Emirates’ newest business class seat is currently soaring between Adelaide and Dubai, alongside flights to Fort Lauderdale, Santiago and São Paulo.
While it's fair to say that the new 2-2-2 arrangement isn't on-par with many other airlines, it's still an improvement on the Emirates Boeing 777 business class of yesteryear, which still features angled-flat sloping seats in a denser 2-3-2 layout.
Emirates Boeing 777-200LR business class: seat map
The new business class cabins have 38 fully-flat seats arranged six-abreast across seven rows.
While all the seats occupy the same space as such, the exit doors and a snack bar between rows five and six divide the business class cabin into 26 seats at the front and 12 seats in the rear.
Aisle seats in rows three and four are designated as accessible seating for those with disabilities, while bassinets are located across row six: specifically seats 6B, 6E, 6F and 6J.
If you do find yourself on one of these refreshed birds, here’s our take on the best seats of the bunch – but keep in mind seat preferences can be very subjective.
Emirates Boeing 777-200LR: best business class seats
Best in class: rows 1-4 (E/F pairs). The front middle pairs are unequivocally our best pick for any business traveller, whether travelling solo or with a colleague. Thanks to the aircraft's layout, guaranteed uninterrupted aisle access, plus a greater feeling of space since there are no overhead bins in the centre.
When there's no other choice: rows 1-3 (B & J seats). If you’re travelling on your own but can’t find a centre seat, then these aisle seats in selected rows are the next best. Upsides are having the flexibility to leave your seat and use the overhead lockers anytime, but downsides are potentially being disturbed by your seatmate and a complete lack of privacy from anyone walking down the aisle.
For the mates: rows 1-3 (A/B and J/K pairs). These six pairs of seats are suitable for couples and friends travelling together, who don’t necessarily mind stepping over each other during the flight. Just beware of the downsides of sitting at a window pair, which are the same as in the point above.
For that private jet feel: rows 1-3 (A & K seats). You'll feel right at home in these front window seats if privacy is a priority and getting boxed in by a seatmate doesn't bother you. However, the majority of travellers will likely see this as a negative, thus your mileage may vary.
Emirates Boeing 777-200LR: seats to avoid in general
Rows 5-7: There are some drawbacks here – row five is directly in front of the social area, which may lead to increased disturbances if passengers started gathering.
Rows six and seven have it worse by being behind the social area. Apart from the associated noise, there’s now also now a bright light in front of you, which may hinder sleep. The lights illuminating the social area are not dimmed during the flight.
Window pairs: Unless you’re truly a deep dreamer who can be left alone for hours, it’s best to avoid the window pairs altogether. First up, it’s difficult for A and K seat passengers to manoeuvre their way towards the aisle while the B and J passengers are snoozing in bed-mode, resulting in inconvenience for everyone.
Secondly, there are no overhead lockers down the centre, so everyone will have their luggage stored above your heads – especially annoying if you’re in a B or J seat and there's someone rummaging above you.
Rows 4 & 6, window pairs: These two rows are missing a window on each side. Passengers in A and K seats will still have one window directly adjacent to their face so it shouldn't be too much of a bother, but those in the aisle B and J seats won’t have much of a view to speak about thanks to the privacy partition.
In future business class refreshes, Emirates CEO Tim Clark promises the 2-2-2 middle seat layout is "history" and future Emirates business class seats will be based on the airline's Airbus A380 product, which has a more passenger-friendly 1-2-1 layout.
"What you see on the upper deck of the A380 is what's going to be in all our cabins from now on," Clark told Australian Business Traveller on the sidelines of the IATA aviation summit in Sydney in 2018.