The largest operator of long-haul flights, Dubai based airline Emirates, is looking to improve our experience when it comes to first-class travel. The company has poured millions into an upgrade of their ultra-luxury area on their Boeing 777 aircraft. This is in total contrast to many other operators who are looking to move away from the larger berths, making more space available in economy.

Emirates president Tim Clark unveiled the new design on the opening day of the Dubai Air Show. The first-class areas have hardwood floors, multiple mood-lighting options and the benefits of a window even in the centre-cabin suite, which is created by beaming the outside view through a set of mock windows. The suites, created in collaboration with Mercedes Benz, were built by Rockwell Collins Inc., and Clark said they cost “many millions” to create.

“There is a view that many carriers are pursuing a response to the demise of first class by coming up with some better business class product,” Clark said. “I have to tell you that demand for first class on Emirates remains very strong.” The new aircraft will start servicing the Brussels and Geneva routes initially with Chicago and Perth expected to follow shortly after.

The common trait with modern aviation is to get as many people as possible onto airlines with some operators reporting that the majority of business and first-class seats are often paid for with air miles. Clark is keen to stress that he believes that ultra-luxury still has a future and says that all his aircraft are full in the most expensive seats, be it on routes from Paris or London or China.

To further enhance Emirates relationship with Mercedes, the airline will use the German car manufacturer’s cars for all premium chauffeur services. Motor journalist, Jeremy Clarkson, most famous for his role on the BBC show Top Gear, has also been asked to appear in some adverts for the company.

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