Review: Emirates’ Disappointing 777 Business Class

It was time to return to the United States after a few weeks in Europe. I decided to return to the US in business class. I had flown the A380 business class before, but never the 777 class.

I am a huge fan of first class. It is one of my favorite products. Business class is very different, at least on the plane.

The experience was exactly what I was expecting, and I knew what to expect. I am shocked that this is the product offered on the plane that is the core of the carrier's fleet. It is hard to imagine that the Qsuites business class is the same class of service as the business class of the other airline. Let's get into the review...

I redeemed my miles for business class.

I love the fifth freedom flights between Europe and the United States, and the award availability is really good on these flights. Business class award seats were available from Athens to Newark on the following flight.

The Athens to Newark flight is departing at 5:35PM and arriving at 9:20PM.

The ticket cost just 62,500 Skywards miles, plus around $100 in taxes, and I was able to get Ford a first class seat on the plane.

Thanks to the program partnering with all major points programs, it is easy to get Skywards miles. Capital One, Chase Ultimate rewards, and Citi ThankYou are included.

I was unable to upgrade to first class on the day of departure because my flight had no first class award availability. I would be able to review the long haul business class product from Emirates.

Check-in, lounge, and boarding for the airline.

I flew first class from Athens to Newark in the summer and won't review the ground experience too much. The experience at Athens Airport was easy, as the lines at check-in and security weren't long.

The Goldair Lounge at Athens Airport is okay, but not up to the standard of the typical lounges of the airline.

Goldair Lounge at Athens Airport.

A short walk from the lounge is where the flight boarded from. First and business class passengers were invited to board first, 45 minutes before departure.

The departure gate of Athens Airport is for Emirates.

Business class cabin and seats on the Boeing 777.

I boarded through the second set of doors, where I was greeted by the purser and one of the flight attendants, and pointed towards the main business class cabin. A total of 42 seats are in the business class cabin, spread across seven rows.

There is a mini-cabin ahead of the second set of doors with two rows, and then the main business class cabin is behind that, with four rows. The plane I was flying on was 15 years old.

The business class cabin of the Boeing plane is called the Boeing 777-300ER.

The business class cabin of the Boeing plane is called the Boeing 777-300ER.

Middle seats in business class on most long haul aircraft are no longer part of the standard product of a decent airline.

Business class seats on the plane.

Business class seats on the plane.

I assigned myself seat 10A, the window seat on the left side in the second to last row of business class, in order to get an empty seat next to me, and it paid off, as the cabin ended up having 33 of 42 seats occupied, and the seat next.

The business class of the airline is on the Boeing plane.

It is funny because in first class, I find the cabin finishes to be oddly charming, or at least part of the experience, because the product is otherwise so impressive. I find the faux-wood to be less appealing with the outdated business class seats and purple upholstery.

The business class of the airline is on the Boeing plane.

The business class seat is on the Boeing 777.

Cupholders and trays were located in the center console.

The center console of the business class seat.

Privacy in business class seats is very good. You feel like you have some privacy from your seat mate, because there is a huge partition between seats. I think that would be great for those stuck in a center seat, with a stranger on each side.

The privacy partition is in the business class seat.

The entertainment controls, seat controls, and a touchscreen were in the center console. They all felt that way.

The business class seat controls are on the plane.

There was a 120v outlet. The person seated a few seats over was shocked that the older 777s don't have theusb outlets. The airline has a few converters for those who need ausb outlet. There aren't many onboard so make sure you ask early.

The power outlet is for business class seats.

The tray table could be folded over in half.

The tray table is in business class.

There were some basic seat controls on the left armrest.

The business class seat controls are on the plane.

The entertainment monitors in business class are huge and the rest of the seat is outdated. There was a compartment where you could store shoes and a seatback pocket.

The business class seat is on the Boeing 777.

Those of us who tend to get hot on planes can use the individual air nozzles at each seat.

The business class seat has air nozzles.

The business class seats on the 777s have window shades that can be controlled at the push of a button, which is a nice feature. You can open the window shade completely, lower the blinds, or make them completely dark if you want, but these aren't the same as the 787s with dimmers.

Business class window shades from the airline.

I had a good view of the engine from 10A. You have to love the engines.

View from my seat.

I enjoy watching the service flow and had a nice view of the cabin.

View from my seat.

I think the halo effect from the A380 fleet is huge for Emirates. The reality is that most of the 777s that are flown by the airline have the same product, but with better finishes.

This is just plain embarrassing, especially when you consider what other airlines are offering. It is woefully uncompetitive. A new business class product is being considered by the airline.

You know, how you know that the business class is not great? When people walk past business class, they will say things like "WOW" or "I wish I was sitting here." One person said that this doesn't look very nice for business class.

Business class amenities of the airline.

There was a pillow and blanket at each business class seat. The blanket was simple and the pillow had decent padding. This is not an industry-leading bedding. I will talk about mattress pads later on.

Business class pillow and blanket from the airline.

There were headphones at my seat.

The headphones are for business class.

Amenity kits were the best of the amenities. They had products from a variety of brands. The kit contained a lot of items.

The kit is for business class.

There was a kit with a face mask and hand sanitizer, as well as a separate pouch with socks and eyeshades.

Business class amenities of the airline.

The business class PPE of the airline.

The menu and wine list were handed out during the boarding process.

Business class menu and wine list.

There was a choice of champagne, orange juice, and apple juice in the pre-departure drinks.

The business class of the airline has champagne.

Business class lunch service from the airline.

