Emirates has introduced a new lie-flat style seating in business class. The Dubai-based carrier has fitted out its latest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with the seating, and says it will have a further six planes with the new offering in the skies by the end of this year.
Regular business travellers will know that there is a significant difference between the truly lie-flat business class products (offered by the likes of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic) and lie-flat style seating (ie: a flat bed positioned at an angle to the ground) on board many other airlines.This Emirates product falls into the latter category, and is configured in a 2-3-2 formation, with a seat width of 51cm and length of 198cm.
The seat includes a generous 48cm TV screen, similar to that currently offered in first class, a privacy divider and interestingly a ten-zone in-seat massage function.
All of Emirates' new long-range Boeing 777 aircraft on order will be fitted with the new lie-flat seating in business class, and the airline will also retrofit its current fleet of 12 777-300 aircraft by early 2008.
Says Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airlines: "The new business class seats we are introducing on our Boeing fleet, together with our flat-bed "SkyCruiser" privacy seats in First Class, will strengthen Emirates' appeal to premium travellers seeking that extra luxury and comfort, particularly on long-haul flights."
The seat has been manufactured by US-based company B/E Aerospace, designers of Japan Airline's business class seating, and manufacturers of the forthcoming next-generation British Airways lie-flat product. B/E Aerospace has not released official details of the new seating, but Dede Smyth, director of corporate marketing at the manufacturer says that the company is "very excited by the Emirates programme", and adds that the firm's premium class seating products are "custom and proprietary for each customer".
Emirates recently announced seating details for its on-order fleet of Airbus A380s (see online news May 25), and continues to expand rapidly, receiving delivery of on average one new wide-bodied aircraft every month.
Report by Mark Caswell