Flying the new Emirates Premium Economy

Emirates is launching their new Premium Economy, currently only available on selected A380 aircraft (Dubai, Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Heathrow, Sydney and Christchurch). Promising a higher level of comfort and relaxation with more space and a premium dining experience surrounded by a sophisticated cabin interior… Industry chatter suggests that from November, Emirates will start retrofitting the Premium Economy cabins into more of their A380’s and Boeing 777’s.

Like many, this was my first holiday in nearly three years due to the pandemic and oh my gosh, I could not wait to get away.  This holiday to Dubai had been cancelled twice, so I couldn’t believe my luck when booking our seats for our return journey, to see that we were going to be some of the first to be flying onboard the new Emirates A380 Dubai to London Heathrow which has been fitted out with the new Emirates Premium Economy cabin. Lady luck, good things come to those who wait… call it what you will, I was booking Premium Economy home and no one was going to stop me!

Is it worth it?

In short, a very easy yes! Emirates Premium Economy is absolutely worth it… it cost us an additional £180 per seat on top of our standard Economy fare and quite possibly the best £180 I have ever spent just to sit on my backside (it didn’t go numb once).

On a four-class Emirates A380, the Premium Economy cabin is located at the front of the main deck with 56 seats laid out in 2-4-2 configuration, with the upper deck still being exclusive to Business and First Class Passengers, Premium Economy might not hold the same notoriety but you still get to sit at the front!

My initial thought when entering the cabin was ‘WOW’… the design has certainly been thought through and oozes comfort and luxury. 

The Seats

Although the seats are not quite a flatbed, they are very cream and soft and leathery and you get a lot more space than standard Economy, with a seat pitch of 40” and width of 19.5” there is plenty of wiggle room (my 11 year old daughter can vouch for that).  For additional comfort you also get to enjoy calf rests and footrests, allowing you to stretch out and this really did make a huge difference to my comfort.

The New Emirates Premium Economy

You also benefit from in-seat charging points, small side table (big enough to seat two rather lovely cocktails, one for you and one for your companion) and window blinds that open and close with the simple touch of a button, which my husband took great pleasure in pressing A LOT. Conveniently tucked away in your arm rest is your ‘dining table’ which folds out and folds out again depending on your need for it. I actually really liked this design concept, by not being attached to the seat in front of you it completely eradicated the constant need to pre-empt every move your flying companion seated in front of you was to make, no more unexpected jolts causing your drinks to slop or even spill.

Inflight Entertainment

The inflight entertainment was great, very easy to navigate. You had a choice of looking through the onboard shopping magazine digitally, take your pick from 500 films and tv programmes (the perfect opportunity to binge watch your favourite series) or follow your flight progress with the Inflight airshow where you can track your flight, view the world from external cameras, check the weather and news etc or connect your phone and listen to your own podcasts and playlists. Depending on what Skywards tear you are on will depend if you have to pay for the Wi-Fi but for the majority of passengers that are Emirates Skywards members they will get unlimited chat – use of WhatsApp, Messenger and other text services for free. You can opt to upgrade your Wi-Fi access for an additional fee unless of course your are a Skywards Silver or Gold member when you will receive the upgraded Wi-Fi for free.

Emirates Inflight Entertainment


This is where things were not quite as anticipated.  I had read that Premium Economy passengers would be welcomed onboard with a complimentary drink in fine glassware and meals would be served on chinaware, accompanied by stainless steel cutlery wrapped in a beautifully white linen napkin (cue the dreamy fluffy clouds), unfortunately this was not our experience.  Don’t get me wrong, the food and drink were fine but it was presented in exactly the same way as our outbound flight flying economy.  So, I am afraid that I can neither confirm nor deny whether we were just unlucky or if in fact the dining experience is not an upgraded experience to that of standard Economy.


The little touches always make a much bigger difference, so to be able to enjoy the comfort of a nice soft pillow and a warm fluffy blanket when you are 40,000 feet in the air, is a much-appreciated addition and Emirates delivered on both.  I was also a little bit too excited about the new Premium Economy washrooms (toilets) which were surprisingly spacious and fitted out with The White Company toiletries.

Could anything be improved on?

In summary, our whole experience flying with Emirates was fantastic and we had absolutely no complaints at all. But… yes there is always a but, the only point that I think could be improved on would be their onboard allergy policy, a rather contentious subject I know and will garner views from all sides but in my personal experience and opinion I do think when a passenger has severe allergies (in our case nuts) then these shouldn’t be served onboard a flight and meal options should be available that contain no nuts. We were told to take our own food as they couldn’t confidently offer anything knowing it was nut free but hey, no epi-pens where needed on this adventure so all is well that ends well!

Would I fly Emirates Premium Economy again? Is it hot in Dubai? Yes, I would absolutely fly Emirates Premium Economy, I would fly Emirates standard Economy again.  It was a great experience from start to finish.

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