Emirates runs a mastery level course in branding, and we’ll explain why. This “new” cabin is not new, and for a “new” design, it’s strikingly mediocre. I hear what you’re saying: “but it’s Emirates, they’re like… the nicest airline?”. The halo effect is something which cannot be underestimated in travel and this latest Emirates press release is a brilliant reminder. Here’s everything you need to know about this “refreshed” but not “new” business class cabin on the 777-200LR.
Emirates “new” Boeing 777-200LR cabin is an improvement on the last iteration. The previous cabin offered something really only also found on Turkish Airlines, a business class “middle seat”. The seats were arranged in a 2 x 3 x 2 layout, with one poor soul in the middle stuck between two other passengers, without aisle access. The “new” cabin now offers direct aisle access for all but those in window seats, who will still need to step over their seat mate to use any services. It’s essentially the same seat, though Emirates claims it’s 2” wider. For solo travelers, this cabin has few advantages, but for passengers traveling together, it can be a comfortable option.
Our takeaway here is the power of the halo effect. Emirates, through marketing partnerships with the ATP Tennis Tour, Arsenal Football Club and an endless gloss campaign of commercials have created a “halo” around the airline. A perception of unrivaled quality and offering revolves around the Emirates brand. In the case of their 380, the business class just sneaks into the top five. Their first class offerings are lovely and their economy cabin is very palatable. But some planes just don’t offer the same experience.
For any airline to launch a “new” business class cabin in todays world without direct aisle access would be a shambles – and we see this no differently. Emirates new cabin looks attractive, but it still fails to address the issue of direct aisle access. Qatar Airways, for example introduced the revolutionary new “QSuites” on their Boeing 777 aircraft. However Emirates wants to spin it, these seats are a far cry from the new incumbents. Unless you’re flying first class, we can only recommend Emirates Airbus A380.