This Might Be Emirates’ New Premium Economy Seat

Filed Under: Emirates

While the Gulf carriers are innovative in many ways, up until now none of the “big three” Gulf carriers have offered a premium economy product, despite the global trend we’re seeing among airlines.

We do know that Emirates plans on introducing a premium economy cabin in 2020, on their next batch of Airbus A380 aircraft. Up until now the airline hasn’t said much about what we should expect from these seat.

Personally I feel there’s fairly limited innovation when it comes to premium economy products, unlike first and business class products.

Well, it looks like we may have just unintentionally gotten a glimpse of what Emirates’ new premium economy product will be. The Aircraft Interiors Expo is taking place right now in Hamburg, and HAECO has revealed their new “Eclipse Cabin,” as they call it.

In their press release about the seat they state the following:

The launch customer − an as yet unnamed Middle East-based airline − will begin flying with the seats in 2020.

So while we can’t say with certainty that it’s Emirates they’re talking about, it seems highly likely. Executives at both Etihad and Qatar have stated the airlines don’t have plans to introduce premium economy, while Emirates has stated that they plan on introducing premium economy in 2020, so…

Here’s a picture of the seats:

Here’s how this product is described:

The Eclipse Cabin transforms travel in short-haul business class and long-haul premium economy by utilising an innovative layout and design. This elevates the overall passenger experience by increasing privacy and comfort while maximising passenger places (PAX) for airlines. The Eclipse Cabin further enhances flying by providing more stowage space for amenities and crew baggage, freeing overhead bin space.

Doug Rasmussen, President and Group Director of HAECO Cabin Solutions, said: “We saw an opportunity to develop a premium product for an emerging new class between premium economy and business class seating that would be appreciated both by passengers and airlines. We harnessed our decades of experience in providing premium seating products and services to take a holistic approach to creating a new standard. The unique advantages of the Eclipse seat, together with the integrated cabin, can create up to a 14% increase in PAX within the same cabin space.”

This product looks spectacular, and they’re not kidding when they say this looks like something between premium economy and business class. This seat seems to be hugely spacious and private.

HAECO even claims that this product is significantly more efficient than any existing premium economy products, and that’s because the seats are staggered and slightly angled, so they can often add another seat per row compared to most premium economy products.

While the above picture is the only one with the current press release, here are some pictures HAECO has provided of their Eclipse product in the past:

Of course, I’d expect there will be further customization if this is in fact Emirates’ new seat, though overall I’d say this looks promising.

Emirates Special Fares

Do you think this will be Emirates’ new premium economy product?

  1. Doesn’t Norwegian have something similar? A very nice Premium Economy product that’s like an old style business class (thinking of AA’s old 767-300 business class)?

    Norwegian’s seems to be closer to business class, so it will be interesting to see how this is priced (although the markets are obviously different).

  2. It obviously has decent pitch, but is the underneath of the seat in front entirely blocked off? Seems a little odd.

  3. I would say yes, this is for EK, unless TK is running back into the PE game (they had an excellent PE seat).

    @djibouti. – No – not similar, and No…its a decent PE seat, but not closer to J.

  4. @djibouti

    I agree that Norwegian does provide a great premium seat for comfort. Norwegian itself calls it “premium” and not premium economy and I think it well reflects that the seat is better than all other premium economy products. What differentiates Norwegian is the seat pitch of 43-46 inches versus the standard 38 inches. It really does make a difference and there is enough recline and with the leg and foot rest sleeping is possible. The seat is meant for comfort more than aesthetics.

    Lie flat seats really are very import for getting a quality experience. I think premium economy could go the route of utilizing the space underneath the seat in front to allow an angled lie flat. Privacy and lateral space are very important in business but I think if premium economy goes angled lie flat with the existing width it would be a much better experience. The pre merger United 777s had 8 across dorm style seats in business. 8 across premium economy with double the pitch of economy (66 inches) would be affordable for enough long haul travelers.

  5. The new Business class offerings (eg Q Suites) are the new first class. Premium economy is the new business class. Why are we so enamored with these products when they are basically a rebrand/marketing gimmick?

