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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 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!
Read our review: The transit hotel in Dubai Airport is brilliant for a layover!
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
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.
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.
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.
Emirates Economy Class food
What’s the food in Emirates Economy Class like?
We found our meals quite tasty.
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.
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.
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 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).
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 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, so we don’t really understand why these airlines don’t have the same standards.
You might like to read: What’s it like to fly Economy Class on Qatar Airways?
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 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…
Relating reading: See our EVA Air Review – we’ll fly with them again!
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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