Review: Emirates’ new Boeing 777-200LR business class seat

Review: Emirates’ new Boeing 777-200LR business class seat

Emirates is finally removing the dreaded middle seat in business class – on some of its aircraft, at least – with the airline’s Boeing 777-200LR fleet getting a revamp: doing away with the ‘old’ 2-3-2 layout to make way for an upgraded seat in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Replacing the previous angled-flat beds with new fully-flat sleepers, the refurb also introduces personal minibar facilities, a larger entertainment screen, and a new snack bar and social area in the centre of the cabin that’s exclusive to these newly-renovated jets.

Currently appearing most regularly on flights from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale, Santiago and São Paulo, and soon to grace Australia’s skies on Adelaide-Dubai flights, Australian Business Traveller ventured to Brazil to put Emirates’ new seat to the test.

Emirates’ Boeing 777-200LR business class: the cabin

Before we touch on the other details, we’ll again highlight that 2-2-2 seating pattern, which means unlike Emirates’ Airbus A380 flights which offer a 1-2-1 layout – providing every passenger with direct aisle access – on these birds, you’ll only enjoy that privilege in the centre pairs.

Select a window seat, and you’ll need to step past, or over, your seatmate to access the aisle – and from what I observed (from my carefully-chosen centre pod), it requires a fair bit of flexibility when that aisle-side seatmate is in full bed mode.

But by their nature, the window seats afford the best privacy, and are a good choice for sleeping if you know your travelling companion and you both plan on flying to the same schedules. For example, standing here in the aisle, seat 1B is clearly visible, but 1A by the window is very secluded.

In this 2-2-2 layout, seats are numbered as AB-EF-JK, so for a window, choose an A or K seat, or to trade privacy for guaranteed direct and uninterrupted aisle access, the E and F seats are your best pick:

Just be mindful of the inflight snack bar if you’re sitting towards the back – it’s located between rows 5 and 6 – but more on that later.

Emirates’ Boeing 777-200LR business class: the seat

Take a seat and the first thing you’ll notice is the glistening new 23-inch high definition inflight entertainment screen in front of you – a substantial upgrade to the smaller (and fuzzier) screen on Emirates’ older Boeing 777s.

This can be controlled via the familiar Emirates tablet, which doubles as a second screen: great for displaying the moving map or an external aircraft camera while watching a movie or TV show on the panel in front.

If you’ve flown Emirates before, it’s no surprise that as also on other aircraft, these tablets are detachable and link wirelessly with the inflight entertainment system – whether to display video content in your hands, or even to adjust your seat which is also connected:

Too complicated? There’s a separate remote control nearby with easy shortcuts for volume, lighting and the call bell, and the main screen also responds to touch: handy to quickly pause a movie when getting up, but otherwise, it’s easiest to use your choice of remote.

Right above that control are easy-access keys for setting the bed fully-flat or in the take-off and landing position, if you’d rather do this on your feet…

… with a few extra settings in your arm rest…

… including a control for the privacy shield between your seat and your neighbour’s – pictured here in its highest position (behind the mounted tablet), but which can be lowered to make chit chat easier…

… or, left up for keeping to yourself – and if you don’t want your neighbour to move it, it can be locked in place via the seat’s control tablet.

Each pair of seats shares a central cocktail table, joined by your own retractable beverage shelf just below:

Beneath your arm rest, you’ll find the headphone connector, an international-style AC power outlet, two USB charging ports and an HDMI connector for displaying the output of your own device on the main entertainment screen:

Having that second USB port is most appreciated, because when larger laptop chargers are connected, such as for the Microsoft Surface, one USB plug is obstructed – this way, you can always have at least two gadgets plugged in, even if one remains parked in the nearby storage pocket:

Above that, ‘part one’ of your personal (room temperature) minibar…

… with ‘part two’ nestled below your entertainment screen in front, with two bottles of water, along with socks and an eyeshade, accessible by pressing the nearby button to unlock the sliding window:

Below that, a leather foot rest. At 6ft tall, even I couldn’t reach this when the seat was upright, but when reclined and the seat was panned forward, it became accessible. Tucked away underneath is a storage compartment for things like shoes or blankets, but you'll need to get down on the floor for access:

Later, the foot rest forms the end of your 71-inch (180cm) fully-flat bed, but by international standards, that's actually quite short. I'm taller than this, so the only way I could properly fit in the bed was to lie diagonally, putting the pillow to the left-hand side (right-hand, from above), avoiding the protruding section next to the pillow which houses the feet of the passenger behind...

... and angling my own feet towards the right, which gave me three inches (8cm) of extra sleeping space.

That said, the width of the seat cushion here is more generous than aboard Emirates' A380s, which made sleeping diagonally possible: I measured 22 inches at the widest point, being approximately four inches wider than the airline's superjumbo business class seat.

Pyjamas, however, remain BYO.

Emirates’ Boeing 777-200LR business class: the social area

While all Emirates Airbus A380s feature an inflight bar and lounge area, on the airline’s Boeing 777s, only these newly-refreshed Boeing 777-200LRs offer any kind of social space – and it’s here, between rows 5 and 6:

With a selection of sandwiches, fruit, snacks and bottled water, the location of this facility, combined with the absence of extra seating here, renders it more of a ‘grab and go’ station than a place to while away the hours.

If you do want to stay and chat, there’s ample space to do so, whether in the centre or over by the aircraft door…

… but particularly on night-time flights where sleep is the goal, I’d avoid row 6 wherever possible – not only in case of noise, but also to avoid the light from above, as the spotlights here shine bright in an otherwise-dark cabin, and there’s no curtain between these seats and the counter to block it out.

