Flying Emirates Business Class

Emirates | Business Class
EK404 | SIN-MEL | Nov 2014
Boeing 777-300ER (77W)

Fatbee and I booked a one-way award flight on Emirates using Qantas points that I’d accrued over the years. While my ideal choice would’ve been to fly on a Qantas plane, no seats were available that day. All that said, I was more than happy to see how business class is like on Emirates.

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Emirates Lounge (Business & First)

After a smooth check-in at the Emirates counter in Changi Airport, we spent an hour or so exploring and relaxing in the Emirates lounge located in Terminal 1.

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The lounge fits both Business and First Class travellers, and it had a somewhat dated decor (polished red woods and mustard leather) reminiscent of luxury lounges from the 80-90’s. But it was spacious and had everything for your needs… a bartender, a cafeteria, plenty of seats, and restrooms with clean showering facilities.

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Lounge Cafeteria

We noticed there were lots of serving staff in this lounge, there was even a guy who’d open the restroom door for us… talk about old world luxury! For the tech savvy amongst us, there are a couple of charging towers scattered around the lounge where you can plug in your devices.

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The announcement that our flight was boarding soon came up, and we made our way to the gate. Boarding was on the slow side with a longish wait in the air bridge. Only the First Class passengers got to use Door A, while the Business and Economy passengers were ferried through Door B further back.

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Business Cabin (Row 6-7)

But things got much nicer once we boarded the aircraft. Here’s the view from my seat. The Business Cabin is divided by the galley into 2 sections (see this seat map). The front section (rows 6-7) right behind First Class is more private with 14 seats, while the back section (rows 8-11) holds 28 seats with close proximity to the (presumably noisier) Economy Cabin.

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Our seats (with privacy screen raised)

That’s why we chose seats 7A and 7B… being a night flight, the lack of a window did not matter to us as we treasured just that extra bit of privacy. On top of that, it was a quiet flight that night and there were only 2 other passengers in this section.

Each business seat is 20.5 inches wide (compared to 17 inches in economy), and the seat pitch (distance between the back of the seat in front of you and the back of your own seat) of 60 inches means you have lots of legroom. If you’re travelling alone, there’s a controllable privacy screen between each seat so that you won’t see your neighbour’s head.

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As for the other seat options, take note that the Business Class seats in the Boeing 777-300 comes 7 in a row in a 2-3-2 configuration, meaning not every seat has aisle access. If you’re travelling alone, don’t pick that middle seat!

It’s only when you’re travelling long haul (mostly to and from Dubai) that you get a taste of Emirates A380’s more luxurious 1-2-1 staggered Business Class configuration.

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Moët & Chandon

Once seated, complimentary refreshments were offered. Pictured right, you can also have a glimpse of the (very bling bling) First Class Suites… boasting a 1-2-1 config each with privacy sliding doors. Interestingly, they’ve made these suites the same as what’s currently in the A380.

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View from my seat

Takeoff was a smooth and seamless affair. Being a night flight, once the seat belt signs were turned off, we were immediately offered a futon mattress turndown service in case we wanted to sleep right away. A much appreciated forethought. But we decided to stay up for supper, whilst playing around with all the gadgets and amenities that were offered on this flight.

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First up, I admit I did let loose a tiny squeal of excitement when I discovered the entertainment system had a wireless control touch pad. I guess it’s just my childhood days of playing on the Gameboy and PSP coming back to me.

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You can do just about anything with this control pad… choose your movies, raise/lower the privacy screen, you can even adjust your seat with this touch pad, turn it into a flat bed or activate the massage function.

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Men’s Amenity Kit

Next we had a customary peek into what’s in our amenity kits…

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Noise Cancelling Headsets

… which came with Bvlgari items. I admit I don’t really use amenity kits at all and they tend to end up gathering dust in a corner of my home… but I did end up using the toothbrush that came with the kit.

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Before meal service began, we were served a small platter of nuts with a drink of our choice. I’m not good with alcohol on flights, so water it is for me!

