The best seats in business class on Emirates' Airbus A380s

The best seats in business class on Emirates' Airbus A380s

With flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to Dubai, onwards to Europe and also across the Tasman from Australia's east coast, Emirates' Airbus A380s are frequented by Australian travellers: thanks in part to the airline's tie-up with Qantas.

Offering business class passengers fully-flat beds, direct aisle access from every seat and even fully-stocked mini-bars, there's no such thing as a bad business class seat: but as is often the case, not all seats are created equal.

Emirates Airbus A380 business class

Emirates adopts two different business class layouts on its A380s – on most aircraft including on all flights to Australia, business begins with centre seats in row 6 and outer seats in row 7...

... while on the A380s fitted with only business class and economy (no first class), business class starts at row 6 with both central and outer seats, but with fewer rows overall:

Both layouts feature a small five-row cabin at the rear – numbered as rows 22-26 on most aircraft and rows 19-23 on those sans first class – with the rest of the seats in a single main cabin as rows 6-21 on all flights to Australia and rows 6-16 on the two-class birds:

Picture: Bill Holler
Picture: Bill Holler

(To discover which layout applies to your flight, head to the 'manage my booking' section of the Emirates website and visit the seat selection page: if there's a row 26, you have the traditional three-class aircraft which uses the first diagram. Otherwise, look to the second diagram.)

Emirates A380 business class: top picks

7A&7K (first layout), 6A&6K (second layout): For solo business travellers, these seats should be at the very top of your list. Nestled at the front of business class, the only passengers walking past you are the crew coming and going from first class (or economy) in front, with all business class amenities located further back.

With no alternating seat ahead of you, the footwells are also wider which help to make for a better night's sleep, and are located closer to the window than the aisle which minimises your chances of being disturbed by footsteps and elbows.

Bassinets for babies, however, can be attached to the centre bulkhead walls, but realistically if a child is screaming you'll hear this regardless of where you're seated.

First row of the mini-cabin: For extra room to stretch out but when the seats above are taken, look to the first row of the mini-cabin: that's 23A, 22D, 22G, 23K on most flights and 20A, 19D, 19G, 20K on two-class aircraft, which also feature larger footwells.

Forward window seats, for privacy: All business class restrooms on Emirates' A380s are found down the very back of the aircraft behind the bar area, which means that the further you sit from the front, the more people that will pass your seat to get to and from.

Also, the seats on the outer edges alternate between being closer to the window (A & K) and closer to the aisle (B & J), while the middle pairs switch between closer to the aisle and closer to the centre – for a real 'sweet spot', opt for a window seat (A & K on both layouts) as far forward as you can get, or failing that, a forward centre seat (E & F).

Any window seat, for extra storage: As common on all A380s, the upper deck comes lined with extra storage bins below the windows, which are a great spot to stash smaller items like your laptop bag and amenity kit. The A & K seats provide the easiest access to these, and while they're still accessible from B & J seats, you'll need to be flexible to stretch past the console in between:

The A380's side storage bins, as photographed from seat 8B...

The mini-cabin, for socialites: Being located directly in front of the business class bar, you're just a few footsteps away from your inflight bartender, the A380's lounge area and also the restrooms further back, so if you're going to spend most of the flight chatting to your fellow travellers and enjoying a little tipple, plant yourself in rows 22-26 on three-class aircraft or rows 19-23 on the two-class layout.

E+F seats, for duos: For couples travelling together or even colleagues who want to chat throughout the flight, plant yourselves in the 'honeymoon' E+F seats on either layout...

... which are directly next to each other and make travelling together a breeze. And hey, if you're on your lonesome and it's all that's available, you can raise a privacy divider in the centre to keep to yourself.

Also read: Emirates A380 business class review: Sydney-Dubai

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Australian Business Traveller journalist 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!
 

11 Comments

  • simon drakeley

    drsimon50

    11 Mar, 2016 11:04 am

    am booked on the 2 class a380 to copenhagen in 4weeks in J and cant wait to see how it goes as only been on 777 with them before - in e/f with partner and like how much closer they seem than the 777 seats - easier to chat i think

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  • FLX

    FLX

    11 Mar, 2016 01:24 pm

    <<...only been on 777 with them before...>>

    Diff of the J seat design & specs on EK's 777(Current fleet) vs 380 are enormous.  By typical industry definition re how longhaul J seat has evolved over time worldwide, 1 is technically @ least 2 generations ahead of the other.  Basically:

    Gen 1 design as on EK's 777(Current fleet) today:  Inclined(Some call it ski-slope) lie-flat seat, no direct aisle access for every seat.  On longhaul routes, completely retired by NZ, CX, AC, DL, UA since around 2010.  Still in use in part of the QF fleet today.

