Unprecedented: Emirates Unbundles Business Class

Filed Under: Emirates

For years we’ve seen airlines unbundle economy fares. This has come partly in the form of expansion of ultra low cost carriers, though full service airlines have largely matched. For example, American, Delta, and United, have all added basic economy fares, which have been unpopular with consumers.

However, up until now we haven’t really seen airlines unbundle business class too much. While there’s massive variability in the cost of business class fares, virtually every airline includes lounge access if you’re on a paid business class ticket.

Emirates warned us this was coming…

In 2016, Emirates’ president, Tim Clark, announced that the airline was considering unbundling business class. Interestingly at the time he suggested they’d introduced an unbundled business class product as an alternative to introducing premium economy.

The logic was that many people don’t value many of the business class frills, but just want a great seat. So it seemed most efficient to simply introduce more options in business class.

It seems he’s following through on this, but has also changed his mind — not only is Emirates introducing premium economy next year, but they’ve also just rolled out unbundled business class fares.

Emirates’ 777 business class

Emirates’ new unbundled business class fares

Emirates has several types of business class fares, though they’ve just introduced a new type of fare. Emirates has just rolled out “Special” fares, which joins their other business class fares, including Saver, Flex, and Flex Plus.

Emirates‘ new Special fares book into the “H” fare class. Business class passengers booking Special fares will be subjected to the following restrictions:

  • No lounge access, unless they also have status, in which case they can access a lounge on account of their status (currently all business class passengers, including those who upgrade and use miles, have lounge access)
  • No Emirates chauffeur drive (currently all paid business class passengers get chauffeur drive — those on award tickets and upgrades don’t)
  • No upgrades to first class using miles (currently all paid business class passengers can upgrade to first class for some number of miles)
  • Restricted seat assignments, so you can only select seat assignments after check-in opens
  • Reduced mileage earning, which means business Special passengers earn the same number of miles as economy Flex Plus passengers

As of now it seems like very few routes have these Special fares available, though that’s probably because this was just implemented, and it will be expanded significantly over time.

Emirates is cutting lounge access for some business class passengers

My take on Emirates unbundling business class

First of all, I’d say this move very much shows how the Gulf carriers are increasingly trying to improve their financial performance. That doesn’t come as a surprise to me, though US carriers love to claim that Gulf carriers have no profit goals, and this suggests otherwise.

I view this move as a huge deal. This is the first major airline in the world I can think of that doesn’t offer lounge access on discounted business class tickets. That’s significant, because in the airline industry when one airline does something, others follow.

Eliminating chauffeur drive and reducing mileage earning and having fares that don’t let you upgrade to first class all seem fair enough, and none of those are unprecedented.

Not being able to assign seats in advance maybe isn’t a terrible move, since it means those on more expensive fares have better odds of assigning good seats when booking last minute.

But cutting lounge access is what I consider to be most radical here. For stations with Emirates lounges, I imagine the incremental cost of lounge access is tiny.

So this is clearly being done to try to get people to book higher fares, rather than being done to create a lower cost product, since an incremental cost of a few dollars for lounge access shouldn’t drive Emirates’ decisions here.

My bigger concern is the confusion this will create. People assume that they have lounge access when flying business class. Period. I imagine this will create a lot of anger among passengers — sure, some will know what they’re buying, but I’m sure there are just as many people who book fares and don’t know the restrictions they’re agreeing to.

I also question the logic of this, in a way. Someone who books a discounted economy fare and redeems miles to upgrade to business class will get lounge access, while someone who just outright books a discounted business class ticket won’t? Hmmm…

Emirates 777-300ER

Bottom line

Emirates’ new business class fares are quite extreme, in my opinion. Last year Qatar Airways eliminated lounge access for those upgrading from economy to business class, and that was a big deal at the time.

But to eliminate lounge access on a paid business class ticket is next level. I’ll be curious to see if other airlines follow, and if Emirates gets backlash here.

What do you make of Emirates cutting lounge access on discounted business class fares?

