Emirates unveils sleek new Premium Economy cabin on its Airbus A380
Plus, a refreshed new-look for First, Business and Economy Class.
What we'll be covering
Major Gulf carrier Emirates is flaunting the introduction of its lavish new Premium Economy cabin, which is nestled on the main deck of the airline’s latest factory-fresh Airbus A380 superjumbo jet.
Six aircraft will feature the cabin by the end of 2021, with Emirates also planning to continue the Premium Economy rollout on a further 105 jets by mid-2024. Premium Economy is also set to appear on the carrier’s Boeing 777X fleet, which lands from 2023 onwards.
But back to the first six Airbus A380s. They’ve also had a tip-to-tail refresh in First Class, Business Class and Economy Class, bringing more of the airline’s famed ‘dazzle factor’ to the skies.
Revealed: Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin and seats
On the Airbus A380s, there are 56 Premium Economy seats in a standard 2-4-2 layout, located at the front of the main deck. The seat pitch is noted to be ‘up to’ 40 inches by Emirates, although in practice most seats will average around 38 inches (96.5 cm), which is about 15cm more than Economy.
The 19.5 in (49.5 cm) wide seat also reclines a deep 8 in (20.3 cm) — both of which are slightly more than standard Economy. The airline describes the recline as a ‘comfortable cradle position with ample room to stretch out’.
In that regard, each seat features a 6-way adjustable headrest, plus a calf rest and footrest. It’s not yet known whether the calf rest will be suitable for long-legged individuals or not, as noted with most other airline Premium Economy seats.
Passengers can enjoy a 13.3-inch in-flight entertainment screen filled with Emirates’ generous entertainment catalogue of movies, TV shows and more. When it comes time to dine, there’s both a wide fold-out tray table, plus a side cocktail table for beverages.
Finally, the seat is upholstered in cream-coloured anti-stain leather, with a similar stitching and wooden panel detail as seen in Business Class.
Our Premium Economy product was carefully developed in keeping with Emirates’ brand positioning as a full-service airline of the highest quality. Our First, Business and Economy experiences reset industry standards when they were introduced, and we are confident that our Premium Economy will also make its mark as a distinct premium offering.– Tim Clark, President of Emirates
On the Boeing 777s refitted over the coming years, there’ll instead be 24 Premium Economy Class seats. As on the Airbus A380, these will come in a 2-4-2 layout. Nestled between Business Class and Economy Class, Premium Economy Class will occupy just three rows on these jets.
Refreshed: First, Business and Economy Class
OOn Emirates’ newest Airbus A380s, you’ll also notice some minor cosmetic differences across the rest of the plane in all cabin classes.
Notably, Business Class now receives the same cream leather treatment, which is a big improvement from the previous drab grey seats and dark wood grain.
The onboard bar, shared exclusively by Business and First Class passengers, also features updated trims and flooring.
Meanwhile, First Class boasts slightly wider suites with taller doors for privacy, while the Shower Spa now proudly displays the Ghaf tree motif — an indigenous evergreen plant with deep cultural significance.
Using points and miles to book Emirates Premium Economy
As of November 2021, booking Emirates’ Premium Economy Class is tricky, given it’s available on only a small number of flights. But if you were to find a seat, here’s how many Qantas Points you’d need, based on Qantas’ current Classic Reward rates.
|Example routes||Qantas Points needed for Emirates Premium Economy||Qantas Points needed for Emirates Business Class|
|Dubai-London||48,500 points||61,200 points|
|Perth-Dubai||70,800 points||90,000 points|
|Sydney-Dubai||93,500 points||119,200 points|
|Melbourne-Dubai-London||124,800 points||159,000 points|
Remember that taxes and carrier surcharges will be payable on top of the points or miles cost. Also, note that Qantas prices Premium Economy reward seats very close to Business Class, so you might be better off splurging more points for lounge access and a fully-flat bed instead.
While the first Emirates flight with Premium Economy flight kicked off on 4 January 2021, the airline will offer Premium Economy on selected flights to Europe and the USA. This includes services from Dubai to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris and New York JFK. All these cities will see Emirates Premium Economy by the end of 2021.
There’s no denying that Emirates’ Premium Economy seats appear elegant and comfortable. However, it does fall short of the ‘sleeperette’-like style that was touted to the media in the past.
The common issue with this style of Premium Economy is that only the first row boasts the most comfort, with all the remaining rows impacted when the seat in front reclines deeply. Time will tell whether Emirates has hit the mark with Premium Economy or not.
Would you book Premium Economy, or stick to Economy and Business Class? Let us know in the comments below.