Flying Business Class on a long-haul international flight is an experience that can make your trip so much more comfortable. And if you fly Business Class frequently like international music examiner Fiona Berry from Passport and Piano, choosing the right flights can make a huge difference to your trip. Fiona recently flew to Australia and these Emirates Business Class reviews highlight the differences between Business Class on the Airbus A380-800 and Boeing 777-300ER.
My work regularly takes me around the globe and having experienced many airlines my favourite is always Emirates. I fly business class with them frequently – at least 10 times a year and I’ve never had anything less than a wonderful experience.
I live in the North of England and although many airlines offer shorter flights to much of Asia and beyond they all depart from Heathrow.
This means I have to catch the shuttle from Manchester to London and that service is nothing short of terrible.
You then have to change terminals and the connection times are useless. The whole experience is nothing short of stressful.
Emirates, on the other hand, flies directly from Manchester to its hub in Dubai. Connections are swift and well planned, and the airport itself runs with such proficiency it’s hard to beat.
Last August I spent two months working in Australia and flew there and back on the following Emirates Business Class flights.
- Emirates Business Class Reviews
- What to expect from Emirates before you fly
- Emirates Business Class A380 Review
- Emirates 777 Business Class Review
Emirates Business Class Reviews
In this Emirates Business Class review, I shall be comparing my Emirates Business Class 777-300 from Dubai to Brisbane with my Sydney to Dubai flight in Emirates Business Class on the A380.
These are the flights I flew on for the entire journey.
Outward Journey: Emirates A380 and Emirates 777 Business Class
- Manchester to Dubai EK 022 – Airbus 380-800
- Dubai to Brisbane EK 430 – Boeing 777-300ER
Return Journey: Emirates A380 Business Class
- Sydney to Dubai – EK413 – Airbus 380-800
- Dubai to Manchester – EK 017 – Airbus 380-800
Below is a comparison chart of the main features for you to compare at a glance.
|Seat Formation||Aisle Access||Width||Seat Tilt||Seat Pitch||Private Drinks Bar||Sky Lounge|
|Airbus A380||2:2:2||All seats||18.5 inches (47 cm)||Fully flat reclining bed||48 inches||Yes||No|
|Boeing 777-300ER||2:3:2||BDFJ but not sole access||20.5 inches (52 cm)||Seat slides to make almost a flat bed||60 inches||Yes||No|
The reviews of the Emirates Business Class Boeing 777 and Airbus 380 give more detailed information below.
What to expect from Emirates before you fly
Emirates Chauffeur service
This is a fantastic perk that’s not always offered by big carriers but Emirates does it well and with style, however, they only include it for business and first-class passengers who’ve purchased a fully paid ticket.
In other words, it doesn’t apply to upgrades.
You have to book the service 48 hours in advance online and it’s completely free.
A chauffeur, usually in a black limousine, will pick you up from your address and take you directly to the airport, parking outside the nearest door to the Emirates check-in.
They will also be waiting for you at your destination to take you straight to your hotel.
Business Class Check-in
There are always separate check-in desks for business and first-class passengers and the process is swift.
What I particularly like about Emirates is that your bags will be checked in with priority tags, which means they’ll be first on the carousel at your arrival destination.
Fast track pass
You get a fast track pass to ensure that security is swift.
The fast track pass applies for the departure airport and Dubai if you’re making a connecting flight.
You also get a fast track pass for immigration.
This was not necessary for Australia as all visas are now electronically checked, so the process is quick but it makes a big difference when I travel to India and Asia.
My stop here was brief as I had duty-free shopping to attend to before leaving Australia.
The lounge is located by gate 58 and is probably best described as pleasant.
It’s not a patch on many of the other Emirates lounges that I’ve visited around the world but having said that it would meet most travellers needs.
The self-service bar had a good selection of wine, and there was champagne if you prefer.
There was also a good choice of food including two vegetarian options, spinach cannelloni and vegetable curry.
If you wanted to do some last minute business preparation, there’s a quiet area with computers and desk space for your laptop.
The view from the lounge looks over the tarmac below, so you can watch the planes come and go.
Overall, though it just lacked the wow factor that Emirates lounges usually have.
The staff are extremely helpful and accommodating.
A great example of this was on my more recent flight from Bangkok to Dubai.
On check- in the hostess informed me that my visa had expired.
Perplexed I said this could not be possible but she showed me the stamp and it looked to be true.
When I explained that I had arrived on an Emirates flight six weeks previously she was able to confirm this on the system.
An Emirates team member rang immigration and it transpired that the customs officer had dated my passport incorrectly.