  1. In a city where a taxi to the airport is expensive, say Tokyo, I think 100usd extra for the chauffeur and the lounge is reasonable but if you can get to the airport cheaply, then not.
    Big picture is whether other airlines will follow suit and how many rants they face from business class passengers being turned away from lounges. I wouldn’t want a job on the lounge front desk!

  2. Do u think award tickets in the future will now be same as “special” business class fare and thus taking away lounge access etc???

  3. $100 for lounge access AND a driver to / from the airport, depending how far you live from the airport at certain cities it might make sense to get the more expensive fare.

    More importantly – can you buy economy and upgrade into the cheaper business class fare?

  4. You mention that all business class have lounge access.

    That’s not true if you do an OLCI upgrade/special offer upgrade. They don’t include lounge access.

  5. “This is the first major airline in the world I can think of that doesn’t offer lounge access on discounted business class tickets.”

    What about every US carrier?

  6. I see the “restricted” seat selection translating into Special Fare pax being put in that middle seat on their 777s.

  7. @ UK @ Niko_jas — For what it’s worth, this is the fare difference between Dubai and Muscat, though I imagine the difference will be bigger in other markets.

  8. @ Vinu — That hasn’t been announced yet. It’s certainly a concern, though I hope not. That’s my general issue with the precedent here. Once one airline starts playing around with lounge access for business class passengers, I can see other airlines getting “creative” as well.

  9. @ Si — Business class upgrades should still book into the “D” fare class, which should still be eligible for lounge access, etc.

  10. @ John — The point I was making was that they’re the first airline that don’t offer it to discounted business class passengers but do offer it to other business class passengers. Obviously not every single flight in the world has lounge access, since not all airports have lounges.

  11. Maybe some don’t like the lounge or even the food onboard ( god forbid) but rather a lie down bed on the ultra long haul for a cheap price. I know I would after 12 hrs in economy LHR to SIN and beyond ( or just book 2 extra seats for a lie down )

  12. @ Jamie — All of which is fair, though to be clear, the discounts aren’t actually that huge. Furthermore, the pricing for the new “Special” fares is equivalent to the previous pricing of the “Saver” fares. So much like basic economy, this is a money grab, and not actually a new offering that makes things better for consumers… at least as of now.

  13. When I paid to upgrade to from economy to business at check in two years ago, I was told I couldn’t use priority check in and I got a big “NLA” (no lounge access) written across my boarding pass upon check-in. They’ve already been doing this, and honestly, they’re right. I was happy just to have the seat.

  14. @ Matt R — And there are airlines that restrict lounge access when you upgrade day of, so that’s why I don’t think that’s a new concept. But to actually restrict access when booking a paid business class ticket in advance is different, in my opinion.

  15. Agreed Ben. The glory days of premium travel are slowly coming to an end which is a great shame. 1 step at a time it all gets the chop. If it’s not the good champagne or a ride to the airport it’s a van rather than a Mercedes when flying LH F. Sooner or later we will all be travelling FR 🙂

  16. The US airlines generally do not include lounge access on domestic Business/ First class fares, even though some of the flights are quite long.

  17. Not surprised to see this. While not thought about it, surprised that others not done it before (other than BA pay for seat). The biggest concern would now be much more difficult for the customer to compare apples to apples if others jump on the bandwagon. What’s the FF credit situation on these tickets – do they all credit the same, or are there now four different credit amounts based on ticket type?

  18. ” People assume that they have lounge access when flying business class. Period. I imagine this will create a lot of anger among passengers —”
    Why assume that all passengers care about the lounge whether it is included or not?
    Those who really care will pay for the extra $100 which also include chauffeur drive to the airport.
    I would be curious to know if these new fares will be popular or not but i don’t think the lounge access is that crucial to passengers.

  19. This could be okay. This kind of system is offered on the much-maligned Qantas-owned Jetstar ( in fact the summary page shown is almost identical). It offers those bundles depending on need: I often choose one that offers no points, no status, no luggage…but with seat allocation and additional hand luggage. I don’t need points or status, lounge access I get anyway.
    While this deal won’t work well for those seeking to gain/maintain status, for many others it could lessen the cost by providing only those services/benefits they really need. I can see myself using this EK arrangement, provided the details are ok.

