Emirates Boeing 777 vs Airbus A380 Business Class: Which Cabin Is Best?
When it comes to business class, Emirates is right up there with the best in the industry. However, the airline’s two fleets offer distinct products, with the 777 and A380 each having their pros and cons. Here’s a look at which cabin is the best.
Direct aisle access vs privacy
Right off the bat, the configuration of business class on the A380 and 777 varies significantly. The A380 features an industry-standard 1-2-1, with each seat offering access to the aisle. The 777, meanwhile, offers a 2-3-2 layout, which has some obvious drawbacks.
While Emirates’ decision might seem odd, considering the 777 can be deployed on routes as long as 15 hours, the type also serves short-haul flights in the region. The 2-3-2 configuration, therefore, works on flights of all lengths. However, with only four seats across in the A380, there are a lot more features.
For more on business class on Emirates, including service and the ground experience, read our detailed review of the A380 here and on the 777 here!
The most noticeable difference in the seats is the additional room on the A380, especially toward the aisle. While the legroom is slightly limited by the larger IFE and ottoman, this is not a bad tradeoff as we’ll see later. The 777 offers seemingly endless legroom, making storage easy (although the upper deck on the A380 offers the lovely storage bins too).
The biggest perk of business class is the lie-flat bed available for sleeping. Here is where the 777 clearly falls behind the A380 in terms of comfort. On the superjumbo, the seat slides down to create a 70-78″ bed (5’8″ to 6’5″ depending on your seat pick) for great sleep. While the bed is a bit tight due to the 18.5″ seat width, much smaller than some competitors, there is little to complain about overall.
Emirates has two 777 business class seats, a new one with an ottoman and a fully lie-flat bed, and the older business class (more common) with no ottoman and an angled-flat bed. While an angled flat seat may harken back to decades ago, it is more comfortable than it sounds. While the angle is noticeable, it is still comfortable and the extra legroom at the end makes for great side sleeping. However, in any other position, the A380 wins out.
While the newer business class seat includes a small, open ottoman at the end, it still suffers from the 2-3-2 layout. Interestingly, the seat design (with the extra legroom) on the 777 creates a few more enjoyable lounging positions to enjoy the IFE. However, with better storage and a lie-flat bed, the A380 is the easy winner for sleeping and privacy.
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Given that the A380 is reserved for Emirates’ most popular routes, it comes with several more unique features for business class passengers. The most notable is the bar, found in the rear of the upper deck. This space is open to first and business passengers who like to move around and socialize during a long flight, enjoying some drinks and snacks along the way. With two tables to sit and enjoy, the bar is a great addition for day flights on the superjumbo.
There is one compelling reason to choose the 777: sitting together. While the A380’s 1-2-1 means families of three or more need to split up, the 777 allows couples and families to be situated next to each other (even if it means someone in the dreaded middle seat).
Overall, the Airbus A380 offers the best business class product in Emirates’ fleet, so try and seek out the superjumbo wherever possible (if you don’t already, that is).
Have you flown on Emirates’ business class? Let us know in the comments.
IATA/ICAO Code: EK/UAE Airline Type: Full Service Carrier Hub(s): Dubai International Airport Year Founded: 1985 CEO: Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum Country: United Arab Emirates