The Definitive Guide to Emirates’ Direct Routes From The U.S. [Plane Types & Seat Options]

Emirates First Class A380 - Seat 2E Enjoying A Movie

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Ah, Emirates! What a glorious airline. If you want an airline with tons of bling and showiness, look no further than Emirates.

At UpgradedPoints, we’ve been lucky enough to fly Emirates multiple times, and it has continued to wow us no matter what — but it’s especially awesome in First Class!

Emirates is probably the airline that pops into most people’s heads when people say the words “first class.” This is definitely a deserved reputation, as Emirates is and will continue to be one of the most dominant airlines in the world.

Most people don’t know that Emirates flies to loads of U.S. airports, and they offer different seat types depending on what route you’re flying.

Let’s get an analysis of the Emirates U.S. routes and their different aircraft.

Emirates Seat Options by Aircraft Type

Emirates uses 4 different planes on flights to/from the U.S. These are:

  • A380 (3-class)
  • 777-300ER (3-class)
  • 777-200LR (2-class)
  • 777-200LR (3-class)*

With the sole exception of Fort Lauderdale, Emirates’ route network and map are pretty straightforward with predictable aircraft that fly consistently to that destination.

Check out this chart that summarizes which flight numbers correspond to the routes, along with matching aircraft, classes of service, and frequency!

Emirates RouteFlight No.AircraftCabin ClassesFrequency
New  York City (JFK) – Milan (MXP) – Dubai (DXB)EK 206/102A380First, Business, EconomyDaily
New York City (JFK) – Dubai (DXB)EK 202/204A380First, Business, Economy2x Daily
Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB)EK 232A380First, Business, EconomyDaily
Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)EK 216A380First, Business, EconomyDaily
Houston (IAH) – Dubai (DXB)EK 212A380First, Business, EconomyDaily
San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB)EK 226A380First, Business, EconomyDaily
Seattle (SEA) – Dubai (DXB)EK 230777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Dubai (DXB)EK 222777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily
Chicago (ORD) – Dubai (DXB)EK 236777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Dubai (DXB)EK 214777-200LRFirst*, Business, Economy4x Weekly
Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) – Dubai (DXB)EK 210777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily
Newark (EWR) – Dubai (DXB)EK 224777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily
Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB)EK 238A380First, Business, EconomyDaily
Orlando (MCO) – Dubai (DXB)EK 220777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily

*Currently, the only 3-class 777-200LR flights are between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Dubai (DXB) on very specific days that are subject to change. If you’re departing from Fort Lauderdale, first class is available on Sundays. If returning to Fort Lauderdale, first class is available on Sundays and Thursdays.

Best Points to Earn to Fly Emirates

Using Japan Airlines miles is a well-known sweet spot to booking Emirates. Unfortunately, you will need to pay around $1,700 in fuel surcharges one-way for first and business class flights.

Still, it may be worth it to save your points and miles.

If you want to pay as little out of pocket as possible, using Alaska Airlines miles is your only option. You will only pay $19 one-way out of pocket, but the cost of awards will be dramatically higher.

For example, a one-way flight in first class costs a whopping 150,000 Alaska miles! However, f you have the ability to earn lots of Alaska miles or Marriott points, it may be worth it.

Other methods include using Korean Air miles or Malaysia Airlines Enrich miles.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of Emirates’ flight options!

Emirates First Class Options

Emirates First Class A380 - First Class Cabin
The oh-so-glamorous Emirates A380 First Class Suites is the best offering to/from the U.S! Image Credit: Alex Miller

Emirates offers first class on all their routes and all their flights, with one exception.

On the EK 214/213 flight services between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Dubai (DXB), you can only fly first class with these conditions:

  1. Departing from Fort Lauderdale to Dubai on Sundays
  2. Departing from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale on Sundays and Thursdays

That being said, let’s get into the different first class products. There are 2 different seats used by Emirates:

  1. A380/777-200LR first class
  2. 777-300ER first class

The 777-300ER First Class Suites are much smaller than the A380/777-200LR First Class Suites. As a result, you definitely want to fly on option #1 in first class when you have a choice.

What’s the difference, you might ask?

The 777-300ER suites are 20.5″ wide and 69″ in pitch, while the A380/777-200LR suites are 23″ wide and 86″ in pitch (or 78″ long in bed mode). This is a huge real estate difference, which should solidify your choice.

