As I wrote about here, Emirates said that they would be unveiling a new business class product on their 777. This was welcome news– Emirates’ 777 product is far from industry leading– that is, until you scrolled down and read that Emirates would hold on to their 2-3-2 configuration in business class, meaning all seats would not have aisle access. Some people speculated that they would be using a layout similar to what Japan Airlines has on their 777’s, where the seats are staggered such that everyone has aisle access.
However, this turned out not to be true. Last week, Emirates unveiled the new seats at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade fair. And there was very little change.
Of course, Emirates made the seats fully flat instead of angled, but the layout, pitch, width, and just about everything else, remained the same. Even the same gaudy gold-sheathed TV screens.
For context, here is the new product:
And here’s the old.
As you can see, there isn’t much different. The dividers between the seats were changed slightly, but very little else is different.
Emirates did not do away with the 2-3-2 layout, something tons of other airlines have or are working on having done away with. And the most disappointing thing: Emirates won’t be retrofitting their other 777’s. The new business class will only be installed on the ones that are being delivered (777-8 and 777-9), so you can expect that this old configuration will remain in the skies until after 2020, when the old aircraft are retired.
All in all, this is a pretty disappointing “big reveal” all around. They kept the old, non-all-aisle-access configuration, and you won’t be able to experience this product until at least 2020. So for now, Emirates’ product on the 777 won’t change.