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Emirates Economy Class Review: What’s Emirates’ Economy Like?

What’s it like to fly long-haul in Emirates Economy Class?

We give you the honest scoop here in our Emirates Economy Class review.

Emirates Economy Class review

Emirates Economy Class Review

Contents: Emirates Economy review

Emirates flights – Including Emirates Seattle to Dubai

Emirates seating – Best seats on Emirates 777-300ER?

Emirates Economy amenity kits

Emirates Economy Class food review (and Emirates Economy menu)

Emirates inflight entertainment

Emirates Economy baggage allowance

Other Emirates reviews – Safety and service

Review of Emirates Airlines Economy Class – Bottom line?

Emirates Seattle to Dubai

The world’s fourth largest airline, Emirates flies to some 160 destinations around the world, including Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa.

Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the airline’s hub. (There are 7 Emirates in the UAE; Dubai is probably the most well-known.)

From North America, Emirates flies to Dubai from several major cities, including Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Toronto.

On our trip to Africa, we flew Economy on Emirates from Seattle to Dubai, then on to Lusaka, Zambia. (In Lusaka, we flew to Mfuwe for our walking safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.)

On the return, we flew from Cape Town to Seattle via Dubai, also in Economy.

Both ways, we stayed overnight at Emirates’ Dubai Airport transit hotel in Terminal 3 to break up the long trip – highly recommended!

Emirates Economy Class Review: What's it like to fly Economy Class with Emirates?

Emirates’ Boeing 777 seating plan

Emirates currently operates two types of airplanes, the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A380.

Emirates’ Seattle to Dubai planes are Boeing 777-300ERs

Emirates flies Boeing 777-300ER planes for the 14-1/2 hour flights between Seattle and Dubai.
Planes for the 14-1/2 hour flights between Seattle and Dubai are Boeing 777-300s

Economy Class seats are configured 3-4-3.

If you get stuck in a middle seat in the middle row of four seats, you’re probably going to feel a bit confined.

We prefer a 3-3-3 configuration, which makes the cabin feel less crowded. Also, the 3-4-3 configuration on the Boeing 777-300ER means the seats are narrower than if laid out 3-3-3.

But, sigh… The more spacious 3-3-3 configuration seems to be a thing of the past, as airlines shift to a 3-4-3 layout in Economy.

 Emirates' Economy Class seats are configured 3-4-3 on the 777-300ERs
Emirates Economy Class seats are configured 3-4-3 on the 777-300ERs

For our flight from Seattle, the Emirates gate agent kindly gave us an aisle and a window seat and blocked off the middle seat, so we had three seats between the two of us.

That helped make the 14-½ hour night flight more comfortable. (Of course, if the flight is full, you’re unlikely to get a free middle seat between you.)

The seats offered decent legroom (perhaps 32 inches?) and reclined quite a bit.

Everyone has to recline though, or you feel squished with the seat in front of you right in your face.

Boeing 777-300ER Emirates seating

Emirates has three different layouts for their 777-300ERs (see here).

For the best seats on Emirates’ 777-300ER planes (latest version), see SeatGuru; you can also check the other two layouts on SeatGuru too.

The interior of the planes looked as if they had been upgraded – the bathrooms had wooden cupboards and accents.

When the cabin lights were turned off, twinkling stars shone on the ceiling, and the soft “mood” lighting turned from pink to mauve and aqua hues.

Emirates Economy amenity kits

Everyone in Economy Class was given red-and-white amenity bags with socks, eye masks, ear plugs and toothbrush/toothpaste.

And we received a large-sized blanket and pillow.

The free Emirates Economy amenity kit includes socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, ear plugs and a sleeping mask.
The free Emirates Economy amenity kit includes socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, ear plugs and a sleeping mask

Emirates Economy Class food

What’s the food in Emirates Economy Class like? 

We found our meals quite tasty.

Dinner

For example, on the night flight from Seattle to Dubai, the Emirates economy menu offered a choice for the dinner entrée (we chose lamb kofta with rice). A fresh salad (no limp brown leaves) accompanied that.

We also had three choices of red wines – two French and one Spanish. Cutlery was metal; we didn’t have to saw away with plastic knives.

Mid-flight, a pizza service was offered.

Breakfast

Before arriving in Dubai, we received a hot egg-and-cheese omelette.

On the next leg from Dubai to Lusaka (6-½ hours), we had another breakfast – this time, a cold egg-salad croissant and fruit salad for a light breakfast.

Lunch

Later, on the same flight, we were offered a hot lunch (a choice of beef in mushroom sauce with herbed polenta and stir-fried tomatoes, or creole chicken in tomato sauce with steamed rice and vegetables), accompanied by potato salad with green beans.

Dessert was apple upside-down cake with vanilla sauce.

Emirates Economy Class food
Our hot lunch in Economy Class on our return flight from Cape Town to Dubai

Emirates inflight entertainment

We give high marks to Emirates ICE entertainment system, which the airline is quite proud of. (ICE stands for information, communication and entertainment.)

You can watch the news, send emails and watch movies.

It’s apparently the best in the world, with 4,000 channels, including some 1,000 movies. In the Skytrax “World Airline Awards,” Emirates has been named the airline with the best inflight entertainment for the past 15 years.

