Review of the new Emirates First Class suite on a Boeing 777-300ER! (Part 1)

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This is my review of the Emirates First Class suite on a Boeing 777-300ER.

The review will run over three articles on different days.  Today I want to look at the background to the trip and how I managed to book it.

There was, at the start of 2019, only one ‘realistic’ airline experience on my bucket list – the new Emirates First Class Suite.

You can take a look at the official website for the new suite here.

There are other things I would love to try, such as Cathay Pacific First Class, but the reality of juggling my wife, children and the site means that I can’t just nip off to Hong Kong unless an airline is underwriting the trip.

How to book the Emirates First Class Suite with miles

The Emirates First Class suite WAS achievable.  I owe this to a HFP reader who, late last year, made a throw away comment under one of our articles that you could now book the First Class Suite three days before departure.

Emirates First Class Suite review

This was news to me – I thought it was unbookable for Emirates Skywards miles.  I was wrong.  I started to keep track, and seats did indeed open up three days in advance.  Sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes none – but usually something.

Unless you have no job or family responsibilities, of course, you can’t just rush off to Dubai at three days notice.  I planned a trip around an Air France business class review, sorted out my hotels and booked Etihad A380 Business Class coming home so I was guaranteed a seat.

It was an interesting game.  I literally wouldn’t know if I would get the seat until I was already on my way.  As it happens, I made the booking at 5.45am – just before my taxi arrived to take me to Heathrow – and I cancelled the Etihad flight from the Air France lounge in Paris.

The cost of the one way flight from Dubai to London Stansted was 85,000 Emirates Skywards miles plus £367 of taxes and charges, which is a bit shocking given that there is no Air Passenger Duty on inbound flights.

The reason I wanted to fly home on Emirates, instead of outbound, is that the flight FROM Stansted is overnight which would mean I couldn’t fully appreciate the suite.  The outbound leaves Stansted at 21.10, arriving into Dubai at 07.05.  The return is more civilised, leaving Dubai at 09.30 and arriving at Stansted at 14.10.

Emirates First Class Suite Review

The only upside to offset the high taxes and charges figure is that I got a free chauffeur car at each end.  I only saved about £10 getting from my hotel to Dubai International, but it was great having a Tristar driver meet me at Stansted.  I was pleasantly surprised, in the middle of the afternoon, that I got back to West London in just 70 minutes.

As I covered in this article, Emirates Skywards miles transfer INSTANTLY from American Express Membership Rewards as long as the accounts are already linked.  I wasn’t risking having any points stuck in Skywards if the seat didn’t open up.

And why launch Stansted?  Apparently the service is aimed at the tech and pharma companies around Cambridge and Peterborough, such as Glaxo and Astra Zeneca.  Stansted is also a major cargo hub.

Emirates generally runs an A380 fleet to Heathrow and Gatwick.  Stansted can handle an A380 but no airline operates one.  Emirates chose to run a Boeing 777-300ER instead.

A quick word on the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER …..

The Boeing 777-300ER, of which Emirates has 138, is the only place you will find the new First Class Suite – but only on nine of them.  If you want to try this seat, you’ll need to track it down.

Weirdly, Emirates is mixing their best First Class product with an inferior Business Class product.  Whilst fully flat, the 2-3-2 layout in Business Class means there is a middle seat in the middle block.

This is really not appealing, and for the solo traveller I didn’t find any of the seats attractive.  It is not a herringbone layout, so you are sat directly next to your seat mate.  Compare this to the Air France Boeing 777-300ER I flew down on, which is 1-2-1 in Business Class and where, even if you are in the middle pair, your head is about four feet away from that of your neighbour.

Emirates new Boeing 777 business class

This is the background to my trip.  In Part 2 on Thursday – click here – I will show you how the flight went in practice.  In Part 3, click here, I look at the Emirates First Class food and drink, which includes £250 bottles of wine and £790 bottles of cognac!

You can find out more about the Emirates First Class product on the new 777 fleet on their website here.   There is also a video on that page, although we will unveil our own version in Part 2.

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles via UK credit cards

Emirates no longer has its own UK credit card.  However, you can earn Emirates Skywards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These are:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – up to 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards miles.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. Rob, how can you check/know if the airplane indeed has a new first class? I dont seem to see any description/confirmation while booking on the

  2. “There are other things I would love to try, such as Cathay Pacific First Class, but the reality of juggling my wife, children and the site means that I can’t just nip off to Hong Kong unless an airline is underwriting the trip.”

    You may have to open a bit wider…

    • I am guessing you don’t have a wife or young kids and therefore struggle to understand that some things are more important than a jet lag inducing 48 hour trip to HK etc (of which I would be lucky to get 2 hours to sightsee).

