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My Review: Flying Emirates Airline Business Class to Dubai

I couldn't get any good shots of my 777-200LR in Seattle or Dubai, so I am using this photo of another Emirates Boeing 777-300ER.

I couldn't get any good shots of my 777-200LR in Seattle or Dubai, so I am using this photo of another Emirates Boeing 777-300ER that I took from my aircraft.

EMIRATES AIRLINE REVIEW BASICS:
Airline: Emirates Airline
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200LR
Departed: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
Arrived: Dubai International Airport (DXB)
tops: Non-stop flight Class: Business Class
Seat: 8D to DXB (center, aisle, bulkhead) and 11A to SEA (window)
Length: About 14 hours

Cheers: Great combination of service and product.
Jeers:
If you have wide shoulders, avoid the center seat — even in business class.
Overall: Emirates makes a 14 hour flight easy.

With the wood panneling, the Business Class really has a warm atmosphere. Notice the real flowers on the bulkhead.

With the wood paneling, the Business Class really has a warm atmosphere. Notice the real flowers on the bulkhead.

THE FULL EMIRATES BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW:

On March 1st, Emirates started flying from Seattle to Dubai non-stop. I was invited to try out Emirates Business Class product on one of their recent flights (the airline covered the costs of the flight). This review will be a mixture of both my flight to and from Dubai — although I slept most of the way home.

The benefits of sitting in a premium cabin starts well before you get to the gate, but only once you arrive to the airport. With Emirates, the benefits of flying in Business Class starts at home. If you fly in either Business or First class you have access to a free chauffeured car within 60 miles of your arriving or departing airport.  Unfortunately I did not do my homework before leaving and did not find out about that service until I was in Dubai (thanks Ben for the ride to the airport by the way).

However, I was able to make use of the service when coming home and it is always great having someone greeting you with your name on a sign that escorts you right to your front door in a Town Car. Having a Business Class ticket normally gives you access to a lounge at the airport and flying Emirates out of Seattle is no different. Passengers who have either first or business class tickets are able to use the new Club International lounge before their flight.

Emirate's Business Class seats offer quite a bit of room and one gianormous remote.

Emirate's Business Class seats offer quite a bit of room and one ginormous remote.

Since I stayed in the lounge for a while, my flight was almost fully loaded by the time I arrived at the gate and I was able to just walk on the plane. I messed up and forgot to check myself in online (I know, what kind of airline reporter am I?), so I ended up in a middle seat: 8E. Emirates has their 777-200LR configured in a 2-3-2 layout in business.

Even though the seats are larger, I was not looking forward to being in the center for 14 hours, but at least I wasn’t in economy. When I found my seat and sat down, I became a little worried — my shoulders touched both sides of the hard plastic walls — not good. Luckily for me the lovely (and smaller) Harriet Baskas, who was in my media travel group, had the aisle seat next to me and offered to swap. I gladly took her up on her offer and never had any problems with the seat width with the open aisle.

I think I would have managed just fine in the center seat, but if you have wider shoulders, I would surely advice checking in earlier to claim a non-center seat.

If you like technology and gadgets, you will love Emirates ice entertainment system. Each seat in first and business gets this large, removable remote.

If you like technology and gadgets, you will love Emirates ice entertainment system. Each seat in first and business gets this large, removable remote.

Emirates entertainment system, called ice, was amazing, but a bit overwhelming. First off, you have three options on how to control the system: touching the screen, using the removable touch screen remote or use the smaller wired remote. When sitting in a bulkhead seat, even at 6’1″, I was unable to touch the screen. When I flew back to Seattle I was not at the bulkhead and was able to touch, but it wasn’t easy and I would imagine near impossible if you measuring in at less than 5’10”.

I am normally not very slow when it comes to technology or in-flight entertainment systems, but it seemed like I could only do some things with one remote and I had to do other things with the smaller one. I am sure I just wasn’t able to figure it out, but if I had trouble, I am sure most other people did too. It is worth trying to get past the control issues, because once you do, there are many options — 1200 to be exact.

Emirates, by far, has the largest selection of movies and entertainment I have experienced. After flying a total of 27 hours to Dubai and back, I still had not explored everything it had to offer. For a frequent flier on the airline, this would be a huge perk. No matter what class you are flying in, you get access to the same ice entertainment system (just not the fancy large remote if you are in economy).

Emirates configures their Boeing 777s with a 2-3-2 layout in Business Class. Notice how the windows have buttons to move the shades.

Emirates configures their Boeing 777s with a 2-3-2 layout in Business Class. Notice how the windows have buttons to move the shades.

One on my favorite things, on systems that offer it, are the outside cameras you can access on your screen. The Emirates 777 has one facing forward and once facing straight down. Being in the center section during take off, it was handy watching the aircraft take off via the cameras. We took off to the north and just kept going — almost in a straight line over the north pole and back down to Dubai. Because of this, it never got dark outside.

Passengers also have the option to make a phone call at $5 per minute or send text messages for $1 per message. Every time I tried to access the service, it said it was unavailable, which was okay by me. I was planning on trying it out for the story, but was not motivated to ask one of the flight attendants, since I did not mind saving my money. Although Emirates does have Wi-Fi up and running on all their Airbus A380s, they do not have it on the rest of their main fleet (777, A330, A340) — yet.

When the lights go down, the stars come up. Emirates offers a special StarLight feature providing a great sleeping atmoshphere.

When the lights go down, the stars come up. Emirates offers a special StarLight feature providing a great sleeping atmosphere.

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is touted as being unique for its ambient lighting and electronic sunshades. The Emirates product in business and in first is almost as close as you can get to the 787 interior.

First, they have the ambient lighting; going from a soft white/yellow to pinks to purple for the different light cycles. Then you have the windows up front that do not have manual shades, but two buttons that make the shades go up and down. The flight attendants have the ability to to put up or down all the shades, similar to the 787.

What Emirate’s 777 has that no 787 has (yet) are the stars that come out on the ceiling. Called StarLight, this amazing feature is unique to Emirates and really sets the mood. It is hard to describe, laying flat on a bed at 35,000 feet, opening your eyes and seeing stars.

It is too bad that Emirates doesn’t have any 787’s on order; it would be amazing what they could (and probably would) do with that cabin.

Steak and redwine at 30,000 feet. Yea, I can handle that.

Steak, potatoes I cannot pronounce and red wine at 30,000 feet? Yea, I can handle that.

After settling in, it was time for meal service. My dinner started with a traditional mezze platter with hummus, smoky moutabal, muhammara, vine leaves and a spinach fatayer. Yea, I don’t know what half of that means either, but I can tell you that it was great. Then I was served roasted tomato and thyme soup and salad, followed by the main course of beef fillet with shallots and dauphionouse style potatoes. I decided to skip the dessert option and have a bit more red wine — nice call.

Economy class still provides large screens, amenities and food. Eh, I will stick to Business Class.

Economy class still provides large screens, amenities and food. Eh, I will stick to Business Class.

I feel very lucky that I get these opportunities to fly in the front of the plane on long flights, but there is no doubt that I have put my time in economy. During the ride over to Dubai, I made an effort to make a lap around the plane and check out economy. During my tour, most people were sleeping and there were so many feet, arms, shoulders, etc out in the aisle — it was a challenge to get through without bumping into people.

With the 3-4-3 layout in economy, it is a bit tight, but doable with the large screens and same ice entertainment system. That being said, I was happy to return to the business class cabin.

Business Class is nice, but First Class is better. Each seat is like its own cubical, with closing doors.

Business Class is nice, but First Class is better. Each seat is like its own cubicle, with closing doors.

When I complete flight reviews, I try to stay anonymous as long as I can. Typically a flight attendant will start asking questions (not suspiciously, but out of curiosity) when I am taking photos of my remote, food, etc. One of the benefits of being known as media is getting access to the aircraft that others might not.

On the flight back to Seattle, I was given the opportunity to spend some time up in First Class. Luckily for me, there were no passengers in the front cabin, which gave me time to check it out and talk to the flight crew. There are four crew members assigned to first class, including the pursuer. They normally work in shifts of two, but when there are no passengers in first, they are able to enjoy a relaxing flight and also will help the rest of the cabin crew, if needed.

Where business felt so much better than economy, similarly first class felt so much better than business. There are only eight first class suites, where each has a large seat, own mini-bar, large tv screen, similar controls to business class and doors that can be closed to give ultimate privacy.

Taking off from Dubai I could see the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in the background.

Taking off from Dubai I could see the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in the background.

One indicator on how good a product is on an airline is how well I am able to sleep. The fact that I slept five hours to Dubai and about 10 hours back to Seattle is a positive sign for sure. Another indicator is how happy I am that I was able to sleep so much. In this case, I was upset that I slept so much and wasn’t able to enjoy my experience a bit better. Emirates has lived up to its reputation for providing a fabulous flying experience.

Next is to try and test out their newer business product on the Airbus A380 — stay tuned.

See all 52 photos from my Emirates Airline flight

MORE STORIES ON MY DUBAI TRIP:
* Photo Tour of Emirates Airline Crew Training in Dubai
* Airline Lounge Review: Club International at Sea-Tac Airport

38 comments to My Review: Flying Emirates Airline Business Class to Dubai

  • Colin

    David if you can’t go or need a tag along buddy on the A380, I’d be happy to oblige!