  20. They should also unbundle alcohol. Plenty of their customers will happily pay less to not drink alcohol.

  21. @ khatl — They credit differently, but even before different Emirates business class ticket types earned different numbers of miles.

  22. At least they didn’t unbundle the onboard food.

    Lounges are overrated in my book – the comfort in the air isn’t.

  23. @Niko_jas while I do understand what you’re mean, a part of the problem is that there are a growing number of cities where Emirates doesn’t offer chauffeur drive to begin with. If you wanted to use it in Tokyo, you’d have to fly to Tokyo Haneda as Narita doesn’t have the chauffeur service. Same thing with Mauritius and Seychelles, expensive cabs but no chauffeur drive. Hong Kong doesn’t have chauffeur drive for business class passengers, only First Class. I’m sure there are many such examples across the Emirates network.

  24. @ Caroline — I’m not suggesting everyone cares about lounge access, but it also goes beyond that, like the ability to assign seats in advance (meaning on the 777 you’re likely to end up in a middle seat on these fares).

  25. “…though US carriers love to claim that Gulf carriers have no profit goals, and this suggests otherwise.”

    You forgot to mention that these “profit goals” coincidentally started right after the Trump administration’s settlement with Qatar in January 2018 and UAE in May 2018 to end subsidies, increase transparency and disclose government funding within 2 years, under threat of retaliation if they didn’t knock it off with the subsidies.

    The way you phrased this makes it sound like the US carriers were complaining about nothing, when in fact, the 2018 agreements and subsequently changed profit seeking behaviors of the gulf carriers is evidence the U.S. carriers were exactly correct all along.

  26. @ Rob — I disagree. These kinds of changes have been going on since long before 2018. From Etihad greatly cutting back their services, to Emirates charging for seat assignments on many economy fares, to Qatar constantly devaluing their frequent flyer program, this has been going on for years.

    This is happening because the airlines are under increased financial pressure from their governments, and not because of anything having to do with the US.

  27. I just saw a post on this blog from 2025, I will quote it for ya.
    “Sadly my British Airways First Class ticket books into A class, and semi-flex first class tickets do not have access to the exclusive Concorde Room. However, my Priority Pass allowed me entry into the ExecLoo in T5, which features this nice toilet with automatic paper distributor. I also paid an extra $8 for the bidget option. Here are some photos.”

  28. From the corporate travel perspective it will be interesting to see how these changes are taken into account with corporate travel policies. Will companies allow booking into the higher fare classes or will travelers be prompted to take any seat in a cabin with no lounge access? If this does indeed take off as a trend, then we will very likely see award tickets lose lounge access or degraded lounge access. For example, BA moving award First travelers from the First Class lounge and Concord Room to Business Class lounges.

    From the paid ticket perspective, will the trend be to match the current fares with less access or discount current fares by unbundling them? If I already have lounge access with a status or credit card, and it is an airplane type where I don’t really care about the seat, I’t be happy to take the savings off of the fare. But if I am looking at paying the same rate as before for the base rate then this is just distraction for fare increases.

  29. Well this is long time due to be honest. A month back on my trip to Dallas in Business Class half of the passengers were from Pakistan and the other half from India as fares originating from these two countries are almost half when compared departing from Dubai. And on top of this a good number were upgraded. As a result I just flew to Dallas yesterday through London because the saving is quite considerable and I can imagine the management finally understands that they are losing business class customers.

    For a 16 hours flight I’d be happy to give up the Lounge and the Chauffeur for a better seat. Makes sense and this is common sense most of all. I think all airlines should follow this path. Cut some frills and fill business class seats with genuine customers. Of course I’ll now be watching closely how this evolves.

