South Florida Timeseditor, Michelle Hollinger, checks out the refurbished Emirates 777-200LR.

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Never one to pass up an opportunity to experience luxury and satisfy my curiosity about an airline I’ve yet to fly, I accepted an invitation from Emirates to tour its brand-new business class cabin and configuration on its Boeing 777-200LR aircraft. Joining me was my aviation-obsessed son, Tyler. We munched on delectable hors d’oeuvres before boarding the plane at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, the first Emirates destination to receive the newly refurbished Boeing 777-200LR.

The aircraft offers two cabin classes with 38 business class seats and 264 seats in economy class. While the business class seats are in the same design and shape of Emirates’ latest lie-flat seats, they are now two inches wider for a more comfortable journey. Tyler is 6’ 3” and found the business class seats comfortable in the seated position. His long legs needed a tad more space when reclined, but he wasn’t fazed. The space was so comfortable and elegant, he said he’d simply remain in the seated position when he flies to Dubai.

The aircraft is flat out gorgeous, with champagne colored seats and wood grain finishing. It also has touchscreen controls for the seat and inflight entertainment system, several personal lighting options, privacy panels between seats, a shoe stowage area, footrest and a personal minibar that makes in-flight snacking way too convenient.

Economy class seats are ergonomically designed in soft grey and blue and come with full leather headrests that have flexible panels and can also be adjusted vertically. While it’s clear that comfort is a priority, tall people might need a bit more legroom in the economy section. Tyler’s knees touched the back of the seat in front of him. I’m a little shorter (5’7”), so I was cool.

The airline flies frequently to Dubai, its home base and an increasingly popular destination of choice for African-Americans. According to an October 2016 Medium article, “Being Black in Dubai,” by Zaire Ollyea Overton, “Throughout the past few years, I have had several friends, acquaintances and even my father, travel to Dubai for various lengths of time and reasons, both business and pleasure. It appears as a beautiful, diverse, welcoming, extremely modern city, and according to them, it is just that. All of them, as African-Americans, had nothing but phenomenal reports of the experiences that they had there, both as an ordinary traveler and as an African-American.”

Emirates’ global network serves 159 destinations in 89 countries across six continents. It operates one of the world’s youngest modern wide-body fleets and is the first and only airline in the world to operate a fleet of all Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft for its passenger flights.

Fort Lauderdale is one of 12 U.S. gateways Emirates serves. The others include Newark (EWR) via Athens, Orlando (MCO), Chicago (ORD), Boston (BOS), San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Seattle (SEA), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Washington (IAD) and New York (JFK), including a trans-Atlantic route between JFK and Milan Malpensa (MXP) and freighter services to Atlanta and Columbus.

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