  • Curtis

    Where is the lav shot? I want to see where you poop on the way to Dubai

  • Pete

    Great pictures and I agree with Cutris. Where’s the lav shot? LMAO. I remember flying SAS 737-800 and Gavin a window in the bathroom.

  • Brian

    How full was the flight?

  • David

    Weren’t you assigned a seat way prior to check-in? It might not have mattered. Great report as usual!

    • I was. My seat was the center seat. I should have changed it around in check-in (which I might not have).

      At first I was really up for the idea of writing a story about being in the very middle seat for 14-hrs. Luckily I didn’t have to do that.

      David

  • Tim

    Virgin Australia’s 77Ws also have “StarLight” in Business Class.

  • Brian Lusk

    Great report David! That wood trim reminds me of a 1950s MG.

  • Philip Ng

    We just bought tickets on this very route and can’t wait. I’ve been eyeing a trip to Dubai for several years. My wife and I pulled the trigger this morning after reading this review. we’ll let you know how we like it!

  • NB

    I’m glad you skipped the “desert” option but had red wine instead.

  • I really like Emirates, probably the airline I fly most. Definitely with the best In-flight entertainment system ‘ICE’. Have travelled the Business class twice myself, and gotta say it was great! The only other airline I would fly if not Emirates, is Qatar or Singapore Airways. Great service. Why not post your experience on http://www.airvigilante.com/ it’s a novel site I found where we can write flight reviews and read reviews so we know which is the best airline :D but gotta say it seems to be very new, so not that many posts.

  • Felix Maltchinski

    Verry nice photos.

  • msimons

    Were people really using those displays ? Nowadays its so much easier to store vids of interest on your notebook/ipad that you can watch (WITHOUT interption) that most should go with it.
    Actually I would propose 787’s drop the displays altogether and just offer in flight wi-fi.(maybe movie server)

    • I really think that is where the future of IFE is going. A combination of a passenger’s own device and a wireless connection on board. But we are not quite there yet. Many people were using the in-flight system, including myself. Thing is I can’t get 1200 options on my devices and the airlines have movies before they are released to the general public.

      David

  • Bluebebe

    Regarrding to the “StarLight” there are in all cabins.Why not to see the sky in economy class as well :)
    During some flights you are able to use aereomobile that allows you to keep using you phone.

    • I must have not noticed them when doing my lap into economy class. Our flight did have the air phone, but a little too pricey for a simple blogger, like me, to use. I am sure for someone who pays for their business class seats, $5/min isn’t too bad for them.

      David

  • Hanman

    How’s the access in/out of the business class window seats? I’m flying this route in a few weeks and love a window seat, but am concerned about someone in the aisle seat falling asleep and my being stuck for 10+ hours. Last time I flew business was on BA and their configuration made it pretty easy to move around the cabin.

    • That is always the risk. If the person at the aisle is sitting, it is pretty easy to get by, but if they are sleeping, it becomes much more of a challenge. On long flights by the window, I normally try to use the lav when my seatmate goes.

      For me, it is worth being at the window. But since it is closed most of the flight, it might not be for everyone.

      Enjoy your flight!

      David

  • Janet

    Thanks for this detailed report. I was looking for a comfortable, reliable way to get to India. This will do.
    Not sure I want to pay double the price for a 1st Class Seat though.
    Business will have to do.

  • Mohammad Javed Malik

    what i will gave the comments about Emirates Airline. it is really nice. business class is very impressive and wonderful class. u will never feel u r at your drawing room or in Emirates Airline Business Class room. wonderful service. in 2011 i went London in Emirates Air line but i take class. it is really fantastic……

  • Liz T

    Great review! Thank you! Leaving tomorrow to Johannesburg, South Africa in Business Class. We have been fortunate to have enjoyed Business Class and First on many if our trips, on many different airlines, and My husband has flown this flight and assures me I will love it!

  • impressive features by Fly emirates .
    actually, they didn’t landed in Soekarno Hatta Airport (Indonesia) :(
    i want try them .

  • brian bryson

    I like the flight when i trip from tanzania to dubai at susday i enjoy it i luv u fly emmirates

  • brian bryson kunzugala

    I like the flight when i trip from tanzania to dubai at susday i and i luv u emmirates,

  • paul hopper

    I flew LAX to Dubai last night – bus ticket was $12,500 – I was underwhelmed – food was poor, seat was broken, one drink served and then nothing until the meal was served – quality of wine was average, ditto the meal. Staff more interested in their own dinner and seemed to disappear shortly after the meal was served. Toilets were filthy after 6 hours.
    Good entertainment system and the car service is great

  • Danish Alam

    Emirates Airlines — PLEASE DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MY SITUATION.

