The Emirates business class guide: everything you need to know

Whether it's a flight to Dubai or a journey further afield, here's your guide to flying Emirates in business class.

By Staff Writers, July 15 2022
The Emirates business class guide: everything you need to know

Being one of the world's biggest airlines serving nearly 160 cities in 84 countries, Emirates passengers are generally in for the long haul, with business class being a comfortable way to fly on those globe-striding journeys.

Here's what you need to know about the Emirates business class experience, both on the ground and in the air.

 

What is Emirates business class?

Business class is the go-to option for many corporate and high-end leisure travellers, pairing the perks of priority check-in and airport lounge access on the ground with a lie-flat or even fully-flat bed in the sky.

A range of fares are available to suit most needs and price points, with some sacrificing extras like airport lounge access in exchange for a lower price, while higher tickets may bundle additional perks and added flexibility in case of any flight changes and cancellations.

Five reasons we love Emirates business class

Complimentary chauffeur-drive service

Almost every Emirates business class journey begins with a complimentary chauffeur pick-up from your home, office or hotel to whisk you to the airport, with another car waiting for you at your final destination. 

Emirates' Chauffeur Drive service is complimentary for most business class flyers
Emirates' Chauffeur Drive service is complimentary for most business class flyers

This service is available provided your pick-up location is within an 80km driving distance of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne Airports, or 45kms from Perth. Chauffeur pick-up is currently not available in Adelaide.

There are some exceptions, of course – reduced-price, ‘unbundled’ business class 'special' fares aren't eligible for these transfers, nor are passengers who booked their business class journey using any kind of frequent flyer points.

Further, travellers who booked an Emirates flight through its partner Qantas or those flying between Australia and New Zealand are also not eligible for chauffeur transfers.

Those who originally purchased an economy class airfare and subsequently upgraded their flight to business class using money or miles aren't eligible, while for passengers departing from or arriving in to Hong Kong, chauffeur drive isn't available unless flying Emirates first class.

Still, with the service covering most paid Emirates business class airfares and available in a variety of cities across the globe, the chauffeur-drive service not only takes some of the hassle out of travel planning, but also avoids the added expense of paying for airport transfers separately.

Emirates' business class lounges

Once at the airport, most Emirates business class passengers have access to the airline's business class lounge, where there's a variety of hot and cold food available as well as complimentary beverages including Champagne.

Emirates has four business class lounges at its Dubai Airport hub, three first-class lounges as well as own-brand lounges in many major cities including Sydney, Singapore, London, Frankfurt, New York, and many more. In Australia, Emirates has told Executive Traveller it intends to reopen its local airport lounges before the end of 2022.

In Emirates' business class lounge at Dubai Concourse B, business class flyers can also stop by the Moët & Chandon Champagne bar for complimentary tastings of four different Champagnes, including Moët Grand Vintage cuvée.

The Airbus A380 inflight bar and lounge

If your journey involves a flight aboard the Emirates Airbus A380, make time for a visit to the inflight bar and lounge area, found at the rear of the business class cabin on the superjumbo's upper deck.

Enjoy a drink at Emirates' inflight bar and lounge area
Enjoy a drink at Emirates' inflight bar and lounge area

It's a place where you can stretch your legs, mingle with fellow travellers, enjoy snacks and bartender-mixed drinks, and even watch live sport via satellite on the big screen.

The in-flight entertainment

With over 4,500 pieces of inflight entertainment content spanning movies, TV shows, music and games – which Emirates refers to as "channels" – even the most frequent flyers will never run out of things to watch or listen to.

Added to that, most aircraft also provide access to free satellite TV. Channels available include Sport 24, Sport 24 Extra, BBC World News, Sky News Arabia, CNN International, CNBC, NHK World Premium and Euronews.

Passengers can also view the aircraft's external cameras, which are especially interesting during take-off and landing, as well as two different 'moving map' channels.

Internet access is complimentary

Travellers wishing to stay connected to those on the ground can do so using Emirates’ inflight WiFi, with three different plans available depending on your intended use and priced commensurate with the length of the flight.

If you’d like to use instant chat services such as WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line or Viber, this text-only service is free for the first two hours and then priced at up to US5.99 (AUD$8.84) per device.

To send a flurry of emails, the best way to do this is to prepare them all offline and in your Outbox. When you’re ready, connect to a 30-minute plan which has no data limit and send them all at once. This product is priced at US$9.99 (AUD$14.75) but is only available in selected regions.

Or for full and unfettered service for the entire flight, this is priced at up to US$19.99 (AUD$22.14) however bear in mind that speeds will be regulated to ensure everybody onboard has a fair and reliable service.