  30. take away the miles, lounge, the food, the alcohol, the TV screen, the service and every other thing that can be cut and just give a lower price for a business class seat.

    i think most people just want to have a good and comfortable seat and dont care about the rest

  31. This may actually be quite good for those corporate travelers who have a travel budget per annum or per quarter in lieu of a travel policy on type of ticket booked. Say my travel budget only allows for the purchase of 8 biz tickets per quarter at the current rate based on my travel routine, but I have 10 total trips this quarter. That means I will need to take two in economy. I would gladly eschew lounge access to fly in J all 10 times. Plus, if I’m truly flying that much, I’d likely have lounge access via status.

  32. Choosing my seat is a dealbreaker for me!
    Even on Ryanair and the ULCCs I always pick a good seat to avoid the middle. So this would definitely be a NO NO.
    Especially while Emirates still has that dreaded middle seat in business.

    Personally the fairs seem very similar in business these days so I tend to prefer quicker, more direct flights long haul. But if travelling via the Middle East I prefer Qatar as it helps my One World Status and I automatically get many benefits with my current OW status.

    Once Emirates join a major alliance whether One World, SkyTeam or Star Alliance it would become far more competitive to me.

  33. They have found a way to make people pay more not to risk being stuck in the middle seat on the 777. Having realised on rereading that you can’t select your seat in advance – that for me counts more than the lounge or the chauffeur. If my only option is the middle seat I simply wouldn’t book Emirates business class.

  34. This is certainly a big change, but I think it’s more of a evolution/combination of things we’ve seen already, like: BA and Swiss charge for seat assignments, Virgin Atlantic only offering chauffeur service to full fare business, and Norwegian only offering lounge access to PremiumFlex passengers.

  35. Ben, I feel this is just a repackaged offer from Emirates that’s been there for many years. I mean, Emirates had this low cost business class for the economy class passengers who get email invite to upgrade to business for certain leg of the itinerary. Those economy passengers who choose to upgrade will not get lounge and chauffer pick up. Looks like they are now going to offer it at the time of booking instead of waiting for the email.

  36. @Rob
    The Gulf3 agreed to approximately jack $hit with US3 et al. US3 spun the agreement as a victory because they got smacked upside the head and embarrassed. All the US3 care about are sucking as much as possible and charging us more because our gov’t protects them and allows it to happen.

  37. @ Gopi — It might appear that way, but unfortunately this hasn’t resulted in lower fares. The previous Saver fares are largely repackaged as Special fares, so there aren’t any savings for consumers.

  38. Lucky, would you think people will be able to earn the same Alaska miles on these fares as they do on regular business class fares?

  39. Ben, I tried looking out for the ‘H’ class fares between KWI and MCT and the cheapest option available was Business Flex. Tried looking out for the same fare code from KWI to DXB, MAA and even DXB-MCT (the one where you got these results) , yet the cheapest option is Business Flex. I really hope this ‘Business Special’ comes out for short haul EK flights like KWI-DXB and vice versa. Flying in Economy Class every week sucks.


  40. @ Ed — Since Emirates has just repurposed “H” fares, I imagine partner airlines will update mileage earning for those fares as well.

  41. @ Jeff — We’ll have to see, it’s anyone’s guess. I think they’ll likely reduce mileage earning through Alaska for these fares, though I could be wrong.

  42. @ Srihari B — Yeah, as of now it seems to have very limited implementation, but I imagine it has the potential to spread significantly.

  43. I think this is a dumb move by Emirates. Compared to the competition, their “business class” is not even a real business class (as in all-aisle access) but more of a very good premium economy.
    I guess people will flock to QR and other airlines now. Seriously.

  44. @Lucky By the way, the airline you’ve persistently curious about – S7 – is offering three paid ways to get into business. “Basic Biz” without lounge access (sounds familiar? 🙂 ), Flex Biz with lounge and fraction-cost upgrade from paid economy during online registration or at the airport, without lounge access.

  45. Interesting, to be sure. I’ll be curious to see what the price difference ends up being once this is introduced across their network. Honestly not sure that I really put much value on their lounge access, especially given all the cost-cutting that’s been happening. I suppose the biggest issue, as you said, will be the transition where people may not be clear exactly what “bundle” they’ve bought with their business class seat.

