Emirates Aircraft Swap: Any Recourse?

Emirates Aircraft Swap: Any Recourse?

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Reader MJ asked me a question about an upcoming Emirates itinerary, and I figured it would be worth addressing here, because he’s not the first person to deal with this…

Emirates swaps flight from Airbus A380 to Boeing 777

Reader MJ has a trip coming up, and decided to book Emirates from Milan (MXP) to New York (JFK), specifically to fly business class on the Emirates Airbus A380. Unfortunately since then, Emirates has swapped the route to a Boeing 777, which features a far inferior business class product.

He’s going from a 1-2-1 configuration where he could book the pair of “honeymoon” seats with his wife, to a 2-3-2 configuration, where he’s now stuck in two seats in the center section, based on availability, and they will probably have a stranger seated next to them.

MJ concludes with the following:

I’m a bit bummed over the change, mostly the newfound lack of privacy being in the middle of the 2-3-2. I did book using points, so part of me feels like it’s still a pretty nice flight for free. But I also probably would not have booked this flight had it been on the 777 at the time of booking, especially with the ability to book the new Air France business class to JFK (this is what we are flying on the outbound).

I realize this is very much a first-world, cry-me-a-river type problem. And I get that things like this happen and that’s just how flying goes. But I’m still a bit bummed. I’m just curious if the OMAAT team has any thoughts on these type of issues. It’s not an insignificant change in quality of product after booking.

Emirates business class Boeing 777-300ER

My take on this Emirates aircraft swap situation

MJ’s frustration is totally warranted. Emirates is viewed as being such a premium airline, yet the reality is that in business class, there’s a massive difference between the quality of the carrier’s Boeing 777-300ER business class and Airbus A380 business class.

The 777 business class hard product is embarrassingly bad, and worst of all, Emirates hasn’t even revealed concrete plans to refresh this product. That doesn’t even account for the A380 having the famous onboard bar, which the 777 doesn’t have.

Emirates business class Airbus A380
Emirates business class Boeing 777-300ER

People often book airlines based on the product that they expect to be offered, and when flying Emirates, it’s totally reasonable to think that someone may want to book the A380 and not the 777.

All that being said, what’s my practical takeaway here?

  • Emirates’ conditions of carriage explicitly state that the airline doesn’t guarantee aircraft types, so the airline is legally within its rights to swap aircraft in this way, and there’s no real recourse
  • If this were a route where Emirates had multiple different frequencies with different aircraft you might be able to get them to rebook you (but the airline doesn’t even promise that as an option), but that’s not feasible here, since Emirates operates this route once a day, and it has been swapped to the 777 for months
  • Officially Emirates won’t even waive the award redeposit fee for an award ticket in this situation, but worst case scenario you could redeposit the award for $75 per person, if there’s still a better option available that you could book
  • Emirates really is the worst when it comes to this kind of stuff, because I can’t think of another major quality airline with two business class products that are so different (with the caveat that these are just the standard products, and the airline isn’t even in the process of upgrading them)
  • I think the way to make the best of this situation would be to try and upgrade to first class, as first class upgrades on the day of departure are readily available at Emirates
  • While it’s not relevant to this exact situation, I appreciate how Emirates recently got fined in New Zealand for its misleading advertising; the airline often markets its A380 business class, even for situations where a passenger will fly in the carrier’s old 777 business class, so more transparency around marketing is important
  • While unrelated to the crux of the issue, never think of your award ticket as being “free,” because presumable you transfered points to Emirates Skywards, and Emirates got reimbursed for that (and there was also at least some opportunity cost to you earning those rewards

One other lesson to perhaps take away from this is that when I plan a trip far in advance, I always expect there could be major changes in terms of the type of aircraft, the schedule, etc. The further in advance you book, the less likely that your itinerary actually happens as planned. That’s just useful in terms of being able to manage expectations.

Bottom line

A reader had booked a business class flight on the Emirates Airbus A380, but it was swapped to a Boeing 777. This represents a huge downgrade to the passenger experience, though unfortunately even so, there’s not much recourse. Emirates doesn’t guarantee aircraft types, and doesn’t even have any passenger friendly policies in place for managing passenger expectations in these situations.

Emirates is long overdue for updating its Boeing 777-300ER interiors…

What do you make of this Emirates aircraft swap situation?

Conversations (86)
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  1. Danielle Guest

    Hi! Planning a trip to Italy for our honeymoon and was really hoping to book the infamous A380 JFK-MXP route... do you know if they're ever going to bring that plane back? Looking at dates in end of September. Wondering if I should abandon this dream and start looking at other airlines... Thanks!

  2. Max Guest

    Exactly the same thing happened to me as to MJ! I booked business class flights with EK earlier this year, MXP - JFK - MXP for the beginning of December. As an EK Gold Status Member I am well aware of the far inferior B777 business class product and therefore, I stay away from it whenever I can.
    Before booking this flight, I checked the history of the MXP - JFK flights and saw...

    Exactly the same thing happened to me as to MJ! I booked business class flights with EK earlier this year, MXP - JFK - MXP for the beginning of December. As an EK Gold Status Member I am well aware of the far inferior B777 business class product and therefore, I stay away from it whenever I can.
    Before booking this flight, I checked the history of the MXP - JFK flights and saw that for the past several years, only the A380 has been used (even during COVID). Therefore, I assumed they would for sure continue with the A380, but now that they have switched to the B777, I feel like I have been tricked. Btw, I didn't use points, I'm paying for the flights!

    I will try to upgrade to First Class if possible, as I don't want to rebook, but the whole story is very disappointing. I will for sure avoid EK in the future whenever possible (or until they finally update the B777 business class).

  3. Mark Guest

    Used to be a good airline, their 777 business has always been poor with a misleading lie flat bed which is NOT a flat bed. Book another airline

  4. iamhere Guest

    Long and the short the airline's terms and conditions state they are allowed to swap aircrafts. They are not guaranteeing the product. It is different if you were downgraded to economy or premium economy, but in this case that is the risk you take.

    1. Richard Pattison Guest

      The 777 " business class" is totally shite. 4th rate and a total embarresment.
      There are always better options out there, just as long as you don't have to rock up and use your FF miles. But if you do then you should already have a good idea of the chances you'll get one of these bloody awful seats.

  5. Rohith Guest

    It's appalling that Emirates 777 is a 2-3-2 layout, when most other airlines it's 1-2-1 seating.
    I have always enjoyed their A380 business class, but would never book a Emirates 777 flight

  6. Deborah Guest

    I'll never fly emirates again because of this situation

  7. Anthony Guest

    Also airlines charge more when they think they’re giving a better product or even a different flight time or direct non stop service. And then when they change theres no recourse. Thats not right at all

  8. NotMyName Guest

    I booked a Q-suites flight from SEA - DOH. Ended up on a 777 with an older product. While I was certainly disappointed, but it wasn't the end of the world. I still had a shot at it on the way back.

    The couple behind me, however, made the biggest stink over it for a good 15-20 minutes toward the flight attendant, as if they had control over the type of aircraft. It was...

    I booked a Q-suites flight from SEA - DOH. Ended up on a 777 with an older product. While I was certainly disappointed, but it wasn't the end of the world. I still had a shot at it on the way back.

    The couple behind me, however, made the biggest stink over it for a good 15-20 minutes toward the flight attendant, as if they had control over the type of aircraft. It was absurd. They were sitting in the center and eventually paid a man to switch seats so they could have the seats at the window and more "privacy". I think they came to the conclusion that was stupid since they lost direct aisle access and one had to climb over the other, based on the disgruntled and disheveled looks I witnessed throughout the flight.

    Frankly, after having flown Qatar 787-8 non Qsuite, 777 non Qsuite, and Airbus Qsuite configs on this trip, I much preferred the 777 non Q-suite product over the cramped Qsuites.

  9. Ernest Smith Guest

    Same thing happened to me. We booked the A380 DFW-DXB for a 30 year anniversary trip. Emirates decided to pull the A380 out of Dallas completely. I made numerous phone calls to try to get them to transfer the booking to LA , NYC or other A380 airports. All I was offered was to get a refund of flight amounts then start over with the booking process, which now would have resulted in a much...

    Same thing happened to me. We booked the A380 DFW-DXB for a 30 year anniversary trip. Emirates decided to pull the A380 out of Dallas completely. I made numerous phone calls to try to get them to transfer the booking to LA , NYC or other A380 airports. All I was offered was to get a refund of flight amounts then start over with the booking process, which now would have resulted in a much higher last minute ticket cost. We kept the rez and made the trip, but still havent been on the A380.

