One of the Best Airlines in the World Just Rolled Out Its New Premium Economy Cabins in the U.S. — Here's How to Get on Board

We toured Emirates' new premium economy seats, which are now available on flights from the U.S. to Dubai.

Summer travel is surging, and Emirates, voted one of the best airlines in the world by Travel + Leisure readers, just made long-haul flights more comfortable. The airline now has a new premium economy cabin on its A380s flying from New York City and San Francisco to Dubai.

The new premium economy cabin, which T+L toured at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, features 19.5-inch-wide cream leather seats, up to a 40-inch pitch, a six‑way adjustable headrest, an eight-inch recline, and an adjustable calf rest. The seat also includes a 13.3-inch HD television and the same wood-paneled style used in Emirates' business-class cabin.

Dinner in Emirates's new premium economy section

Alison Fox/Travel + Leisure

The new cabin rolled out on flights from San Francisco and New York earlier this month. In June, the cabin will be added to flights from Houston to Dubai, followed by flights from Los Angeles to Dubai in July.

The cabin isn’t as luxurious as Emirates’ beloved business class, but with the added seat space and elevated food options (think: prawn biryani and toffee apple pecan crisp with Chandon Brut Champagne), it’s a noticeable step up from economy.

“It's right in between,” Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, Emirates’ divisional vice president for the U.S. and Canada, told T+L. “We still have the elements from business class. We differentiated it from our economy product, but not close enough to our business class.”

Breakfast options in Emirates's new premium economy section

Alison Fox/Travel + Leisure

Emirates first announced its premium economy in 2021 and started introducing it to travelers on flights from several popular cities last year, including London, Paris, and Sydney.

“We started realizing that we're going to have lots of our customers who [want] to upgrade from economy to premium economy — and it's a long flight," Ahmad said. "It's a 14-hour flight [to Dubai] from New York. It's 16 hours from San Francisco and 17 hours from Los Angeles."

The new seats in Emirates's new premium economy section

Alison Fox/Travel + Leisure

Emirates is also introducing the cabin on flights from Singapore on June 1. In addition to the new cabin offering, Emirates is giving its entire fleet a face-lift as part of an ongoing retrofit project. The planes departing from New York, for example, will welcome travelers with all new gold-tinged wallpaper, new wood paneling throughout, and new cushioning in both business and economy class. The airline is upgrading the outside of its planes as well, including adding a larger logo and a new 3D version of the United Arab Emirates flag on the tail fin.

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