  46. Very interesting, I just received an e-mail informing me I can upgrade one leg of my trip to Colombo (DXB-CMB) next month from Eco to Business without lounge access and chauffeur service for only 160 euro (full ticket costed me maybe 550 euro for return AMS-CMB). Seems like Emirates is trying to promote this new fare. Anyone else got such an e-mail?

  47. Not that unprecedented. Flying domestic first class in the US typically doesn’t come with lounge access, unless you pay for membership.

  48. The question for me, as a business traveler, is what fare levels will be loaded into the GDS platforms that corporate travel agents access. If Emirates is only selling the saver fares on its website, this will be a non-issue for most corporate business travelers. If they are loaded into GDS platforms and thus bookable by corporate travelers, it has the potential to cause much confusion.

  49. Like Daniel said, I’ll use PP or Loungekey for a lounge and I wouldn’t mind losing ALL frills and just have a flat bed seat and water + one meal IF the flight is over 6 hours. I just want to get from A to B rested, I don’t need to be pampered. Economy premium is not doing this for me yet.

    Will that be a good business case one day? Maybe if totally new airplane designs become viable? Could be done now too, maybe just not a big enough market for it yet.

  50. “I think reasonable people would agree that some Middle Eastern carriers aren’t for-profit. That being said, is there anything wrong with that?” – Ben (Lucky), 2015

    1985 – 2015 ME3 in hyper growth mode
    2015 – You say reasonable people would agree that they weren’t for profit.
    2016 – Trump was elected with nationalistic, protectionist platform
    2017 – Trump fires warning shot with the crippling laptop banon ME3.
    2018 – ME3 agrees to scale back subsidies and increase financial transparency
    2019 – ME3 in heavy cost cutting mode

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment that the ME3’s actions have nothing to do with the U.S.

  51. You are not right here, Ben 🙂
    Russian S7 has removed lounge access for Business Basic long ago. Maybe 2 years, I don’t remember. I visit S7 business lounges because of my status when I pay for business 🙂

  52. I get lounge access as a Premium customer. I am likely to purchase the cheaper tickets because I am not too fussed on the car and have never got an upgrade to First.
    So ironically as a frequent customer, I am more likely to purchase the cheaper fare.

  53. As far as I know SWISS already offers a saver fare in Business (sometimes priced lower than full Economy) where you earn less miles and certain restrictions are applied (similar to Emirates). Also, you may choose your seat only based on Status, ie SWISS has the best seats reversed exclusively for HON and Senators.

  54. They really need to take this unbundling further. If they can shave more off the price by providing economy meals and no checked bags that would be amazing. For a flight over 6 I really only care about the seat.

  55. In Simple terms, Emirates is becoming Cheap. They seem to be more and more pre-occupied with cost savings and downgrading their status than they are with looking after their product, as they used to.
    I recently flew on their A380 where the seat cushion was uncomfortably hard and worn out, the wifi wasnt working and the tail camera was out of service.

  56. GroeneMichel

    This practice is not new and it’s done since at least the last six years whenever business class is not full. I have received tons of these emails prior to departure, and for some I took the offer. What is exposed in this article is something different. Meaning Business Class can be booked at a much lower price giving up some of the frills.

  57. Absolutely ridiculous. Another reason to never fly this crap airline who still managed to have 2-3-3 config. And now this stupid restrictions on a discounted biz class ticket. Qatar and Etihad continue to wow me Everytime with no BS.

  58. Does Emirates ever offer discounted paid($) upgrades from business to first? We are planning a trip, FLL-DXB-AKL and return. It would be great to fly first on the DXB-AKL-DXB. Thanks.

  59. I would be down for this, unless there is a risk of a middle seat. Lounge access is nice but the main attraction is the bed on long flights. Also, I’m less concerned with mile earning when it’s not a Big US3 carrier or partner

  60. I just checked online to see if there is any change in fare for flights to BKK. Emirates has basically just transferred the same fare from the previous Saver to Special.
    In other words, there is no price savings here, just less perks.

