The Emirates Airbus A380 is always a highlight at the Dubai Airshow, and this year, the aircraft had something a little different to offer. Emirates brought along one of its newest A380s, A6-EVQ, featuring the new premium economy cabin launched just under a year ago. Naturally, Simple Flying jumped at the chance to have a look around the aircraft.
As mentioned, A6-EVQ is one of the younger Airbus A380s in Emirates’ colossal fleet of the giant. Since its delivery flight on October 7th, the jet has already flown to Paris, London, Vienna, and Frankfurt. On November 11th, the plane completed an hour-long flight down to the Al Maktoum International Airport, also known as Dubai World Central (DWC).
Entering in economy
Boarding the aircraft took place from the exit row behind the wing, the fourth exit on the main deck of the plane. There, ‘passengers’ were greeted by a pair of Emirates flight attendants, along with ten abreast seating in a 3-4-3 configuration. Onboard the newer four-class cabin jets, there are 338 economy seats.
When Emirates revealed its new premium economy cabin, the airline also revealed that the whole cabin of the aircraft would be getting a makeover, not just the new fourth cabin. The economy seats onboard, typically accessed by a jet bridge to the second entrance, are spruced up. They are based on the seats installed in the airlines’ ‘gamechanger’ Boeing 777 aircraft but have been upgraded to include full leather headrests, a wood effect tray table, and a 13.3-inch IFE screen.
Up the stairs to the bar
Passengers will seldom be able to use the rear spiral staircase on Emirates’ Airbus A380s, as only business and first class passengers are eligible to use the bar. This is why it feels so special using it, even if the aircraft is on the ground.
Climbing the staircase takes you to a corridor past a crew rest area. Past this, passengers arrive in the onboard bar. On the new four-class aircraft, the bar has been spruced up to feature champagne-colored seating. On the right of the plane is a coffee table that will seat four. Meanwhile, on the left is a booth that will also sit four at a slightly higher table. Each day, the bar and other aircraft areas are decorated with freshly picked flowers such as orchids.
A range of refreshments can be whipped up at the bar, ranging from spirits to long drinks and cocktails. Of course, non-alcoholic beverages are also on offer. Emirates will soon be auctioning off the bar taken from its first Airbus A380.
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A refreshed business class cabin
Ahead of the bar is the business class cabin. Onboard this particular aircraft, it consists of 76 seats. The seats retain the champagne upholstery of the onboard bar, carrying these forwards. Tied with wood finishings, the cabin is intended to reflect the look and feel of a private jet.
The seats are staggered in a 1-2-1 layout, meaning that every passenger has direct aisle access. This means one window seat will be right by the window, while the one in front will have a table between the seat and the window but no divider from the aisle. The same is the case in the middle seats. The rows alternate between the middle seats being together and separated by tables.
Each seat can change into a lie-flat bed and offers a personal mini-bar, perfect for when you’re thirsty but don’t fancy walking to the bar or waiting for a drink to be brought over by a flight attendant.
First – where the magic happens
The first class cabin is really where the party is at onboard the Emirates Airbus A380. 14 first class suites are spread in a 1-2-1 pattern. There is no overlap between the suites, unlike business class, where somebody else’s feet are in a box near your head.
The seats have a vast high-definition display, a hidden motorized bar, a cosmetic tray with hidden mirrors, and much more. Each of the suites has a fully closing door to ensure the comfort of the passengers inside, along with motorized window blinds. Passengers can use a tablet to control the inflight entertainment system, and of course, the seating positions are also controlled by buttons.
The highlight of the Emirates first class cabin is hidden behind a couple of doors at the very front of the cabin. The aircraft’s enormous washrooms are more akin to a private bathroom in the skies. Not only is there ample space to move around and change, but the restrooms also include a luxury sink area. We still haven’t mentioned the best bit, though.
You’ll need the space to get changed before you step into the shower at the rear of the room. A relative oddity in an aircraft, the showers are set on a timer. Unfortunately, tall people may have to crouch down slightly to shower effectively. Given the taper of the fuselage at the front of the jet, there wasn’t really enough room to stand up straight as a 6ft 3in individual.
What about premium economy
Emirates saved the newest cabin for last when showing off its latest Airbus A380 cabin configuration. Step down the main staircase at the front of the jet, and you’ll find yourself at the front of the brand new premium economy cabin, which took to the skies less than a year ago.
The cabin consists of 56 seats, with a slightly less dense arrangement than the main economy cabin. Two seats have been removed from each row to give an eight abreast layout of 2-4-2. The seats are 19.5 inches wide and have a pitch of 40 inches.
The seats are made from stain-proof cream leather and also have the wood panel finish found in the business class cabin. A six-way adjustable headrest accompanies calf and footrests.
Last week Simple Flying revealed that Emirates will begin marketing the new premium economy cabin in June 2022. The airline is set to roll out the new cabin on a vast number of aircraft over the coming years.
Want to read what it’s like to travel in the premium economy cabin? Please keep a lookout for our written flight review coming later this week.
What is your favorite cabin onboard the Emirates four-class Airbus A380? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!