I had a chance to try FlyDubai on a recent trip to Yerevan, Armenia. Here was my experience in economy class.
I was looking forward to trying FlyDubai because I find it woefully underreported and they have a unique upgrade policy. Before I dive into the policy, I will note that FlyDubai operates an updated Boeing 737-800 fleet to many destinations with lie-flat beds and an impressive product for a narrowbody. I flew both the outbound (FZ717) to Yerevan (EVN) and the matching return (FZ718) but neither had the updated product and in the end, I was glad I wasn’t able to bid.
I booked using my Ultimate Rewards points earned through a Chase Sapphire product (you can find a great bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred right now through this link) as the airfare was nearly $400 for the short three-hour flight. However, in so doing, it made me ineligible for upgrades. The airfare is sold through the OTA Chase uses and had I booked direct, I would have been able to bid.
FlyDubai’s website is not terribly clear. There’s not an obvious differentiation between booking direct and booking through a third party. As I mentioned before, I was grateful that I was ineligible to bid as the product would not have been worth it and I had an entire row to myself on both flights. However, a friend snagged a $100 upgrade to the lie-flat seat and had I known, I probably would have booked direct.
My ticket was refundable, but booking so close in pushed the return flight alone to $1,200 in business class and that was definitely not worth it.
FlyDubai operates from Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport (DXB) for departures to all FlyDubai destinations. The check-in area is in a large steel building with open rafters with check-in desks and flight status displayed above.
There was no wait at 6:30 AM and I dropped off my checked luggage included in my fare. They added my Emirates Skywards number though I didn’t get my points.
Note: The ticket requested my first, middle, and last name as shown on my ID. The ticket then grouped my first and middle name together and this no longer matched my Skywards account details. While FlyDubai uses Emirates Skywards, I would recommend not including your middle name on your ticket as FlyDubai had no ability to change or adjust this or award the points.
Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport is not the world-class airport that one might find on the other side of the runway (though I’d argue that my experience at Terminal 1 was not on par with other major gateways like Bangkok, Doha, or even the remodeled sections of Paris Charles DeGaulle.)
All flights are walk-out gates and typically involve a bus ride to the waiting aircraft. I am sure this is more efficient for the airline and keeps costs lower, but no one likes a bus gate and these are all bus gates.
It does make for some nice airport and aircraft views.
Boarding the flight was efficient, and easy. The seat pitch was less than ideal and, frankly, it was difficult to work on a laptop with the foldout tray table. The windows were dirty and didn’t allow for very good views outside the aircraft (including the mountains over Iran.)
Flight attendants were from all over the world and provided excellent care onboard. There was a full breakfast service for our morning flight and two meal options were offered. As I traveled during Ramadan, extra meals were available as many were fasting during the daylight hours. The flight attendant offered me an extra meal so I tried it.
Neither were inspiring nor terrible. They were just ok for airplane food.
I thought the flight was pretty expensive (just shy of $400) for the duration of the flight, ground experience, and spacing around the seat. That said, it wasn’t exactly a discounter experience, the airline faces no competition on the route and I would have had to connect to save money if I wanted. When booking FlyDubai in the future, I would book directly to bid for an upgrade though I’d want to see if there was a way to know that I was getting the lie-flat seating configuration.
What do you think? Have you flown FlyDubai? How was your experience?