- Jonathan Chum
Emirates' premium economy cabin currently appears on the A380 and 777-300ER. It's a great option for travelers who want more room than coach but don't want to pay for business class. The experience is not quite as good as in first class or business, but it does offer all of the amenities you'd expect from Emirates' flagship product without any of the restrictions or rules that come with flying up front. Here's what you need to know about this "sweet spot" between economy and business class:
Emirates' premium economy cabin currently appears on the A380 and 777-300ER.
Emirates' premium economy cabin currently appears on the A380 and 777-300ER. It was introduced in 2011, and its seats are available in rows 10 and 11 on the A380, and rows 15 and 16 on the 777-300ER.
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How Emirates premium economy compares to regular economy
Emirates is known for its luxury services, but premium economy also comes with a few perks. You'll have more room and comfort than you would in regular economy. Here are some of the ways you can expect to be treated well in Emirates premium economy:
More legroom. The seat pitch in this section is 83 inches, which is over 6 inches more than standard economy. That means you have plenty of space to stretch out and relax during your flight---no need to worry about your knees knocking into that person next to you!
Better recline. Even though it's not as wide as business class (yep, it's only 9 inches), the recline on Emirates premium economy seats is still better than on most other airlines' first-class cabins (and many business-class ones too). The reason? There are two parts to each row: one long section where everyone sits and another narrow one behind them where their belongings go under their seats; since there's no other row behind them like there is in regular economy, these folks get a bit of extra space when they want it most: when relaxing at home or catching up on sleep after an overnight flight from Dubai International Airport (DXB).
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How Emirates premium economy compares to business class
Emirates premium economy is a step up from economy, but not quite as nice as business class. The difference between the two cabins is mostly about space and service:
In premium economy, you get access to all meals onboard (ahem, your evening meal) in addition to those that come with your ticket. That means you'll have dinner on board every time!
On an A380 flight of about four hours, premium economy starts at the front of the cabin by the door and stretches back toward where coach ends (the A380 has no coach seats). On a 777-300ER flight that's around eight hours long, it covers most of aisle 2 running from door 2L/R to exit 1L/R; however, it doesn't include any seats abreast at rows 9--11 or 17--19 because those are reserved for business class passengers.)
The Emirates premium economy experience at the airport
When you arrive at the airport, you can head to one of Emirates' three Premium Economy lounges --- one in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Doha. There are two types of lounges: a quiet zone for those looking for a place to relax, watch TV or work; and an activity zone with games and activities such as cooking classes and children's play areas. You can also find showers available for first class passengers, or enjoy a massage if you want to relax before your flight.
Once your flight lands, the transfer process is quick thanks to priority check-in counters at each airport (you'll need to show your boarding pass). In some cases you may be able to get through security immediately after arriving at the gate! If not, keep in mind that premium economy passengers have their own dedicated line --- so wear comfortable shoes if there's any chance of congestion during rush hour!
While you're traveling in Emirates Premium Economy, you will have access to airport lounges around the globe. Lounge access is not guaranteed, but it is available on most flights. If you want to confirm that your flight has a lounge prior to booking, make sure to check out our full list of lounges by destination.
When you arrive at the airport and head through security, look for signs pointing toward Concourse B or C where there are two separate lounges: The first is called The Wing and offers light snacks along with drinks; while the second location is called Walkabout and features more substantial meals (e.g., bacon sandwiches). You can also grab free WiFi here if it's available near your departure gate!
If you don't have time to go through the whole process at the airport (for example, if there's no room left), then don't worry --- lounge passes will be delivered directly into your inbox so that once again everything happens seamlessly without any human interaction required from end-to-end... you're welcome ;)
Emirates premium economy check-in
If you opt to check in online, it's a good idea to book yourself an appointment at the airport. Check-in opens 24 hours before departure and reservations can be made up until two hours before your flight departs. If you have a ticket for premium economy, then there is no need to do anything since this can be done at the gate. However, if you have a business class ticket (and therefore need to drop off or pick up someone else), then it may be worth dropping by an hour before departure so that they don't miss their flight due to long lines at security checkpoints or immigration groans.
At the end of your trip, you can check your baggage at the normal rate. Baggage allowance with Emirates Premium Economy is 20kg per passenger. In addition, each passenger is allowed to carry a free handbag or laptop bag that weighs up to 7kg. If you need more space and you're not traveling with an infant or toddler, then this section offers great value for those who want additional space but don't want to pay extra for it.
