Last year Emirates launched their new first class suite on the B777 with much fanfare. As soon as the first pictures of the new product leaked online, aviation geeks around the world started foaming at the mouth (myself included).
As the most sought-after first class suite to date (arguably a tie with Singapore Airlines), it was with great disappointment we learned that Emirates would not be releasing any award redemptions on the new first class. Those wanting to try it would have to stump up the cash.
Thanks to a trip with Hainan Airlines which would get me from Brussels to Sydney I had the opportunity to position myself with Emirates in first-class from Colombo Sri Lanka to Geneva (and onto Brussels in economy… but that’s a different story). If you’re interested to see how I scored 2 first class flights with Emirates for AU$2900, you can check out my in-depth post on that here.
After enjoying a 24h layover at the Shangri-La Colombo, it was time for my Emirates first class experience to begin! Colombo airport is far from the modern and as I learned quickly, queuing is optional in Sri Lanka.
To enter the airport building, you need to have some proof that you’re flying so make sure you have an email itinerary ready or some sort of print out to show security. Another security checkpoint later was the departure hall which is small but chaotic.
Emirates First Class Check-in Colombo
Emirates outsources their check-in desks to Sri Lanka Airlines. There were at least 6 people in front of me in the first class queue and more tried to push in as we progressed. Sure enough, I noticed everyone in front of me was flying economy, and it was clear the ground staff couldn’t care less.
Emirates has its own lounge in Colombo which is very similar to all its business class lounges worldwide (nothing exciting). After an hour or so waiting around it was finally time to board.
The flights from Colombo to Dubai are operated by the old B777 which features sloping business class seats and the same first-class cabin as you would find on the A380 minus the shower. It’s a great product and perfectly suitable for a 4h flight. However, I did notice that the seat on the 777 seems to slope a little more compared to that on the A380. If you’re wondering what I mean by “slope”, I’m referring to the angle of the bed when in bed mode i.e. it’s not horizontal.
On arrival in Dubai, it took me a good 15-20 minutes to cross through all the different terminals on my way to the one where my flight to Geneva would be departing from.
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Finally, I made it to the calm sanctuary that is the Emirates First class lounge. Since I didn’t have much time left before boarding commenced, I decided to head straight for the shower to freshen up.
Boarding From The Lounge
Emirates allows its guest to board directly from the lounge in Dubai and as it turned out, everyone in the first class cabin was almost as excited as me to be flying the new fully enclosed suite. Every single suite was occupied in first class, but the business cabin looked half empty.
Upon boarding, I was greeted by the friendly cabin manager who gave me a quick tour of the suite to explain all the features; there are a few!
The New Emirates 777 First Class Cabin
Each first class suite has sliding doors and floor to ceiling walls offering complete privacy (more on that in a bit), it’s a cabin reminiscent of that of a luxury train wagon from days gone past.
It’s great to see Emirates has evolved it’s over the top borderline tacky design found in the A380 and 777 and developed into something that oozes luxury.
In total, the suite is 3.7m2 and boast 3 windows with actual curtains (how cool!) and one of the most comfortable seats I’ve ever sat on!
Emirates Virtual Windows In The Middle Seat
Everything in your private suite can be controlled via a range of touchpads and buttons, from the lighting in the floor (there are small LEDs resembling the nights’ sky), walls, ceiling, etc.
Everything can be adjusted to suit your personal preferences. This includes the colour of the lights and the temperature in your cabin!
Each suite comes with an extremely large TV monitor (32″ touchscreen) and a separate detachable tablet to control it and everything around you.
In addition to that, there’s also a separate TV remote which is also wireless and stored in the left-hand armrest of the chair.
The chair itself is most comfortable in the Nasa approved “Zero-G” position; you literally melt into the chair, it’s amazing. Apart from that, every aspect of the seat can be adjusted via the tablet and via the shortcut buttons on the armrest.
If you’re sitting in the middle two seats you will be treated to digital windows which mirror what’s going on outside the plane in HD, the displays look absolutely fantastic and can be customised if you don’t actually want to look outside.
Underneath the TV screen is a large desk with a built-in vanity mirror which comes stocked with a nice notebook and a beauty kit. Beneath the desk is the table which slides out and downwards, the handle which you use to pull out the table is wrapped in beautiful leather.
Emirates hasn’t gotten rid of their of the mini bar this time around, and it’s spread out across both sides of the TV.
Unfortunately, it’s not chilled, so it’s only convenient for getting a quick water, unless you like warm Pepsi or juice. I’m happy to report the snack basket also makes a return to the new B777 first class suite!
On the desk is a set of binoculars which in theory is a great idea to check out the geography underneath you. However, I found the optical quality and magnification was lacking, so it’s more of a gimmick really.
Underneath the desk is a storage compartment which fits a small carry-on suitcase. I’ve got the smallest size Rimowa Topas Stealth which measures 55cm by 40cm wide and 20cm deep and it barely fit in the cabinet. Apart from that space, there’s really nowhere else to store your bag.
At the same height as the desk is a service door which can be opened by the crew to pass you anything while the doors are closed. In theory this sounds nice, but during dinner service, the doors were opened as it’s almost impossible to put a plate on the dining table through the opening.
The other downside of this service door is that it has some strategically placed holes through which the crew can check on you. This kind of takes away from the privacy aspect you would think a fully enclosed suite provides.
