Emirates

Emirates Is Introducing Free First Class Helicopter Transfers To Monaco

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Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the A380, with a total of 140+ of these planes on order. So while other airlines operating the A380 are super selective about the routes on which they deploy the plane, Emirates can afford to send them just about anywhere.

Emirates has announced that they’ll be introducing daily A380 service between Dubai and Nice as of July 1, 2017. This is just in time for the busy summer season, and makes Nice the second A380 destination Emirates will serve in France, after Paris.

The route is currently flown by a Boeing 777-300ER, so the A380 represents a 44% increase in capacity on the route.

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Emirates Is Introducing A Laptop And Tablet Handling Service For US Flights

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With the US having implemented an electronics ban for passengers traveling nonstop to the US from Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh, it’ll be interesting to see the ways in which airlines adapt to the situation. This potentially has a huge impact on the demand for travel on these airlines, as checking electronics is not only a huge waste of time (in terms of lost productivity, waiting at baggage claim, etc.), but comes with the risk of electronics being damaged or stolen.

With that in mind, Emirates is the first airline to announce a somewhat creative solution to this situation. Emirates is introducing a service that enables passengers to use their laptops and tablets until just before they board their US-bound flight. At the gate there will be security staff who will carefully package your electronics in boxes before boarding, and then you can collect them on arrival.

What I’m not sure about is:

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The Most Practical Way Airlines Could Avoid The Electronics Ban

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As I’m sure just about everyone knows by now, the US has implemented an electronics ban for passengers traveling nonstop to the U.S. from Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh.

While I don’t question that they’re likely working off of a very credible threat, and while I think it’s important to keep passengers safe, I have a lot of questions about the implementation:

— The UK has instituted a similar ban and presumably they’re sharing intelligence, so why did the US put the UAE and Qatar on the list, when the UK didn’t?
— More specifically, there’s a US Pre-Clearance facility in Abu Dhabi with an additional and thorough security screening checkpoint, so why aren’t those flights excluded, because the security is unarguably tighter than if you’re traveling through many European airports?
— Only direct flights from the above countries are included in the ban, so Emirates’ flights from Dubai to Milan to New York, and Dubai to Athens to Newark, are excluded. Does that really make sense?

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Will The Electronics Ban Change Which Airlines I Fly?

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Reader David W asked the following question in the Ask Lucky forum:

“@Lucky @Tiffany and anyone else:

Will you be making changes to existing flights that are affected as well as changing plans that are in the works?”

I can’t speak for Tiffany or anyone else, though I will share my perspective. As I assume just about everyone knows at this point, there are restrictions on electronic devices in the cabins of planes for nonstop flights from:

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Emirates Is Now Offering Free Lounge Access To Select Economy Passengers

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With the Gulf carriers under cost pressure, we’re seeing them increasingly cut services and find creative ways to generate more revenue. For example, in January I wrote about how Emirates is now letting economy passengers buy access to business class and first class lounges at Dubai International Airport at a cost of $100-200. The details are as follows:

— If you’re a non-status Skywards Blue member you can pay $100 to access the business class lounge or $200 to access the first class lounge when flying economy
— If you’re a Silver or Gold member, you can invite guests to join you in the business class lounge for $100, or if you have access to the business class lounge anyway, you can pay an additional $100 to access the first class lounge

Ultimately I don’t think this will lead to much lounge crowding, given that there aren’t that many people who are willing to pay $100-200 for lounge access. That being said, for a special occasion, some people may find this to be worthwhile. If in business class I could even see myself paying $100 to upgrade to the first class lounge, given that the food is significantly better.

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Emirates’ U.S. Bookings Fell HOW MUCH After The Travel Ban?!

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In late January, President Trump instituted an executive order immediately banning nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya, from entering or transiting the United States. At the time this included tourists, students, guest workers, legal immigrants, refugees, and potentially even U.S. green card holders.

While this caused a lot of confusion and chaos, most airlines said that their bookings weren’t impacted all that much by the ban. After all, there weren’t that many people from those seven countries traveling to the U.S. Some airlines reported a very short term impact, but said that bookings had fully recovered by now.

