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A Look Inside Emirates’ Newly-Refurbished A380
A little under a year ago, Emirates announced a $2 billion aircraft retrofit program aimed at refreshing the interiors of 67 Airbus A380 and 53 Boeing 777 aircraft. These retrofits were primarily to install several thousand premium economy seats, upgrades to nearly 7,000 business class seats, and the refurbishment of over 1,000 first class suites.
When the retrofit project was first announced in November of last year, the details were relatively scarce, not much was known beyond the airline’s intention to introduce new tones and design motifs to cabin interior panels along with cosmetic upgrades to existing seats. We knew that premium economy was being installed but not much beyond that.
This past summer, AirlineGeeks had the opportunity to tour one of these refurbished A380s to see the changes firsthand.
The first thing that is noticeable when stepping on the aircraft is how the entire color scheme of the aircraft interior has changed. Emirates is well known for the dark wood paneling and gold finishes but the new interiors are anything but. Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, divisional vice president for the U.S. and Canada, called this the next generation of the Emirates brand during the walkthrough of the aircraft.
Now when walking onto a refurbished Emirates aircraft the one thing that immediately jumps out is how incredibly bright the cabins are with the lighter color scheme. The dark wood and gold finishes have been entirely replaced by cleaner and brighter champagne-colored panels and finishing which make the cabins feel significantly larger and more open. Seat covers have also been changed to a lighter cream color.
This is most prominent in the first class cabin. The paneling and seats have all been changed to what Emirates is calling the new look of their brand
The first class shower suite has also been refurbished to match the new design.
This past summer the airline has also introduced a swanky new amenity kit to go along with the revamp of first class.
The black and lilac kits, primarily targeted at women, include an engraved Bulgari mirror, a 30ml bottle of Bvlgari Le Gemme Desiria, a matching face and body emulsion, along with a dental kit, deodorant, tissues, and a hairbrush.
The black and tan kits, primarily targeted at men, include a 30 ml bottle of Bvlgari Le Gemme Gyan, aftershave, body emulsion, cleansing towel, shaving kit, dental kit, deodorant, tissues, and a hairbrush.
Premium Economy, a new addition to the airline, is found at the front of the aircraft on the lower deck. The cabin features a 2-4-2 configuration.
The seats measure 19.5 inches wide with a generous 40 inches of pitch accompanied by a footrest and calf rest. The seats recline up to eight inches without significantly invading the space of passengers in the row behind. There is also a 13.3-inch seatback entertainment screen featuring the Emirates ICE system. Window shades are also electronically controlled like the premium cabins on the aircraft.
To further differentiate the cabin from economy, Emirates provides an enhanced meal service served on china and glassware.
Business Class and Economy
Business class and economy class have seen similar upgrades with lighter colors and changes to the carpet and window paneling.
Bar and Lounge
The bar and lounge area haven’t been forgotten during the refurbishment.
The revamping of the interiors is a massive jump for the airline. Many commented that the interiors were often glitzy and over-the-top just like the airline, however, the new interiors are anything but. They showcase a refined and subtle elegance instead of opulence that will continue to permeate the airline as the brand continues to mature. Additionally, the ghaf tree makes an appearance across the aircraft. The tree, which is the national tree of the United Arab Emirates, is present in each cabin painted onto the bulkhead and other areas such as the first class shower suite.
New retrofitted aircraft are entering service at a rapid pace. The airline is putting a plane with the new interiors into service just about every 16 days with the expectation of completing the project in 2025. All the work is being done in a massive custom facility right in Dubai.
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