Aircraft Type: Boeing 700-300ER
Route: Dubai to Melbourne via Singapore
Class: Business Class
A good business seat which could be further improved with a better lounge experience and more food variety.
Emirates is one of the best airlines in the world when it comes to premium travel, so when I recently had to book an international flight I jumped at the chance to fly on one of its refurbished Boeing 777-300ERs. These refurbished aircraft feature Emirates' most recent take on business class.
There's been a lot of discussion about this redesign since it was introduced and I was interested to see how the 2-3-2 cabin configuration would stack up to the 1-2-1 layouts offered in other business class cabins and even Emirates' own A380.
The flight was from Dubai to Melbourne via Singapore, so there would be plenty of time to thoroughly test out the seat and service.
Aircraft Type: Boeing 700-300ER
Route: Dubai to Melbourne via Singapore
Class: Business Class
This flight was booked through the Emirates Skywards program and cost 100,000 Skywards Miles and approximately $500 in fees and taxes once converted. I booked about four weeks in advance.
At first I couldn't find any available seats so I jumped onto Expertflyer.com, searched for the flights and set a reminder for any free seats that came up. Within about two weeks I was alerted to some available seats and jumped on the Emirates website to book.
If you plan to book Emirates rewards seats through the Skywards program and are transferring points from another program, keep in mind that you can't reserve seats in the Skywards program. You'll need to have the points in your account to book, so it might be a good idea to transfer early.
You can also book these flights with Qantas Points through the Qantas website, however the required points and seat availability might be different through the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
This flight was booked using Emirates Skywards Miles. Amex Membership rewards points can be transferred into Skywards Miles or alternatively you can book Emirates rewards seats with Qantas Points. See the below guides for more information:
The check-in process at Dubai International Airport is very fast if you're flying on business or first class with Emirates because you can check-in from a dedicated terminal. From check-in to arriving at the lounge probably took us under 10 minutes!
This flight was just after midnight, so we didn't plan to spend much time in the lounge. It was peak time at Dubai Airport, with lots of traffic coming in and out, and this unfortunately meant the lounge was busy to the point of being overcrowded.
Soon enough it was time to board and we were able to board first on a separate jetty for business and first class passengers.
Upon boarding we were greeted by the cabin crew and welcomed to our seat. The other senior cabin crew member came and introduced herself, and asked if there was anything they could do for us. I like this kind of personal one-on-one experience which many airlines these days are lacking.
The aircraft was immaculately presented, with a refreshed take on the classic Emirates decor of bold gold and timber styling. It feels a lot more luxurious with the new fit-out and the aircraft has a nicer design compared to the older Boeing 777s.
The business class cabin on the 777-300ER was in a 2-3-2 configuration. This means you'll be sitting next to another passenger (possibly on either side in the middle) and will have less privacy compared to a 1-2-1 configuration.
Families travelling with children might find the seat configuration ideal. Solo travellers or couples should opt for the windows as they have a little more privacy and better views.
Travelling in the middle three seats as a solo traveller will mean you get a little less privacy, so if you want to avoid that, jump onto the Emirates website, SeatGuru or Expertflyer.com and check out the seat map before booking.
There was actually nothing available on the window for this flight right up until check-in, so I would've been stuck in the middle if I hadn't asked.
The seat has a more sleek and luxurious design compared to the older seat, with beautiful soft leather. This seat is also a lie-flat bed, which is a huge improvement on the angle-flat beds in the old cabin. Unfortunately this makes it a little difficult to get out of your seat if your neighbour has their seat flat and means you might have to jump over them.
There's also a foot rest with the new seat and approximately 10 inches of extra space between your seat and the seat in front compared to the older seat.
Emirates has become known for its inflight entertainment system, once again picking up the 2019 Skytrax award for Best Inflight Entertainment. There are over 3,500 options to choose from including Hollywood, Bollywood and Middle Eastern movies and TV shows, plus live sports if you want to stay up to date during the flight.
Our entertainment screens and controls worked well and had no glitches throughout the flight.
As always, if you're flying with Emirates you can visit the website to see what's going to be showing on your flight so you don't waste any time when you're flying.
There's a small mini-bar with each seat which holds two drinks, but it's unrefrigerated so it's mostly there for aesthetics.
For the first leg of the flight to Singapore, the meals started with breakfast. I had the classic omelette with chicken sausages, roasted potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and spinach. There was also fruit. It was tasty and fresh, but once again I've seen this dish being served by Emirates for a long time. It would be nice to see more variety.
You also had the choice of smaller snacks if you were still hungry like a lamb pie and Thai red curry with vegetables and rice.
For the next leg from Singapore, I had the Arabic mezze, which is still one of my favourites when flying with Emirates. It was well presented and tasted fresh – definitely a five out of five dish!
Just before landing in Melbourne we were served dinner, which was an Arabic chicken dish served with rice and it was delicious. It was nice to see traditional Arabic food being served.
For dessert, there was a New York cheesecake served with fruit or a chocolate brownie. The crew also handed out chocolate boxes throughout the flight.
Another nice feature Emirates has in its menus is regional dishes from wherever it's flying from. For the flight from Singapore, for example, there were Asian dishes available.
The crew was very prompt and fast when serving meals on both legs of the flight. At the start of the flight they took our orders for breakfast, supper and dinner. The crew now use an electronic device to note your food and drink orders, so they didn't forget to bring anything.
For an airline the size of Emirates, regular menu updates and on-demand dining would be welcome additions. Competitors like Qatar Airways offer on-demand dining with a similar number of seats even on shorter seven-hour flights. For the price some passengers are paying for these flights, Emirates could definitely improve the inflight meal experience.
Wi-Fi was available on this flight which is useful for business travellers. As I've mentioned in my previous reviews, if you're an Emirates Skywards member travelling in business or first class, you can receive free Wi-Fi if you add your membership number to your booking.
Membership to the Skywards program is free if you're not already a member.
The refurbished Emirates business class seat is a welcome change from the older seat, especially given that it's now a lie-flat seat. The entertainment is also second to none.
Unfortunately the 2-3-2 layout will not appeal to everyone, especially to those in the middle seat. Emirates also needs to lift its inflight dining game to match competitors with concepts like on-demand dining and more regular updates to the menu. The lounge in Dubai was also very crowded and overpacked.
A mediocre hard product, coupled with a much improved dining experience and genial service. Read more…
We fly from Tokyo to Singapore to test out JAL's business class seat. Read more…
A good business seat which could be further improved with a better lounge experience and more food variety, Mehron finds. Read more…
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