Dubai: Emirates’ Premium Economy cabin class is winning favour from individuals – and even with business travellers. It was from August 1 that the Dubai airline offered these options on Airbus A380 flights to London, Paris and Sydney.
The introduction has already sparked a change in corporate travel policy in UAE. “Earlier, executives would fly Business for flights of up to 6 hours and First Class for up to 8 hours,” said Saleem Sharif, Deputy Managing Director at ATS Travel. “Now, companies are asking their employees to take Premium Economy for flights that will take 6 hours or less. Business is for 8-hour flights and First-s for flights that can take up to 12 hours.”
Starting August 1, Emirates Premium Economy was made available on its A380 flights to London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Sydney. The Christchurch (New Zealand) route will also get the Premium Economy option from December.
“We are seeing a lot of corporate bookings already,” said TP Sudheesh, General Manager of Deira Travel and Tourist Agency. “There are passengers who need certain privileges, but cannot afford to pay for Business – for them, Premium Economy is a very attractive proposition.”
A Business class seat from Dubai to London Heathrow cost around Dh12,170 on August 4. A Premium Economy seat on the same flight is Dh4,430, which is cheaper by almost 65 per cent.
The same goes for other routes as well. A Premium Economy ticket to Paris is priced at Dh4,490 – down 63 per cent from what is being charged by Emirates for Business.
Sharif added that Premium Economy benefits companies that are operating on a tight budget. “Given the facilities, travelers will also get used to it very easily.”
What does Premium Economy offer?
Located at the front of the aircraft, the new class offers wider seats with extra room to stretch out on raised cushioned leg rests. The seats also have adjustable headrests and a deeper recline.
It has quite a bit to offer in other features too. The cabins have the latest upgraded inflight entertainment system with 13.3-inch HD TVs. Passengers can connect their own headphones wirelessly via Bluetooth. There’s also faster Wi-Fi.
With most flights to the UK and Europe running full, Premium Economy offers a way out when Economy is packed. “It also provides several privileges, which are not there in normal economy,” said Sudheesh.
While ideal for long-haul travel, the option makes travel much easier for certain segments of travelers. “It is perfect for families traveling with children and senior citizens as they would not prefer going all the way to the back of the airplane,” said Subair Valappil of Regal Tours.
“We have not had people calling in to book Premium Economy specifically and that could be because the Economy offering on airlines such as Emirates is already better than what’s available in the rest of the market.”