Business & Premium Classes

What to Know About Emirates Premium Economy

By
Rebecca Holland
|
Freelance Writer
Emirates plane landing.
April 27, 2022
|
7 min read

Emirates premium economy is considered one of the best premium offerings in the business. It features large, comfortable seats with luxe details like wood paneling, a six-way adjustable headrest, and a cocktail tray table. It offers comparable seat size, leg room and a similar reclining distance to other leading premium economy airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and British Airways. Some of those airlines offer premium economy passengers their business class amenity kit and serve meals on real dishware, while Emirates offers the regular economy amenity kit and regular economy dining experience. Emirates is the only Middle Eastern airline with a premium economy option. 

What to know about Emirates premium economy

Emirates Premium Economy is available on Airbus A380 flights between Dubai and Paris and Dubai and New York. In December 2022, the airline will launch premium economy on additional A380s and Boeing 777s, to have 111 total aircraft with the option flying routes to Frankfurt, London, New York and Paris. 

Emirates is currently updating its premium economy service, and this guide will be updated periodically to reflect any changes. 

How Emirates premium economy compares to regular economy 

Premium Economy seats have a pitch of about 38 inches, compared to 34 inches in regular economy. Seats are also wider––19.5 inches compared to 18 inches. While regular economy seating follows a 3-4-3 layout, premium economy seats are laid out in rows of 2-4-2. Seats recline eight inches and there is a padded calf rest that can pop up at the front of the seat, as well as a metal foot rest. The winged leather headrests adjust six ways, compared to only adjusting on the sides in regular economy. Dining and entertainment options remain the same between both cabins, as does the welcome kit. 

Emirates economy

How Emirates premium economy compares to business class 

Aesthetically, Emirates premium economy looks more similar to business class than to regular economy. It features the same cream colored leather seating and polished wood tray tables, as well as a small cocktail table built into the armrest. The main tray table is 16 inches wide and 10 inches long, large enough to fit most laptops. Window shades in premium economy have a wood grain paneling (unlike plastic in regular economy) and are electronic. Throughout the cabin you’ll see motifs of the ghaf tree (the national tree of the UAE), which you’ll also see in some business class cabins. 

The main differences are that the seats do not lie flat, as they do in business, and there is less storage space than in business. The dining options and level of service in business class are superior, featuring real silverware, more meal options, higher-end beverages, and more dedicated service. The welcome kits on business class feature designer amenities such as lip balm and lotion, while the kits on premium economy are the same as regular economy and include a toothbrush, socks, ear plugs and an eye mask. There is also no lounge access included with premium economy, while there is for business. 

Examples of previous deals we've found on Emirates

graphic that says get 90% off business class flights

The Emirates premium economy experience at the airport 

Lounge access

Emirates premium economy does not include lounge access 

Emirates premium economy check-in

There is no designated check-in area for premium economy, but premium economy ticket holders do get priority boarding (after business, before regular economy).

Baggage allowance

The baggage allowance remains the same as regular economy: two items up to 50 pounds each for international flights between the UAE and US.

The Emirates premium economy experience in the air

Emirates premium economy seats

Emirates premium economy seats.
  • 777: Emirates plans to launch 24 premium economy seats per aircraft on select 777s by the end of 2022. 
  • A380: There are 56 premium economy seats on the lower deck front cabin of A380 flights, configured in a 2-4-2 set up. They are a plush cream leather, 19.5-inches wide with a eight-inch recline, cushioned calf rests, a metal foot rest, and a 38-inch pitch. Note that window seats are not flush with the walls, so resting your head is not possible. 

Benefits

Comfort is the most obvious reason to book premium economy over regular economy. The seats are larger, there’s more legroom, a bigger pitch, and the six-way adjustable headrests and pop-up footrests make it easier to get some sleep. If you use your laptop on long flights, you’ll appreciate the larger tray tables and additional cocktail table to hold your beverage while working. The section of the plane also looks more luxe, with cream colored leather seating and wood paneling.

Emirates premium economy meals

Dining is the same as Emirates regular economy, featuring multi-course meals and snacks. Generally, there are a range of options, from Italian to Indian and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes. Meals come with fruit, salad, crackers and cheese and a dessert. 

Alcohol

Like in economy, wine, beer and spirits, including Beefeater, Bacardi, Dewar’s, Jack Daniel’s Cointreau and more are available at no extra charge. Champagne is available for a fee.

How to book Emirates premium economy

How much does it cost for a premium economy ticket on Emirates? 

Premium economy can only be booked as an upgrade on economy tickets, for around $400. 

How to upgrade to premium economy of Emirates for free

Because Emirates is not currently accepting miles for premium economy upgrades, free upgrades are random and depend on the flight. If there is extra space on a flight or if your flight is delayed or there is another mishap, flight attendants might upgrade you for free as a courtesy. 

How much does it cost to upgrade to premium economy on Emirates? 

Upgrades to premium economy from New York to Dubai (the only route currently offering the service from the U.S.) cost about $400. 

How many miles to upgrade to Emirates premium economy? 

Emirates is not currently offering upgrades to premium economy via miles. 

Summary

Emirates premium economy is one of the nicest premium economy options on the market. The seats are significantly more comfortable than regular economy. If you’re taking a long-haul flight, the addition of the calf and foot rest, along with the deeper recline, is very helpful for getting sleep. That said, dining options and amenities remain the same as regular economy, so if you are not hoping to sleep the extra fee may not feel worth it. 

More resources for flying in premium economy and business class

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Frequently asked questions about Emirates premium economy

What does Emirates premium economy include?

Emirates premium economy includes a seat in the premium economy section of the aircraft, which has more comfortable, larger seats, more legroom, and small touches like electric windows and additional storage.

Do you get lounge access with Emirates premium economy?

No, lounge access in not included with Emirates premium economy.

Is food served in premium economy on Emirates?

Yes. Dining options in premium economy are the same as regular economy.

How many checked bags do you get in Emirates premium economy?

For flights between the UAE and the US, Emirates allows two pieces of baggage up to 50 pounds each.

What are the best seats in Emirates premium economy?

Seats in the first few rows of premium economy are closer to the cockpit and lavatories, so if light bothers you select seats farther back. On the other hand, they are the most convenient if you get up often during flights. The purser’s office is built into the staircase on A380s, across from seat 34C, which could bother some passengers. The bulkhead seats provide the most legroom, but also have the most crew walking past to use the stairs. The last row is near exit doors and crew jump seats.

Last Updated 
April 27, 2022
What to Know About Emirates Premium Economy
Rebecca Holland
Freelance Writer

Rebecca is a freelance travel and food writer who has lived around the Middle East for the past decade, in Jordan, Iraq, and now Dubai. She wants everyone to visit this part of the world for the history, hospitality, and especially the food! She writes for AFAR, Food & Wine, The Guardian, and more, and is the founder of Curiosity Magazine.

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