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Over the past few weeks I’ve circled the globe three times, trying out some of the world’s best airline products along the way. But nothing I’ve flown to date comes anywhere close to Emirates’ brand-new first-class suite. It’s simply out-of-this-world incredible.

On Friday, I had the privilege of joining the inaugural flight for Emirates’ new suite — our trek from Dubai (DXB) to Brussels (BRU) gave me roughly seven hours to experience the product in the air and on the ground. That wasn’t nearly enough time, though — I could have easily spent several days in this thing and left even more elated than I arrived.

So what, exactly, makes this Emirates suite so fantastic?

1. There’s tons of space.

Etihad’s Apartment and Singapore’s brand-new A380 suite have Emirates beat when it comes to square footage, but this is still one of the roomiest products you can fly.

I kept my suite door and service “hatch” closed for most of the flight, and I didn’t feel claustrophobic at all. There’s also plenty of room to move around with the seat in lie-flat bed mode, and the tray table design makes it easy to get in and out during the meal service.

2. It’s incredibly private.

This is the first suite that’s fully enclosed from floor to ceiling — with its own lighting, seat-belt sign and even climate control, it operates entirely independently of the rest of the cabin.

The new @Emirates first-class suite, in 360 degrees. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

After sliding my door closed, I didn’t feel any need to head to the lavatory to change into my Emirates-supplied moisturizing pajamas — perhaps with the exception of the bedroom in Etihad’s Residence, this suite is as private as they come.

3. The virtual windows.

Honestly, this might be my favorite feature of all — those virtual windows are simply outstanding. A genius move on Emirates’ part.

Without question I prefer the center suites (1E and 2F) to those on the port and starboard sides, since these are the only two that sport virtual windows — which, in my opinion, offer an even better view than the real thing.

4. Temp controls, custom lighting and other crazy tech.

One of my in-flight pet peeves is when the flight attendants keep the cabin too warm — especially when there aren’t individual air vents available in the passenger service panel above. Well, that’s simply not an issue with the new Emirates suite — you can control the temperature on your own, either through a dedicated thermostat or via the two high-powered adjustable air vents.

There’s also a high-definition, 32-inch touchscreen up front, along with a 13-inch tablet controller and a dedicated control panel mounted on the wall that allows you to adjust everything from the do-not-disturb sign to the color of the LED lights.

5. The best bed I’ve ever had on a plane.

In describing the new seat, Emirates’ press release states:

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.

I forgot to test out the zero-gravity mode specifically, but I found the seat to be exceptionally comfortable, especially in bed mode.

Turndown service is included, of course — from the mattress pad to the throw blanket, the bedding is truly fantastic.

6. Tons of delicious, on-demand food and drinks.

Only one of the two 777-300ERs flying daily between Dubai and Brussels offers the new suite — Flight 183, and 184 on the return — but you’ll find the same food and beverage options on both planes.

Here’s a PDF link to the menu for my flight — everything was fantastic, from the Arabic coffee and dates at boarding to the cheese board for dessert.

7. Exceptional service.

This was my fourth Emirates first-class flight — while I’ve had great service every time, the flight attendants really went above and beyond this time. It seemed that several had been hand-picked to specifically work the inaugural, so the crew onboard was definitely the best that Emirates has to offer.

Several members of the crew had been trained on the new suite, too, so they were already familiar with all of the functions before we came onboard.

Bottom Line

I’ve had a chance to experience some pretty incredible products so far in my career — up until this week, my two overall favorites were Etihad’s Apartment and Asiana’s first-class suite on the A380. But there’s no question that Emirates blows both of these out of the water. What remains to be seen is how Singapore’s new suite stacks up — it looks incredible as well, and I’m hoping to have a chance to fly it very soon.

Currently, the new 777 is only flying from Dubai to Brussels and Geneva (GVA), once per day to each city. Other routes have yet to be confirmed, although Emirates president Sir Tim Clark did reference Chicago (ORD) as one possible destination. For now, though, Emirates has blocked all but the most expensive fare class (“F”) for this latest product, so it isn’t currently possible to book with partner miles.

That said, you can score a decent fare if you book a creative routing. That’s exactly what I did, and I think I’m spoiled for life. This was easily the best flight I’ve ever had — I just wish it had been at least twice as long.

For more on Emirates’ new first-class suite, see:

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