Emirates continues US expansion

Emirates, the world’s largest international air carrier, has added a second nonstop flight between Seattle and Dubai and will commence daily service between Orlando, Fla., and Dubai in September.

Emirates first flight arrives in Seattle
Photo by Carl Dombek
The second nonstop flight between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Dubai (DXB) began July 7 using a Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777-200LR (long range) aircraft.

The new flights depart SEA at 9:40 a.m., arriving at DXB at 10:55 a.m. the following day. New service complements service that began March 1, 2012. Flights on that previously existing schedule leave SEA at 5:40 p.m., arriving at DXB at 6:55 p.m., the following day. The late afternoon departures are aboard Boeing 777-300ER (extended range) aircraft.

The carrier also plans to begin daily service from Orlando, Florida (MCO) on Sept. 1.

Flights will depart MCO at 2:20 p.m., and arrive at DXB at 12:30 p.m., the following day, representing a flight time of 14 hours, 10 minutes.  Return flights will depart DXB at 3:50 a.m., and arrive at MCO at 11:40 a.m., for a flying time of 15 hours, 50 minutes. As with the new Seattle service, passengers on the Orlando route will fly on a Boeing 777-200LR.

Enclosed First Class Suite
Photo courtesy Emirates
According to SeatGuru.com, the 777-200LR has eight open First Class suites, 42 flat-bed Business Class and 216 standard Economy seats. First Class suites have seats that are 23 inches wide with 86 inches of pitch while Business Class seats are 20.5 inches wide with 60 inches of pitch.

Economy class seats are 17 inches wide, among the narrowest in the industry, but offer pitch of between 33 and 34 inches.

I recently flew through Frankfurt on Lufthansa aboard an Airbus A340-300. Economy seats were 17.5 inches wide with pitch of 32 inches. At a bit over six feet tall and a bit under 200 pounds, I found the arrangement fairly pleasant for the 10+ hour flight. Reducing seat width by a half inch might be problematic for some passengers, but the additional inch or two of legroom should be most welcome.

Emirates has three different configurations for its 777-300ERs. The first two are three-class aircraft with eight closed suites in First Class, 42 angle-flat seats in Business Class, and either 304 or 310 standard seats in Economy. First Class seats in both configurations are 20.5 inches wide with 69 inches of pitch while Business Class seats are the same width with 60 inches of pitch. Economy seats are 17 inches wide with 32 inches of pitch in three-class configurations.

The third configuration offers only Business Class and Economy. On those aircraft, the 42 flat-bed seat offer the same width and pitch as the other configurations but the 385 economy seats, which are also 17 inches wide, offer between 33 and 34 inches of pitch.

Emirates in-flight entertainment system, dubbed ice, offers passengers up to 1,800 channels of multilingual entertainment including the latest movies, television programs and podcasts, international music collections including the ability for passengers to build their own playlistsIce has received several accolades including being named The World’s Best Inflight Entertainment system for the 10th year in a row by SKYTRAX, the world’s largest airline passenger satisfaction survey.

The airline is one of three Middle East airlines that have come under fire from the heads of U.S. airlines, who allege that the subsidies or assistance provided by those countries' governments gives those airlines an unfair advantage over U.S. carriers. As a result, U.S. airlines have sought to have limits placed on the Middle East carriers' expansion into the U.S. Read more about their concerns and my take on the issue here.

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