FlyDubai Business Class: Any Way To Get A Deal?

FlyDubai Business Class: Any Way To Get A Deal?

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For years I’ve been wanting to review FlyDubai business class, especially since the airline introduced flat beds on the Boeing 737 MAX. However, I can never quite seem to get myself to book it, given the pricing. I wanted to address that more broadly in this post.

What is FlyDubai?

For those not familiar, FlyDubai is a low cost carrier based in Dubai, exclusively operating a fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. The airline has a partnership with Emirates, and uses Emirates Skywards as its frequent flyer program. Even though both airlines are owned by the government, they’re two separate companies, and for all practical purposes are run separately.

Nonetheless the two airlines complement one another. Emirates exclusively flies Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, which are way too big to serve certain destinations (both in terms of airport limitations and demand). Those destinations are largely served by FlyDubai, with smaller Boeing 737 aircraft.

So you’ll often find FlyDubai serving airports that Emirates doesn’t serve, and thanks to the codeshare agreement between the airlines, many passengers may have itineraries including travel on both airlines.

FlyDubai and Emirates have a partnership

FlyDubai’s not-so-low-cost business class

FlyDubai markets itself as a low cost carrier, but at least in business class, fares aren’t very low cost. While it would be nice if FlyDubai took the JetBlue approach to business class pricing, that’s not the case at all. Rather FlyDubai’s business class pricing is steep across the board.

Just to give some examples of the lowest prices I’m seeing on FlyDubai in a few markets…

Dubai to Doha on a standard Boeing 737 with recliner seats, similar to what you’d find in domestic first class? That’ll cost you $861 one-way, more or less in line with what Qatar Airways’ charges for its spectacular regional first class product.

Admittedly that’s a pretty premium market, so what about a leisure route, like Dubai to Salalah? Nope, that’s even more expensive, at $932 one-way.

And Dubai to Belgrade? That’ll cost a minimum of $1,662 one-way.

Furthermore, pricing isn’t much better for roundtrips, and pricing also isn’t much better in connecting markets (where FlyDubai doesn’t offer the advantage of a nonstop flight).

Here’s the thing — it’s one thing if people were consistently paying these amounts, but the FlyDubai business class seatmaps in many markets look downright empty (not that seatmaps are always a totally accurate indicator of availability). For example, I’ve been looking at some routes like Dubai to Belgrade, and even over the next couple of weeks there are very few seats assigned in business class.

FlyDubai participates in Emirates Skywards, sort of

Logically you might think “okay, well you mentioned that FlyDubai participates in Emirates Skywards, so that seems like it could be a good use of miles?” Sadly not. FlyDubai participates in Emirates Skywards, but not really in a useful way.

Let’s use a route where Emirates and FlyDubai compete, as an example. Say you want to fly one-way from Dubai to Kuwait City in business class. You could redeem 25,000 Emirates Skywards miles for a business class ticket or 28,750 Skywards miles for a first class ticket.

Want to travel in FlyDubai business class instead? That’ll cost you an absolute minimum of 92,398 Skywards miles, since redemptions are revenue based.

What a choice! Would you rather book this?

Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER first class

Or redeem three times as many miles for this?

FlyDubai’s Boeing 737-800 business class

Is FlyDubai’s upgrade bidding the answer?

With high revenue fares and useless Emirates Skywards mileage redemptions, I can’t help but wonder if FlyDubai’s upgrade bidding program is the secret to flying business class for cheap(ish).

Like many airlines, FlyDubai lets eligible economy passengers bid for an upgrade, and then before departure they’ll find out if the offer has been accepted or not.

I’m tempted to book a FlyDubai economy ticket and then try out this feature, but first I’m curious if OMAAT readers have any experience with this?

  • I’d only do this if I knew I had a very good chance at an upgrade (I’d look at the business class seatmap in advance, etc.)
  • What I don’t know, though, is what kind of offers FlyDubai is willing to accept, given the carrier’s otherwise steep business class pricing — does anyone have a sense of what kind of an offer would be accepted on a shorter flight (like Dubai to Salalah) or a longer flight (like Dubai to Belgrade)?

If an upgrade on a Dubai to Belgrade flight were accepted for $250-300, I’d totally give it a try. Meanwhile if the airline is hoping people will bid $1,000, it’s a hard pass from me.