777 Suite Power supplies
Emirates has got you covered when it comes to power supplies for all your devices and even has USB-C available! Since my MacBook Pro was running on empty, I decided to test it out. Unfortunately, the power coming out of the USB-C port isn’t enough to charge your laptop while running applications that are a bit more resource intensive. However, it was perfectly fine when turned to standby.
Amenity Kit And Pyjamas
I was surprised that the crew offered a full amenity kit and pyjamas on my flight since generally on daytime flights they aren’t provided and PJ’s can be requested if needed. The amenity kit was the standard offering by Bvlgari which I think are average products. I would much rather see dedicated skincare products featured in an amenity kit, Cathay Pacific’s Aesop one comes to mind or Hainan Airlines Clarins kit. Emirates also offers a set of comfortable slippers and eye mask to match your hydrating seaweed pyjamas.
Room Service Via Video Call
I love how Emirates always goes over the top when it comes to first class. The video call feature is an excellent example of that. Instead of calling the attendant button, you can now call the crew directly, opting for either video call or voice call only. I tested the feature just for fun but couldn’t hear the cabin crew, and they couldn’t hear me either, so we just pretended for a few seconds before the crew simply walked the full 2 meters to my suite to take my order.
I booked 1A but in hindsight should have gone with either 2A (more private since no one sits across the aisle) or 1K. In saying that, all seats are outstanding so you can’t really go wrong. Both middle seats (1E and 2F) are positioned next to a window seat so you will have to decide whether you want to sit close to the galley or the business cabin behind you.
Pre Departure Beverage
On our flight Emirates was serving both “regular” Dom Pérignon and the special edition P2 vintage 2000. This is often the case where they serve a special edition Dom Pérignon on the flights going or coming from Europe.
Emirates has by far the most opulent wine list, closely followed by Singapore Airlines. While others like Etihad are actively cutting costs in this department, Emirates makes sure to go all out for their premium passengers and by doing so are building their brand as a real luxury airline.
Apart from the standard nuts or olives, Emirates now also offers gourmet chips with your champagne, I approve!
First Class Wining And Dining
Emirates has a dine on demand a-la-carte menu in first class, and since we departed right after lunchtime in Dubai, the crew took orders on the ground and started lunch service right after takeoff.
(Wine list click to expand)
(Food & cocktail menu click to expand)
I started of with some canapes which included grilled venison, smoked salmon and blue cheese on gingerbread (sounds terrible but it tasted pretty good).
For my appetiser, I couldn’t go past the traditional caviar service with condiments. Even though Emirates uses Chinese caviar, it’s generally pretty good. On this flight however, I found the caviar was a bit too mushy as a good quality product should have distinctly separate eggs that pop when eaten. As you can see in the picture, it seems like the caviar has started to disintegrate and melt together.
Purely for reviewing purposes, I had a second appetiser (salmon gravlax) which was beautiful.
Onto the main course, I decided to try out the beef wellington which seems like a tricky dish to pull off on a plane. I’m happy to report that the beef was cooked perfectly and the pastry wasn’t too soggy.
For dessert I couldn’t go past the sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream. Needless to say, it was fantastic.
The New Emirate 777 First Class Bed
After dinner, I decided to have a nap and test out the new first class seat in bed mode. The mattress, duvet and pillow are all stored in a large overhead cabinet behind your seat, and the crew made up the bed for me as I went and had a look at the business class section (right behind first class).
Upon my return, the bed looked absolutely fantastic! The linen used was very high quality, and everything seemed very comfortable. Until I lay down and realised… the bed wasn’t flat!
When seen from above the bed looks flat and perfectly comfortable, but when you lie down, you realise that it’s really on an angle and the foot section of the bed slopes downwards. I got out of bed to check if the foot-end would flex upwards at all when pushed, but it didn’t budge an inch. I tried the seat controls but nowp… it was fully “flat” or at least as flat as the bed goes.
In reality, it isn’t as noticeable when you sleep on your back, but when you’re a stomach sleeper like me, the angle of the bed is very uncomfortable.
Since the product is so new, there aren’t many reviews online yet, so I decided to reach out to others who have flown the new 777 in first. Unfortunately, most of them couldn’t recall if the bed was angled or not and others admitted they only really put it in bed mode to see what it looked like. Combine that with Emirates stellar beverage list and all of a sudden you don’t notice these things so much anymore!
I did, however, look through some of my fellow blogger pictures and you can clearly see there’s a slope at the legend of the seat.
I reached out to Emirates to ask them about the angle of the seat, but even though they promised to get back to me, they haven’t so far.
Bed problems aside, it was perfectly fine for the short-ish flight to Geneva, and on route, I got to watch some FIFA world cup live from the comfort of my suite.
Coming into land, we got to enjoy some magnificent views of the Swiss/French Alps flying right next to Mt Blanc.
Upon landing we were grounded for a good 20 minutes as we waited for the Pope to depart. His Alitalia jet parked right next to us didn’t look remotely as comfortable as our brand new 777, and it was clear he needed Jesus more than we did.
Emirates 777 New First Class Conclusion
Is it the best first class seat on the market right now? I would say yes (apart from the bed!). Regarding comfort and style, Emirates wins hands down. Having flown both the new Singapore Airlines first class suite and Emirates, I would pick Emirates for daytime flights where you just want to relax and lounge around in your suite. When it comes to sleeping however, I would find it impossible to get a good night sleep on the angled flatbed. Emirates offers a fun flight experience with excellent cabin crew and an outstanding food and beverage selection in first class, the new suite is pure opulence and a real statement of luxury aviation.