A shift in policy by Emirates, due to take force early next month, is set to surprise and annoy a few of its customers.
The airline, commercial partner of Qantas and the world’s largest international airline in its own right, is about the join the ranks of airlines that charge for selecting an economy class seat.
There are provisos. According to Arabic news outlet al-Arabiya, Emirates will institute a minimal charge for certain economy class passengers who want to choose their seats in advance. Emirates confirmed such to Business Insider.
From 3 October 2016, Emirates economy passengers can expect to pay USD 15 per person for short flights and USD 40 per person for long-haul flights – but only if they fall into certain categories – those travelling on discounted Special or Saver fares.
The exact amount will vary according to length of flight. Accompanying passengers travelling on the same booking are exempt, as are infants.
Seat selection fees are spreading. Qantas charges AUD 30 to select a seat on an economy class international flight – or at least, it did a few weeks back when I last flew with Qantas. Singapore Airlines lets you choose a seat for free – or at least, it did yesterday when I last flew with SIA.
There’s a way to avoid the Emirates charge. If you check in two days before take-off, choosing a seat is still free.
Written by Peter Needham