a food and drinks on a table in an airplane

International business class has long been a fairly straightforward concept to understand. You buy a ticket, you get a better seat, a better meal, more checked bags, airport lounge access and in most cases a lovely fast track pass through security to go with all the perks on board. Inspired by the new trend of unbundling of economy fares, Emirates is now taking perks away from business class, albeit for a lower price. Emirates is unbundling business class, so here’s everything you need to know about these new revolutionary “H” fares…

a food on the counter in an airplaneWhat’s Emirates Taking Away With These New Unbundled “H” Business Fares?

You’ll still get at least a semi flat bed and all the same food and drinks as every other passenger in business class, so fear not. However, Emirates is adding a few key restrictions to these new “H” fares which you’ll see as “special” when you click to book a ticket, starting with lounge access. These new Emirates unbundled business class fares won’t include…

  • Airport lounge access (unless you have it via elite status).
  • The ability to upgrade to first class using miles (you can with cash).
  • A chauffeur driven car to the airport (obviously you can book your own).
  • Extra miles (you’ll get a reduced earning rate for Skywards miles). 
  • Early seat selection (you can’t reserve until 48 hours before flight). 

emirates a380How Do You Know If You’re Booking An Unbundled Emirates Business Ticket?

Easy – it will say “special”, rather than “saver” or any of the other purchase categories. You can also use websites like Expedia by clicking “more details” on the flight to reveal the fare code. If you see an “H” fare, you’re getting unbundled business without the frills.

For now, there aren’t many of them out there and Emirates apparently plans to roll these out on routes when and where demand is light. In other words, they might only be on certain routes during off peak periods, or on other routes all the time to be incredibly competitive.

a bar with drinks and shelves in a planeWill Others Follow Suit?

It’s widely expected that Qatar Airways will become the next airline to unbundle their business class offerings after the airline implemented “R” class promotional fares last year. These lower priced fares still presently offer all the perks of business class, but are limited by higher change fees. Now that Emirates has dropped business class lounge access in a world first, there’s no reason others won’t follow.

This comes at a fascinating time where worthwhile airport restaurants are on the rise, as are high end wine bars and relaxation spas. If someone could save $1000 on a ticket and spend $1000 on superior food and drink at the airport, it’s certainly not all sad news. It’s just “new” news…

How do you feel about this revolutionary new concept?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. My fear is that the same lowest fare is now going to be the unbundled fare, rather than a truly lower fare than the current lowest. We’ve seen the US carriers do it with basic economy, no reason why these unbundled business fares will be the same.

  2. Great idea. I seldom arrive at the airport with time to waste away in lounges and as long as fast track security is still included in the reduced fare it would make great sense to me.

  3. Fares will not fall. It is just a way of increasing fares with the same baseline number, though now with fewer benefits.

  4. Seat selection? Really? You are going to hold a couple paying 80% of business class and triple the price of economy in bated breath till 48 hours before the flight to see if they can sit next to each other? Kinda insulting for a premium cabin.

    1. BA have charged Business Class passengers for seat choice in advance (earlier than 48 hours) for a few years now some at £85 per seat!

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