Emirates A380 premium economy to Sydney, London, Paris from August 1

The Gulf carrier is set to upgrade passenger comfort on flights from Sydney all the way through to London and Paris.

By David Flynn, May 10 2022
Emirates A380 premium economy to Sydney, London, Paris from August 1

Emirates will begin flying its new premium economy sleeperette seats to Sydney from August 1, marking the first Australian destination for the four-class A380 superjumbo, with London and Paris also seeing premium economy flights from the same date, while Christchurch will follow in December.

The superjumbos will sport 56 premium economy seats at the front of the lower deck, in its own cabin seperate from economy class, across seven rows of a 2-4-2 layout.

Emirates premium economy cabin.
Emirates premium economy cabin.

Seat pitch – which is a reliable if not perfect stand-in for legroom and comfort – is around 38 inches for most rows (around the same as premium economy on for most airlines)  with an extra two inches to stretch out in the front row, so there's definitely less squeeze around the knees compared to economy class.

Emirates premium economy.
Emirates premium economy.

The seat’s cradle-like design sees the wide legrest swing up to keep your legs elevated, with a footrest in front to set the sleep-friendly stage.

“It's probably where business class used to be, and in some cases where first used to be in the old days, 30 years ago,” Emirates President Sir Tim Clark has previously told Executive Traveller. 

Adding to your comfort on the 14-hour trek between Sydney and Dubai will be a seat width of 19.5” (49.5cm) with an 8” (20cm) recline and padded six-way adjustable headrest.

Emirates premium economy seat.
Emirates premium economy seat.

Meals from the special premium economy menu are served on a wide table, with a separate side cocktail table for holding drinks or snacks.

Emirates premium economy cocktail table.
Emirates premium economy cocktail table.

You’ll also find USB-A and USB-C ports nestled away below the 13.3" seatback video screen, with one universal AC power socket shared between every two seats.

The seats and cabin sport a similar colour scheme to Emirates’ latest business class, which has also been refreshed on the newly-delivered A380s, with the seats clad in cream-coloured anti-stain leather with stitching details and wood-effect panel finishing.

Premium economy passengers will be served meals “incorporating elements inspired by business class" including

  • “a welcome drink in fine glassware"
  • “a selection of generous meals made with seasonal ingredients and regional influences will be served on chinaware, accompanied by stainless steel cutlery wrapped in linen napkin"
  • a drinks menu with “a selection of beverages including premium wines and a sparkling Chandon wine", with liqueurs and chocolates available after meals

On board, passengers will also have exclusive access to three lavatories at the front of the premium economy cabin.

Executive Traveller understands Emirates will open the sale of its premium economy seats from June 1. Only six A380s currently sport the highly sought-after cabin “but our intention is to offer this experience to many more markets across our network” says Clark.

Emirates will begin a retrofit program to install premium economy onto 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s in November.

Of the three Gulf airlines, Emirates is the only one to have adopted premium economy, with Etihad and Qatar Airways opting for variations on the ‘economy plus’ formula of pairing their standard economy seats with greater legroom.

Other airlines offering premium economy between Sydney and London include Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways.

sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 743

This is the way to go, Thank you Emirates.

Eli
Eli

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 106

I agree. This will be HUGE for them! I like the idea alot!

'fully cradle the legs and feet', hope not like the QF 787....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 116

If any I’ve flown on the SQ has the best (not bulkhead). The calf rest lines up well with the foot rest that folds out. Combined with the width and the armrest height it is the most comfortable IMO.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 365

Yet to see a PE product live up to the hype. Let’s see if this is the first...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

14 Mar 2017

Total posts 158

Have you flown Virgin's PE?

Rav
Rav

18 Aug 2017

Total posts 40

AirNZ had it and it was really good but got rid of it because it was too good and too close to business

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 168

No NZ got rid of it because it hadn't been subjected to rigorous testing before installation. The Spaceseat needed an additional row, but this put them too close together for comfort so it was removed. Furthermore it was far too heavy, resulting in aircraft flying lower than desirable for several hours until fuel was burnt off to allow it to reach full cruising altitude. It had nothing to do with attracting passengers from business, it had everything to do with a small airline doing bespoke seat design without adequate testing.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Apr 2015

Total posts 12

Whatever the reason, AirNZ got rid of truly the BEST seats in the air ... better in many ways than their own Business Class. Oh well, there are always other airlines with better PE seats !!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1087

I have always thought that if a seat can be designed that lifts and raises the legs, it will be a gamechanger for Premium Economy. If your legs are raised, you sleep more easily; you don't have to be fully reclined.


