The world’s best First Class seat returns to the UK …. to London Stansted
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The Emirates First Class Suite on the Boeing 777-300ER fleet fights it out with the new Singapore Airlines A380 First Class suite for the title of ‘Best First Class’.
Singapore Airlines nudges it on space – you can see our walkaround of the new Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suite here, including a video. I am flying this seat in May so we will finally be able to get a full review on the site.
On overall silliness …. including £250 bottles of wine and £790 bottles of cognace …. I think Emirates wins. I wrote a lengthy three part review of the new Emirates Boeing 777-300ER First Class Suite which starts here.
The real snag was booking it. Emirates, as most readers will know, is beholden to the A380 and only a handful of airports receive the Boeing 777-300ER. The A380 has a good but not state-of-the-art First Class product – I reviewed Emirates A380 First Class here. But I mean …. on the new suites, the middle (interior) suites with no window have a live video projection of what is happening outside instead. Welcome to the future.
The new First Class seat only ever flew to Stansted
With its Heathrow and Gatwick flights primarily using the A380, Emirates relegated its best product to its most niche route – London Stansted to Dubai.
This service was pulled at the start of the pandemic. It is, finally, coming back.
From 1st August, the London Stansted to Dubai service resumes.
The outbound is an overnight flight, leaving Stansted at 21.10 and landing in Dubai at 07.10. The return leaves Dubai at 08.50, arriving in Stansted at 13.30.
No redemption seats are yet available
If you are interested in trying the new First Class as an Emirates Skywards redemption, I’d recommend travelling TO Dubai in Business Class on a day flight from another airport. It’s a waste of miles to fly this overnight in First. Save First Class for the day return flight.
At the moment, there are no First Class seats showing for mileage redemption.
It isn’t clear what the policy will be. When I flew this seat, Emirates was only opening up seats three days in advance. This meant that I had to book a trip to Dubai without actually knowing if I’d be able to fly the seat home or not. Emirates was releasing seats virtually every day, however, and once I worked out what time they appeared it was a manageable risk.
In June 2020, Emirates – expecting travel to resume quickly – started to open up Stansted First Class seats in advance for travel in early 2021. These flights never took place, of course.
At present, First Class availability from ALL London airports is very tight. I can find seats a few days before departure but there isn’t much looking further ahead. It may be easier from Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle or Glasgow.
You’ll be travelling on your own
It’s going to take a while to see what pattern emerges. However, it is important to note that Emirates has almost never made more than one seat available. There are only six seats in the cabin after all.
It is possible that more will open up nearer departure, but realistically this is going to be a trip for those of you who travel solo.
We’ll keep you up to date with availability news.
What would it cost?
A one-way flight from Dubai to Stansted – if seats do open up – would cost you 85,000 Emirates Skywards miles plus around £250 of taxes.
Membership Rewards points convert 1:1 into Emirates Skywards and the transfer is instant if your accounts are already linked. It may take an hour or so otherwise. If you have 85,000 American Express Membership Rewards points going spare then this is a unique way of using them.
You can find out more about the suite in my Emirates Boeing 777-300ER First Class review here.
PS. By October 2022, Emirates will be operating 110 weekly flights from the UK. This will include six daily flights from Heathrow, twice daily from Gatwick, daily from Stansted, three times daily from Manchester, a double daily service from Birmingham, five weekly flights from Newcastle and a daily service from Glasgow.
How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (May 2023)
Emirates Skywards does not have a UK credit card. However, you can earn Emirates Skywards miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.
Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 20,000 Emirates Skywards miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with four free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Emirates Skywards miles
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 10,000 Emirates Skywards miles. This card is FREE for life.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 60,000 Skywards miles) – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.