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EMIRATES: NEW A380s – Premium economy and other updates

EMIRATES: NEW A380s – Premium economy and other updates

Announced yesterday, Emirates has taken delivery of its first ‘new’ A380 with revised new cabin design including the much speculated, and long overdue Premium Economy Cabin.

Emirates is very late to the party on taking up the world wide move of international airlines to Premium Economy cabins. Initially dismissing the idea, as just being a way of canibalising business class, Emirates is now the only Gulf based airline to have the cabin. However when they will start offering Premium Economy for sale is quite another question.

Emirates has also taken this opportunity to refresh the design of other cabin catagories as well, inline with the softer ‘cream’ aesthetic introduced with their new First class cabins in the 777. Unfortunately these fully enclosed luxury spaces are not a feature of the new A380 interior design.

“The Emirates A380 is already one of the most sought-after travel experiences in the skies, and now we’ve made it even better. While others cut back, Emirates is working hard to restore the products and services that we’ve had to suspend or adjust due to pandemic precautions, and introduce new offerings and enhancements. True to our fly better promise, Emirates continues to invest to offer our customers the best possible experience.”

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline

This is the first of 6 – 5 more to come with the Premium cabin between 2021 and 2022. The premium seats will also be installed in the 777X – which has had its delivery delayed until 2023.

Premium Economy Cabin

Emirates will place 56 seats in a 2-4-2 cabin layout at the front of the main cabin, along with 3 dedicated toilets.

Pitch is 40″, seat width is 19.5 inches, with an 8″ recline into a cradle position with headrests, calf rests and foot rests. The look has changed with the ‘quilted’ cream coloured leather. The wood paneling reflects that in business class. Screens are a fairly big 13.3″

First Class

You won’t get the latest fully enclosed suites, like on the 777s here. There are 14 First Class private suites a little wider and with taller doors and with the new finishes. The design of the Shower Spa has also been refreshed.

Business Class

This is largely the same with 76 seats with champagne-coloured leather covers, but with direct aisle access for every passenger. The lounge accessible for Business and First passengers has also been refreshed.


New, ergonomically designed seats here too with leather headrests adjustable vertically. Emirates claims the seat is lighter, but doesn’t compromise comfort of function. We’ll be the judge of that!


The rest of the cabin has had a general refresh, using the indigenous evergreen plant, the Ghaf, considered the national tree of the United Arab Emirates as the inspiration and motif for the interior design.

2PAXfly Takeout

The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.

It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.

This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.

I’m not a big fan of Emirates design aesthetic. I could leave it there, but what the hell, I think the mixture of faux wood and bling is borderline offensive. This new look, looks like someone tried to calm the offending beast, but failed. Still, Emirates cabins deliver a lot of desireable features, from the excellent ICE entertainment system, through to the seatside bar in Business. However the look requires the delicate drape of a tissue a-la Maggie Thatcher over the tail featuring the British Airways multicultural designs.

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