First Class Showdown: Emirates 777 Vs. Japan Airlines A350

18

ads from our sponsor


I like to keep lists of what I consider to be the world’s best airline experiences, including the best first class products. Currently the top spot on that list is the Emirates “Game Changer” 777 first class.

However, I just flew the new Japan Airlines A350 first class, and it was absolutely amazing. I’d consider it to definitely be one of the top two first class products in the world (though Air France is introducing a new first class soon, and once introduced, I think that may very well be a contender for the top spot as well).

What I’m now trying to decide is whether Emirates’ 777 first class or Japan Airlines’ A350 first class deserves to be in the top spot. The thing is, the two first class experiences are both exceptional, but in totally different ways.

In this post I figured I’d share what I consider to be the major advantages of each of these products, and then I’m curious to hear how you guys feel.

What I love about Emirates 777 first class

Emirates’ 777 first class is a phenomenal experience, and really elevated international first class when it was introduced in late 2017 (too bad over six years later, it’s still only available on nine planes). The first class cabin has just six seats in two rows, in a 1-1-1 configuration.

Let me share what I consider to be the major advantages of the Emirates first class experience, in terms of both hard and soft product:

  • Emirates first class suites are fully enclosed, with floor-to-ceiling walls, while Japan Airlines’ first class has walls that are “just” 62″ high; there’s something nice about having full privacy, as you won’t at all be impacted by whether other people in the cabin have their lights on, are watching TV, etc.
  • Emirates’ ICE entertainment system has the biggest selection of movies and TV shows in the sky, so you’ll never get bored, while Japan Airlines’ first class entertainment system on the A350 isn’t great (at least for those who don’t speak Japanese)
  • Emirates first class suites feature so many gimmicks and cool features, ranging from the virtual windows in the center seats, to individual suite mood lighting choices, to being able to order room service by video
  • Emirates first class has individual air nozzles, and even individual temperature controls, which is great in terms of customizing the experience
  • Emirates has some great signature service touches, from unlimited caviar, to free flowing Dom Perignon, to a huge menu with dine on demand

Emirates’ 777 first class is such a fun experience, and I adore this product. Admittedly Emirates’ A380 first class is great as well — while the suites aren’t as spacious, it’s nice to have access to the first class shower spa, as well as the business class lounge. So some may even prefer the A380 to the 777.

Emirates 777 first class cabin
Emirates 777 first class seat
Emirates 777 first class entertainment
Emirates 777 first class bed
Emirates 777 first class temperature controls
Emirates 777 first class food

What I love about Japan Airlines A350 first class

Japan Airlines’ A350 first class blew me away, and offers a seat unlike any other in first class. Much like on Emirates, the cabin has six seats in two rows, in a 1-1-1 configuration.

Let me share what I consider to be the major advantages of the Japan Airlines first class experience, in terms of both hard and soft product:

  • The Japan Airlines first class seat is way bigger than the Emirates first class seat, and the amount of usable space that it provides for relaxing is unrivaled
  • Not only is the Japan Airlines first class seat bigger, but the bed is also much larger and more comfortable, and you even have your choice of a firm or soft mattress pad
  • The Japan Airlines first class experience can be enjoyed with someone else, thanks to a huge ottoman, so you can actually spend time together during the flight; one of the biggest downsides of Emirates first class is that there’s no way to enjoy the flight with someone else
  • Japan Airlines has consistently great service, as you’d expect on a Japanese carrier; service on Emirates is more inconsistent, with some fantastic crews, and some less-good crews
  • The A350 is so much more pleasant of a plane to fly than the 777, in terms of a quieter and more modern cabin, better pressurization, and an awesome tail camera
  • While Emirates has more bells and whistles in its product, Japan Airlines arguably has better tech, with a massive 43″ personal entertainment, seven different charging options, bluetooth audio, and even a built-in headrest stereo
  • While both airlines have free Wi-Fi for first class passengers, Japan Airlines’ Panasonic Wi-Fi is faster than Emirates’ OnAir Wi-Fi
  • There are some real upsides to Japan Airlines catering, like exceptional western and Japanese meals, and $1,200 per bottle Salon champagne on flights from Japan; however, the dining options aren’t as flexible and extensive as on Emirates, there’s not consistently caviar, and the airline loads a single bottle of Salon (with a backup option that’s also good, though)
Japan Airlines A350 first class cabin
Japan Airlines A350 first class seat
Japan Airlines A350 first class entertainment
Japan Airlines A350 first class bed
Japan Airlines A350 first class seat tech
Japan Airlines A350 first class food

Bottom line

For years, I’ve considered Emirates to have the world’s best first class, on its “Game Changer” 777s. However, Japan Airlines’ new A350 first class gives this product quite some competition. There are pros and cons to both experiences, and I think which product is best really depends on what you value.

Perhaps the bigger issue is just how tough it is to actually fly either of these products. Over six years after it was introduced, Emirates has its new first class on fewer than 4% of aircraft. Meanwhile Japan Airlines so far only offers its new first class on two aircraft, though the airline is rapidly expanding its fleet.

I’ll publish my updated first class rankings shortly, and I know which way I’m leaning, but I haven’t made up my mind, as I’m still digesting my Japan Airlines experience. So I’m curious…

Do you think Emirates’ 777 first class or Japan Airlines’ A350 first class is a better product?



Source link

ads from our sponsor

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More