Emirates Airlines began life in 1985 with a single aircraft and has grown to become the world’s leading international carrier, reinforcing Dubai as one of the planets most important aviation hubs. The airline is the brainchild of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, who had a vision of transforming his oil dependent micro state into one of the world’s leading cities.Part of his farsighted plan incorporated the development of an important airport and an airline to match. Emirates began operating in the Middle East region and steadily expanded its network until its Sao Paulo service brought the airline to all continents in 2007. Emirates operate a giant fleet of both Airbus and Boeing aircraft and is the largest customer for A380’s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Together with its airline, the group operates hotels, resorts and runs major catering and engineering operations. Emirates are a major sponsor for prestigious sporting events ranging from the FIFA soccer world cup to horse racing’s Melbourne Cup. In 2012 Emirates teamed up with Australia's troubled flag carrier, Qantas to provide far reaching codeshare services between Australia and Europe.
Nothing about Emirates is ordinary, so the on board service that passengers receive in every class of travel is outstanding. Emirates deliberately recruit their flight staff from the widest variety of nations and only pick outstanding under 30 year olds for the job. An Emirates flight crew resembles the United Nations with 10 or more nationalities and 20+ languages spoken being typical. Flight attendants are warm, friendly, attractive, thin and ultra professional! Background music is soothing, seats are spacious, comfortable and interior designs are simultaneously exotically Arabian and luxurious. Service is faultless.
From Dubai’s magnificent and efficient hub, Emirates spans the entire globe, bringing their industry leading service to practically every corner of the planet. The United Arab Emirates is strategically situated in a location where it conveniently connects Europe, Asia and Africa. Flights to North and South America are naturally longer and the airline’s presence there is not so pronounced. Emirates specialise in providing frequent and direct flights to locations that other airlines overlook. For example Emirates provide direct flights to places like Durban, South Africa, Newcastle in the UK and Christchurch, New Zealand. The airline heavily promotes Dubai as an ideal stopover location and surely it is one of the worlds most memorable. Emirates who adventurously launched services to Zimbabwe in 2012, via Zambia when it wasn't fashionable, now dominate those routes. Travellers going to Abu Dhabi are provided with a free coach service connection taking 90 minutes.
Emirates do not often try to attract passengers purely on price; however, it does pay to regularly check their amazingly comprehensive website for special fares which do occur. When comparing Emirates fares to others it needs to be remembered a flight on this airlines is guaranteed to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience and perhaps one of the greatest highlights of your trip. Without doubt Emirates are worth paying extra for. If you have the chance to include a stopover in Dubai ensure you allow room in your bags as the city is famed for its prestigious shopping as well as its abundant tourist attractions.
There is absolutely no sign of penny pinching in Emirates’ meal service. While other airlines either axe on-board catering or cut meal size, Emirates has gone in the other direction and simply provide the most lavish airline food in the sky today. In all classes Emirates provide the finest catering with First and Business Class meals rivalling chic European restaurants matched by wine lists that astound. Even Economy passengers get three course meals. Once travellers enjoy Emirates catering it becomes the benchmark to judge others by and is hard to go back. Emirates serve Arab coffee in traditional pots for premium passengers.
Emirates’ ICE entertainment system is OTT (over the top!) The airline provides hundreds of movie choices in dozens of languages and there are perhaps thousands of audio choices ranging from the 1960’s UK Top 10 to the latest Bollywood soundtracks. No matter what your tastes there is something there and long flights are transformed in a Film Festival! The ICE system also has games, the in-flight magazine and even language learning lessons. Screen sizes range from generous in Economy to Huge in First Class. Emirates offer a true entertainment smorgasbord that rival airlines cannot match.
Emirates’ ground services and check in facilities, which are usually outsourced, are run with efficiency by pleasantly attired staff. Seldom are there long queues and Emirates were early proponents of internet check-in. Baggage allowances are generous and in some airports extra luggage is waivered by understanding staff; however policies are applied different at each location. Baggage transfers at Dubai airport operate seamlessly which is miraculous given the size of the airport. If something does go wrong the airline will resolve the situation speedily, without a lecture. Travel Insurance is an option rather than a necessity for an Emirates flight.
Emirates have gone for a look that exudes luxury with beautiful interiors, warm colours, rich fabrics and classy designs throughout. Emirates’ A380’s even incorporate Shower Spa’s in First Class and a private Suite. Flying in Business or First Class is a thoroughly enjoyable experience and perhaps one of life’s great treats. Premium fares include chauffeur limousines to and from the airport, with the indulgence beginning in their sumptuous Lounges before priority boarding through a different aerobridge.
Emirates provide the best Economy Class in the sky. As a package; the meals, amazing entertainment system, extra baggage allowance, seamlessness of any flight transfers and spaciousness and comfort of on board seating make an Emirates Economy booking a great deal. Without doubt, Emirates’ Economy is even better than many airlines’ Business or Premium Economy product. For example, an Emirates Economy flight would be superior to British Airways World Traveller Plus class or Hawaiian Airlines Business Class.
Emirates have its own frequent flyer programme called Skywards. The airline has shunned joining any of the major airline groupings and stands very much on its own, however Skywards members also earn points on an ever increasing range of allied airlines, travel partners and service providers. Like other programmes Skywards points are relatively worthless and will essentially only be of value to very frequent travellers. Points can be redeemed for products other than flights at The Emirates High Street, a veritable on-line department store.
Emirates Airlines is a successful example of Dubai’s growth philosophy: centrally planned capitalism. The emirates visionary ruler Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum believed his country should become an international travel hub so needed an airline – so he created one – Emirates. The airline sources the best talent for all areas of management and maintains the highest of professional standards. Emirates’ corporate image remains spotless, its professionalism high and staff generally feel privileged to work for the company. Unionism is however banned and practices which are illegal in the West are permissible under UAE law – such as age discrimination.
Emirates operate perhaps the most modern fleet in aviation today, maintained to the highest standards at their own world class engineering facilities in Dubai. In 2010 a Qantas Airways A380 powered by a Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine experienced an explosion which resulted in the grounding of their A380 fleet and checks on all A380’s powered by Rolls Royce. Emirates were the only unaffected operator of this Airbus, thanks to their fortuitous decision to buy the superior US-built Engine Alliance GP7000 power plant.
It is no exaggeration to describe Emirates as the world’s best airline, ever.
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