  6. I am skeptical.

    AF has a premium economy seat with a fixed shell that reclines inward. While it’s nice that the person in front of you can’t invade your space, the actual seat is incredibly uncomfortable for sleeping.

  7. seems like a bit of a flashback to NZ’s spaceseat – are shellseats ever good for premium eco? admittedly it does look nice and private but as @Alan Costello points out no space under the seat in front might be a bit tight.

  8. What scares me is that PE prices would be close to current J. A great excuse to increase J fares.

  9. While the added privacy is nice, the recline doesn’t look like it’s going to be much more than most PE offerings today. I also share the same concerns as others that this will only incentivize airlines installing these seats to increase PE prices closer to Business, while actually offering none of the perks that come with it.

  10. Looking at things like this and it makes me wonder if we will ever get to the point of having angled flat beds in premium economy.

  11. They should stagger regular economy seats as well. That would make the dreaded middle seat quite pleasant because each passenger is confined to their own space and not infringe on their seat mates. Of course, the rude passengers who infringe on their seat mates out of selfishness will not like them.

  12. And so it begins… premium economy gets better and better until the quality gap is small between business class and prem economy. Then business class cabins get smaller, prem economy classes get larger, and airlines start to discontinue business. Exactly what happened with first/business.

  13. Looks good and this is the sort of thing the Gulf carriers will need to do to get people to continue making a stop when new aircraft come on line which can get between almost any two points without a stop.

  14. Reminds me of the old NZ Space Seat they had in PE from 2010-2017. One issue with those was the lack of feet support. Hopefully this is addressed with these new seats.

  15. It looks good, but I am not sure it is actually that comfortable. Recline and leg room might be quite limited, plus it is difficult to get out when not in aisle seat

  16. One of the things I loved of the old BA premium economy was the leg rest which all airlines omit which is a shame. Hope Emirates will feature the same.

  17. @ Will: UA 787 business class is a fully flat bed in 2-2-2 config, this here is a barely reclining chair in (likely) 2-4-2 config…

  18. This looks flat out horrible. You can see who here actually flies Premium Economy and who doesn’t. Fixed Shell designs in PE are torture and the legroom here seems almost nonexistant under the front seat.

  19. @Him

    You never know. HAECO is a sister company of Cathay Pacific (both own by Swire Group). I would not rule it out for their 777X from 2021. In fact, since HAECO purchased this new business a few years ago, Cathay has started to use their product. If I’m not mistaken, the new economy seats for their 777-300ER are made by HAECO.

  20. Emirates is known to having middle seats for business class. If you look closely, seat numbers are 1A/B. Why would premium economy be in the most forward section. My speculation is that this is a business class product of some sort.

  21. Looks like a very nice product. Not sure where Arnold is coming from. I fly premium economy all the time and this is a step forward.

  22. It has always struck me that arranging passengers’ shoulders in straight lines across the width of the cabin is the least efficient way of packing in passengers. Some business seating patterns have learned this, but surely it’s time to stagger or diagonalize economy so that capacity is not artificially constrained by assuming people are shoulder (or butt) width from head to toe. I’m not advocating for some extreme sardines tead-2-toe arrangement, but there is a middle ground that will increase comfort with no loss of capacity. Perhaps Qatar’s new economy will move in this direction ?

  23. Air NZ’s business-lookalike PE didn’t last too long. First they put too many rows in and were rewarded with hollers of ‘too cramped’. Out goes a row. Then too many pax wanted seats that were not available. Out went the sort of reversed herringbone and in came the usual look-straight-ahead rows with a few extra doo-dads and industry-standard 38-inch pitch. Innovation not always rewarded when the bean counters kick in.

  24. PE is all about pitch. Nothing vastly different to see here although looks attractive. Do most PE flyers really not want to speak to the person they are travelling with? PE is predominantly leisure not business travellers.

  25. On second thought, Eclipse is already 787 ready, wouldn’t be difficult to get it tested and certified for 777. Emirates has ordered plenty of 777X to be delivered in 2020, and plenty of 787-10 ordered. Flydubai has just refreshed their business class, Etihad is introduced a ‘PEY’ with EY extended leg room, Qatar has Qsuites and that leaves Emirates.

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