Premium economy has finally arrived at Emirates - but it might be a while before many of us get to fly it.

Emirates receives latest A380, featuring premium economy

After years of teasing a new cabin, Emirates has taken delivery of a new A380 featuring premium economy - and it looks pretty good.

An Emirates A380 at London Heathrow

Emirates received its latest super jumbo from Airbus’ Hamburg facility last week and has five more due to arrive by 2022. All those A380s will feature the new premium economy cabin, as will some Boeing 777X aircraft due to join the fleet in 2023.

The airline says it is “considering” plans to retrofit its A380 fleet with the new cabin - which is installed on just one aircraft right now.

Emirates premium economy cabin consists of 56 seats in a 2-4-2 cabin layout. The seat may look familiar as it’s the same Recaro PL3530 seat offered by China Southern and by Vistara on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Here’s what you can expect in the Emirates premium economy cabin, located at the front of the main deck:

  • Seats with up to 40-inches of pitch, 19.5 inches wide and a recline of eight inches. Emirates promises “ample room to stretch out”
  • A 13.3” TV screen, which the airlines claims is one of the largest in its class
  • Seats covered in cream leather and wood panel finishing similar to the decor in business class
  • Six-way adjustable headrests, calf rests and footrests
  • In-seat charging points, a wide dining table and side cocktail table
  • Two lavatories dedicated to premium economy customers
Emirates A380 premium economy
Emirates A380 premium economy
Emirates A380 premium economy
Emirates A380 premium economy

While the new cabin looks smart, one downside comes to mind immediately. Going forwards, it’ll be trickier to jump from economy to business class as there’ll be a middle cabin in between.

Friends of mine flying Emirates between the UK and Australia would often buy the cheapest economy tickets, knowing they would more than likely get an email offering a discounted price to upgrade to business.

Finally, keep in mind that it will be some time before any premium economy tickets go on sale. Emirates president Sir Tim Clark says:

“Until we have a viable number of seats in our inventory to bring to market, we plan to offer the Emirates premium economy experience as a complimentary upgrade to valued customers. We’ll also deploy our newest A380 aircraft on various routes so that our customers can experience our latest offering in all classes.”

You can take a look around the new cabin in this video:

Emirates refreshes other A380 cabins

As well as the introduction of premium economy, Emirates’ new A380 features updated cabins across the board.

In first class, the 14 private suites are now slightly wider and feature taller doors for extra privacy. Cabin finishes have also been refreshed with new motifs and colours, from the sweeping stairs that lead from the main deck to the upper deck, and there are new fittings in the Shower Spa.

Emirates A380 Shower Spa

Emirates has retained its A380 business class seats, which are set in a 1-2-1 format (unlike the inferior Boeing 777 business cabin where seats are 2-3-2) and offer direct aisle access for every passenger.

All 76 seats have been refreshed to feature champagne-coloured leather covers and wood finishing, inspired “by executive jets”.

Emirates A380 business class

The same classic colour scheme has also been applied to the Onboard Lounge at the back of the upper deck, available for first and business class passengers.

Emirates A380 Lounge

In economy, all 338 seats on the newest A380 have been replaced with ergonomically designed seats that come with full leather headrests and flexible side panels which can be adjusted vertically for optimum support.

According to Emirates, each economy seat features a “classy” wood grain finish on tray tables, as well as a 13.3” personal screen.

Emirates A380 economy class

Summing up

Emirates has finally taken delivery of an aircraft with a premium economy cabin, which is currently only available on a single A380.

The finishes look pretty smart, and the new cabin looks a good choice for shorter flights. If you’re planning to score an upgrade from economy to business, just keep in mind there’ll soon be an extra cabin to contend with.

As well as introducing premium economy on its new A380, Emirates has also refreshed its first, business class and economy seats.

What do you make of Emirates’ new premium economy cabin?