- REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Dubai-based Emirates Airlines made a policy change this week that probably won’t make its customers very happy.
The world’s largest international airline announced that it will “institute a minimal charge” for certain economy-class passengers who wish to select their seats before their flight.
Passengers should expect to pay $15 per person for short flights and $40 per person for long-haul flights.
The policy, which will go into effect on October 3, applies only for customers traveling in economy on discounted special or saver fares.
In a statement to Business Insider, an Emirates spokesperson wrote:
“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. The charge is only applicable on Special and Saver fares in Economy Class and will vary depending on the duration of the flight. The charge for short flights will be $15 and for long-haul flights, the charge will be $40. Emirates will be closely monitoring the effects of this charge on its overall business. 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 48 hrs before flight departure. At this stage, seat selection is free.”
Seat-selection fees are nothing new in commercial aviation. However, these fees are usually associated with more value-oriented airlines. As a result, this announcement is a departure from Emirates’ traditional place as a high-end carrier.
Emirates, which was named the best airline in the world in July by the aviation consumer website Skytrax, reported $1.93 billion in profits for the last fiscal year. The airline currently operates the world’s largest long-haul international fleet, with roughly 250 aircraft – consisting mostly of Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 jets.