  61. @Rob:

    Not necessarily disagreeing with anything you’ve written (but not necessarily agreeing with your stance or what you’ve written, either), but your whole case as provided by your timeline omits any non-Trump related geoplitical issues, environmental issues that had an impact on ME3 operations and spending/finances. Don’t cherry pick correlation-causation examples to support a dubious claim. Beyond that, lots of blogs have done fairly in-depth coverage of the issue of US3 vs. ME3 and US3 is never the hero. You’re gonna lose this fight, bro.

  62. I think this is a pretty awful move. Flights above 8 hrs are a business class designation for me, but I can’t guess with predictability which fare class travel office will book for me. If I have a choice between Emirates and an airline that offers a standard full service in business, I am going to be making a point of steering away from Emirates. I don’t like being nickel and dimed and that’s how this feels.

  63. @AR
    I get what you’re saying and I’ve been following what the bloggers have been saying. My simple point is that they are all wrong to be siding with the ME3. I get that the instinct to side with ME3 comes from a place of appreciating that the product they deliver for the price has been much better than what the US carriers deliver, and they have a primal affection for those experiences. They just all seem to not appreciate that the better product for the price comes from an ability to outspend and underearn versus the competition due to state support, which is anti-competitive and predatory trade practice. Even when the evidence starts to pour in, they manage to see it through colored glasses and find a rationalization that supports the misguided narrative. Bloggers can do all the in depth coverage of heart surgery that they want too, and if they all conclude heart surgery is bad because of all of the blood it spills, they would all be wrong about that too. And I’m sure the cardiologist would lose the argument in the comment section of the blog too, but that wouldn’t make him wrong.

  64. I don’t like this move at all. Next thing you know they will make it so all business award tickets do not have lounge access. It is a slippery slope.

  65. Someone’s gotta pay for the A380.
    First squeeze Airbus out of production. Now squeeze flyers for longevity.

    Business on EK was not that great anyway, yes 2-3-2, so not a big loss.

  66. Took Emirates for the first time few months ago on A380 from Lax to Dubai in F. Besides the tacky bling finishes, it was the best international long haul I ever had. Definitely better than CX or JAL. The F lounge was very meh though. The shower was glass tiles finish and small to boot. CX business lounge in HK is much much nicer. I won’t even bother to compare Emirates F lounge to ANA’s or JAL’s in Haneda. As far as I’m concern, access Emirates lounge is not a deal breaker but picking the seat is if you are flying in business class.

  67. Unbundling business class doesn’t make sense, because as you mention, the costs of business class services are trivially cheap. What makes business class (and any airline seat, for that matter) so expensive, is the amount of space on the floor it takes up, and (to a lesser extent) how much the seat weighs. Everything else, from the food service, to the amenity kits, to lounge access, etc. is a tiny percentage of the ticket price. The only things that might make sense to unbundle is chauffeur service (probably costs $25-50 by itself), and checked luggage (carrying 50lbs of freight halfway around the world costs a lot more than $100). Everything else they eliminate is just a way to extract more profit from you by forcing you into a higher fare.

  68. Does Emirates still offer lounge benefits to Alaska elites? I do not see it on its website anymore. If it still does, does it work for the Special discount business class fares?

    As to lounge access, do the new Special discount business class fares give one access to the A380 on-board lounge? Yikes. Just gave them a new idea.

  69. Lol… so I have accessed Emirates lounges multiple times flying ECONOMY just because I had status with Qantas FF (not even Emirates). It appears this will continue while paid business class passengers potentially won’t have it?? Anyway, I think this is terrible and further degrades the airline industry, as it has done with Economy travel. It simply makes airline travel so cheap, seemingly regardless of the class you are in. Of course others will follow, so you will excuse my deep pessimism.

  70. @Rob, why do you care so much? Do you want all airlines in the world to be as shit as US carriers? No thanks! Most of the profits go to shareholders and top management, so fix that up first before taking any moral high ground. If US carriers cry foul, then go back to being government owned again… oh that’s right then the shareholders and fat cats miss out.. Anyway, my point is we (as passengers and travelers) should support all airlines that provide an excellent experience for us. Leave the airline business side to the ones that get paid to sort it out.