He hadn’t noticed that it was a business visa and therefore it had been stamped as a tourist.
One of the desk attendants escorted me to passport control and ensured that immigration was aware of the mistake.
It’s little things like this that make or break an airline.
Connecting flights in Dubai
The staff here are also superb.
On my flight from Manchester to Dubai, there was a considerable delay in departure due to air traffic control difficulties.
However, this meant that I was in danger of missing my connecting flight to Brisbane.
We landed in Dubai just 15 minutes before the Brisbane flight was due to take off.
The system works so efficiently on Emirates that even the air hostesses are aware of which passengers need to make fast connections.
We were escorted off the plane through security and straight onto the Brisbane flight.
What’s more miraculous is that my baggage also made the flight – how they manage that I’ve no idea.
At the Gate
Gate procedures on all Emirates flights are the same.
The main thing to note about the Airbus 380 is due to its size it requires a somewhat larger parking slot.
In my experience, this means that in many airports around the world the gate will be a long way from the terminal.
Therefore make sure you allow plenty of time to get to there.
Once at the gate there is always a separate lane for Business and first class passengers.
Quite often you then have to wait in a seating area on the other side.
In most airports, this is just a general seating area for all passengers, but in Dubai, business class passengers have a separate section.
As soon as the flight is ready to be boarded, you’ve invited straight away onto the plane.
Emirates Business Class A380 Review
Sydney to Dubai
Now here’s where the Airbus 380 first has the wow factor. When you enter the cabin, a flight attendant will direct you to the stairs.
It’s easy to forget that your on an aeroplane as you make your way up to the upper deck.
The stairs are quite glamorous with each step lit by small lights and the plush wooden shiny trim beneath the rail adds a touch of a class similar to what you find in high-end cars.
Once in your seat, your assigned air hostess well come and greet you and introduce themselves.
They always ask if you’ve travelled business class and if not they’ll show you all the features of your seat, including how to work the television.
They’ll also offer you a glass of champagne.
You can opt for red or white wine if you prefer and, of course, soft drinks are also available.
Emirates A380 Business Class Seats
The Emirates A380 Business Class seats are actually smaller than on the Boeing 777 but the configuration is much better.
There are two seats in the middle and on the edges the seats are staggered meaning that wherever you sit you have direct access to the aisle. Click here to see the full seating plan.
Each seat has a large ottoman and a private drinks cabinet. They also recline fully flat so getting a good nights sleep is easy.
A mattress is provided for extra comfort on night flights and the blankets are lovely and soft.
The pillow is reasonably large, and you can request a second if you wish.
Which are the best seats in Emirates A380 Business Class?
The best Emirates A380 Business Class seats are A and K, as these are proper window seats so your close to the handy extra storage that is provided by the window.
B and J are also classed as window seats but as they’re on the aisle; hence, they’re nowhere near as private.
You also want to sit nearer the front as the toilets, kitchen and bar area are located towards the rear, so there’s much more noise.
The length of the seats when flat is also different depending on where you sit.
On the A380, aisle seats B, D, G, J, are 178cm in length when extended whereas seats A, E, F, K are 200 cm long.
For me this makes no difference but if your tall that could be the best tip you’ve ever read.
Emirates A380 seating plan tip: Book seat A or K near the front of the plane.
Emirates Business Class Service
Service was fabulous throughout my Sydney to Dubai flight.
The air hostess regularly asked if I required anything and the staff in the skywards bar were very friendly.
Emirates Business Class Food
The in sky dining experience on board Emirates A380 Business Class is excellent.
Meals are served in style with a linen table cloth and napkin providing that extra bit of sophistication.
The Emirates Business Class menu is excellent and courses are served on white china plates with stainless steel cutlery.
I’m vegetarian, so the menu is never of much interest to me but my starter of hummus and salad was divine.
The little touches of individual salt and pepper pots with the delightful bottle of salad dressing only add to the fine dining experience.
All food, of course, is paired with excellent wines from around the world if you prefer.
The hostess will make sure your glass is never empty, and note champagne is on tap throughout the flight.
On this flight from Sydney, it was my favourite Veuve Clicquot.
Emirates Business Class Entertainment System
Few airlines can compete with the Emirates inflight entertainment system.
It’s called ice which stands for information, communication and entertainment.
On both the 777 and 380 the television screen is 23 inches wide, which is larger than most airlines.
There are three ways to operate the system on the A380, touch control, remote control and a separate handheld device similar to an iPad.
This has the usual information about the route your flying, camera pictures and how long left to arrival.
There’s a useful page when you’re approaching the destination that tells you all the gate numbers for connecting flights, which is helpful.
