Early in the year, I bought couple of Emirates first class tickets during their very good sale, and I am very glad that I did. Two weeks ago, I wrote about schedule changes that the airline had not informed me about and just downgrading the segments to business class, although I was ticketed in first.
I wasn’t sure what was the procedure that the Emirates was supposed to follow on a case like mine. At the minimum, they should have contacted the passenger (me) in advance and let him (me) know that there had been an equipment downgrade, and to offer to change dates and possibly even a routing. Emirates didn’t do anything, although they had all the information on file.
When I requested a downgrade compensation for my downgraded KUL-DXB segment, the ground personnel were aware what they were going to do. Apparently in a situation like this, Emirates issues an Options Voucher. If my flight had originated from Europe, Emirates would have required by the law to pay a significant compensation for the downgrade. Elsewhere it is basically up to your negotiation skills what you will get.
(Please note that I have removed all the personal information from this picture)
The normal compensation for downgrade & involuntarily denied boarding on Emirates is an options voucher. It allows the passenger to a round trip on the same ticketed cabin as the original ticket and on the same route. If the passenger is downgraded only on one of the legs, it doesn’t matter. The free trip is valid from the ticket’s origin to the destination and back.
In my case this is actually a good deal as I was ticketed in first class. I went to the city ticket office here in Melbourne to inquire about the fare class that the first class Options Voucher books into, and to my surprise it was P & F. This basically means last seat availability in first class. I am not sure what the booking classes would be for business and economy. The only drawback is that you need to go to Emirates ticket office to have the new trip ticketed. You can do the actual booking over the phone, but they need the voucher before issuing the ticket. Luckily, Emirates has quite good network of city ticket offices.
So far, so good. I will post update sometime in April how was the actual ticketing experience with these vouchers.