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Revealed: Emirates' two-class Airbus A380 seat map

By Chris Chamberlin     Filed under: emirates, Airbus A380

EXCLUSIVE | Emirates is forging ahead with plans for two-class Airbus A380s: dropping the airline’s prestigious first class suites and showers from some of its superjumbos, while also shrinking business class in favour of more seats for economy passengers.

As previously reported, the two-class A380s will debut on Dubai-Copenhagen flights from December 1 as EK151/152 as well as the EK376/377 Dubai-Bangkok service from the same date.

An Emirates spokesperson has also confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that this will be followed on January 1 2016 with the EK342/343 service between Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.

Further, the EK9/10 service between Dubai and London Gatwick is also displaying the two-class configuration in the Global Distribution System (GDS) from the New Year, although this remains subject to change.

The seat map for Emirates' superjumbo sans first class shows that the economy passengers will now find themselves at the pointy end of the plane, with the 14 first class suites at the front of the upper deck – and a sizeable chunk of the business class cabin – making way for 120 economy seats spread across 16 rows.

18 of those business class seats have been axed, trimming the revamped A380's premium cabin count from 76 seats down to 58.

Seat numbering will still begin at row 6 (below), however this will be physically located where row 11 is now.

The five-row mini-cabin at the rear of business class has been rebadged to rows 19-23 in place of rows 22-26 on the three-class A380s.

The airline’s inflight bar and lounge for business class passengers will also be retained at the very back of the upper deck.

Review: Emirates Airbus A380 inflight cocktail bar and lounge

The new upper deck economy cabin begins at row 24 in the space currently occupied by Emirates' first class suites...

… and is joined by two extra sets of economy seats on the lower deck in rows 52 and 53, taking the place of a galley used by the crew on all three-class A380s:

It also seems that Emirates' new two-class A380 birds won't include the ‘ultra long-haul crew rest’ on the lower deck, which ordinarily replaces the centre group of economy seats in rows 85 through 87:

This walled-off space contains nine bunks, each with a curtain for privacy and a personal entertainment system to help pass the time.

Photos: the Airbus A380's secret hangouts for cabin crew

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


About Chris Chamberlin

Chris lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, an opera ticket and a glass of wine!


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1 on 29/7/15 by simon

so many questions to this one chris - having not long ago booked our copenhagen trip (for next year not the first one unfortunately) i was told at booking that the bar will be behind business in front of economy - which is at odds to your piece above - the online seat booking doesnt make it clear as it shows no bar or toilets of course when booking - only business starting row 6 - how on earth will they police the bar if its at the back of economy through which business will have to try to walk through to get to it?

1 on 29/7/15 by Chris

Hi Simon, the bar is indeed behind business class, which in itself is at the back of the upper deck.

So, the layout upstairs from front to back is:


There are stairs at the rear of the aircraft that do link economy with business class, but there are gates and crew nearby to send passengers in the right direction.

1 on 29/7/15 by simon

thanks chris - so much for priority embark/disembark then! cant wait to get to copenhagen and get stuck behind economy in the queue for immigration - i wonder if it is ready for a 615 seat plane - the same goes for BHX in UK!

2 on 29/7/15 by flychrisfly

So upstairs the row numbering from front to back will be 24-39 (economy) then 6 to 23 (business)? That's pretty whacky!

1 on 29/7/15 by simon

i know - thats what doesnt make sense to me either - will let you all know after aprils trip next year - if others havnt before!

2 on 29/7/15 by Kogglogs

"...The seat map for Emirates' superjumbo sans first class shows that the economy passengers will now find themselves at the pointy end of the plane, with the 14 first class suites at the front of the upper deck..."

...wait... so there is, or there is not an F cabin? Am I being vaccuous? 

1 on 29/7/15 by Chris

No first class – you've cut the quote before the end of the sentence, which continues:

... "with the 14 first class suites at the front of the upper deck – and a sizeable chunk of the business class cabin – making way for 120 economy seats spread across 16 rows."

('Making way' = 'disappearing to make room for'.)

1 on 29/7/15 by Kogglogs

Ahhh yes... vaccuous. Thanks Chris ;) 

2 on 29/7/15 by Jason


3 on 29/7/15 by Geoff

Hi Chris, Just got off the Paris-Dubai-Brisbane flight in first. nice flight, wish it was longer flight time like the YSSY-DFW.....  Still a little? confused about where revised configuration bar upstairs will be. Your artical says rows 6-23 Business and Economy will be 24-39 and the bar is noted at being retained at the very back of the upper deck. So, won't this mean the bar is behind Economy.

Also, I have never seen rear stairs in the A380. Will these just be for the 2 class configuration?

1 on 29/7/15 by elchriss0

All A380s have a full sized rear staircase:


It's good on A380s such as SQ's original layout with economy at the rear of the upper deck.  You walk downstairs and people think you're decending from business class to mingle with the commoners, when you're actually just another commoner.