Emirates Skywards members of any tier can access the free text services if travelling in business class, while unlimited WiFi for the whole flight is only available to Skywards Platinum members or those in first class.

Do note, that ‘unlimited’ privilege doesn’t apply when a partner airline frequent flyer number is linked instead, such as a Qantas Frequent Flyer number: in which case, the traveller gets 20MB for free and can purchase further access.

Six tips before you fly business class on Emirates

There's a trick to earning Qantas status credits

As Qantas and Emirates are partners, Qantas Frequent Flyer members can earn Qantas Points when travelling with Emirates on an EK or QF flight number.

Emirates Boeing 777-200LR business class
Emirates Boeing 777-200LR business class

However, to earn status credits – which are needed to climb through the ranks of Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One, and to retain those memberships year-on-year – you’ll need to book your Emirates flights under the Qantas QF codeshare, not the Emirates EK flight number.

Booking the EK flight number will still give you Qantas Points, but with zero status credits attached.

You can sometimes choose your lounge

On flights from Australia, an Emirates business class boarding pass gets you into the business class lounges of both Qantas and Emirates, so when both are available and open, you’re free to take your pick.

Additionally in Dubai, regardless of which Concourse your Emirates flight departs from, you’re free to visit any of Emirates’ four business class lounges: whether that’s the largest in Concourse A, the Concourse B lounge with its Champagne bar, the Concourse C lounge which could be near your departure gate, or the ‘other’ Concourse C lounge, which is generally the quietest of them all.

If you have an Emirates Skywards Platinum or iO card, or a Qantas Platinum, Platinum One or Chairman’s Lounge card, you’re also able to visit the first class lounges of Qantas and Emirates prior to your Emirates business class flight: a trick to keep in mind when flying out of Sydney, Melbourne and through Dubai.

You can buy access to the first class lounges

When flying through Dubai International, you can choose to purchase access to Emirates’ first class lounges.

Emirates' first class lounge, Dubai Concourse A
Emirates' first class lounge, Dubai Concourse A

For most business class passengers, this would be as an ‘upgrade’ from their existing business class lounge entitlement, which Emirates sells for USD$150 (AUD$222) per passenger, or US$125 (AUD$185) for Emirates Skywards members and can be paid at the first class lounge reception.

Guests travelling on ‘business class special’ fares or cash upgrades (which don’t include any lounge access) are instead charged USD$300 (AUD$444)  for first class lounge access – or can pay USD$150 (AUD$222) to purchase business class lounge access instead.

That’s a useful tip to keep in mind at other airports too, where Emirates often sells access to business class lounges at the door to guests who don’t have lounge access included with their ticket.

You may be able to upgrade to first class

First class on the A380 is another step up and worth considering if a seat is available.
First class on the A380 is another step up and worth considering if a seat is available.

Depending on your business class fare type, you may be able to upgrade your flight to first class using Emirates Skywards miles or may receive an offer via email to purchase a cash upgrade at a reduced rate.

However, you can’t use Qantas Points to upgrade Emirates flights: only Skywards miles.

Emirates flies a wide range of routes

Emirates’ colossal global network goes far beyond flights to and from Dubai, which means you may be able to fly Emirates business class on other journeys too.

Prior to the pandemic, Emirates flew between numerous cities including Sydney to Christchurch, Melbourne and Brisbane to Singapore, Hong Kong to Bangkok, Auckland to Bali, Milan to New York (JFK), Athens to Newark (EWR) and plenty of other ‘fifth freedom’ routes too.

Some, but not all of these have returned to Emirates’ schedule, while others may do so in the future.

For the best seat, book Emirates Airbus A380

Emirates has several different business class seats ranging from angled-flat beds in a seven-across layout to fully-flat seats with universal direct aisle access, so you won't necessarily have the same business class seat on every Emirates business class flight.

Emirates Airbus A380 business class
Emirates Airbus A380 business class

However, all of Emirates' A380s have that advantageous pairing of a fully-flat bed with direct aisle access, so as your travel plans and schedule allow, choosing the Airbus A380 generally makes for the best travel experience and is the only aircraft in the Emirates fleet with an inflight bar and lounge.

Earning Qantas Points by flying Emirates

As a partner of Qantas, travelling on Emirates brings with it the perk of being able to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points to keep your balance ticking along.

While you won't earn any status credits by booking an EK flight number, you'll still bring home a handy points haul which puts that next free flight or upgrade in closer reach.

