Last week we had Singapore Airlines announce their new First Class product on their A380s and this week it was the turn of Emirates to announce their new product going into their 777s. And what a product it is.
Currently on their 777 fleet, Emirates has eight first class suites arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. This new, fully enclosed suite reduces that to six, arranged in a 1-1-1 pattern instead, giving 40 square foot of space, each.
By fully enclosed, they are. It has a full, floor to ceiling door.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot of marketing spiel on the Emirates website about the suites; apparently they have a zero gravity position:
“The soft leather seat reclines into a fully flat bed and can be placed in a “zero-gravity” position inspired by NASA technology, giving a feeling of relaxation and weightlessness. The roomy suites also have ample space for passengers to change in the privacy of their suites even after the bed has been made.”
There’s clearly a huge focus on privacy. Rather than necessarily have to speak to the cabin crew in person, you can communicate with them via a video screen from within your suite, and there’s also a serving hatch for them to pass items to and from, instead of entering the suite itself.
The middle seats also are equipped with a virtual window – an image of the view from outside is projected on screens inside.
As you’d expect, there’s the amazing Emirates in-flight entertainment system and a 32″ TV, plus Bowers & Wilkins E1 noise cancelling headphones.
They’ve even got Jeremy Clarkson (whom I know divides opinion) to do an advert for the new product.
In short, it looks amazing. However, as always, there has to be a catch.
The biggest one is getting to fly it – it’s only going to be fitted on their new delivery Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. There are no plans to refit the A380s with it. Over the next two years, they plan only nine aircraft in total flying to secondary markets like Brussels or Geneva.
It is likely however that the new B777X aircraft will also have the product when they get delivered in two to three years time.
They’ve also blocked award availability for the routes that it has been confirmed to be flying on, which is reasonably unsurprising.
There are also a few other caveats compared to the A380 product, namely there are no onboard showers and there’s no bar on the aircraft either. The other key issue is that if you’re travelling with someone, there’s no way to connect two suites together as with Etihad’s or Singapore Airlines’ products. If travelling with a partner, I think that could be a key omission, especially coupled with the fully enclosed nature of the product. It is a very #firstworldproblem to have though.
That said, it does look an outstanding way to get from A to B. They’ve got a website with all the details here.