We liked the big screens (almost as wide as the seat back in front) and big cushioned earphones (not the little buds that fall out of your ears).

Emirates Airlines inflight entertainment
Nice earphones! Too bad the sound through one ear didn’t work…

Unfortunately, the sound streaming into one ear was broken for both of us on one of our flights – so we had to listen to our blockbusters lopsidedly.

Emirates baggage allowance

Emirates Economy carry-on allowance

As an Economy passenger, you can only take one piece of carry-on baggage onboard.

For some reason, Middle Eastern airlines have strict carry-on baggage limits for Economy passengers.

When we flew Economy Class on Qatar Airways, we also discovered (to our chagrin) that we couldn’t take the same rollaways and backpacks allowed on North American airlines.

There’s enough room in the overhead bins and under the seats on both Emirates and Qatar, so we don’t really understand why these airlines don’t have the same standards.

Emirates carry-on baggage allowance for Economy passengers

Your carry-on bag can’t be heavier than 15 pounds (7 kg).

Your bag also cannot be larger than 21.6 x 15 x 8.6 inches (55 x 38 x 22 cm).

For more information on this, see the airline’s cabin baggage rules.

Only Emirates Business Class and First Class passengers are allowed to take two pieces of carry-on luggage.

Emirates Checked Luggage Allowance

In Economy, you can check one or two bags (depending on the fare), no heavier than 50 pounds (23 kg) each.

Other Emirates Airlines’ reviews

Emirates has a good reputation.

It ranks among the world’s 20 safest airlines.

As for service and comfort, it has a 4-star airline rating (according to SkyTrax) for things like food and seats – keeping company with Air France, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, British Airways and other major airlines, which also have 4-star ratings.

Emirates flies both Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 planes
Emirates flies both Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 planes

Emirates Economy Class review: Bottom line?

We were impressed with our Emirates Airlines Economy Class flights.

For the most part, it was a comfortable experience (in as much as flying economy can be called “comfortable”).

Our return flight connections are where we downgrade our Emirates review.

We had a seriously long (9+ hour) layover in Seattle on our return home.

We hadn’t planned on that. When we booked our tickets, our Seattle layover was going to be 3 hours (before the final 30-minute hop home to Victoria, Canada).

Our flights were changed on us unfortunately, after we’d booked and paid – resulting in this 9+ hour layover – and Emirates wouldn’t put us on an earlier flight home from Seattle because that was a non-partner airline.

Needless to say, we were very unhappy about this…

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

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Review of Emirates Airlines economy class

We paid full regular fares for our flights, and we haven’t been paid to write this Emirates economy review.


Photo credits: 5 to 7 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Remaining photos Emirates


About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

Amanda L.

Friday 6th of October 2023

Please double check the Economy carry-on bag size. The current (Oct 2023) Qatar website says 50 x 37 x 25 cm (not 55 as mentioned in this article.)

Otherwise, thank you for the most informative review I found!

Janice and George

Sunday 15th of October 2023

You're right. Qatar has different size limits for carry-on (the sizes you mentioned). But for Emirates, the current size limits are 55 x 38 x 22 cm, as correctly stated in our article :-).

Sangita Chawla

Tuesday 19th of September 2023

This was my first experience with Emirates Airlines, when I flew from Delhi to LA in September. The flight was good, the crew members were good and most of the services were good.

But I was disappointed that they didn't provide proper wheelchair service in LA. I'm a senior citizen with back pain. I was tired after the long journey, and every time I asked for a wheelchair, they said I had to wait another 35 or 45 minutes, or go without one. I ended up waiting about 2 hours.

I'm hoping they will improve this in future.

Liz T.

Saturday 21st of October 2023

@Sangita Chawla,

The Montreal Airport arrivals wheelchair service is horrible, horrible, horrible - they have no concerns for you whatsoever.

But thumbs up to Barcelona's services, which are top-notch with a smile. Even Bombay's airport services are top-notch.

But Montreal Airport has the worst airport wheelchair help.

Janice and George

Wednesday 11th of October 2023

Yes, we can see how frustrating your arrival experience must have been - sorry you had to wait so long...

Susan Sam

Sunday 2nd of April 2023

I have just flown Emirates in economy class for the first time.

I have flown Air France, Lufthansa, United and Air Canada. But Emirates was top class. I'm now wishing and dreaming of a business class experience!

All the best.

Liz T.

Saturday 21st of October 2023

@Susan Sam,

I will be flying Emirates next month.

I have always been a Qatar Airways fan. But they have jacked up their prices and I am hearing bad reviews, so I decided on Emirates for this trip.

Janice and George

Monday 3rd of April 2023

Glad you enjoyed flying Emirates :-).

Jan

Monday 14th of March 2022

Do they allow seat extensions for kids? I’m flying from Dubai to Seattle with a toddler.

Janice and George

Monday 14th of March 2022

For young kids 2 or older, you can bring your own car seat and have your toddler sit in that. See Emirates web page on traveling with infants.

Have a good flight!

Abu Ali

Friday 7th of May 2021

If you're going to UAE, then you should have a look at all 7 Emirates of the UAE!

Janice and George

Saturday 8th of May 2021

Hi Abu, Yes, Dubai may be the best known. But there's also Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Umm al-Qaiwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ra's al-Khaimah. We've visited Abu Dhabi on a cruise :-). Best!