Why you should expect Emirates premium fares to get cheaper

Mar 9, 2021

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Like most other airlines around the world, Emirates believes that business travel will take the longest to recover. But instead of waiting for it to return, Emirates is changing how it approaches leisure travelers in order to maximize on ramping up capacity.

Speaking during a panel at ITB Berlin on Tuesday, Emirates President Tim Clark detailed that the airline will target high-end leisure travelers in order to fill up the seats that were once typically filled by business travelers.

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The inventory that had been allocated to high-paying business travelers for whom money wasn’t an issue has been adjusted to target “higher-end leisure travelers,” Clark said.

“They want flat beds and service,” Clark said. “[We will] adjust our price points to encourage leisure travelers to travel.”

It’s not the average leisure traveler Emirates is targeting. Instead, it’s looking at the luxury leisure traveler who will dish out a bit more cash for a much more luxe experience. In other words, don’t expect to be able to fly Emirates first class for the price of an American Airlines economy ticket to the same destination.

As an airline that operates only a fleet of widebody aircraft — Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s — it’s got plenty of seats to fill.

Dubai-based Emirates is known for its flashy on board offering — especially in its new premium, business and first-class cabins. The airline’s new first-class product — referred to as the “gamechanger” — is widely regarded as one of the best in the sky.

Related: What it’s like flying Emirates first class during the pandemic

From New York to Dubai, you can currently find return flights in first class from about $14,000 for mid-summer travel, while business class tends to hover around the $4,500 mark return. The airline first began flying its new premium economy product to London earlier this year. At this point, it’s not flying to the U.S.

Based on Google Flights’ built-in price-tracking feature, the fares in business-class are lower than average. It’s unclear just how much lower those fares may fall in the coming weeks and months.

(Image courtesy of Google Flights)

According to an annual report by the Global Business Travel Association, the business travel sector isn’t expected to fully recover until 2025.

Also at ITB Berlin on Tuesday, Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith detailed that the group is working on a similar timeline, believing that business travel will take three to four years to recover.

In November 2020, Emirates posted a $3.4 billion loss in the first six months of the year. The airline temporarily suspended operations at the height of the pandemic, and since, it’s been slow to resume its route network.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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