Emirates has just published a nice video revealing some of the behind-the-scenes details about its First Class seat, called Suites as they have full privacy with electric sliding doors. (video at the end of the post)
B/E Aerospace had been creating First class products for Emirates since 2004. It started building those bespoke seats in 2007, retrofitting existing B777s and A340-500s first, then expanding it to the A380 when it started flying (EK has now 50 of them).
We learn from Doug Rasmussen, VP and General Manager, that they've assembled 770 seats already. Each seat takes 2 months from start to finish.
And those golden trims I had seen when I luckily got upgraded? Turns out it's 22-carat gold (!)
No wonder each seat costs approximately USD 250,000.
So this is … an Emirates suite. So you can see there’s a full bed, there’s a little controller, a TV screen, accent lighting, there’s a little refrigerator which you can’t see in there, and this folds up to permit dining for two people. And those are very expensive. Those sell for $250,000 each.
Amongst a ton of impressive luxury (the touch-screen tablet can do everything from the seat positions to the lightning), I was always impressed by the pretty gigantic screen. Coupled with the best IFE I've witnessed (it has consistently won the SkyTrax awards for Best IFE since 2009, this year once more) and noise-cancelling headphones with great comfort, it can't get much better.
I also personally like the following (sorry for the bad picture, I had taken it out during night flight). Should be mandatory everywhere:
B/E Aerospace's HQ is in Wellington, Florida, but the seats' production facility sits in Tucson, Arizona. This is probably where some of the filming of the assembly seen in the video happened. We learn though that some of the components come directly from Dubai and other places.
The company calls this type of product "Super First Class". You can take a look at its standard (if one can call that standard!) Oasis Super First Class seat, which differs from the bespoke Emirates one (I believe that TAM's First Class and a few others are also based on this model).
Crossing my fingers for you to get lucky and try those one day. It's an unforgettable experience.