The High-Tech Texan Blog

Monday, September 10, 2007

Emirates Starting A Suite Service To Dubai

Dubai is hot. Literally and figuratively. It's been on my radar to visit one day and that's even before Matt Lauer popped by last May on his "Where in the World" tour.

Beginning in December Houstonians wanting to go to this paradise in the Persian Gulf will be able to fly non-stop from Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on Emirates.
Emirates has announced it will begin the new passenger service in December of 2007, with flights three times a week from Bush to Dubai and plans to follow up with daily service by February 2008. This makes Houston the second U.S. city in the country, after New York, to receive direct passenger service to Dubai.

I attended a press conference at the Hobby Center where Emirates' Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations Nigel Page touted the new service and potential boon to the Houston economy. The highlight of the event - at least to me and most likely those planning to fly to Dubai - was learning about the innovations found in the plane to keep passengers entertained and fed on the 15 - 17 hour flight (depending which way).

Travellers on Emirates’ Airbus A340-500, B777-300ERs and B777-200s can choose from 600+ channels of in-flight entertainment (take that Comcast!). Its $8 million ice (information, communication and entertainment) system has over 140 movies and over 70 TV channels on demand, 350+ audio channels and 40 in-flight games.

Emirates is apparently so proud of its in-cabin features they brought along a working display of a first-class suite. Each pod-like suite has a sliding door for privacy. The seats lay back a full 180 degrees. The polished wood and leather reminded me of riding in a new BMW.

Each suite is controlled by a wireless panel similar to a large PDA. Instead of staring at a seatback these pampered passengers will be awed by a 19 inch flat-screen monitor. Need a cocktail or want to freshen up a bit? Not a prob as a minibar and makeup lighting vanity mirror are at your fingertips.

Luxury doesn't come cheap as we know. A first-class round-tripper will cost upwards of $12,000 and I would hope I got to empty the minibar and then some.
Of course all this looks and feels good in a press release and a mocked-up cabin but the real test comes when actually sitting (and laying) on the plane for the trip halfway 'round the world. I'm trying to figure out how I can broadcast my show from the cabin so I can write it off as a business expense. Stay tuned for a few months...

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  • Request a kosher meal on one of their flights.

    By Blogger Mister Crap, at 8:35 AM  

  • I've heard they have the nicest service. I've been to Dubai a few years ago but this will make it faster and easier. Dang, those suites look nice!

    By Anonymous Joe, at 3:42 PM  

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