Emirates dazzled the world of aviation when it revealed it’s latest Game Changer First Class back in 2017. Many were wondering if this was now the World’s Best First Class? I was hoping to fly this in 2018 or 2019 but that proved somewhat difficult. The issue? Emirates was only rolling these new Suites out with specific new 777 deliveries. To date, Emirates have just 9 aircraft with these new cabins plying a handful of routes from Dubai to London, Brussels and occasionally Zurich/Geneva/Washington & Tokyo etc. I was hoping to book the product on a reasonably longer route, but the only thing that worked out with logistics was Dubai to Brussels, which consistently had the most award availability also. Once booked I was absolutely thrilled with the anticipation of it all. So without any further ado, let’s see how Emirates Game Changer First checks out in real life..
Route: Dubai – Brussels
Flight No: EK183
Departure Time: 08:30
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seats/Suite: 2F & 2A First Class
Due to the early morning flight, I stayed the the Sofitel near the airport, which was delightful. I got to the airport at 6.30am. There are separate check-in zones for First & Business class passengers in Dubai Terminal 3.
Check in areas were almost deserted and I got my boarding pass within a minute. Nothing quite like the excitement of holding an Emirates First Class boarding ticket!
I had just about 1 hour to have a light pre-breakfast in the First Class lounge
Normally when you fly Emirates First from Dubai and also select airports around the world, you can board the aircraft directly from the lounge. In this case, my flight was departing from B gates and there was still a fair bit of walk from the lounge to my gate.
You have to go through many of these speedy escalators, but at least they were dressed by the very tropical feel of the palm trees!
Boarding was already in full swing by the time I reached the gate at 8:05, so could not comment on how well this was organised on this occasion.
Onboard Emirates Game Changer First
I was welcomed by a very smart looking gentleman at the door, who was looking after the First cabin today. I didn’t take many pictures at this point unfortunately.
As you enter the aircraft from door 1, you are immediately greeted by a beautiful ambience and glow with UAE’s national Ghaf tree emblazed on the centre Suites. Each Suite almost looks like they are floating pods within the plane.
There was only 3 First Class passengers today, with 3 crew looking after us!
The First Class cabin consists of just 6 Suites, in a 1-1-1 configuration, meaning each Suite had a considerable amount of width. I originally booked myself into Suite 2F, to try out the novel Virtual windows feature, which essentially project what would actually be your view if you were on the window Suite on the right hand side. I also knew in advance the middle Suites were also more spacious in terms of full height afforded by the lack of cabin curvature.
No sooner had a managed to actually sit down in 2F, one of the 2 lady also looking after First Class came to welcome me with a choice of refreshment and show me around the product. She also mentioned 2A was free if I wanted to move there instead. I quickly noticed how pixelated the Virtual Windows looked and agreed I will sit in 2A for take-off and maybe for sleeping while I eat and lounge out in 2F.
First some more pictures to feast your eyes before we dive into some of the details of this incredible cabin
The level of control you have for your seat is almost unparalleled, that it can take quite a while to figure out your most comfortable setting.
I did not take any pictures of the actual leather seat and personal in-suite wardrobe, so here is a short video clip..
Now where to start with the features of this First Class Suite?! Each Suites comes with:
- A plush Mercedes Benz inspired & NASA designed leather armchair
- The seat also converts in a spacious flat bed with a Zero Gravity feature
- Armrest storage to put smaller items like reader glasses etc
- A 32″ crisp High Definition IFE Screen
- A 13″ controller pad to control the inflight entertainment
- “Room Service” feature within the control pad. So should you wish, you can be in bed with doors closed and order whatever you want which will then be delivered to your Suite via a hatch at the door!
- Double mini-bar cabinet (note they are not chilled)
- Pop up personal vanity unit with large mirror & amenities.
- A full size front cabinet able to comfortably fit a large carry on bag.
- A full height wardrobe with hangers to hang your coat. As well as storage space for additional bedding provided.
- Each Suite comes with full closing doors from floor to ceiling
- Curtains on top of full electric window blinds
- A temperature and lighting control panel to adjust everything to your preferred mood hearts content (you can easily spend hours playing with the colour schemes available!)
I don’t know about you but this is certainly an impressive feat that would certainly warrant contention for World’s Best First Class!
For reference, here is what Suite 2A looks like…
Being in First Class means service starts on the ground before you even depart. In the 20 minutes or so of being seated in the cabin before departure, I had a fresh orange juice, glass of champagne followed by Arabic coffee and dates
We departed on time. After about 15 minutes of taxing we were airborne. There was some incredible views of the Dubai skyline as we climbed..
Emirates First Class Amenities
In addition to the in-suite amenities here
I was handed the infamous Hydra active PJs set, which I only took pictures of when later went to change into them
and the amazing pair of super fluffy slippers.
I already had 2 sets of those at home that were still almost brand new.
Emirates also provided an additional leather amenity bag with further toiletries and fragrances. They do not proactively offer them in morning flights, but you can request one if in case they have them onboard. I didn’t however need another, as they had everything else I need in the restrooms.
Emirates Game Changer First Class Service
Being a morning flight, the meal services on this flight focused around breakfast and lunch. Emirates always has an impressively extensive food and beverage menu which you can also find online here
These menus change from month to month.
