Emirates Airline is the most ambitious carrier in the world with 45 Airbus A380 super jumbos on order. But in recent years rapid expansion has been blamed for a decline in customer service. Now strong management and training has reversed this trend, ensuring that Emirates is again setting the standard for other Gulf carriers.
The story of the success of Dubai tourism is inextricably linked to the success of its airline Emirates. From a single aircraft in 1985 Emirates has expanded to a fleet of over 90 today and has 123 aircraft on order which will cost $33 billion.
In the same time frame, Dubai has moved from nothing in global tourism to having the highest ratio of tourism income to GDP of any place in the world.
It is therefore vital to the future of Dubai tourism that Emirates continue its progress, and it has to be said vice-versa. So when complaints about customer service on Emirates started to emerge a couple of year's ago, some businessmen also read this as a sign that the rot was setting into the economic boom with bad service a sign of over-expansion.
AME Info can not recall a bad flight but such rumors spread probably out of all proportion to reality. Crews disappearing after take off, or forgetting part of the service routine, or just being less than totally diplomatic with problem passengers were among the issues raised.
These voices have persisted for some time but have now been quelled by a very comprehensive response from the airline. Perhaps too the notable stress on customer service by new and rapidly expanding carriers such as Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have also placed Emirates under competitive pressure.
But make no mistake: the old Emirates is back with a vengeance. AME Info recently experienced two faultless flights to The Maldives in a Business Class that was really in truth first class, and indeed superior to the First Class on many global airlines.
The cheerful welcome by attentive young staff, a glass of champagne, and yes, you are actually addressed by your own name. Being treated like an individual on an airline that surely went out of the window with paper tickets!
Naturally the aircraft itself was almost brand new like most of the Emirates' fleet. That means the latest in seats and entertainment systems which have changed a lot in the past few years. On our A330-200 there was a 10.4-inch screen with individual video players and a choice of 50 movies if the 15 on the in-flight system were not sufficient.
Food and beverages are to the highest standards. No congealed sauce on the Beef Wellington as one Gulf rival served up in First Class recently. These are delicious meals served from trolleys on to fine china by well trained cabin staff. The wines are well chosen enough to keep a master sommelier happy.
In addition, Emirates also takes very good care of its premium passengers on the ground. Dubai International Airport has a dedicated lounge where you can eat a full meal and drink anything you want to before actually getting on board. Similarly at most destinations passengers will have access to a premium lounge.
For those that have grumbled and complained in recent years about declining standards, the only real answer is to get up there and try it for yourself, Emirates is setting the standards again.