UK business class passengers departing with Emirates from Gatwick, Heathrow or Manchester could soon find themselves paying £45 for an airport chauffeur transfer which used to be free.
Right now, business class passengers departing from Heathrow or Gatwick are entitled to 65 free chauffeur-driven miles from their home or office. From July 1 that limit is cut to 50 miles.
While the move will have no effect on passengers living within the Greater London area it will impact on those based outside the capital. In particular travellers in northern home counties like Bedfordshire or Cambridgeshire who currently just scrape into the current limits might have to pay.
Those passengers taking transfers for flights departing Manchester may also have to pay. The current limit of 80 miles is cut to 70 miles from September 1.
It means passengers from certain areas of Yorkshire may not qualify for a free ride. On the other hand, Emirates would probably argue that these passengers will instead opt instead for its Newcastle service launching on the same day. (Emirates has yet to publish Newcastle mileage limits, but they may be generous in the early days in order to stimulate premium traffic).
Emirates is also raising the cost of extra miles. Passengers heading for Heathrow are currently billed £1.89 a mile for excess miles over 65. Gatwick passengers pay £1.95.From July 1, Heathrow excess fees for trips of over 50 miles will be billed at a flat £22.33 for every 10 miles. Gatwick passengers will pay £23.50 respectively.Passengers using Manchester are already charged for every 10 mile band at the rate of £22.33.
The move does not affect Emirates' first class passengers who will continue to qualify for a 'no mileage' limit anywhere in the UK. Neither does it affect the situation at Dubai where all premium passengers are entitled to free chauffeur-drive transfers to anywhere in the UAE.
For more information go to emirates.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter