The First Cabins Of Emirates Airline’s $2 Billion Retrofit

First class passengers who lamented the loss of the onboard showers when Emirates took the airline’s A380s out of service during the onset of the pandemic travel decline will be pleased to know that they’re on the way back. And as part of a total refresh, they, and the rest of the cabin, will be in upgraded form. The first flight to show that off, EK003 from Dubai to London Heathrow, took to the skies this month.

With international travel roaring back and the largest plane in the air, Airbus’s A380, returning to service to accommodate that traffic, Emirates announced an extensive retrofit program last year, the largest ever undertaken by the airline. The plan: to completely upgrade the interiors of 67 A380s followed by 53 Boeing 777s with four planes slated for completion every month and all slated to be finished by April, 2025.

As Sir Tim Clark, the airline’s President explains, “Customers will notice the difference the moment they step onboard – the spacious A380 will look and feel even more impressive and comfortable. With our latest interiors and products, this newly refurbished aircraft elevates our inflight experience in all classes of travel and enables us to offer more Premium Economy seats to meet customer demand. I’m particularly proud that this refurbishment work was designed, conducted and completed inhouse at our facilities in Dubai, to the highest standards of quality and safety. It reflects the world-class aviation capabilities and infrastructure that exists within Emirates, and here in the UAE.”

The specific improvements, according to Essa Sulaiman, Emirates Airline’s Divisional Vice President, US and Canada, include upgraded carpets and stairs, cabin interior panels refreshed with new light woods and design motifs such as the ghaf tree which is native to the UAE. Business Class seats and Economy seats will be reupholstered with new covers and cushioning. First Class seats will be disassembled and sent to artisans to replace the leather and arm rests. Debuting with the retrofit are Premium Economy seats in cream colored leather with wood panel finishing, footrests, a side cocktail table and six way adjustable headrests. This cabin appeared on flights from New York’s JFK in December and will launch on flights from San Francisco February 15th.

Other additions to go along with the new cabins: new menus. First and Business Class passengers will experience fresh greens grown without pesticides, herbicides and chemicals including salad greens, arugula and spinach from the world’s largest organic vertical farm Bustanica with a $40 million investment through Emirates Flight Catering. New dishes from a multicultural group of chefs include choices such as pan-fried salmon trout with moqueca (a Brazilian fish stew) sauce and creole rice. A comprehensive vegan menu including popular dishes from the regular menus transformed to vegan versions without sacrificing flavor will be introduced. First class passengers can also enjoy unlimited servings of Persian caviar paired with vintage Dom Perignon and order sliders and lobster rolls as cinema snacks while checking out the 5000 entertainment channels. For those who have to work instead: complimentary internet access throughout the flight is being introduced for Skywards Gold or Silver members traveling in Business Class in addition to First Class passengers and Platinum members traveling in any class. And a popular feature is continuing: chauffered transportation to and from the airport for passengers in Business and First.

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