Emirates’ Fancy New Business Class Still Has Middle Seats
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
On Sunday, Emirates blew my mind with an out-of-this-world first-class product. The new 777-300ER Suite is, in a word, incredible. I can’t wait to take it for a spin on the December 1 inaugural flight.
At the same time, I’ll be avoiding business class on this plane. Why’s that? Bizarrely, while Emirates completely redesigned the seats, executives decided to maintain a 2-3-2 arrangement — as a result, not only do many passengers not have direct aisle access, there are even middle seats in every row. (Coach is 3-4-3, also the same as the current layout.)
Can you imagine booking a brand-new business-class seat on a world-class airline and sitting in between two other passengers? Yeah, no thanks.
While Emirates offers several different products across its 777 fleet, all of its Boeing wide-bodies sport exactly 42 business-class seats, all in a 2-3-2 configuration. Most are angle flat — and not very comfortable, in my opinion — so in that regard this new product represents a huge upgrade.
For example, here is the old seat:
And here’s the new one:
The seat finishes look fantastic, and there are some nifty features tucked into the relatively tight area, including a mini-mini-bar (yes, mini-mini — it’s small).
There’s also a pop-out tablet to control the 23-inch entertainment system, customized lighting, USB-A and USB-C charging ports and what Emirates is calling “classy textured panels” throughout.
If middle seats in business class were still the norm, this product would probably blow your mind. But they’re not — even US carriers like American and United are moving to all-aisle-access configurations, and Delta has offered 1-2-1 for years. This middle-seat-in-business thing just doesn’t fly anymore.
The good news is that this is the final Emirates business-class seat that we’ll see with a 2-3-2 arrangement — once the airline begins taking delivery of Boeing’s next-generation wide-body plane, the 777-9, it’ll come with a new 1-2-1 seat layout installed.
And, really, that’s what Emirates should have done this time around — installed 1-2-1 seats, even at the expense of a smaller cabin. The Emirates A380 has offered direct aisle access for nearly a decade now, with a seat similar to what I just flew from Seoul (ICN) to Dubai (DXB).
Even this older A380 design would have been a step up from the new 777 seat, in my opinion — new finishes or not, 2-3-2 just doesn’t cut it in business class anymore.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees