This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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):
|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.
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.
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?
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards