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Emirates unveils ritzy new premium economy cabin and more aboard the A380

Dec. 29, 2020
3 min read
Emirates new A380 Premium Economy seats
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Emirates has unveiled its new A380 cabin, complete with a long-awaited premium economy product and improvements to its other seats. While none of them are particularly extravagant, they’re undoubtedly designed to give Emirates a competitive edge when demand for travel returns in 2021. The airline is offering a refreshed cabin with new finishes and a uniform color palette. Here’s everything you can expect to see onboard the Emirates A380.

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Economy class

Emirates’ A380 economy cabin is getting ergonomically designed seats for extra comfort. The seats are lighter and equipped with wood-grain tray tables, in line with its premium cabin seats.

(Photo courtesy of Emirates)

Premium economy

Emirates’ premium economy cabin will be configured in a 2-4-2 layout, with 56 seats. The product is quite impressive, with 19.5"-wide leather seats featuring 8” recline and 40” pitch. Each seat has a 6-way adjustable headrest, calf and footrest, along with a 13.3” ICE entertainment system.

(Photo courtesy of Emirates)

Overall, this product is pretty competitive with existing products offered by Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airlines. Emirates is the first Gulf carrier to offer a premium economy product, so it's going to be interesting to see what kind of competing product (if anything) Qatar Airways and Etihad might offer in the future.

(Photo courtesy of Emirates)

Related: The top 5 premium-economy cabins in the sky

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Business class

In some disappointing news, Emirates hasn’t made any major design changes to its business class product. Seats on the A380 will reupholster the existing seats to match the cream leather currently available on the 777. These aren’t the most innovative seats, largely due to a lack of privacy. Still, its upholstered seats are a cost-effective upgrade during a worldwide pandemic that has slowed down travel demand and revenue for Emirates.

(Photo courtesy of Emirates)

First class

If you were hoping Emirates would replace their A380 first class with its acclaimed suites product, you might be disappointed. Instead, Emirates is refreshing the first-class cabin onboard the A380 to be slightly wider, with new finishes and taller doors. More privacy is always a good thing, especially for those traveling during the pandemic. While it would have been nice to see the First Class Suites rolled out on the A380, it's not surprising that it isn't.

Bottom line

While most of the changes introduced by Emirates aren’t groundbreaking, they’re still positive and will improve travel for most passengers onboard the A380. These upgrades are also fairly sensible, considering Emirates is reeling from a global economic downturn caused by the pandemic. With travel projected to rebound next year, these improvements will give Emirates a competitive edge without making a huge financial dent.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Emirates)

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more