It hasn’t been made public yet – but travel agents have been informed and the news isn’t good for upcoming Emirates (EK) passengers: the airline will
very soon start charging for some ‘extra’ services for flights out of the US with the intention to expand the charges beyond into their massive network soon.
The Dubai based airline will be the first Gulf airline to introduce such charges – if history is anything to go by, Etihad and Qatar Airways will not be too far behind in matching EK on this service downgrade.
According to Business Traveler, from October 3 the airline will impose fees for selecting seats and meals beforehand for those flying on their cheaper ticket tiers – those on Special or Saver fares.
The fees will look something like this when flying from Dubai:
- $25 to Europe
- $25 for regional flights
- $30 to Asia
- $30 to Africa
- $40 to North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand
Frequent fliers and passengers traveling on a full fare Economy ticket or in Business and First Class will not be subject to this new levy.
So. What can we say. It has begun – the race to the bottom. One of the world’s most premier airlines is now charging for seat selection – something that Singapore Airlines already does mind you – but we really would be surprised with EK doing it the other premium carriers in the region do so, which then sets the precedent for others to follow.
Notice how not a peep has been uttered from the official Emirates website and PR machine, but agents have been informed through the back channels and passengers will be subsequently charged knowingly or unknowingly.
If there’s one takeaway from this little secret episode, Emirates remains the absolute best in the industry when it comes to spin and marketing.