Emirates Sells “In Home Check-In” And It’s The Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Seen From An Airline

Nearly five years ago Emirates started selling “in home check-in” where someone comes to you, weighs and collects your baggage, and prints your boarding passes. Then last summer they started offering this complimentary to first class passengers. And it’s stupid.

  • An Emirates agent comes to you, in your home or hotel, at a reserved time.
  • This is available anywhere in Dubai or Sharjah
  • It must be booked at least 24 hours prior to departure, and can be completed any time up to 6 hours prior to departure (when it was first introduced it was available for booking up to 12 hours prior to departure)

The cost is ~ $68 and is provided by DUBZ, a subsidiary of dnata which is itself a part of the Emirates Group. This includes tagging and collection of up to 4 bags.

Here’s video showing the service in action.

It seems like a better service would be to have your boarding passes preprinted and waiting for you at the airport, with bag tags printed, don’t spend time waiting to have them weighed unless the bags were obvious outliers. At $68 including staff time for roundtrip drives this cannot be a money maker, and it seems as though it would be cheaper to offer a more premium service at the airport.

And this doesn’t appear as though it would even save you time, having someone come inside your house and set up this machine. And you have to pre-pack, many more hours in advance.

Plus you have to wait around for the employees to show up. I do not see how this is convenient or efficient along any dimension. You’re still expected to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to flight, so it’s not like being pre-checked in and baggage dropped let’s you avoid spending time at the airport.

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. There might be some conveniences with this service if it means not having to lug your bags to the airport (especially if are going to be using public transportation to reach the airport and/or have kids as well)

  2. It sounds similar to these services that you see being advertised in the USA for a company that comes to your house, picks up your luggage and ships it to your final destination. Might be good if you are going to one place for say a week’s vacation, traveling with a family and don’t want to be lugging your bags through the airport, standing in check in lines, etc. But as the post mentions, you have to be ready well in advance. Do you really need some one to come to your house to print your boarding passes? Maybe for a hotel stay but even then, with all the airlines wanting you to download your boarding passes to your mobile, why print? I remember with CX offered a baggage check in/ drop off service in HK, along with some other carriers, and it was great. BA did this for a while at Victoria station, but that service died out long ago. Maybe this is designed purely to help distinguish F on the ground service as it’s cheaper to send a limo then upgrade aircraft seats.

  3. The only people who would benefit from this already have people to lug their bags to the airport and would already spend minimal time checking in at the first class counter

  4. As someone that has worked for medical companies in UAE in home services are huge, in home medical care etc, so while to us Americans this might seem like a bad idea, maybe consider the local customs before knocking what obviously is working if it’s still going 5y later and now free for 1st Class

  5. The clear value to me is that they take your bags. If you are schlepping a lot of stuff or have kids, etc. I could see a lot of value here — even if they charge for the check-in service you may be saving down the line (i.e. maybe it means you end up taking a train or us just use a smaller transfer to the airport).

  6. British Airways has this service in London.

    Does the size of your bags exceed the size of the taxi/limo? If you’re using mass transit, does the number of bags become unruly?

  7. Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is still the gold standard for this. Private Heathrow check in at what looks like a 5 star hotel, welcome you and have your pre-printed bag tags, dedicated security lane, and you are in that superb lounge in 10 mins to get a haircut, massage, full english breakfast, and shoe shine before your flight.

  8. Like combining Ship Sticks & online check-in.

    Dep what the cost would be, I might be willing to spring for a true turn-key service where me & my bags are picked up at home. On the way to the airport they do all the stuff they do now inside your home inside their vehicle instead so all you do is step out & head to security & they handle the bags.

    Now that I think about how nice that would actually be I wish someone would actually do it

  9. I would use this if taking a bus or metro to the airport. Or, at times, staying at an airport hotel the night before a very early flight and using public transportation. Sometimes even priority lines at check in for bags and passport checks are 15+ minutes wait. Dragging bags thru metro stations, etc. (ie London – can be a real pain) and if 3 or more travelers on a long trip, taxis may not have enough room.
    I think the Sofitel in London had baggage check at the hotel.

  10. scott and ian are right
    people in those s-holes ahve a huge chip on their shoulders and if they can afford it they will not miss an opportunity to mistreat a filipino who comes to their house to help them
    the nature of rich doushebags

  11. I believe most of the people commenting have never traveled business class in any Middle Eastern airline (business class by any USA carrier is…. Not quite the same please) and have absolutely no inkling of life outside the USA and they cannot begin to imagine the lifestyle of the customers who actually use this service. I implore you to not comment on things you know naught of.

