Trouble In The Gulf: Emirates Is Delaying A380 Deliveries


Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the A380. So far they have a total of 87 A380 aircraft in their fleet, with a total of 142 A380 aircraft on order. Emirates has almost as many A380s as all other airlines combined, which is pretty amazing.

For years there have been rumors of Airbus cutting production of the A380 due to lack of demand, though Emirates has been campaigning for them not to stop production. Seemingly they’re the only airline that’s actually thrilled with the plane.

Perhaps their desire for A380 production to continue has to do with the fact that they’ve mostly funded the project, so they want to see the aircraft advance, rather than be discontinued.

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Emirates Introduces The World’s First Moisturizing Pajamas


Emirates has finally found a solution to one of the biggest problems that their first class passengers face. Let’s set the scene — you’re sitting there in your fully enclosed suite, just sipping on Dom Perignon, scooping caviar onto your blinis with your mother of pearl spoon, anticipating your onboard shower, retrieving an additional beverage from your private minibar, when suddenly you think to yourself “man, what would make this flight really great is if these pajamas had built in moisturizer that releases naturally nutrient rich sea kelp.”

You spoke, Emirates listened! Okay, maybe not exactly, but that’s not stopping Emirates from changing up their onboard amenities in a very cool way.

Emirates has offered the same pajamas and amenity kits in first class for years, and they’ve been fantastic. The pajamas have been sand colored and very light, and are among my favorites, given how comfortable they are.

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Emirates Will Introduce Premium Economy Within The Next 18 Months


Premium economy is being adapted rapidly by airlines around the world. In many ways it reflects the evolution in airline products — economy keeps getting tighter and business class keeps getting more spacious, so there’s a market for something in the middle. The premium economy hard products we are seeing nowadays are similar to what business class was like 15-20 years ago.

While the Gulf carriers are generally leaders when it comes to innovating their onboard products, none of them have introduced a premium economy product. I suspect this is partly because they have a two-pronged strategy — they value large premium cabins, but also don’t want to sacrifice their economy capacity, since in many markets it helps them pay the bills.

Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has gone so far as to say that their current economy product is as good as premium economy on other airlines, so they don’t have to “punish people to pay more to get the same product.” Clearly that’s beyond delusional, especially as this statement was made around the same time that the carrier confirmed they’d be introducing 10 seats per row in 777 economy.

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Amazing Emirates Business Class Fares From Cairo To Just About Everywhere


Cairo is probably the best city in the world out of which to find cheap premium cabin airfares. Early last month they got even cheaper, when Egypt devalued their currency, meaning those buying tickets in foreign currencies were paying even less.

While we see specific fare sales out of Cairo all the time, at the moment Emirates seems to have incredible business class fares from Cairo to just about anywhere, valid for travel over a wide range of dates. You’re best off using ITA Matrix or Google Flights to search these fares.

For example, you can fly from Cairo to Hong Kong for ~$790 roundtrip:

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Alaska Adds (Expensive) Awards To Australia & New Zealand


Yesterday Alaska published rates for Japan Airlines awards, which we’re pretty excited about. It looks like Alaska has been making other updates this week as well, which are pretty interesting.

As I mentioned yesterday, Alaska Mileage Plan is unique in that they have a separate award chart for each partner carrier. Both the origin and destination country have to be listed on the award chart for that specific carrier, otherwise it’s not a valid redemption. As of yesterday, for example, you couldn’t use Alaska miles for Emirates or American awards to/from Australia.

That appears to have changed overnight, as I’m now seeing redemption options on both carriers.

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Emirates Ups Their First Class Champagne Selection Even Further


Emirates already has among the most expensive alcohol selections of any airline, at least in first class. They pour Dom Perignon champagne (the vintages have varied over the years), and also serve the most expensive drink in the sky — Hennessy Paradis. A bottle of that retails for almost $800.

While the Gulf carriers are cutting costs, it doesn’t seem like their alcohol selection is part of that. Emirates, for example, has invested $500 million in their long term wine program.

Well, in case the 2003, 2005, and 2006 vintages of Dom Perignon that Emirates was previously serving weren’t good enough, they’re upping their game for a limited time. Emirates will be serving Dom Perignon 1998 for a limited time on select flights. Per the announcement on Emirates’ website:

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Emirates Is Cost Cutting Your Birthday


Many people don’t realize this, but there are several airlines out there that will let you order a cake for your birthday, assuming you’re traveling with them around your birthday. It’s a great way to surprise a friend or loved one you’re traveling with, as a vast majority of people don’t expect that’s a “thing” you can do, and it really catches them off guard.

It’s something I’ve taken advantage of a few times for loved ones, because it always puts a smile on their face.

For example, Emirates will let you order a birthday cake for free.

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Ranking The Lounges At LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal

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Over the past few years Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX has undergone a very nice renovation, and I’d argue it’s now possibly the nicest terminal in the US (though arguments could certainly be made for a few other terminals as well).