  71. Couple of points. Talking about International vs Domestic in the big scheme for lounge access comments regarding the US. Also, I can see the issue arising when people purchase tickets from travel agents, many don’t know about different levels, they just know they got a discounted business class fare. Most wouldn’t have a clue about flight codes like J class etc. So yes, they could be upset to discover they didn’t receive the standard “perks” that they paid double/triple the price of economy for…..

  72. If these changes are truly to make biz cheaper then I’m all for it, but I worry that instead Emirates will just raise the price of the lounge access one and use this as the new floor price.

  73. Biggest downside is that you would be even more likely to be sitting in the middle seat of the centre three seat config. since you are at the bottom of the pile regarding seat selection.

  74. @Dennis
    I care because throughout history the end game of a privately funded company trying to compete against a government entity is bankruptcy, which leads to a monopoly, which leads to much higher prices. A privately funded company with shareholders and return on capital requirements can never outlast a government that has taxing authority over its citizens and can run losses as long as it wants to. Because of that economic fact, hostile governments often use subsidies to target strategic industries in an effort to bankrupt the private companies in the countries of their rivals for strategic advantage. Many countries do this, like China with solar panels or aluminum or steel. China would be quite happy to undermine our ability to produce the steel we need to build our defense infrastructure with something as simple as running some losses for a while until all of our steel companies fold. So it concerns me when I see the propaganda of a foreign bad actor work so effectively at convincing our citizens to shoot ourselves in the foot. A weak, underfunded, or insolvent domestic aviation industry is bad for all of us, and is not something that comes back quickly once we cripple it because of the massive capital investment required.

  75. “Lounges are elitist!”
    “Pretzels in J is fine by me!”
    “ClubWorld is the cat’s pajamas!”
    “I don’t need to know what seat my award maps to!”

    Really? Who are you people?

  76. Nothing very surprising in the comments: the greatest resistance to change/innovation comes from freeloading employees traveling for work purposes. They will whinge, whine, moan and bitch about anything/everything that may impact on their inflated sense of entitlement, notwithstanding the fact that someone else is paying an inflated price for their champagne and caviar lifestyle ( and that other travelers with no interest in these excesses are also subsidising them)
    While there may well be very good reasons to question the proposal, and to be cynical about the intent, anything that has the potential to reduce costs, offer greater flexibility, isn’t umbilically tied to the pursuit of status, is at least worthy of consideration. That it might piss off some of the braggadocious, PITA, I-AM set is of no consequence to those seeking better value in J class tickets.

  77. @Lucky: Have you checked the EK mileage calculator?

    Either your statement about mileage earning is incorrect or EK’s mileage calculator is erroneous. According to it, Business Special gives a fraction of the mileage Eco Flex Plus does.

  78. @Rob, your quotes – “hostile governments” and “the propaganda of a foreign bad actor”… you do realize that this is what the USA is to the world right? You actually mentioned it yourself, but playing games like banning laptops from “certain” countries/regions is also hostile and racist. The US and its corporations have been playing hostile and being a “bad actor” for decades to the detriment of consumers and the traveling public.

  79. @ Nicola: was it always that these upgrades are without lounge access? Still considering it, 160 for experiencing the inflight experience of Emirates seems like a nice oppty.

  80. Priority Pass lounges in Dubai at the Emirates terminal totally suck. Crowded and only 2 stalls in the toilet for the whole lounge. In the non Emerirates terminal there is a nice priority pass lounge that even offers food from a menu. So if you value the lounge it might be worth paying.

  81. I read a lot of comments on this board from passengers disliking the middle seat ?What’s wrong with it ? Surely it depends if you are fat or big and feel “squizzed” doesn’t it,otherwise what could be the reason of wanting to avoid them so much?

