Emirates Airbus A380 vs Boeing 777 – What Plane Is More Comfortable?

Emirates operates only two types of aircraft, the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A380. Emirates does have new aircraft on the way, such as the Boeing 787 (30 orders), the Boeing 777X (115 orders) and Airbus A350 (50 orders), but right now if you booked an Emirates ticket you are guaranteed to ride in either the 777 or the A380 (or the one-off private jet it has).

An Emirates Airbus A380 bar/lounge
The A380 has a bar on board for the first class and business class passengers. Photo: Emirates

So which is better? Which aircraft gives a better customer experience? Let us have a look

How will we compare the two aircraft?

These two aircraft could not be more different. For one, the Airbus A380 has almost double the space onboard compared to the Boeing 777 series thanks to a second level. This means the airline can afford to be a little more opulent with its first class and business class offering onboard the Airbus A380 than the 777.

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On the other hand, because the 777-300ER carries fewer passengers this does mean less demand on services onboard such as flight attendants or toilets. It also means lesser impacts on the passenger experience in the way of cabin noise, smell and so forth.

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We will be comparing the Emirates fit-out onboard the Boeing 777-300ER to the Airbus A380. Emirates does also operate ten Boeing 777-200LRs but as they make up a small percentage of the fleet and are so close to the 777-300ER, we will overlook it for now.

There are also different configurations of the A380 and 777, thus we will focus on the newer version as listed on the Emirates website.

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Let’s begin with the pointy end of the plane

First class

The Boeing 777-300ER carries eight closed first-class suites with 60 inches of seat pitch and 20.5 inches of width. These suites are in a 1-2-1 configuration but you will hardly be able to tell considering that they have floor to ceiling barriers between each suite. These seats come with their own minibar, vanity mirror, table and electronically closing door.

Emirates, First Class, Bed
Don’t worry if you forgot pajamas, Emirates has you covered onboard their A380. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The A380, on the other hand, has 14 closed suites with 86 inches of pitch and 23 inches of width. The private suites have all the same features as well as access to the business class bar at the back of the plane. Plus, the Emirates A380 also has a shower onboard which is exclusively for first class passengers. This easily takes the cake for us.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Shower
The Emirates A380 has two large shower rooms at the front of the cabin. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Winner: A380 – Bigger seats, more award availability, a bar, and a shower. Easy.

Business class

In the business class cabin, we will start to see things heat up between the Boeing 777 and A380.

The A380 has 76 lie-flat seats with 48 inches of legroom in seat mode and is 18.5 inches wide (0.5 inches wider than economy). However, onboard the A380 you do have access to a bar at the end of the plane so you don’t have to hang out in your narrow seat for the whole trip. The cabin is laid out in a 1-2-1 staggered configuration.

Emirates A380 business class cabin. Photo: Emirates

The Boeing 777, on the other hand, has 60 inches of pitch in seat mode (and angled-flat mode) and is 20.5 inches wide. They might not have a bar to run off to, but the seat itself is bigger compared to the A380… that you share with too many people. The problem here is that the cabin’s 42 business passengers are laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration, with an awkward middle seat with no direct aisle access.

Winner: A380 – Only just, because of the privacy and the bar at the back of the plane. However, the wider 777 seats might give you a better sleep if you are traveling with someone or don’t mind a stranger next to you.

Economy class

Onboard the A380, economy passengers can pretend they are in business as their seat is only 0.5 inches narrower than the seats upstairs (18 inches). However, this joy is quickly diminished thanks to 32 inches of legroom in a cabin 3-4-3 configured.

Emirates, economy, Airbus a380
The seating onboard Emirates’ Airbus A380. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Economy onboard the Boeing 777-300ER is worse with only 17 inch wide seats and the same 32 inches of legroom in a 3-4-3 configuration. There might be fewer passengers in economy, but it won’t feel like it.

The bottom line

Overall the A380 seems to come far ahead in first class, ahead in business (unless you are with a friend and don’t want the bar at the back of the plane) and barely different in economy. If you get the chance to fly in first class, then the Emirates A380 a great alternative to other airlines, but business and economy leave a lot to be desired.

