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Aircraft swap nightmare: Flydubai in economy and business class

June 24, 2022
4 min read
Aircraft swap nightmare: Flydubai in economy and business class
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Flydubai is a low-cost carrier owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates and provides competition to the UAE’s other major airlines, Emirates and Etihad. The airline operates from Dubai to 102 destinations across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

In 2017 Emirates signed a codeshare agreement with Flydubai, allowing passengers of both airlines to book seamless travel on the two carriers, giving them dozens more convenient travel options. With Emirates an incredibly popular airline among our readers, we wanted to see how Flydubai would compare to its bigger aviation brothers.

We planned to fly on the newer Boeing 737-MAX sporting modern lie-flat seats in business class and comfortable seats in economy.

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It was not to be.

Although we booked on the 737-MAX, a last-minute aircraft swap meant the five-hour-and-48-minute flight was actually operated by an 8-year-old Boeing 737-800 from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW). On this particular flight, Liam was assigned business class and Nicky flew in economy.

As the video highlights, an aircraft swap can lead to a significantly worse cabin configuration with outdated seating, particularly in business class.

Watch the full video below:

Need more? Read on for a breakdown of our individual experiences aboard Flydubai’s Boeing 737-800.

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Economy — Nicky Kelvin

Seat: 6F.
We paid: 700 pounds (about $856).

It was a great experience flying out of Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3 on what is a low-cost-leaning airline. Not all Flydubai flights depart this terminal, so I was lucky to have more of a full "Emirates-style" experience on the ground.

The service on board was friendly, the food and beverage offerings were sufficient and complimentary options were offered.

It wasn’t all great, though. There were long queues to check in and a remote gate was used. That was before the long and hot coach journey to the aircraft, with a prolonged wait at the bottom of the stairs before we were allowed to board.

The aircraft swap meant I was left with a hard, uncomfortable, older seat lacking in modern inflight entertainment and charging.

Business class — Liam Spencer

Seat: 1C.
We paid: 1,353 pounds (about $1,654).

My Flydubai business ticket came with access to the Emirates Business Class Lounge at Dubai International Airport. The space was enormous and included multiple dining options along with a Champagne bar.

The food served on board was extremely tasty. I opted for the grilled fish steak with potatoes and spinach, followed by an apple crumble with honey-infused cream. This was the only part of the onboard experience that felt premium, though.

The aircraft swap meant I was given a dated and less comfortable seat. I had no privacy whatsoever and the seat itself felt far more like a premium economy product. I was expecting a throne seat with a lie-flat bed and this couldn’t have been further from what I received.

In addition, the inflight entertainment screen was fairly small and slow. There was no amenity kit to speak of. I only received a bottle of water, a pillow and an economy-level blanket. This was disappointing for a six-hour flight costing more than a thousand pounds.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023