Emirates is working to upgrade its economy-class seating and in-flight entertainment systems to make long-haul flights more comfortable and has ruled out plans for an 11-abreast configuration on its A380s, says president Tim Clark.
"Economy is a question of trying to get better ergonomics out of the seat design and try to enhance the comfort levels at the same time as take weight out of the seats," he said on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in Doha, Qatar.
He said Airbus had put forward the prospect of squeezing 11 passengers abreast in A380 aircraft that currently cater for 10, but that option was no longer under consideration by Emirates.
"It puts a middle seat in the five arrangement which is not very attractive," Mr Clark said. "Imagine you've got a problem and you have to keep on getting out and going to the loo."
He said Emirates was looking to improve its in-flight entertainment to offer 14-inch (35cm) screens in economy class with more than 2000 films on board, as well as boosting the food and service offering.
Mr Clark also said Emirates had found on some routes – particularly to the United States – it would be impossible to fit 600 or 700 passengers on A380s that now have seating for around 500.
"When you fly into the US, everybody takes two large suitcases," he said. "When you have got 500, I have got to get 1000 suitcases, but that means we can't take any freight even if we have got the structural weight to take it because all of the containers are taken up with passenger bags. If you went to 600-700 seats and you were trying to fly the New York operation you wouldn't be able to fit the bags in."
Emirates is also considering improvements in its luxury offering, following the introduction of Etihad Airways's three-room "The Residence" on the A380.
Mr Clark said he was pleased Etihad had been able to certify the product because Emirates had made earlier attempts that had fallen foul of regulators or would have required cameras in the private residences, invading the privacy of passengers.
The reporter travelled to Qatar as a guest of IATA and Qantas