01 of 06
Emirates Airline: Why It's a Luxury Travel Legend
What Makes Passengers Passionate About an Airline?
Luxury travelers love airlines that deliver a true luxury experience, and make flying on them a party in the air.
The airlines that manage to do this are few and far between, and they become legends.
One of these fabled carriers is Emirates Airline.
What Is Emirates Airline?
Emirates is the national airline of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates city-state that has become the Middle East's luxury playground.
• Dubai is a spectacular modern city, with a fantasy skyline of impossible-seeming skyscrapers
• Dubai is a favorite upscale destination for sun and shopping
Why Take Emirates Instead of a Private Jet?
A simple answer: unless your private jet is along the lines of the President's Air Force One, it will not be long-range enough to get you halfway around the world.
• Find out more about the ways that shorter flights on private jets can beat even first-class on commercial airlinesContinue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
What Kinds of Jets You'll Fly on Emirates Airline
Emirates Airline's Fabulous Fleet
Emirates has one of the youngest jet fleets in the industry. The airline is a history-maker.
• Its November 2013 order of Boeing 777s was the largest-ever purchase of American-built jets; they will be ready for flight in 2020
Emirates Flies the Deluxe Airbus A380
Currently, Emirates is the biggest user of Airbus A380 jets, with over 200 jets in service and scores more on order. The numbers alone are impressive:
• This jet is big, with a passenger capacity of 489 or 491
• Over 900 crew members are dedicated to Emirates A380 flights
• The A380's longest Emirates fight: Dubai to LA, 8,335 miles and 16 hours, 20 minutes
• Shortest: Dubai to Kuwait; our Miles and Points Expert describes this under-two-hour flight's party atmosphere
• The A380 jet is constructed in France, with US-made engines
• Among the A380's innovations: it's an environmentally responsible way to fly, with a low CO2 output
Emirates' U.S. Gateways
Emirates flies nonstop to... Dubai from around 150 global cities including nine American gateways:
• NYC; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Houston; L.A.; San Francisco; Seattle (plus Toronto in Canada)
• Domestic connecting flights to these airports are through JetBlue, which is Emirates Airline's major US codeshare partner, with reciprocal mileage plansContinue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
What It's Like to Fly on Emirates Airline's A380 Jets
Emirates Airline's Legendary Experience: Business Class on the A380 Jet
Your Dubai vacation begins aboard Emirates Business Class. Here's what it's like.
Seating Aboard Emirates Airline's A380
Emirates' A380 jets are two-level. Economy seating takes up the lower floor, with Business Class and First Class upstairs. The A380's 76 Business Class seats are ingeniously engineered private little pods. They offer everything you need for inflight comfort and contentment.
• They are laid out in staggered rows which zig-zag a little to increase aisle access
• Seats are configured across as 1-2-1
• All seats have aisle access
• Tip: window seats A and K have a little more shelf space (and a view)
• Tip: couples flying together should choose the middle E and F seats
The jet's seating pods make it easy to do everything you want to do on your long flight.
Sleeping aboard Emirates' A380 Business Class
It's easy to fall asleep in Business Class and arrive refreshed in Dubai or... back home.
• Seats recline into fully flat beds that are 79" long. a flight attendant will bring you a cushy mattress, pillow, and big, warm blanket
• Already at your seat: noise-canceling headphones and a high-quality sleep mask
• Our tips on how to sleep inflight
Entertainment aboard Emirates' A380 Business Class
You can entertain yourself in a multitude of ways right in your seat.
• The inflight ICE system -- information, communication, entertainment -- streams everything from flight cameras to Dubai info to over 2,000 channels of movies, TV, music, and games
Working aboard Emirates' A380 Business Class
You can get work done at your seat, which feels like your own private mobile office.
• Amenities include a desktop, lights, chargers, low-priced wifi•
Dining aboard Emirates' A380 Business Class
You can feast on gourmet food.
• Meal service -- dinner, snack, breakfast -- is beautifully served on white linen and china
• The food is delicious, and fine-restaurant quality; I cannot say how it emerges from a jet galley so fresh-tasting
• Menus include choices for vegetarians and Halal eaters
• Passengers get a choice of dishes, typically in Continental, Arabian, and Indian styles (my Egyptian seafood, a rice dish, was very fresh and flavorful)
And you can savor top-shelf wine and liquor, as much as you want, when you want. As soon as you board, you're offered a selection of fine wines and a French Champagne. You can try them all throughout your flight, or stay loyal to one. Flight attendants will keep your glass refilled if that's what you want. And keep reading, because there's another place to drink aboard.
