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…
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).
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.
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…