REVIEW | Emirates B777-300ER Economy Class (Dubai to Athens)


I had the pleasure of visiting Athens in late 2022, a city that had long been on my to-visit list. Figuring out where to visit in the city was easy enough, whereas getting to Athens in the first place was another matter altogether.

There are no direct flights to Athens from Malaysia, with the only direct flight from Southeast Asia being an 11 hour long trek on Singapore Airlines-owned budget carrier Scoot from Singapore to Athens. This wasn’t very appealing, and we once again ended up on Emirates with a connection at Dubai.

The outbound flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai was near identical to the same sector on my 2019 trip to London on the same airline. The service on my 2022 flight was consistent with my 2019 flight and had a similar standard despite the 2.5 years of global pause brought on by the pandemic. To keep things fresh on Urbanist Wanderer, I won’t be reviewing the Kuala Lumpur to Dubai portion of this journey.

This review is about flight EK 209 from Dubai to Athens. For my review of EK 210 on the return sector from Athens to Dubai, click here.

Buying my tickets

I bought my return Economy Saver tickets on the Emirates website. This fare gave me 1 piece of cabin bag (max weight 7kg), and a check-in baggage allowance of 25kgs. The entire return ticket (KUL-DXB-ATH, ATH-DXB-KUL) cost me RM 3,657.00 (incl. taxes & charges).

Earning Malaysia Airlines Enrich points on Emirates flights

Members of Emirates Skywards, the airline’s frequent flyer program, have the option of entering their Skywards membership number during the ticket purchase to earn Skywards Miles and Tier Miles. I didn’t think I’d be using my Emirates earnings that much, so I opted to enter my Malaysia Airlines Enrich Blue membership number instead to earn some Enrich points as Emirates is a partner airline of Malaysia Airlines.

Here is a breakdown of my Enrich points earnings for this trip with Emirates –

SectorEnrich Points earned
KUL – DXB860
DXB – ATH509
ATH – DXB509
DXB – KUL860

As Emirates is not a fellow Oneworld member airline, Enrich members cannot earn Elite Points on flights with Emirates. If you’re chasing status and if you fly Emirates regularly, signing up for a Skywards membership is the better option. Collecting Enrich points on flights with Emirates only makes sense if you intend to redeem Malaysia Airlines flights with your Enrich points without bothering about your tier progression.

Transit experience at Dubai International Airport

We arrived on time at Dubai on flight EK 343 from Kuala Lumpur, with a transit time of approximately 6 hours until our flight to Athens. With time to kill, we decided to spend some time at the Plaza Premium Lounge at Terminal 3 where we made use of their comfortable sleeping pods.

With boarding time approaching for our flight EK 209 to Athens, we headed down to Gate A12 to grab ourselves a seat while waiting. The gate was then opened and the massed passengers trooped down into the actual gate holding room.

I didn’t realise it until then, but flight EK 209 is actually EK’s once a day service from Dubai to Newark with a 2 hours and 35 minutes stopover in Athens. EK has fifth freedom rights for the Dubai – Athens – Newark sectors, and the service was apparently very controversial when first launched.

A nice touch that I noticed was that announcements for this flight were trilingual – in English, Arabic, and Greek, which an excited Greek child sat next to me at the gate happily pointed out to his mother.

Boarding the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER

The aircraft for this leg was A6-EQA, a Boeing 777-300ER delivered new to Emirates in 31.3.2017, making it almost 6 years old at the time of this flight.

We began boarding by rows, and the whole process was quite orderly.

Boarding was completed on time, and we were soon we were roaring off runway 30R into the cloudy skies above Dubai.

Cabin & Onboard Amenities

This was my second time onboard Emirates’ B777-300ER, and the cabin was no different from before. The signature (and familiar) Emirates faux wood trimmings were featured from the toilets to the window frames, giving the cabin a more personalised Emirates touch. It’s not for everyone, but it is good branding.

We were sat in the mini Economy cabin located directly behind Business Class, and the small size gave it a rather private ambience versus the main Economy cabin in the back.

Emirates B777-300ER Economy Class seats

Emirates’ B777-300ER Economy cabin is configured in a 3-4-3 layout with 32 inches of seat pitch. These seats are more up to date than the myriad of Economy seats on the airline’s Airbus A380, but overall maintain a near identical product offering.

The Economy Class seats on this particular aircraft were slightly different than on my previous Emirates B777-300ER flight from London Stansted to Dubai. The ones onboard A6-EQA are closer to Emirates’ 3rd gen Airbus A380 seats, but still have noticeably less padding that their counterparts on the A380. I had a somewhat uncomfortable experience with these seats the last time, but I was sufficiently sleep deprived this time around that I caught some sleep after the lunch service.

Each seat is outfitted with a 13.3 inch touch screen for the inflight entertainment system, running on top of what appeared to be an Android based software. There are universal power plugs under the seats, as well as a USB port beneath the IFE screen that can be used for charging. A blanket was also provided at every seat, which was quite useful when sleeping.

Inflight Amenities – Emirates ICE inflight entertainment

The IFE aboard this B777-300ER is Emirates’ own system, given the name “ICE”. ICE is known for its huge selection of content, but I didn’t give it a try for this sector as I was trying to catch up on sleep. Headphones are given to every passenger to use with ICE, but to be quite frank the quality of the headphones aren’t that great.

ICE also feature views through cameras installed on the exterior of the aircraft, which gave passengers a unique view during take-off and landing.

Having flown on EK’s A380 though, the camera feed on the B777-300ER is much sharper.