Airline breakfast (yes even in First Class) can be rather underwhelming so I did have a quick light breakfast in the lounge before boarding. For purposes of this review though, I did order the breakfast, and this is what it was it..
For some reason Emirates only do cold plates for breakfast in these shorter flights. The granola and fruit/yogurt were perfectly adequate. I tried little bits just for being able to comment on it. But lets get real, it wasn’t great or anywhere near what you might expect a top First Class offering might be like.
I don’t understand how difficult it would be to offer fresh eggs here but I did not ask why. Anyway I was prepared for this so the main meal of this flight was always going to be lunch.
After 2 and a half hours of lounging and a fair amount of Dom Perignon, I was ready for the main show.
Once I let the crew know I was ready for lunch, they sprang into action.
First, another round of drinks and warm nuts…
This was followed by the canapes..
The canapes were just the perfect way to get your taste buds going. Then it was time for more champagne & caviar!
For context, the dining table slides out from beneath the console in front of you. It is probably bigger than the space you will have in most restaurants on the ground, especially if you were dining with other people.
I preferred the way Emirates used to plate the caviar, this seemed a tad bit all over the place, especially compared the the previous presentation. Still that did not take anything away from the meal itself. As far as Caviar services go, this is up there. The egg whites, creme fraiche and garnishes were all super fresh. The cocktail Blinis looked somewhat odd, but perfectly soft and tasty. In addition there was toast served in a separate small basket covered so it stayed warn and crispy.
Next up, I decided to try a starter, for which I chose one with yet more caviar, Salmon with Sevrugar caviar..
This was served in a bed of sliced courgette and was just delightful, for a starter, there was at least 60 grams of salmon there!
Then it was time for the main. With a choice of 5 different mains, from veal, roast chicken and pumpkin ravioli. However, I was unable to make up my mind between the poached lobster and a lamb kuzi with hashwa when the order was taken, so the crew decided to prepared both for me!
I decided to go for lobster when they were ready to serve though..
This was great, however somewhat on the bland side. By the time, I was half way through the dish, I was literally stuffed. I wanted to try to lamb as well, but felt bad to waste an entire meal just for a couple of bites.
After about 20 minutes, I did opt for a dessert however, a lemon and almost cake. I forgot to take any pictures of it, but it was just delicious!
To finish off the meal I had some tea and pralines also.
Emirates Game Changer Restrooms
On this version of the 777 there are 2 First Class bathrooms for the maximum of 6 passengers, which is a great ratio!
They were both kitted out with fresh flowers, and some essential amenities including dental kits etc. If you are expecting the A380 style shower spa however you will be disappointed, there simply isn’t the space!
Throughout the whole flight, I found both the restrooms empty whenever I needed it.
Emirates Game Changer First Bed
After my lunch, I had a few hours to rest so asked the crew to make up the bed in Suite 2A while I went to change into the Pjs…
As you can see, the transformed bed is a very comfortable size and length enhanced by mattress padding and high quality bedding.
Here is a view when the doors are fully closed. In flat mode the bed moves slightly to the window side, leaving a good amount of room on the side to enter and exist the Suite or move around it.
Then there is the lighting controls which is impossible not to play around with!
The panel provides you with a whole colour chart where you can choose a spectrum to suit your mood. Alongside this, there are a few default levels of lighting to make adjustments easier, such as “dining” or “lounging” mode.
I spent about 2 and half hours in bed, and probably only about 40 minutes trying to actually nap. The bed did feel supremely comfortable.
The crew proactively checked in on me during this time to check if I wanted anything like water etc.
30 minutes to landing, I got up and moved back to 2F.
The marker of a good time is always when everything is just over in a blur. I knew from the outset this flight would not be long enough for me to really appreciate all the elements of this products in full. I could have flown them on the Tokyo route which would have been almost 12 hours long. However, there were no signs of Japan opening to general tourism anytime soon at the point of booking. And even right now, they still to fully open up.
Breakfast aside, the service in general was excellent and I really could not have asked or wanted anything more from the crew. Having 3 crew looking after 3 First Class passengers certainly helps should you require that extra bit of attention. In all honesty even if this was a full cabin of 6, I don’t think the service would have been any different for me, given I spend a few hours just chilling out with the doors shut. The crew even went out of their way to ask if I wanted to order anything before landing, but I was pretty full already! Emirates soft product from the ground to air is of a league where only select few airlines belong. Given their focus on Arabic cousine however, this may not please every taste palette on every occasion.
Moving onto this specific hard product, my very first impression was WOW and that is the very impression I stepped out the aircraft with. The Suites have been designed with attention to the highest level of detail, anticipating your needs in various stages of your journey. The deco is definitely more to my taste than the original First Class Suites and it all just flows beautifully. It’s your perfect private cocoon in the air. I think this is most definitely my favourite First Class product in the skies today. Perhaps Singapore Suites does top and in raw square footage and consistency of impeccable service, and it would be my close number 2. Some people might prefer having a separate chair to the bed. Overall, I prefer the Gamechanger First, because I think Emirates has nailed the 2 in 1.
Verdict in numbers
- Ground Service
- Seat & Cabin Features
- Food & Beverage
- Staff Service
- Cabin Cleanliness