The second piece of 23kg will cost 100 USD per kg for any flights departing from Dubai or Abu Dhabi; if your journey does not include these two locations then there is no additional charge for the second piece of 23kg.
Emirates' 777s have 35 premium economy seats, while its A380s have 40.
Emirates Premium Economy is offered on all of the airline's 777 and A380 aircraft. The 777 has 35 premium economy seats, while the A380 has 40.
The A380 is a newer plane than the 777 and has more room overall, making it more comfortable for everyone onboard. It also comes with wifi access --- a big plus, since Emirates doesn't offer free wifi in economy class (and you'll have to pay extra if you want it). In contrast, there's no wifi available on any Emirates flight under ten hours long (which would include most transatlantic flights), so if you're planning to use this feature during your trip just remember that your phone will be useless during takeoff or landing!
The middle seats are the worst option in premium economy.
The middle seats in the premium economy cabin are not the best option. They have no privacy, are not as comfortable as window or aisle seats and have less storage space.
If you choose a middle seat, you'll have to share your armrest with another passenger. This can make it difficult to get comfortable during your flight and also means that you won't be able to put up your tray table while someone is sitting next to you. In addition, these seats don't recline at all so if your neighbor decides they want a nap after eating an entire meal before takeoff, they could end up with their face pressed into yours!
If there's anyone who still thinks they'd rather sit in the middle seat than an aisle or window one, consider this: Emirates has confirmed that it will add seat-back entertainment screens for its premium economy class as part of its refurbishment plans for 2020/2021 (and possibly sooner).
There's a lot of storage space in Emirates' premium economy.
When it comes to storage space, you'll be pleased with what you find in Emirates' premium economy. Storage spaces are located in the seat back, armrest, and side panels of each seat. Each passenger is given two pockets that can hold a laptop or tablet securely --- and they're lined with a soft material so your tech won't get damaged!
The amenity kits are good quality and reusable.
The amenity kits are good quality and reusable. They're a nice touch to the experience, and they definitely make you feel special. They're also a great example of how Emirates is trying to give you more for your money.
You can dine before you fly or during the flight.
You can dine before you fly or during the flight.
The Emirates Premium Economy menu has both breakfast, lunch and dinner options. There are vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free options on the menu as well as a wine list for those who want to add something special to their meal.
There's even more variety than meals: snacks are available if you need something small between meals.
There's Wi-Fi on every plane, but it's not free for premium economy passengers.
Emirates Premium Economy passengers can purchase Wi-Fi on board. It's available to purchase in bulk, but don't be fooled into thinking it will be cheaper than the free version for other classes of service.
Wi-Fi is free for first and business class passengers, but premium economy flyers have to pay for it. If you're traveling with someone else in your party who doesn't want to purchase Wi-Fi and doesn't mind using a hotspot on their phone, consider buying just one device for yourself so that you can connect both devices at once (which is much easier than switching back and forth).
Entertainment options are plentiful and impressive, especially on larger planes like the A380.
The entertainment options are plentiful and impressive, especially on larger planes like the A380. You can watch movies, TV shows, listen to music and games. You can also read books --- all on your own device. And if you're feeling particularly fancy, you can watch all of this on a seat-back screen that's about the size of an iPad pro.
Several airlines offer premium economy seats with extra legroom but Emirates is one of only two airlines in the world that have dedicated premium economy cabins (the other being Qantas). In fact, Emirates has four different types of premium economy seats: standard (on most Boeing 777s), flat bed (on Airbus A380s), semi flat bed (on Airbus A380s) and full flat bed (only available on Airbus A380s).
Premium economy is great for travelers who want more room than coach but don't want to pay for business class
Emirates Premium Economy is a great option for travelers who want more room than coach but don't want to pay for business class. With its extra legroom, larger seats, and access to first-class lounges, premium economy is a great way to get more space and comfort on long flights. It's also a good choice for people who want to save money by staying in the sky for just a little longer than they would otherwise have to do when flying coach.
If you're unsure whether this fare type will work best for your needs, consider what kind of traveler you are:
Emirates' premium economy cabin is a great choice for anyone who wants more room than coach but doesn't want to pay for business class. If you're flying from the U.S., you'll have access to some great amenities and services, including exclusive lounges at both JFK and LAX. You won't get a lie-flat bed or much more space than an economy seat, but if you don't need those things then this could be right up your alley!