Emirates Airbus A380 premium economy class finally coming to Australia

Emirates will finally bring its premium economy class to Australia from August this year.

The premium economy seats will be available to book on the airline's Sydney-Dubai route on board an Airbus A380 from June 1 for travel from August 1, following surging demand.

The carrier will initially be rolling out the new premium economy cabins on four A380 routes from Dubai, including Sydney, London, Paris and Christchurch.

Emirates first unveiled its new premium economy cabin early last year on its Dubai-London route, initially offering the seats as a "discretionary" upgrade to important customers.

Emirates divisional vice president for Australasia Barry Brown said the introduction of the premium economy seats to the Sydney service is "a game changer for Australia".

"We're seeing strong sustained booking momentum as more Australians travel overseas for the first time in two years, with many now getting the chance to experience our premium economy first hand," said Brown.

The airline currently has six A380s equipped with premium economy, with plans to commence an 18-month retrofit program to install the new cabin on 67 Airbus A380s and 53 Boeing 777s from November 2022.

Emirates Airline president Sir Tim Clark said that at the end of the program, Emirates will have 126 aircraft with premium economy cabins, and updated interiors across other cabins.

"It is a major investment to ensure our customers continue to have the best experience in the sky," said Clark, who described the offering as "excellent value" for customers upgrading from economy.


"As with everything we do, Emirates premium economy will be exceptional in its class, with minute attention given to every aspect of the customer experience," he said.

"Since we first introduced our premium economy seats in January 2021, the positive response and demand has been tremendous."

The A380 premium economy cabin features 56 seats laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration, each with a six-way adjustable headrest, seat pitch (legroom) of 40 inches (102 cm), a width of 19.5 inches (50 cm), and a recline of eight inches (20 cm).

The seats additionally feature calf rests and footrests, in-seat charging points, a side cocktail table and large 13.3 inch (34 cm) screens, while aspects of the premium economy seat design take cues from aspects of the business class cabins, including wood panelling and cream-coloured leather seats.

Dining will also incorporate elements inspired by business class, including a welcome drink in fine glassware, meals made with seasonal ingredients and served on chinaware with stainless steel cutlery wrapped in linen napkins, and a selection of premium wines and sparkling Chandon.

Emirates is a late adopter of premium economy. Some airline chiefs have been reluctant to install the class fearing lucrative business class travellers would downgrade to the cheaper option.

Qantas became the first airline in our region to introduce premium economy back in 2008.

Meanwhile, Etihad on Tuesday unveiled its new sustainable, upgraded economy offering, featuring eco-friendly soft furnishings and tableware, set to debut on board later this year.

The enhanced cabin experience will include a larger pillow with a 200 thread-count cotton cover, reusable tableware made from recycled plastic and stainless-steel cutlery. Meal trays and serving containers will also be produced from materials that can be broken down and reused at the end of their lifecycle.

See also: No, I will not switch plane seats with you, because you're thoughtless

See also: Airline review: Perfect score for Emirates A380 business class