Emirates unveils ritzy new premium economy cabin and more aboard the A380

Dec 30, 2020

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Emirates has unveiled its new A380 cabin, complete with a long-awaited premium economy product and improvements to its other seats. While none of them are particularly extravagant, they’re undoubtedly designed to give Emirates a competitive edge when demand for travel returns in 2021. The airline is offering a refreshed cabin with new finishes and a uniform color palette. Here’s everything you can expect to see on board the Emirates A380.

Economy class

Emirates’ A380 economy cabin is getting ergonomically designed seats for extra comfort. The seats are lighter and equipped with wood-grain tray tables, in line with its premium cabin seats.

Emirates refreshed a380 economy class
(Photo courtesy of Emirates)

Premium economy

Emirates’ premium economy cabin will be configured in a 2-4-2 layout, with 56 seats. The product is quite impressive, with 19.5″-wide leather seats featuring 8” recline and 40” pitch. Each seat has a 6-way adjustable headrest, calf and footrest, along with a 13.3” ICE entertainment system. 

Emirates premium economy a380
(Photo courtesy of Emirates)

Overall, this product is pretty competitive with existing products offered by Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airlines. Emirates is the first Gulf carrier to offer a premium economy product, so it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of competing product (if anything) Qatar Airways and Etihad might offer in the future.

Emirates premium economy footrest
(Photo courtesy of Emirates)

Related: The top 5 premium-economy cabins in the sky

Business class

In some disappointing news, Emirates hasn’t made any major design changes to its business class product. Seats on the A380 will reupholster the existing seats to match the cream leather currently available on the 777. These aren’t the most innovative seats, largely due to a lack of privacy. Still, its upholstered seats are a cost-effective upgrade during a worldwide pandemic that has slowed down travel demand and revenue for Emirates.

Emirates business class a380 update
(Photo courtesy of Emirates)

First class

If you were hoping Emirates would replace their A380 first class with its acclaimed suites product, you might be disappointed. Instead, Emirates is refreshing the first-class cabin onboard the A380 to be slightly wider, with new finishes and taller doors. More privacy is always a good thing, especially for those traveling during the pandemic. While it would have been nice to see the First Class Suites rolled out on the A380, it’s not surprising that it isn’t.

Bottom line

While most of the changes introduced by Emirates aren’t groundbreaking, they’re still positive and will improve travel for most passengers onboard the A380. These upgrades are also fairly sensible, considering Emirates is reeling from a global economic downturn caused by the pandemic. With travel projected to rebound next year, these improvements will give Emirates a competitive edge without making a huge financial dent.

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