I was fortunate to be upgraded for free to First Class on the Emirates B777-300 in July 2013.
This was on flight EK 022 from Manchester to Dubai at 10 am. The Emirates A380 flight leaves just after 2pm.
Of course I was overjoyed to be given the Emirates First Class experience. Yet, did this really differ from my experience with First Class on the Emirates A380?
Well the short answer is mostly no, there was little difference.
Flying from Manchester in the UK there is no dedicated Emirates First Class Lounge. As a result, as is often the case I used the Emirates Business Class Lounge Manchester Airport.
Once called up to the flight at around 9:30 am we headed up to the same gate that the Emirates A380 uses. The Emirates Boeing B777-300 is a smaller aircraft yet seems to fit nicely into the gate.
There was even a dedicated boarding lane for First Class only passengers. On checking my ticket the Emirates member of staff led me to a separate walkway, released the barrier and wished me a safe flight. There appeared to be a separate walkway to that used for Business Class passengers.
This is a little bit different to the A380. Since the A380 has two floors, both First and Business Class use the same walkway and door to enter the upper cabin.
Emirates First Class Cabin
On boarding it was clear that I had one of the Emirates First Class suites exactly the same as Emirates A380 First Class Suite.
There were also four cabin crew dedicated to First Class when there were only 8 First Class seats on the B777-300.
Like the A380 the seat arrangement in First Class are 1 – 2 – 1 on the Emirates Boeing B777-300.
The two seats in the centre have a partition so you can have complete privacy or drop the partition if you are travelling with someone.
The First Class Emirates 777 Suite has a wardrobe section at the front to hang your coat. There is also ample room to store your carry on luggage. Safety belt straps help you to strap your luggage down to avoid it moving during flight.
There are a range of snacks in your personalised cabin on the Emirates B777-300 and a little mini bar.
The seat can be fully reclined to a 6’6” bed. That is longer than my bed at home!
The arm rests can also be lowered. This is a big plus as far as I am concerned. As a frequent traveller in Business Class I am often frustrated by a fully reclining seat being restricted by immovable armrests which stop me turning in my sleep. It almost seems as though Emirates First Class cater to your every need.
If I didn’t want to sleep then the chair can be adjusted in 7 different ways and includes a massage function.
For long haul overnight flights you can receive a complimentary sleep suit (pyjamas) and slippers. (You are generally not offered pyjamas in Business Class on Emirates.) I was not offered pyjamas this time since it was a day flight.
After a snooze 30,000 miles in sky I may well need to freshen up. Well there is a vanity mirror and some complimentary cosmetics in my own private suite.
The Emirates First Class cabin has closable doors so I can have complete privacy and I can highlight the “do not disturb” light.
The guide to the Emirates B777-300 First Class cabin indicated that there is a social area at the front of the cabin with snacks. The guide also told me that there is a pop-up toaster and cappuccino maker available for my use
My seat had access to a power socket which would suit most international plugs. Thanks to that I was able to write this blog post whilst flying First Class with Emirates 🙂
Also, like Business Class and the A380 it is possible to charge your iPhone, smart phone, kindle or tablet from your seat. There is a powered USB connection available.
It was also possible to use a satellite telephone, e-mail or sms (through the ICE system) from my seat on the Emirates B777-300. Although I’d hate to wonder what the charges would be like.
Some Emirates flights allow you to use your mobile phone in flight but you have to be advised if this is available on your flight. Whilst some people champion this idea from Emirates I hate it. When flying I want to relax, unwind and enjoy the time alone. I don’t want people all around me nattering on the phone. Or the continuous sound of phones ringing or texts arriving. Particularly that annoying four tone whistle sound some new phones make.
Staying in touch the traditional way was also an option. There was a nicely presented writing set consisting of writing paper, some envelopes and a fancy Emirates pen.
Entertainment with Emirates First Class
If you are flying long haul with Emirates First Class or Business Class you need not worry about being bored. My seat came with the standard Emirates in-flight magazine, called “open skies”. A 106 page combination of content and adverts.
There is also a magazine exclusive to First Class and Business Class called “Portfolio”. A 90 page magazine which seemed to have a slightly stronger weighting to content.
Of course there was a selection of daily newspapers and magazines to choose from.
Emirates provided a 66 page guide to the ICE entertainment system featuring films, radio, podcasts, easy listening and more than 40 games.
I was delighted to see one of my favourite films of all time, Baz Luhrman’s “Romeo + Juliet” with the delightful Claire Danes was featured as well as numerous new release films.
Emirates branded noise cancelling earphones were also provided. Whilst not in the same league as Bose or Beats they were of a higher quality than those offered by Delta.
The front of the First Class Emirates cabin offered 2 bathrooms. They were the size of normal Business Class toilets, compact but functional. There was no shower like First Class on the A380. Inside the bathroom I found complimentary combs and dental kits (toothbrush and toothpaste).
Flying long haul you need to be fed. In this case the Emirates First Class experience did not disappoint.
As with most Business Class and First Class flights, Emirates offered a pre-flight drink. I opted for apple juice. Then just prior to take-off an air hostess offered dates (no, not with the air hostess!) and Arabic coffee. I used to live in Saudi Arabia (a main producer of dates) for nearly a year and a half so I know that I don’t like the taste of dates. It was easy for me to decline.
The menu had something for almost everyone. I list below the selection of food and drink on offer. All complimentary to Emirates First Class travellers in July 2013:-
The drink selection included
- 2 x champagne
- 4 white wines
- 5 red wines
- a dessert wine
- Graham’s Port (I’m sure Graham doesn’t mind)
- a range of spirits
- beers (including Budweiser, Amstel Light and Asahi)
A la carte dining at a time of your choosing:-
Appetisers (choose from):-
- Caviar #
- Traditional local Arabic mezze
- Seared tuna
- Saffron chicken
Main courses (choose from):-
- Fillet of beef
- Chicken biryani #
- Prawn curry
- Artichoke ravioli
- Fillet of cod
A la carte vegetables (meals come with appropriate accompaniments but you could also choose your own including cauliflower mimosa, mixed saffron and white rice or soft polenta with vintage cheddar).
A bread basket was served with my meal.
Light bites selection:-
- Seasonal salad
- Seafood broth
- Tomato and coriander soup
International cheese selection:-
- Lye cross mature English cheddar
- Colston Bassett blue Stilton
- Old Amsterdam
- Garcia Manchego
- Graindorge Camembert
- Selection of Arabic desserts
- Treacle and lemon tart #
- Wild berry and vanilla crisp
- Selection of fruits
Afternoon tea selection:-
- Reception sandwiches (including succulent chicken wrap and prime roast beef sandwich)
- Traditional scones
- Speciality cake
- Selection of pastries
Hot tea or coffee
(Items marked with # were the items I chose and they were all delightful.)
Practically I found the table for use as a dinner or work table was a great size, certainly compared to any other flight experience I’ve had. Emirates made sure you had lots of room to spread out. On the negative side the table would not slide forward and backwards (it was not designed to do so) which meant I had to stretch to use it.
Overall, as you can see from my Emirates First Class review this really is travelling in style.
I would say there is very little difference in flying First Class on the Emirates B777-300 as opposed to First Class on the Emirates A380. On the B777-300 you cannot take a shower. There is no bar area to walk to but that is about the only difference.
There is no doubt in my mind that Emirates are one of the best airlines to fly with. It is also possible to say that they have the best First Class cabin, or at least the best I am aware of.
When you fly Emirates First Class, irrespective of aircraft it is true luxury.