See It for Yourself
• Experience Emirates’ A380 on Google’s Street ViewContinue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
The Bar Aboard Emirates Airline's Business Class Cabin
Did We Just Say "Onboard Bar"?
Yes, we did. A real bar, with a bartender, beckons passengers to the rear of the Business Class cabin. It's a destination for fliers who want to:
• Stretch their legs and walk a bit inflight
• Get a change of scene
• Relax, read, or use the inflight wifi while lounging on the bar's surrounding couches
• Meet other passengers
• Or chat up the bartender: sure to be a charming Emirates staffer
• Have a snack, always on offer at the bar: mini sandwiches and quiches, smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, much more
• And of course, have a drink: Champagne, wine, Scotch, other spirits, or a cocktailContinue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Emirate Airline's Business Class Lounge
Why You'll Want to Arrive Early: to Enjoy the Emirates Business Class Lounge
Business-class tickets on Emirates come with many perks. Here's a great one.
• A private driver picks you up and takes you to the airport
Schedule your ride with ample airport time.
• Your Business Class checkin will be fast, even if you've packed heavy (Business passengers are permitted two bags of 32kg (71 lbs.) apiece
What the Emirates Business Class Lounge Is Like
The lounge is an oasis of grace that resembles a luxury hotel lobby -- but with food and beverage on the house.
• Here's Emirates' Web page about its lounges.
Lounges offer ample, cushy seating
• Plus work counters with complimentary wifi and charging stations
• Ample TVs and dozens of newspapers and magazines
• Need some shuteye? Give wakeup instructions to an attendant and grab a reclining lounger
Eats and drinks are freely offered in this comfort zone.
• On a pour-yourself basis: Champagne plus good wines from France, Italy,... California and other regions
• Hard liquor, beer, soft drinks, coffee, cappuccino, tea
• An array of food offerings include hot dishes like Thai chicken curry, prime rib, pasta primavera
• Plus lighter fare like salads, cheese, mini-pizza, desserts, munchie snacks
• Some lounges, as in Dubai, have a kids' food area
Fun Facts About the Emirates Lounge
Did you leave the house in a rush, and could use a refresh? You can shower in the lounge
• The lounge at Dubai (DBX) is vast: as big as some entire airport terminals
• The lounge at New York's JFK opens onto a jetbridge that leads directly onto your flight
• Overall, Emirates' Business Class lounges are so pampering, you'll wait till the last moment to boardContinue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
The Truly Unique Aspect of Emirates Airline: Its Crew Members
What Distinguishes Emirates Airline
Emirates is not the world's only elite airline. But to me, it is the friendliest.
I was amazed by the sincere warmth and customer service aboard my Emirates flights. The passenger service provided by these personnel was the airborne equal of authentically five-star hotel service.
• These charming young people were focused on passengers' ongoing comfort and making their flights memorable
• But the crew never let the job at hand keep them from radiating personal warmth and getting to know you and your tastes
• The crew on my flights were eager to connect with passengers and find out about their lives; if you sit on a couch by the inflight bar, you will get to meet many of them on their short breaks
Emirates Flight Attendant is an Elite Job
In conversing with Emirates crew members, I found out that the job is a prestigious position coveted by well-educated young adults the world over.
• I learned that Emirates recruits top-achieving college grads in... much the same way as the U.S. Diplomatic Service: they want the best
• Many of the crew I spoke with were trained as professionals (lawyers, architects), but welcomed the opportunity to be based in Dubai, to see the world, and to mingle with Emirates passengers
• All crew, no matter where they're from, speak fluent English (an official language of Dubai, and the lingua franca)
• The crew is truly international. On my flights, I met individuals from Spain, France, Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Russia, India, Thailand, Pakistan, Mexico, Colombia, Trinidad
Lasting Impressions of Emirates Airline
Emirates Airline's Business Class is a deluxe experience. Yet it is not the only premium airline out there.
What made my Emirates flight experience unforgettable was the sheer warmth of the crew. (And they were unaware I was traveling as media and planning to write about the airline.)
• They treated me like every other Business Class passenger. And that was as a person of importance and refinement
• This is a wonderful feeling -- and, for me, is what makes Emirates worthy of its legendary reputation
As is common in the travel industry, the Luxury Travel Expert was provided with complimentary flights for the purpose of describing the airline. For details, see our site's Ethics Policy.