Emirates has put a date on when they will be launching their new premium economy cabin… November 2020. Whilst the actual launch day or specific aircraft is not yet known, plenty of other details about this long-anticipated cabin have been leaked.
What are the details?
According to Flight Global, Emirates plans to start rolling out its new premium economy on its Airbus A380 fleet in November 2020.
Emirates is no longer ordering new A380 airframes from Airbus, having transferred its outstanding orders over to the Airbus A350 (and has not ruled out the possibility of buying the A330neo) but does expect a few new A380 aircraft to be delivered over the next few years.
As such, whilst they have decided not to retrofit their A380 with the new first-class suites, they are still installing the more simple premium economy seats onboard. These don’t require any special bulkheads or specific engineering (they can be swapped in by removing the much similar economy seats).
But this should not be a sign that Emirates is giving up on the A380. On the contrary, they expect to still be operating over 100 by 2035 at the least.
“We have aircraft coming out as their [operating] leases end, or when their financial leases end if they are wholly owned.” Emirates Airline president Tim Clark said to Flight Global.
“…So when we’ve got the life out of the aircraft that we had planned – in fact we’re extending them by a couple of years…”
What do we know about Emirates’ premium economy so far?
Emirates is planning to roll out a new premium economy product that is ‘like business class 30 years ago’.
The reason is as business class got more fancy with lie-flat beds, not only did the gap between business and economy grow but so did the price.
What used to be a small upgrade has now ballooned into a bigger cost that has even turned off Emirates’ existing high-end customers… business travelers!
As such, the airline needs a class in between a narrow 32-inches-of-pitch economy and the luxury that is sleeping flat at 42,000 feet.
Enter the premium economy cabin. This is designed to have some of the soft product of business class combined with the hard product from economy.
Emirates take on this cabin may feature:
- 38 inches of legroom plus a more recline.
- A bigger entertainment screen
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Higher quality meals and drinks (perhaps even access to the business class wine list)
- More luggage
- A private cabin away from the economy cabin.
“A degree of exclusivity… and not just a curtain, it’ll be a proper cabin. We’re aiming to make it a quiet zone, a comfortable zone.” spoke Tim Clark to Executive Traveller.
It will not, however, have lie-flat seats, or private seats in a shell. Essentially, Emirates doesn’t want to make the class so good that passengers would start ‘downgrading’ from business simply to save money.
“Once you do a fixed shell you’re ending up in business class (territory) if you’re not careful, and we’re trying to trade people up from economy, not down from business.”
The new premium economy will also be rolled out on Emirates Boeing 777-300ER (and eventually 777X aircraft) after the A380. The seats will be taking the place of some economy seats, with no change to business class availability.
What do you think about this new premium economy cabin? Will you be flying in it? Let us know in the comments!