Emirates Is Debuting Its New Premium Economy Cabin in the U.S. for the First Time

U.S. travelers looking to add a little more comfort and glamour to their in-flight experience got a bit of good news this week: Emirates announced it will begin flying its brand new premium economy class to the U.S. for the first time in December. 

The Dubai-based airline, known for its opulent aircraft cabins and friendly flight crew, has been slowly rolling out its new premium economy cabin—which features spacious seats, calf-and-foot rests, and other perks—across its route network since early 2021. 

Now, Emirates premium economy service is being expanded to New York’s John F. Kennedy airport starting December 1. The cabin will be available on flights EK203 and EK204 between Dubai and JFK. Following the launch at JFK, the airline says it will make San Francisco International airport the second U.S. hub to have access to the seats, starting on flights between Dubai and SFO on February 15, 2023.

Emirates’ premium economy cabin uses similar design elements as its business class seats.

Courtesy Emirates

The expansion of Emirates premium economy class is part of a larger fleet refresh Emirates is undertaking, which will see 120 of its aircraft refurbished with updated interiors. The initiative includes adding more premium economy seats to its Airbus A380 planes—the double-decker superjumbo jet that only a handful of airlines still fly. 

Emirates’ premium economy cabins are located at the front of the main deck, or first level, of its A380s. The cabin has 56 seats set in a two-four-two layout. At each seat, travelers will find similar design elements as the airline’s iconic business-class cabin, like cream-colored leather and gleaming wood accents. The seats offer a roomy 40 inches of legroom pitch (for comparison some basic economy seats in the industry offer a measly 28 inches) and are 19.5 inches wide with eight inches of recline. Other features include a throw pillow, six-way adjustable headrest, calf-and-foot rests, and an in-flight entertainment screen measuring 13.3 inches wide, as well as a dining table with side cocktail table, and charging ports. 

Premium economy passengers also have access to a specialized in-flight dining menu, which always features a dish local to their destination, as well as selections from the business-class wine list not available in regular economy. A ticket in the cabin also affords perks at the airport, like a separate check-in desk, larger carry-on bag allowance, and free seat selection. 

For its first flights from JFK in December, roundtrip airfares to Dubai clock in at about $5,300 USD, before dipping to $3,190 later in January.

Over the last few months, the airline has been flying its premium economy seats to Paris, London, and Sydney. Emirates says feedback from customers “has been overwhelmingly positive with demand exceeding expectations.” In 2023, the carrier plans to bring the cabin class to routes serving Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand; Melbourne, Australia; and Singapore.

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