Emirates Reducing Economy Baggage Allowance

Filed Under: Emirates

Historically the Gulf carriers have been known for their full service offerings. While other airlines largely nickel-and-dime passengers, that’s not something the Gulf carriers used to do.

However, over time these airlines have been under increased financial pressure, and have done what they can to improve their bottom line.

Of the “big three”  Gulf carriers, Etihad has done by far the most to cut costs and to increase fees for all kinds of things. Emirates has done some mild cost cutting and nickel-and-diming, but for the most part is still pretty full service.

Emirates has nonetheless been trying to better differentiate their various “tiers” of economy fares. For example, in late 2016, Emirates began charging for seat assignments on select economy fares.

Emirates reducing economy baggage allowance

The airline has recently revealed their latest cost cutting measure. As of February 4, 2019, Emirates will be reducing the complimentary baggage allowance for some economy passengers.

For all travel except those itineraries to/from the Americas and itineraries originating in Africa, Emirates uses a weight concept for their baggage allowance. The following will be changing:

  • The baggage allowance on Economy Special tickets will be reduced from 20KG to 15KG
  • The baggage allowance on Economy Saver tickets will be reduced from 30KG to 25KG

For itineraries to/from the Americas and itineraries originating in Africa, Emirates uses a piece concept for their baggage allowance. The following will be changing:

  • The baggage allowance on Economy Special tickets will be reduced from two pieces of up to 23KG to one piece of up to 23KG, except for travel between North America and Europe (which includes Newark to Athens and New York to Milan)
  • The baggage allowance on Economy Special and Economy Saver tickets will be reduced from two pieces of up to 23KG to one piece of up to 23KG on all other routes

There’s nothing here that’s shocking, really. Emirates has four tiers of economy tickets, so they’re trying to do more to differentiate the tiers.

It’s of course a negative development for passengers who seek value flying Emirates and checking bags, but overall the airline still has great economy fares and offers good value.

Could Emirates eventually unbundle business class?

While this isn’t relevant to this particular announcement, I do think it’s interesting to go back to something Tim Clark, Emirates’ CEO, said a couple of years ago. At the time he said that he’d like to eventually look at unbundling business class fares.

In fairness, that was done in the context of possibly introducing unbundled business class rather than premium economy. However, we now know that the airline will be introducing premium economy soon, so it’ll be interesting to see if that still happens.

What do you make of Emirates reducing the economy baggage limit? Do you think Emirates will eventually introduce unbundled premium economy?

(Tip of the hat to Live from a Lounge)

  1. This is ridiculous. First, they charge for seat assignments, now they’re reducing baggage allowance! Qatar still has at least 30kg, or 2x 23kg depending on flight origin. They look to me more the premium airline nowadays.

  2. This is terrible news for me. I fly to visit family every year to the middle east/south asia and I normally excersize the entire baggage amount to bring stuff there and especially to bring stuff back.

  3. I take it flights departing Egypt are counted as originating in Africa? (Culturally it’s the Middle East, so I want to check that they’re defining it by geography…)

  4. YES PLEASE unbundle biz class. Would gladly pay $1000 for a RT flat bed to Europe , without food , alcohol or luggage

  5. This is terrible,especially if Qatar still carry 23kg×2,I think I will always go for Qatar air, and dump Emirates in the trash.they acting too big and I can guaranty they will lose customers.the fact they have lots of plans those not mean they making profit.b4 I forget their services to Africa in terrible, entertainment system is down, on board internet is also (even if you want to buy)down for the entire flight and the crew want fight you,if you ask why.food shortage,ie you forced to fish, if chicken is finished.

  6. Looks like Arabs need to build another mega project and they need the masses to pay for it

  7. I wonder if Lucky would be so at pains to be understanding of this penny pinching if the airline wasn’t Emirates and, say, any US airline?

    Your bias is blatant.

  8. Why should i (as a European) use them anymore?

    -They stop in DXB halfway to Asia
    -The systematically eliminated everything that made them better than the big 3 (IAG, LH and KLM/AF)
    -Prices are too low across the board to make a difference.

  9. Oppsie! That’s going to reduce their S Asian traffic with a wallop. Everyone talks about QR but how long until their ruler grows tired of subsidising their huge losses? Even slash and burn EY offer 30 kg on their base fare ex AUH. Mind you if Ek dump the 388s they will have that much less cheap seats to fill.

  10. For a while this will be a nightmare. Since the whole Indian subcontinent loves to pack heavy and test the limits. Changes to baggage allowance will cause long waits.

  11. 20kg has been the economy standard forever, this is a very bad idea. Long haul Aussies won’t like it at all

  12. The contents here are hilarious. I’m never going to understand why people get so emotional when it comes to air travel!

  13. @Paul true. Emirates has had a very strong hold in Perth where I fly from. Now that Etihad has ceased in Perth and Emirates is reducing to 1 A380 a day from 2 A380 and 1 77W/77L a few years back, it might push more Aussies to fly Qatar Airways or Singapore Airlines. Aussies hate change for ANY reason and I’m sure that I’ll see this story in the local news soon.

  14. @Callum~ you never want to stand between an American and their baggage allowance! Hilarious indeed. And let’s not unleash the hounds by discussing cabin baggage allowances!

  15. WOW. What a stupid baggage system and I feel sorry for all those poor check in agents trying to explain to their less than interested passengers that they have a cheap ticket and the baggage is now X kg. I can see loads of people unpacking things on the floor of DXB which will be quite a sight or having no clue what they are being asked to do and have no money to pay for excess baggage.

    Fuel is the one thing that is still dirt cheap in the ME so why try and save fuel by carrying less.

  16. Why are (were?) N. American baggage allowance more generous anyway? I was quite happy with my recent 30kg Asia to Europe on Qatar, but would have been even happier with 2 x 23kg.

  17. Many and I repeat many people travel from South America to Asia with weight concept primarily in mind i.e. they can take some things to the Asia as gifts etc mostly for relatives but most importantly bring stuff back from Asia which is not available in South America or is available at much elevated prices. Emirates is the primary carrier but now that they are introducing these changes many will switch to Qatar. Unfortunately Qatars 777-200lrs have been modified to 10 across instead of the 9 previously, but that wont make much difference at weight concept is more important for most travellers.

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