Above: The seat and its styling is a definite step up from the current B777 product, but when it comes to business class LOPAs, is three-abreast a crowd?
March 9, 2016 – Emirates officially revealed its new Boeing 777 business class seat this morning at international travel trade show, ITB Berlin. The seat appears to have made good on airline president Tim Clark’s promise of taking the B777 seat’s “design and comfort to the next level” – but that level isn’t necessarily ahead of rivals’ offerings.
When Emirates launches the seat in November 2016 on a new-delivery B777-300ER (the first of 188 on order), the key enhancement that business class customers will notice is the upgrade from angled lie-flat to fully flat beds. This factor does indeed bring the seat to the next level compared with the airline’s current B777 product, though the offer of lie-flat seats is now commonplace in long-haul travel today. However, the 2-3-2 layout in the 42-seat B777 cabins (72in pitch) compares unfavorably with the 1-2-1 layouts of many rivals; just as lie-flat beds are becoming a customer expectation, so too is direct aisle access.
Above: The in-seat ambience is reminiscent of luxury automotive interiors
The in-seat experience does look pleasant though, with the airline’s design teams having worked with B/E Aerospace to create a luxury automotive ambience and to enhance passenger privacy. The glossy burled walnut veneers have been toned down a little and paired with quilted light grey leather and chrome finishes, to create a feel similar to that of luxury sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series that may well have transported customers to the airport. A new minibar, larger meal table and larger IFE displays (23in eX3 systems – up from 27in eX2) complete the upgraded in-seat offer.
Above: If you arrived at the airport in this Mercedes-Benz, you may well feel at home in the new Emirates B777 product
As president Clark indicated prior to the reveal, the seat design is about “evolution as well as revolution. We are always working towards the next big leap, but at the same time we continually look at the little ways we can enhance what we already offer.” This seat would appear to lean more towards the little enhancements than the big leaps.
We hope to have more detail on the seat very shortly, but our initial impression is that while Emirates’ B777 business class offer has indeed evolved and caught up with many rival airlines’ offers, it is still behind some, especially those offering direct aisle access.
Below: The new in-seat minibar