Let’s look at the A380 First Class Suites seat map:

Emirates A380 First Class Seat Map
Emirates A380 first class seat map. Image Credit: Seat Guru

As seen above, you will be sitting in one of 14 enclosed suites with sliding doors, an epic minibar, and some very blingy decor. These 14 suites are spread out across 4 rows with a 1-2-1 configuration.

General consensus is that you want to be at least 1 row away from all galleys, so the best seats would be in rows 2 and 3, with solo travelers suggested to take window seats and couples to take middle seats.

You’ll be able to find A380 First Class Suites on all of these routes:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Houston (IAH) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB)
  • New York City (JFK) – Milan (MXP) – Dubai (DXB)
  • New York City (JFK) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB)

Let’s pivot over to the 777-200LR First Class Suites. Remember that Emirates has been in the process of retrofitting their 777-200LR cabins, so be aware that the following information might change at any time without notice.

The 777-200LR’s either have 2 classes (business and economy) or 3 classes (first, business, and economy). The 3-class planes are the only ones with first class suites, so if you want to fly from Fort Lauderdale in first class, fly out of there on Sundays and return on Sundays or Thursdays. 

Despite being our second choice, the 777-200LR actually has a couple of advantages over the A380! To demonstrate this, let’s look at the seat map:

Emirates 777-200LR 3 Class First Class Seat Map
Emirates 777-200LR 3-class first class seat map. Image Credit: Seat Guru

There are only 2 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration for only 8 seats total. This seating arrangement and cabin size is actually more intimate than the A380, which is great!

Also, if you’re flying out of Florida, you have a route option that doesn’t force you to buy a positioning flight to somewhere like New York City (JFK) or Los Angeles (LAX).

Bottom Line: If you want the full first class suites experience, we recommend flying on the A380, since there’s simply nothing quite like having the best seat on a huge aircraft like that. If you’re flying out of Fort Lauderdale or you desire a more private cabin, give the 777-200LR a thought! Just pay attention to departure dates, because first class isn’t operated every day. 

Emirates Business Class Options

Try Emirates business class on the A380! Image Credit: Emirates

Let’s pivot our discussion over to Emirates business class. Although Emirates is known for their astonishing first class suites, a lot of their business class seats are very unimpressive.

We’ll start out discussing the elements of each seat on each plane, and then I’ll conclude this section by ranking the seats in decreasing order of preference. Here’s a table with a summary of the business class seat types:

AircraftSeat WidthSeat PitchBed LengthConfigurationNumber of Seats
A38018.5″48″70″-79″1-2-176
777-200LR (2-class)22.5″60″72″2-2-238
777-300ER (3-class)20.5″60″72″2-3-242
777-200LR (3-class)20.5″60″72″2-3-242

Let’s begin with the A380 business class seat. At first glance, you might think the A380 seat falls short of the hype due to its smaller width and pitch. But once you see the seat itself, you’ll notice a huge surface right next to your seat that you can use as an armrest or table.

The A380 business class seat is our favorite for 1 reason: the 1-2-1 configuration. There’s just a lot more privacy, and you get direct aisle access with every seat. Yes, there are more seats on the A380 — but it’s also a monster of an aircraft.

Here’s a look at the seat map on the A380 in business class:

Emirates A380 Business Class Seat Map
Emirates A380 business class seat map. Image Credit: Seat Guru

Although SeatGuru says that the middle seats in row 23 are great seats, we actually think that the best business class seats on the A380 are in row 25.

They’re as far from the lavatories as possible and 2 rows from the galley, which is a good compromise. Also, side seats in row 25 are window seats, not aisle seats, which is much more private.

If you’re deciding between seats and row 25 is taken, remember that odd-numbered side row seats are window seats, while even-numbered side row seats are aisle seats.

You generally want to stay far away from the lavatories, which in this case means near the back of the cabin.

Find these A380 business class seats on these 6 routes:

  1. Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)
  2. San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB)
  3. New York City (JFK) – Milan (MXP) – Dubai (DXB)
  4. New York City (JFK) – Dubai (DXB)
  5. Houston (IAH) – Dubai (DXB)
  6. Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB)
  7. Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB)

Your experience on the A380 is also much better because you get to enjoy the onboard bar, which is actually staffed instead of self-serve!

Now let’s look at our runner-up for Emirates business class seats: the 2-cabin 777-200LR.

Remember that the 777-200LR is only operated on flights to/from Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

These business class seats are arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration, which provides direct-aisle access to most seats (with the exception of A and K).