  10. Timi A. Guest

    Ironically, the situation is the opposite on Qatar Airways. If someone were to book QSuites on an A350 or 777-300ER and the airline swaps equipment to their A380 or A330, or their 787-8, the passenger would end up with an inferior product, but the Emirates downgrade is by far the worst in the world.

  11. Pauline F Guest

    This happened to me on my second leg, on my business class seat, Dubai to Manchester. I was sat by the window and had a stranger sat next to me. He went to sleep, I needed the toilet and I couldn't get out of my seat without the staff waking him up. Business Class travel isn't cheap, I won't fly Emirates again because of this. Etihad and others are far superior here!

  12. TheBestBlackBrent Diamond

    Simple solution: don't fly Emirates.

    A middle seat in business class, you cannot be serious.

  13. Jon Guest

    I took the A380 business from MXP-JFK in September and the 777 business from EWR-ATH in October (lucky me). I will be the odd exception and say I preferred the 777, but we travelled as a couple and had the window 2 seats together...the middle doesn't look great.

    1. misterpoppins Member

      What made you prefer the 777? I’m in this exact situation (JFK-MXP on the 777 expecting A380 for our honeymoon). I’m likely just going to try and upgrade to F when we get closer in (I think Emirates let’s you start trying to auto-upgrade 3 months out).

    2. Trish Guest

      I will not fly emirates again on my annual trip from Auckland to UK if it's not on the A380, the only reason I fly emirates business class. Emirates are going to be the losers.

  14. Rick Guest

    This just happened to me on korean air both legs bkk to korea and then on to seattle when booked prestige suite 2x2x2 which are great and ended up flying in the prestige sleeper which is a 2x3x2 which like the op's complaint and as far as can get from comparable product and these type seat are zero privacy but no direct isle access from window and there not lie flat and if over 5ft...

    This just happened to me on korean air both legs bkk to korea and then on to seattle when booked prestige suite 2x2x2 which are great and ended up flying in the prestige sleeper which is a 2x3x2 which like the op's complaint and as far as can get from comparable product and these type seat are zero privacy but no direct isle access from window and there not lie flat and if over 5ft 10" forget about it as its way to short.. always a big disappointment when they pull this after alot of planning and carefully booking which isn't as easy when using miles these days

  15. D2 Guest

    The differences in the Emirates business class product between the A380 and the 777 are worlds apart. The 777 business class is so dated, dingy, and worn, that it hasn't been replaced and updated should be a huge embarrassment to Emirates.
    unfortunately, when they change equipment they act like it is a comparable swap, when they know full well that they are giving you a bait-and-switch. it is shameful.

  16. Daniel B Guest

    Years ago I was scheduled to fly on Avianca’s lie flat bed on a A330 to Santiago Chile. Aircraft was swapped to a simple midsize plane with a 2-2 business class seat like within US first class . After I complained, got 2x$200 voucher from Avianca, but decided never to fly with them again

  17. John Guest

    My opinion is that if the swap is on the day of operation that is unfortunate but can't be helped. If the airline changes the equipment weeks or months ahead than that is totally different they have decided to put usually an inferior product on the route for financial reasons then you should be allowed to the aircraft type you originally paid for if it is possible.

    If you bought and paid for a...

    My opinion is that if the swap is on the day of operation that is unfortunate but can't be helped. If the airline changes the equipment weeks or months ahead than that is totally different they have decided to put usually an inferior product on the route for financial reasons then you should be allowed to the aircraft type you originally paid for if it is possible.

    If you bought and paid for a 100cm TV and they delivered an 80cm TV it isn't what you paid for and were expecting you still get to see the same show like you get to your destination but it isn't the same thing.

  18. Coral King Guest

    United did something similar to me. I was booked on a lie flat SFO to HNL and they swapped the aircraft to a 737 last minute. I hate that 737 to Honolulu. I wrote a complaint to customer service and they gave me 10,000 miles.

  19. james Guest

    Boo hoo, if you had paid $20k for a ticket fair enough but a points booking pfft!

    1. Eskimo Guest

      This kind of thinking is why a lot people still make stupid financial decisions.

  20. Fergus Guest

    Having flown EK’s 777 on day flights and 380 on overnighters, agreed the 3 in the centre is not attractive. For an overnight flight, yes the A380 seats have more privacy for sleeping, and all with direct aisle access. But the Milan to New York flight is usually a day flight, which for me would mean not sleeping much, if at all, so I could sleep on NY time after arrival.

