Emirates is renowned for having one of the world’s best First Class products. In this review, we try out the airline’s older Boeing 777 First Class on a short Emirates fifth-freedom flight from Cyprus to Malta.
|Route||Larnaca (LCA) to Malta (MLA)|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 777-300ER|
|Class of travel||First|
|Route on-time performance||97% (my flight was on time)|
I booked this as a Classic Flight Reward booking using Qantas points. At the time of booking, the price was 36,000 Qantas points + $269.30 in taxes, fees and carrier charges (well, almost entirely Emirates carrier charges!). Since 18 September 2019, the price has increased to 41,500 Qantas points. If you were to pay for a ticket on this flight, the price would be around $1,700-$2,100.
As I had booked before the changes to Emirates Chauffeur Drive back in March, I was eligible to use the complimentary chauffeur service from my hotel to Larnaca International Airpot, which worked well. Unfortunately, Emirates now only offers this service to Business and First passengers if you buy a commercial ticket (and not if you’re on an award booking made using Qantas points or Emirates Skywards miles).
Check-in was a breeze and I was directed to use the fast-track lane for outbound immigration.
If you fly Emirates First Class out of Dubai, you’ll get access to the excellent Emirates First Lounge. Unfortunately, the only lounge available at this Emirates outstation was the Aspire Aphrodite Lounge, which is a Priority Pass lounge. As far as European lounges go, this lounge was actually pretty good. There were plenty of seats, including an outdoor smoking section, as well as clean bathrooms, newspapers, wifi and a small selection of buffet food & drinks available. The lounge staff were friendly, too. But it definitely wasn’t in the same league as the Emirates First Lounge in Dubai.
The Hard Product
Emirates uses the same First Class seats on its Airbus A380s and older Boeing 777-300ERs, except that there is no bar or showers on the Boeing 777. There are two rows of First Class on this aircraft in a 1-2-1 layout.
A small number of Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft have the new First suites in a 1-1-1 configuration. This configuration is not used for the Larnaca and Malta flights.
On my flight, the spacious suite is extremely comfortable and private. I’m in seat 1K and have three windows to look out of, as well as a mini-bar filled with non-alcoholic drinks by the window.
The Emirates 777 First Class seat reclines to become a fully-flat bed, and the suite has sliding doors that can be opened or closed at the push of a button. This is certainly a luxurious way to fly!
The TV screen is large and the Emirates ICE in-flight entertainment content is always extensive. I’m provided with noise-cancelling headphones which worked a treat.
The Soft Product
After being escorted to my seat, the lovely Japanese flight attendant looking after First Class introduced herself and offered a pre-departure drink, followed by newspapers, magazines, dates and Arabic coffee. Before takeoff, the Maltese purser came around to introduce herself too.
There was only one other passenger in First Class, so the service was very attentive. Things began with a hot towel, Dom Perignon 2009 champagne and more warm nuts.
This was followed by lunch. As this was only a short flight of just under 3 hours, there was no caviar service. But the food was all very nice and my salmon main course was cooked perfectly.
There was a very impressive wine list, as well as an extensive range of quality spirits available including Hennessy Paradis cognac and Johnnie Walker Black whiskey. Here is the wine list…
Being a short daytime flight, no pyjamas or amenity kits were provided. But amenities were available on request and there was a notebook and pen at the seat.
We were treated to some great views as we landed on time in Malta.
There are no airbridges at Malta International Airport, so we disembarked onto buses but there was a separate bus just for First and Business passengers.
I was able to use the chauffeur service again upon arrival in Malta. When I approached my driver he seemed to do a double-take as if to be thinking “how on earth are you in first class?!”. Admittedly, I’m probably a lot younger than the average person using this service and was wearing a t-shirt and jeans…
Emirates Boeing 777-300ER First Class
The Emirates First Class service was simply wonderful. Being a relatively short fifth-freedom sector, I didn’t quite get the full lounge and food experience. But this was still a very comfortable and luxurious way to fly… and well worth the Qantas points.