Celebrated for its onboard amenities and lavish lounges, Emirates Business Class is designed to impress - and impress it does. While Emirates has substantial competition from other Middle Eastern carriers, it still remains a comfortable and chic way to fly.
Expect regionally inspired onboard cuisine and thoughtful service on Emirates flights. The inflight entertainment is arguably the best in the world and cabin crew is diverse and eager to please.
Its loyalty program, Emirates Skywards, offers numerous ways to earn and redeem frequent flier miles adding to the value of flying the airline. While Emirates is not part of a global alliance, it does partner with many airlines - including Alaska Airlines and Qantas which are both members of the oneworld alliance.
Unlike most airlines, even getting to the airport is part of the Emirates experience for passengers paying Business Class fares. In over 70 cities, the Emirates Chauffeur-drive service picks up passengers and takes them to the airport in Mercedes-Benz or BMW vehicles. In selected cities, the service will also take passengers from their arrival airport to their final destination - subject to availability.
Premium check-in areas in the airline’s Dubai hub, as well as priority-access lines in all its destinations, make it easy to collect your boarding pass and check bags. Dubai’s airport bustles with activity whether you start your journey there or transit through between flights. The private lanes for security expedite the process of getting passengers to one of the many Emirates airport lounges.
Emirates has several branded lounges in its Dubai mega-hub - plus in many international airports including Boston, Cairo, New York JFK, and Sydney. They feature substantial buffets with Middle Eastern and international food, an amply stocked bar that includes fine wines and spirits, barista-prepared coffee, and plenty of work and relaxation space. Most Emirates lounges feature prayer rooms, and many offer shower facilities.
As the airline’s home base, Dubai’s lounges have superlative features including a custom Moët & Chandon Champagne lounge serving four types of bubbly and canapes created by Michelin-starred chefs. Many flights board premium passengers through dedicated gates situated inside the lounge for maximum convenience.
In cities where there is no Emirates-branded lounge, Business Class passengers have access to third-party facilities as they wait for their flight departure.
Emirates never fails to make an impression when it comes to cabin design, with a penchant for flashy décor. The airline is famous for rich wood panelling and the use of gold and beige design tones that makes a bold statement. Travellers fly on either the double-decker Airbus A380 or Boeing B777 aircraft, the only two aircraft in the airline’s fleet.
There is a variety of seating types and layouts, however, as Emirates has numerous configurations. Emirates offers complimentary seat selection on all Business Class tickets except Business Special, which offers seat selection within 48 hours of departure.
On the flagship A380 aircraft, the staggered, forward-facing 1-2-1 seating is a plus for many passengers who prefer the option to sit alone. Solo travellers will prefer one of the single seats while those travelling together should opt for the pairs of seats. Seats alternate between being closer to the aisle with a side table that is closer to the window or closer to the window with a side table that is closer to the aisle.
Seat maps show which seats have a small table closer to the aisle for those that prefer that more private option. Aviation fans will also appreciate being close to the window for superb vistas.
On the A380, all Business Class seats have direct-aisle access and are located on the upper deck.
In late 2020, Emirates started implementing a refreshed and significantly more stylish cabin design for the A380 fleet. The new Business Class design features softer champagne-coloured leather covers and wood finishing, seeking the executive jet look.
On B777 aircraft, there are multiple seat layouts depending on if the aircraft has been retrofitted with its newest product. All B777-300ER planes have a 2-3-2 configuration - a stark contrast to the 1-2-1 configuration offered by many competitors on the same aircraft type. On newer B777-300ER planes or those refitted with new cabin products, the Business Class seats recline to 180 degrees fully-flat. On older versions, the seat reclines to more of an angled lie-flat position rather than completely flat.
The dense configuration of the Emirates B777-300ER planes also means that there are middle seats worth avoiding in Business Class. Those in the centre seats or in window seats will have to climb over a seatmate to access the aisle. The middle seats are however usually filled last so solo travellers may prefer any of the aisle seats on this aircraft while couples should opt for one of the window-aisle pairs. Families may like choosing the three seats together in the centre section.
Dividers fold out from seats for those that want more privacy when not travelling with someone they know. Power and USB ports are easily accessible.
On more recently updated B777-200LR planes, the seating is in a more spacious 2-2-2 layout, which does away with the dreaded center seat and offers a full flat, 180-degree recline bed. On updated, B777-300ER planes with the new seating product, centre seats remain. Study the seat map for your flight to determine which plane you will be flying as there are many permutations.