A one-way sector between Sydney and Dubai flying Emirates business class on an EK marketed flight will scoop 9,250 Qantas Points. It's nowhere near as lucrative compared to booking that same flight under a Qantas codeshare service, which will instead earn at least 20,000 points depending on the type of fare purchased (discount versus fully flexible).

To maximise your Qantas Points while flying Emirates, make sure you book it on a Qantas flight number.
To maximise your Qantas Points while flying Emirates, make sure you book it on a Qantas flight number.

So if you're setting out to land a big haul of Qantas Points, the only way to do this is by booking the Qantas codeshare flight number to ensure you earn as many as possible.

Getting an upgrade on Emirates

Stuck flying economy on an Emirates flight? You may be able to upgrade yourself to business class using Skywards miles or money.

Again, this depends on the type of fare you purchased, whether your booking was made directly with Emirates or through a partner airline like Qantas and remains subject to availability.

For more information on Emirates business class upgrades, read our Executive Traveller guide.

Best business class seats on Emirates

Of course, you'll find the airline's best business class seat aboard its Airbus A380s, but regardless of which aircraft you're flying, some seats are always better than others.

Here's a breakdown of the best business class seats on each Emirates aircraft type.

Emirates Airbus A380 business class

On the superjumbos, the golden rule is that the further forward you sit, the fewer passengers that will pass by your seat throughout the flight, giving you a better chance of resting or working without interruption.

That's because on the A380, all of the business class lavatories are at the back of the upper deck, as is the inflight bar and lounge: another source of noise you might prefer to avoid on an overnight flight.

Sydney to Dubai: Emirates Airbus A380 business class review

Emirates Boeing 777-200LR business class

Business class on Emirates B777-200LR is a 2-3-2 layout across most of the cabin.
Business class on Emirates B777-200LR is a 2-3-2 layout across most of the cabin.

Taking a flight from Dubai to destinations like Fort Lauderdale, Brazil or Chile? You might be flying on one of Emirates' newly-refitted Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, which provide fully-flat beds in a 2-3-2 layout.

That's less ideal than the Airbus A380's 1-2-1 configuration but offers a much larger and clearer inflight entertainment screen, leather seats and more.

On a layout like this, savvy solo flyers would be wise to select a seat in the centre pairs, as you get direct aisle access with nobody stepping over you, while when travelling as a couple, the outer pairs of seats may be a better fit, not to mention with windows to enjoy the view.

Dubai-São Paulo return: Emirates Boeing 777-200LR business class

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER business class

Similarly-named to the aircraft above but with a different business class experience are Emirates' Boeing 777-300ERs, which make up the bulk of the airline's Boeing 777 fleet.

These aircraft also adopt a 2-3-2 configuration in business class. This means there's no 'ideal' seat for solo flyers, because regardless of where you sit, you'll either have to step past (or over) somebody to access the aisle or be stepped over yourself.

While couples may again gravitate to the window seat pairs – and families to the centre trio – our best tip for solo travellers is to select an aisle seat in the middle group. That's because when you're flying business class, nobody wants the middle seat unless there's nothing else available, so unless the flight is full, you have a better-than-normal chance of having nobody next to you (and stepping over you).

Brisbane to Dubai: Emirates Boeing 777-300ER business class

Emirates lounge reviews in Dubai

Emirates operates exclusively from Terminal 3 at Dubai International, divided up into three concourses and featuring four business class lounges and three first class lounges.

Emirates' first class lounge at Dubai's Concourse A
Emirates' first class lounge at Dubai's Concourse A

Emirates first class lounge, Dubai Concourse A

The newest and biggest of Emirates' first class lounges, the facility in Concourse A spans the entire length of the terminal building, in the concourse used mostly by Emirates' Airbus A380 flights.

Featuring a dining room, day spa, resting areas and private rooms where children can play, this is generally the go-to first class lounge for passengers with a long transit, or those departing from Concourse A, where passengers can board their flight directly from the lounge.

Emirates first class lounge, Dubai Concourse B

Located in the centre of Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport, the first class lounge in Concourse B tends to be the busiest and most popular first class lounge, given its convenient location to the airline's first class check-in area and Chauffeur Drive drop-off point.

While not quite as modern as the first class lounge in Concourse A, the Concourse B space offers the same general amenities including restaurant dining and a day spa.

Emirates first class lounge, Dubai Concourse C

Nestled down in Concourse C, this first class lounge is the smallest of the three and lacks the day spa facility  found in the other two lounges but does have a dining room.

Given the other options available, we'd suggest only using the Concourse C first class lounge if you're short on time and if it's the most conveniently located lounge for your departure gate. Otherwise, if you have a longer layover or have checked in with plenty of time to spare, consider one of the other first class lounges instead, migrating here closer to boarding time.

