Ask anyone who lives in Dubai to describe the booming city and they all use the same word: cosmopolitan. And it makes sense. The UAE is comprised of a high number of foreigners (some estimates point to 80%). Many of them live and work in the UAE full-time in Dubai or its neighbor Abu Dhabi.
With these many foreigners living here, it’s no surprise that there are even more visitors.
Tourism is becoming a key driver in the push to diversify the nation’s economy. According to the Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020, the government has set a target for attracting 20 million visitors annually by that magical year.
But how will all these tourists get here? Flying the friendly skies with Emirates.
Established in 1985, the company operates over 3,600+ flights per week traveling to more than 150 destinations. Emirates wants to be the premiere airline for every traveler. Thanks to Dubai’s central location, two thirds of the world are within an 8-hour flight, making that goal more achievable.
For Emirates, it’s not just about getting passengers to their destination, it’s also important to focus on how they get there. The airline prides itself on being able to provide top-notch service to all of its customers whether they’re flying economy or in the $12,000 suite (which is only available on the Boeing 777). This is only possible through the precise training all that all 22,000+ members must go through.
As a group, we spent the day at the Emirates Crew Training facility located just outside of Dubai’s city center. Our group got a behind-the-scenes glance at how the flight crew is trained for any issue from turbulence to a medical emergency, even a crash landing in the ocean (don’t worry, everyone survived).
Following our safety training, we got to see how Emirates provides its trademark service. During our tour, our guide stressed the important of attention detail. Whether it’s lining up liquor bottles just so on the shelf behind the bar in the first-class cabin (the Belvedere should always be to the left of the Bacardi) or the image of a crew member, there’s a set of rules for everything. For example, crew members are given detailed instructions on how to appear whenever on duty. This includes appropriate hairstyles for women (a bun or French roll are two acceptable styles, facial hair for men (none), and other personal grooming tips.
While the requirements for cabin crew are decidedly strict, the benefits for airline employees might make up for them. In addition to receiving a base salary (that does not include a minimum of flying hours), Emirates crew can buy heavily discounted tickets on the airline paying only 10% of the normal ticket price. This means a crew member can fly business-class from Dubai to New York for only $369.
For many of us, this was our first time seeing how an airline works. From the demanding training that cabin and crew go through to the high cost of customizing everything that’s needed for a plane, running an airline is time and capital intensive. However, Emirates believes the investment is worth it in order to provide the best experience to the most passengers possible. And considering the growing number of people using Emirates, passengers from around the world seem to agree.
Looks like all the effort might be worth it.