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Dubai news: Emirates PE soon bookable, Jumeirah’s new airport lounge, Accor to run the QE2 hotel

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News in brief:

The new Emirates Premium Economy cabin will soon be bookable

Emirates has announced that its new Premium Economy cabin will be bookable from 1st June.

The roll-out of the new cabin is going to take some time, of course, with 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s due to be refitted from November 2022. The final batch of A380 deliveries came with Premium Economy installed from scratch, however, which allows Emirates to begin offering it for booking now.

From 1st June, it will be bookable on:

  • London, Paris and Sydney for travel from 1st August
  • Christchurch for travel from December (exact date TBC)

It isn’t clear if you will be able to mix and match cabins if you are flying from London to a destination beyond Dubai, or if the Emirates website will only be able to sell tickets in the same cabin throughout. You cannot, at the moment, mix and match Economy and Business class on the same journey.

Emirates premium economy seat

What is Emirates Premium Economy like?

The A380s will feature 56 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 layout at the front of the lower deck. The cabin has three dedicated toilets.

The seats themselves feature up to 40″ pitch and 19.5″ width, with an 8″ recline. You’ll get a six-way adjustable headrest, calfrest and footrest as well as a wide dining table and small side table.

Emirates has chosen the Recaro PL3530 premium economy seat. If it looks familiar, this is the seat that British Airways has been installing on refurbished aircraft and new arrivals in recent years.

Emirates premium economy cabin

Emirates’ premium economy looks classy. It introduces a more modern, slightly less nouveau riche design to the cabin. Faux walnut and gold trim has gone, replaced by some darker woods and ‘champagne’ colours.

Emirates premium economy tray table

Jumeirah Hotels opens an arrivals lounge at Dubai Airport

The Jumeirah hotel group, which has most of the best positioned beach resorts in Dubai due to its State ownership, has opened its own arrivals lounge in Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport.

The 250 sq m lounge is open to anyone who is using hotel-arranged transport from the airport. It appears that you do not need to book a transfer in advance to get access.

The lounge offers food and drink as well as two shower rooms, which could be useful if you are arriving early and are unlikely to get immediate access to your hotel room.

Jumeirah will also allow you to leave your luggage in the arrivals lounge for separate transfer to your hotel, allowing you to head into Dubai immediately. This is particularly interesting for business travellers who may not want to carry their luggage into business meetings.

Anyone booked into a suite at a Jumeirah hotel can also use the lounge on departure, although you would need to leave enough time to clear security and passport control.

You can find out more on the Jumeirah website here.

Accor to manage the Queen Elizabeth II floating hotel in Dubai

Accor to manage the Queen Elizabeth II floating hotel

Those of you with long memories may remember that the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship was sold to Dubai, via the Dubai World holding company, back in 2008.  Her final voyage ended in Dubai and the liner was handed over.

The timing, of course, was terrible.  The financial crisis hit Dubai very hard and plans to turn her into a floating hotel hit the buffers.  For many years the ship sat in the port, still requiring a full-time crew of 40 to keep it operational.

The market finally turned and conversion work began.  In 2018, the QE2 finally reopened as a floating hotel in Port Rashid.

Since then, the hotel has had a very low profile and has fallen off the radar of many people, myself included. A random search for 25th May showed rooms being sold for just £75 including all taxes and service charges.

Accor has now taken over management of the hotel and, after some refurbishment and upgrades, it will become part of the MGallery brand.

You can find out more about the hotel on the QE2 website here. It is not yet bookable on the Accor website.

Comments (23)

  • Nick says:

    I think we have very different views as to what ‘classy’ looks like.

    • Yuff says:

      For a PE cabin it looks pretty good to me……

    • Dubious says:

      ‘Classy’ as in the plural for class – mixing of ‘economy class’ with a bit of a ‘premium class’ ?

    • Andrew J says:

      ‘Classy’ is a bit of a Del Boy term isn’t it.

    • Carlos says:

      It beats British Airways by miles (no pun intended)

    • Rhys says:

      Emirates obviously has its own style (which isn’t to everyone’s taste – it’s certainly not my favourite) but I do think this PE cabin is a good execution of that ‘private jet’ burled walnut aesthetic.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      My thought was “less tacky”. Classy is a stretch, but you can’t deny it’s an improvement on previous design choices 😀

    • DevonDiamond says:

      The Only Way Is Emiratessex 😉

    • Charles Martel says:

      The Middle East has a certain Trumpian style to it. I’m sure I used to hear money talks and wealth whispers but I grew up potless so what do I know?

    • Evan says:

      I’ll go as far as “better” but that’s it.

  • Tom C says:

    I stayed in the Burj al Arab last week and used the Jumeirah lounge in DXB whilst we waited for our driver. We were only there about 10 minutes, but that was enough to see they’d spent a hefty chunk of change on it – we were the only guests, so I did a very quick video tour, which I’ll try and dig out later.

    It’s really beautiful and has a decent snack (mostly cakes) selection, which is basically 95% of my diet anyway. I was really impressed. They were probably less impressed with my 1 year old daughter, as she smashed one of the glasses.

  • The real Swiss Tony says:

    Some folk may have memories good enough to recall that EK used to sell – I think only via the likes of Trailfinders – fares that were in Y from London to Dubai then J beyond. Suggests they are amenable to a bit of mix & match…

    • SamG says:

      They offer the option via multicity but playing around I couldn’t get anything to price. As you say they definitely used to do it – colleagues would often do trips out to the Far East Y to London and J beyond at very reasonable pricing (booked via our TA though)

  • Carlos says:

    Interested to know if PE can be redeemed or upgraded via EK points…

    @Rob can you do a review of the Jumeriah Lounge in the airport?

  • Jon says:

    I wonder how those seats will look after lots of people wearing, say, new blue jeans have sat in them… Or now much extra work that’ll create for the cleaners… 😉

  • Sunguy says:

    I know this is to do with the QE2 – but, they really should be taking over the Queen Mary in Long Beach too…its *really* mis-managed …. (or at least it was, havent been in a couple of years!).

  • TimM says:

    We sailed on the QE2 on the classic Southampton – New York crossing but as the first leg of her World Cruise, January 2002. The Salvation Army played from the dock as we set off in the fog. It was £369pp including a flight back and transfer to JFK. We met her again in Dubai as part of a Singapore – Rome repositioning 2009 and she was in a very sorry state then.

    The QE2 is an extreme oddity. She was uber-modern for her time in the 1960s with plastic furniture and bright colours everywhere. Over the years she became more traditional but never with a cruise ship’s amenities. What set her apart was the “White Star Service” which Cunard has now lost. I wonder what Accor will make of her?

    • Martin says:

      I worked on the QE2 late 80s.
      Fond memories.
      As well as working 7 days a week, I was living the Dream.

  • Talay says:

    I guess it depends on where the pricing falls.

    On my regular routes, London to Bangkok, business is invariably £2000 and economy £500 or so, give or take airline etc.

    If PE was less than £1000 then some might buy it I guess but at £1250 an upwards, the enormous gap to a lie flat bed in business for a little over 50% more money should put most people off.

    I’ve only ever flown PE once, on EVA LHR-BKK and I remember it frustrating as it was only fractionally better than economy and I moved to business class from the next flight.

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