The question is, how do you achieve this in the limited space available for a W class seat which is realistically no more than 40" X 19"? As QF has found with the 787, an attempt to improve comfort (in QF's case via seat recline) can have knock-on effects that end up making the whole package less successful.


Eli
Eli

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 106

If anyone remembers the BA cradle J seat the early 90s. That would be great.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1087

It was a very comfortable seat but was set at about 50" pitch which is not viable in W.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 408

You're not serious, that was such an uncomfortable darn seat

18 Oct 2015

Total posts 33

Surely the bench mark for PE would be at least a 42 inch pitch. I hope they learn some lessons from the Qantas attempt.

JKH
JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 150

It’s taken them long enough. The concepts sound very promising. Let’s hope it lives up to what Clarke is boasting about and then it will be a game-changer in its class.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 181

Nothing he describes seems to be a particularly radical departure from existing PE today on other carriers.


And the statement "most of the seats that we have today are our own designs built to our specifications" seems a bit foolish - given none of their business class or economy hard products are particularly special, and some are plain awful (like the 777 2-3-2 business class and 3-4-3 economy class).

In the past, Tim Clark has talked down US carriers like Delta; but at least their 777 product to Australia has 1-2-1 business class and 3-3-3 economy config!

Proof will be in the pudding.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

24 Feb 2016

Total posts 18

I mentioned similar sentiments on this site when Emirates first started talking about their Premium Economy plans. Expecting a lot of spin, but if their B777 Economy and Business Class layouts is their idea of industry leading, I expect this will be underwhelming.

11 Nov 2017

Total posts 8

Just so long as they get rid of that stupid fold up footrest that makes the seat overall length too short for anyone over 5'2".

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Feb 2017

Total posts 14

ANZ's PE product is the best IMHO. All Mr. Clark has to do is copy it. Simple! 41" pitch 9" recline & 19.3" seat width & you can rest easy. It's not rocket science.

iM
iM

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2016

Total posts 55

ANZ PE is very ordinary. Leg rest all wrong unless you’re sub 5’5”. Much prefer QF Dreamliner despite the foot restriction. At least the leg rest/footrest actually work for taller people.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 603

What about JAL's 42inch pitch

Flew SYD-NRT_HEL return JAL PE...it was great. The only problem the armrests don't lift, and on a sparsely populated flight HEL-NRT- I was jealous of all the Economy passengers stretched out and sleeping on the 4 middle seats! Poor man's business class!

JKH
JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 150

EK has been incredibly slow on the uptake with a PE product. It’ll take ages to roll out and a long time to retrofit those a/c marked for it.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 225

Virgin Australia’s PE is the way to go >40in pitch, + J catering.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

14 Mar 2017

Total posts 158

I get as much sleep on in PE to LA as I do in J on Virgin. About 6 hours.

Velocity

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 22

Really hope they nail this - PE could use someone to change the game. Just did VA PE over from Melbourne to LAX and while the cabin & service was excellent - the premium seat was a struggle to get comfortable in, thanks to those awful t-bars that come out from the seat in front. Will be watching Emirates VERY closely for my next European jaunt!

China Airlines - Dynasty Flyer

22 Sep 2012

Total posts 78

In the last 1 yr I have always flown PE with CI or CZ. CI has a better design but I don't really sleep much better than regular economy. When the Seat is fully slid forward my legs are still squashed with very little space. The foot rest is only good for people shorter than 170cms (I am 183cms). Now I don't want to be overly negative because I think it is heading in the right direction but I feel a couple of extra inches or able to lift the front of the chair up to allow cradle plus it also means your body can zigzag a little to fit in the same space. PE seating will get better with time.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2015

Total posts 29

This has been a long time coming for Emirates and a great idea - it's the one thing that has put me off flying with them recently and I bet the seat and service will be will be amazing as I personally think their economy (which I flew two years ago) was by far and away the best economy seat (on an A380) of any airline I've ever flown. On the subject of the Qantas 787 Premium Economy - don't knock it till you've tried it - I flew Perth - London in Aug and it was fantastic. I was actually dreading it but the seat for me, my partner and other passengers around us was simply superb. It looks small but once you are settled in it was so very comfortable. As you recline the seat base tips up cradle fashion and you legs go OVER the leg rest supporting your calves and your feet go into the net and you lay back with excellent back support and that great pillow. I slept solid for 7.5 hours and woke up without a twinge with every part of my body supported - truly rested and relaxed. I had even managed to turn over onto my side as I can't sleep on my back or upright. This was everything the seat was designed to do and for me it delivered - it was worth every penny !(And no I don't work for Qantas !) :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Jan 2018

