Emirates was founded in the mid-1980’s as a result of Gulf Air cutting back its services to Dubai.  It is a subsidiary of the Emirates Group which is wholly-owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai.  It is the largest airline in the Middle East operating more than 3,300 flights per week to more than 148 cities in 78 countries across six continents.  The company also operates the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight from Dubai to Auckland.  Emirates has built a strong reputation as a leader in the aviation industry, particularly in terms of service excellence and was awarded Skytrax World’s Best Airline in 2016.


By its own choice, Emirates is not a member of the three global airline alliances as it prefers to maintain independence at this time.  However it has codeshare agreements with nineteen other major airlines including Air Malta, Air Mauritius, Flybe, Japan Airlines, Jetstar, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, S7 Airlines and South African Airlines.


Emirates operates a fleet of mainly wide-body aircraft, mostly Airbus A380’s, A330’s and Boeing 777’s.  The fleet is a young one in keeping with Emirates’ policy, with an average age of six years.

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER

Cabin Classes

There are currently three types of First Class seating – the full Suite with doors, flat bed ‘Skycruiser’ seat without doors and Sleeper seats.  The full suite comes with closing doors to ensure privacy, a mini-bar, ambient lighting, a coat rack and storage. They also feature 23-inch LCD screen.  Dining is a la carte and will be served whenever you wish.  The seat converts into a 2m-long fully flat bed. Private suites are available on all A380, A340-500, Boeing 777-200 and 3-class Boeing 777-300 aircraft.  On the A380, First Class Suites are located on the entire upper deck.  Passengers have access to two shower-equipped lavatories fitted with Bvlgari amenities, and the First/Business Class bar area and lounge.  ‘Skycruiser’ seating is available on the Boeing 777’s.  It features seats that extend to flat beds, along with a 19-inch screen.  ‘Sleeper’ seating is on the 3-class A330 and A340 aircraft.  The seats feature a pitch of 72 inches (A330) and 86 inches (A340) and lie nearly flat.

Emirates A380 Onboard Lounge.

Emirates A380 Onboard Lounge.

Business Class on the Boeing 777’s feature seats with a 60 inch pitch that recline to 2m long angled lie-flat beds.  Features include massage function, privacy partition, winged headrest with six-way movement, two individual reading lights and an overhead light per seat, in-seat power supply, USB Ports and an RCA socket for laptop connection, plus a 17 inch wide tv screen.  The A340-500s have deeply reclining sleeper seats which have a 60 inch pitch and are 18 inches wide. The Boeing 777-200s have 20 inch seats with a 58 inch pitch. On Airbus A330 aircraft and A340-300’s, the seats are standard business class recliners and feature a leg rest and seat back screens.  These business class seats are smaller than other business class seats in the Emirates fleet as these aircraft are used predominantly on short-medium haul routes.  On the Airbus A380 aircraft, the seats recline to form a fully flat bed and are equipped with personal mini-bars. Due to the unique staggered layout, half of the business class seats nine inches shorter than the others, at only 70 inches long.  Passengers also have access to an on-board bar at the rear of the aircraft.

Economy Class has a 31 inch seat pitch on Airbus aircraft and 34 inches on Boeing aircraft and standard seat width (except on the Boeing 777 fleet). Emirates is one of the few airlines that have ten seats per row on its Boeing 777 fleet. The seat features adjustable headrests, a personal entertainment screen and in-seat laptop power-outlets on newer aircraft and laptop recharging facilities in galleys in older aircraft. There is additional recline on A380 Economy Class seats.

Emirates Economy Class

Emirates Economy Class

Airport Lounge

First and Business Class passengers, and Skywards Gold members have access to 33 Emirates lounges in 32 cities.  Skywards Silver members can use the lounges at Dubai Airport only.  At airports in which Emirates does not operate a departure lounge, a third-party departure lounge is usually provided for First and Business class passengers and Skywards Platinum and Gold members.

Frequent Flyer Program

Emirates frequent flyer program is called Skywards.  It is a four-tier program moving from entry-level Blue to Silver, Gold and Platinum.  In October 2013, Emirates launched a frequent-flyer partnership with Virgin America meaning members of both airlines’ frequent-flyer programs will earn and redeem Emirates Skywards miles.  Emirates has similar frequent-flyer partnerships with: Alaska Airlines, easyJet, Japan Airlines, Jet Airways, JetBlue, Jetstar, Korean Air, Qantas, S7 Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, Virgin America.

Fact Sheet:

Hub City: Dubai
Frequent Flyer Program: Skywards
Airport Lounge: Emirates Lounge
Fleet Size: 251
Destinations: 136