    I find the...

    Having flown EK’s 777 on day flights and 380 on overnighters, agreed the 3 in the centre is not attractive. For an overnight flight, yes the A380 seats have more privacy for sleeping, and all with direct aisle access. But the Milan to New York flight is usually a day flight, which for me would mean not sleeping much, if at all, so I could sleep on NY time after arrival.

    I find the 777 seats actually much more comfortable, with better padding for sitting up or partially reclining. The A380 seats are tighter, harder. If somehow you could get a pair on the side and out of the triple, it would be a comfortable trip. And if you are not fully in bed mode on the 777, there is much more legroom. It feels very spacious c/w the A380. But no storage space.

  21. Sam Guest

    I’m in the same boat, brother !!
    I was booked in Qatar 380 F to BKK and connecting to HND. But unfortunately Qatar switched to 777 and pushed me to a business class seat. Go Figure !

  22. JC Guest

    This also happens on Qatar Airways. They still operate their very old 2-2-2 business class on some routes. I’ve experienced booking and choosing a Q suite only for the aircraft to be swapped at the last minute to one with their oldest biz class. It’s always disappointing. And like Emirates, I don’t think Qatar have any plans of retrofitting these aircraft. I don’t know why they do this - the lack of consistency is not good for what they market as a premium brand

    1. CSP18 Guest

      Quite simple, it's the halo effect. Bloggers only write about the Q suites business class and gush over QR because of that. So people book based on the glowing reviews even if most of them get an inferior product (you were burned because of an aircraft swap. I assume that most people do not even realize which aircrafts have which products). Why do you think Emirates has their best first class product only on very...

      Quite simple, it's the halo effect. Bloggers only write about the Q suites business class and gush over QR because of that. So people book based on the glowing reviews even if most of them get an inferior product (you were burned because of an aircraft swap. I assume that most people do not even realize which aircrafts have which products). Why do you think Emirates has their best first class product only on very few aircrafts and has no plans of retrofitting older planes? It seems to work well for them.

    2. Steven E Guest

      Absolutely !!! This has happened to me numerous times on Qatar so that’s it for me - no more

    3. Hiro Diamond

      Interestingly, whether Qsuites or 2-2-2 old seats both still maintain the exact same number of seats in the same cabin space. Unlike Qsuites the old configuration still allows unrestricted legroom without having to put feet in the cubicle, and seats are much wider.

    4. NotMyName Guest

      Totally agree. I had a flight swapped from Qsuites to the 2-2-2, and after having flown the Qsuites, much preferred the 2-2-2. That said, I was seated in the center, so had direct aisle access. The Qsuites look nice and are marketed as their flagship product, but the reality for me is that the other product was more comfortable.

  23. dcarter4 New Member

    I feel his "first world paint". After flying the 5th freedom flight (JFK to MXP RT) on the A380, my wife and I were hooked. Then the price increased, and the plane swapped. The Business Class 777 is a bad setup in comparison to the A380. Too bad. This was going to be our go-to flight for the next 3 trips! Hope he gets a refund.

  24. jhon Guest

    yeah that happened to me, ive booked this a couple of months ago from jfk to mxp and they changed the aircraft like within a couple of weeks from a380 to 777. november 30th trip :(

  25. Jake Guest

    This as a refundable event (as it should) no matter what the one-sided "contract" says (it probably also says they own your first born child). File a complaint with the DOT and you will see Emirates squirm and refund the ticket.

    1. Julia Guest

      Based on what? He is still in business class.

    2. Pete Guest

      On what grounds? They're still intending to transport him to his original destination in the originally ticketed class of travel. That's their side of the contract honored.

    3. Icarus Guest

      Only as a goodwill gesture. He’s aware of the swap and they are in the same flight, same date and same cabin. Airlines can change the aircraft fit operational reasons. There are very few larger carriers who operate exactly the same product across the entire longhaul fleet.

  26. Greg Guest

    I would love airlines to put changes based on aircraft are permitted especially for us geeks who aircraft type can often be a reason for purchasing a flight.

    But I also think yup you are SOL so deal with what you have and pay to cancel if that works out or enjoy the flight best you can.

    Air travel is bizarre in that one person. Can fly to Europe in a lieflat pod for $1000...