1 on 29/7/15 by Geoff

Hi elchriss0, I'd always though there should be stairs back and front. For some reason, I have never been past the bar area in the back of the aircraft, as i just thought there were toilets. Other than in First in QF, I have never been any where else on the lower deck, . Next time I really must circumnavigate the big girl.  

1 on 29/7/15 by elchriss0

Oh well i only fly in pleb class and hve only seen the front stairs once when I flew EK since I pretty much only fly SQ for long haul international out of aus to europe.  Probably been on the A380 20 times.  My preferred flight times with SQ usually end up being on a 777 of some variety.

1 on 29/7/15 by Geoff

Yeah, I was always cattle class for many years. Now I have retired, spend the inheritance. The 777 is a really nice aircraft, and not having soo many pax, makes clearing baggage and customs a lot easier. 

1 on 29/7/15 by elchriss0

77W cabin noise with NC headphone is the same as A380 cabin noise without the NC headphones.  But the flight times are more of a concern to me since I can't sleep on any flight and try to get times that cause the least amount of jetlag, but that doesnt really work flying eastbound.  I've done 3 flights and 60 hours with no sleep flying ORD-LAX-AKL-MEL.  The flight left LAX 3 hours late which meant i missed the MEL flight and had to hang around AKL for 8 hrs.

1 on 29/7/15 by Geoff

I have only ever used the NC headphones supplied by the airlines, which make my ears very sore after 4 or 5 hours. I wish they had some that enclose your ears rather than pressing on your ears. When I sleep, I always resort back to my old faithful ear plugs.

2 on 29/7/15 by Chris

Hi Geoff,

As above, economy will be at the front of the upper deck, followed by business class, then the bar at the very back.

What makes it confusing is that the numbering of the economy rows (at the front of the aircraft) begins where business class left off, even though business class is behind economy.

1 on 29/7/15 by Chris

(The dark grey blocks down the sides of the seat map above indicate the position of the aircraft wing – the economy seats end over the wing where the business class seats begin.)

2 on 29/7/15 by Geoff

Interesting that Business gets put to the back of the cabin. I have always found the rear of an aircraft moves about a lot compared to the front. To me, first in QF is great. Front of aircraft, lower deck. I recall my first ride here and noticed we are moving yet could not hear the engines and in flight, so quiet compared with upstairs in EK first. 

3 on 29/7/15 by simon

thanks for explaining chris - i take it they will board upstairs at the door between business and economy then and do the usual stand guard at the curtain to allow business off first? that would be bearable at least - and has allowed me to make my seat choice now too - thanks

4 on 29/7/15 by jubbing

Damn, KUL-DUB route was a route I would have liked to have redeemed for a shower in the sky!

Oh well, plenty of other routes to redeem still for now. 

1 on 29/7/15 by gumshoe

I do hope the Y pax don't crowd the bar its one of my fav. places:)

5 on 29/7/15 by tallinnman

Seems they deided it cost too much to move the bar forward and that business class travellers on these certain routes won't mind the inconvenience of waiting behind economy class passengers at immigration.

6 on 29/7/15 by bl812

what an insane idea-the best and most quiet part of the plane which was first class before, now will be economy-and the business class passenger who pay 3-4 times more than economy are at the back??-well give it a miss and fly with other airlines who have decent layout at the pointy end,seems that emirates becoming a bulk carrier and try to squeeze as many people on board as possible-certainly other Arab airlines like Qatar and Etihad won't follow this bad example-well it's a bonus if you fly economy as upstairs if you lucky you can sit in a row where only 2 seats next to each other-so for short haul it make sense to fly economy after all the food and wine on Business class is pretty mediocre-comparing to other 5* airlines 

7 on 29/7/15 by xyante

Hi Chris, you mentioned that the seat map has been revealed, but where can we see the complete one?

1 on 29/7/15 by Chris

Hi Xueyan, this has not yet been published by Emirates on its own website (and was 'revealed' by AusBT), so we've included images of the parts of the seat map that are different to the ones currently flying today. If you're seated elsewhere on the aircraft or are flying on a three-class flight, you can use the existing Emirates seat maps that are publicly available.

8 on 29/7/15 by Rod

It does not really matter what EK do to configure their Business Class seating because unless they upgrade that woeful seat it wont make any difference.

They would have to be amongst the worst Business seats around and that is confirmed by them not even making it in the first 10 of the best Business Class seats according to Sktrax 2015 review. They are really bloody awful unless you are very skinny and five feet tall. Not a patch on SQ.

1 on 29/7/15 by eminere

Are you obese?

1 on 30/7/15 by Rod

No, no obese just quite tall and large frame? EK's Business seats are almost the same size as their economy at 18.5 inches. Ridiculously narrow by International Standards for comfortable seating. The Skytrax survey says it all !!!!!!!!!

9 on 29/7/15 by Fonga

Thanks Chris, that's a big move by EK. Can you speculate as to why they have configured the seat classes this way? Business at the back and economy at the front of upper deck? Is it to do with a better means of embarking/disembarking?