  82. For me lounge is a sideshow.. but I do think taking off lounge access is not very elegant..
    As an gold member economy class flyer I would still get lounge access.. but more important is comfort in the plane.. Emirates is heavily into austerity measures.. one offered drink (with meal) per 6-8 hours flight is not uncommon now and if you happen to sleep when a night tray does come by.. tantpis
    Already I am checking out business and premium class so this new Emirates policy will soon be put to the test by me..
    By the way Emirates now asks 30 USD (was 23 USD) per 1000 bought miles.. if you want to ‘multiply’ miles now you can do so straight after a booking before flying at the rate of 20 US /1000 miles
    Received this ‘good’ news yesterday…

  83. @Caroline, I think because you neither have the advantage of being next to the window (for some people like me, this is essential), nor do you have the advantage of having direct aisle access, meaning to get up you would likely have to climb over someone. Of course, for some it could be considered cosy, which is great for them!

  84. @Caroline~ you’re hilarious! Do a middle seat 10+ hours flight, with adjoining seatmates you don’t know, and get back to this blog with your review!

  85. NEWS FLASH: Any time any business uses the term “unbundling,” this is code for price gouging.

  86. @Paolo – “Nothing very surprising in the comments: the greatest resistance to change/innovation comes from freeloading employees traveling for work purposes.”

    U mad bro?

    How is a person travelling in business class “freeloading?”

  87. Lucky, pass this on to your buddies at EK:
    Real easy: Sell the dreaded center seat as Economy Plus, or whatever they want to call it, and no lounge access. Market the seats with Business Class attention and meals, so there’s no confusion onboard. And tell the passenger to expect to jump over someone to get to an isle.

  88. @Dennis.
    Politics aside, “bad actor” in the context of my comments was referring to anti-competitive behavior. If the US were a bad actor in this regard, we wouldn’t have massive trade deficits with virtually every country on the planet. There is also quite a big difference between a 6 month ban on laptops and pouring $52 billion of government subsidies into an industry with 5% margins.

  89. @Paolo – “Nothing very surprising in the comments: the greatest resistance to change/innovation comes from freeloading employees traveling for work purposes.”

    That’s exactly why Emirates gets ahead with this new move. Passengers who travel for free for work purposes don’t get to choose ,their companies do and they don’t care about “perks” since they already let their employees keep the awards+ miles + points for private use.

  90. Emirates car service is actually to/from the departure & arriving airport. So for the extra $100 you get 4 chauffeur driven trips. That tripled the value of the cost right there

  91. @Rob

    Dude, you sound like a real tool. get over it. Nobody gives .02 about your claim here. It has nothing to do with this post. Go post your theory on fox news or cnn or some airline chat forum…


  92. Having never flown on emirates, we didn’t know what to expect. Still don’t really as the trip hasn’t begun. We do fly, usually business, 4-5 times a year to South Asia from Washington DC. I received an email 3 days before the flight “you have been chose for an upgrade”. Early morning, pre-coffee, the price looked good. However, read on….non refundable, can’t be changed, one segment of a 4 segment round trip. My mistake. I called within 5 minutes, only to reach a parrot who kept referring me to the small print and no I couldn’t have my economy seat back. We were trying Emirates economy and planned to see at the counter if there were upgrades. A supervisor came on and in strident tones told us the same thing. Stuck with this ticket. Okay. And yes, you are right — we did not realize we could not get the luggage allowance nor lounge access with this business upgrade. The agents did, however offer to cancel our original economy seats and sell them back to us at 3 1/2 times the cost(!).

    We’ve been using the Lufthansa route for this long haul for many years and never had a problem. Even had Lufthansa offer a full refund when one of us suddenly was too ill to travel (on non refundable business seats). We thought the scheduling on emirates looked a bit better for departure and arrival. But that’s about all it might be.

    Disappointed in Emirates so far. Will update if anything stellar comes out of this trip. No value for the money imo.

  93. I feel like one point here is that you’d see these fares show up on OTAs as being several hundred dollars cheaper than their competitors, and have to be half-way through booking it before you realized it wasn’t a “real” business class fare.

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