at the last minute, Emirates will be offering the new product on Washington Dulles flights for most of the winter, which is exciting. This is a great chance to book an award flight, given that there’s a significant amount of availability.

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

Conversations (10)
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  1. markj Guest

    At the end of September I flew BKK-DXB-FRA on Emirates with the new First Class on the DXB-FRA leg. I had booked it using Japan Airline miles just before their ability to book First Class ended.

    I purposely booked the middle suite to see how the "fake windows" worked. Pretty well I would say. Overall a real "Wow Factor" to the new First Class!

    In Frankfurt I stayed overnight at the Airport Marriott and...

    At the end of September I flew BKK-DXB-FRA on Emirates with the new First Class on the DXB-FRA leg. I had booked it using Japan Airline miles just before their ability to book First Class ended.

    I purposely booked the middle suite to see how the "fake windows" worked. Pretty well I would say. Overall a real "Wow Factor" to the new First Class!

    In Frankfurt I stayed overnight at the Airport Marriott and took Lufthansa First on the 747-8 back to the States. A dream trip on miles!

  2. Richard Guest

    Ben,
    Great article! What is the usual one-way cost to upgrade from biz to first class with miles?

  3. James Guest

    Thanks for the update Ben!

    Looking to book for next summer on Emirates for the wife and I in first class to Europe. We are pretty open regarding departure airport so any input on best chances to get 2 seats? Not sure I want to roll the dice on booking business tickets and then hoping to upgrade to first on such a roundabout way to Europe (for our first Emirates experience, hoping for a...

    Thanks for the update Ben!

    Looking to book for next summer on Emirates for the wife and I in first class to Europe. We are pretty open regarding departure airport so any input on best chances to get 2 seats? Not sure I want to roll the dice on booking business tickets and then hoping to upgrade to first on such a roundabout way to Europe (for our first Emirates experience, hoping for a longer flight than a 5th freedom route...and we're based on west coast).

    Also, I think you had written in the past about Emirates freezing some people's accounts (and flights booked with points) for unexplained reasons. That's given us some pause to book as I'd hate that to happen to us as we have no activity in our accounts we opened last month. Any updates on if that's still going on?

    Thanks in advance, love reading your blog!

  4. Zach Guest

    Ben - Thanks for the update. My parents are scheduled to fly first from IAD to DXB on Dec. 2, so it looks like they’ll miss the new first class seat (flights on Dec. 1 and 3 have it though). They’re returning in business on Dec. 15, which has the upgraded first. We’ll try to get them an upgrade, but is the business class on these flights nicer than what you just experienced and wrote about? Are the seats a little refreshed (but still 3 in the middle)? Thanks.

  5. Lukas Guest

    Tried to book IAD-AMS but Amsterdam isn't populating, only if I book it directly from DXB. Is it not possible to create one ticket all the way to AMS?

  6. Tim Guest

    Had the aircraft swap on the Orlando route in November. The flight is operated on a 2 class configuration and tickets are only sold for economy and business. Tried to upgrade to first (paid ticket), but no chance. First class will stay empty if this is not a first class route and you get a aircraft swap last minute (unless oversold).

  7. Peter Guest

    I see some of the 777 have only seven F seats with 1K missing. Anyone is familiar with this layout, why this one seat is missing or anything special about the planes with this configuration?

    1. Toby Guest

      That seat is blocked for the extra pilot to rest on some of the longer routes.

  8. Kyle Guest

    Ben- For flying First on Emirates would you pick the new 777 product or the A380 factoring in the shower and bar?

    1. at Guest

      Oh the new 777 hands down!!! (Disclosure: I have only seen the new suites while exiting the cabin- have never flown them).

      Sure the shower is nice but lasts all of 5-10 minutes and can usually be had in the lounge. I'd give that up for a heavenly seat/suite (wider and swankier than on the A380.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

markj Guest

At the end of September I flew BKK-DXB-FRA on Emirates with the new First Class on the DXB-FRA leg. I had booked it using Japan Airline miles just before their ability to book First Class ended. I purposely booked the middle suite to see how the "fake windows" worked. Pretty well I would say. Overall a real "Wow Factor" to the new First Class! In Frankfurt I stayed overnight at the Airport Marriott and took Lufthansa First on the 747-8 back to the States. A dream trip on miles!

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Richard Guest

Ben, Great article! What is the usual one-way cost to upgrade from biz to first class with miles?

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James Guest

Thanks for the update Ben! Looking to book for next summer on Emirates for the wife and I in first class to Europe. We are pretty open regarding departure airport so any input on best chances to get 2 seats? Not sure I want to roll the dice on booking business tickets and then hoping to upgrade to first on such a roundabout way to Europe (for our first Emirates experience, hoping for a longer flight than a 5th freedom route...and we're based on west coast). Also, I think you had written in the past about Emirates freezing some people's accounts (and flights booked with points) for unexplained reasons. That's given us some pause to book as I'd hate that to happen to us as we have no activity in our accounts we opened last month. Any updates on if that's still going on? Thanks in advance, love reading your blog!

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