Well, apparently that’s not the case for Emirates, at least according to the airline’s president, Tim Clark. Fortune reports Tim Clark as saying at ITB Berlin that bookings for travel to the U.S. fell by 35% overnight, and haven’t recovered:

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Review: Emirates First Class 777-300ER Dubai To Amman

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Surprisingly, this was my first time actually transiting in Dubai. Like this one, my previous trips on Emirates had been booked through Alaska Mileage Plan, which allows free stopovers at partner hubs on award tickets.

A stopover wasn’t really a compelling option on this trip, given we’d already delayed our original departure, but we still considered an overnight. And then I looked at the flight schedules.

Emirates has two different aircraft types serving the Dubai > Amman route. They’re both Boeing 777s, but the configurations are different depending on the day and time.

It’s only a ~1,200 mile flight, so it doesn’t matter tremendously, but if your schedule allows you want to choose the 77W plane with this seat map:

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Whoa: Emirates Is Introducing A New Onboard Bar

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I didn’t see this one coming! Emirates is known for their awesome onboard bar, at the very back of the A380 upper deck. It’s a great place to socialize and pass time on a flight.

It’s a lovely space, though I’d argue that Qatar Airways’ A380 onboard bar is a bit nicer, as it’s more spacious and has a more elegant design.

However, it looks like Emirates will soon be changing up their A380 bars for the better, and I love the new design.

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Review: Emirates First Class A380 San Francisco To Dubai

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While I’ve flown Emirates first class on the A380 a half-dozen times (oof that’s an obnoxious sentence, sorry), my husband hadn’t. He had flown Emirates first on the 777 a few years back, and even had the cabin to himself, so he had a general idea of what to expect, but we were still excited to fly together.

Ben has reviewed Emirates first class on the A380 at least a dozen times, and I’ve reviewed it myself as well, so check those out if you’re looking for a comparison in terms of the service and soft product, but I’m going to primarily focus on the updates and changes to the service.

In the year or so since I’ve flown them, Emirates has been engaging in cost-cutting measures, which while they haven’t been advertised as necessarily impacting long-haul premium cabin flights (other than birthday cakes), were noticeable in the catering.

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Review: Emirates Lounge San Francisco Airport

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Our connecting flight arrived in San Francisco about three and a half hours before our flight to Dubai. As we had plenty of time, and my husband still didn’t feel great, we popped into the Delta SkyClub for some soup and downtime before heading over to the international terminal.

The Emirates check-in desk opens three hours before departure, and online check-in isn’t possible from San Francisco. Fortunately, there wasn’t a queue for First Class passengers, so we had our boarding passes in minutes.

Then began the most ridiculous “TSA” experience of my life.

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Emirates Is Considering Radically Changing Their Fleet

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For an airline of their size, Emirates has a remarkably consistent fleet. Emirates exclusively operates widebody aircraft, and more specifically, only operates the A380 and 777. At the moment they have 250 planes in their fleet, with another 223 planes on order. Of the planes on order, 49 of them are A380s, and the balance are 777s (including 150 next generation 777-8 and 777-9 aircraft).

Emirates has long had a widebody-only fleet, though up until recently they had A330s and A340s in their fleet as well.

There are pros and cons to having such a consistent fleet.

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Review: Emirates Business Class A380 Dubai To Los Angeles

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I’ve reviewed Emirates first class many times before, though this was my first time in their A380 business class, so I was very excited to see how their business class product compared.

Since I decided to board through the gate rather than the business class lounge, I actually boarded through the door on the lower deck, walked up the staircase through first class, and then found myself in the business class cabin.

Emirates’ A380 business class cabin is massive, with 76 seats. There’s a forward business class cabin with 58 seats, and then a rear cabin with 18 seats. As you can see, the forward cabin is huge.

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Review: Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai

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My flight from Dubai to Los Angeles was departing at 3PM, so a friend dropped me off at Terminal 3 at around 11:30AM, so I’d have plenty of time to review the lounge. Emirates has a separate drop-off area for first and business class passengers, which lets you skip the main part of the check-in hall altogether.

The Emirates premium check-in area is massive. First there are a bunch of red carpets for first class check-in, and then behind that are blue carpets for business class check-in.

After that I proceeded through immigration and passport control, which was relatively quick thanks to this checkpoint only being for premium passengers. Once through security I took the train to the A Concourse, which is Dubai Airport’s A380 concourse (though 777s depart from there as well, and not all A380s depart from that concourse).

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