Emirates Announces Major Retrofitting Program

By the end of the overhaul, the Gulf carrier will boast 120 aircraft with a new premium economy cabin.

Inside the premium economy cabin aboard an Emirates A380. (All photos courtesy of Emirates)

Emirates is investing over US$2 billion to enhance its inflight customer experience, including a massive program to update almost half its entire fleet with the latest interiors, plus an array of other service improvements across all cabin classes. Starting this month, first-class passengers flying select routes can look forward to new menus featuring dishes such as pan-fried salmon trout with moqueca sauce and creole rice, and roasted duck breast with orange thyme jus, steamed broccolini, and fondant potatoes. New business and economy menus will also be introduced on September 1.

Those booked into premium classes will have the chance to tuck into plant-based gourmet cuisine, thanks to a newly launched vegan menu that includes items like pan-roasted king oyster mushrooms, jackfruit biryani, and sliced kohlrabi garnished with burnt orange. More vegan dishes are available to pre-order in all cabin classes. In pursuit of a more sustainable supply chain, Emirates flights departing Dubai have started using fresh greens harvested from Bustanica, the world’s largest vertical farm and a newly opened US$40 million joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering and high-tech company Crop One.

Flyers booked into Emirates’ refreshed first-class cabin will be offered gourmet sweets.

Sliders and popcorn are featured on the new cinema snacks menu in first class.

First-class customers can also savor unlimited portions of Persian caviar as part of the “dine on demand” service, with a pairing of Dom Perignon vintage champagne. Emirates is the only airline with an exclusive agreement to offer the luxury brand on board. Another treat is the cinema snack menu for first-class passengers, which allows flyers to order lobster rolls, juicy sliders, edamame, and salted popcorn whenever they please.

Notably, Emirates has partnered with the famed Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne to put its cabin crew through specialized hospitality training. Flight attendants have already started intensive programs focused on delivering the airline’s four service pillars: Excellence, Attentiveness, Innovation, and Passion.

But the most significant investment is an extensive refurbishment of aircraft interiors, slated to begin in November. Emirates cabins in all classes will be retrofitted with new or reupholstered seats, new paneling, flooring, and other features; new premium economy cabins are also being installed. After the refit, Emirates will have a total of 120 aircraft offering premium economy seats.


A main course from the new first-class menu.

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