How does Emirates Economy stack up?

Emirates is often praised for its extravagant business and first class offering. But is the glamour associated with Emirates reflected in economy class?

One of our members recently travelled from Melbourne to Singapore on board an Emirates Boeing 777.

Despite a small delay, there are plenty of positives about the flight. The young cabin crew are friendly and the meal is good, although lacking a “wow factor”. The in-flight entertainment offering is particularly excellent.

Between seats and located just under the entertainment screen was a powerpoint which has become a thing of today and a necessity for all. The ICE system had a larger than normal and sharp screen which had a wide selection of movies, films, music and games which helped bypass time…

Despite a reasonably good “soft” product, there was one problem with the airline’s economy “hard” product on the 777: the space, or lack thereof.

“Our economy class comes without compromise” – Taken from the Emirates website. The only thing that was compromised was space.

My flight to Singapore was a full and sold out flight meaning everyseat had a bum alocated to it. The Emirates economy class layout is a 3-4-3 which is ten across meaning a tight and narrow squeeze compared to other airlines who operate the same aircraft. It may not seem bad at all to the normal traveller but comfort factor breaks when you’re sitting with your shoulders against your seat partner especially when it’s a sold out flight. I was lucky enough to be travellng with a friend so we managed to maneuver into a few positions to try and find a comfortable spot which seemed to make the seven hour flight seem like a ten hour one.

The Boeing 777 is my favourite aircraft, not so with ten across in economy.

Emirates is one of a selection of carriers with a 3-4-3 configuration, or ten-abreast seating in economy. Other airlines with a similar configuration on their 777 aircraft include Air New Zealand, Etihad, American Airlines and budget airline Scoot. However the majority of full-service airlines including Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines have all opted for a more spacious nine-abreast seating configuration in economy.

Most of our members agree that on a long-haul economy flight, that extra seat can make all the difference when it comes to comfort. For this reason, many say they will avoid the Emirates Boeing 777 for future flights.

You can read the full trip report or join in the discussion HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]