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Emirates is giving it’s Airbus A380s a brand-new look

Story Highlights
  • Emirates is upgrading 52 of its Airbus A380 with new cabin enhancements and the addition of a premium economy class cabin.
  • Long-haul routes between Dubai and destinations like London, Paris, and New York will receive the aircraft.
  • Emirates is the first Middle Eastern mega carrier to introduce a premium economy class cabin.

Emirates is giving 52 of its Airbus A380s a brand-new look including upgrades in every cabin and premium economy seating.

Emirates is giving the world’s largest passenger jet a new lease on life.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. Thomas Pallini/Insider Emirates Airbus A380S A Brand-New Look
Emirates‘ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Airlines have been torn on what to do with the Airbus A380 as the COVID-19 pandemic and a shift towards sustainability in the sky has forever changed how people travel. Some airlines have opted to retire the A380 while others have opted to embrace it.

Emirates Airbus A380, Taxi, Runway | Kamilpetran/Shutterstock Airlines Have Been Torn On What To Do With The Airbus A380 As The Covid-19 Pandemic And A Shift Towards Sustainability In The Sky Has Forever Changed How People Travel. Some Airlines Have Opted To Retire The A380 While Others Have Opted To Embrace It.
Emirates Airbus A380 | kamilpetran/Shutterstock

Emirates, as the world’s largest operator of the A380, has embraced the aircraft and plans to fly its fleet of 123 A380s for years to come. And the airline is giving its customers even more to look forward to when booking a seat on the A380 with 52 aircraft receiving cabin upgrades.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider Emirates, As The World's Largest Operator Of The A380, Has Embraced The Aircraft And Plans To Fly Its Fleet Of 123 A380S For Years To Come. And The Airline Is Giving Its Customers Even More To Look Forward To When Booking A Seat On The A380 With 52 Aircraft Receiving Cabin Upgrades.
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

The addition of a new premium economy class cabin and upgrades to each cabin of the aircraft will force even seasoned Emirates travelers to reacquaint themselves with the aircraft.

An Emirates Airbus A380. | Arnold Aaron/Shutterstock.com The Addition Of A New Premium Economy Class Cabin And Upgrades To Each Cabin Of The Aircraft Will Force Even Seasoned Emirates Travelers To Reacquaint Themselves With The Aircraft.
An Emirates Airbus A380. | Arnold Aaron/Shutterstock.com

“The Emirates A380 is already one of the most sought-after travel experiences in the skies, and now we’ve made it even better,” Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said in a statement.

An Emirates Airbus A380. | Lukas Wunderlich/Shutterstock.com &Quot;The Emirates A380 Is Already One Of The Most Sought-After Travel Experiences In The Skies, And Now We've Made It Even Better,&Quot; Tim Clark, President Of Emirates, Said In A Statement.
An Emirates Airbus A380. | Lukas Wunderlich/Shutterstock.com

Emirates showed off one of its newly restyled Airbus A380s at the Dubai Airshow in November. Here’s what it’s like inside.

Emirates Showed Off One Of Its Newly Restyled Airbus A380S At The Dubai Airshow In November. Here's What It's Like Inside. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

The first thing that passengers boarding on the lower deck of the A380 will encounter is the Emirates’ first-ever premium economy cabin.

The First Thing That Passengers Boarding On The Lower Deck Of The A380 Will Encounter Is The Emirates' First-Ever Premium Economy Cabin. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Emirates is also the first of the Middle Eastern mega carriers to include a premium economy cabin on any aircraft.

Emirates Is Also The First Of The Middle Eastern Mega Carriers To Include A Premium Economy Cabin On Any Aircraft. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

A total of 56 premium economy seats replace the 88 economy seats that formerly occupied the space.

