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Emirates joins club that will annoy a few flyers

September 23, 2016 Headline News 3 Comments Email Email

egtmedia59A 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.

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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

Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. WB says:

    Beware this whole process as not all seats are created equal. I recently flew from Calgary to London on a certain British airline on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, occupying an economy-class window seat for the nearly 9 hour flight. Because this airline had thoughtfully squeezed 9 seats across the fuselage, each was narrower, lower and MUCH more restrictive than any I had ever previously flown in. Additionally the side-wall mouldings were so close to the armrests that if one put one’s elbow on the outside armrest, one’s arm was forced to the right and intruded over the next seat. Over the course of the 9 hours, my whole upper body was gradually twisted to the left because of this and the right-hand side vertical seat support dug into my lower back. Upon directing the attention of the Cabin services manager to this situation I was told that “I would love to move you to another seat but this is a full flight and there are no spare seats I can move you into”. You should contact customer care, which i duly did, to be answered with totally untruthful account of the matter wherein, according to them, I HAD been offered an alternative seat and HAD ELECTED NOT TO ACCEPT IT [preferring instead, it seems, to have continued to enjoy the exquisite torture of the original. This fiction is about as absurd as it is untruthful. So much for being a One-World Emerald-level passenger! And, by the way, if you can figure out which airline is involved, don’t believe that they have a “customercare” section because no-one in it cares one iota.

  2. Andrew says:

    Emirates care? Have to be kidding.

    As to “but only if they fall into certain categories – those travelling on discounted Special or Saver fares.” would that not describe 90% of economy class passengers? Who in their right mind would buy a standard economy fare?
    Only somebody who has had to travel with no warning and pay maximum price for having that problem.

    Also, how do you check in 2 days before a flight? May work if you are a backpacker and ok with sleeping on the terminal floor for a couple of days.
    Last time I flew, check in did not open on international flights until about 3 hours before take off, so how can you do it 2 days before? Make an expensive trip to the airport, hand over your baggage, which will then probably get lost in the system because nobody will know what to do with it…….

  3. Owen Olsen says:

    The article is probably referring to online check-in. Not sure about Emirates if it is 48 hours but most airlines will let you check-in 24 hours before. Also seats may become free at a very late stage. However I’m not sure if Emirates allows this. Need to hear from someone who flies with Emirates. Singapore Airlines lets you choose a seat if you are a Krisflyer member and change it laterl. A travel agent can do this too. With SQ it is free.

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