Social distancing on flights will hike prices, warns Dubai's Emirates airline

Published: 23 July 2020 - 7:30 a.m.
By: Josh Corder
Emirates Airline has warned that it is unrealistic to enforce social distancing on flights by leaving seats empty.

Speaking at a conference in Dubai, Emirates’ home, head of communications Boutros Boutros warned the practice is unrealistic and will only result in higher prices for travellers.

“All this talk about social distancing inside the aircraft is nice, but we would like to go back to normal,” he said. "The economy of the aircraft is built on filling it, filling the seats. Having the space [empty] I don't think is going to be an option unless the passenger is willing to pay. What we wish for is one thing, but the reality is another."

This is the second time this year Emirates has spoken out against leaving the seats empty on flights. The airline’s president, Sir Tim Clark said in June that social distancing on flights makes zero economic or environmental sense.

Speaking at a webinar, Clark said: “If we start leaving seats in the economy inventory open or unsold because of social distancing, one has to accept that you have to be consistent about this.

"There’s no point in leaving the seat next to you empty because the seat behind you, if somebody sneezes of coughs, irrespective of the seat back, meant to be deflecting it, this will not happen. These will travel 20 feet down the cabin and into the air.”

“What it basically means is that you will have to take 50 percent of your inventory out.”

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