A Total Of 56 Premium Economy Seats Replace The 88 Economy Seats That Formerly Occupied The Space. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

The 2-4-2 configuration of the cabin is typical for wide-body aircraft such as the A380.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Noticeably larger than economy class seats, premium economy seats offer up to 40 inches of legroom and 19.5 inches of width.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

The cream-colored seats feature anti-stain leather with stitching and wood panel finishing comparable to those found upstairs in business class. Premium economy class, after all, is a compromise between economy class and business class.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Paired seats along the cabin wall are ideal for couples traveling together and those that prefer the window seat.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Seats in the center-aisle, alternatively, are better suited for larger groups of travelers.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Each seat offers standard amenities including a 110v AC power outlet, USB charging port, coat hook, and drink counter.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

In-flight entertainment in the cabin is provided through seat-back entertainment screens measuring 13.3 inches. Emirates’ ICE system offers movies, music, television shows, games, moving maps, and even the ability to view the aircraft’s external cameras.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Premium economy seats offer a deeper recline than economy class seats, with footrests and calf rests available for additional comfort.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Each seat also comes standard with a six-way adjustable headrest and an oversize pillow, and flight attendants distribute blanket kits on long-haul flights.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Additional storage compartments can also be found at each seat to hold items including small devices, water bottles, and amenity kits.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

“Our Premium Economy product was carefully developed in keeping with Emirates’ brand positioning as a full-service airline of the highest quality,” Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said in a statement.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

And looking over the cabin if the ghaf tree, or the national tree of the UAE.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Emirates is saving the premium economy class-equipped aircraft for long-haul destinations including London, Paris, New York, and Frankfurt, Germany

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Moving back in the aircraft, economy class takes up the rest of the lower deck with 338 seats in total.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Seats are configured in the standard 10-abreast layout in a 3-4-3 configuration. But the A380 is so massive that there are still gaps between the window seats and the sidewalls.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

New “ergonomically designed” seats have been installed that include adjustable leather headrests.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

While nearly identical at first glance, the new seats are noticeably less cluttered than their predecessors.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Tray tables are solid pieces and are not built with attached cupholders, as is the case with previous generation seats.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

In-flight entertainment screens, however, remain the same size at 13.3 inches.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Emirates’ A380 economy seats typically feature between 32 and 24 inches of legroom and between 17.5 and inches of pitch.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Wood finishing can still be found surrounding the windows but the cabin design has generally remained the same.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

The one exception is that ghaf trees now similarly watch over the economy class cabin.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

A half spiral staircase at the back of the plane leads to the upper deck of the aircraft, which is off-limits to those seated in the premium economy class and economy class cabins on the lower deck. It too features a ghaf tree design.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Business class still takes up the majority of the upper deck with 76 seats in total.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

A 1-2-1 seat configuration offers each passengers direct aisle access, unlike on Emirates’ Boeing 777 aircraft.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

All seats have been reupholstered in champagne-colored leather covers accompanied by wood finishing on the hard surfaces.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Wood paneling covers the countertops at each seat as well as portions of the sidewall.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Some seats are more private than others, namely the true window seats away from the aisle.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Center-aisle seats are ideal for couples or travel companions looking to stay close to each other. Known as honeymoon seats, only a few inches separate the two.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

But a partition can be raised if the person in the adjacent seat is a stranger.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Other center-aisle seats, however, are located closer to the aisle for additional separation if traveling alone.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Standard seat amenities in business class include a 110v AC power outlet, USB charging port, adjustable headrest, personal reading lamp, personal mini bar, and an entertainment tablet in addition to a 23-inch in-flight entertainment screen.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

The personal mini bar is a rare amenity for business class and Emirates stocks still and sparkling water, as well as a plastic cup.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

A blanket and oversized pillow are also placed at each seat for when it’s time to rest as seats have fully flat capabilities.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Just ahead of business class is the most cabin on the aircraft, first class.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

A total of 14 first class suites offer one of the most luxurious and expensive experiences in the sky, made even better by the new enhancements.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

The upgraded first class suites are wider with taller doors that offer additional privacy. Flyers can retreat into the cabin and feel like they are the only passengers onboard the aircraft thanks to closeable doors.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Awaiting passengers inside the suite is an oversized recliner chair opposite a massive 32-inch entertainment screen.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

An assortment of snacks and cold drinks, including Evian water and Perrier sparkling water, can also be found in the suite as well as fresh flowers.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Buttons throughout the suite control its functionality, including opening and closing the doors as well as seat recline.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Hidden compartments hide luxurious amenities including Byredo toiletries. Travelers also receive an amenity kit containing Bulgari products.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Caviar and fine champagne continue to be served in Emirates’ first class cabin with high ticket prices to match the luxurious experience.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

One flight attendant told Insider that a first class ticket from New York to Dubai is “the price of a small car.”

