One of the most eagerly awaited announcements from major airline Emirates was the news of its premium economy offering.
The airline’s final six Airbus A380 aircraft were all delivered with the new class of seating and the Gulf carrier has detailed plans to retrofit 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s. In total, Dubai-based Emirates will therefore have 126 aircraft with premium economy.
The last-ever A380 to be produced, delivered in December 2021 to Emirates and with registration A6-EVS, was on display at the Berlin ILA Airshow in Germany. The A380 is a rare visitor to the German capital, because Emirates does not have regular landing rights for Berlin under the traffic agreement between Germany and the UAE.
Up close with an A380 engine at Berlin ILA 2022. Credit: Victoria Bryan
“It’s sad to know that an amazing aircraft will stop, but we will still have at least 15 years of flying them,” Captain Abdulrahman told AeroTime on board the aircraft on June 22, 2022. “It’s amazing to fly. You feel really proud to be flying it!”
It’s clear the pilots enjoy their seats up front, but what can passengers expect? AeroTime was invited inside for a look at the new premium economy cabin and the rest of the features on board the Emirates A380, including the famous onboard showers.
A step to business class?
The A380 premium economy cabin. Credit: Victoria Bryan
The A380 has an updated interior color scheme in cream and gold, bringing it into line with the carrier’s latest 777.
The premium economy section can be found at the front of the lower deck, just behind the flight deck, handy for those wishing to make a swift exit from the aircraft.
The superjumbo sports 56 premium economy seats, manufactured by Recaro, in a 2-4-2 configuration. Emirates says the leather seats offer pitch of up to 40 inches, are 19.5 inches wide, and recline 8 inches. The 8-inch recline is definitely more pronounced than in economy and you’d probably want to recline yourself should the person in front of you do so.
AeroTime tries out Emirates’ premium economy. Credit: Victoria Bryan
Captain Abdulrahman told AeroTime his top tip was to get a seat behind the bulkhead or in the very first row in order to maximize leg space even further. Once you have stretched out, you can of course find a movie to watch on the 13.3-inch screen, larger than those available in economy.
Credit: Victoria Bryan
Emirates also had a full mock-up of the food offering to show what passengers can expect when they fly, including salads, chicken, vegetables and cheese and crackers served on chinaware. Sadly, it was not for consumption, so AeroTime cannot comment on the quality!
Credit: Victoria Bryan
As Captain Abdulrahman put it, the premium economy cabin represents a good step from economy to business. Emirates representatives at the airshow proudly said some visitors had queried whether the premium economy was in fact business class.
The Emirates premium economy will be available on the final six A380s to be delivered on routes between Dubai and Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Heathrow and Sydney from August 1, 2022 with Christchurch, New Zealand to follow from December.
The tour of the A380 of course included the onboard bar, a look at business and first class and a trip down the cruiseliner-style staircase at the front of the aircraft.
But what about those first-class showers? Sadly, at around 7,000 euros for a ticket, this AeroTime reporter will not be flying first-class from Germany to Dubai any time soon. But I was allowed in, and the onboard shower is probably bigger than the showers many have at home.
The Emirates First Class shower spa. Credit: Victoria Bryan
However, if you enjoy a long shower, you will have to compromise. Passengers are allowed five minutes of water, with 25 minutes in the onboard “spa” in total, depending on how busy the cabin is.