Men in crisp white shirts tap on their laptops, immaculately dressed cabin crew greet passengers by name, and glamorous women in bright red lipstick snap selfies while lounging in their cream leather seats.
I feel a bit undressed when I board the Airbus A380 plane in jeans and white tennis shoes. In fact, this premium economy cabin has such a business-class feel that I’m compelled to check with the cabin crew manager if giant seat 37A is mine.
‘Yes, Mrs. Sime,’ comes the reply, leading me back to my throne and offering to take my jacket.
I’m traveling from Heathrow Terminal 3 to Dubai International Airport aboard Emirates’ new premium economy cabin. My window seat is furnished in cream and beige leather, with large window spaces to place my two bags and a walnut-finished side cocktail table for my drinks.
Seating is arranged in a 2-4-2 layout, with two window seats on each side and four in the middle.
Harriet Sime (above) flies an Emirates A380 between Heathrow and Dubai in premium economy class
Harriet writes, “The premium economy cabin has such a business-class feel that I’m forced to check with the cabin crew manager if giant seat 37A is really mine.” Premium economy seats have 40 inches of legroom
Premium economy seats on the Emirates A380 are arranged in a 2-4-2 layout, with two window seats on each side and four in the middle.
There are several pockets around me, one to the right of my feet, where I find my headphones, and another under the huge 13.3-inch HD touchscreen, where I find some branded chocolate and stow my essentials. flight: water, telephone, earplugs. and lip balm.
Once I’m comfortably sure I’m in the right seat, I settle back and squint for criticism. But I can’t find a single thing. The 40 inches of legroom and 19.5-inch-wide seat mean there’s acres of room above, below, and to either side of my 5-foot-7 frame.
There are USB points under the screen and free Wi-Fi (it’s so good that passengers in the front can watch a live Premier League football game throughout the flight). There’s no amenity kit, but that’s not to be expected when flying premium economy.
I’m sitting next to a fairly senior businessman from Dubai who tells me how he recently switched from flying Emirates business class to premium economy because the last deal was so good.
“It’s the best premium economy seat in the world,” he says, sipping orange juice from a glass.
“I have always flown business with Emirates, but I switched at the end of last year. In fact, it’s better than some of the business class cabins offered by other airlines.
“It would cost me two and a half times as much to fly business class and I think the premium economy seats are too good to justify the extra cost on this route.”
I have also done business with many other airlines and I have to agree. This premium economy version comes pretty close.
We fly in on Coronation Day and the captain tells us we’re on the ground because King Charles needs clear airspace for the Red Arrows to do their thing for the next 45 minutes. But everyone is in good spirits, and cabin crew supervisor Sarah assures those going to Dubai that they need to catch their flights.
We are presented with a package of salted nuts and a menu, including wine options, as well as information about our three-course lunch and options for “light bites” later in the flight.
The image on the left shows the premium economy menu. Harriet samples a South African Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc (right), which she declares to be “among some of the best white wines I’ve ever tasted.”
Harriet eats sweet corn rice and black beans, lemon asparagus couscous, and fresh fruit for dessert.
The cabin is 75 percent full, and once boarding is complete, my new friend is offered a seat farther back so he can have a row to himself. He asks me what I’d like him to do, but we both agree that there’s plenty of room for the two of us for the next six and a half hours.
The passenger in front of me reclines his seat as soon as we’re airborne, which means I’m a bit cornered. But once my seat reclines to its full eight inches with the click of a button, my padded leather footrest rises. , and my headrest wings pushed out, I’m back in supremely comfortable mode and feel sure I’d fall asleep instantly if this was red-eye flight. But it’s not, and I’m looking forward to exploring all the offerings on board.
We’re given soft, hot towels that smell of clementine to freshen up before checking out the bathrooms. They’re huge, with cream and gold walls, a floor-to-ceiling mirror, and White Company hand cream and eau de toilette.
In the image on the left are the courtesy headphones. “Once my seat is reclined to its full eight inches at the click of a button (right), my padded leather footrest lifts up, and my headrest wings are pushed out, I am supremely comfortable again,” she writes. Harriet.
“It’s the best premium economy seat in the world,” says Harriet’s neighbor, sipping orange juice from a glass. Harriet admits, “It’s not often that you wish a flight lasted longer, but I could have comfortably spent twice as long in my seat.”
Chandon Brut Vintage 2016 premium budget sparkling wine (also served in stores)
As we fly over Brussels and on to Luxembourg, I’m presented with a glass of the Chandon Brut Vintage 2016 sparkling wine (also served in the shops) and ask to try the South African Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc, which sells for £35 a bottle. . Both are delicious, but the Chenin Blanc is among some of the best white wines I’ve ever tasted.
I choose the vegan food option and for dessert rice with sweet corn and black beans, asparagus couscous with lemon and fresh fruit. The package of raisins makes me feel that I have opted for the children’s option, but the rest is delicious.
After lunch, I lowered the blinds on the window with the click of a button. There are two modes: one that dims the light, and the other that provides blackout shades for bedtime.
However, Emirates had not stopped pampering us yet. We’re offered coffee and tea (or more wine) after lunch while most of the cabin reclines their seats and gets caught up in a movie.
The image above is the Emirates A380 Business Class cabin for comparison.
It’s not often that you wish a flight lasted longer, but I could have comfortably done twice as long in my seat. About an hour before landing, we are offered a variety of sandwiches and a scone with strawberry jam and cream.
It’s almost the same on my return flight a few days later. This time, I’m right at the front of the booth. A young man comes on board asking the cabin crew ‘Is this first class?’, to which they politely reply with a smile: ‘No sir. This is premium economy. The boy looks at his father and says, ‘Dad, I’m going to fly like this when I’m old and rich.’
Well, luckily, it doesn’t need to be any of these things when you fly Emirates’ revolutionary premium economy. Let’s hope other airlines catch on soon.
Harriet was hosted by Emirates, which flies daily from London Heathrow to Dubai. Round-trip premium economy fares start from £1,465 and economy fares from £565, including taxes and fees. Visit emirates.com.
PROS: Business class feel of the cabin, great service, food served on china, huge comfortable seats, great range of wines.
CONS: Lack of space when the front seat is fully reclined.
QUALIFICATION OF FIVE: *****
I’m Gurjinder Singh, born and brought up in Punjab – the land of five rivers! Presently a resident of Franklin Park, New Jersey – United States. I am a Gold Medalist Photographer, a Bachelor of Arts in Computing and Informatics and I’m also holding Bachelors’s Degree in Computer Application which further adds to my professional skills. I am associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2019. My responsibilities include managing content areas like planning, coordinating, reviewing, editing content, suggesting stories and generating headline ideas in alignment with targeted audience’s preferences. Please contact me for feedback/suggestions or further assistance. I’m available at: [email protected]