If you’re someone who typically flies in premium cabins or has elite status, you may also appreciate Tom Bradley International Terminal for the fact that it has some of the best airline lounges in the US. However, not all of these lounges are created equal, so I figured it would be fun to rank the lounges, from best to worst.

Up front let me add that the disclaimer that everyone is looking for different things when it comes to lounges, so there’s no objective, universal way to rank these from best to worst. Some lounges have great food, some have great cocktails, some are spacious, some are quiet, etc. I’ll try to mention those attributes below, though I’m not suggesting my ranking should work for everyone.

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Surprise: Airline Caviar Is Often Produced In China?!

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The topic of this post is exclusively to share something I found interesting, rather than to express outrage at airline caviar not being imported from the countries I was expecting. 😉

For many airlines, caviar is a big expense. For example, a few years ago Lufthansa’s CEO claimed that the airline is responsible for 5% of the world’s caviar consumption. It’s sort of crazy to think that a single airline serves that much caviar.

My assumption has long been that most airlines’ caviar comes from Russia, Iran, etc. However, a friend just pointed out something interesting about Qatar Airways’ caviar, which I wasn’t aware of — Qatar Airways imports their caviar from China. As you can see below, the label indicates that it’s from China, and upon further inspection, Gourmet House’s website indicates that they farm caviar in the Chinese province of Hubei.

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Emirates Is Launching Codeshare Service To Vancouver… By Bus


Canada has one of the most protectionist policies when it comes to the Gulf carriers, which is why as of now Emirates is limited to operating 3x weekly flights between Dubai and Toronto. They’d like to expand further into Canada (there are even rumors of them flying to Buffalo as a way of circumventing this restriction), though up until now have been blocked.

Emirates also has quite a few airlines they codeshare with, including two airlines that help them gain more access to Canada — Alaska and WestJet. This is done primarily in the form of codeshare flights out of Los Angeles and Seattle to various points in Canada.

While perhaps not that significant in practice, here’s something that’s still interesting. Per @airlineroute, Emirates has increased travel options to Vancouver, and now puts their Emirates flight number on two daily Quick Shuttle services between Seattle and Vancouver. This represents Emirates’ first bus service within North America.

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What’s Causing Emirates’ Profits To Fall By 75%?


Emirates has reported a 75% drop in their net profits for the first half of the fiscal year, to $214 million.

It’s interesting to see how various factors at Emirates have changed from one year to the next. Arabian Business has all the details on that, specifically comparing the results over the course of the first half of two fiscal years:

— Revenue was down by 1%, from $11.5 billion to $11.4 billion
— Fuel costs were 10% lower than the previous year, comprising 24% of the airline’s operating costs (compared to 28% the previous year)
— Operating costs grew by 5%, while overall capacity grew by 9%

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Rumor: Emirates’ Next US Destinations Will Be Phoenix And Buffalo


Emirates is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, and their US route network has continued to grow significantly. Most recently Emirates has announced that they’re launching flights between Dubai and Fort Lauderdale as of next month, which caught many people off guard. However, I can certainly make sense of it, given Emirates’ partnership with JetBlue.

Well, crazy as it may sound, it looks like we now have a hint as to what Emirates’ next US destinations will be. Rumor has it that Emirates will be announcing flights from Dubai to Buffalo and Phoenix shortly.

Emirates’ online routemap shows all the destinations that the airline serves nonstop. Fort Lauderdale showed up as a destination shortly before the route was formally announced, though it has since been removed.

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Ridiculous: Emirates Launching 40-Minute A380 Flight


Emirates is by far the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380. The airline has a total of 85 Airbus A380 aircraft in their fleet, with another 57 yet to be delivered, meaning eventually they’ll have a fleet of 142 A380 aircraft.

So while most airlines operating the A380 have just a handful of them, Emirates has so many that they fly them just about everywhere. Emirates already has the title for operating the world’s longest and shortest A380 routes. The world’s longest A380 flight is from Dubai to Auckland spanning a distance of 8,824 miles. Meanwhile the world’s shortest A380 flight is from Dubai to Kuwait City, spanning a distance of 530 miles.

Well, it seems that Emirates’ sub-90 minute Dubai to Kuwait City flight wasn’t short enough for them, and they’ve now announced the world’s new shortest A380 flight.

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Emirates’ Renovated Lounge Has A Moët & Chandon Champagne Bar


While I’m a big fan of Emirates in general, their Dubai ground experience for premium cabin passengers has typically left a bit to be desired. Their B-concourse lounges are past their prime, and while their A-concourse lounges are impressive in terms of scale, they feel extremely sterile.

Well, the good news is that Emirates has just wrapped up an $11 million renovation of their Concourse B Business Class Lounge at Dubai Airport, and it looks like a significant improvement.

While the furniture has been upgraded, I’m perhaps most excited about the new “zones” that they’ve added as part of (what I assume is) a marketing partnership. While a lot of airlines integrate some partner brands into their lounges, often there’s no noticeable benefit for consumers. Emirates got creative in that regard.

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