Emirates likely won’t have first class on new Boeing 787s or Airbus A350s

Dec 14, 2019

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Last month at the Dubai Airshow, Emirates announced it would be ordering 50 Airbus A350-900s. Those aircraft will start to enter the fleet in 2023 alongside 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

The question on many TPG readers’ minds was: Would Emirates put its famed first class suite on those new aircraft?

Unfortunately for ultraluxury travel fans, the airline will likely not install first class on the 80 aircraft, Emirates CEO Tim Clark told Executive Traveler.

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Clark said that the aircraft would “probably not” have first class and would instead feature business, premium economy and economy seating. The CEO added that the 787s would “be used on a variety of medium to long-haul operations that don’t . . . support a first class cabin.”

However, Clark did reveal some good news. Business class cabins on the new aircraft will mirror what’s currently on Emirates’ Airbus A380, which features a fully flat bed in 1-2-1 configuration, meaning all seats have direct aisle access. On many Emirates aircraft, business class seats are laid out in 2-3-2 configuration and some even feature angle-flat seats.

“We’re standardizing the fleet: the Boeing 777-9X, the A350, the 787 and A380 will all be the same type of (business class) suite,” Clark told Executive Traveler.

Business class on Emirates A380. Image by Emily McNutt / The Points Guy.

Emirates still plans on installing first class on its incoming Boeing 777X aircraft, although full details have not been revealed for that part of Emirates’ fleet. The airline has over 100 777Xs on order, so travelers should still have a good shot of booking the famed travel experience.

In 2017, Emirates revealed a brand-new, fully enclosed suite that improved upon its older, but still highly regarded, first class product.

If you want to learn more about booking Emirates first class with miles, you’ll want to check out our Ultimate Guide to Emirates First Class and our story on how to find routes with the new first class suite. You can book Emirates awards through a number of programs — Emirates Skywards is a transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards and Capital One.

Emirates unveiled a new first class suite in 2017 that’s been installed on select Boeing 777 aircraft. Image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy.

Emirates also plans on rolling out premium economy on the A380 by the end of next year. It will be the first time Emirates has put a premium economy product on its aircraft, however the seat design has yet to be revealed for that.

Featured image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy.

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