Emirates Is Reducing Baggage Allowances On Select Fares


Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission which helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published. For more details please see the advertising disclosure found at the bottom of every page.


Out of the three big Middle Eastern airlines it’s usually Etihad that we see scrambling around looking for ways to cut costs or to make a little more money but yesterday saw Emirates announce a change that’s very Etihad-like.

From 4 February 2019 Emirates is lowering the baggage allowances on select Economy Class fares across its entire network. The changes only kick in for bookings made from 4 February onwards so existing reservations remain unaffected…but this is still a pretty negative move by Emirates.

So what’s changing?

Emirates publishes its checked baggage allowances in two different ways depending on what route is being flown and where the flight originates so this is a little more complicated that it really should be.

The Piece Concept

For flights to/from the Americas and for flights originating in Africa Emirates uses the “piece concept” when it comes to letting passengers know what their checked baggage allowance is.

Right now all Economy Class fares to/from the Americas and Economy Class fares that originate in Africa allow passengers to check 2 pieces of baggage into the aircraft hold.

From 4 February this will change:

What should be pretty simple is actually unreasonably complicated but, essentially, this is what it comes down to:

  • All Economy Class fares for journeys originating in Africa will continue to offer a 2 bag allowance.
  • “Special” Economy Class fares to/from the Americas (but not within the Americas or for journeys between the US and Europe) will only offer a 1 bag allowance from 4 February.
  • “Special” and “Saver” Economy Class fares for flights entirely within the Americas or for flights between the US and Europe will only offer a 1 bag allowance from 4 February.

Business and First Class baggage allowances remain unchanged.

Hopefully that’s clear but, if it’s not, just post a comment and I’ll try to help out if I can.

The Weight Concept

For flights on all Emirates routes other than those to/from the Americas or for flights originating in Africa Emirates uses the “weight concept” when it comes to determining what checked baggage allowance passengers get.

Under the weight concept passengers can check in as many bags as they want to but the total weight of all the bags must not exceed the allowance determined by the passenger’s fare.

Right now all Economy Class passengers get 20kg/30kg/30kg/35Kg allowances when they book Special/Saver/Flex/Flex Plus fares but from 4 February this will change:

Fortunately this is a lot more straightforward than the changes being made to the “weight concept” baggage and, in a nutshell, “Special” and “Saver” Economy Class awards governed by the weight concept will see their allowances drop by 5Kg.

Business and First Class baggage allowances remain unchanged.

Bottom Line

Presumably Emirates is doing this as a cost saving exercise (less weight onboard means that less fuel is required) and a money generating exercise (fees from excess baggage) and it brings the airline a lot closer in line with what most other airlines offer.

Up until now Emirates has boasted that it “has one of the most generous baggage policies in the world” but, going forward, that’s not going to be the case for most of the Economy Class fares it sells.

  • The 1 bag of 23kg allowance offered under the piece concept is essentially what’s offered by most other legacy carriers (with the exception of hand baggage only fares).
  • The 25Kg allowance offered to select passengers covered by the weight concept is marginally more generous than what most other full-service the airlines offer.
  • The 15Kg allowance offered to select passengers covered by the weight concept is noticeably less than what most other full-service the airlines offer.

The bottom line is this: If you already have a reservation your trip isn’t affected by this.

If you’re considering booking an Economy Class fare with Emirates and you’ll be checking bags you should strongly consider booking before 4 February if you think you’ll be close to the new bag limits.

1 COMMENT

  1. The current allowances, in my opinion, are over-generous and certainly due for revision. I suspect this is not going to affect the average passenger. No word on changes to cabin baggage allowances though. This is one area where some airlines get super-mean, if not a little petty sometimes.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here