Flying Emirates A380 Business Class? Don’t Make This Mistake
— Updated on 1 February 2023

Flying Emirates A380 Business Class? Don’t Make This Mistake

— Updated on 1 February 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Emirates A380 Business Class is widely considered one of the best products in commercial flying. For luxury travellers, it rarely gets any better for those who can’t really justify bumping up to First Class. And yet there are are a few things you need to be aware of that can make or break your in-air journey, especially when it comes to choosing the best seats in order to maximise your Emirates A380 Business Class experience.

Emirates has never avoided massive business class cabins, so depending on the version of the A380 you’re flying you’d find anywhere from 58 to 76 business class suites onboard. With a uniform 1-2-1 layout (compared to the dated 2-3-2 layout on the 777), each seat has direct aisle access but some are different depending on where they are located in the cabin. Some might have more leg room; some might offer more privacy; some add an extra layer of convenience.

Emirates A380 Best Seats – My Experience

Seat 16E on Emirates A380 Business Class (Photo by Chris Singh)

I recently flew Emirates A380 Business Class from Sydney to Dubai on flight EK413, which is serviced by the Airbus A380-800. Having had a busy week, I hadn’t thought about selecting my seat until a day before the flight, so I landed on 15D, which is part of the “2” in the 1-2-1 layout.

This was a mistake. As a general rule, you should prefer window seats to aisle seats when flying Emirates A380 Business Class, and this is due to a number of reasons.

But the main one is sleep. It’s always sleep. And when it comes to sleeping in business class, sometimes it’s the really small details that matter the most. For example, I flew Etihad’s newest business class product a few months ago and was able to sleep much easier as the updated business class suite came with its own sliding door.

Sliding doors may not seem like much, but they go very far in fortifying you from the nuances of the aisle so there are fewer things to disturb you. Falling asleep is much easier because, when it comes to flying, even the smallest disturbance can wake you up, even if you consider yourself a heavy sleeper.

That’s generally why people use eye masks and ear plugs when they’re trying to sleep on a long-haul. And a good rest, especially on a red eye flight that touches down in Dubai just before the crack of dawn, can mean the difference between enjoying the full day or hitting a wall by the afternoon.

This is something I forgot to consider when choosing my Emirates A380 Business Class seat. 15D meant that I was right across the aisle from 15B. Given the size of the business class suites, the aisle seems to be a bit tighter and the seats appear closer together, so while I was well separated from my fellow middle passenger on 15G, I wasn’t blocked off from 15B.

Also, since row 15 is in the middle of the main business cabin, I would constantly have other passengers walking past making it much more difficult to sleep.

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So Which Seat Should You Choose On The Emirates A380?

Seat 16A on board the Emirates A380 Business Class from Sydney to Dubai (Photo by Chris Singh)

Aisle seats and middle rows should be avoided wherever possible. For solo travellers, the better seats are A and K. Not only do they offer window views, but you’ll generally get more legroom when fully flat. Rows 6 and 7 also seem to be the best ones are they are at the front of business class, so the only passengers walking past you will just be the crew coming and going from another cabin.

In the photo above of 16A, you’ll see that the seat is by the window while the console faces outward to the aisle. This is the ideal seat if you want minimal disturbance as the console blocks you from the action of the aisle and is just as good as a sliding door.

Given being closer to the window than the aisle means less interaction with other passengers, this also makes these seats valuable if Covid is a concern. The less people walking past means the less chance you have of someone coughing on you while they’re shedding.

This, however, is only applicable for solo travellers.

If you’re travelling with someone else like a partner, close friend or relative, then seats E and F seem to be the best. You’ll find them on every second row and they have been designed so that they are together in the middle with the consoles (private mini bar and storage space) facing the aisle.

The popular Emirates A380 Bar (Photo by Chris Singh).

If you’re planning on being awake for the most of the flight and sleeping isn’t a concern, then I suggest going for the mini-cabin. That is, from rows 22 to 26. You’ll be closer to the four toilets as well as the widely praised Emirates A380 Bar.

This bar is open for the entire flight and serves cakes, sandwiches, wines and beer. Don’t bother ordering the cocktails as they aren’t very good. But this is a valuable place to be if you want to chat to your fellow passengers and try soak up the golden age of air travel, on which the bar is based.

Note that the above applies for only one of the Emirates A380 Business Class layouts. That is, the traditional three class layout with First and Business on the upper deck, and Business being split into both a main cabin from rows 6 to 21 and a mini-cabin from rows 22 to 26.

You can easily see which version of the A380 applies to your flight by going into the Manage My Booking section of the Emirates website and visiting the seat selection page. It won’t tell you, but if there’s a row 26 then that means you’ll get the version mentioned above.

For a better idea of the layout head to SeatGuru.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.