Emirates is celebrating a successful first year in the full-service operations of its premium economy class. More than 160,000 customers have upgraded their ticket to premium economy since the airline introduced the class in August 2022, and the airline reports that it regularly registers full seat loads in the cabin. Emirates forecasts further strong demand momentum in the coming months.
In response to the positive customer response to its premium economy class, which is currently available on flights to 11 cities, the airline now plans to add the class to another two city destinations (Mumbai and Bengaluru) from 29 October, with additional cities due to be announced soon, as more retrofitted aircraft with refreshed cabins roll into scheduled service.
Emirates currently operates 20 aircraft fitted with premium economy, 14 of which were retrofitted in-house by the Emirates Engineering team in Dubai over the course of the last nine months.
In a statement by Emirates, the UAE-based carrier stated that since debuting its premium economy class, “customer response has been overwhelmingly positive with demand exceeding expectations and bookings growing month on month, demonstrating its appeal to a broad range of traveller segments who want to try out its understated luxury and meticulously elevated experience at great value.”
Nearly half of Emirates’ premium economy customers are solo travellers travelling for a holidays, with couples and families making up the remainder. More than 60% of customers who booked to fly in premium economy in the last year were also Emirates Skywards members and regular customers of the airline.
A year in figures
Emirates has collected some interesting statistics in the first year of premium economy operations. Since the launch in August 2022, the airline has operated close to 4,500 flights with premium economy cabins, traversing more than 36 million kilometres around the globe.
On those flights, more than 192,000 upgraded meals were served to customers. The meals included indulgent desserts garnished with edible gold leaf, among other signature offerings. The premium economy menus are updated every month to ensure seasonality and to keep frequent flyers interested. Over 126,000 pieces of chocolates were served to round off meals in premium economy customers.
Emirates also served 6,700 kilograms of mixed nuts and 8,650 litres of complimentary fresh lemon and mint juices in premium economy. The airline’s beverage selection in the class includes a global exclusive for Emirates customers – the Chandon Vintage Brut 2016 Australian sparkling wine – alongside a choice of a white and red wines.
In May 2023, Emirates launched a global campaign with Academy Award-winning actor and philanthropist Penelope Cruz, which featured her enjoying the spacious seats in premium economy. The airline has also provided a glimpse of its premium economy offering through guided tours of the new cabin class to media and influencers, trade partners, airport, tourism and government officials across cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Christchurch, Singapore, New York JFK and San Francisco.
The premium economy roll-out is a core component of the airline’s multi-billion-dollar retrofit programme, which will see the interior upgrade on 67 Emirates A380 cabins, as well as 53 Boeing 777 cabins. By the end of the programme, more than 4,000 Premium Economy seats will be installed, along with over 700 first-class suites and 5,000 business class-seats refurbished with the latest interiors.