Emirates Airline has granted economy passengers access to its special lounges for the first time, in a move to boost additional revenues.
The long-haul airline reported a 75 percent drop in half-year profit in November due to the strong U.S. dollar and challenging operating environment for the airline and travel business, it had previously restricted access to these lounges to higher-tier frequent flier members and business or first class travelers.
The carrier is now giving passengers the option to pay extra fee in order to access its premium facilities that used to be exclusive to high-end travelers.
Following a slump in profits, Emirates had earlier introduced new fees to passengers opting to book seats in advance.
In October 2016, Emirates started gathering an extra Dh50 to Dh150 from passengers who want to choose their seats in advance or ahead of the standard two-day check-in windows. The new fees are applied to Economy Class Special and Saver fares and can vary depending on the duration of the flight.
“For the first time, you no longer have to fly First Class or Business Class to enjoy our exclusive lounges. You can now pay to access Emirates lounges at Dubai International Airport, and bring guests who are also traveling on the same flight, for an additional charge,” the airline said in an email sent to low tier members of its Skywards loyalty programme.
For an economy passenger, an extra $100 will give access to the airline’s Dubai business lounge and $200 for the first class lounge.
Other changes to the lounge access policy include Skywards members being allowed to pay for access for non-member travel companions and upgrading from business to first class lounges, according to the email dated Jan. 13.
Emirates has announced its plans for premium economy, a class between economy and business, by 2018.