Starting December 1st Emirates will introduce a refreshed interior across its 777 fleet with the carriers updated “light and modern” colour scheme featuring refined textured panels, as well as new lighting and design accents. At the heart of the refresh is the long-awaited First Class product.
As an industry first, the airline has adopted floor to ceiling sliding doors taking design features from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. They might not be as large as the Singapore Airlines A380 suites, but they have less real estate to play with. That said, they offer up to 40 square feet of personal space each, laid out in a 1-1-1 configuration. The inclusion of an artistic motif representing the Ghaf (prosopis cineraria) tree, is used as a design highlight throughout the aircraft. An indigenous evergreen plant, the Ghaf is a considered the national tree of the United Arab Emirates, and has deep cultural and ecological significance.
The airline has also followed the emerging trend of looking at the entire aircraft when coming up with a cabin refresh. From First Class through to the Business and Economy Class cabins, all along the walkways, in the washrooms and galleys, Emirates multi-million dollar upgrade includes newly-designed seats and upgraded inflight entertainment systems in all cabins.
Spearheading the innovations, first class is abundant in details. Akin to a private yacht or sleeper train cabin, these private cabins allow the user to manage everything from the lighting colour to the temperature. Interestingly, every single suite is a window seat. Even those in the aisle. This is made possible by a series of virtual windows in the middle of the cabin, with imagery beamed from cameras on the outside of the aircraft.
The true window seats are still the best, benefitting from binoculars for those who want to truly explore the world. On the airline’s new First Class product, Sir Tim said, “Emirates pioneered the First Class private suite concept back in 2003, and today it’s the industry benchmark when it comes to first class travel.
Over the years we have continually improved on our private suites, adding thoughtful refinements and features. We are very excited about our new fully-enclosed suite which is a real game-changer in terms of privacy, comfort, and thoughtful luxury. This is the first time an Emirates product has been so influenced by another luxury brand, but it is a natural fit as both Emirates and Mercedes-Benz have the same unwavering commitment to fine detail, uncompromising quality, and a drive to push the boundaries.”
The relationship with Mercedes-Benz has been developed further with not only a fleet of S-Class cars being utilised for chauffeur drive but allowing the automotive expert to influence the cabin design. The collaboration inspired several design details in the private suite including the soft leather seating, high-tech control panels and the mood lighting.
Created in collaboration with Boeing, Rockwell Collins interior systems, Panasonic, Jacques Pierre Jean Design studio and Seattle-based design firm Teague, each fully enclosed private suite has a floor to ceiling sliding door, and combines smart technologies and intelligent design to deliver function, as well as luxury and comfort.
The soft leather seat reclines into a fully flat bed and can be placed in a “zero-gravity” position inspired by NASA technology, giving a feeling of relaxation and weightlessness. The roomy suites also have ample space for passengers to change in the privacy of their suites even after the bed has been made.
Privacy is maintained in the suite, a conscious design choice. However, passengers can easily communicate with the cabin crew, or request for room service using the video call function. The suites also come with a service window where customers can be served drinks and canapes undisturbed.
Emirates has retained and updated the most popular features of its private suites such as “the personal mini bar for drinks and snacks within each suite; and wireless controls to adjust seating positions, as well as to navigate Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system, ice.”
The suite features a 32-inch Full HD LCD TV screen, or project content from their own devices. The viewing experience is now enhanced with brand new Bowers & Wilkins Active Noise Cancelling E1 headphones created exclusively for Emirates. These headphones were designed by award-winning audio brand Bowers & Wilkins to ensure the sound was optimised for the First Class cabin environment.
Each suite is fitted with an inspiration kit which features a luxury Byredo skincare collection found only on Emirates, Hydra Active moisturising pyjamas, and Bulgari amenity kits. Taking inspiration from sleeper train cabins, the airline has also utilised every space within the suite to provide ample storage, including over head storage units.
The design and shape of Emirates’ Business Class seat onboard the new 777 was also inspired by the interior of a modern sports car, with a diamond stitch pattern on the full leather cover, ergonomically designed headrest, and a sleek overall look and feel.
The seat has a pitch of 72 inches and moves into a fully-flat sleeping position. It also has touchscreen controls for the seat and inflight entertainment system, several personal lighting options, privacy panels between seats, a shoe stowage area, footrest, and a personal mini-bar.
Even economy has received a facelift, now featuring a colour palette of soft greys and blues. The ergonomically designed seats come with full leather headrests that have flexible side panels and can also be adjusted vertically for optimum support.