Emirates’ Boeing 777-200LR business class seat: the verdict

Compared to the older-generation business class seats found on many of Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ERs, the new Boeing 777-200LR seat is a good step in the right direction, axing the middle seat from the cabin and introducing fully-flat beds in place of the older sloping sleepers.

Other touches such as improved inflight entertainment screens and the stitched champagne leather finish also add to the experience – and if you can snag one of the centre seats for direct aisle access too, it’s quite a nice way to fly, even if you have to sleep diagonally.

Given a choice between the Boeing 777-200LR and the Airbus A380 based on the flying experience alone, I’d still lean towards the superjumbo for its more advantageous 1-2-1 seating layout and the full inflight bar and lounge area (below)…

… but when choosing flights based on schedule and convenience, if the best-timed departure happened to be on a Boeing 777-200LR instead of the A380, that’s what I’d happily book – just with a ‘mental note’ to jump in and select a centre seat as early as possible, before they’re all snapped up!

Chris Chamberlin travelled to São Paulo as a guest of Emirates.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

18 comments

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    9 Oct, 2018 09:57 am

    Finally made it to the year 2000
    No member give thanks

  • xtfer

    xtfer

    9 Oct, 2018 10:37 am

    Too short. Won't be flying that anytime soon...
    No member give thanks

  • simon drakeley

    drsimon50

    9 Oct, 2018 10:46 am

    ive travelled the new design a few times now - and with the new mini bar at the end of the central arm there isnt a lot of room to manouver and cross a neighbour if you are in the window seat - as much as i like the mini bar concept the room it takes up is just a bit too much really
    No member give thanks

  • johnaboxall

    johnaboxall

    9 Oct, 2018 10:52 am

    No thanks, will stick with SQ. Paying for J I don't walk over anyone, or have anyone walk over me.
    Members who gave thanks

    Elijah , mrj

  • Paul Coniglio

    Paul_in_melb

    13 Oct, 2018 07:25 am

    Love it. Gold. Fair call. :)
    No member give thanks

  • pearsonlive

    pearsonlive

    9 Oct, 2018 02:13 pm

    The seat length and width seems very mean, especially compared to the new SQ regional business class seats.
    No member give thanks

  • Lps988

    Lps988

    9 Oct, 2018 06:25 pm

    Makes me appreciate the Qantas product even more.
    No member give thanks

  • Clancy

    Clancy

    9 Oct, 2018 08:35 pm

    And I thought I was on my own...Lps988
    No member give thanks

  • PERflyer

    PERflyer

    10 Oct, 2018 07:15 am

    Doesn’t matter how much they polish it industry standard is 1-2-1 EK!
    No member give thanks

  • Davedownunder

    Davedownunder

    10 Oct, 2018 03:29 pm

    you clearly have not flow on BA then, 2-4-2.

    I recently flow BA LHR -FLL business and Emirates back to DXB. BA was very poor, inflight screen would not stay put and hate looking at the passenger facing the other way. The large stemless wine glass (you mentioned in a previous article on BA) didn't turn up either!

    Emirates by comparison was excellent for such a long flight. No lounge in FLL but Emirates gave me and my wife a US$35 voucher to use in the concourse. The barman treated us like gods, way better service than you normally get in a lounge, made the wait fun.

    The lack of overhead bins in the middle is a bit bothersome if the two people on the window side fill up the bin but not a real issue.

    Agree with Chris's advice the middle seats are the best for getting in and out of the seat.

    The seats were comfy and had no problem sleeping for the majority of the 14.5 hours.

    In comparison to Qatar (Miami Doha) I would say Emirates are on par and for some reason I find the Emirates cabin crew always seem happier compared to Qatar

    No member give thanks

  • John Harley

    jch

    10 Oct, 2018 08:36 am

    Looks like a fancy premium economy
    No member give thanks

  • Davedownunder

    Davedownunder

    10 Oct, 2018 03:31 pm

    don't knock it until you've tried it. From my experience a long way ahead of any Premium economy seat, BA, Qantas or EVA
    No member give thanks

  • bne_barry

    bne_barry

    10 Oct, 2018 03:05 pm

    I just flew return to Europe on the A380 all legs and I would choose it any day over this new 777. So much more room in the seat and the bar and lounge at the back is a godsend.
    No member give thanks

  • Michael Swan

    Michael Ikle

    10 Oct, 2018 03:30 pm

    Lipstick on a pig. Outdated, late and too small. Take Qatar or SQ any day. Big Missed opportunity EK
    No member give thanks

  • Anthony Spasevski

    Zaps1971

    10 Oct, 2018 05:01 pm

    No thanks, won’t be in a hurry to put my backside on them..
    No member give thanks

  • Amp-qld

    Amp-qld

    10 Oct, 2018 06:26 pm

    This does cater for us - a couple, one of whom is claustrophobic and needs a window seat. 1-2-1 layouts just don't work for us.
    No member give thanks

  • bl812

    bl812

    11 Oct, 2018 08:56 am

    this is a backward carrier-instead upgrading to the now standard 1-2-1 layout they insists on the 2-2-2 to squeeze more high paid customers in their seats-very bad move-ditched them a while ago-only their first class hits the mark beyond that everything is mediocre about this company.
    No member give thanks

  • JOHN M

    mewettjohn

    11 Oct, 2018 01:11 pm

    I thought Emerites was a game breaking airline, sad to see it go backwards like so many of the others.
    No member give thanks

Guest

23 Oct, 2018 09:18 pm

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