CMB first class fares no longer bookable on Emirates

Sometimes airlines publish good fares out of certain markets, and Colombo, Sri Lanka is one of them. For a while now they’ve had great paid first and business class fares to the US, one of which I took advantage of in January when I flew from Colombo to Singapore to Dubai to London to Seattle, all in first class on Emirates and British Airways.

Anyway, I get a lot of questions about this fare, so I did want to clarify that as of a week or so ago the fare is no longer bookable in Emirates first class. Understandably Emirates probably didn’t want their first class selling for so cheap. That being said, it’s still possible to book first class on a bunch of other airlines, or Emirates business class, for that matter.

Sad news for sure, as I may very well have had my last in-flight shower (at least for the time being), though figured I’d provide the update for those of you that are wondering why Emirates first class is no longer pricing on ex-CMB fares.

Filed Under: Advice, Emirates
  1. @ MEOW — C’mon, if I were to do an April Fools’ you really think it would be this lame? :p

  2. Sadly is not an April fool. Happened 5 days ago. Though I’m sure the fare is not dead for ever. Maybe some codeshare adjustment could bring it back.

  3. oh wow, I just tried and it didn’t work. I’ve done about 4 of these in the past 12 months, sad to see it go. Can we still book through a TA?

  4. @ ABC — Don’t make me. šŸ˜‰

    @ MEOW — They won’t be able to price it with Emirates either.

  5. glad i got to do it in february… so sad to see it go tho. it was such a great experience.

  6. I am so glad I booked my trip next year from MLE-JFK last month! Sad to see it go, but happy I will be able to at least savour it once…

  7. Fwiw, if you go from CMB to DXB via SIN, then you can still get the AOWISC fare pricing and fly on Emirates in F: one SIN-DXB option is QF8355 flight operated by EK on the A380

    CMB-SIN – UL302 (J)
    SIN-DXB – QF8355 (F) – operated by EK
    DXB-LHR – QF1 (F)
    LHR-JFK – AA6138 (F) – operated by BA

    prices out to $2,881

  8. i just checked it… it is still showing on ita matrix for a slightly higher price (about $700 more to JFK) if you book the emirates flights as quantas code shares. but at this price it’s almost not worth it…

  9. @ DL — Good to know, thanks! At that cost don’t think this fare is necessarily worth it anymore, though it’s nice to know about the option.

  10. Good that I booked 2 tickets CMB-SIN-DXB-LHR-SFO for 2200 USD pp. All, except CMB-SIN, in F, also with Emirates A380 SIN-DXB… It was your advice that triggered the action, Lucky! Thanx!!

  11. Hi Lucky – when you say itā€™s still possible to book first class on a bunch of other airlines, is that still originating from CMB? What would be some examples? Thanks

  12. @ Riposte — The fare is published by American and you can fly a ton of different airlines between Colombo and Europe. The major restriction is that the transatlantic flight has to be on American or an American codeshare. So you can still do, for example, CMB-KUL-LHR on Malaysia, and then LHR-LAX on AA or BA.

  13. Doesn’t the American Express Platinum card have a free companion ticket perk? I thought there was a perk that gave you a free companion ticket if you paid for a full price or near full price first class ticket? Am I making that up? Does this ticket qualify?

  14. Oh man, should have known I was playing with fire when I cancelled mine and planned on rebooking last week. Kicking myself here, congrats to those who took advantage of this.

  15. @ benji — That is a perk, though applies only to full fare tickets, which are substantially more than double the cost of this CMB fare.

  16. I took advantage of CMB fares earlier this year for travel in November. My wife and I are taking a vacation to Maldives coming back we decided between first or business, at the end, we bought business instead for a “cheap” 1500 pp usd total.

    Fare was published by AA. Operated by Qatar and BA.

  17. Lucky, as I have 2 first class (A fare) flights in AA codeshare, but on BA metal (DXB-LHR-SFO), I am a bit torn to where is is best to credit the miles, to Avios or to AAdvantage? Does F on AAcodeshare count towards 200% bonus on BA? Thanx for help!

  18. @ Miro — Don’t quote me, but I believe you earn the 100% bonus for an AA codeshare on BA metal when crediting to BA.

    Now, would I rather earn 150% AA miles or 200% BA Avios? I’d say I’d probably still go with AA in this case.

  19. My partner and I took the CMB fare in February and it was truly once in the lifetime experience. We went to Maldives in SQ First Suite/Business for 80K United miles (thanks to SQ system upgrade), stayed at Park Hyatt Maldives for 5 nights and came home on EK First Class with shower on A380. Don’t know how can we top this šŸ™‚

  20. @ lucky – my thoghts exactly… especially given those two AA codeshare flights with F bonus bring over 10.000 AA points, enought for completing AA plat status challenge in less than one day…

  21. Really glad I booked this last month! Kind of bummed Emirates is no longer eligible, though, in case we miss our MLE-CMB flight need to change our ticket… IMO, the best option now is CMB-AUH-USA in EY J/F.