Emirates business class lounge, Dubai Concourse A

As with Emirates' first class lounge in Concourse A, the business class lounge also spans the length of the terminal, also with direct boarding from lounge to aircraft.

While similar to the first class lounge, dining is instead self-service. The lounge resembles a large symmetrical rectangle with facilities at each end. It's common to find one section of the lounge busy and others almost deserted, so if you're looking for somewhere quiet, a quick stroll should find one.

Emirates business class lounge, Dubai Concourse B

Emirates first class lounge, Dubai Concourse B
Emirates first class lounge, Dubai Concourse B

With Concourse B closest to Emirates' business class check-in and Chauffeur Drive drop-off area, this lounge is again popular with travellers given its central location and is also the only lounge to provide a dedicated Champagne bar and lounge area.

The drops on offer are better than you'll find even in the first class lounges, so even if you're a Platinum-grade frequent flyer with first class lounge access, you might consider stopping by this lounge for an upgraded glass of Champagne first.

Emirates business class lounge, Dubai Concourse C

Of the seven Emirates lounges at Dubai Airport, this is our least favourite. It’s relatively small, tends to be crowded, and doesn't provide the most relaxing atmosphere.

Except as a quick stop if you're departing from a gate nearby, you might instead prefer to visit the Concourse B lounge after check-in or 'The Emirates Lounge' below, which is much quieter.

'The Emirates Lounge', Dubai Concourse C

While not particularly big, this lounge's location right down the end of Concourse C means it's not usually very busy and compared to the 'business class' lounge in the same concourse, 'The Emirates Lounge' is a haven worth exploring.

Interestingly, this is neither a business class lounge nor a first class lounge: it's a hybrid space modelled on Emirates' lounges at other airports overseas. Essentially, an 'outstation lounge', but at the airline's home port.

Emirates worldwide lounge reviews

Review: Emirates business class lounge, Auckland

Review: Emirates business class lounge, Brisbane

Review: Emirates business class lounge, Los Angeles

Review: Emirates business class lounge, Singapore

Review: Emirates business class lounge, Sydney

Emirates business class FAQs

What's the difference between business class and first class on Emirates?

While business class is certainly a comfortable way to fly, first class on Emirates takes that experience to the next level with private suites, upgraded inflight dining, a broader wine list including vintage Champagne (Dom Perignon), and more personalised service.

In airports with separate lounges for business and first class, a first class ticket gets you into that higher-tier lounge as well, where you can enjoy perks like pre-flight restaurant dining, spa treatments and more.

Does Emirates business class have showers?

In airport lounges, yes – but onboard the aircraft, no. Emirates reserves its inflight shower facilities for first class passengers, and even then, on Airbus A380 flights only. No shower facilities are offered on board any Emirates Boeing 777 flight, including in first class.

What are the facilities on an Emirates business class flight?

This depends on the type of aircraft operating your flight, but at a minimum, you'll enjoy complimentary inflight beverages and dining, access to AC and USB outlets to power your devices, enjoy complimentary inflight entertainment and unless your fare type excludes it, business class lounge access and chauffeur-drive services.

When it's time to rest, you'll find lie-flat (read: angled flat) beds on board many Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft although the newest jets in the fleet have upgraded this to a fully flat bed. Flatbeds can also be found aboard the Boeing 777-200LR, and the Airbus A380.

Emirates' oldest Boeing 777 business class seats
Emirates' oldest Boeing 777 business class seats

In any case, you'll receive a designer amenity kit, can access priority check-in, and if you're on an Airbus A380 flight, can make use of the inflight lounge and bar.

How much does Emirates business class cost?

Fares vary from flight to flight, and you may find that booking a return or multi-city trip provides the lowest overall cost, versus booking a series of international one-way flights which can be more expensive.

Where flights are also available for purchase as a codeshare – for example, via Qantas and booked under a QF flight number – the price may also be different to booking the flight 'directly' on the Emirates EK flight number.

Some Emirates business class fares are heavily discounted but don't include the chauffeur drive service or lounge access, and earn a much smaller number of Skywards miles.

Can you book Emirates business class using frequent flyer points or miles?

Yes, subject to availability. You can book Emirates flights using the airline's own Skywards miles or can use points or miles from partner frequent flyer programs like Qantas Frequent Flyer or Alaska Airlines MileagePlan – again, subject to availability.

Along with the points or miles needed for your ticket, you'll also need to pay any applicable taxes and fees when making your booking, and in many cases, these bookings can attract fuel surcharges or carrier surcharges which will need to be paid before your ticket can be issued.