    I would love airlines to put changes based on aircraft are permitted especially for us geeks who aircraft type can often be a reason for purchasing a flight.

    But I also think yup you are SOL so deal with what you have and pay to cancel if that works out or enjoy the flight best you can.

    Air travel is bizarre in that one person. Can fly to Europe in a lieflat pod for $1000 each way while another might be paying $2000 each way for a premium econo small seat and another paying more yet for an inferior competitor airline in business class.

  27. Tom Guest

    Emirate is so overrated in my opinion even on their A380 business class. I will avoid them when i can.

    1. Jack Guest

      Agreed. Part of the problem is that YouTube 'bloggers / influences' hype the heck out of Emirates because they fly on their newest and best planes / class of service without disclosing such experiences are not the norm. Ditto for Qatar (my NY to Doha last year was "meh" and decidedly not "6 star"). So someone books a dream flight based on these videos only to be confronted with a serious letdown. To some degree...

      Agreed. Part of the problem is that YouTube 'bloggers / influences' hype the heck out of Emirates because they fly on their newest and best planes / class of service without disclosing such experiences are not the norm. Ditto for Qatar (my NY to Doha last year was "meh" and decidedly not "6 star"). So someone books a dream flight based on these videos only to be confronted with a serious letdown. To some degree many airlines do this but in my experience E and Q the most. I now opt for less hype but greater certainty in my premium flying experiences.

  28. Raksiam Guest

    They downgraded IAD to the 777 as well. Glad I paid attention to that before I booked. Ended up on Etihad instead

  29. D3kingg Guest

    Sorry to hear that. I’m sure MJ isn’t the only person to contest as this is a flight full of loud New Yorkers . Hopefully a swap back to the a380. Otherwise make the best of the situation. Enjoy a nice meal with your wife and the above par emirates lounge in MXP. Tip: if you want a photo of the plane you have to catch it while taxiing otherwise it will be caddy cornered. 2. The pasta in duty free at MXP is a great gift.

  30. Marco Guest

    It's simple: don't fly EK in business class.

    1. Pete Guest

      Shoulda just booked on ITA.

  31. Donna Diamond

    Default position is you will pay premium prices to be swapped into their abysmal business class product. It’s laughable to refer to Emirates as a premium airline.

  32. Andrew Diamond

    "I think the way to make the best of this situation would be to try and upgrade to first class, as first class upgrades on the day of departure are readily available at Emirates"

    Do you have specific advice on this? I had this aircraft swap happen to me back in early 2022 from SFO. (I didn't know how bad it was. Hours of a people standing in front of my TV screen to use...

    "I think the way to make the best of this situation would be to try and upgrade to first class, as first class upgrades on the day of departure are readily available at Emirates"

    Do you have specific advice on this? I had this aircraft swap happen to me back in early 2022 from SFO. (I didn't know how bad it was. Hours of a people standing in front of my TV screen to use the lav solidified my understanding of how poor this cabin is.)

    On the return in DXB, I inquired about an upgrade. It was:
    * $5,000 per person, one way
    * No first meal

    I decided I'd just deal with it. Curious if there's a more savvy way to upgrade last minute.

    1. nomad_dc Guest

      You ask at the check-in counter if there are F seats available to upgrade with points. I just did last week and it worked seamlessly.

    2. Kelley P Diamond

      How many points did it cost you?

    3. NomadDC New Member

      72,500 for the J seat (booked last December) and 30k for the upgrade (last Wednesday)

    4. breathesrain Gold

      Lucky has an article about it that goes into detail. Did this earlier in the month on this same flight (before the aircraft swap)

    5. NomadDC New Member

      Yup, and my experience was as easy as he described it

    6. Andrew Diamond

      Good to know. Thanks everyone!

  33. GDub Guest

    Stop all the whining, your in business class, enjoy all the attribute it has to offer and be satisfied your not in coach!

    1. breathesrain Gold

      ... do you realize what blog you're reading?

  34. infrequentFlyer Guest

    last year I had used miles to upgrade to first and a couple weeks before departure the aircraft changed from an 3-class 777 to a 2-class 777 so was downgraded back to business. given the route had another departure, this one with a 380, I got twitter (now X) and after a lot of back and forth was able to get them to change me to the other flight on the 380 and back into...

    last year I had used miles to upgrade to first and a couple weeks before departure the aircraft changed from an 3-class 777 to a 2-class 777 so was downgraded back to business. given the route had another departure, this one with a 380, I got twitter (now X) and after a lot of back and forth was able to get them to change me to the other flight on the 380 and back into first. With Emirates, if at first you don't succeed try and try again, and also try through multiple channels such as phone and X

  35. Duck Ling Guest

    Earlier this year two kiwis sued Emirates in New Zealand for false advertising - and won.

