Oliver Broad
Emirates Premium Economy

New Emirates Premium Economy…

30.12.20 | Oliver

It has been a long time coming and finally Emirates have revealed their new Premium Economy seats. Here is our opinion on the latest new product from one of the world’s leading airlines.

Emirates always shied away from Premium Economy, instead focussing on a market-leading Economy, Business and First Class. They quickly became synonymous with luxury in the skies and other national airlines struggled to keep up. Instead, the competition focussed on enhancing their Premium Economy cabins with the likes of Air France, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and pioneer Eva Air all investing in premium and enhanced economy products, a more affordable way of innovating in the skies.

Emirates have over the past few years started to strip back their pricing structures of all cabins even seeing Business Class now offered without luggage and non-flexible options to offer more competitive fares. This is no doubt a reaction reaction to a very competitive market as fellow Middle Eastern carriers Qatar and Etihad begin to catch up with their own luxury airline products.

The jump in cost between Economy and Business Class is too much for many, even when Emirates strip out some optional extras. Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Air France have all offered Premium Economy for their long-haul routes connecting routes often in the competition with Emirates.

Emirates Premium Economy

Airline partnerships such as Qantas and Emirates who offer connectivity via Dubai to Australasia are also tricker to market when both airlines don’t offer the same classes of travel. It makes perfect sense therefore that Emirates launch a new Premium Economy cabin with many in the industry wondering why it wasn’t developed earlier. It seems they held out as long as they could and what better time to attract a positive news story but the back end of a global pandemic as travellers begin to think about their future travel plans and where they will fly to (and with which airline) once travel restrictions lift and the world re-opens.

Premium Economy will be rolled out on just six of the new Emirates A380’s, the first of which was delivered from Airbus’ Hamburg facility this week with the remainder due in 2021 and 2022. The seats will then also be introduced in 2023 onboard some of the Emirates new Boeing 777X aircraft.

Whilst we wait for the aircraft to all be delivered, Emirates plan to offer their Premium Economy seats as a complimentary upgrade to valued customers (no doubt their most frequent flyers), which means it could be some time yet before you can actually purchase a Premium Economy seat on Emirates.

Emirates Premium Economy in more detail…

  • 56 seats in a 2-4-2 cabin layout
  • Seat pitch of up to 40-inches
  • Seats are 19.5 inches wide
  • Reclines 8 inches into cradle position
  • Cream-coloured anti-stain leather with stitching details and a wood panel finishing similar to Business Class
  • 6-way adjustable headrests
  • Calf rests and footrests
  • 13.3” in-flight entertainment screen, one of the largest in its class
  • In-seat charging points
  • Wide dining table and side cocktail table
  • Located at the front of the main deck, with 3 lavatories dedicated to customers

How does this compare to other airlines Premium Economy?

The main attraction with premium is the extra legroom and extra comfort. From the photographs Emirates has released there is no doubt the seats look very luxurious and comfortable indeed. In terms of space, Emirates confirm ‘up to 40 inches’ legroom which suggests not all seats will receive this amount of legroom, but we would expect most will.  Other airlines offer around 38 inches (Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore, Qantas & Premium Economy launch airline Eva Air). There are some on the market however that will still beat Emirates new Premium Economy and they are Japan Airlines and Air New Zealand. However, if you take these two out of the mix, Emirates will be leading the pack and with their competing Middle Eastern carriers (Etihad & Qatar) not even having a Premium product they will no doubt benefit from the new cabin*. The seat width of 19.5 inches is generous and in line with the other widest premium economy seats offered by leading airlines.

*Etihad do offer ‘Economy Space’ which includes 36 inches of legroom but is not on part with a Premium Economy product.

As you can see from the photographs the seats look very comfortable and luxurious and whilst they haven’t offered any major innovations, they will no doubt be the new leader in premium economy flying.

Of course, we expect some extra frills that Emirates have become famous for and the general feel when walking onboard will no doubt be luxurious and special.

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