Emirates New Premium Economy – What You Need To Know

Emirates is the worlds largest operator of A380 aircraft. The airline, which operates one of the world’s longest flights, is looking to add a Premium Economy offering. Founded in 1985, Emirates based in Dubai now operates a fleet of 256 A380 and B777 aircraft, and 1 executive A320. The airline has a further 216 Airbus and Boeing aircraft on order, in addition to 40 B787s.

Emirates President Confirms Premium Economy

Back in May, the President of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark, confirmed the news in the airline’s podcast. Clark told listeners how the airline has already planned the specifications of the new class, stating “we know exactly what we are going to do, where we are going to place these seats… which zones and how we are going to design the product.”

BA Premium
British Airways Premium Economy features leg rests making the seats into a “lazy Z” shape.
Photo: Nick Morrish/British Airways

Premium economy is becoming a staple of long haul flights. It is the perfect class for the airline to make a little more from holiday makers who want to treat themselves, but not fork out for the lie flat seats in business class. Typically premium economy includes slightly larger seats than an airline’s economy offering. In addition, there is usually better service and food options. For example, in economy on British Airways food is served in a foil tray. Customers seated in premium economy receive their meals on china plates.

“It Will Be Special”

While making his comments to the podcast, Clark said “it will be an Emirates Premium Economy, so it will be special.” While very few details about the offering have been released, being an Emirates product it is unlikely to be poor. On its website, Emirates markets their economy offering as “feeling like an upgrade”. The premium economy cabin will be a quieter and more comfortable space, with dedicated washrooms.

JAL Premium Seat
Japan Airlines currently offers “Lazy Z” seats in some of its Premium Economy cabins. Photo: Japan Airlines

The airline is set to introduce bespoke “sleeperette” seating, as opposed to stock seating used by most airlines. Clark is quoted as saying “we’re trying to trade people up from economy, not down from business.” With this in mind the new seating won’t be “too” comfortable. Clark was also quoted as saying  “it’s probably where business class used to be”. They will be “something like lazy-Z”.

A380s First

The first aircraft to receive the new Premium Economy seats will be the new A380 aircraft Emirates is waiting to receive from Airbus. Clark said “I think we will start certainly [with] the airplanes we have ordered. The latest A380s, the first six of which come in 2020. We will be installing premium economy into those.”

Emirates A380
The first aircraft to receive premium economy will be new A380 aircraft delivered. Photo: Emirates

The premium A380s will come with both a 3 and 4 class configuration. Their first class seating is Emirates’ flagship product. Currently the entire main deck of the Emirates A380 is occupied with economy seats, while the upper deck is reserved for First and Business passengers. Emirates has however converted a number of its existing A380 aircraft to a two class configuration, replacing first with more economy seats. On two class A380s the premium economy cabin will be located on the upper deck. In contrast on 4 class A380s the premium cabin will be located at the front of the main deck.

No details are currently available as to which routes the aircraft will operate, however, Airbus will deliver the first aircraft in 2020.