They are the widest of all Emirates business class seats, and have a couple of advantages over our top pick of the A380:

  • Significantly wider (22.5″ vs. 18.5″)
  • Newer seats (retrofitted recently)
  • More intimate cabin (38 seats vs. 76 seats)

Here’s the seat map. (Note that we used ExpertFlyer to show the seat map in this case, as SeatGuru has not updated the Emirates 777-200LR seat maps to reflect a 2-cabin configuration.)

Emirates 777-200LR 2 Class Business Class Seat Map
Emirates 777-200LR 2-class business class seat map. Image Credit: ExpertFlyer

The 2-class 777-200LR is offered on most flights to/from Fort Lauderdale (FLL), except for EK 214 on Sundays and EK 213 on Sundays and Thursdays.

It is absolutely essential to remember this, since the 3-class 777-200LR offers comparatively horrible business seats, which we’ll see below.

You generally want to select seats with the direct-aisle access, so opt for seats B, E, F, and J.

The best seats on this new 2-class 777-200LR are in row 7, as there is no foot traffic behind these seats due to the lavatories being in front.

As a reminder, you’ll find these seats on flights:

  • EK 214: Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Dubai (DXB) except for Sundays
  • EK 213: Dubai (DXB) – Fort Lauderdale (FLL) except for Sundays and Thursdays

The next seats we’ll look at are on the 777-300ER, which has the same exact seats as on the 777-200LR 3-class — the only difference is that the 777-300ER is flown to more places.

Because of its expanded route network, the 777-300ER wins over the 777-200LR 3-class. 

Here’s what the seat map on the 777-300ER looks like in business class:

Emirates 777-300ER Business Class Seat Map
Emirates 777-300ER business class seat map. Image Credit: Seat Guru

We believe row 6 offers the best seats due to the distance from the lavatory. Nobody will be walking near your seat, since the first class cabin is in front and the lavatory/galley is behind you.

The next best would be row 11 right in front of the economy cabin, which can get a little noisier (but will still have little to no foot traffic).

Find the 777-300ER on most of Emirates’ routes to America:

  1. Seattle (SEA) – Dubai (DXB)
  2. Newark (EWR) – Dubai (DXB)
  3. Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) – Dubai (DXB)
  4. Chicago (ORD) – Dubai (DXB)
  5. Orlando (MCO) – Dubai (DXB)
  6. Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Dubai (DXB)

The 3-class 777-200LR has an identical seating configuration.

Find these seats on this route:

  1. EK 214: Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Dubai (DXB) on Sundays
  2. EK 213: Dubai (DXB) – Fort Lauderdale (FLL) on Sundays and Thursdays

Bottom Line: In summary, fly the A380 for direct aisle access and the best overall experience. Fly the 777-200LR 2-class between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Dubai (DXB) for the second-best experience. If you don’t have a choice, fly the 777-300ER or the 777-200LR 3-class.

Emirates Premium Economy Options

Emirates doesn’t operate a premium economy cabin on any of their flights to/from America.

Emirates Economy Options

Emirates A380 Economy Class
Emirates A380 economy class. Image Credit: Dailymail.co.uk

As you’ll find out in this section, there are clear winners and losers when it comes to Emirates economy class. They have a great reputation for offering some cutting-edge ice entertainment, great service, and good food even in economy.

Let’s look at the seat map on the A380 first:

Emirates A380 Economy Class Seat Map
Emirates A380 economy class seat map. Image Credit: Seat Guru

Each economy seat on the A380 measures the largest at 18″ wide and 32″-34″ in pitch. These seats are arranged in a 3-4-3 configuration.

As you can see, there’s several great seats and several bad seats. The best seats in economy on the A380 are 81A and 81K, with the second best seats being 68A and 68K.

There are no seats in front of these, so you’ll have tons of room to stretch your legs out. Row 81 is superior to row 68 because it’s very far from the lavatories, minimizing foot traffic around you.

Find the best economy seats on the A380 on these routes:

  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Houston (IAH) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB)
  • New York City (JFK) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB)
  • New York City (JFK) – Milan (MXP) – Dubai (DXB)

Let’s move next to our runner-up, which is the 777-200LR. Although it is narrow at 17″ wide, the pitch of 33″-34″ is better than every other economy seat.

The 2-cabin seat map isn’t on SeatGuru, but ExpertFlyer shows it very clearly:

Emirates 777-200LR 2 Class Economy Class Seat Map
Emirates 777-200LR 2-class economy seat map. Image Credit: ExpertFlyer

If you can, take the rows 39-40 side seats, which only have 2 seats per row! This means that if you’re traveling with a companion, you’ll have much more privacy.

