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

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Stephen Au
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Stephen Au

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Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used...
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Keri Stooksbury

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

With a well-deserved reputation, it’s no wonder Emirates is probably the airline that pops into your head when you hear the words “first class.” Emirates is, and will continue to be, one of the most dominant airlines in the world.

At Upgraded Points, members of our team have been fortunate to fly Emirates multiple times, and it has continued to wow us — especially in first class!

This show-stopper of an airline may be more accessible than you think. Most people don’t know that Emirates flies to loads of U.S. airports with varying seat types depending on what route you’re flying.

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

Update: Due to COVID-19, Emirates may temporarily suspend routes, frequencies, and/or aircraft flown. Please check with the airline directly for the most current information.

Emirates Seat Options by Aircraft Type

Emirates uses 3 different planes on flights to/from the U.S.:

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

Emirates’ route network and map are pretty straightforward with predictable aircraft that fly consistently to each destination.

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

SCROLL FOR MORE
Emirates RouteFlight No.AircraftCabin ClassesFrequency
Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB)EK 238777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily
Chicago (ORD) – Dubai (DXB)EK 236777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Dubai (DXB)EK 222777-200LR (2-class)Business, EconomyDaily
Houston (IAH) – Dubai (DXB)EK 212777-200LR (2-class)Business, EconomyDaily
Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)EK 216A380First, Business, EconomyDaily
Miami (MIA) – Dubai (DXB)EK 214777-300ERFirst, Business, Economy4x weekly
Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) – Dubai (DXB)EK 210777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily
New York (JFK) – Dubai (DXB)EK 202/204A380First, Business, EconomyUp to 2x daily
New York (JFK) – Milan (MXP) – Dubai (DXB)EK 206A380First, Business, EconomyDaily
Orlando (MCO) – Dubai (DXB)EK 220777-300ERFirst, Business, Economy4x weekly
San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB)EK 226777-300ER until March 26, 2022; from March 27 on, A380First, Business, EconomyDaily
Seattle (SEA) – Dubai (DXB)EK 230777-300ERFirst, Business, EconomyDaily
Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB)EK 232777-300ER until March 26, 2022; from March 27 on, A380First, Business, EconomyDaily

Best Points to Earn to Fly Emirates

The best way to book Emirates first class is to redeem Emirates Skywards miles.

In the past, Japan Airlines and Alaska Airlines both had access to sweet-spot redemptions in Emirates first class. Emirates has since reduced the number of ways to book its coveted first class product with points, eliminating these options.

You can still use Qantas Frequent Flyer points and Korean Air SKYPASS miles, but these redemptions are generally more costly or harder than Emirates Skywards.

Emirates First Class Options

Emirates offers first class on all routes and flights, with 1 exception.

On select flight services aboard the 2-cabin 777-200LR, there is no first class cabin. You have 2 options to fly Emirates first class:

  1. A380 first class
  2. 777-300ER first class

Emirates A380 First Class

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

The A380 First Class Suites are much larger than the 777-300ER First Class Suites, so you definitely want to fly on the A380 in first class when you have a choice.

Each A380 First Class Suite is 23 inches wide and 86 inches in pitch (78 inches long in bed mode).

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: SeatGuru

On the A380, you’ll sit in one of 14 enclosed suites with sliding doors, an epic minibar, and some very blingy décor. These 14 suites are spread out across 4 rows with a 1-2-1 configuration.

The general consensus is that you want to be at least 1 row away from all galleys, so the best seats are in rows 2 and 3. Solo travelers should take window seats and couples take middle seats.

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

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)
  • New York (JFK) – Dubai (DXB)
  • New York (JFK) – Milan (MXP) – Dubai (DXB)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB) from March 27, 2022
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB) from March 27, 2022

Emirates 777-300ER First Class Suites

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

Despite being our second choice, the 777-300ER has a couple of advantages over the A380! Let’s look at the seat map:

Emirates 777-200LR 3 Class First Class Seat Map
Emirates 777-300ER 3-class first class seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

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

Also, if your closest airport doesn’t operate the A380, taking the 777-300ER gives you a route option that doesn’t force you to buy a positioning flight to somewhere like New York (JFK) or Los Angeles (LAX).

