The Emirates' unique, fully enclosed first-class suite has been flying on a number of carrier's Boeing 777-300ERs for nearly two years now. I had a chance to be on the very first flight, from Dubai to Brussels in December 2017, and it's really a spectacular product.
Although there are a handful of flights to the US – including very limited engagement between Dubai and Dallas / Fort Worth, Seattle and Houston – the new suite has not yet become a permanent fixture on yet another US route.
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I had a chance to sit down with Emirates President Sir Tim Clark at the Dubai Air Show this week, which explained the delayed rollout. The challenge is that only nine 777-300 ERs offer the new suite – not enough to serve even a US city without seriously compromising Emirates & # 39; revenue potential elsewhere in the world.
As Clark said, "We try to put it on some of the US routes, but every time we put it on one of those routes it takes two and a half flights. It's very popular in Geneva (GVA), it's very popular at [Tokyo] Haneda (HND), where the premium requirements are very strong, and I have to say, the money is very competitive. "
While American routes do it When it comes to premium prices, it may not look like Emirates justifies using one-third of its equipped fleet only to serve a single North American city.
However, this will not always be the case. Emirates will offer the new product on the Boeing 777x aircraft, which was originally expected to be launched next June. Now with that introduction delayed, the carrier is not entirely sure when reaches it The new suite will regularly fly to the United States.
If 777x is delayed for an extended period, Emirates can retrofit some of the 777-300ERs with the latest interiors, including business class and economy. Unfortunately, even then, the refurbished aircraft are not expected to get the new suite. Instead, the carrier will install the latest version of the previous generation's premium product, thus storing the game-changer exclusively for new deliveries.
Why go through all that problem and not new first class cabin? As Clark explains: “The cost of these suites is astronomical. We have to drop the roofs, redesign the architecture and then put those seats in. With the remaining life of the aircraft…. Once you've done that, it's time for it to go. "As a result, Clark said the carrier is not planning to add the new suite to the A380, either.
For now, Emirates may continue to offer limited service to the United States – and thanks to ExpertFlyer, it's easy to tell if you're going to succeed. The airline's old first class 777-300ER has a total of eight suites, but the new cabin has only six – if you look at the seat map below, it's good to go.
Just note that flight changes may be possible until the day before departure. I will book if you plan to try the new product and get over the map above, but only if the flight fits within your travel plans and schedule.
Featured image of Zach Honig / ThePoints Guy
is Editor-at-Large at TPG, with contributions ranging from articles that dig deep into loyalty programs and credit cards to delivery flight coverage for drone photography and much more.