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

When it’s time to sleep, travelers can close their doors and redline their seats into a fully flat bed.

Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

And when it’s time to refresh, the A380’s famous “shower spas” are also receiving touch-ups of their own.

And When It's Time To Refresh, The A380'S Famous &Quot;Shower Spas&Quot; Are Also Receiving Touch-Ups Of Their Own. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

The same color palette has been extended into the private spas with ghaf trees replacing the mural of Dubai that previously lined the wall.

The Same Color Palette Has Been Extended Into The Private Spas With Ghaf Trees Replacing The Mural Of Dubai That Previously Lined The Wall. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

First class travelers can reserve appointment slots to use the shower while in flight and typically has 15-20 minutes of hot water time.

First Class Travelers Can Reserve Appointment Slots To Use The Shower While In Flight And Typically Has 15-20 Minutes Of Hot Water Time. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Voya products including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body moisturizer are available for passengers to use in the shower. And once their finished, Bulgari cologne and perfume provide the finishing touch.

Voya Products Including Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, And Body Moisturizer Are Available For Passengers To Use In The Shower. And Once Their Finished, Bulgari Cologne And Perfume Provide The Finishing Touch. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Premium cabin passengers also have access to the redesigned bar at the back of the A380’s upper deck. Another staple of the A380, the in-flight bar serves beer, wine, and cocktails as well as light fare.

Premium Cabin Passengers Also Have Access To The Redesigned Bar At The Back Of The A380'S Upper Deck. Another Staple Of The A380, The In-Flight Bar Serves Beer, Wine, And Cocktails As Well As Light Fare. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Travelers can retreat to the social area and enjoy their drinks in the newly installed seating areas, just as if in an upscale bar.

Travelers Can Retreat To The Social Area And Enjoy Their Drinks In The Newly Installed Seating Areas, Just As If In An Upscale Bar. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Emirates isn’t alone in offering the bar on its A380s but the setup is becoming a rarity as more airlines retire their double-decker aircraft.

Emirates Isn't Alone In Offering The Bar On Its A380S But The Setup Is Becoming A Rarity As More Airlines Retire Their Double-Decker Aircraft. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

Emirates has received its final A380 from Airbus, which ended production of the aircraft with the delivery.

Emirates Has Received Its Final A380 From Airbus, Which Ended Production Of The Aircraft With The Delivery. The Final Airbus A380 Bound For Emirates. | Airbus - Bockfilm / Michael Lindner
The final Airbus A380 bound for Emirates | Airbus – Bockfilm / Michael Lindner

The future of Emirates now lies with twin-engine aircraft including the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350 XWB. But even Clark admits that the A380’s size allowed it to offer products that can’t be directly matched on a smaller aircraft.

The Future Of Emirates Now Lies With Twin-Engine Aircraft Including The Boeing 777X And Airbus A350 Xwb. But Even Clark Admits That The A380'S Size Allowed It To Offer Products That Can't Be Directly Matched On A Smaller Aircraft. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

“How could it be as good as the A380 on the upper deck, or as good as it is in economy [class] with 10-abreast seating on the main deck,” Clark said of the Boeing 777X in an interview with Insider.

&Quot;How Could It Be As Good As The A380 On The Upper Deck, Or As Good As It Is In Economy [Class] With 10-Abreast Seating On The Main Deck,&Quot; Clark Said Of The Boeing 777X In An Interview With Insider. Emirates' Refurbished Airbus A380 At Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider
Emirates’ refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021. | Thomas Pallini/Insider

But travelers will still be able to book for decades to come, and some may even be lucky enough to find one of the 52 aircraft in the new configuration.

Published on Jan 2, 2022, in Insider by Thomas Pallini

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