Sad news, fellow travellers on a budget – flying economy with Emirates is soon going to become pricier.

The Dubai-based airline has announced it will be charging a fee for advanced seat selection as of October 3.

The move will only affect passengers with Economy Class Special and Saver fares, and the fee will vary depending on the distance of your flight.

So if you want to ensure you’re sitting with your friends or family, you’re looking at an extra levy of Dhs50 to Dhs150 per person to guarantee your seat.

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Mother and Baby on airplane looking out of window

However it’s not all bad news – you won’t be forced to pay the new charge as travellers can still select their seats within Emirates’ standard online check-in window, which is 48 hours before your flight takes off.

It’s just riskier as you won’t know until then if you’ll be able to secure seats together. Or, for solo travellers keen to nab an aisle or window, you may discover the flight is full and, yes, you’re stuck in the dreaded middle seat.

“Emirates can confirm the introduction of a minimal charge for those looking to select their Economy Class seat in advance, for tickets issued on or after October 3, 2016,” the airline said in a statement.

“The charge is only applicable on Special and Saver fares in Economy Class and will vary depending on the duration of the flight. Children below the age of 2 and accompanying passengers on the same booking will be exempted from the fee. This charge is also not applicable once online check-in opens, which is 48 hours before flight departure. At this stage, seat selection is free.”

So from next month, you’re looking at an extra Dhs50 to secure your seats on a short-haul flight (like the GCC), Dhs100 for medium-haul (say, the UAE to Europe and Africa), and Dhs150 for longer flights, like to Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Business and first class is sounding better by the minute… until you remember that costs a lot more than an extra Dhs50.

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Image: Getty