The meal service on this flight is discussed. Dinner was served before landing and lunch was served after takeoff. The food menu has a few words.

The menu for business class on the airline.

The drink list has a few words.

The drink list for business class.

The drink list for business class.

The wine list for business class.

The wine list for business class.

The wine list for business class.

The wine list for business class.

The service began about 30 minutes after takeoff. The crew used their phones to take orders. Drinks were served an hour after takeoff. I ordered a dirty martini and was offered some warm mixed nuts. Not many airlines offer proper cocktails.

Business class lunch with dirty martini and nuts.

The meal service began about 20 minutes after that. The meal was served on a tray with the glass of wine I ordered. The side salad and bread were wrapped.

Appetizers and salad are included in the business class lunch.

I chose the wakame salad with the seared prawns, dressed with wasabi and onion seeds, for the starter. There was a side salad and garlic bread. The food was good.

Appetizers and salad are included in the business class lunch.

The problem with business class service is that it feels like an assembly line and isn't personalized at all. After I finished my starter and salad, I removed it, and the rest of my dishes, along with the covers and wrappers, were left there. You would think they would remove them, but instead they just remove what they have to make room for the main course.

tray not being cleared

Even though my martini glass was done, it was just left there, even when the crew brought and removed stuff multiple times.

Business class lunch with empty glasses.

There were three choices for the main course. I chose the grilled salmon with Coriander pesto, saffron rice, sautéed carrots, snow peas, and courgettes. The dish tasted good, but the presentation was not up to par.

The main course is the business class lunch.

It was time for dessert after main courses were cleared. I chose the salted caramel and custard tarts with mocha chocolate sauce. I was also offered some chocolates.

The business class lunch has dessert and a beverage.

Overall the meal tasted good, but the service flow, presentation, and lack of customization was disappointing.

Business class entertainment and wi-fi.

There are endless TV shows, movies, and more on the inflight entertainment system of Emirates. The selection is endless. Steve Harvey hosts the Emirates World Interviews. They are both interesting and hilarious. One of the interviews I listened to talked about how prisons in the U.S. are so humane, and are about helping people rather than punishing them.

The entertainment system of the airline.

The entertainment system of the airline.

The airshow function was low quality in terms of resolution.

The airshow is going to Newark.

The airshow is going to Newark.

The plane I was on was really old.

It was so old that you had to use the remote controller.
The remote controller was old and unresponsive, and it took about five seconds for the system to respond.

The Boeings have wi-fi. I bought the entire flight with no data limits for $19.99. It is known that OnAir is among the slowest out there. I was able to work for most of the flight because the speeds were decent. I have found that the internet on the A380s is not as good as on the 777s.

The pricing for the internet at the airport.

The bed in the business class of the airline.

There are business class seats on the plane. The angle is really mild. It isn't like one of those seats where you'll slide down the entire time, but rather you feel like your head is elevated a bit. The angle doesn't bother me.

One positive of these types of seats is that you don't have to put your feet into a footwell so you can stretch out nicely. I had an empty seat next to me and it was terrible.

The bed in the business class of the airline is large.

The bed on the plane is business class.

The crew gave out mattress pads. Even when it wasn't time to sleep, these were put on seats.

The business class mattress pad is from the airline.

The lights on the ceiling are supposed to look like stars.

The cabin ceiling has stars on it.

Business class lavatories from the airline.

The lavatories in business class are located between the business class cabins and the second set of doors. The lavatories were small, but a good size. I wouldn't say the bathroom was filthy, but they weren't as clean as they have been on previous flights.

The business class lavatory of the airline.

Business class service and snacks.

Passengers could help themselves to some snacks in the galley between meals.

snack selection for business class

I ordered a couple of cups of coffee on the flight because the drinks were always available on demand. I was offered some cookies to go along with it.

Business class coffee and snack.

I have nothing bad to say about the flight attendants working in business class. They were good.

It feels impersonal when I receive service in business class. You feel like you are part of an assembly line when there is no dine on demand. The service feels reactive rather than proactive. Personalization and interaction between passengers and crew is encouraged on other top carriers.

The business class dinner service is offered by the airline.

Pre-arrival meal orders were taken before the flight to Newark. The meal was served two hours before the plane arrived. Again, dishes were covered.

Appetizers and salad are included in the business class dinner.

I ordered the Greek mezze with grilled aubergine with feta and other items. This was served with a salad and roll.

Appetizers and salad are included in the business class dinner.

I ordered the chicken with mushroom sauce with honey- roasted pumpkin, steamed broccoli, turnip, and fingerling potatoes with herbs for the main course.

The main course is the business class dinner.

I had a cheese board for dessert. A box of chocolates was also offered.

The cheese plate is in business class.

The first time a towel was offered during the flight was after the meal.

Business class dinner with warm towel.

I enjoyed the sunset views after the meal, since the flight arrived around sunset time.

At sunset, you can see Newark.

We arrived at Newark Airport at 8:45PM and had a hard landing. There was a taxi that took us to the gate.

The bottom line.

I love you, Emirates. Your first class is my favorite, the A380s are amazing, and you have a nice ride in business class. When flying in business class on a long haul flight, the experience drops off very quickly.

There are nousb outlets, a middle seat in each row, flat seats, outdated cabins and finishes, and no dine on demand. This is simply uncompetitive, even compared to the average business class.

I hope that the new business class product is introduced by the airline in a timely manner, and that it doesn't take too long. The soft product needs improvement.

What was it like to fly in the business class of the airline?