Middle East carrier Emirates has unveiled the latest product enhancements for its final batch of six Airbus A380 superjumbos, with new features rolled out in all three longstanding cabin classes, plus perhaps its most anticipated brand new offering – Premium Economy.
This new cabin product, bridging the gap between Economy and Business Class, is a first among Middle East carriers, which to date have stuck with a three-class offering; First, Business and Economy.
Brand new Premium Economy
Let’s start with what Emirates describes at its “highly-anticipated” Premium Economy product, which will occupy the forward main deck section of these Airbus A380s, immediately behind the superjumbo’s main staircase.
56 seats are installed in a 2-4-2 layout, with 40 inches of pitch, 19.5 inches of seat width and a 8-inch recline. That’s a little more legroom than Singapore Airlines offers in its A380 Premium Economy seats. Two dedicated toilets will serve this cabin.
Emirates opted for the Recaro PL3530 model, despite rumours that HAECO’s Eclipse seat had been chosen. Of course regardless of the product, it has been heavily customised by the airline with cream-coloured anti-stain leather, including stitching details and a wood panel finish similar to the airline’s latest Business Class seats.
Each seat is designed to provide optimal comfort and support with 6-way adjustable headrests, calf rests and footrests. A 13.3″ personal in-flight entertainment screen is offered.
There’s also a wide dining table, side cocktail table and of course the obligatory in-seat charging points to keep your devices on the go.
Commenting on Emirates’ premium economy cabins, president Tim Clark said:
“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.Sir Tim Clark, Emirates’ President
It’s not yet possible to book or redeem this product, since it’s only installed on one aircraft. Until a viable number of seats are rolled out, the airline will instead offer the seats “as a complimentary upgrade to valued customers”.
Emirates will announce details of where its newest Airbus A380 aircraft with Premium Economy will be deployed in the coming weeks.
Here’s a video showing more of the new Emirates’ Premium Economy seat.
The First Class cabin of 14 private suites on these new aircraft remains largely the same as those installed on the airline’s other A380s, so there’s no floor-to-ceiling enclosed private cabins or virtual windows like on the carrier’s latest Boeing 777-300ERs (see our review of those).
In this new enhancement, the suites are slightly wider and have taller doors for increased privacy.
Emirates has not provided any images of the First Class Suites themselves, probably because they represent the only real ‘downgrade’ compared to the carrier’s latest Boeing 777-300ERs.
Cabin detail and finishes have also been refreshed with new motifs and colours, from the sweeping stairs that lead from the main deck to the upper deck, to refreshed design trims and modern fittings in the Shower Spa.Emirates
In the upper-deck Business Class cabin, Emirates is retaining its all aisle access layout with a staggered 1-2-1 arrangement.
The finish of these seats now more closely resembles the product on the airline’s latest Boeing 777 jets, with the modernised cream leather stitched finish and dark wood panelling, though the integrated minibar retains its head-height position rather than being at the footwell.
The same classic colour scheme has also been applied to the Onboard Lounge at the back of the upper deck, for the exclusive use of First and Business Class passengers.Emirates
Finally ‘down the back’ Emirates has replaced its former Economy Class seats with a new version incorporating leather headrests and flexible side panels, “which can be adjusted vertically for optimum support”.
The airline states this is an even better version that on its latest Boeing 777-300ERs.
This latest seat model is a step up from the version currently installed on Emirates’ Boeing 777 Gamechanger aircraft. It is lighter, without compromising on comfort or function. Each seat features a classy wood grain finish on tray tables, as well as a 13.3” personal screen to enjoy Emirates’ award-winning ice.Emirates
It’s great to see the much-anticipated Emirates Premium Economy seat “in the flesh”, given the many rumours about which product the airline had chosen surfacing over recent months.
It’s still not a product we particularly value (industry-wide), and you still can’t book or redeem it on Emirates flights, but for those who appreciate the option it certainly looks to be among the better options out there, including a 2-inch legroom benefit over the Singapore Airlines version.
In other cabins Emirates has brought the finish right up to date with the latest spec found on its new Boeing 777-300ER (and in some cases 777-200LR) aircraft, but has stopped short of installing the new fully-enclosed Suites, which now look unlikely to make it on to the carrier’s superjumbos.
What do you think of Emirates’ latest Airbus A380 cabin products? Let us know in the comments section below.
(Cover Photo: Emirates)