Emirates has announced it will start selling unbundled business class fares in the same way some economy tickets are marketed on other airlines.
According to BBT’s sister magazine Business Traveller, the move will see the airline sell lower-priced tickets for business class without the amenities usually included in bundled fares – including lounge access (if the passenger doesn’t have status with Emirates Skywards), chauffeur transfers, points upgrades to first, restricted seat selection and ticket cancellation.
For travel managers, this could mean having to warn travellers to check what extras are included when they are considering booking the lowest business class fare. The removal of ticket cancellation can also cause trouble if the employee’s plans change, as is sometimes the case in business travel.
Emirates says it will still offer Saver, Flex and Flex Plus on most routes, but on other flights it will label the cheaper business class fares as “Special”. However, some Business Traveller readers have said the special tickets they’ve been able to find are the same price as the old saver option.
At the moment, the unbundled fares are only being offered on a small selection of flights.
The move is a departure for Emirates, which considers itself a full-service airline.
A spokesperson for the carrier told Business Traveller: “After carefully reviewing the evolving travel preferences of our valued customers, Emirates will introduce a new ‘Special’ fare for business class, thereby expanding our existing fare options (Saver, Flex and Flex Plus) with even more choice and flexibility depending on their travel requirements.
“Our business class special fares will be offered on certain routes based on seasonal trends in travel demand.
“Passengers booked on a Special fare will continue to enjoy our award-winning services and products on board, a generous baggage allowance of up to 40kg and priority boarding at their convenience.”