Total posts 7

Im sorry , but this from an airline that thinks its new 2.2.2 business class product is world's best, based on its current business products it will be rubbish.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 387

If it's a 'railway style sleeperette', then EK ought be looking at how the then South Australian and Victorian Railways designed the AJ first class sitting cars on 'The Overland' (Adelaide to Melbourne) from the 1950s. These seats had full extenders (and a much greater pitch than airlines' W class) and were an absolute pleasure to travel in. So easy to sleep. Unfortunately when the private owner took over this train, these cars were withdrawn. Too heavy for an airline design (far more padding and steel) but a terrific way to travel.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Apr 2015

Total posts 12

Yes I remember them .... OK until they overbooked the train and put on a carriage that truly felt like it came out of the Wild West. Kind of like booking Business and winding up in the middle seat of 5 in Cattle (and they've run out of ALL of your meal choices :-)

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 387

The other feature was that 'railway style sleeperettes' would typically either not have an armrest between two seats, or an armrest able to be fully raised, no longer getting in one's way.

 
This had the advantage that if the other seat wasn't in use, a passenger could stretch across the two wide seats. I made many a journey on 'The Overland' at night when whether travelling from Spencer Street or Adelaide station (not Keswick) or joining at an intermediate station like Nhill in the middle of the night, it was immediately possible to stretch across as well as out. And sleep arguably comes more easily in a darkened car (carriage) than on a plane: less light intrusion and fewer individuals moving around.
 
Unfortunately every aircraft W class design I've come across has huge fixed armrests with IFE and/or tray tables in them, so one can't push them back into the seat. This is a key reason why PE is for me a waste of money: it's either business or economy, no unsatisfactory halfway house.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 603

Personally I prefer F

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Mar 2022

Total posts 2

Hopefully this becomes standard on SYD-DXB flights, at least for a given flight number / departure time. 

With corporate policy being the first few initial flights each year "Y only", I'd happily pay myself to upgrade for the 14.5 hour leg.

10 Apr 2022

Total posts 2

ideal for couples the twin seats which you don't find in all a380s

about the space.......will see

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 114

  1. If EK wishes to attract full time devotees, then put some seriousness into their new product. It looks great -Yes, but for the comfort factor, lets put the pitch at 45 inches, have the seats at 2x2x2 and stop the penny pinching. At nearly $6000 return AU to UK, give the customer something they will yearn to come back for. This is where QF fell over with it's 789 PE attempt - Pitch at a tight 38 inches, feet caught up in a fishing net and jammed up under the seat in front and having the neighbor climb over you just to get out of their seat on these current and planned 14 to 20 hr flights. Lets put some focus on comfort and well being. PE passengers are happy to pay the right fare for a right product.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Nov 2012

Total posts 25

An extra few inches seat pitch can make a lot of difference. When Thai flew A345s I flew PE class LAX-BKK. Seat pitch was 42", I'm 193cm, and the seat was was very comfortable for a flight that took (from memory) about 17 hours. The generous seat pitch (36" in Economy!) probably didn't stack up as a business case for Thai because they stopped flying the route soon afterwards, but it was very comfortable for me. 

Eli
Eli

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 106

PE out of the US, but two of these come to Australia:

VS - looks and style over the function of the seat. ..not great for sleeping. Great FA's, blah food. 

AA - VERY comfortable seat with lots of padding, I was shocked.  Slept 6 hours solid.  Horrible Y food, uncaring FA's who treated the cabin like it was the first 3 rows of Y.

UA - VERY uncomfortable seat, which is a shame.  Limited padding made for a sore body upon arrival.  FA's were lovely, and the food was really good. (shocking).  If they just add extra padding like AA (same seat) then they have a true winner.

CPB
CPB

26 Apr 2022

Total posts 2

Sadly 38" pitch is too short for people 6ft and over.  For real benefit is needs to be 40".
When the front seat reclines your knees and smashed

11 Sep 2018

Total posts 11

From a maintenance engineer's perspective a non-patterned light coloured leather chair would be a cleaner's worst nightmare, these will be so prone to dirt/marks it'll look dated after a year.

There's a reason aircraft interior designers go for darker, patterned seats to hide this. Aircraft aren't overly clean places and the less dirt that shows up the better.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Emirates A380 premium economy to Sydney, London, Paris from August 1