FlyDubai’s Boeing 737 MAX 8 business class

Bottom line

I’ve long been intrigued by FlyDubai’s business class, and have wanted to review it. However, I can never bring myself to do it, given the consistently steep pricing. And while FlyDubai participates in Emirates Skywards, award pricing is so much higher than when traveling on Emirates, so that’s of no interest to me.

That just leaves FlyDubai’s program that allows you to bid on an upgrade. I’m curious if any OMAAT readers have experience with this, and if that’s what brings FlyDubai’s business class pricing more in line with what (I feel) it should be.

Any other tricks to snagging a reasonably priced FlyDubai business class ticket that I’m missing?

Conversations (29)
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  1. lonelycrowd Guest

    In case it’s helpful for anyone, $220 was a winning upgrade bid for DXB-IST this week.

    It does seem like there’s more value in upgrading on DXB departures as you get their lounge and private business class boarding gate. Overall we felt the upgrade was a good value, even if the food was a bit disappointing.

  2. [email protected] Guest

    Fly Dubai is fraud airline...I have never seen this kind of staff in my life ..Delhi airport fly Dubai staff fully fraud staff .first they give you booking..when you reach airport they deny to give boarding pass.fuck you fly Dubai..

  3. MA Guest

    Hi, you can try searching for a Beirut-Dubai or Dubai Beirut flight either OW or RT and you will get a "special promotion." Something like 34,000 skywards miles + 200 USD for a RT business class flight. You will need to go to flydubai.com and log into skywards from there. Hope that helps. Worked for me

  4. Rose Stark Guest

    I paid for an expensive trip townsville to Zagreb with emirates but Dubai to
    Zagreb flight was flydubai I was squashed in like a sardine in a window seat no reclining seat no entertainment no drinks no service when I pressed button the person in front me had their recliner down all flight the people behind me played cards the whole time sweating and table was down while flight even when landing nothing was...

    I paid for an expensive trip townsville to Zagreb with emirates but Dubai to
    Zagreb flight was flydubai I was squashed in like a sardine in a window seat no reclining seat no entertainment no drinks no service when I pressed button the person in front me had their recliner down all flight the people behind me played cards the whole time sweating and table was down while flight even when landing nothing was said I cried the whole flight very sad way to go visit my parents sister after 2 years and no covid restrictions very sad flydubai I need a refund or upgrade or any credit I paid enough but got the worse flight ever I won’t forget and I fly many many times to Zagreb from australia please don’t let me experience this on my flight back in a few weeks

    1. Colin Guest

      You cried because you were uncomfortable on a flight?

  5. Sattar Alblooshi Guest

    I looking business class fly dubai to karachi any nice option thanks

  6. M Salman Guest

    I've flown FlyDubai Business Class from Dubai-Karachi which used to be around $272 one way. And I thought it was quite reasonable for the product they were selling. The return sector was also the same. So I used it at least 3 or 4 times. But that was back when FlyDubai was sort of new ish...... After the prices got so steep it was just ridiculous. And I'm a Skywards Gold member since more than...

    I've flown FlyDubai Business Class from Dubai-Karachi which used to be around $272 one way. And I thought it was quite reasonable for the product they were selling. The return sector was also the same. So I used it at least 3 or 4 times. But that was back when FlyDubai was sort of new ish...... After the prices got so steep it was just ridiculous. And I'm a Skywards Gold member since more than 15 years. First of all they created the Platinum category downgrading all us Gold members to 2nd class .... And then they changed the mileage working out of the Blue one fine day..... So yeah I got a lot problems with how EK and FLYDUBAI have done things. Unfortunately living here you don't really have a choice sometimes and you just have to take what you can get. But all these years of heavy flying and building my status and then the stuff that happened happening..... It is Very very painful.

    FlyDubai mileage redemption ticket I would never do.
    Buy one? I don't think so......
    In fact I would never use my miles on FlyDubai. It's just nonsense to club FlyDubai into the same Skywards program. Its like building your status with a 5 star hotel and then be asked to pay the same in mileage when using a 2-3 star hotel. How is this fair? I have some problems with Marriott Bonvoy as well but not to this extent. I'm a lifetime Platinum Elite member. I think Starwoods was much much better but hey we don't really get to choose evrry8in life do we?

