Emirates is opening up its lounges at its Dubai hub to lower-tier frequent flyer members.
Emirates had previously restricted access to these lounges to higher-tier frequent flier members and business or first class travelers.
In an email sent out to Skywards frequent flier members, passengers with Blue-tier status, the lowest of Skywards membership categories, can pay $100 (Dh367) to access 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 January 13.
Will Horton, senior analyst at CAPA — Centre for Aviation, said there could be higher profit on lounge entrance fees than tickets given that it is rare for guests to consume food and beverages worth more than the fee.
“With a proliferation in the number and quality of pay-as-you-go lounges, it makes sense for Emirates to make a play in this space,” he told Reuters by email.
Emirates, trying to counter the impact of overcapacity in the market and tighter corporate travel budgets, is looking at other additional revenue sources, including fees on bags.
The airline introduced fees for advanced seat selection for economy passengers in October.
Emirates has said it planned to introduce premium economy, a class between economy and business, by 2018.