We recommend against seats 41A and 41B due to their proximity to lavatories.

Find these seats on the 777-200LR 2-class planes, which only operate as follows:

  • EK 213: Dubai (DXB) – Fort Lauderdale (FLL) except Sundays and Thursdays
  • EK 214: Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Dubai (DXB) except Sundays

The 777-200LR 3-class aircraft has a slightly different economy arrangement, but the principle should be the same: aim for the rows that only have 2 seats per side. In this case, shoot for rows 35-36A/B and 35-38J/K. 

You’ll find the 777-200LR 3-class flown when the 2-class version isn’t, which is on:

  • Sundays and Thursdays from Dubai (DXB) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Sundays from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Dubai (DXB)
Emirates 777-200LR 3 Class Economy Class Seat Map
Emirates 777-200LR 3-class economy class seat map. Image Credit: Seat Guru

Lastly, the “worst” economy seat is on the 777-300ER. The seat measures 17″ in width and 32″ in pitch, which is the smallest of all Emirates’ economy seats.

We’d suggest you avoid this, but we also understand that it might not be a choice — since the most routes flown by Emirates to the U.S. use the 777-300ER.

If you happen to find yourself on one of these flights, pick rows 46-48A/B or rows 46-50J/K as shown below: 

Emirates 777-300ER Economy Class Seat Map
Emirates 777-300ER economy class seat map. Image Credit: Seat Guru

Bottom Line: There’s a bit of sizing difference among economy seats in Emirates, but the winners are clear. The A380 has a few great seats which you should pick if you can. Second place goes to the 777-200LR due to increased pitch. Last place goes to the 777-300ER, which has the smallest seats. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, Emirates has some of the best first class products in the world. They have a range of business class products (some of which are terrible), and don’t yet utilize premium economy on their long-haul flights to America.

We also talked about the differences in economy class, and there’s definitely some winners and losers here.

In sum, we recommend picking the A380 for all cabins if your flexibility allows you to fly from an airport that uses this aircraft!


Featured Image: Courtesy of Upgraded Points


FAQ

What are the best ways to book Emirates first class?

We love using either Alaska Airlines miles or Japan Airlines miles.

You can fly first class without surcharges using 150,000 Alaska miles one-way, which is steep but will save you $1,700+ on fuel surcharges.

Japan Airlines miles cost less (depending on which airport you fly out of), but you’ll pay for all fuel surcharges.

Check out our in-depth guide if you want to know the best ways to book Emirates First Class!

What are the best ways to book Emirates business class?

Again, using Alaska miles or Japan Airlines will probably be the best decision.

Alaska costs 82,500 miles one-way, but you won’t pay any fuel surcharges.

Japan Airlines varies and might be less, but you will pay up to $1,700 in fuel surcharges each way.

See our detailed guide for more information on the best ways to book Emirates business class!

What are the best ways to book Emirates premium economy class?

Sadly, Emirates doesn’t use premium economy on their long-haul flights to or from America. This is actually going to change, but for now, there’s no way to fly premium economy on Emirates to/from the U.S.

What are the best ways to book Emirates economy class?

Again, Japan Airlines or Alaska Airlines might be best in this case.

We actually suggest using Alaska miles because you won’t pay surcharges.

With Japan Airlines, you’ll be paying surcharges, which are hundreds of dollars. It seems counter-intuitive to use points and still have to pay cash.

Alaska Airlines charges 42,500 miles each way for economy class flights between the U.S. and the Middle East.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for the post! I really appreciate your site’s incredible guides to all points and airlines – it’s very helpful.

    However, on this one, unless I read it wrong, it’s a rather bad omission to leave out their new first class suites on the 777-300ER. Since coming out with Geneva and Brussels routes, they’ve added Frankfurt, London, Vienna and Tokyo.

    • Stephen Au · January 28, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Ceer,

      Thanks for reading! We are paying very close attention to the new Emirates First Class Suites on their updated 777-300ER. Unfortunately, these products aren’t offered to routes to/from America. As soon as this changes, we will absolutely include that in our guide. Thanks for reading!

  2. Houston-Dubai now using NEW 777-300er with new first class suite product (6 seats) from late March 2019

    • Stephen Au · April 27, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Matt,

      This is only a temporary offering that is ending on May 21, 2019. This is due to the Dubai airport runway closure and the A380 will return to Houston as of May 22, 2019. Thanks for reading.

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