In this section you can log into your skywards account – that’s the airline’s frequent flyer program which anyone flying with Emirates can join.
As a member in business class wifi is complimentary and unlimited throughout the flight.
This section is a little overwhelming at first. There are over 2000 movies to choose from in numerous languages.
There are the latest movies, tv box sets, a wide selection of music and many fun games to play.
Emirates A380 Sky Bar
This Emirates A380 Sky Bar at the back of the plane puts this in another league to many long haul carriers.
The comfy leather chairs and tables make a refreshing change from your own seat. It’s also great for engaging socially with other passengers.
Throughout the flight, there was always a flight attendant serving behind the bar.
There’s a large selection of wine and spirits to choose from with champagne on tap too.
You can help yourself to snacks. On this flight, these included a variety of sandwiches, strawberry and pineapple skewers and a selection of cakes.
There’s also packets of M&M’s and nuts available at the bar on all Airbus flights that I’ve taken.
It’s great; you can just help yourself throughout the trip.
A good selection of travel magazines and newspapers are available to read, which you can, if you prefer, take back to your own seat.
Emirates 777 Business Class Review
Dubai to Brisbane
Boarding the Emirates Boeing 777 is not quite as glamorous as the Airbus.
There was only a curtain used to separate business class from economy and the cabin was much smaller.
Nevertheless, a flight attendant escorted me to my seat.
I was handed a menu to peruse and asked if I would like a glass of champagne, to which of course I obliged.
The champagne on this flight from Dubai was Moet, which was slightly disappointing.
As on the Emirates Airbus A380, the air hostess assigned to you will give a full briefing on your seat and assist you with your luggage.
They also make a note of what wine you would like with your meals.
Seats on the Boeing 777
The seating arrangement is not well laid out on this aircraft.
It follows a 2:3:2 pattern which means you don’t always get direct access to the aisle. This is a bit of a nightmare if its a night flight. You can check the seating arrangement out here.
I was lucky on this flight as the plane wasn’t full, so the air hostesses were happy for passengers to move if they wished.
Unlike the Airbus A380, the seats slide down to make a sloped bed but to be honest, they are virtually horizontal, and for me, it didn’t make a difference. The bedding is the same on both aircraft.
The seat on the Boeing 777 is however 2 inches (5cm) wider than on the Emirates A380 Airbus measuring 20.5 inches (52 cm) wide.
There was no private bar on this flight which was disappointing but if you sit next to the window, you do get an extra storage compartment.
Economy class is directly behind business class on this flight, so the best seats are nearer the front.
I say this as there were toilets at the front of the economy class, so there’s a lot of foot traffic noise.
I don’t think any particular seat is great, however, I would avoid sitting in E which is in the middle of the three seats.
The food is of an excellent standard with linen napkins and tablecloths provided just as on the Airbus.
The dessert was particularly delicious, and the flight attendant offered me a second helping.
Not wanting to appear greedy, I declined of course, but its good to know that there’s plenty of food on board.
The main difference at meal times is the way the food is served.
Your drink is preordered for dinner on this flight, and it arrives with your meal.
You can pair the wines just like on the Airbus for each course.
However, as everyone’s drink is delivered by the glass, the wine is not as free-flowing.
I had to ask for a top up as I hadn’t ordered a dessert wine for pudding.
The entertainment system on this flight is the same as on any other Emirates flight.
The ICE onboard program offers a vast variety of choice, and the screen size and choice of operating systems is the same as on the Airbus.
As on the Airbus noise-cancelling headphones are provided. They are comfy to wear, and the quality of sound is excellent.
The only point I would make is that the wifi signal did not seem to be as reliable on this carrier.
It was rather slow at times, although I could receive emails throughout the flight and I did use both Facebook and WhatsApp to send messages.
Comparison of A380 and Boeing 777-300ER
In my opinion, the Emirates Airbus is by far the better carrier to fly on.
Yes, the seat is marginally smaller but that’s the only negative.
For me, the sky bar makes a big difference.
Being able to spend several hours chatting to other passengers and helping yourself to refreshments is a big plus.
I should make it clear that refreshments are not limited on the Boeing 777 if you want a drink you can wander to the kitchen area and request one.
Of course, you can also press the bell and request one.
While this is not a problem, it’s much easier to help yourself the Airbus.
For me, the seating arrangement on the Boeing 777 lacks privacy and if the flight had of been full, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.
However, I should point out that Emirates have changed the layout of newer members of their fleet.
The new aircraft has the same seating plan as the A380, its just unfortunate that its the luck of the draw at the moment.