The day finally arrived. The perfect opportunity had arisen. It was time to check out Emirates’ new first class on the 777-300ER. But with expectations so high, would Emirates deliver? In a word, YES.
I booked my ticket from Dubai to Brussels a couple night before the trip using Emirates Skywards. The points transfer on a 1:1 basis from American Express Membership Rewards and the trip cost 85,000 miles and about $420 in taxes/fees. The same trip would have been 75,000 miles with Qantas, which has now been added as an American Express transfer partner.
I began the day with a 4:00 A.M. cab ride to Dubai International Airport from the Park Hyatt. Although I tired to sleep, I was too excited for the upcoming journey. Pulling up to the Emirates premium class check-in area Dubai, a line of uniformed staff were waiting to assist with luggage, but today I was traveling only with hand baggage.
Inside, I found myself the only passenger in a huge terminal…it felt a bit surreal. After checking in, I proceeded down a long hallway toward the security checkpoint and passport control.
After a couple hours in the first class lounge, I headed to the gate for boarding, which began ahead of schedule about an hour prior to takeoff.
Emirates First Class Ground Service
B1 is used for aircraft departing from remote stands and passengers were being funneled down a single escalator and onto a waiting bus. I tried to board but was told to wait and that first class boarding would begin “soon”. So I waited. And waited. And waited. 25 minutes passed. I was getting antsy. So were the three other first class passengers. We were the only ones left in the gate area.
Finally, we were invited to head downstairs where our “first class” bus was awaiting. I don’t know if “first class” was the right word, but the bus was very comfortable. We soon began what turned out to be a 15-minute bus ride to the aircraft…which seemed to be parked in Abu Dhabi (I jest…). Upon reaching the aircraft, we were invited to carry our own bags up the fairly steep air stairs onto the 777-300ER that would shortly be departing for Brussels.
Dubai (DXB) – Brussels (BRU)
Wednesday, May 22
Depart: 8:20 AM
Arrive: 1:25 PM
Duration: 07hr, 05min
Distance: 3,202 mi
Seat: 2K (First Class)
Onboard, three FAs were waiting at the door. After a warm welcome, one escorted me to my suite.
Emirates 777-300ER New First Class Suite
I was grinning ear-to-ear as I stepped into the beautiful six-seat cabin. Wow, this was spacious! The cabin is arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration with four window/aisle suites and two suites in the middle, one with an entrance on aisle one and the other with an entrance on aisle two.
My suite, 2K, included a large table, screen, closet, cabinet for hand luggage, and an oversized, plush chair. Sounds simple enough, but the accents were tremendous and I loved that Emirates’ latest first class cabin has ditched most (but not all) of the gold bling for a more refined look.
What I appreciated most about this new cabin was the attention to detail Emirates placed in making it practical. For example, my rollerboard carry-on fit perfectly in the cabinet, which was so much more convenient and aesthetically pleasing than having to leave it under the ottoman (like in Singapore or Etihad First Class) or store it in a closet (Lufthansa First Class) or overhead bin (Air France First Class).
There was also a closet that easily accommodated my garment bag and clothes on a hangar and smaller storage cabinets along the window.
A power port and USB charger was conveniently located within arm’s reach, as was a USB-C charger (which my laptop has…).
Adjacent to my seat was a touch panel that allowed for control of the lighting (including customizable mood lighting) and the temperature of the suite. The armrest also had a four-button seat control.
To the left and right of the IFE screen were cabinets housing snacks and drinks, sort of like a glass cabinet in a kitchen. There was also a privacy divider which could be raised to fully enclose the cabin. Notice some of the “leaves” of tree look different. Those provide the only means by which flight attendants can check on you when your suite is closed.
In addition the drink cabinet, there was a basket with snacks sitting on the table along with beautiful orchids:
Incredible Attention To Detail
But the attention to detail went even further. The careful stitching on the seat and embroidered Ghaf (prosopis cineraria) tree above the window further showed how much thought Emirates put into this cabin. And the overhead lights were shaped like diamonds.
Each suite had binoculars to look out. These were not souvenirs; FAs collected them as we approached Brussels.
The suite across the aisle from me stayed vacant, so I had a chance to check out the “fake” windows”. Kudos to Emirates for trying, but I was not impressed.
Emirates 777-300ER New First Class Bed
I structured the flight around a nap…not because I wanted to sleep through a pricey flight, but because I slept poorly the previous two nights and wanted to try out the bed and bedding.
Thus, shortly after my post-takeoff breakfast flight attendants prepared the bed for me while I changed into my pajamas. The bedding is simply tremendous, with a satin-like finish that was soft and so comfortable.
Window shades lower by button (sheer blinds and blackout) but Emirates also added real curtains. While I figured these were purely for aesthetic reasons, light seeped through one of my three windows so it turns out the curtains were quite practical.
The only annoying thing was that I could not figure out how to shut off the small band of blue light overhead:
I slept for about 3.5 hours, asking the FAs to shake me awake with about two hours to go until landing.
Emirates 777-300ER New First Class Dining
Prior to pushback, I was offered a drink of choice and chose orange juice, which was freshly-squeezed. Later on in the boarding process, I was also offered Arabic coffee and a choice of dates.
