Emirates: Business Class 77W
Flight: EK 158
Flight Route: LHR to SFO
Flight Time: 5 hrs 50 mins
Emirates 77W business class is...nice...until you see their A380 service.
It’s sort of strange to fly in a beautiful and stunning business class that when you compare it to it’s sister business class, just doesn’t compare. It’s like getting that Christmas gift you always wanted and then your best friend somehow gets v2.0 of your favorite gift (either version is better than anyone else’s) and then you get sad. Emirates 77W is a beautiful product but is just no where near as nice as their A380 service.
Flight Review & Ratings
Everything below is on a 1-10 scale, to see my official ratings guidelines you can go here.
1. Quality of Seat: 7
Here is the deal, the seat alone is comfortable, it comes with a touch controller, touch pad (like an iPad) and a massive touch screen. It features almost 180-degree lay-flat ability for longer flights and the actual build of the seat did not seem cheap. I.e. the leather was nicer than most, the wood paneling around it adds a nice touch. Fact is, the seat seems like a luxury car more than a cheap leather bed (like some other business class seats, *cough* Air Berlin *cough*). Granted, you are paying a much steeper price than most other carriers but nonetheless, it is a nice seat.
The main reason I do not rate a higher score here is because although you are paying a premium, you still get a 2-3-2 seating configuration, which having a middle-seat in a premium cabin on a carrier like this is not acceptable.
2. Quality of Entertainment: 9
Emirates has just about everything necessary to be entertained during a flight. Their IFE has a tremendous amount of movies, TV shows, and games. Mostly I watch movies but in addition to content, their screen is massive at 17” on their 777 and 19” on their A380 in business class. It’s sleek, easy to use, and has in-flight cameras as well, although that is becoming more and more common these days.
3. Quality of In-Flight Food: 7
Here is the deal, if you’re flying an Arab carrier, their best meals are going to be Arab-based dishes. On Emirates they also have other good options but the fact is their best dishes is local based fare. From start to finish they don’t stop checking on you so I can guarantee that you won’t leave the flight hungry.
Side-note: Emirates also offers a small in-seat pantry on their A380s, which is a convenient addition.
4. Quality of Customer Service: 7
For the price, I was expecting more but I believe in this case it was my own fault. I had such high expectations about Emirates, fact is, they did an excellent job. For our 77W business class it felt like a small cabin which helped to keep a ‘quaint’ feel, unlike the A380 which is massive, however the 77W is not as private due to the seat. As soon as we arrived one of the business class flight attendants (not the purser) came and introduced themselves to each of us, which is always a nice touch.
Coming on-board there were mixed nuts (classic) served almost immediately as well as a drink pre-flight and post take-off. I’m not a champagne drinker so sorry guys, not the person to evaluate the quality of champagne.
Whenever I needed something, it wasn’t as though I had to call them (as you do on some other airlines, I.e. Etihad), rather they were walking the aisle about every 30 minutes (which I find acceptable) to ensure their passengers were taken care of.
5. Quality of Fleet: 9
You’re not going to find a newer fleet than that of Emirates. I find their 77W’s to be updated frequently and they seem to be constantly ordering A380s (not sure how they keep the company operating like that but hey, works for me). Unlike Etihad, who has older 77Ws that really need to be updated), Emirates presents their fleet very well. I have yet to hear any rumors around 787 orders or A350 orders but I suppose we’ll see what comes down the road, as the majority of their fleet is A380s at this point.
6. Flight Access and On-Time Reliability: 9
Here’s what I really like about Emirates, for their A380s you can board from the lounge and the boarding process does feel very differentiated from other airlines and cabin classes. This is an extremely nice convenience so I have to say, I’m impressed. The 77W is not as differentiated by they do board First and Business separate but well ahead of Economy which means you’re not slugging to get on-board and settled. They also start boarding over an hour before departure so nothing feels rushed. I’m a big fan of that.
7. Lounge Access: 6
Emirates lounge in ARN (Stockholm) which is where I left from is not the best as it’s shared with other airlines, but I was not expecting anything less given the size of Arlanda. When I arrived in Dubai, the Emirates lounges (which are separate for First and Business class) was fantastic. The one issue I had is how crowded it was. They had everything available you could ask for, however you could barely find a seat. The second issue I had was the heat, not sure if the A/C was broken or if my body cooling abilities are broken but this was problematic today. Making a three-hour layover very uncomfortable.
8. Availability & Cost: 4
Emirates is expensive. However, you get what you pay for. In this case, I am not rating the airline overall value to price but price to the rest of the options available in Business class. Aside from flying direct to Dubai, many of the flight paths that Emirates flies now have competition from Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, or even several Asian carriers. I would also imagine that Emirates prices have to stay high to ensure they meet the margin goals for their business. Given the high operating costs of the A380s in their fleet, I don’t see them lowering these prices any time soon.
Overall Rating: 8.4