  7. Micah Member

    I was looking for flights in business class to TLV and saw that you can do NYC-TLV via Dubai on a combo Emirates a380 from JFK-DXB and then FlyDubai 737Max both Business class for around $2400 roundtrip. Seems like a good deal?

  8. TrekTrendy Guest

    Have flown and reviewed this just a couple of months back exOTP. Prices around $1k one way. Cabin was empty right up until day of departure. Upgrades from Y offered at $400 on the day. Just need to ensure you secure the throne seat. Overall I was very impressed. Far better than EK J on their 777

  9. Wes Taylor Guest

    FlyDubai is a bad airline. They do not issue refunds, even for tickets which were cancelled involuntarily by the airline themselves during covid. They only issue vouchers which can be used within 12 months otherwise your money is forfeit. An additional note is that the voucher can only be used by the person in whose name it is generated.

    Beware and stay away.

    1. OK Guest

      I agee with Wes. FlyDubai is the worst airline I have ever dealt with. Was supposed to fly from KBP to Dubai in October 2021. There was a tech problem with the booking online & instead of getting a round trip tickets for the dates i specified, I got one way ticket for the wrong date. I could never reach anybody from FlyDubai via telephone (i made at least 10 calls), and got a general...

      I agee with Wes. FlyDubai is the worst airline I have ever dealt with. Was supposed to fly from KBP to Dubai in October 2021. There was a tech problem with the booking online & instead of getting a round trip tickets for the dates i specified, I got one way ticket for the wrong date. I could never reach anybody from FlyDubai via telephone (i made at least 10 calls), and got a general reply to my email message, stating that I would be contacted in 40 days. FlyDubai representatives @ KBP were not willing to change my fare or issue any refund. Nobody ever emailed or called me from FlyDubai & my credit card company is still trying to get my money back. Will never fly with FlyDubai.

  10. Stephen Spooner Guest

    I booked IST - RGN on FZ business in August 2020 for $1275. The flight was cancelled but they refused refund and forced a voucher. I finally redeemed IST - CMB for about the same price with a 20 hour layover in Dubai expecting Emirates lounge access. Big mistake. Leaving IST at 01:40 with lie flat seats I chose row 2 for window-aisle access for the 4.5 hr flight. The lie flat seat was too...

    I booked IST - RGN on FZ business in August 2020 for $1275. The flight was cancelled but they refused refund and forced a voucher. I finally redeemed IST - CMB for about the same price with a 20 hour layover in Dubai expecting Emirates lounge access. Big mistake. Leaving IST at 01:40 with lie flat seats I chose row 2 for window-aisle access for the 4.5 hr flight. The lie flat seat was too short for my 185 cm and my feet did not fit into the minuscule footwell. As the only business passenger i moved to row 1 which was marginally less cramped. To my chagrin the FZ lounge had no showers or rest area for a 20+ hour layover. The 03:30 departure to CMB with another 4.5 hour flight was a standard recliner. 60 hours without sleep about killed me. I do not anticipate flying FZ business again. Lie-flat seats? adequate for a 50 kg 150 cm Asian maybe.

  11. Marko Guest

    I fly frequently with FlyDubai as I’m based in the UAE. I can confirm the trick is to use the bidding system. I never even bid much above the minimum and have a high success rate. Even with that, I rarely saw the J class being full.

  12. Marko Guest

    You can always buy economy class ticket and upgrade in the plane for way better price. For example upgrade for Belgrade is 1900aed or ruffly 450euros.

  13. Mike Guest

    Sometimes booking flights as part of a package through flydubai holidays makes it cheaper. I seem to remember booking r/t East Africa - Dubai with 2 weeks in a suite (Grande Mercure?) for about $1,500-1,700 last year.

    1. Mike Guest

      Sometimes booking flights as part of a package through flydubai holidays makes it cheaper. I seem to remember booking r/t East Africa - Dubai in Biz with 2 weeks in a suite (Grande Mercure?) for about $1,500-1,700 last year. Max 8 both ways. The throne seats are way better than Emirates 777 J on the same route.

