Emirates Now Gives Business Class Lounge Access to Economy Passengers

In January Emirates rolled out paid access to its premium lounges in Dubai for passengers flying Emirates (or Emirates codeshares on Qantas).

Paid access is available both to business and first class lounges.

This makes sense as the airline goes looking for revenue, and to control costs. As profits have shrunk they’ve become less generous in the economy cabin (no more welcome towels), more careful in premium cabins (no more onboard showers flying Dubai – Kuwait City) and more aggressive with upsells.

Now they’re leveraging their lounges to attract even economy passengers.

  • Passengers flying Emirates Bangkok to Dubai and connecting beyond Dubai
  • Flying EK351 (the 6:45am Boeing 777) and EK377 (the 4 p.m. Airbus A380) only and not the other 5 daily flights
  • Tickets purchased by March 26 for travel May 1 through November 30
  • Lounge access available for up to 4 hours

Access by non-elite frequent flyers traveling economy is a strong perk for purchasing a ticket on Emirates versus a competitor. It could easily overwhelm business class lounges, of course, so limiting the offer to specific flights at specific times is crucial. This could be an interesting trend to goose bookings. Of course if it’s necessary to do so then perhaps 7 daily flights, six on Airbus A380s (3 of which are high density A380s) may be a bit much.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Should not be any Economy passengers allowed ( except for their top-tier passengers flying economy of course ). But paid?

    More scrubbers in the already over-crowded lounges. More hideous Australians, behaving badly, dressed like slobs and drinking like there is no tomorrow.

    They EK Lounges are already are bordering on being as bad as the US airline lounges.

    I had the misfortune to fly with EK a few weeks ago from KUL-DXB-KUL in J and could not believe how bad this airline has become. And it woefully starts on the ground.

    And now they want to throw “fuel onto an already bad fire” and allow every Tom, Dick and Harry in to their over-crowded lounges.

    I hope and prey that QR don’t try this “trash-for-cash” move.

    Giving access to anyone who wants to come in is just another nail in the coffin for this once good airline.

  2. Smart move on their part. I was in the EK lounge in JFK and MXP a year ago and they were fairly empty. Since many coach passengers may be cutting corners on price I don’t see a lot of overcrowding coming in. Besides, there was an awful lot of food there that may go to waste otherwise.

  3. Interesting idea, but wouldn’t Emirates be better off (from a branding perspective) using business lounge access as part of a new (pseudo) Premium Economy class? Since they are already selling business lounge access to economy passengers for $100, Emirates could set apart the forward section of economy class as “Premium Economy” and combine it with business lounge access, better meals, welcome towels (ha), and an amenities kit for an extra $50-$150 per passenger (depending on demand). This way, they can monetize their lounges without diluting (too much) the prestige of their business and first class service.

    Seems like allowing EVERYONE in economy class into the business lounge would really dilute the exclusivity and value of those (premium) facilities.

  4. Tim,

    Not click bait. The access to the business-class lounge is complimentary for economy passengers on certain flights.

  5. Gary,

    I am not familiar with typical schedules from BKK to large Eurpoean markets, but might this be an effort to make those flights less unattractive for pax who might otherwise be on non-stops to LHR, CDG, FRA, MUC, ZRH, ARN, CPH, etc.?

  6. You can find cheap non-stop flights between BKK and most major European airports. I think it’s difficult even for EK to compete on BKK.

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