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Tue 20 Sep 2016 12:23 PM

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Emirates confirms plan to introduce seat selection charge

Dubai carrier to charge between AED50 and AED150 for those who wish to select their seats 48 hours ahead of their planned departure

Emirates confirms plan to introduce seat selection charge
The economy class cabin of an Emirates Airbus A380. (Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

Emirates has confirmed plans to introduce a charge for seat selection on its flights from next month.

The Dubai-based carrier will introduce a “minimal” charge for passengers who wish to select their seats 48 hours ahead of their planned departure.

The new charges will be AED50 ($13) for adults on shorter flights to the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Africa and the Indian Ocean, and AED25 ($7) for children. The mid-distance flights to South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the United Kingdom, the charge rises to AED100 ($27), with AED50 for children. For long-haul destinations like US, Canada, Brazil and Australia the pre-booking charge is AED150 ($40) for adults and AED75 ($20) for children.

"Emirates can confirm the introduction of a minimal charge for those looking to select their Economy Class seat in advance, for tickets issued on or after October 3, 2016,” an Emirates spokesperson said.

“The charge is only applicable on Special and Saver fares in Economy Class and will vary depending on the duration of the flight. Children below the age of 2 and accompanying passengers on the same booking will be exempted from the fee.

"This charge is also not applicable once online check-in opens, which is 48hrs before flight departure. At this stage, seat selection is free."

Emirates President Tim Clark flagged the planned introduction of a charge at an airlines conference in London earlier this month.

The charge is part of a wider plan by the carrier to boost its ancillary revenues, which also includes introducing a premium economy class on its planes. Emirates also is considering introducing additional baggage charges, Clark revealed.

"We cannot sit back and wait for things to get better," he said.

Emirates posted record profits for the 2015/16 financial year, with earnings up by 56 percent to $1.6 billion.

The world’s largest international carrier saw its passenger numbers rise by 8 percent to 51.9 million over the same period, while capacity increased by 11 percent.

The airline said that fuel had been its biggest expense over the past year, at $5.4 billion and 26 percent of operating costs, while the strong US dollar had eroded its revenues by $1.6 billion, and its profits by $1.1 billion.

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Victory Red 3 years ago

Shows how much of the fall in oil/fuel price has been retained by Emirates rather than passing on a 'fair' proportion of these savings to their loyal customers.

It is ok wringing the customer til they're dry but everyone has a tipping point.

I simply don't think this is good PR for Emirates and for what.....if you want to operate like Ryanair or Easy Jet with these sorts of practices, then reflect that in your pricing.

Grade A+ airline - this is a Grade F revenue generator.

SA1 3 years ago

Emirates online booking is now so confusing, and the multi-city never works for me.

The website booking interface was so much user-friendly earlier.

Aby 3 years ago

No worries Emirates! You are fast becoming an airline of last choice for the Canadian / American sector due to your high fares. Qatar air is the preferred airline due to its pricing and services. Please don't let greed be your undoing!

Aby 3 years ago

Bang on Victor!!! Such a brilliant airlines being petty like a budget airlines!!! But then there is no limit to greed.

Shanti 3 years ago

I completely agree with Victory Red. When the fuel prices have come down considerably {which otherwise hiked by OPEC unnecessarily earlier}, with so many Airlines competing for seats and landing space, Emirates introducing a so high price for seat selection is uncalled for and shows how greedy they are.

No frill airlines are charging is a different ball game. The Emirates tickets rates are already so high and in addition charging for seat selection is too much for the passengers.

Telcoguy 3 years ago

@SA1, It has never worked for me either. It always gives the same error message, "not available" or something like that. And yes I also find the website quite unfriendly.

Unless it is a very simple booking i ask our travel agent to do it, much faster.

@To all the people complaining, given that almost every single person (over 99%, and no it is not a made up statistic) who is looking online for tickets chooses the cheapest, even if the difference is a few cents it is normal that airlines try to provide the absolute lowest fare and try to make up with extra items.

Emirates prices are really low in economy (if you are not outbound Dubai, that is) so no surprise here.

marco saviozzi 3 years ago

Emirates is in term of destination and new places proved far ahead still from any other airlines. But the pricing those days is outrageous compared to many other airlines catching up. I fly twice a month for long hauls and over 75% of the time I don't take Emirates. I don't want to even start the discussion regarding the food on board who moved from Top Number 1 10 years ago with no competition to one of the worst food delivered to travellers in Business class.. A shame as it was unique in the past! So to charge seat choices I don't see it as great at all

ZARguy 3 years ago

It always boggles me that a return ticket from Dubai to Johannesburg and back costs about AED4600; but for the exact same flight from Johannesburg to Dubai and back its AED1500. It's the exact same flight!!

Emirates is already gutting the Dubai residents, and now the seat charges too? Not fair.

Qatar is amazing. 1st choice.

Johan Steenkamp 3 years ago

Dubai residents do earn a lot more on average than someone in South Africa, just check out the GDP per capita for both places and you will get your answer. Also, the vast majority of white collar expats, and that would include South Africans do get annual tickets paid by their employer so a higher return fare ex Dubai is not that big an issue for the expat

Telcoguy 3 years ago

Then if you are in DXB buy a DXB-JNB-DXB with the outbound leg 1 year later, you can then buy JNB-DXB-JNB

It could not be easier