After takeoff, I examined the menu for today’s flight:
Having had steak for “breakfast” I was actually in the mood for some eggs, but only a light continental breakfast was offered. No problem…I wasn’t all that hungry. The purser, Ashwin, came by to introduce himself and took my breakfast order. I just wanted some fruit and yogurt along with a cappuccino. Almost immediately, my table was prepared by Tetiana and I was offered more orange juice along with a basket of warmed breakfast breads.
The table folds out from the console in front:
Mixed nuts were also offered and I enjoyed a glass of Dom Pérignon 2008 Champagne.
I do try to stay away from these fatty carbs, but the croissants smelled so good I ended up eating two of them…and some danish. So much for my light breakfast…
The fruit, yogurt, and cappuccino (notice the chocolate powder stencil art is the Emirates logo?) were all tasty and the whole breakfast service took only about 20 minutes. I still had plenty of time for sleep and a big feast prior to landing.
I was presented with a hot towel after my breakfast dishes were cleared.
The Great Lunch Feast
After my nap, Tetiana again set up my tray table for lunch.
Hot bread from the oven and my favorite Isigny Sainte-Mère butter from France were offered.
I started the meal off with some more Dom, though this time some Dom Pérignon Rose 2006. It was served at the perfect temperature and was a spectacular accompaniment to the meal which would follow.
I began with caviar, admittedly more so for the trip report than because I felt like it. Still, I ate it and enjoyed it. I appreciated that Emirates warmed the blinis.
Next, I enjoyed creamy tomato soup.
While I was eating my soup, Maria brought over my next course, a green salad with French dressing.
Great Asparagus, Not So Great Beef…
For my main course, I ordered a beef filet with asparagus and boiled potatoes. The dish was beautifully presented and the asparagus with truffle hollandaise sauce was spectacular…even better than Lufthansa First Class.
But the beef filet? Not so much…it was served beyond well-done and I ended up only nibbling at it. Such a shame that it was served overcooked. Tetiana was concerned that I did not eat and offered to bring me something else, but by this point I was already full and there were still two courses left.
As you can read in the menu above, the cheese course was quite extensive. I had a sample of each piece, but could not finish it.
Finally, I completed my meal with warm chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and another cappuccino.
Kudos to Emirates for an excellent dining experience in first class.
Emirates 777-300ER New First Class Pajamas + Amenities
Emirates does not offer amenity kits on daytime flights. That said, there were several toiletries available in the lavatory and a box at each seat contained Byredo (Swedish) amenities like eye cream and skin toner. The amenities were “hidden” away in a cabinet along the table that folded up to reveal a mirror with lights. A leather-bound notebook and writing pen were also present.
Pajamas were available by request. Emirates uses “breathing” pajamas that are supposed to help the body stay ventilated. While that may just be a gimmick , I loved the soft pajamas and they have become my new favorite airline pajamas…my old favorites were also from Emirates.
Finally, the slippers were also quite comfortable and also large enough for my feet.
Emirates 777-300ER New First Class Wi-Fi + IFE
Ok, this is what surprised me the most. I knew the flight would have wireless internet, but like all (and I do mean ALL) my previous Emirates flights, I just assumed it would not work. Boy was I wrong. Not only was the internet functional and free (as a Skywards member), it was FAST!
Make sure your Skywards number is associated with your reservation in order to take advantage of the complimentary wi-fi.
On the other hand, the IFE was no surprise. I knew Emirates would offer a comprehensive library of movies, TV shows, live TV, games, and music and of course it did. There were even two cameras to allow for live views from outside.
What did impress me, however, was the wireless remote in the suite and the detachable tablet that served as a secondary IFE device, especially suited for games and music. When detached, it was totally wireless and also controlled the seat, could summon FAs via video conference for service, and easily controlled my customized soundtracks.
Newspapers were offered prior to takeoff.
Lastly, the Bowers & Wilkins noise-cancelling headphones were comfortable and worked very well.
Emirates 777-300ER New First Class Lavatory
Two first class lavatories were compact, but kept very clean and offered towels, Buglari toiletries, and other amenities like toothbrushes and combs. There were even little bars of soap like airlines used to offer decades ago.
Emirates 777-300ER New First Class Service
Tetiana, Maria, and Ashwin provided excellent service from start to finish. Tetiana and Maria primarily took care of me and were not only lovely and charming, but highly polished. I appreciated how precisely the table was set, drinks were poured, and food served. I never had to wait long between courses and plates and utensils were always promptly cleared. Throughout the flight, I was addressed by last name.
Upon landing in Brussels I requested a picture of the flight crew and they happily obliged:
The only problem with this flight was that it ended so quickly. 6.5 hours was not enough time to fully enjoy the wonderful hard and soft product onboard. I was simply ecstatic throughout the flight…Emirates takes first class to a whole new level.
Was this my best first class flight ever? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it was absolutely the best first class hard product (suite) I have ever experienced. While the old Emirates suite is still very nice, the new suite is even more spacious, even more comfortable, and even more cutting-edge.
Emirates has room for improvement with its first class ground product, but its in-air product is top-notch.