    Gen 2 design not used by EK fleet today(But will be on newer 777s later this yr):  Horizontal flat bed seat, no direct aisle access for every seat.  The highest specs J design in the fleets of LH, TK, UA, KL, etc. today.  On all 380s in QF fleet today.   

    Gen 3 design as on EK's 380:  Horizontal flat bed seat, direct aisle access for every seat.  The most common benchmark specs used by top-tier carriers today.  Adopted by NZ, CX, NH, AC, DL, BA, etc. since 2010 or earlier.  On some 330s in QF fleet today.

    <<..in e/f with partner and like how much closer they seem than the 777 seats..>>

    My wife & I were exactly in those 2seats on EK's 380 upperdeck a few yrs ago.  They're indeed set-up very close to each other  and with the high partition around+minibar nex to your seat, I really felt we were in a mini private cabin/lounge only for the 2 of us.....the highest level of privacy my wife & I hv ever experienced as a couple on a flight.

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  • chap6595

    chap6595

    26 Mar, 2016 11:01 pm

    I flew a Two Class A380 from Manchester to Dubai...have done it 4 times now but this was the first with teh Two Class...was honestly the worst flight on emirates. The crew where more interested in dealing wiht the 100 Economy Passengers in front of us than serving us.

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  • Richard Brown

    Richard Brown

    11 Mar, 2016 11:30 am

    A and K seats and E and F seats, also have more leg room than other business class seats on the plane. Have pointed this out a couple of times to the crew, who were unaware of this and indeed surprised when they looked

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  • Ken Endacott

    bigken

    11 Mar, 2016 05:04 pm

    It is what Seatguru doesn't tell you. Not only is there more legroom in the A, E, F and K seats but the flat bed is longer when extended. If you are taller than 188 cm as I am then you won't fit in the bed in B, D, G or J seats

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  • Tina Jones

    TinaGJ

    30 Jan, 2017 12:36 pm

    I flew London Gatwick to Perth via Dubai and back in Dec / Jan in seats 7A and 8B. 8B was OK but 7A was by far better. The main difference is in 8B, and I am sure this applies to all the aisle-side seats, if you have wide shoulders you can feel the partition at the top of your arm so I could never totally lie back and relax my shoulders. The window-side seats don't have this partition to worry about so the top half of the seat feels roomier and more comfortable. As long as it remains baby-free the bassinet space provides some useful extra 'papers' space but I would agree with getting a window seat as high up the cabin as you can. 
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  • jetsetter86

    jetsetter86

    14 Oct, 2017 04:53 pm

    I've had 2 recent flights from DXB-SYD on the EK A380 with lie flat instead of fully flat seats, both were on Ek414. This was quite annoying as it makes a big difference to sleep quality, has anyone else had this issue? Emirates advertise on their website that all their A380 are flat beds but this seems to be lie.
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  • chap6595

    chap6595

    14 Oct, 2017 05:06 pm

    The only seats on the EKA380 are 100% fully flat. I know some seats have slightly less legroom but they are all flat beds.
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  • jetsetter86

    jetsetter86

    14 Oct, 2017 05:21 pm

    nah mate clearly not - it was an only A380, flew last month and in June. It was a very slanty lie flat. I have the pictures.. Seems like false advertising to me.
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    14 Oct, 2017 06:38 pm

    jetsetter86: The 'fully flat' beds on many airlines are actually inclinded by 1-2 degrees, because the aircraft flies with the nose slightly pitched up (rather than perpendicular to the ground), so that when the bed is in 'flat' mode, the pitch of the plane combines with the ever so slight angle of the bed to make it flat and perpendicular to the ground. (That's different to some 'angled flat' products like Singapore Airlines' A330 business class seats, for example, which are indeed angled and not flat.
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  • jetsetter86

    jetsetter86

    14 Oct, 2017 07:12 pm

    Interesting comment Chris. The issue I was having was a bit different.. I fly EK a lot, I've come to appreciate their fully flat beds but on these recent two occasions, the aircraft was older (screens etc were old) and the seats had a material angle, no way you can get away with calling it fully flat. Now I appreciate operational changes to aircrafts etc, but when you advertise that all your A380s are fully flat, that simply is not true.
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22 Jan, 2018 07:38 pm

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