Want more legroom but aren’t willing to splurge on business? Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, aims to provide just that.
While its business and first-class passengers have long been pampered, the introduction of premium economy on all of its new A380 and 777s from 2020 (and plans to retrofit the seats onto some aircraft already in its fleet) will be a welcome announcement to those who don’t “make bank.”
The Dubai-based carrier’s A380s will have about 56 premium economy seats in the front of the bottom deck of the aircraft while the 777s will have between 26 and 28, Emirates President Tim Clark said.
The seats, known as “sleeperettes”, will have a pitch of 38 inches—up to 6 inches more than standard economy—and will come with better service, food and a private toilet.
“The(re has been a) groundswell of opinion from the segments which are telling us that they are prepared to pay more for a more comfortable seat with more legroom with a degree of exclusivity,” Clark said.
Premium economy seats have become popular in recent years, Singapore Airlines Ltd. and American Airlines Inc having led the way. This latest move by Emirates then, could either be a way of keeping up, or a response to another threat to its business model—the fact that Qantas is now flying some of the world’s longest routes directly, bypassing airports like Dubai.