    They highlighted that in nearly all advertising Emirates referenced the A380 business class product and what they ended up in was very different. The court agreed - this wasn't a rare operational swap but was the aircraft regularly rostered the route.

    The airline was ordered to pay US$8k in compensation.

    Maybe it's a New Zealand thing - someone also...

    Earlier this year two kiwis sued Emirates in New Zealand for false advertising - and won.

    They highlighted that in nearly all advertising Emirates referenced the A380 business class product and what they ended up in was very different. The court agreed - this wasn't a rare operational swap but was the aircraft regularly rostered the route.

    The airline was ordered to pay US$8k in compensation.

    Maybe it's a New Zealand thing - someone also featured in the media complaining about Singapore Airlines for a farting dog a few months ago.

    1. Icarus Guest

      It’s not false advertising if the passenger is aware. There’s a difference as in this case the customer knows about the swap.

      Qatar also has different business class products.

      In this case there’s no eligiblilty to be compensated. The only option would be to ask for a full refund.

  36. Rob Guest

    Surely its just another example of the way airlines advertise their offerings vs reality. The NZ couple (https://businesstravelerusa.com/news/two-passengers-sued-emirates-for-deceptive-advertising-in-new-zealand/) had the right idea. Maybe this is one of the few ways we can hold airlines accountable!

  37. PDS Guest

    “Emirates really is the worst when it comes to this kind of stuff, because I can’t think of another major quality airline with two business class products that are so different”

    How about BA Club World vs Club Suites?

    1. Kredie Guest

      Isn't EK's 777 also not fully flat - slightly sloping? At least BA's old CW product is fully flat (and while privacy is an issue, I actually still find it pretty comfortable).

    2. Rain Guest

      That's a product in flux. Most of the club world products will be retrofit with the club suites product and all new planes are getting it. This differs from Emirates who have recently redone the 777 and kept the old style seats, in so indicating that their aim is to keep these.

    3. Bubba Guest

      Air France A350 suites vs. 777 with the NEV4 configuration. 1-2-1 vs 2-3-2. Granted, there aren't many NEV4 birds around, but you don't want to be in J when the swap drops.

  38. Michael Guest

    Just for arguments sake; and assuming that the swapped A380 hasn’t been taken out of revenue service - it’s probably fair to say that another route/flight now has that A380.. If so, is it also fair to then expect those who paid for 777-fleet product to have to pay some kind of supplemental, because the A380 represents a better product?

    I do agree that the difference between the two fleet types is sizable — true...

    Just for arguments sake; and assuming that the swapped A380 hasn’t been taken out of revenue service - it’s probably fair to say that another route/flight now has that A380.. If so, is it also fair to then expect those who paid for 777-fleet product to have to pay some kind of supplemental, because the A380 represents a better product?

    I do agree that the difference between the two fleet types is sizable — true .. but again, they are both C/J cabin seats

    As unpleasant as it maybe, the earlier point is true - the actual aircraft type you fly isn’t a contractually binding element - only the ticketed cabin ..

    Now, IF this was a constant issue - and I’d define that to be around 1/3 of time or more - THEN perhaps i might see some kind of problem .. but absent that, it sounds like it might have just been driven by a seasonal fleet/scheddule change or a short-term operational need (ie maintenance needs etc).

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      "If so, is it also fair to then expect those who paid for 777-fleet product to have to pay some kind of supplemental, because the A380 represents a better product?"

      Let EK try this and see how it works out for them.

    2. Watson Diamond

      @Michael The party that initiates the change should always be responsible for taking the hit.

    3. Michael Guest

      Fair enough.. then we must also accept that IF the pax changes their flight and that new flight is now operated by a “better” fleet type, then on top of any fixed change/fare differential, that some kind of “fleet upgrade” fee would also apply — as in this case it’s the pax who “initiated” the change.

      My larger point is that in the end, i don’t think that making fare/fee adjustments for X versus Y...

