Emirates is betting big on Premium Economy Class, with the new cabin set to make its debut in Sydney from 1 August 2022. The airline plans to introduce the cabin aboard over 100 aircraft by 2024. That’s yet another way to jet across the globe in style using your Qantas Points or Skywards Miles!
Bookings open from 1 June 2022, and you can enjoy Premium Economy all the way from Sydney to London or Paris. Right now, only six Airbus A380s have Premium Economy, which limits their deployment. While cash fare prices are yet to be released, we know how many Qantas Points you’ll need for a Premium Economy redemption:
- Sydney-Dubai: 93,500 points + taxes one-way
- Sydney-Dubai-London (or Paris): 124,800 points + taxes one-way
Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, tells us that 126 jets will eventually sport the better-than-Economy cabin after a major retrofit program.
As with everything we do, Emirates Premium Economy will be exceptional in its class, with minute attention given to every aspect of the customer experience. Customers trading up from Economy will be getting excellent value.
We currently have six A380s equipped with this cabin class, which limits our initial deployment, but our intention is to offer this experience to many more markets across our network.
This November, we will begin our retrofit programme to install Premium Economy on 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s. At the end of the programme, Emirates will have 126 aircraft fitted out with Premium Economy cabins, as well as our latest interiors across other cabins. It is a major investment to ensure our customers continue to have the best experience in the sky.– Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, 16 November 2021
Which Emirates flights will offer Premium Economy Class?
With just six Airbus A380s carrying Premium Economy Class, getting into the new cabin isn’t easy. From August, you’ll find Premium Economy on flights from Sydney to Dubai, and onwards to London and Paris. And after December 2022, Christchurch also joins that list.
More destinations will be added as its cabin refurbishments continue across the fleet. By mid-2024, Premium Economy Class should be available across a large chunk of Emirates’ global route network, including the rest of Australia.
Emirates is the first of the ‘big three’ Middle Eastern carriers to offer Premium Economy Class. Here’s a quick teaser to whet your appetite!
New Premium Economy service
Emirates promises that Economy passengers trading up to Premium Economy ‘will be getting excellent value’. The experience is set to include:
- Dedicated check-in counters.
- Luxurious seats with 38-40″ pitch, with calf rests and footrests.
- Premium dining with proper glassware and chinaware, stainless steel cutlery and linen.
- A welcome drink onboard, and a selection of ‘generous meals’ with seasonal ingredients.
- 13.3″ screen for inflight entertainment.
- Sustainable blankets made from recycled plastic bottles. An amenity kit and oversized pillow are also provided.
Emirates’ Premium Economy Class seat
Adopting elements of the carrier’s new Business Class style, its Premium Economy Class seat is certainly on-brand. Covered in tanned anti-stain leather, the cabin’s wood panel finish is distinctly ‘Emirates’.
On Boeing 777s, there’ll be 24 Premium Economy Class seats across three rows. With a 2-4-2 layout, passengers are only ever one seat away from the aisle at most. The cabin will sit directly behind Business Class, and in front of Economy Class.
Speaking of the Boeing 777, Emirates is also considering a new Business Class seat for these planes, in a 1-2-1 layout. This would bring them into line with the larger Airbus A380s. It’d also replace the existing 2-2-2 and 2-3-2 configurations seen on these jets, which are less favourably designed.
Aboard the Airbus A380, Premium Economy Class comes in a larger cohort. At the front of the superjumbo’s main deck, 56 seats adopt a similar 2-4-2 configuration. Of course, First Class remains on the A380’s upper deck. This puts Premium Economy Class at the base of the stairs, in front of standard Economy Class.
At each seat, there’s a 13.3-inch personal TV screen. As in Emirates’ other classes, passengers can access movies, TV shows, music, games, live broadcasts and more.
Up close with Emirates’ Premium Economy Class seat
On both the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777, Premium Economy Class will offer a seat pitch of up to 40 inches (about 101.5cm). That’s on the generous side for Premium Economy Class, with many other airlines relying on a tighter 38-inch pitch.
Translation: there’ll be more room around your knees. And if the passenger in front of you reclines, their seat won’t get as close to you as on some other airlines.
For the comfort-conscious, these seats also measure up at 19.5 inches (49.5cm) wide, and offer an eight-inch (20cm) recline. There’s also at-seat power, a wide dining table, and a separate side cocktail table.
But the most interesting feature has to be the seat’s ‘cradle position’. While not quite a bed, the footrest’s design will help keep your legs elevated, as though you were indeed lying down. A valuable addition indeed.
Emirates’ Premium Economy Class seats look fantastic. They’ll be a welcome enhancement to the airline’s flights around the world, and a great option for spending your hard-earned Qantas Points or Skywards Miles.
The cabin also strikes a good balance between Economy Class and Business Class. You can expect better meals, beverages and service in Premium Economy Class. But of course, for a fully-flat bed (and an inflight bar!), it’s hard to beat Business Class.
Previous reporting by Chris Chamberlin.