Emirates 777: new business class ditches the middle seat

The Gulf airline has all-new Boeing 777 business class seats on the way, while also ramping up its premium economy roll-out.

By David Flynn, May 7 2024
Emirates 777: new business class ditches the middle seat

  • Emirates confirms new 777 business class with 1-2-1 layout
  • First 777 upgrade scheduled for July 2024
  • Over 80 of Emirates flagship 777s will be refurbished, at a rate of one every fortnight

Hooray, I’m in the middle seat!” said nobody ever, and certainly not when they are booked in business class.

Yet Emirates, undisputed powerhouse of the airline world, has long persisted with the dreaded middle seat in the business class cabin of its Boeing 777-300ER jets.

Perhaps an equally grave sin for high flyers is that the middle seat belongs to a dated 2-3-2 layout which sees every passenger either stepping over their neighbour to get to the aisle, or being stepped over by a seatmate with the same intent.

Thankfully that’s about to change, with the Gulf colossus confirming an all-new 777 business class in an “updated 1-2-1 seating configuration” will arrive in July this year.

Going, going, gone: the dated 2-3-2 business class seating of Emirates' Boeing 777s.
Going, going, gone: the dated 2-3-2 business class seating of Emirates' Boeing 777s.

The new no middle seat Emirates 777 business class will also align with that of the new Airbus A350s and what’s to come when the delayed Boeing 777-9 jetliners finally arrive from late 2025.

Emirates will install the new business class onto 81 of its flagship Boeing 777s, with each retrofit taking around two weeks; 110 Airbus A380s will also join Emirates’ superjumbo upgrade program.

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark describes the project as a “multi-billion dollar investment... to introduce cutting-edge cabin products on more of our A380s and Boeing 777s, demonstrating a clear commitment to elevating the customer experience with a best-in-class suite of products across every cabin.”

“The addition of more aircraft fitted with our newest generation seats, updated cabin finishings and a contemporary colour palette also marks a significant step in ensuring more customers can consistently experience our premium products across both aircraft types.”

The 777s will carry eight private first class suites, 40 flatbed business class seats, 24 premium economy recliners and 260 economy seats.

Here's cheers to direct aisle access in Emirates next-gen 777 and A350 business class.
Here's cheers to direct aisle access in Emirates next-gen 777 and A350 business class.

Speaking with international media on the sidelines of the Arab Air Carriers Organization 56th AGM in Riyadh (ironically home of new rival Riyadh Airways, which is plotting its own new business class from 2025), Emirates Chief Commercial Officer Adnan Kazim said the airline was “re-adjusting our business class in terms of the look and feel and even the configuration from the existing 2-3-2 to 1-2-1 configuration.”

“The existing 2-3-2 business class on (the) B777 will go away and you’ll see a new product that will be launched which will bring us the alignment to the product that we have with the upcoming 777-9X (and) with the A350 that is coming in.”

“Everything will be streamlined in term of the product offering and consistent in term of what we do on the way forward,” he added.

The new Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 seats are being developed and supplied by Safran Seats, with Emirates promising they “will offer a host of enhancements that set a new standard for comfort, privacy and convenience, including generous space and a bolder roster of luxurious features, stylish interior finishes and next level-technology.”

Emirates' new 777 and A350 business class will adopt the same layout and core features of the A380.
Emirates' new 777 and A350 business class will adopt the same layout and core features of the A380.

Emirates President Clark has previously described its next-generation 777 business class as “basically the same as we have on the A380” in terms of not only its layout but core feature seat, although nobody woud be surprised if this new business class seat sprouted on-trend privacy doors.

The 777-9s will also sport a small self-serve snack and social area in the middle of the business class cabin, while being crowned with six “fully-enclosed” first class suites of the same design as the latest Boeing 777-300ERs.

25 Feb 2022

Total posts 19

Excellent, that is all I can say!

01 Dec 2012

Total posts 52

Bring on more bling! But the service is excellent amongst the fake wood with gold trim.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 716

I certainly hope Sir Tim reconsiders and also puts the A380 Bar on the 777 and A350s, they're both big enough.  

Lmc
Lmc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 105

The thing is, many many people still book Emirates, so while outdated can’t be that bad. Having flown on EK from KL to Melbourne when they operated the route its was still comfortable albeit outdated even then.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 671

It's still a horribly LOUD and jet lag inducing 777. Worst aircraft out there for long and ultra long haul. Pass.

30 May 2018

Total posts 36

Great news; Just twenty years late.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Aug 2015

Total posts 53

About time, but for the love of god make a headrest that actually stays up and not slowly creeps back down.....


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