Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why we fly Emirates

We were lucky to be on Emirates' DXB-FRA direct flight for our trip to Germany. We've now flown with Emirates a few times across the Atlantic (on their SFO, LAX, and SEA routes) in addition to that 7-hour flight (there and then back), and Jeremy has flown a few shorter flights with them for conference trips. Here are some reasons why I love Emirates and why I (gasp!) will spend more money or go out of my (schedule) way to fly with them whenever possible. This, coming from two people (Jeremy and I) who have been solid "cheapest possible fare" people - even for international travel - until this point.

The Emirates Terminal in Dubai. Emirates has their own dedicated terminal in Dubai. Not only is it a thing of spectacular beauty, it is also more efficient than the other terminals. When we arrived in Terminal 2 on our way back from Turkey, I thought we had accidentally landed in Karachi or Cairo. It was complete chaos in  a poorly designed, dusty building, with fantastically sluggish passport control as a bonus. Terminal 3 is a breeze in comparison (and on its own merits, too).

The fancy Emirates flight attendant outfits. Admit it. They are AWESOME and you secretly want to try on one of those hats, at least.



Attention and care for child passengers. Speaking of:
I have never seen an airline care so much about kids as Emirates. Before the plane even takes off, the flight attendants bring around a "child pack" for each kid. Inside there are snacks, a blanket, a stuffed animal, a coloring book/pencils, and kid-sized headphones (!!!! - how much do I NOT miss re-adjusting my kid's too-huge adult-size headphones on a 17-hour flight?). During the flight on the way home from Frankfurt, the flight attendants gave each kid a chance to try on the fancy stewardess hat and have their picture taken. So cool! Plus, if you choose a child meal for your kid when you make your booking, they bring it first (before the general meal service begins) so your kids don't sit there and starve while the food makes its slow way to you the natural row-by-row way. And I speak from experience when I say that the child meals are delicious. Better than the food I get, every time. But still:

The food is pretty good. As far as airplane food goes, Emirates does pretty well. It is heavily Indian-influenced, at least on the routes we travel, and I like Indian food so that works for me. If you don't like Indian food, you can select an alternate meal when you make your booking. However, I tried to book a child meal for myself recently and it wouldn't let me. :(

They are not skimpy with their meals, either. Sometimes it feels like they're stuffing you full of food the whole flight. And if you get thirsty in between meal service:

All the water you can drink. Is anyone else like me and since the ban on carrying liquids on flights you get horribly thirsty every time you're on an airplane? Ugh, it's awful. On Emirates, there are little water dispensers near each bathroom, with little cups provided, so you can fill up a water bottle or take a drink any time you want.

Movie screens for every seat. This is HUGE. Every seat has its own entertainment system with tons and tons of movies and TV shows to pass the time with. I know that more and more airlines are offering benefits like this, but not all of them, and certainly not all of them for free, on every flight, every seat, with literally dozens and dozens of movies available.

You still get to check two bags! This is another huge one, especially when you are prone to carrying back tons of favorite-food-based luggage to the UAE from the US every time you visit. Emirates lets you check two bags for free, and that is an increasingly rare thing for international travel.

The stars on the airplane cabin ceiling when it's simulated nighttime on board. OK, not that I would pay extra money for this at all, but Emirates airplanes have this fancy ceiling in the passenger cabin that simulates a night and then a dawn, brightening gradually to a "day." It's just a frill, but it's a very nice one. Much better than waking up from fitful airplane sleep to a bright light and a voice over the intercom announcing local time at destination. Plus, the kids love it and think it's so pretty.

All of these benefits of Emirates can be distilled into one sentiment, which Jeremy came up with after our most recent flight: Emirates is an airline that still treats you like a human being. They don't act like they want to charge you for everything, or that you're only so much cargo, or that you're bothering them when you're on their airplane. They don't make you fight with the other passengers over the five available pillows and blankets on a 15-hour overnight flight (every seat has a pillow and blanket already there when you board, which I didn't mention above). They are multilingual and multicultural and endlessly patient when dealing with a plane chock full of all kinds of people, including many who often seem to have never traveled on an airplane before and need lots of extra help. Nope, they seem genuinely happy to have you there and they seem to enjoy the time they spend serving you to make you as comfortable as possible in an inherently uncomfortable mode of travel.

So that's why we fly Emirates whenever we can, even if it costs a little more. It's worth it just to feel like a human while we're on an airplane.

6 comments:

Jen said...

Are you TRYING To lure people to come visit....because it's working...

Scotty P said...

Yes! My anticipation has only increased. Nice review.

Liz Johnson said...

Um, that's amazing. I agree that being treated like a human - ESPECIALLY on long flights - is so important. And I'm still irked by having to pay to check a bag - even one of them! BAH!

Susanne said...

Do the workers tend to be Emirates or are they foreigners? Glad you've had such good experiences with them.

Bridget said...

They are all foreigners, from all over the place. At the beginning of the flight, the person welcoming everyone over the intercom lists all the languages the flight attendants speak, and it's usually over a dozen languages long.

Lucia- insert creative nickname said...

Good to know!!

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