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Update 5/30/17: Emirates has confirmed that its new first class will be arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration and will debut at the Dubai Air Show in November.


Emirates first class is a bucket list item for many premium cabin travelers. The close-able first class suites on Emirates set the bar high for luxury in the sky when introduced back in 2003. However, since then, there haven’t been many improvements to the seat — while incredible products like Singapore Suites and Etihad’s A380 Apartment have been raising the standard for top-notch luxury.

Well, it looks like Emirates might be stepping up its game: for flights starting December 1, the Emirates 777 is switching from a 1-2-1 configuration to a 1-1-1 staggered configuration — at least for Emirates flights 229 and 230 between Dubai (DXB) to Seattle (SEA).

For example, here’s the current 777-300ER first-class seat, with a 1-2-1 arrangement:

Meanwhile, here’s how ExpertFlyer shows the December 1 and November 30 flights:

Emirates 777 first class new arrangement

As you can see, first class is switching arrangements (1-1-1 vs. 1-2-1) but business class is staying the same. Further back, the economy cabin is retaining the same number of rows and seats. So, it doesn’t seem that the first class cabin is gaining any real estate — that is, unless pitch is tightening in economy. However, the switch from eight seats to six seats in first class would indicate a wider footprint.

Interestingly, the two middle seats are staggered: 1E and 2F. It’ll be interesting to see if this means all of the seats are staggered with the new suites – like the Apartment – or if this is merely an indication that the middle suites will be accessible from different aisles.

If you want to check out the new arrangement, there’s no award availability for the “inaugural.” But, you can book the new seats during the first week it’s flying. The first flight from SEA-DXB with first-class award availability is December 3:

EK award SEA-DXB

Going the other direction from DXB-SEA, the first flight with first award availability is December 5:

EK award DXB-SEA

We checked Emirates’ other 777 routes to the US (DXB-FLL, ATH-EWR, DXB-BOS, DXB-IAH, DXB-ORD, DXB-DFW) but this configuration doesn’t show up at any point between now and the end of schedule.

We have reached out to Emirates for more information about the new arrangement and the potential for a new suite/seat to debut. Our request for comment hasn’t been returned, but we’ll update this article when we hear back.

H/T: Airline Hub Buzz

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