Emirates Airline is now offering a new discounted business class option for those looking for comfort in the air, without the perks on the ground.
With the new ‘Special’ fare category (‘H’ class for all you airfare geeks out there), travellers get exactly the same seat in the aircraft’s Business Class cabin. That’s the same super reclining (to a ‘fully flat’ position on many routes) function; access to a private mini bar; the same 40kgs of checked luggage allowance; and luxury dining services in the sky.
How does the experience differ from traditional Business Class?
The main differences come before you board the flight. Special Business Class bookings give up complimentary online seat selection; lounge access; and the chauffeur drive to and from the airport.
Are these fares available across the whole network?
So the first thing to note is, as with all fares and booking classes, purchase is subject to availability and seasonality. This means they might not be available to buy over busy periods; peak season blackout dates; or for last minute travel.
We spoke to Emirates and they confirmed that the fare pricing structure has already been rolled out across many of the airline’s most popular routes, with the plan eventually reaching full coverage across the network.
When we checked, ‘Special Business Class’ fares were available on routes including Dubai to Mumbai; Lahore; London; Manila; Johannesburg; Birmingham; Los Angeles; Bangkok and Sydney.
How much can I expect to save?
Savings vary between routes – but as a general rule, where the option was available, the price drops were significant on dates in July, August and September.
For return fares to Manila, for example, you would be saving around about AED 500 on each leg. That’s AED 1,000 off the total cost of a Business Class ticket (Special Business Class return price AED 7,995 based on an outbound journey 13th September, with a return 19th September). A discount of about 12.5 per cent.
Overall savings for a return flight to Mumbai total around the AED 500 mark (Special Business Class return price AED 3,005 based on an outbound journey 6th August, with a return 13th August). A discount of around 16.6 per cent.
You’re able to save a whopping AED 4,000 on a return flight to LA (Special Business Class return price AED 21,995 based on an outbound journey 17th September, with a return 24th September). A saving of roughly 18 per cent.
Heading to London Heathrow? If you travel between the 14th August and 19th August you could save a total of AED 2,000 (Special Business Class return price AED 12,445). An approximate eight per cent saving.
Are these savings worth losing the lounge for? Are the prices still too high for you to justify opting for business class? Tell us in the comments section on Facebook.