Emirates Adds Further Restriction To Booking Their New First Class

A couple of weeks ago Emirates revealed the details of their new first class suite, which is debuting on select 777-300ERs. Emirates is the first airline to introduce fully enclosed suites (like, floor-to-ceiling, rather than just a door), and there are lots of other great features to the seat as well.

The plane started flying today to Brussels and Geneva, and looks incredible. Here’s a video Emirates published based on the first flight:

The bad news is that this product will have a very limited rollout for the time being. Emirates only plans on having the new first class on at most nine 777-300ERs by 2019, which is a very small percentage of the fleet. They don’t have immediate plans to install the suites on the A380, and also don’t have immediate plans to reconfigure existing 777s with the suites, but rather are just offering this on newly delivered planes. That’s a bit disappointing, in my opinion.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who really wants to fly this new product, though Emirates is being super restrictive about it. As I wrote about as soon as the cabin was launched, Emirates doesn’t have any first class award availability on flights featuring the new first class.

That means the only option is to outright pay cash for first class. The good news is that Emirates is known for their fairly reasonable first class fares. We’re still talking about a lot of money in absolute terms, but at least their first class fares are comparatively low.

Emirates has three first class fare classes — F, A, and P — so when I wrote about their lack of award availability, I also showed some of their better first class fares.

For example, Emirates has a ~$3,100 roundtrip first class fare from Addis Ababa to Brussels, which I’d consider to be pretty great.

However, it looks like Emirates has recently added a further restriction to tickets in their new first class. Emirates is only selling tickets in their full “F” bucket for travel on their new 777s, and not in the discounted “A” or “P” buckets. So not only can you not redeem miles for that, but you have to pay the full fare ticket cost, rather than the cost of a discounted fare.

The good news is that some “F” fares aren’t actually that outrageously priced. It’s still a lot of money, but some airlines price tickets in the “F” bucket at $20,000+ roundtrip. For example, I see a roundtrip ticket from Colombo to Dubai for ~$4,800 in “F,” which would be in the new first class:

I suspect over time they’ll start to once again make bookings in the lower fare classes available on these flights. It’s reasonable for them to want to restrict the product for the time being, given the smaller cabin and also presumably the initial interest in it.

I’m kicking myself for not having purchased an Emirates first class ticket yet, though I guess I’ll have to do it at a higher price now.

Anyone know of any cheaper full “F” fares on Emirates to/from Brussels or Geneva?

Comments

  1. “Emirates only plans on having the new first class on at most nine 777-300ERs by 2019, which is a very small percentage of the fleet. ”

    Less than 4% of its fleet, and it will take 2 years.

  2. What I think is odd is that they are introducing new first on these medium-haul routes. The current routes seem to be mostly daytime flights, and how well can one sleep on a 7.5-hour flight?

    Honestly, such a great product should be deployed on longer routes (I’m thinking Australia, US, South America), though again, I (obviously) have no personal statistics on yields and/or revenue on EK routes.

  3. I am showing the exact itinerary from ADD pricing out in A on the Emirates website currently. My guess is the inventory buckets are just very dry given there are only a handful of seats in the new cabins.

  4. i wonder how the draconian FAs check on seat belts on during turbulence/landing/takeoff with the suites fully enclosed …

  5. “The good news is that Emirates is known for their fairly reasonable first class fares.””

    You kid right? I wanna live in this world you’re living in. Try a F ticket from LAX-DXB it will cost you 20K+. One of the most expensive F class fares in any airline.

    Sure, you can route via Addis Adaba or whatever, but I’m not going out of my way to some random small country just to pay less.

  6. @schar – FYI, the ‘random small country’ has over 100 million people and is about twice the size of Texas.

  7. @Schar – Say anything about CMB –
    a one hour flight from where I live and I will track you down and kill you 😉

  8. @Varun, I will visit CMB in February. I will take a big dump right on the street for you. My condolences.

  9. FYI, I was aboard EK83 on 01/12/17 and it was not operated by a new 77W and consequently all F pax were dissapointed at the lack of new F cabins. I think you should mention that EK only rolled out the product to BRU and not GVA on 1st Dec

  10. Apart from the bloggers who make their living out of It and always wanna be the first in reviewing. Just wait a few months and then Evernote should be able to book it via JAL ex HKG or CMB

  11. @Varun Wow Varun…threatening a stranger’s life over the internet, how classy! Wait for my lawyers to reach you with a big fat restraining order and lawsuit. Oh, and the police’s involvement. Next time you’ll think twice before threatening someone online. 🙂

  12. @christ: I would presume that the suite doors would be required to be left open during take off/ landing, as is usually the norm.

  13. All the entitled weasels sure are squealing! Gee, imagine it. An airline is actually limiting their most prized product to actual cash paying customers, without a discount. Wow. What a concept. Seems like there is a demand. Seems like people will pay for it. Seems like they don’t need to play to the bottom feeders who demand access to everything. Seems like a pretty smart business decision. Hey, I know…let’s sue them! that’s seems to be a popular sentiment these days!

  14. I’m able to book an award F seat through Qantas website on EK181 in Feb next year. Not sure if thats the new seat though – its a double daily so maybe the older plane on that flight.

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