      Fair enough.. then we must also accept that IF the pax changes their flight and that new flight is now operated by a “better” fleet type, then on top of any fixed change/fare differential, that some kind of “fleet upgrade” fee would also apply — as in this case it’s the pax who “initiated” the change.

      My larger point is that in the end, i don’t think that making fare/fee adjustments for X versus Y fleet types - and their subjective “better”ness is a nett positive thing.. I can see this issue getting ugly when multiple fleet types come into play.

  39. JL Guest

    Wait, what?
    EK JFK-MXP is operated by a B777 now?
    Is this a temporary or permanent change?
    I need to fly this route next year and I really hope the A380 will come back...

    1. Kredie Guest

      Permanent change - at least no plan to reverse it at the moment.

    2. JL Guest

      Ah.......this sucks big time.
      Thanks for confirming it.

  40. Chris Guest

    TK could be just as bad, if not worse than EK in this regards, being swapped from an A350 / 787 to a 777 wields a similar result!

    1. JB Guest

      True, but at least Turkish Airlines' 777 Business Class has fully flat seats (and newer seats than Emirates 777 Business Class), so I wouldn't say Turkish could be worse.

  41. Ralph4878 Guest

    "Emirates really is the worst when it comes to this kind of stuff, because I can’t think of another major quality airline with two business class products that are so different." @Ben, when was the last time you flew Delta's 767 in Delta One? They are my preferred US-based carrier, but their 767 pales in comparison to the A350 suites...I'd be livid if I booked on the A350 and had this swap...

    1. Todd Diamond

      Do the legacy 767 and A350 even fly the same routes?

    2. Donna Diamond

      @Todd - I’m unaware of any routes DL has that fly the 767 and A350. But even if there are, I’d take that swap any day over the downgrade MJ is getting with this Emirates mess.

  42. Colin Guest

    Even when you book and pay cash, they swop aircraft usually when I book the A380 twins on the upper deck, no email just a booking switch to if your lucky 2 of a 3 and a very reluctant refund for the booking fee. Stopped using them for almost 5 years after the last time, rebooked this summer - they did it again.

  43. Larry S Guest

    I’m traveling on Emirates from Milan to JFK in May. Any chance the A380 will be brought back? It’s still showing a 777?

  44. Andy Guest

    The next closest has to be VS 787s vs A350s - that's a terrifying equipment swap to contend with - wish VS would address updating those 787s.

  45. C-Tripper Guest

    Same equipment swap happened to me IAD to DXB this coming January. Booked specifically for the A380 and all IAD flights from Nov 5 have since been downgraded to the vastly inferior 777. Luckily, booked using points and so can cancel easier. Surprised by the downgrade out of IAD in general since the few times I’ve flown this route, the flights have been full.

  46. DenB Diamond

    Ben is right about booking months in advance. More opportunity for aircraft swaps. I never book more than 3 weeks ahead. On the other hand, Ben says this swap occurred months before the flight. My response would be immediate cancel, suck up the cancel fee, go shopping for something I actually want.

    1. Icarus Guest

      At peak periods and you can afford to pay the highest fares. So if you want to travel over Christmas you book on December 4. lol.

  47. Albert Guest

    One positive for MJ - it is a westbound daytime leg which has been changed.
    It would be much worse if it was the eastbound overnight.
    So you booked AF and EK the right way round.

  48. breathesrain Gold

    I think the best option is to hope the F cabin doesn't fill up and try for an upgrade to F at checkin

  49. Quinton Guest

    Emirates worse than Qatar in this? Hmm

    1. Jerry Diamond

      While getting swapped out of Q Suites to an inferior product is certainly a possibility, there is no chance of ending up in a middle seat. QR also notifies you of the aircraft swap and permits you to make a one time change.

  50. Jason Guest

    Assume you mean "far inferior," NOT "far interior" business class product?

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Duck Ling Guest

Earlier this year two kiwis sued Emirates in New Zealand for false advertising - and won. They highlighted that in nearly all advertising Emirates referenced the A380 business class product and what they ended up in was very different. The court agreed - this wasn't a rare operational swap but was the aircraft regularly rostered the route. The airline was ordered to pay US$8k in compensation. Maybe it's a New Zealand thing - someone also featured in the media complaining about Singapore Airlines for a farting dog a few months ago.

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Watson Diamond

He said "quality" airline.

5
breathesrain Gold

... do you realize what blog you're reading?

4
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