What does it cost to fly Emirates in premium economy?

Bookings are open for flights on the Dubai airline's newest cabin for travel to London, Paris, Sydney and Christchurch

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Emirates has opened bookings for premium economy seats on flights to select destinations.

The Dubai airline is accepting reservations for travel in the new cabin class on flights to London, Paris, Sydney and Christchurch.

Operated via Emirates newest A380 superjumbos, the last of which the airline received in December, these routes are the first to have Emirates' newest cabin installed.

With luxurious seats and increased leg room, plus priority seating at the front of the double-decker, the new seats can be booked for travel from August 1 to France, the UK and Australia, and from December 1 for travellers flying with the airline to New Zealand.

Travellers booking Emirates's premium economy experience will have a dedicated check-in counter at Dubai International to cut down on waiting times. Photo: Emirates

But how much more is it going to cost you to fly in premium economy, than at the back of the plane?

The National analysed fares on all four routes where travellers can book premium economy seats and here's what we found.

Premium economy flights to London and Paris

Emirates's new premium economy cabin is laid out in a 2-4-2 formation, making it a good choice for those travelling in pairs. Photo: Emirates

Flying Emirates from Dubai to London Heathrow in August, when the route launches, the lowest priced one-way premium economy fare is Dh3,594.

Economy fares for the same route start from Dh1,517 one-way, meaning that travellers will have to fork out more than double the basic fare to fly in the new cabin class.

It will cost travellers just over two and a half times as much to fly business on the seven and a half-hour journey, as fares on the upper deck of the aircraft start from Dh9,654 for a one-way ticket.

To Paris in August, one-way fares from Dubai in Emirates’ newest cabin class start from Dh4,655. Bargain travellers can fly in economy from Dh2,014 meaning that it's again more than double the cost to upgrade.

Premium flyers travelling to France's capital will pay upwards of Dh11,162 in business class.

Upgrading on Emirates' long-haul flights: Dh150 an hour

Premium economy tickets on Emirates' long-haul flights offer the best value for money. Photo: Emirates Airlines

Compared to economy fares, premium economy tickets seem to be better value on Emirates longer flights.

On the nearly 14-hour flight from Dubai to Sydney, August fares in the newest class of cabin start from Dh7,858, while the lowest priced economy tickets for sale are Dh4,644, a difference of less than half the lower fare.

To fly business, the price is significantly more with fares starting from Dh18,910 for a one-way trip to the New South Wales capital.

Christchurch is the fourth destination where travellers flying Emirates will be able to book premium economy seats, with the service starting to New Zealand’s South Island on December 1.

Booking is open now and premium economy fares for the ultra-long haul trip start from Dh7,710, for a one-way flight in December.

The lowest economy fares on the same route start from Dh4,940, meaning travellers will pay an additional Dh2,770 to upgrade. With a journey time of just under 19 hours, this works out at around Dh150 extra per hour of travel, which is certainly cheaper when compared to flying the same class to Emirates' two European destinations.

On this route, flying premium economy is two and a half times cheaper than flying in business class where fares start from Dh19,710 for a one-way ticket.

Premium economy class is located towards the front of the lower deck of the A380 meaning travellers have priority when exiting the aircraft. Photo: Emirates

All of the above fares are correct at the time of writing but do fluctuate. They are also based on one-way flights, but return fares are typically slightly cheaper.

It also pays to check the various fares available for each class of travel for your preferred date as they can vary wildly.

For instance, flight EK412 on August 1 from Dubai to Sydney has economy fares starting from Dh7,020, while premium economy tickets start at just Dh7,990 meaning you could upgrade yourself for less than Dh1,000.

Is it worth booking premium economy fares with Emirates?

Travellers flying premium economy get a welcome drink on arrival, wider seats with extra legroom and an eight-inch recline. Photo: Emirates

When you book premium economy you get a wider seat that's 49.5 centimetres and has a 101.6cm pitch. Seats are leather and have adjustable cushioned leg rests. They don't lie-flat but can recline up to 20.3cm.

There’s also a six‑way adjustable headrest and seats are located towards the front of the A380, meaning you get priority when exiting the plane. Travellers also get bigger pillows than those handed out in economy class to help you get comfortable.

Like in business class, you'll get a welcome drink when you board. The meal service has been upgraded with multi-course menus and dishes served on china tableware with steel cutlery. Tray tables fold out of the armrest and you also get a small side table that’s handy for putting your drink on.

A man tests the recline on Emirates' new premium economy seats at the Emirates Airlines stand during the Arabian Travel Market fair in Dubai. EPA / Ali Haider

If you're travelling in a pair, premium economy on the A380 means you can sit together with anyone else invading your space as seats are laid out in a 2-4-2 formation. And with only 56 seats in the cabin, you can expect a more intimate level of service plus less queues for the bathroom.

You also get a dedicated check-in area at Dubai International airport, helping to cut down on waiting times.

Passengers booking Emirates's premium economy tickets will not get access to the airline's famed onboard bar or shower spas.  EPA / Ali Haider

What you don't get on premium economy is lie-flat seats, lounge access at airports, on-demand dining or access to Emirates' premium facilities, such as its on-board bar or showers.

Premium economy cabins are currently available on six A380 aircraft, but Emirates is in the process of retrofitting a further 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s.

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Updated: June 03, 2022, 5:46 AM
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