Having flown Emirates on Airbus A380 multiple times, I can finally do a review of its Premium Economy class. There’s a very fine line between Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class services that it’s difficult to decide. Is it the wide seats? Is it the food? Is it the “business class” prestige — bragging rights you’re onboard business class? I find that each of these classes cater to a very distinct traveler. Chances are you can only relate to this blog if you’ve actually flown business class on different aircrafts: B777 and A380. This blog only applies on A380, well because, there are certain aspects of the A380 business service that is unique only to the aircraft.
Here are 3 reasons why you might be interested to fly Premium Economy this time, especially as inflation and rising oil prices affect airfares.
1. Spacious seats.
Premium Economy on A380 is almost like Business Class on the B777-300ER. While Business Class does lie flat and you get a mattress (and attendants forget about them during night flights… #iykyk), not having the privacy of B777 diminishes the business class value, IMO.
Premium Economy seats are even wider compared to Business Class at 19.5 inches wide, compared to A380 business at 18.5 inches wide.
2. Efficient service, less ceremonial
In a business class service on A380, here’s what happens when you board the aircraft:
You get a welcome drink — Moet & Chandon champagne.
Then you wait for an hour after takeoff before you get another drink — and you can get anything you like: Negroni, Aperol Spritz, Espresso martinis, and more.
Then you wait for your blessed appetizer after another half hour.
Then you wait for your main course.
And if you’re still not full, you wait for your dessert. (And yes, Emirates cheeseboard could make or break your decision to fly premium economy.)
All in all 3 hours after takeoff, and only then can you sleep. Some would choose to skip meals, especially on a red eye flight, and I totally understand them.
I literally fell asleep for a good half hour before appetizer in one of the flights, and the crew had to wake me up. Yes, they’re obligated to wake you up. The cabin crew will always ask you if you’re joining them for lunch or dinner.
Simply put, if it’s your first time, I do encourage flying business on A380. You won’t regret it.
But, for frequent flyers, the premium economy is equally good in meal service. You still get a wide variety of wine choices. I loved my Chandon Brut Vintage 2016 sparkling chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. Got notes of pear, honey and toasted bread in it.
They serve everything at once — appetizer, main course and dessert. I enjoyed the feta cheese salad with watermelons. So refreshing. And the gyoza was simple yet satisfying.
I don’t feel too full (and I usually do on business class) and I end up having some room to enjoy drinks.
I love that I was done with the meal, and I can finally SLEEP.
3. Cheaper than Business Class
In an inflation world, Premium Economy is a practical choice for anyone who is looking to save for their trip. But if you’re racking Skywards membership points, Business Class allows you to level up faster in tiers. It’s all a matter of preference. Personally, I do enjoy Business Class on A380 if it’s a morning flight. Their breakfast yogurt is so fresh with honey. Meanwhile, Beef Tenderloin is disappointing during dinner service. I have been avoiding that dish ever since my Vienna flight.
However, there are a couple of disadvantages flying Premium Economy on A380.
1. No lounge access at DXB.
The business class lounge at Dubai International Airport is reserved for Business Class and First Class passengers. If you’re looking forward to the only Moet and Chandon champagne lounge in the world, then you’ll need to fly Business Class service.
2. No inflight bar/lounge
You don’t get to access the inflight lounge on A380. The bar is only reserved for business class passengers.
Fly Business Class on A380 if:
– Your first time flying on A380
– You want flat beds
– Lounge access at DXB airport
– Access to A380 bar/lounge
– Preferred for morning flights
Fly Premium Economy on A380 if:
– You want to sleep
– Preferred for evening flights
– Simpler and efficient meal service
– Save $$$ for other expenses in your trip
Of course, if you have ten check-in luggages, then that’s a different story.
Note: Keep in mind that not all flights have Premium Economy. And also, not all flights use the A380 aircraft. I flew to Vienna on a B777-300ER, while A380 to Amsterdam and Paris.