The Dubai-based carrier has made subtle changes to its A380 interiors, including upgrades to its iconic first class suites.

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.

First Class

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

Emirates A380 first class (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

Emirates A380 first class seat (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

Emirates A380 first class seat IFE (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

The first class shower suite has also been refurbished to match the new design.

Emirates A380 first class bathroom and shower (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

The Emirates A380 spa (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

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.

Emirates first class black and lilac amenity kit (Photo: Emirates)

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.

Emirates first class black and tan amenity kit (Photo: Emirates)

Premium Economy

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.

Emirates Premium Economy (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

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.

Emirates Premium Economy window side (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

Emirates A380 Premium Economy cabin (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

To further differentiate the cabin from economy, Emirates provides an enhanced meal service served on china and glassware.

Emirates Premium Economy meal (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

Business Class and Economy

Business class and economy class have seen similar upgrades with lighter colors and changes to the carpet and window paneling.

Emirates Business Class (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

Emirates A380 Business Class (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

Emirates Economy (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

Bar and Lounge

The bar and lounge area haven’t been forgotten during the refurbishment.

Emirates A380 bar (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

Emirates A380 lounge seating (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

The Emirates A380 bar (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

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.

Emirates Business Class Ghaf Tree (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hemal Gosai)

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.

Hemal Gosai
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  • Hemal Gosai

    Hemal took his first flight at four years old and has been an avgeek since then. When he isn’t working as an analyst he’s frequently found outside watching planes fly overhead or flying in them. His favorite plane is the 747-8i which Lufthansa thankfully flies to EWR allowing for some great spotting. He firmly believes that the best way to fly between JFK and BOS is via DFW and is always willing to go for that extra elite qualifying mile.