  12. But if I’m at spending the at a hotel and I have things to put in my bag from the night before and my bags are gone, where does THAT stuff go? (pajamas, toiletries, etc)

  13. This service in Dubai and Sharjah may make better sense than some people some realize.

    For example, a lot of South Asian expat workers in the UAE have elderly relatives who come for seasonal stays with their working relative in the UAE. This is a way that some of them manage to make their relatives’ trips work out better when they themselves are working.

  14. I generally enjoy this column, but Mr Leff is way off base here. Include all the previous commenters’ observations and add these. I am pretty sure all bags are weighed for safety reasons, even if there are no overage charges, to calculate the amount of fuel required. One must presume the staff has security clearances just as at the airport. Even if you have a driver and attendant, it can be a struggle to manage bags, kids, car seats, the dog, or whatever. The actual passenger has to stand in line to hand over the bag. Sixty-eight dollars to walk away from up to four 50 or 70 lb bags and breeze from my train or limo directly to security is an excellent option.

  15. Great idea, might not save you time at home, but who cares, you can relax in your own home environment, while they do their work. Certainly saves time at the airport.

    Pre-printed baggage labels, etc, at the airport would be useless, because you’d still end up queuing to actually get to the front of a queue and see someone, before you got served.

    At home YOU are always at the front of the queue.

  16. Indeed. Little knowledge of the world outside us of a leads to ignorant comments. And i agree entirely. Biz class in usa airlines is more like eco class in middle easter airlines

  17. Somehow I don’t think points bloggers from the US are the target market for this service. Not sure why you find it dumb – I can see plenty of merit.

  18. Great service – especially if you have an evening flight, have to check out of your hotel in morning and want to actually make use of the whole day – business meetings or sightseeing. That way I could go straight to the airport rather than lug bags around all day or spend extra hours returning to my hotel to pick up bags. In the scheme of a full day’s schedule of meetings and a shortish business trip this is a small cost – likewise I’d imagine if shared between a couple or family on holiday – and if already included in the ticket price with the luxury of First class (I wish) then even better! This looks to me like genuine first class treatment from an airline that actually seems to care about service. And a pretty grumpy view from a journo with nothing better to do than whinge

  19. My dad used to be a senior government official. When I would travel internationally with him as kid, people would pick up our checked luggage and passports from home 3 hours before departure. We would arrive at the airport usually about 75 minutes before departure. Our bags were already checked, boarding passess issued (this is before the internet), and our passports stamped. We would proceed directly to the lounge and then board last (Usually F, but sometimes J). The benefit was we spent less time at the airport, except for lounge time.This EK service sounds somewhat similar, though not exactly.

  20. Chico Guerrera

    “Writer is clueless about the target market”

    The writer is clueless about non US cultures and countries.

  21. Americans with their SUVs and sense of entitlement will never understand how most of the world lives.

  22. Aside from customers who are actually native to the area, there are a ton of expats there for work and living in long term corporate housing, villas, etc. They probably can expense this, and if it saves them 15 minutes and some hassle, why wouldn’t they? Agree that this seems to be a rather silly article.

  23. Gary, I get that you think this is stupid and it obviously bothers you enough to write and edit an article about it. What I am wondering is why would you care what someone 8,000 miles away is doing, given that it doesn’t affect anyone? It’s a service the customer is paying for, it’s not mandatory and no one is harmed. Is it any more stupid than a warm bowl of nuts or a preflight glass of champagne?

  24. This is actually great for tourists whose flights are in the late evening/night, and hotel check out times are around 11am. It means you can spend the remaining hours sightseeing and go straight to the airport for your flight, without having to travel back to the hotel to pick up bags, or lug them around all day.

  25. Gary really puts his credibility in question with an article write-up like this which taking his word used in article just sounds “stupid”. I am from the US and travel around the world and think this service is gold. Having used this service myself when in Dubai and similar in London, it takes a lot of hassle and headache when traveling. Using the service for me allows me to maximise my time before departure not having to think about the bags. I personally like it as they can come check my bags and myself and I have in past done some last minute shopping and dining before heading to airport and did not have to worry about doubling back for bags from hotel or forgetting bags when leaving.

    As some have correctly stated, don’t knock down a service you personally never experienced and if carrying your bags and checking in at airport when flying with Emirates, BA or others works for you that’s great! By the way the other service which they also offer which is gold is the delivering of bags to your home or hotel. No waiting endlessly to collect bags and things.

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