Emirates Launching Premium Economy in 12-18 Months

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 launched premium economy earlier this year on its Boeing 787-9 aircraft (though won’t begin to sell it until the new year). Delta will be introducing premium economy as well.

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I welcome this. I have flown EK four r/t three with AS points and one paid Biz. ( AMEX 2for 1), just returning from CDG-DXB_SEA it’s a nice airline but there is a large disparity between coach product and biz/f. My opinion is that when they launch this it will be welcomed and lead to more bookings by American’s our body’s have a hard time in that packed coach section for 16 hours! And US metal is mediocre at best. Along with old tired metal that belongs in the Smithsonian

    And if history is anything it will be a nice section.

  2. @Gary – have you done a post on your thoughts regarding the general impact of institutionalizing premium economy on FF award structures/levels? I’d be very interested in your insights.

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