More than 160,000 passengers decided to trade up from Economy to enjoy Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin in its first full year of revenue service, the Dubai-based airline announced on Tuesday.
Emirates’ long-serving President, Sir Tim Clarke, had been reluctant to install Premium Economy for fear that it would cannibalise demand for the airline’s money-making Business Class, but the airline has found the reverse to be true.
Emirates’ Premium Economy has proven overwhelmingly popular with passengers who would ordinarily sit in Economy Class, and a spokesperson said on Tuesday that strong demand momentum was forecast to continue in the coming months.
Although Sir Tim reluctantly relented to his opposition to Premium Economy in late 2020 when Emirates officially unveiled the new cabin, it took some time for the airline to install the seat on enough aircraft to actually start selling it as Premium Economy.
After realising that people were “clamouring” to upgrade from Economy to sit in Premium Economy, Emirates drew up plans to aggressively install the cabin across its fleet, and the cabin is now available on flights to 11 destinations.
By the end of the year, the Premium Economy network will have grown by two more cities.
At present, only 20 aircraft have a Premium Economy cabin stalled, but Emirates has plans to have the seat available on 53 Boeing 777s and at least 67 Airbus A380s by mid-2024.
On the A380, the 56-seat Premium Economy cabin is laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration with two dedicated lavatories at the front of the cabin. The Recaro manufactured seats have been customised with cream-coloured anti-stain leather upholstery and wood panel touches similar to Emirates’ existing Business Class seats.
The seats measure 19.5 inches wide and come with a 13.3-inch seatback screen, up to 40 inches of pitch, and a six-way adjustable headrest.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.