Airline losses and woeful predictions fall on deaf ears at Emirates


June figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicate that demand is continuing to slow for air travel. Don’t bother sharing that news with Emirates Airlines. If you do, they will confidently stand by their decision to have ordered fifty-seven (57) Airbus A380s – the widest, tallest (80 feet high) and longest (240 feet long) commercial aircraft on earth. According to the executives at Emirates, “the planes will be filled.”

And with a statement like that, some very expensive marketing campaigns are already in the works!

Sure enough, pulling out all the stops, Emirates has single-handedly given the press the best view ever of the A380. Since the very first delivery of this revolutionary airliner, Emirates has generated a media fest with bicoastal US touchdowns of this gorgeous behemoth and hosted FAM trips to woo reporters and travel agents into the arms of the grandest travel experience in the world.

On Tuesday, I found myself caught up in one of these media spectaculars at Los Angeles International Airport. In a sea of journalists, travel agents and Emirates executives, I boarded the giant airplane for a two-hour flight.
My first impression of this mother of all aircraft was its grandeur and elegance. Making my way to my seat in business class, I took the stairs to the second floor to find at the top, a marble altar of waterfalls, rose petals and mood lighting.

My senses were already starting to overload, but as I made my way through the individual cabins in first class to my own “luxury compartment,” I couldn’t help feel like I was in an ultra-modern life pod with some truly unique and extraordinary amenities. The attention to detail included two – yes, TWO – full showers and spa areas available for first-class guests complete with attendants. There were both wall-mounted and handheld flat-screen entertainment centers for each upper deck passenger (first class and business class) and even a USB port allowing photo viewing of personal photos. The hors d’ouvres and libations (Dom Perignon, of course) were simply delightful and these are just a few examples of this over-the-top experience!

Our ride was as smooth as glass, eerily quiet, and the service was impeccable. To be honest, they had me at “Can I get you something before we take off?”
So, enough about my experience. Since I couldn’t find one disturbing factor (except for being forced off after two short, glorious hours), I looked to some of my colleagues who accompanied us on the flight for their comments. Perhaps they could add some mud and blood to this report. Here is what they had to say:

“The highly-innovative design of the Emirates A380 Airbus is the ultimate in flight comfort and luxury. The spa showers in first class, the generous seat pitches in both business and economy class, the entertainment systems and the generous proportion of lavatories all make long flights a much easier and enjoyable task. My only regret is Emirates’ inability to commit to a Los Angeles schedule for the super jumbo at this time.” – Kathy Strong, travel writer

“The coach seats were wonderfully spacious and comfortable. The crew polite, knowledgeable and very sophisticated in their high level of service presentation. The entertainment system has to be the best in the sky – so many choices you won’t want to sleep… They did a great job, especially considering they had to work around all the security issues that exist at airports today, including the American Airlines emergency landing that occurring just as we were originally scheduled to start boarding.” – Travcoa, vice president, Louise Shumbris

“One observation which stuck out in my head is that I couldn’t believe how quiet the engines were. Mopeds make more noise then the A380 which can hold at least 15,000 of them? Also, how does Emirates have the best-looking flight attendants and uniforms in the industry?” – Johnny Jet, publisher of Johnny Jet travel news.

OK! Thank you colleagues and special thanks to Johnny for noticing the great-looking attendants. They truly were gracious and yes, they were darling… both the men and women. By the way, with over 140 nationalities working for Emirates Airlines, you will have the opportunity to celebrate diversity and experience Emirates’ uniformed ambassadors and hospitality experts.

Even collectively, my colleagues and I are having trouble slinging any mud on this modern day marvel. The price tags for first class and business class are hefty, to say the least. But I can’t help but think how excellent would it be to fly from the US to Dubai, arrive freshly showered and rested and ready to hit the street running to close a million dollar deal! All for just a $20,000 first-class ride. I’d call that positively thrilling.