By Cailey Rizzo
June 19, 2019

Emirates has announced an industry-first “basic business class.”

As many airlines are “unbundling” their economy class products, Emirates is doing the same with its business class offerings, according to One Mile at a Time. Customers who book the “Special” business class fare will have the Emirates upper-class experience in the sky, but will forgo the perks that come with business class on the ground. This option could make the airline's business class flights more affordable than ever before.

Emirates business class lounge
Credit: Courtesy of Emirates

Basically, passengers who book the "Special" fare will only have access to the business class services in the cabin. Most Emirates business class passengers are able to take advantage of the airline’s chauffeur service and lounge access. These features are not available in the new lowest tier of business class. With this ticket, passengers are not eligible to upgrade to first class. They cannot select their seat (they are randomly allocated), and they are not allowed to go through expedited security. Passengers also have reduced ability to earn reward miles.

Emirates business class
Credit: Courtesy of Emirates

“I won’t give you the incentives,” Emirates CEO Tim Clark told Skift in 2017 when discussing the possibility of basic business. “You’ll get the business product in the air only, and that’s it. No chauffeur drive, no business-class lounge, no expedited [security] search. No uplifting your baggage allowance, et cetera. You just pay for the bed. I’ll give you a price for that.”

According to a recent search, the “Special” business class fare is about $100 cheaper than the current “Saver” business class fare, which includes chauffeur and lounge access, but restricts any refund fees on tickets.

The airline has begun testing the new airfare on select routes and will reportedly roll it out slowly over time.