Inflight Amenities – Emirates Onboard WiFi

Onboard WiFi is available on all of Emirates’ flights for a fee, with the price depending on the package of your choice and the duration of the flight. Passengers get to choose between a package limited to text apps like Whatsapp, costing between USD 2.99 and USD 5.99, full internet access between USD 9.99 and USD 19.99, and a USD 9.99 package named “Easy Connect” in selected regions for a 30 minutes access without data limits.

Things are a bit more generous if you are an Emirates Skywards member –

  • If you are an Emirates Skywards Blue member, you get complimentary access to text apps in Business Class, Premium Economy, or Economy Class, and full internet access in First Class;
  • If you are an Emirates Skywards Silver or Gold member, you get complimentary access to text apps in Premium Economy and Economy Class, and full internet access in Business Class and First Class; and
  • If you are an Emirates Skywards Platinum member, you get free Wi-Fi no matter which class you’re flying in.

All this only works if you keyed in your Skywards membership number when buying your tickets. As I was crediting this flight to my Enrich account, I wasn’t able to make use of the complimentary internet access to text apps.

Inflight Amenities – Economy Class toilets

I took the opportunity to visit one of the Economy Class toilets after the lunch service. The toilet at this time was very clean, and was kept clean by the crew throughout the flight.

For those interested, Emirates keeps a 100ml bottle each of The White Company’s Noir Eau de Toilette and Hand & Body Lotion in their Economy Class toilets. I found it interesting that the bottles were kept in a locked perspex box.

The Hand & Body Lotion was Amber, Mandarin & Sandalwood scented which I thought was quite nice. I can’t find this exact product on The White Company’s online store anymore, but the closest thing is a 300ml bottle of Amber Mandarin & Sandalwood scented Moisturising Hand Cream, which will set you back £18.00.

Onboard Catering

Emirates serves only one meal service on the sector between Dubai and Athens, with the lunch service commencing around 1.5 hours after take-off.

The airline used to hand out paper menus to passengers in Economy Class. Covid-19 put a stop to that, and Emirates now presents its onboard Economy Class menus using the onboard Wi-Fi.

To access the menu, passengers have to connect to the onboard Wi-Fi network, click “Continue” on the welcome page, then click the menu banner on the top of the flight information page. As usual, both English and Arabic menus are available.

Emirates DXB-ATH Lunch service

The menu for this flight offered an appetizer of Multigrain quinoa, a main course of either Beef Ragout or Roast Turkey, and Gingerbread cake with cinnamon sauce for dessert. According to the menu, the Roast Turkey and Gingerbread cake were both Christmas specials, and the flight attendants confirmed that turkey especially wasn’t usually offered.

I decided to go with the Roast Turkey for my main course, and my meal came with the usual bread-and-butter, orange juice, cereal bar, and a chocolate square as accompaniments.

The turkey dish itself was served with “cranberry jus lié, chestnut roulade, green peas, parisienne potatoes, and mashed parsnips with carrots“. It does sound fancy and the dish actually tasted very good, being probably one of the better inflight meals I’ve had so far, though the otherwise excellent Gingerbread cake fell a bit short with the cinnamon sauce coming off as a bit tasteless.

All in all though, this was an enjoyable mid-air lunch.

Arrival at Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos

I managed to catch some sleep after lunch, and with the relatively short 5 hour flight time we were soon beginning our descend. Our routing took us over Izmir on the western Turkish coast and we crossed into Greek airspace over the Greek island of Chios (Χίος). The winter skies were a cloudless blue and the sun shone beautifully down on the Aegean Sea, with the clear air all around giving us a view of distant island of Skyros (Σκύρος) in the distance.

We were placed in a short holding pattern over the Aegean, with a routing that took us over the island of Evia (Εύβοια) and the coastal town of Karystos (Κάρυστος).

The scenic approach then came to an end as we lined up for runway 21R over the seaside town of Rafina (Ραφήνα) on the east coast of Attica (Αττική). Our touchdown was smooth, and we began the trek to the terminal building on the eastern side of the airfield.

A point of interest for avgeeks: Don’t miss former Olympic Airways B737-200 SX-BCL at the start of taxiway Hotel to the terminal building.

We parked at the main terminal building of ATH at one of the Hall A gates. De-boarding was swift, and Newark bound passengers were directed into a separate pathway away from Athens bound passengers to the transit corridor.

This was a rather quiet time of the day for ATH, so we breezed through arrival immigration in the spacious hall located in the terminal’s newly opened extension. The baggage hall was next, and all in all we took around 15 minutes from the aircraft to the bags. Sure, it might have been the low traffic hours, but the efficiency of the internal layout was quite impressive nevertheless.

With all of our checked in bags accounted for, we headed out the doors to catch the X95 airport express bus to Syntagma Square.

Final Thoughts

This was another great flight with Emirates in economy, and it was nice to see that the airline kept its high standards after the pandemic. The festive onboard catering and scenic arrival into sunny wintery Greece all proved to be the cherry on top.

As always, I’d be happy to fly with Emirates again in the future.

Athens in Winter
Read more from our trip to Athens and Delphi in winter 2022.






3 responses to “REVIEW | Emirates B777-300ER Economy Class (Dubai to Athens)”

  1. […] had the opportunity to spend some two hours in this lounge before boarding my connecting flight to Athens. Here’s what I thought about […]

  2. […] here to read my review of the outbound sector on EK 209 from Dubai to […]

  3. […] For a more recent review of Emirates B777-300ER Economy Class in 2022, click here. […]

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