Review: Emirates Premium Economy – What To Expect


Emirates’ president has confirmed that Emirates will be introducing Premium Economy throughout its fleet within the next 18 months

The pattern of launching a Premium Economy comes as the gap between Economy and Business Class grows. Take United Airlines as an example. They are combining their Global First (First Class) offering with their BusinessFirst (Business Class) to offer a single United Polaris Business Cabin which will be better than their original Business Class cabin but not quite as elitist as their current Global First (all be it with a newer and with a better thought-out Polaris seat). If you read our review of the current United Polaris Business you can see that the new Polaris Business Seat is a great deal better than the older BusinessFirst seat. Like other airlines, the gap between Economy which is now delivering seats in horrific 11 across cabins and Business Class continues to expand.

What To Expect From Emirates Premium Economy?

Emirates partners with Qantas for many of its routes and Qantas already offers Premium Economy on its Airbus A380 flights. It makes sense for Emirates to go ahead with a similar Premium Economy product. Equally, one can look to other Premium Economy offerings such as British Airways premium economy (pictured above) which I fly on a regular basis, or airlines such as American Airlines and Delta Airlines who are also launching a premium economy service to get an idea of what will be on offer.

Expect a separate, dedicated check-in counter as well as priority boarding. Seats should be more private and wider than in Economy with multiway adjustable headrests. There should be much more legroom and room to recline than in economy along with small, intimate cabins with more attentive service. The food offering should also be better and you can expect a full bar service as well as a larger free baggage allowance.

Update 8 June 2018: The carrier will introduce the seats on all of its new A380 and 777s from 2020 and plans to retrofit the seats onto some aircraft already in its fleet. A380s will have about 56 such seats in the front of the bottom deck of the aircraft while the 777s will have between 26 and 28.

Emirate’s new Premium Economy seats, or “sleeperettes”, will have a pitch of about 38 inches, up to 6 inches more than the current economy product, and will come with better service and food and a private toilet. Emirates spokespeople say there will also be nicer food and tableware, a larger entertainment screen, a fancier amenities kit, and occasionally, a more generous baggage allowance.

Of course, being Emirates, the offering will be glitzier (see my review of Emirates First Class to see how glitzy they go!), with more gold and colors than more traditional airlines, but the offering should be comparable.

Whatever Emirates does Etihad, Qatar Airways are likely to follow, so look forward to Premium Economy on all three airlines.

How much will Premium Economy Cost on Emirates?

Premium Economy usually costs between 1.5 and 2 times the cost of Economy. So a £500 GBP return flight London to Dubai in Economy is likely to cost around £1,000 – £1500 GBP in Premium Economy.

The Future

Emirates actually feels that they have underestimated the demand for Premium Economy, which has better food, recline, and space. Remember as you can now pay to enter the Emirates lounges so if you are traveling in Premium Economy, you can pay to access their lounges pre-departure.

In October 2016 I actually flew Emirates Business Class from London Heathrow to Cape Town via Dubai. The first leg of the journey from London Heathrow to Dubai was on an Emirates A380 and the second leg from Dubai to Cape Town on Emirates Boeing 777-300. Emirates also features in our top 10 best airlines for longhaul business class and we have also previously reviewed the Emirates business class on the Boeing 777 and business class on Emirates A380 along with Emirates in First Class.