Emirates we first tested as soon as they were born in 1985 on a flight from Dubai to Dhaka. In those early years we knew most of the cabin crew and with just two aircraft leased from Pakistan International Airlines that was not surprising and now with 55,000 staff makes it hard!
A great airline had emerged and word of mouth propelled it forward. The first award given by the Travel Trade Gazette in 1990 for the best carrier to the Middle East was treated with much excitement and started a tradition of each new award being shown on the inflight entertainment system. Emirates now have well over 400 awards.
Traffic grew very fast and the stop at Dubai was even worth it to avoid airlines such as British Airways which lost huge numbers of travellers to Emirates. In those early days Dubai airport was not good being small, crowded and hot.
Hard to imagine these days that on early flights the crew would take Polaroid images of all passengers as a souvenir. One better is one taken of my sons in the cockpit that still sits on my bedroom table.
Emirates are one of the few airlines to have a fleet of only wide body jets. They are the largest international airline in the world measured by kilometres flown. New aircraft are always arriving and currently Emirates has the largest fleet of A380s. With this huge capacity Emirates is here to stay and likely that most will travel on an Emirates plane at some point.
A factor for choosing Emirates is the network and that works well with the Dubai hub which means it is easy to connect to almost anywhere. Flights are well timed to allow an interchange but means that at certain times of the day Dubai airport is very busy. Most passengers are not flying to Dubai and the traffic is mostly connecting East, West, North and South.
The downside of this very fast expansion has meant the “magic” of Emirates has been lost. All the recent flights we have tested are OK but not fun as they once were. Instances of rude crew, badly handled late departures, lost luggage and the chaos of missed connections in Dubai have meant that Emirates is no longer an airline of choice. We now see lots of negative comments on the blogs we monitor, Skytrax have Emirates as a 4 star airline.
Seating in economy is tight and flights are often full so there can be a very cramped feeling, not something you want on a 12 hour flight. In Business Class and First Class seats are fine and if you can afford it the First Class suites look good but we have not tested. Our First Class test flight was from Brisbane to Auckland and that was a flight we wished would go on much longer. The champagne was excellent and something Emirates does very well.
One stand out area is the excellent in flight entertainment system that offers extensive viewing and probably the best in the world.
From day one Emirates has used mixed nationalities for its cabin crew and does mean that many languages are spoken on each flight. This diversity works well and gives the feel that you are on an international airline not a Middle Eastern one.
Lounges are excellent and Emirates manages most of their own lounges and invested heavily in the lounge system. Emirates pioneered the limousine transfers and these are excellent and take a lot of stress out of the process reaching airports like Heathrow along the M25. If the limousine is late then Emirates will sort out your onward connections. The only flight this writer nearly missed has been due to being stationary on the M25 just a few miles from Heathrow.
Overall we rate Emirates as a sensible choice when the price is correct and the connections work. We would not choose Emirates if we wanted a bit of “magic” in the air, there are others that offer that.
Photo by Emirates
Photo by Emirates
Emirates Economy Class (Image by jayneandd on Flickr)
Emirates First Class
Write a Review
Emirates First Class (Images by BillHoller on Flickr)