When Etihad first announced its new Residence product 18 months ago, Emirates announced they were also introducing a new top end first class product, akin to ‘a railroad car’. We may finally see what that is in 2017.
However when Emirates wants to move quickly they certainly can. Back in September the airline’s CEO Tim Clark said they were considering it. And now it’s happening.
“It has advanced,” Clark said, responding to a question from ATW at the Aviation Club in London on Dec. 7. “We are at the stage of finding what form it will take.”
Clark said the project will involve “quite a big upheaval” to adapt the 250 aircraft that Emirates already operates, as well as those scheduled for delivery.
Emirates Airbus A380
Emirates expects to be offering premium economy within 18 months. There no word at this point what the product will look like, or what other changes they’ll make to cabin configurations at the same time they retrofit their aircraft to offer it.
Some might argue they already offer premium economy, only they call it business class. Emirates offers an angled business class on its Boeing 777 aircraft. Only their A380s have fully flat seats. They’re introducing a new flat business class seat on new 777s, but not retrofitting existing ones.
American Airlines Premium Economy
It’s been a mainstay of European airlines like Air France, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic for years. And several Asian airlines offer it, such as EVA Air, Cathay Pacific and more recently Singapore Airlines. Singapore’s upgrades from premium economy to business class are an outstanding value.
The product varies from being more or less just a bigger seat akin to US domestic first class, to a premium offering which sees Singapore providing champagne and pre-order meal service.