Flight Review: Emirates Business Class Milan-JFK

Sep 2, 2014

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I recently took my first trip to Greece – with the flight over on US Airways’ Envoy Class from Philadelphia to Athens and a stay at the Hotel Belvedere Mykonos – and for my journey home, I bought an Air Italia coach ticket to Milan, then flew Emirates from Milan’s MXP to New York’s JFK. My favorite way to book one-way Emirates flights with low surcharges is through Alaska MileagePlan for 47,500 miles in economy, 75,000 miles in business class or 100,000 miles in first with just $66.80 in fees.

You can also instantly transfer American Express Membership Rewards points directly to Emirates Skywards, though be prepared to pay a boatload of miles and more than $700 in fees roundtrip for a JFK-Dubai and over $1,300 for business/first. American Express has run transfer bonuses in the past to Emirates which slightly sweetens the value proposition, but I’d really only think about using Skywards miles to upgrade paid tickets. There are plenty of other ways to book Emirates awards as we’ve outlined in this post. 
Emirates Milan JFK Alaska

Last fall, I had an amazing experience flying Emirates First Class from Dubai to JFK on an A380, but in order to get a more well-rounded experience of the carrier, I was still interested in checking out its Business Class on the 777-300ER.

At Milan
At Milan’s MXP, Emirates’ premium-class boarding happens directly from the Emirates lounge

Emirates Lounge at MXP

As someone tweeted me during my trip, the Emirates Lounge at Milan’s MXP is possibly the best airport lounge in all of Italy. In addition to the LED TVs, leather seating, shower facilities and even a snazzy water feature.

The amazing water feature in the Emirates lounge at MXP
The amazing water feature in the Emirates lounge at Milan’s MXP

The food offerings were decidedly high-end, with several hot dishes and a lot of healthy options. In this regard, it definitely put the US Airways international lounge at PHL to shame.

The Emirates lounge in Milan had a whole array of tasty, healthy food options
The Emirates lounge in Milan had a whole array of tasty, healthy food options

I loved the fact that I was able to board my flight directly via the lounge, even though its elevator was broken and I had to carry my bags down two flights of stairs. This wouldn’t be so chic for sheiks, I’d be willing to bet!

Business Class Seats Onboard the 777-300ER

Emirates has a 2 x 3 x 2 layout in Business Class (which didn’t feel particularly private or luxurious) and a seat that wasn’t 100% lie-flat. However, I still ended up having a comfortable flight with plenty of leg room- in fact, I think this seat must be one of the best for super tall travelers, because you aren’t confined in a shell-like the Delta lie-flat transatlantic product. 

I shot this video of the cabin to give you a better feel for the layout and seats:

On Emirates‘ 777-300ER, Business Class is from rows 6-11, and its 42 angle-flat seats have a 60-inch pitch and a width of 20.5 inches.

The Emirates business class seat aboard the 777-300ER
The Emirates Business Class seat aboard the 777-300ER

With the 2 x 3 x 2 layout, there simply isn’t a perfect seat; for instance, my seat in 8B gave me aisle access, but it was a little tight for my neighbor to get out when I was fully reclined, though I never got woken up so I assume he was pretty limber and able to step over me without disturbing me.

Plenty of legroom for me in 8B
Plenty of legroom for me in 8B

The seat had a few other perks, as well. There was in-seat 110V AC power port and a decent-sized workspace, but without available Wi-Fi service, I was given an unintentional break from work for about nine hours. Fortunately, the personal, on-demand entertainment system had a huge 16″ screen and a relatively simple hand-held remote.

Loved the huge screen on my IFE
Loved the huge screen on my IFE

The mattress pad on the seat was pretty thick and comfy, and I was able to get several hours of shuteye on what had already been a pretty long day of travel.

Pretty decent mattress pad for an airline seat, even if it
Pretty decent mattress pad for an airline seat, even if that seat isn’t entirely lie-flat

Amenity Kit

The Emirates Business Class amenity kit was fantastic. The male version includes shaving cream, a decent disposable razor, deodorant, toothpaste and a toothbrush, a hairbrush and some Kleenex, but the star attraction is it’s a Bulgari cloth-and-leather case with elasticized compartments – an item I’ll definitely be using again on future trips.

Emirates Business Class amenity kit (male version)
Emirates Business Class amenity kit (male version)


This was undoubtedly my favorite part of the flight. Not only is the food service excellent, but the quality of the food was amazing. I especially enjoyed my starter, a warm, ever so slightly sweet bowl of butternut squash soup with a dollop of creme fraîche and a sprinkling of pepitas (pumpkin seeds), which made me feel kind of happy that fall is soon on its way.

The starter included a delicious butternut squash soup with creme fraiche
The starter included a delicious butternut squash soup with creme fraiche and pepitas

My main entree, a beautifully prepared sea bass with a traditional pesto, was delicious, too. I’ve rarely enjoyed fish on an airplane, and this was a really pleasant surprise.

My sea bass entree was really well prepared, a new experience for me on a plane
My sea bass entree was really well prepared, a new experience for me on a plane

Overall Experience

Though I would generally prefer a lie-flat and a bit more privacy than Emirates offers onboard Emirates 777-300ER, its business class seat does have more leg room than either Delta, United or Alitalia. Despite my initial misgivings about the cabin layout and the pitch of the seat, my entire experience ultimately comfortable and positive, with a great lounge, simply awesome service, and delicious food. I’d certainly recommend it as an option for your next transatlantic flight from Milan.

Have you flown Emirates business class, aboard either the A380 or the 777-300ER? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments below.

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