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As of October 3, Emirates will begin charging fees for seat selection before check-in on select economy fares.

The new fee structure was announced on Emirates’ “agent” website, and while it hasn’t yet been posted on the carrier’s site, it seems it will look like this (dollar values converted from AED):

Flight Route Fee
Short Haul Between Dubai and the GCC, the Middle East & Iran, West Asia and Indian Ocean ~$15
Medium Haul Between Dubai and Europe, the Far East and Africa ~$25
Long Haul Between Dubai and the Americas, Australia and New Zealand ~$40
5th Freedom When Emirates Flies Between Two Foreign Countries, Like New York to Milan ~$15-25

This affects Economy Class Special and Saver fares. As you can see below, these are fares that don’t allow refunds; have change fees (though all fares except the Economy Flex Plus do); earn fewer miles; and, in the case of Economy Special Fares, don’t allow an upgrade.

Here’s the good news: This only affects some economy fares, and it’s only before check-in. When check-in opens 48 hours before flight time, seat selection should automatically become complimentary.

A breakdown of fees on Emirates.com.
A breakdown of fare types on Emirates.com.

The next tier up, Economy Flex, would not be subject to the seat selection fee but costs close to $300 more on the date and route we searched (JFK to Dubai on November 8). For an airline that flies the most dense configuration of any Airbus A380, the fees could add up — and indeed it appears Emirates is instituting this policy to increase its earnings on passengers who book lower-cost tickets.

Emirates' A380 economy class.
Emirates’ A380 economy class.

Depending on your travel situation, it might be worth keeping an eye on the seat map; if you’re traveling with others and want to sit together, you might want to pay the fee if the cabin’s getting full ahead of check-in. If you’re traveling solo or simply don’t have a particular seat in mind, then it’s likely not worth it.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

H/T: Business Traveller

Does a seat selection fee mean you’re less likely to fly Emirates? 

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