A first look inside Emirates' new Premium Economy cabins: From leather seats to larger screens

The Dubai airline is offering free upgrades to travellers flying on its first superjumbo with the new class of cabin

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Emirates' latest A380 aircraft has landed in Dubai, fitted with the airline's new Premium Economy cabin.

The superjumbo arrived from Germany last week and is the first of six aircraft to be delivered with Premium Economy cabins.

Travellers with coming journeys on an Emirates superjumbo could find themselves on a double-decker jet with four classes of cabin: First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy.

The new Premium Economy cabin is at the front of the main lower deck of the plane.

Emirates Airline unveils Premium Economy plus enhancements across all cabins

Emirates Airline unveils Premium Economy plus enhancements across all cabins

Fares for the seats and details on where and when the new A380 aircraft will be operating have not yet been released.

In fact, until a later date, travellers cannot book Premium Economy seats. Instead, Emirates is offering complimentary upgrades to passengers flying in Economy.

"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," said Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline.

"We’ll also deploy our newest A380 aircraft on various routes so that our customers can experience our latest offering in all classes.

"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."

The airline previously said that ticket prices in the new class of travel would be set well below Business class fares.

Cradle-style seating and wider chairs

Premium Economy seats have a generous recline, but are not fully lie-flat. Courtesy Emirates

The Premium Economy cabin has 56 seats set up in a 2-4-2 layout.

Each seat is ergonomically designed and comes with a pitch of up to 100 centimetres, which is between 15cm and 20 cm more than standard Economy seats. The seats are also wider at 50cm.

All seats are upholstered in cream leather with wood panelling, creating a similar vibe to Emirates's Business class.

Travellers flying Premium Economy will not be able to lie flat, but there's a good 20cm of recline to allow people to rest in a cradle position. Each seat also has a six-way adjustable headrest, calf rests and footrests.

There's also easily accessible in-seat charging points, storage, in-arm dining tables and a side table ideal for storing drinks.

Extra bathrooms and larger screens

Emirates' Premium Economy seats come with the largest entertainment screens in the class of travel, but the airline has also upgraded its Economy cabin so that all passengers have a 13.3-inch personal screen

For in-flight entertainment, travellers will have the largest screen in the sky in a Premium Economy cabin. At 33cm, personal screens are available for all travellers to enjoy more than 1,500 in-flight movies. But this isn't a perk exclusive to Premium Economy flyers, as Emirates has also upgraded its Economy cabin so that all passengers have at least a 33cm screen.

Where Premium Economy travellers will see an advantage is when it comes to bathroom breaks. The new cabin has two bathrooms exclusively for those flying in that class. With a maximum of 56 travellers, that's a much better passenger-to-toilet ratio than in the average A380 Economy class cabin, where about 40 passengers typically share one bathroom.

No details have been released on what food and beverage options are available in Premium Economy and whether they will differ from those offered in Economy.

Emirates is set to receive five more Airbus A380s fitted with Premium Economy cabins throughout 2021 and 2022. Premium Economy seats are also set to be installed on some of the airline's Boeing 777X aircraft, due to join the fleet in 2023.

Emirates is also considering plans to retrofit its existing A380 fleet.