Emirates to Charge for On-Board Showers?

As competition in the international aviation market intensifies, cash-strapped airlines are eagerly searching for new ways to make money. With international airfares at record lows, even full-service airlines are beginning to look towards ancillary revenue.

Ancillary revenue refers to the income received by airlines for additional products and services which are not included in the cost of the airfare. Traditionally, low-cost airlines have relied heavily on ancillary revenue. Their strategy is to draw in customers with low base fares, then charge extra for additional services such as checked baggage, meals, entertainment and seat selection. In 2014, for example, Jetstar extracted more than $31 on average in ancillary revenue from every passenger. These kinds of “additional services” are standard inclusions on most full-service airlines. But even legacy and full-service carriers are beginning to recognise the importance of additional revenue streams as they fight lower yields and falling profits.

Emirates has traditionally marketed itself as a full-service airline. But even Emirates has begun exploring new sources of extra revenue. For example, last year it started charging Economy passengers to pre-select their seats.

The UAE-based airline is unlikely to start charging passengers for things like meals and checked luggage. Instead, it’s looking at more innovative ways to extract additional money from its customers.

Last month, Emirates began selling access to its Dubai lounges to passengers that would not otherwise be eligible. Economy passengers without status can now purchase access to the Emirates Business lounge in Dubai for USD100 (~$130), or the First class lounge for USD200 (~$260). Business class passengers, and anyone else that would normally enjoy Business lounge access (e.g. Gold Qantas Frequent Flyer and Emirates Skywards members) can also opt to “upgrade” to the First class lounge for USD100 (~$130).

Emirates is now selling F lounge access. It all seems very strange for an airline that considers itself ultra premium.

It’s been suggested that Emirates’ next move may be to offer Business class passengers access to on-board showers… for a fee. All Emirates A380s have two on-board showers at the front of the First class cabin. These showers are currently for the exclusive use of First class passengers.

On the whole, our members believe this would be a bad idea. They believe that it would detract from the privacy and exclusivity of First class.

I’d be really disappointed if I was in the F cabin and they allowed other pax come through and use the shower. Part of paying (or using more points, etc.) for F is the privacy. Anyone believe they’d really stoop that low?

One member believes such a move would backfire for Emirates. While the airline may extract some additional revenue from Business passengers, they may also sell fewer First class seats.

They’d be mad to offer one of the clear F benefits to J customers for a fraction of the cost of F>J. Why purchase F?

Do you think this is a step too far? And would you pay extra to use Emirates’ on-board shower? Share your opinion HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]