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November 13, 2017

Emirates’ new luxury first-class offering is a suite in the sky

by John_A

Let’s face it, traveling in coach is never much fun. Being wedged into your seat as the one in front reclines into your lap is bad enough, but then you have to somehow find a comfy position so you can enjoy a little shut-eye. And of course, just as you start nodding off, the passenger behind usually discovers a fun game on their seat-back display that requires them to hit the screen a lot, sending the vibrations through the seat, through your skull, and into the center of your brain. The part that controls sleep, usually.

Of course, the answer is to have enough spare cash knocking around that you can afford a better seat, one with enough space around it that you can stretch out your arms without accidentally punching your neighbor in the head.

Emirates is going above and beyond what you might expect when it comes to accommodating passengers flying first class on its aircraft, this weekend unveiling what it describes as a “game-changing” private suite with design features “inspired by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.”

Shown off at the Dubai Air Show, the luxurious fully enclosed cabins are coming to its new fleet of Boeing 777 jets going into service in December, 2017. Each one offers up to 40 square feet of personal space, and is surely the closest thing you’ll get to a private-jet experience while traveling on an aircraft with hundreds of other people.

According to Emirates, the collaboration with Mercedes-Benz “inspired several design details in the private suite including the soft leather seating, high-tech control panels, and mood lighting.”

While the seat reclines into a fully flat bed using a wireless controller, intriguingly it can also be placed in what Emirates describes as a “zero-gravity” position that’s been “inspired by NASA technology, giving a feeling of relaxation and weightlessness.” As long as the airline’s “zero gravity” isn’t anything like flying into an air pocket, you’ll be just fine.

Everyone who forks out for one of these cabins is promised a window view, though this does beg the question, “Where’s the window if your suite is down the middle of the plane?” Well, in that case, you’ll have a virtual window that offers a real-time view of the passing world via external cameras.

You can request service via a video-call function, and enjoy exploring 2,500 channels of on-demand entertainment on a 32-inch HD TV screen — or you can stream content to your own device. The entertainment experience includes audio delivered by Bowers & Wilkins noise canceling E1 headphones created exclusively for Emirates.

Commenting on the new design, Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, noted that the carrier has gradually worked to improve the design of its private suite over the years, a concept it pioneered in 2003.

“We are very excited about our new fully enclosed suite, which is a real game-changer in terms of privacy, comfort, and thoughtful luxury,” Clark said.

No, the suites don’t come cheap. Beginning on routes between Dubai and the Swiss city of Geneva in the coming weeks, a first-class return flight in mid-January will costs around $7,700, about 1o times that of an economy seat.

If luxury plane seats are currently out of reach for you, then check out DT’s tips for easing yourself through a challenging long-haul flight back in coach.

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