Emirates’ new first class suite is high on the list of products that I want to try. As such, I was excited to find out (thanks to Hirofumi) that the airline organized an event in Tokyo allowing visitors to experience the seat on the ground.
While I still hope to test (and review) the suite in the air sometime soon, the event provided a nice opportunity to get at least some idea of what a flight in it would be like.
Before getting to the actual suite, let me give you a brief overview of the event. If you happen to be in Tokyo this week and have some time to spare, you should definitely check it out.
The event started on February 3, 2020, and is being held at Mercedes me Gallery Tokyo – the car maker’s showroom in Roppongi. You can experience the new suite every day from 10AM until 8PM for the rest of the week. The last day of the event is February 16, 2020.
If you are wondering why the event is held at a Mercedes showroom, that’s because the company was involved in the design of the new suite – as well as of the airline’s new business class seats.
The first thing to note is that the suite displayed at the event was an actual suite – not a mock-up. That’s why, besides the Emirates country manager and a flight attendant, one of the airline’s engineers was present at the event as well.
It’s also the reason why – other than the video chat function not working since there was no galley to call – the seat was fully functional.
Inside, the suite was very elegant. I certainly prefer the new “toned down” appearance compared to the older Emirates suite which has too much gold and faux wood to my liking.
Since the displayed suite was a middle section one, it featured three “virtual windows.” While they can’t be compared with actual windows since they are just screens, they are still a nice touch – and provide for a much better experience than a completely windowless suite would.
The massive leather seat itself was comfortable both in the seat as well as in the full-flat mode. I didn’t have a chance to try the “zero-gravity mode” but that’s fine – I will save that for when I actually fly in the seat.
The suite had a nice minibar with drink and snacks and a vanity with some amenities. The tray table was large – perfect both for dining as well as for getting some work done.
One thing I found interesting was that the suite was equipped with a USB-C charging port. On a less serious note, I find it funny that even the suites with virtual windows come equipped with binoculars.
While there is much more to the suite than the above, I will save that for when I do an actual full review.
Currently, the vast majority of Emirates’ fleet is still equipped with its older first class suite. The new suite is only available on a limited number of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
Each of those is equipped with six suites in two rows.
Given that only about 10% of the airline’s 777 fleet is equipped with the new first class suites, the routes it can be flown on are quite limited as well. In fact, Dubai – Tokyo Haneda is the only long-haul route on which it regularly appears.
Other than that, the new suite can be flown on medium-haul flights between Dubai and multiple European cities including Vienna, Frankfurt, Brussels, and Geneva. It also flies to a number of cities in the Middle East.
While my experience with the new suite was limited, my first impressions of the suite are great. The space inside seemed well-designed and the seat was comfortable. Not only that, but the suite looked really nice.
As such, I can’t wait to have a chance to try it out in the air sometime in the future.
The new suite’s main weakness, though, lies in its limited availability. With most of Emirates’ aircraft going to remain in service with the older product for the foreseeable future, only very few people will have a chance to actually experience the new suite in the air.