Emirates made industry news at the Dubai Air Show with a surprise order for 40 of Boeing’s 787-10 Dreamliner jets.
But the Dubai-based carrier also used the air show to unveil its new first-class cabin that it teased earlier this year. Now, the new design is out.
Emirates revealed an updated “suites” first-class product that gives fliers up to 40-square-feet of space and seats that convert into lie-flat beds and come with sliding privacy doors.
Emirates will add the new first-class seats to its new Boeing 777-300ER jets still on order. The new suites cabin will be installed in a 1-1-1 configuration, lowering the density from Emirates’ current 1-2-1 layout on the airline's Boeing 777s that feature a comparable suites cabin.
The update continues something of a premium-cabin arms race among the world’s high-end carriers. It was less than two weeks ago that Singapore Airlines – frequently tabbed as the world’s most luxurious carrier – rolled out its own new first-class suites for its Airbus A380 jets.
TODAY IN THE SKY: Swivel chairs, double beds, 32" TVs: Check out Singapore Air's swanky new 'suites' (story continues below)
Emirates, of course, helped launch the contemporary airline luxury suite when it rolled out suites-style cabins on its then-new Airbus A380s. In addition to the actual seating areas, those first-class cabins included showers that could be used by first-class fliers as well as bar and lounge areas. Gulf-rival Etihad has since rolled out its own luxurious first-class cabins, which top out with ‘The Residence,' a 120-square foot mini apartment with a queen bed, shower, and private butler. Etihad also offers a more-typical first-class suite that it bills as the "Apartment," a seat that comes with a separate bed and sitting area.
In unveiling Emirates’ latest update, airline president Tim Clark took the opportunity to laud the carrier’s high-end offerings.
“The in-flight experience is the heart of our brand and service proposition. The new 777 interiors that we are unveiling today is part of Emirates’ ongoing investment to continually raise the bar and exceed our customers’ expectations,” Clark said in a statement.
The new cabin interiors coming to Emirates’ still-to-be delivered 777-300ERs also will get updated business-class and economy seats. However, Emirates’ business-class seats will continue to be arranged in a 2-3-2 layout. That puts the carrier at a disadvantage against an increasing number of high-end global carriers that now promise direct-aisle access from every seat in business.
Passengers will see Emirates new 777 interior enter service quickly. It will debut Dec. 1 on Emirates’ flights between its Dubai hub and the European airports serving Brussels and Geneva, Switzerland.
Other cities will likely join the mix soon, but a broader roll-out may be slow. Emirates will be adding the cabin to six new 777-300ERs that are still to be delivered from Boeing. Beyond that, a so far small number others will be retrofitted, Clark said to The Points Guy.
“We’ll have probably eight or nine maximum by the end of 2019,” Clark told the publication.
Emirates already has more than 125 777-300ERs in its fleet.
“We’ll look at the 300ERs and how much life they have left, and see if it’s worth to make over,” Clark added to The Points Guy, saying further that there’s not yet a timeline for bringing the new suites to Emirates’ flagship A380.