Check Out Emirates' First 777-200LR With the New and Improved Business-Class Seats
This March, Emirates launched a fourth business-class product. The carrier's Boeing 777s offer three varieties, while the Airbus A380 has a more consistent 1-2-1 arrangement throughout the fleet.
Although the 777-300ER just got a major makeover at the Dubai Air Show last November, the airline's older 777-200LRs now sport the best Triple-7 biz, with a 2-2-2 arrangement, compared to 2-3-2 on the new -300ER.
This March, Emirates launched this new 2-2-2 business class on its Dubai (DXB)-Fort Lauderdale (FLL) flight, and I went down to Florida on Tuesday to check out the new seat.
Both new 777 seats look nearly identical, especially if you're looking at the paired seats on the sides. The middle seats are an entirely differently story, however. For example, here's the -200LR I just saw at FLL:
And here's the middle seats on the new -300ER:
While the -200LR seat is more spacious, with just six seats per row instead of seven, both represent a huge step up from the angle-flat seats Emirates previously offered on the FLL route:
Now, Dubai-Fort Lauderdale has the airline's best 777 seat, with two more inches of width than the new version of the -300ER.
The 777-200LR used on this route is also the first Boeing plane in Emirates' fleet to offer a walk-up bar:
It's not as special as the bar on the A380, of course — pictured below — but it's a nice feature nonetheless.
While this new product is now flying on the FLL route, some frequencies might be operated by the old configuration once the flight goes daily on March 25 — all flights are expected to have the new seats by the end of April, however, and all 10 777-200LRs will be reconfigured by the end of 2018.
Santiago, Chile (SCL) will be the next city to get the new seats, along with Sao Paulo, Brazil (GRU), given that Emirates' 777-200LR Chile flight makes a stop there.
For now, tools like Google Flights are still showing the old angle-flat seats on all of these routes, regardless of which day you pick. Instead, you'll want to use Emirates' site or ExpertFlyer to confirm you have the new 38-seat 2-2-2 arrangement, which should look exactly like this:
If you see this 42-seat configuration, instead, you'll almost certainly be traveling in the old (read: far crappier) seats:
While these new seats aren't competitive in a market where 1-2-1 seating has become the norm — and some carriers even offer business-class suites with sliding doors — they're clearly an improvement over the airline's previous-generation seat. Of course, the obvious question is why Emirates didn't choose to install 2-2-2 seats on all of its newer Boeing planes. The 2-3-2 configuration will continue rolling out on the 777-300ER even though that refreshed plane was just introduced in November.
There's a simple explanation, however. Because there are just 10 of these long-range 777s in Emirates' fleet, the airline is experimenting with a more spacious cabin. If the roomier seats generate more bookings or the ability to sell higher fares, perhaps we'll see them roll out across the Boeing fleet — eventually. 1-2-1 sounds like a long shot, though. If that's the arrangement you're after, your only Emirates option is the Airbus A380, likely for the foreseeable future.