Emirates’ Much-Improved Business Class Launches to the US This Week

Mar 5, 2018

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While Emirates operates one of the world’s top first-class suites on one version of its 777, the business-class seat offered on most of the airline’s wide-body Boeing planes is arguably one of the worst in the industry.

Most seats are angle-flat, rather than full lie-flat, and are arranged in a dense 2-3-2 configuration, meaning several unlucky business-class passengers are going to end up with a middle seat.

Emirates’ old 2-3-2 business class. Photo by Emily McNutt.

In late-2017, the airline introduced a new version of its business-class seat, and while it’s a huge improvement, Emirates decided to first roll it out with that same annoying 2-3-2 configuration. Grrrr.

Emirates’ new 2-3-2 business class.

Now, in a pleasant if not somewhat-surprising move, the airline is about to launch another new version of its biz seat in a more spacious 2-2-2 arrangement, which will begin flying between Dubai (DXB) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL) tomorrow, March 6.

Emirates' new 2-2-2 business class. Photo by Emirates Airline.
Emirates’ new 2-2-2 business class. Photo by Emirates Airline.

Cosmetically, it’s almost identical, but the 2-2-2 config means there won’t be any middle seats. The new seats will be coming to Emirates’ fleet of 10 Boeing 777-200LRs, and are two inches wider than those on the new 777-300ER, with 72 inches of pitch, a personal mini-bar and a 23-inch in-flight entertainment screen.

Emirates' new 2-2-2 business class. Photo by Emirates Airline.
Photo by Emirates Airline.

While there’s no staffed bar, as you’ll find on the A380, this new cabin does offer a small walk-up bar area, with snacks and beverages available throughout the flight. Note that while 2-2-2 is a big step up for Emirates, many carriers now offer business-class seats in a far superior 1-2-1 arrangement.

Photo by Emirates Airline.
Photo by Emirates Airline.

Unfortunately the economy cabin maintains its 3-4-3 arrangement, so you can expect a slightly tighter squeeze, especially when it comes to shoulder space.

3-4-3 seating in economy. Photo by Emirates Airline.
3-4-3 seating in economy. Photo by Emirates Airline.

Emirates made room for the more spacious layout by eliminating the first-class cabin entirely. The old business arrangement allows for a total of 42 seats.

The new cabin sports 38 seats, meanwhile. While there are four fewer seats, we hopefully won’t notice a drop in award availability.

As I mentioned, the new 777 configuration will launch on the Dubai-Fort Lauderdale route tomorrow. The old version does seem to make a few more appearances this month, though, so be sure to check the seat map on ExpertFlyer to see which plane you’ll be flying — obviously you’ll have a far better ride with the 2-2-2 business-class seen above, so if you have a choice, that’s definitely the one to pick.

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