Why We’re Excited For Emirates’ New Premium Economy Cabin

They’ve resisted the trend for quite a while now, but Emirates will start rolling out premium economy class seating on some of its aircraft from 2020. In what is a case of getting onboard or missing the flight, the Dubai based airline will start installing the seats in its A380s, Boeing 777-300ERs, and A350s.

The A380 will be the first Emirates aircraft to feature premium economy seating. Photo: Emirates.

We’ll see the new premium economy seats first on the new A380s being delivered next year. Emirates reckons its premium economy cabin won’t be run of the mill premium economy; it will be “special.” Emirates CEO, Tim Clark, has said it will be like the business class cabins of yesteryear, before business class went all lie-flat seats, sliding doors, and 1-2-1 configs.

Why we’re excited at Simple Flying about this?

Premium economy makes for a great compromise between economy class and expensive lie-flat seats. The cabin option really comes to the fore when you have to pay for the seats yourself and wince at the going rate for a long haul business class seat.

And these seats look set to be pretty comfortable. Tim Clark says they will have a 10” recline, cradle the legs and feet, be wider than standard economy seats and have more legroom. It’s a good option for daytime flights when you don’t necessarily need a lie flat-bed.

Premium economy seating will also be rolled out across Emirates fleet of 777-300ERs. Photo: Emirates.

The Emirates boss says the food and drinks service will be a step up from what’s on offer in economy class with more personalized service.

Here at Simple Flying, we’ve speculated that Emirates might be choosing the HAECO Eclipse seat. The launch customer for this seat was “an as-yet-unnamed Middle East-based airline.” It looks like a pretty decent seat too. HAECO Cabin Solutions President, Doug Rasmussen, said;

“We saw an opportunity to develop a premium product for an emerging new class between premium economy and business class seating that would be appreciated both by passengers and airlines.

“The unique advantages of the Eclipse seat, together with the integrated cabin, can create up to a 14% increase in PAX within the same cabin space.

The new HAECO Eclipse seat. Could this be Emirates’ new premium economy? Photo: HAECO

The seats will be installed across three aircraft types

The new premium economy cabin will be rolled out on new A380s that are coming into service in 2020. It will be a proper cabin – and a substantial one. On the A380, Mr Clark has speculated there may be up to 56 premium economy seats. On A380s with first-class, the premium economy cabins will be at the front of the lower deck. On A380s sans first class, the premium economy cabin will be on the upper deck.

Emirates ordered a swag of A350-900s this week which will also feature premium economy. Photo: Emirates.

We’ll also see the premium economy seats being added to the existing fleet of Airbus A380s, 777-300ERs and the 50 A350-900 XWBs Emirates just signed off on yesterday at the Dubai Air Show. That constitutes the bulk of the Emirates fleet. Despite being a late starter, the airline is well and truly getting on the premium economy bandwagon. If they are the launch customer of the HAECO Eclipse seat and simultaneously getting the fare pricing right, they will have a very compelling product. 

Simple Flying has approached Emirates about a timeline for rolling out its premium economy seats but hasn’t heard back prior to publication