  14. Aparna Guest

    I flew business class from Bangalore to Dubai and trust me it is not business class in any way - no priority Callcenter,no priority checkin or boarding, no lounge access, no fast track immigration at Dubai. Seat, meal and inflight service was good. And I let my feedback about these service shortfall and a standard automated email reply said they will respond in “30” days!!! And as promised they responded after about 45 days saying...

    I flew business class from Bangalore to Dubai and trust me it is not business class in any way - no priority Callcenter,no priority checkin or boarding, no lounge access, no fast track immigration at Dubai. Seat, meal and inflight service was good. And I let my feedback about these service shortfall and a standard automated email reply said they will respond in “30” days!!! And as promised they responded after about 45 days saying they will look into the matter no call nothing . I would never again fly business class with an airline whose standard response time is 30 days and no one cares about the customer , deal or no deal .

  15. Oxana Guest

    I’ve flown their Max business multiple times. They reward loyalty well- unlike emirates, they will upgrade golds and platinums first. Prior to Covid they would overbook every other flight I’d be on and would upgrade me.

    Recently tried out bidding for an upgrade. Flew DXB-KBP-DXB.

    Bid bare minimum (350$ i believe) for each of the segments. Bid from DXB was accepted, bid from KBP was not. They will accept all available bids if seats are available.

  16. Tabi Guest

    Fly dubai is one of the worst airlines I have ever used with poor customer services., I always get problems when using it, my luggage got broken and my glass photo frame, so sad if I book for Emirates then I find out that I have to board fly dubai becuase they are partners now.‍♀️

  17. Deo Guest

    DEL-KBP one way can be had for about 930 USD, 10 hours of business class, with the DXB-KBP sector on 737 Max 8. Arguably an even better proposition than CMB-DXB roundtrip since you get to review 2 products here.

  18. Deo Guest

    CMB-DXB roundtrip is available for ~900 USD or one-way for ~630 USD. Flights are about 5 hours and are far better value for money than the examples you've given.

    10 hours of their business class for 900 USD is quite a deal compared to your screenshots.

  19. Paul Guest

    Sometimes some cheap fares with Emirates between North America and Pakistan, with the DXB - Pakistan sector on FlyDubai. Otherwise, rare to find cheap business for them

  20. Morris Guest

    There may be UAE-specific credit card perks. If you have time, you would enjoy exploring the UAE card scene. They have some VERY interesting cards/perks on offer there, resembling U.S. style (and in some cases beating, I would argue)!

    1. TheAirlineKid Guest

      Based in the UAE, I'm curious by what you mean by "US-beating" credit card perks?

      I have yet to come across something like that.

    2. M Salman Guest

      You are right...... The US beating cards perks? Please...... Cards here are pretty much nonsense. Always a silly catch....... For example 50% off.... Upto $50 max..... Or stuff like that

  21. RetiredATLATC Gold

    I used to pay the extra 18 or so dollars for the exit row seat from Baghdad to DXB and back. Lots of room, for a fairly short flight.

    Always an empty row, except when poachers tried to remove the seat signs about paying to sit there and plop down.

    FlyDubai flight attendants don't take any crap and would always kick them out.

    1. Stan P Guest

      I flew a month ago DXB to SOF with Fly Dubai. The bidding starts at 350$ for the recliners. I didn’t place a bid, we were family of three. Once boarding was completed , only two of the eight business seats were occupied.

  22. Jason Guest

    Don't forget - "Low Cost" only refers to the airline's cost model. It doesnt always translate into "Low fares".

    1. Phillip Guest

      I don’t disagree but then couldn’t you argue that Emirates and Qatar are low cost airlines too by that same definition?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Jason Guest

Don't forget - "Low Cost" only refers to the airline's cost model. It doesnt always translate into "Low fares".

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lonelycrowd Guest

In case it’s helpful for anyone, $220 was a winning upgrade bid for DXB-IST this week. It does seem like there’s more value in upgrading on DXB departures as you get their lounge and private business class boarding gate. Overall we felt the upgrade was a good value, even if the food was a bit disappointing.

0
[email protected] Guest

Fly Dubai is fraud airline...I have never seen this kind of staff in my life ..Delhi airport fly Dubai staff fully fraud staff .first they give you booking..when you reach airport they deny to give boarding pass.fuck you fly Dubai..

0
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