Emirates Business Class seats on the A380 recline into a fully flat bed ranging in length from 1.78 to 2 metres (5.8 - 6.5 feet long) depending on location (aisle seats are a bit shorter than centre and window seats) with various positions for relaxing or lounging. On most of the B777, seats recline into a fully flat bed measuring 2 metres (6.5 feet long).
Waiting at each seat on boarding are a thick pillow and wrapped duvet blanket, which are welcome since most Emirates flights are long-haul.
A novelty feature in Emirates Business Class is the in-seat mini-bar stocked with water, soft drinks and juices. Unfortunately, the mini-bars are not refrigerated, so passengers who prefer a cold drink will have to request ice cubes from the cabin crew.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes images, videos and seat maps for most airlines and aircraft Search results also include details such as seat pitch, width and recline. This way you can see the seat and cabin configuration of the flight in which you are interested, before making your choice.
The inflight dining experience is something that Emirates enjoys showcasing in its advertising and for good reason. Business Class meals are presented on trays and linen-lined tray tables offering menu ingredients of excellent quality. The options often include a local choice and Middle Eastern recipes are standard on every flight providing every palate something that fits their needs. When available, be sure to request the Arabic mezze for a taste of Emirati life. The menu is often customised to the destination. For example, on Japanese and Korean flights, the offerings become more consistent with local palates.
Royal Daulton fine bone china and bespoke Robert Welch cutlery elevate the dining experience in Emirates Business Class. Meals begin with aperitifs from the cocktail menu and a plate of mixed nuts. Next comes an appetiser and salad plus warm bread almost always including Arabic pita. Main course dishes come from a printed menu of choices ranging from beef, poultry, seafood, or pasta, which come pre-plated (versus heated and then plated in the galley like a restaurant might) and served at each seat. Dessert composes of sweet and savoury items like decadent pastries and cakes or fruit and cheese.
The menu depends on the length of the flight with the carrier dividing its flights between short, medium, and long-haul services. Emirates provides a selection of meals to pre-order including vegetarian, Halal, or children’s meals among other options. Unlike Etihad or Qatar (two primary competitors in the region), Emirates does not offer dine-on-demand services, however, the flight attendants are happy to honour special requests should someone want to eat at alternate hours and time permits.
On long flights, there is a light bites menu in between main meals for those who get hungry with options like sandwiches, salads, and hot meals available.
Before takeoff, passengers are welcomed with Champagne, juice, or water. The printed menus display the vast variety of drinks available to Business Class passengers including a wide array of soft drinks, juices, wine, beer, and spirits.
Emirates has had a three-decade relationship with the House of Moët Hennessy, with several wines produced by the LVMH Group wineries poured onboard. A variety of different Champagnes are served in Emirates Business Class, most commonly non-vintage Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot. Rosé or vintage Champagnes sometimes make guest apparances on the Business Class wine list. Other brands such as Laurent-Perrier may be offered on certain routes.
The Emirates Vintage Collection is a subset of the airline’s wines that have been in storage for up to 15 years providing passengers an even more notable selection. Wines include a mix of Old and New World options. Typically, there are at least two white, two red, and a port selection on every flight plus Champagne. Emirates’ website offers an innovative menu search feature where travellers can enter their flight details and date to see the customised wine list.
Several beer options are normal, and there is a long list of spirits, liqueurs, and digestifs on flights. The selection varies by flight and destination. Emirates wins accolades for its creative list of mocktails on the menu. Coffee and an array of teas round off the menu.
During meal service, aisle carts make it easy to provide refills from the bar menu of respectable wine, spirit, and cocktail options. Throughout the service, flight attendants roam the aisles to top up beverages including the option between still and sparkling water between courses.
During the flight, Business Class passengers receive a bottle of water at their seats although beverages are available at any time.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on which Champagne is served in Business Class and First Class on many airlines. We do our best to keep track of any changes, but feel free to let us know if there is something we missed.
Emirates has stringent requirements for its cabin crew, who are trained at the Emirates Aviation College Cabin Crew Training Centre in Dubai. As an airline with hardly any locals working as cabin crew, Emirates has since its early days pursued a strategy of international recruitment. Today, the airline employs cabin crew from more than 130 countries speaking more than 60 languages. At the beginning of every flight, the purser announces all the nationalities and languages spoken by the flight crew, and the list is almost always very diverse.
Cabin crew members are generally friendly and hard working professional, yet the service in Emirates Business Class is not as personalised as on other carriers based in the Middle East. Since Emirates’ aircraft are large and offer a significant number of seats in Business Class, service can sometimes feel a bit like an assembly line. Meals are served from service carts, which is different from other Middle Eastern carriers that offer service directly from the galley. Cart service does however give flight attendants access to what they need to serve drinks and meals faster - allowing for more resting time.