The logic isn't obvious.

1 on 29/7/15 by Chris

Hi Fonga, as a rule Australian Business Traveller doesn't engage in speculation so this isn't a comment I can make.

10 on 29/7/15 by Brian

In the end, this configuration is designed for those markets where price is the major consideration for 98% of passengers, and where F/J utilisation is less than optimal, such as secondary Eurpoean destinations, and particularly the sub-continent and parts of East Asia.

Based on the current high F/J loads for the 388 flights between Australia and Dubai, I'd be astonished if we ever saw this configuration in this part of the world.

11 on 29/7/15 by GregXL

Presumably this is a reconfiguration rather than a new configuration for new aircraft, so they have gone for the minimum change from the exisitng layout.  Only problem seems to be putting 60 odd Y pax between the Js and the exit.  Perhaps they will leave the seat belt sign illuminated in the Y cabin while the Js exit ;-)

12 on 29/7/15 by Bizflyer

Gatwick on the two class even more of a laugh as it serves the capital and people up in manchester will still have double daily with first class suites oh the irony.

1 on 30/7/15 by elchriss0

Your comment doesn't make sense.  Only 1 of the gatwick flights will have 2 class, meanwhile the remaining 2 gatwick and 5 heathrow flights will remain 3 class A380s.  Where's the irony in that?

1 on 30/7/15 by Bizflyer

Ek 9/10 all ready are a380 services which will go down to two class configuation and this is because the north is on average alot worse off than the south the irony is that Manchester is an airport with very little first class market and Gatwick has a huge London market and tries to say it is a international first class gateway but it will not have as much F capacity as the airport in the north which has 15 million less anual passengers than it.

2 on 30/7/15 by Bizflyer

Ek 9/10 all ready are a380 services which will go down to two class configuation and this is because the north is on average alot worse off than the south the irony is that Manchester is an airport with very little first class market and Gatwick has a huge London market and tries to say it is a international first class gateway but it will not have as much F capacity as the airport in the north which has 15 million less anual passengers than it.

1 on 30/7/15 by elchriss0

Yes but Manchester has a single airport, london has 2 airports flown to by EK.  The amount of F available in LHR far outways any small reduction of F at LGW.  LGW is more of a Y class airport than MAN (hence why the  2 class config is being sent there).  MAN has to act as both the LHR and LGW of manchester, catering to a more even split of premium and Y class pax (hence why only the 3 class configs).

13 on 29/7/15 by 2013am

Do we know how many aircraft  are being reconfigured?

1 on 30/7/15 by Bizflyer

Dont think there are any reconfigueations just some of the orginal 90 that were ordered.

14 on 30/7/15 by Eli

I am a huge fan of this site, but you need to re-write/edit this article because on first read, its confusing.  My suggestion would be to also show one single map of the upper deck, which would allow one to make more sense of the overall layout, instead of having to re-read the article, then relying on the comments below.

1 on 30/7/15 by Chris

Hi Eli, is there a particular part of the article that you found confusing?

1 on 30/7/15 by simon

i think we all want the normal seat map as one - which isnt on emirates website yet - and are a little confused trying to piece your piece together to work out where to sit (personally) until we can see a full/total map?

1 on 30/7/15 by Chris

Hi Simon, the entire upper deck seat map is included the article – with economy at the front, immediately followed behind by business class.

Joining these two together visually provides no real benefit from an editorial perspective as you're either flying in one cabin or the other, not choosing a seat between the two.

(If it helps, the dark grey blocks down the sides of the seat maps indicate the position of the wing.)

The lower deck seat map on the two-class aircraft is largely the same as Emirates' existing 'long range' (not 'ultra long range') three-class A380s, aside from the two differences we've highlighted in red. For seats in all other rows, you can check the existing seat maps that are freely available.

Also just to note, if you're booked on a flight that is planned as a two-class service, this should now be reflected when choosing your seat on the Emirates website: so if you're booked in economy on a two-class flight, you should be able to see seats on both the upper and lower decks.

15 on 30/7/15 by bee

I wish they had those crew bunk beds all through the airbus for economy! 

1 on 30/7/15 by Geoff

620pax now in this A380?....

Maybe on some routes, EK will get rid of J class altogether and get to the 800+ pax per a/c. Well at least then people can experience what the live cattle/sheep export endure.

16 on 8/8/15 by Stuart

I really thought that Emirates had it right at one stage, but I fear that profits have now overtaken passengers. If SIA have decided to introduce Premium Economy, then there must be a need for it. SIA do not do things lightly.

I wonder how long the 2-4-2 on the upper deck will l;ast. My gues will be a yankie style 2-5-2 within 3 years.

Very sad Emirates, very sad................

17 on 8/8/15 by Stuart

Great idea. Perhaps they could install double or even triple bunks sideways and ram in 1000 and charge $2 for the toilet. Have you seen the video Cheap Flights?


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