Emirates introduces the world’s best premium economy in Melbourne. Here’s a look inside
After eight years of development, Emirates’ Premium Economy cabin has arrived in Melbourne and travelers are already ‘acting’ in large numbers.
On Wednesday, 7NEWS.com.au boarded one of the airline’s A380s to view the new 56-seat cabin and experience the quiet luxury on offer.
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The new seats are located at the front of the aircraft on the lower deck and, similar to Business and First Class, are in a separate cabin from Economy.
There’s ample legroom with foot and calf support, three in-cabin toilets, a 13.3-inch screen, a premium food and wine selection, and a six-way adjustable headrest.
“We’ve tried to make it as close as possible to a business class product but still call it premium economy,” Emirates Australasia vice-president Barry Brown said on Wednesday.
“I got into this business in the 70’s and if you had shown me this product back then I would have said it was close to some of the top notch products we were flying around with back then.
“If you showed it to me in the ’80s, I would have said it’s as good as any business class that’s in the air today … and well into the ’90s.”
Brown said since the introduction of Premium Economy fares in Sydney last year, sales immediately jumped to 90 per cent and have stayed there ever since.
Melbourne is the fifth city in the Emirates network to offer Premium Economy, after Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch and London.
Emirates Premium Economy has 56 cream leather seats in an ensuite cabin located forward on the main deck, arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration.
The seats have a seat pitch of up to 100 cm, are 50 cm wide and recline 20 cm into a cradle position – plus six-way adjustable headrests.
The ample lounger and calf and foot support are incredibly comfortable and would make all the difference when sleeping on board.
For comparison with the standard economy, the seats there are up to 83 cm apart and reclined by 15 cm.
Travelers who choose Premium Economy also receive sustainable blankets, a pillow and amenity kits that include socks, eye visors, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a bookmark on longer flights.
Queues for the toilet are also far less likely with three dedicated toilets for Premium Economy.
The cabin environment is decorated in a clean champagne color with walnut trim accents, and each guest can experience inflight entertainment on a 13.3-inch screen.
There’s also Bluetooth for personal headsets.
Dubai Airport has its own premium economy counter check-in desk, and they also have priority boarding.
Those who choose to fly in the new cabin also have a 35kg baggage allowance.
Those who opt for Premium Economy experience regionally inspired, generous gourmet menus.
Menus are updated monthly and there is a choice of main course, all dishes served on Royal Doulton china and linen napkins.
Upon boarding, customers are offered a glass of sparkling Chandon and there is a wide range of fine wines, spirits and beers to choose from.
Liqueurs and chocolates are served after the meal and complimentary Lavazza coffee, Dilmah tea and snacks are provided throughout the flight.
Based on booking a one-way flight from Melbourne to London via Dubai in October 2023, the new Premium Economy will cost you around US$2200.
The same one-way flight costs about $900 in standard economy and $4500 in business class.
In the peak European summer months of this year, the same flight from Melbourne would cost around US$2700 in premium economy compared to US$1200 in standard economy.
In January, during a visit to Australia, Emirates President Sir Tim Clark hosted a media roundtable and discussed the future of cabin interiors as Premium Economy is introduced.
He said seat comfort is also a big focus on any upgrades to their planes.
“Ultimately when you fly you want to sit down – most of all you want to lie down – and apart from quantum technology, which finally allows you to hologram yourself … you still have to sit down and go from A to B,” he said .
“So the trick is to find ways and means to improve this situation.
“Seating comfort is crucial. We work all the time to make it as good as possible.”
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