      As I mentioned the other week, we have a Malaysia J/F review trip on hold because I don’t want a week away.

      • Rob – there are still a few F CX routes in Asia; we did Tokyo Haneda to HK last spring in F. It wasn’t quite the full long haul service but it was still so much better than BA First in every way.

        Obviously, you’d need to be in the far east to start with for this to work so it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.

      • Sorry – you misunderstood. I was merely amused by your strong hint that Cathay should comp you a flight!

        • I don’t need a comped flight. What I meant is that if Cathay turns up and wants £10,000 of advertising but makes it conditional on a flight review being done as well, I’d do it. I’m hoping not to do the Malaysia flight and I wouldn’t personally do a Cathay flight either unless there was a pile of money on the table. Every year the kids get older and I get more flexible, but I’m not that flexible yet.

      • That’s an interesting outlook – is HFP struggling then if extra money resolves issues with leaving your wife and children for a few days?

        • If I offered you £1000 to spend a night in Sheffield I imagine you’d be more tempted than if I just offered to book you a free night in the Holiday Inn Sheffield (and told you that you had to pay your costs to get to Sheffield and pay your own food and drink bill).

          Imagine too that your partner is a senior banker and travels on a regular basis for work and, if you accepted the free night in Sheffield, she would probably have to postpone or not attend various key meetings to accommodate you as your kids need looking after. Then consider if you told her there would be £1000 in the bank if she cancelled her own business trips and made other people rearrange their schedules.

      • When is your new Anika finally starting?

  3. There might be an opportunity to try this cheaply for those in, or headed, to SE Asia using either cash or miles. Emirates still have their fifth freedom flight BKK-HKG-BKK but I don’t know which aircraft are currently operating it.

  4. Actually Emirates has a grand total of 138 777-300ER in its fleet… of which a grand (sub) total of 9 have the new First Class suite!

    @Adam the new suites are in a 1-1-1 layout; the old suites are 1-2-1.

  5. Wow how much more teasing will there be. Its not like you’re the first person to review this.. Its already old news.

    • I only follow/read HFP – so it is definitely new news to me, I am looking forward to Pt 2..

    • Agree old news… And not that exciting. It’s Emirates after all…

      • Its number 1 on my bucket list so im happy to be reading a new review of someone elses take on it, hell i’d even read an inside flyer review or gstp if they cover it

    • We always pad things out during school holidays, you should have figured that out by now 🙂 Readership is off skiing.

      • Yeah, half of them were on Eurostar on Friday night, hadn’t seen the place this packed since the Friday before Christmas…

      • Lol at the continued insinuation that your readership is “affluent.”

        • Already met two other HFP-reading families in the hotel 🙂

        • Well I guess you could argue that Rob’s main readership claims are somewhat Popperesque . But surely that fades in comparison compared to yesterday’s revelation that he sat on a terminal floor and flew Easy Jet! Harumph!

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Not true. I arrived in Dubai today having flown Emirates. Does that count as breaking the mold?

  6. You’re welcome Rob, i wasnt lucky myself last year as the dates didnt work for me and my wife but hoping to make it work later in March as i’ll be travelling solo and will be more flexible on dates

  7. “The Boeing 777-300ER, of which Emirates has a grand total of just nine, is the only place you will find the First Class Suite.”

    Some confusion here. Emirates have 138 B777-300ERs, all of which have First Class Suites. Emirates are the largest operator of the B777-300ER.

    Only 9 have the new suite that was introduced a couple of years ago.

  8. Does the 777 still have massage seats? that was a very nice feature in the old versions and the A380 doesnt have it.

  9. O/T – just had Amex Hilton offer on my Gold card spend £250 get £75 back. It says only eligible on checkout not online. Is this def case or will prepaid rates online still work?

    • Not definite, because prepaid bookings are processed directly by the hotel so I doubt Amex can tell the difference. Your risk of course.

  10. Shoestring says:

    Iberia have another +50% bonus on buying Avios (until 4th March).

    Max 200K—>300K for 3,601€ = 1.2 EUR = 1.05p

    Easy way to get your stash started.

  11. Mike Wilson says:

    O/T – has anyone stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hiroshima recently? I have a stay coming up in March.

    • Yes. I have. It was the bomb.

    • I did in autumn 2017. Booked via a third party site as I didn’t have any meaningful IHG status at the time, and got a really small room as a result. Seemed a little dated but much of the property felt more modern. In all honesty you’ll probably have a much better room than I did.

      On the bright side, the staff spoke decent English throughout and were perfectly pleasant, and the location was great.

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