No matter what the aircraft, large-screen entertainment screens are standard amenities for Emirates passengers with a vast selection of movies, television programs, and music. Responsive touch screens and easy-access remote controls give passengers a choice of entertainment from over 4,500 channels at the push of a button.
Emirates is careful to choose programming that is suitable to its global audience but does not skimp on providing the latest Hollywood blockbusters as well as full box sets of television programs for those that want to catch up on their favorite series. Noise-reducing headsets only enhance the experience.
Children can enjoy everything from cartoon and youth-themed shows to special toys and gifts to keep them busy. Do not be surprised if the flight attendants spend extra time engaging with kids to make them feel welcome.
Staying connected online is a popular service on Emirates flights. Members of Emirates Skywards enjoy limited free access including chat services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage. Several paid Wi-Fi plans based on duration or data are available for passengers wanting to stay connected.
International newspapers and magazines are available during boarding and throughout the flight in magazine racks in the cabin, and in the on board Business Class lounge of Airbus A380 aircraft. The Open Skies inflight magazine is available at each seat.
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi.
Emirates has a longstanding partnership with Bulgari to provide well stocked amenity kits for medium and long-haul flights containing Bulgari products. Contents include fragrances such as the Eau Parfumée Au Thé Vert, hand lotion, lip balm, ear plugs and dental kits. The amenity kits come in eight different designs - four for women and four for men - with designs refreshed on a yearly basis.
Hot towels precede any meal service and are also a nice refreshment before landing.
Babies on Emirates flights are well-cared for with a bassinet provided on all aircraft. It is best to reserve this in advance to assure availability.
An Emirates hallmark on A380 flights is the onboard bar and lounge, which gives travellers the chance to stretch their legs and congregate with fellow passengers should they wish. The full bar menu is available in this stand-up area, which is not something you will find on most other airlines. Emirates earns substantial kudos from its passengers for this signature amenity.
A feature of the refurbished B777-200LR planes is that they offer a walk-up bar for snacks. This is however not the same full-service bar as on the much larger A380 planes.
For maximum rest, avoid selecting a seat near the bar area since there is potential for noisy conversation from other passengers.
Even Emirates’ shortest flights - within the Middle East - are well-catered with a lovely selection of meals and drinks. Most Emirates flights are quite lengthy, but no matter the flight number, there is plenty of catering to go around. One important thing to note is that Emirates does not have narrow body (single aisle) aircraft. This means that even its short flights have flat-bed seating for those wanting to sneak in a power nap.
A full bar service is also available on shorter flights - including Champagne - even if the meal service is delivered as a one-tray service rather than in multiple courses like on longer services.
Emirates takes its eco-friendly credentials seriously. For example, its economy class blankets - on long haul flights - are made from recycled plastic bottles, and pilots focus on the most efficient operations both in the air on the ground to minimise the environmental impact.
The airline serves more than 110 million meals every year, and whenever possible sources ingredients locally at each destination. In Dubai, Emirates Flight Catering is building a 130,000 square foot sustainable vertical farm to support its operations. The farm will use 99% less water than open fields and is expected to produce 2.7 tons of leefy greens every day.
Aircraft are cleaned with a "drywash" procedure, using a small amount of cleaning products applied with cloths, saving thousands of litres of water. Engine-washing procedures regularly assure that Emirates aircraft are operating at maximum efficiency, further reducing any waste.
At the Engine Maintenance Centre, Emirates has installed a one megawatt array of solar photovoltaic panels. The 2,990 panels form a roof over the carpark, and are expected to generate in excess of 1,800 megawatt‑hours of electricity and save around 800 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
The Emirates Flight Training Academy provides aviation training for aspiring pilot cadets. Located at Dubai World Central, the academy features a unique stand-alone facility with its own fully operational private airport. The Flight Training Academy has an ambition of attracting more female Emirati pilots to a career path traditionally dominated by men.
Emirates supports the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a massive 225 square kilometre area dedicated to protecting the critical desert habitat and a variety of endangered species. Emirates also sponsors a dedicated conservation team of ecologists and wildlife specialists.
The airline has invested heavily in the 1,600-hectare Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, one of the first luxury conservation resorts in Australia. Located a three hour drive from Sydney, the resort became the first carboNZero©™ certified hotel in the world. As part of its commitment to supporting the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area, Emirates has planted over 175,000 native trees and shrubs across the site
The flight search on BusinessClass.com includes information on CO2 emissions for each flight. Our quality algorithms also give a higher score to flights operated by the most modern and environmentally friendly aircraft.