Emirates Premium Economy added to the A380; Business & First Class refreshed

It has been a conversation for long, but finally, it has come to fruition. Emirates first talked publicly about its Premium Economy product in 2018. Since then, there was radio silence about the new product.

Emirates received its first A380 aircraft with the new Premium Economy installed earlier on in the last week of 2020. Its remaining order of 5 A380s will also be delivered with premium economy cabins over 2021 and 2022. Emirates’ premium economy seats will also be installed on some of its Boeing 777X aircraft which will join the fleet in 2023 (postponed from 2022 earlier)

a woman standing in a plane

Emirates Premium Economy

Emirates premium economy cabin on the A380 will offer 56 seats in a 2-4-2 cabin layout. Emirates has chosen the Recaro PL3530 premium economy seat, which is the same seat that Vistara has installed on their new 787-9 aircraft.

With a pitch of up to 40-inches, Emirates’ premium economy seat is 19.5 inches wide and reclines 8 inches into a cradle position with ample room to stretch out. Covered in cream-coloured anti-stain leather with stitching details and a wood panel finishing similar to Business Class, each seat is designed to provide optimal comfort and support with 6-way adjustable headrests, calf rests and footrests.

a seat with a black and white design on it

a table on a chair

a seat and arm rest of a chair

Each seat has a 13.3” screen, one of the largest in its class, to enjoy the array of music, movies, TV, news and other content on Emirates’ award-winning ice. Customers will also find easily accessible in-seat charging points, an expansive dining table and side cocktail table.

a group of people standing in an airplane

Emirates Premium Economy is located at the front of the main (lower) deck, with three lavatories dedicated to customers.

Here is a video on the Emirates Premium Economy seat.

Premium Economy won’t be immediately bookable on the new aircraft, however. Emirates top boss, Sir Tim Clark suggested that

“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.”

First Class: even more privacy and luxury

On this latest Emirates A380, the airline’s 14 First Class private suites have been enhanced from the original suites, slightly wider with taller doors, for more privacy and comfort.

Cabin detail and finishes have also been refreshed with new motifs and colours, from the sweeping stairs that lead from the main deck to the upper deck, to refreshed design trims and modern fittings in the Shower Spa.

a bathroom with a sink and shower

Business Class: new luxury finishes

Emirates has retained its A380 Business Class seats which offer direct aisle access for every passenger, reclines to a fully-flat position, and offers personal minibars, ample personal storage and a high degree of privacy.

All 76 seats have been refreshed to feature champagne-coloured leather covers and wood finishing, similar to the Business Class on Emirates’ Boeing 777 Gamechanger aircraft.

a seat with a pillow and a screen on the back

The same classic colour scheme has also been applied to the Onboard Lounge at the back of the upper deck for First and Business Class passengers.

a man standing behind a bar in an airplane

Economy: gamechanger seats

Emirates has replaced Economy seats onboard its newest A380 with ergonomically designed seats with full leather headrests and flexible side panels that can be adjusted vertically for optimum support.

a group of people standing in an airplane

This latest seat model is a step up from the version currently installed on Emirates’ Boeing 777 Gamechanger aircraft. It is lighter, without compromising on comfort or function. Each seat features a classy wood grain finish on tray tables, as well as a 13.3” personal screen to enjoy Emirates’ IFE.

a row of seats with monitors on them

Refreshed cabin interiors

Throughout the Emirates A380 interior, customers will see new finishes and design touches featuring the Ghaf tree motif and the clean and airy champagne colour scheme with wood panelling and bronze accents from Emirates’ latest Boeing 777 Gamechanger interiors. An indigenous evergreen plant, the Ghaf is considered the United Arab Emirates’ national tree and has deep cultural and ecological significance.


The new Emirates premium economy seat is a welcome addition to the Emirates offering. However, it won’t be in widespread circulation in the days ahead. Emirates is still assessing if it wants to retrofit the A380 fleet with the new Premium Economy cabins.

This move is right from the perspective that you will finally see lighter and more modern colours on Emirates aircraft. However, it will also be more cabin inconsistency on Emirates, which will only have the new cabin on only six jets in the coming years to start. This is still a step up in the world of Middle-East airlines, none of which had a Premium Economy product so far over the years.

What do you think of the new Emirates Premium Economy product?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. For sure the EK A380s will not fly with full passenger loads so soon.. it makes sense to upgrade the comfort at the expense of the overall number of seats attracting thus more customers…

  2. EK I have flown more than 15 years + . I have seen they are leaders in airlines industry. I am sure Economy plus is going to be a winner.
    I am more impressed with their customers service.
    I had a platinum status and seen how competitive they are. For me value for my money.

  3. One thing is for certain . . . this cabin motif is in much better taste than the garish gold faux-opulence design in the current aircraft. Much more appealing.

  4. I have flown EK a number of times over the years and have never been disappointed. The new Premium Class appears better than first class in US carriers ! I get the inconstancy with the cabins however there are a lot of inconsistencies throughout the airlines given what has happened to us “last” year. I think EK will continue the 380 but in a more limited usage as they transition to the more efficient planes.

    If there is one airline I miss flying on its EK.

    • Certainly Premium Class is as good as “First Class” in US short hauls, but is basically the same class of product as EK’s international competitors’ Economy Plus. I find EK a mixed bag – better than many, not as good as some – but do find many of their J cabins to be well behind the average reverse herringbone, without universal window/aisle access and akin to the sort of thing that you will still find on UA’s and TK’s oldest aircraft but which is beaten by every other cabin of all its US and Asian competitors. If I were EK and if I had money to throw around – neither of which alas is true – I would focus on refitting all the J class cabins in its old 777 configuration . . . the plane which will be its workhorse into the future and is on some of its longest routes.

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