    Any thoughts on why Emirates was, somewhat uniquely, available when all the other options are Oneworld airlines or AA codeshares in the case of EY?

    Also, the AMEX companion ticket, as far as AMEX PTS has told me, is also only valid on travel originating in the United States and returning to the United States. So even if the fare were eligible, it’s not a valid itinerary because it originates in CMB.

  22. @ Justin — The only restriction is that transatlantic travel has to be on BA or a BA codeshare. Between CMB and Europe you could actually fly just about any airline, even Star Alliance carriers.

  23. VERY interesting… I tried to figure out how to make it work with AF–just for the novelty of it really–but wasn’t able to get it to price on ITA. From there I just played around with Oneworld carriers and it seemed to work fine–hence my assumption.

    Playing around, it seems you can route through SIN and go SIN-FRA on LH 380. Thus far haven’t been able to make it work for SQ 380, though…

  24. @ Justin — It doesn’t work with Air France because they don’t have an “A” fare bucket.

  25. @ Lantean — Guess it depends which miles you’re trying to earn. Etihad is definitely good via Abu Dhabi, though I also wouldn’t find BA A380 F once they start flying it to HKG and LAX, or Lufthansa first class through Frankfurt and then BA back to the US.

  26. @ Miro — Sorry, not sure I follow? American transatlantic is the easiest airline on which to book, given that the tickets are issued by American.

  27. @Lucky – sorry… I meant are there any other such deals out there as the now-famous deal from CMB to USA vie Europe? Any other such price-lucrative markets as CMB?

  28. @ Miro — While there are some other lucrative markets for premium fares, none are as good as CMB.

  29. I was very disappointed to hear about this. Had a planned but unbooked trip…no more EK for me!

  30. Also there are a number of great airlines that you cannot use Asia-Europe on this fare. SQ, LX, JL, OZ, KE, AF all come to mind, but I’m sure there are more. Still wishing I had bought one with SQ First when it was bookable as the LH codeshare…

  31. so i’m searching on ITA for F fares but i’m not finding anything. FOr the people who are still finding the very cheap F fares (on any airline) what dates are you using?

  32. @ ATC — Fare is available just about every day. Probably just not searching right since you have to specify the parameters. For example, search:
    Origin: CMB:: MH KUL MH LHR AA
    Destination: LAX

    Fare should come up.

  33. lucky, I am able to find these fares, but what is the best way to book them? Can’t book via since apparently it doesn’t service CMB online. Do you call it in to AA or what?

  34. @ Jim — If it’s a simple itinerary it can usually be booked via an OTA, but if it’s a more complicated one you’re probably best off using a travel agent.

  35. EY F was ho-hum when I flew JFK-AUH in Feb. Not sure I’d engineer a trip ex-CMB and pay just to experience it. Wouldn’t LH F ex-HKG be the (distant) second place on this fare now that EK is gone?

  36. @CHSDOC

    thank you for reporting, i think when Lucky flew EY F he was disappointed as well… not sure why they bill themselves as a 5* airline then… must be all marketing. I guess i will not be flying them.

  37. Same for QR. A less than mediocre airline, with no existent ground service and an awful home airport. Their “5 stars” speak volumes of what Skytrax is.

  38. Searching for this fare today using EF and it is no longer available. Before EF always displayed the fare. Is it gone?

  39. @ Pomerol — I still see the fare alive. Are you searching American as the issuing carrier?

  40. @clayd333: what you said is far more interesting. I was going to book paid J and upgrade a friend and myself HKG- BKK round trip to F. Checked before Easter and two seats were wide open virtually every Friday to Sunday in May or June so I waited and wanted to book now. Now there is NONE?! Or is anyone seeing two F saver awards on this route on any weekend anytime soon? šŸ™

  41. Cool fare. Can you stopover in Singapore and London on this? Sorry a bit of a newbie but what specific websites do you mean when you refer to an OTA and EF? Can you book round trip for twice the fare? Any reason everyone seems to be booking only one way? Also, what airlines do work Asia to Europe — mainly LH? Thanks, very intriguing indeed!

  42. @ Ph_kevin — You can definitely stop in Europe, not sure about elsewhere.

    An OTA is an online travel agency like Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. EF is ExpertFlyer, a subscription service.

    Roundtrip is actually slightly more than double the fare, so not as good of a deal.

  43. Sigh. I knew it was a matter of time due to how much everyone was talking about it. Even worse is now i cannot find any Z availability on A380 flights šŸ™

  44. Btw, you can *almost* get around the world on this fare for around $4,516 (mix of F, and J)

    mnl-sin-cmb-dxb-lhr-lax-hnl-gum (and some itineraries include the island hopper stops of hnl-maj-kwa-ksa-pni-tkk-gum)

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