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Appetiser: Smoked tuna served with coleslaw, watermelon and fresh butter
Main: 
Steamed scallop, prawns and snapper fillet, with red pepper & duchess potatoes

Not long after, white tablecloths were placed and supper was served. I wasn’t hungry but just wanted to see what Emirates has to offer foodwise (for the purpose of this trip report!). The only things that I liked above was the fresh salad that came with the smoked tuna entree and the selection of soft warmed buns that came with the meal. They even had garlic bread on offer.

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Emirates Business Class Boeing 777 300 5
Dessert: Opera gâteau | Orange mousse
Dilmah Chamomile Tea 

Dessert was good though, one of the nicer cakes that I’ve had on a plane flight. Our very friendly air steward, Jeremy, even let me sample both cakes on offer, explaining that they had a lot to spare since most of the other business travellers skipped supper.

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While we freshened up with hot towels, Jeremy turned our seats into beds. Having a futon over the seat made a big difference in making you not notice the lines and creases in your seat.

Now THIS is the reason why we travel premium class… to have a bed in the sky! But if you look closely at the converted seat, you’ll note that it it isn’t a 100% flat bed. It has a mild downward slope and it has a very slight (but noticeable) angle where the hips and knees are. All that said, it was pretty comfy and once the lights were turned off we managed to catch 2-3 hours sleep.

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The first rays of dawn soon appeared in the horizon and the cabin started coming back alive with a hush of activity.

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Breakfast service happened about 1h 40m prior to landing, and it was an enjoyably simple continental affair.

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I noticed our fellow passengers in the cabin slept right through supper and breakfast. In fact, they were allowed to sleep till perhaps 10-20 mins before landing. Makes me wonder if they’re seasoned business class travellers that are happy to forgo all the bells and whistles so that they can enjoy the best thing about premium class travel: the ability to sleep flat.

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Tullamarine Airport – Melbourne

Landing was a smooth affair, and with a sad smile, our business class experience on this plane ended.

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Complimentary Chauffeur Service

But the experience did not quite end there… Qantas and Emirates premium class passengers also receive a complimentary chauffeur service, which we made full use of to get home. I’ll have to say this service makes you feel rather pampered!

The service covers both departures and arrivals, but we didn’t use the service in Singapore because dad and mom sent us off instead.

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Conclusion

Emirates’s business model tends to revolve around high volume travel. While most airlines have 9 economy seats in a row (3-3-3 config) on their Boeing 777-300 aircrafts, Emirates seats come 10 in a row (3-4-3 config). And call me unlucky, but I’ve often experienced luggage belt delays inside Melbourne Airport whenever I take an Emirates flight from Singapore to Melbourne. Because of this, I initially had my reservations with redeeming this award flight.

All that said, once we were in the air, our experience on this flight turned out to be fabulous. If you pick the correct seats in the cabin, you’re all set up for a very comfortable flight. Our very friendly Singaporean air steward, Jeremy, also helped make our flight much more pleasant with his good-humoured nature. I’m not an expert, but I’d say that while economy travel on Emirates can feel a little bit cramped, once you go the next level… you’re in an entirely different playing field.

I also know that Emirates often offers discounted online upgrades (for a fee) to some their Skywards frequent flyer members a few days before travel. So with some luck, getting a taste of their business class seats may be more easily achieved than you’d think!

The only things that weren’t as good on this flight was the food. And based on this and previous flights with Emirates, I also think that the Emirates ground staff in Changi Airport need to work on being more friendly with their passengers.

Other Flight Reports I’d Previously Covered:

Thai Airways Business Class Boeing 777 MEL-BKK (Shell seats with 167º recline)
Thai Airways First Class A380 BKK-CDG (Full Flat Bed)
Thai Airways Business Class A380 CDG-BKK (Full Flat Bed)
Singapore Airlines Business Class A330 BKK-SIN-MEL (Angled Flat)