    Hello Mr. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktom,
    We six family members travelled to Pakistan from Houston, Texas due to serious illness of our mother on 12th of July. We have made our reservation back to Houston for 30th of July.
    Our Mother left us on Monday morning. We are in deep grief and called Emirates Airlines office in Karachi, Pakistan to extend our reserved seats for few more days. Due to rush season they could not find any seats (Six Seats) for us. They were very much apologetic on our situation and told us if it was may be one passenger they might could have help us in the name of Humanity but not Six passengers. We Understood!
    Our sister decided to stay with our remaining family living in Pakistan. I called Emirates Airline again and they have said –YES, we have only one seat remaining on 7th of August but will charge you $1600 for cancellation and re-reservation.
    THAT IS NOT FAIR —– EMIRATE YOU ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OUR SITUATION —- YOU GUYS HAVE NO SYMPHTHY TOWARDS HUMANITY — —- OUR MOTHER DIED FOR GOD SAKE. EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE PAID LESS FARE AT THE TIME OF PURCHSE — BUT WE HAVE PAID WHAT WAS AVAILABLE AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE. I JUST WANT REPLACEMENT OF OUR RESERVATION. WE ALREADY HAVE A TICKET. WE ARE NOT BUYING A NEW TICKET SO WHY SHOULD WE PAY $1600 MORE.
    Mr. Sheikh Ahmed — I know you are THE MAN of Emirates Airline. I need your help in the name of GOD AND HUMANITY. WE HAVE NO MONEY. We are already in deep grief. Please do not provide us more pain.
    CAN YOU HELP US OR YOU JUST DON’T CARE.
    Waiting for your reply.

  • Cool! I would love to travel to Dubai via Emirates! :)
    I agree on the excerpt that “one indicator on how good a product is on an airline is how well I am able to sleep.?”

  • Amit Basak

    I had a flight by Emirates from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Dubai on December 11th, 2013. The Emirates people charged me $100 only for extra 6kg for my luggage. Also they told me to pay it by Bangladeshi currency. Then I had to pay by credit card. I don’t know this amount was taken by Emirates or by the local employees who got hired by the company.

    If they truly charge for $100, it is harassing us. I hope they need to consider this things otherwise they will loose passengers.

    Amit

  • Saimon

    Emirates used to be good back in 2012, now they have too many customers and money to care about the customer experience.
    I took flight from JFK to Bangladesh through Milan then Dubai (8 hours flight each way). It was very uncomfortable 29 hours trip because the service was very poor and it felt like I was in prison with no food and water. Coming back was 39 hours trip which was torturous and I literally felt that a certain percentage of my life was gone.

    When I press the assistance switch they did not even come for me for the entire 8 hours flight (same for Bangladesh to Dubai). Their service was so bad that I had to get up and get the water for myself after 90 minutes of waiting. Later on I realized that instead of rotating the stewardess on every transfer (8 hours), Emirates used the same stewardess over again and again. The stewardess were very tired and just stopped responding all together. They just served food and go back to their side. I overheard one of the stewardess complaining about being tired.

    I paid over $2,500 USD and it was not worth the money. The seats are so closed together that the guy next to me had to place his leg on my side just so he fits in his seat, and I could not even sleep because of that for (8 hours). If I knew that I was going to get in this kind of mess then I would have just taken Ittefaq and save money and time. The only thing good I can say about my trip was the food and entertainment system was good.

    Flight Information:

    EK0206 Fri 20 Dec 13
    22:20 John F Kennedy (JFK)
    Sat 21 Dec 13
    22:55 Dubai (DXB)

    Return:
    EK0582 Sun 22 Dec 13
    03:50 Dubai (DXB)
    Sun 22 Dec 13
    10:05 Dhaka (DAC)

  • Debabrata Bhattacharjee

    We traveled from JFK to Dubai and onwards to Kolkata by Emirates last December. We had the business class seat from JFK to Dubai section which we got through an upgrade costing $1000 each over the economy fare. However the experience was a pleasnat one and we kind of got spoilt and bought the same upgrade for the return trip. The business class seats gets completely flat though the width of the seats are a bit tight for a strong bodied person. Service and food choices are excellent. Only complain about service is often the flight attendents take a long time between service of food and sometimes the wait becomes annoying. Howver they are very well mannered and very patient. I will travel again with Emirates for my next trip to India.

  • What’s up, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this blog post.

    It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

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