Review: Emirates’ Boeing 777 ‘classic’ first class suite

Currently appearing on all flights to Australia and New Zealand, here's what awaits in Emirates first class.

By Chris Chamberlin, September 29 2021
Emirates’ Boeing 777 ‘classic’ first class suite
Aircraft Type

Boeing 777-300ER

Airline

Emirates

Seat

Traditional first class suite

Notes
The Good
  • A handheld tablet controls your entertainment, lighting, privacy and more
The Bad
  • It's Emirates' oldest first class suite, so isn't as feature-packed as its fresher first class cabins
X-Factor
  • Closing doors, a two-metre bed and a starry night sky help you doze off above the clouds

Introduction

Emirates continues to fly to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Auckland, with the 'classic' Boeing 777 currently appearing on every one of these departures.

These come equipped with private suites in first class – here's what to expect if you find yourself aboard.

Flight

Emirates' traditional Boeing 777 first class suites are similar to those found on its Airbus A380s.

While the Boeing 777 lacks the superjumbo's 'shower spas', the first class experience is still up there with the best.

Seat

Except for the few with Emirates' latest first class suites, the bulk of the airline's Boeing 777-300ER jets sport eight traditional first class seats, in a 1-2-1 layout. 

Arranged as A-EF-K, the A and K suites by the windows stand alone, while the E/F duos in centre can cater to pairs travelling together, or solo flyers with a divider raised, as pictured.

As you settle in, there's storage for your bags down by your feet – no overhead lockers here, to improve the sense of space – and there's a hook that's perfect for a small handbag.

It also swivels outwards and can be used to support your large tray table and provide extra sturdiness, although it's not normally necessary.

You'll find extra storage beneath a hatch to your side. Near that, some of the seat controls, as well as a tablet (or 'mode controller', as Emirates names it).

You can use this to adjust aspects of the suite, such as the reading light and table lamp.

That table lamp is permanently mounted in place, and certainly provides a better ambience than a typical overhead light – although it's not strictly needed during the day.

A separate ambient light can also be activated via the mode controller, or can be easily switched on and off at the press of a button.

Moving around the seat, there's an international-style AC power outlet in front.

If your transformer doesn't fit the plug – either because of pin type, or the limited spacing around the outlet itself – there are adapters available to solve both problems: just ask the crew.

As well, there's a dual USB-A outlet to the side.

It's part of the console housing your tray table when not in use – but above that, finds a personal minibar.

Just hit the button marked 'press', and your options slowly rise up. It's not refrigerated, however, so many travellers just stick to the water.

For something stronger, the crew can assist – and the shelf in front of you is a great place to balance a glass: or indeed, two bottles when there's something to celebrate – flying 1,000,000 miles, in this case.

That shelf is also home to a personal snack basket: stocked in time for boarding, disappearing just before take-off, and then returning after wheels-up, and kept replenished throughout the flight.

A personal mirror is subtly hidden within that shelf – just press down on the semi-circle to unlock it. The lights activate automatically.

Complementing your amenity kit, its base is also home to a collection of extra goodies that may come in handy throughout the flight.

Also yours to keep is an Emirates-branded notepad and pen, found in a drawer below.

Speaking of things tucked away, there's a little storage nook under your aisle-side armrest, proving the perfect size for small-yet-valuable items like jewellery, as well as cufflinks.

At the end of the same armrest are shortcut keys to the most common controls: just press and hold the relevant icon.

While there's a button to transform your seat into a bed, if that's the plan, just advise the crew as you go change into the supplied pyjamas, and they'll take care of it for you.

The bed extends to 201cm in length with a mattress, duvet and pillow.

Once you're tucked in, grab the mode controller (tablet), head to the 'privacy' tab, and you'll find settings to help ensure a good night's sleep.

For example, activate the privacy light, and "DO NOT DISTURB" is illuminated next to your seat number.

Under these circumstances, you'll only be awoken for landing or where necessary for safety – and you can help avoid the latter by keeping your seatbelt fastened over the duvet, so that it remains visible to the crew.

For even more privacy than the first class cabin typically provides, you can close the motorised doors to your suite.

As there's a gap between the top of the doors and the ceiling itself, you shouldn't feel 'boxed in'.

Instead, you're free to drift off with the stars overhead, which are programmed to twinkle when the main cabin lights are turned off.

The image above is a real photograph of that (artificial) starry night sky, taken aboard an Emirates Boeing 777.

Entertainment

Most Emirates Boeing 777s offer each first class passenger a 24-inch screen. 

A smaller number of the airline's newer Boeing 777s instead provide a larger and more vivid 32-inch HD screen.

Whichever turns up at your gate, you'll have access to a broad selection of movies, TV shows, music, live satellite TV, the aircraft's external cameras, and of course, the 'moving map'.

The system can be controlled by touch – but as the main screen isn't within easy reach of your seat, you can instead browse using the mode controller.

It's battery-powered and connects wirelessly to the seat, so you're free to remove it from its holder and use it like a regular tablet

Verdict

There's no denying that Emirates' traditional Boeing 777 first class suites aren't the newest in the sky.

Certainly, Emirates' freshest fully-enclosed suites are the choice pick, followed by first class on the A380s, which add inflight 'shower spas' into the mix.

But that presumes you have a choice of all three on every route, which is rarely the case.

As far as flights go to Australia and New Zealand, this traditional suite is currently the only Emirates first class seat you'll find in the skies, as every one of these flights are operated by the standard Boeing 777s while travel restrictions are in effect.

In that respect – and even at other times – Emirates' traditional Boeing 777 first class suites remain a very comfortable way to fly, and we can only hope that more passengers can have this experience again soon.

Also reviewed: Emirates' Boeing 777 first class private suites

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Dubai as a guest of Emirates.

Chris Chamberlin

A Brisbane-based contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

07 May 2021

Total posts 6

Was this a recent review Chris if so how did you get out of Australia and why?

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 643

The 'Bad' should have included the fact it's a 777. Horrible aircraft for long and ultra long haul, despite the excellent hard and soft product.

I think airlines and the media are overestimating the rush for the exits. Every person I speak to who are extremely well traveled are saying nope, we’re doing Qualia Hayman Bedarra and Broome until we see what happens over the next twelve months. Outbreaks people stuck with no money Australian government saying you knew the risk. Travel won’t boom till Covid contained.


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