Fly Emirates, or the Rich and the Rest of Us

(Revised Post adds detail.)

If you read the Economist as I do you will be struck by those full page ads extolling the virtues of first class and business travel on Emirates airlines. A lounge on board. For those in first, a private suite with full fold out bed to sleep on. Even hot showers. Limo pick up and delivery to the airport. Kind of like a 1920s Orient Express of the air.

Nice or what! I’d go for it.

But, the cost? Check it out, From Toronto  on flights to Dubai (leaving mid March returning mid April) you are looking at about $7500 for business class and a cool $16,000 for a return first class flight.

I’d say that’s just a tad pricey.

But, they do have a market.

One could venture to suggest that this new and apparently succesful niche of ultra high end relaxed travel reflects the growing income level and share of Canada’s elites.

But maybe I am just envious.


  • My wife compels me to disclose that I am indeed envious. But, I would add, outraged.

  • Wyclef Jean calls it funny money. Several steps above real money. I assure you it is meritoriously merited. Now stop engaging in class envy and get back to the class war because @ 16,000$ a seat they are clearly winning.

  • The real scandal is that Ottawa’s airline protectionism deprives Canadians of this luxury on domestic flights!

    Seriously, though, I am not sure it matters how many people actually buy those seats. This advertising helps brand Emirates as the luxury airline, which may attract customers to its many regular-price seats.

    Similarly, car companies often design super-fancy vehicles to get attention and draw people into showrooms, where most will end up buying cheaper models.

  • Hey Erin

    So do you think if I buy the “cheap” business class fare I might get a free upgrade to the empty even more pricey first class suites with showers? Or do they remain empty to keep the elite incentive structure intact?

  • I don’t know, but the fact that we are wondering validates Emirates’ advertising strategy.

  • “So do you think if I buy the “cheap” business class fare I might get a free upgrade to the empty even more pricey first class suites with showers?”

    All depends how you carry yourself.

  • How about if we went back to 10 personal income tax brackets? The ROB magazine suggested Friday we could introduce a new one of 35 % at $750,000. Why stop there?

  • It’s like the five different models of TV: nobody buys the cheapest or the most expensive, but the price of the most expensive sets up consumer expectations for the rest of the product line.

    Awfully expensive to do that for an airline, though, unless you are subsidized. Oh, wait…

    The cattle class in Emirates blows, in comparison. Narrow seats, narrow pitch, perfect for the East Asian diaspora but god help you if you are Dutch.

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