What do you think? Which is more comfortable? Let us know in the comments.

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G Adams

A380 is much more comfortable,especially if you have a window seat.777 feels cramped and claustrophobic.A380 also much quieter.

Anand

On economy class you don’t feel any difference having travelled with Emirates on A380 and 777

Niklas Andersson

On Business no match with A380… when it comes economy class…
A380 7,8/10
777 5,5/10

David G

Have flown both from various Australian cities to Dubai numerous times. Winner has to be the A380, except that the boarding experience is more often than not a dog’s breakfast – boarding procedure by zones invariably breaks down and becomes a free-for-all.
Why is it that most people want to be first on, yet want to be first off?

Roy

Having flown in economy and business on both Emirates 777s and A380s, it’s clear to me that the A380 is preferable in both classes. As your article points out, the differences are less obvious in economy. Regardless, even here, the A380 is noticeably quieter, particularly at the pointy end where first class traditionally is. Also, the economy class bathroom up the front is considerably bigger. In business, the A380 configuration allows for a small tray table on one side, offering considerably more privacy on the side seats, and for every second row in the middle – perfect for lone travellers.

Abe

Up front it doesn’t matter, all down to the hard product. In economy, there’s no comparison, A380 wins hands down especially if you have a window seat

James D

Having flown both extensively in all classes, they just don’t compare. The A380 is head and shoulders better in every class. Not only is is quieter but the densification of economy, with seats that are narrower than an A320 on the 777 is a joke. The 777 is the worse long haul aircraft in the market today in this config (with the exception of the few A330 ULCC in Asia). A middle seat in business class where you have to climb over other passengers …. really. Look out the A380 on your flights or else the Emirates hype will only… Read more »

Greg

Both excellent aircraft but due to Emirates continual greed pattern both planes are uncomfortable due to cramming in more seats
The bottom line is greed

Gerhard S

As businesd class fliers, the Boeing 777ER is by far the better of the two planes under review. The space of the A380 is pathetic. The area provided to enter or exit your seat (eg. for toilette) is very uncomfortable narrow for use. Then once your have removed your shoes, there is no space to place them other in the entrance space. Lastly, the seat thickness is very thin and it becomes umcomfortable during long journeys. All and all very disappointed with the A380!

Hans Klemp

There is no doubt the 380 is the better airplane of comfort, space, quietness.

Martin

Hands down the better aircraft by far is the A380. I have flown both the A380 and 777 in business class, and the A380 is by far the better experience, with you own mini bar at your seat and more importantly the bar at the back of the plane. It is also a much quieter aircraft, so if you want to sleep then your good to go. The only thing which is a major problem on both aircraft is the entertainment systems, which 90% of the time dent work very well. Which when you’ve payed to fly business class, it… Read more »

David

Clearly the is no contest…moreover if you consider the coming years with the « new » 777 save you ears by flying with the 380 when available.

Derek

A380 is head and shoulders the best aircraft, no contest Unbelievably quiet and so spacious!

Luca

From an economy class flyer perspective: A380 forever.
Engines and air conditioning are both quieter on A380 than on 777.
I usually wear noise canceling headphones to sleep during flights, but I don’t need it when I fly A380

Peter

A380 v B777

For those selecting economy class there is simply no comparison.
.
The A380 wins by a country mile! The cramped10 abreast seating in the B777 is a seriously bad experience more akin to an LCC although without the much cheaper fares. The narrow aisles of the B777 make going to the toilets harrowing experience particularly during the night when you also have to contend with limbs & even heads while having to walk sideways!Please be sure to sele the excellent A380 if you have a choice.

Mike

Having had flown both i concur on what most passengers are saying the A380 is far superior in Economy than the 777.Flew to London on the Boeing and by the time we got there my rear end had lost all feeling except pain.
Its such a shame they cant re engine the A380 to more fuel efficient engines.