Aircraft swap nightmare: FlyDubai in economy and business class


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FlyDubai is a low-cost carrier owned by the government of the UAE and provides competition to the UAE’s other major airlines, Emirates and Etihad. The airline operates from Dubai to 102 destinations across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

In 2017 Emirates signed a codeshare agreement with FlyDubai, allowing passengers of both airlines to book seamless travel on the two carriers, giving them dozens more convenient travel options. WIth Emirates an incredibly popular airline among our readers, we wanted to see how FlyDubai would compare to its bigger aviation brothers.

We planned to fly on the newer Boeing 737-MAX sporting modern lie-flat seats in business class and comfortable seats in economy.

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It was not to be. On this particular flight, Liam was assigned business class and Nicky flew in economy. Although we booked on the 737-MAX, a last-minute aircraft swap meant the 5hr48m flight was actually operated by an 8-year-old Boeing 737-800 from Dubai (DXB) to Warsaw (WAW). As the video highlights, an aircraft swap can lead to a significantly worse cabin configuration with outdated seating, particularly in business class.

Watch the full video below:

Need more? Read on for a breakdown of our individual experiences aboard FlyDubai’s Boeing 737-800.

Economy — Nicky Kelvin

Seat: 6F
We paid: £700

It was a great experience flying out of Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3 on what is a low-cost-leaning airline. Not all FlyDubai flights depart this terminal so I was lucky to have more of a full “Emirates-style” experience on the ground. The service on board was friendly and the food and beverage offering was sufficient and complementary options were offered.

It wasn’t all great though. There were long queues to check in and a remote gate was used. That’s before the long and hot coach journey to the aircraft, with a prolonged wait at the bottom of the stairs before we were allowed to board. The aircraft swap meant I was left with a hard, uncomfortable, older seat lacking in modern inflight entertainment and charging.

Business class — Liam Spencer

Seat: 1C
We paid: £1353

My FlyDubai business ticket came with access to the Emirates Business lounge at Dubai International Airport. The space was enormous and had multiple dining options along with a champagne bar. The food served on board was extremely tasty. I opted for the grilled fish steak with potatoes and spinach, followed by an apple crumble with honey-infused cream. But this was the only part of the onboard experience that felt premium.

The aircraft swap meant I was given a dated and less comfortable seat. I had no privacy whatsoever and the seat itself felt far more like a premium economy product. I was expecting a throne seat with a lie-flat bed and this couldn’t have been further from what I received. In addition, the IFE screen was fairly small and slow. There was no amenity kit to speak of. I was only given a bottle of water, a pillow, and an economy-level blanket. This was disappointing for a six-hour flight costing more than a thousand pounds.

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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