PREMIUM AIRLINE ADOPTS LOW COST CARRIER CHARGES FOR SEAT SELECTION
(Posted 19th September 2016)
Emirates passengers travelling on the airline’s cheapest fares, such as Economy Class Special and Economy Class Saver, will have to brace for new charges as of 03rd of October, should they wish to request a seat outside the 48 hour check in period ahead of their flights.
In East Africa does Emirates fly to Entebbe, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the latter two twice a day and has been a popular airline with travelers.
However, the new charge, a concept otherwise only used by Low Cost Airlines, which for long have added charges for a seat selection, will no doubt perturb their passengers who may well opt to seek other alternative for travel.
Low cost airlines from the Gulf like FlyDubai are already service a number of routes into East Africa as does Sharjah based rival Air Arabia with their flights to Nairobi.
Other premium airlines from the Gulf, like Qatar Airways and Etihad, too may benefit from this latest attempt to charge passengers for a hitherto free service as neither of those two is planning to follow suit.
Said a Ugandan travel agent when asked to comment overnight: ‘In the past many travellers seeking good deals went with Emirates because we could select a seat for them at the time of booking. If that airline’s lowest fares however now become subject to such add on charges, I know that those of my clients who mind the cost will ask us to seek better solutions. Qatar will be a beneficiary more than Etihad because Qatar flies daily. Others may just switch directly to FlyDubai. I have no doubt that there will be a reaction from the market‘.
A source close to Emirates in Kampala tried to mitigate the measure saying that within the 48 hour period before a flight the online check in still allows free seat selection but had to concede that at that stage a very significant number of seats would have been allocated by the system leaving passengers travelling on their cheapest fares at a disadvantage unless they were willing to part with the new fee.