Here are the routes serviced by the 777-300ER:

  • Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Miami (MIA) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Dubai (DXB)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB) until March 26, 2022
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB) until March 26, 2022

Bottom Line: If you want the full First Class Suites experience, we recommend flying on the A380. There’s simply nothing quite like having the best seat on a huge aircraft like that. If you’re flying out of a non-A380 airport or you just want a more private cabin of 8 instead of 14 seats, give the 777-300ER a thought.

Emirates Business Class Options

Emirates A380 business class
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 its astonishing First Class Suites, a lot of its business class seats are unimpressive.

We’ll start out discussing the elements of each seat on each plane, then 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:

SCROLL FOR MORE
AircraftSeat WidthSeat PitchBed LengthConfigurationNumber of Seats
A38018.5″48″70″ to 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

Emirates A380 Business Class

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: SeatGuru

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

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, which are much more private than aisle seats.

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 routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB)
  • New York (JFK) – Dubai (DXB)
  • New York (JFK) – Milan (MXP) – Dubai (DXB)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB) from March 27
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB) from March 27

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

Emirates 2-Cabin 777-200LR Business Class

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

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 inches vs. 18.5 inches )
  • Newer seats (recently retrofitted)
  • 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

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

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

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

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Houston (IAH) – Dubai (DXB)

Emirates 777-300ER Business Class

The next seats we’ll look at are on the 777-300ER, which should be avoided if possible.

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: SeatGuru

Unfortunately, these seats are angled-flat and in a crowded 2-3-2 layout. Still, it’s better than coach!

We believe row 6 offers the best seats due to the distance from the lavatory.

No one will walk near your seat, since the first class cabin is in front and the lavatory/galley is behind you.

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

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

  • Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Miami (MIA) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Dubai (DXB)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB) until March 26, 2022
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB) until March 26, 2022

Bottom Line: Fly the A380 for direct aisle access and the best overall experience. Fly the 2-class 777-200LR for the second-best business class experience. If you don’t have a choice, fly the 777-300ER.

Emirates Premium Economy Options

emirates a380 premium economy seat with raised leg rest
Emirates premium economy seats. Image Credit: Emirates

Emirates operates A380s with premium economy on flights between New York (JFK) to Dubai (DXB).

Emirates Economy Options

Emirates A380 Economy Class
Emirates A380 economy class. Image Credit: Emirates

As you’ll find out in this section, there are clear winners and losers when it comes to Emirates economy class.

Emirates has a great reputation for offering some cutting-edge in-flight (ice) entertainment, great service, and good food — even in economy.

Emirates A380 Economy Class

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: SeatGuru

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

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

These seats have no seats in front of them, 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:

  • Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Miami (MIA) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Dubai (DXB)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB) until March 26, 2022
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB) until March 26, 2022

Emirates 2-Cabin 777-200LR Economy Class

Let’s move next to our runner-up, which is the 777-200LR. Although it is narrow at 17 inches wide, the pitch of 33 to 34 inches 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 side seats in rows 39 to 40 that only have 2 seats per row! 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:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Houston (IAH) – Dubai (DXB)

Emirates 777-300ER Economy Class

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

We’d suggest you avoid this seat, but we also understand that it might not be a choice — since 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 to 48A/B or rows 46 to 50J/K as shown below: 

Emirates First Class A380 - First Class Cabin
Emirates 777-300ER economy class seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

Here are the nonstop U.S. routes with Emirates’ 777-300ER:

  • Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Miami (MIA) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) – Dubai (DXB)
  • Orlando (MCO) – Dubai (DXB)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB) until March 26
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB) until March 26

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. It has a range of business class products (some of which are terrible) and will soon offer premium economy on long-haul flights to America.

With stark differences in economy class, there are 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!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best ways to book Emirates first class?

The best way to book Emirates first class is by redeeming Emirates Skywards miles. You can also redeem Qantas Frequent Flyer points or Korean Air SKYPASS miles. It’s no longer possible to redeem Alaska Airlines miles or Japan Airlines miles for these flights.

What are the best ways to book Emirates business class?

Again, using Emirates Skywards miles is likely your best option.

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?

Emirates Skywards is the best way to book Emirates premium economy class when it’s available.

What are the best ways to book Emirates economy class?

Emirates Skywards miles are likely the best way to book Emirates economy class.

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About Stephen Au

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.

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