While Emirates is one of the most premium carriers globally, they have always been given a hard time for their Boeing 777 operations. The airline has long been offering a 2-3-2 configuration, which clashes with their premium image, as the seats are not the most comfortable, and some business class passengers can get stuck between strangers. Not to forget, not all seats got aisle access, which is the sort of the norm for J class design these days. That makes Emirates Business not the most spacious product in the world.
Last year, when Emirates launched the First Class product for their new 77Ws, they did refresh the Business Class product as well but did not make massive changes, stating they are going to upgrade the Business Class seat once they started receiving their new Boeing 777-9s in 2020.
However today, the airline announced that they are going to upgrade the cabin product on their Boeing 777LRs. Emirates has unveiled a brand new Business Class cabin and configuration on its Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, with new wider seats laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration for the first time.
This reveal is in line with Emirates plan disclosed in November 2017 about removing the First Class from these planes and adding spacious Business Class instead. What beats me to date is the fact that this roomy seat is not even going to be present on their new 77Ws being introduced with the new F Class product.
The newly refurbished Emirates 777-200LR aircraft is set in a two-class configuration which offers 38 Business Class seats and 264 seats in Economy Class. While the Business Class seats are in the same design and shape of Emirates’ latest lie-flat seats, they are now two inches wider for a more comfortable journey. The seats retain the champagne coloured finish and diamond stitch pattern on the full leather cover, and the ergonomically designed headrest revealed on Emirates’ newest Boeing 777 in November.
The Business Class seat has a pitch of 72 inches and moves into a fully flat sleeping position. It also has touchscreen controls for the seat and in-flight entertainment system, several personal lighting options, privacy panels between seats, a shoe stowage area, footrest and a personal mini-bar.
Not just that, overhead bins in centre of the cabin have been removed for an airier and more spacious feel on board. The cabin boasts electronic windows and the largest personal in-flight entertainment (IFE) screens in Business Class at 23 inches wide.
The cabin also features the Ghaf tree – considered the national tree of the United Arab Emirates, and now a signature design on the latest Emirates aircraft.
In addition, the new Business Class cabin features a social area – unique to the Boeing 777-200LR fleet. The mini lounge area features snacks such as crisps, sandwiches and fruit, as well as beverages for customers to help themselves to during the flight. What beats me is, the Social Area is smack in the middle of the smaller cabin behind it, and there are no curtains, so this means if people decide to congregate in this area, it would mean disturbance for the people right behind.
Economy class seats onboard the 777-200LR have also been refreshed to the latest colour palette of soft greys and blues. The ergonomically designed seats come with full leather headrests that have flexible side panels and can also be adjusted vertically for optimum support.
The airline has invested over US$150 million to refurbish the 10 existing 777-200LR aircraft in its fleet.
Emirates’ newly refurbished 777-200LR aircraft will go into service on 6 March to Fort Lauderdale. This is the first of 10 aircraft which will be retrofitted with the new configuration over the course of the year. The refurbished 777-200LR aircraft is planned for several destinations including Emirates’ most recently announced destination – Santiago, Chile.
While this move still leaves behind another 140 or so Emirates Boeing 777 planes with the old configuration, it is a start in the right direction I guess. What is good to know is that the airline uses these planes for some of their longest flights, so the extra comfort should help the premium cabin passengers get a little more room for the money they pay!