Emirates might have wowed everyone with their signature First Class Shower Spa onboard the A380, or the brand-new fully-enclosed First Class Suite for the Boeing 777-300ER. Yet, the airline continues to operate one of the crappiest international Business Class product. Most world-class airlines offer fully flat bed and direct aisle access in Business Class; some, like Delta and Qatar Airways, even offer sliding doors for an enclosed suite experience. Still, on many of their 777 aircraft, Emirates is still flying angle-flat Business Class in a 2-3-2 configuration.
Emirates gets away with it because of the halo effect from their stunning First Class products bring (and clever marketing). And to be completely fair, Emirates has already announced a new Business Class product that offer fully flat beds. However, the new product still comes in a 2-3-2 configuration, which means at least 3 people per row would have to hop over someone to use the bathroom.
Today, Emirates announced that they are retrofitting Boeing 777-200LR aircraft with the “new” Business Class. This is basically the same product they debuted for the 777-300ER, but they will be eliminating the middle seat. This increases the width of the seats by 2 inches, and finally brings a 2-2-2 configuration to Business Class.
With this retrofit, Emirates is switching to a two-class configuration. The elimination of First Class on the 777-200LR brings the seat total up from 266 to 302: 38 in Business Class and 264 in Economy Class.
Unique to the Boeing 777-200LR, Emirates will also be offering a “Social Area” in the middle of the cabin. This mini lounge (I can’t call it a mini bar, since that’s available at every seat) will offer snacks and beverages throughout the flight. However, I can’t help but feel like the lounge is terribly placed—it literally divides the cabin into two halves, and I would imagine the folks sitting directly behind the bar would get very little privacy.
I really think this is just a way for Emirates to creatively use the space by the boarding doors. They can’t fit another row of Business Class there anyway, so it seems like they might as well put something there. With a mini bar at every seat, I can’t imagine that the mini lounge area would get too much loud traffic, unlike an actual onboard bar like you might find on Virgin Atlantic or Emirates’ A380.
Emirates will be retrofitting 10 777-200LR in their fleet, servicing some of the newer destinations that they have announced, like Santiago, Chile (SCL). This “new” Business Class will start flying tomorrow, March 6, 2018, to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), a relatively new route for Emirates.