July 19, 2014

Emirates largest operator of A380 still remembers the little things



David Ellis


WHILE many a corporation has foundered as a consequence of talking big, but fatally thinking small, one that's conversely proven the success of talking big, and then very deliberately thinking small, is Middle East-based airline Emirates.


First taking to the skies in 1985 with just two leased aircraft, Emirates in less than 30 years has built-up a fleet of more than 210 wide-bodied passenger aircraft – and has orders in for an extraordinary 377 more that'll cost it an almost mind-paralysing 162-billion US dollars.


And today it flies to more than 140 destinations in 80 countries – including 84 services a week from Australia that go either direct from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, or via Singapore, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, to its Dubai home-base, and onwards world-wide from there.


And it also has 29 flights a week from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to New Zealand as well.


While all this perhaps suggests that Emirates is purely about all things big, and yes it does have whole departments doing just that to constantly expand its operations world-wide, it equally has others figuring answers to very-much smaller questions.


Such as answers to what special little treats it can offer those business and holiday travellers between meal-times in plusher First and Business Class cabins in the "pointy end" of its planes – while at the same time, how best to entertain, amuse and occupy all from toddlers to teens, mums, dads, grandparents and solo travellers "down the back" in Economy during long hours in the air.


To make possible the huge number of flights it has, Emirates has spent US$87.3 billion in the past six years alone to make it the world's largest operator of the massive double-deck Airbus A380, with 45 of these giants currently in service and another 93 on order, while its also got no fewer than 124 Boeing 777s in service, 59 more on order, and options for another 20 on top of this.


Yet the breath-taking enormity of all this is balanced by the effort it puts into, in its own thinking, a very special group of passenger. And that's its youngest guests, from the tiniest of bubs to toddlers and teens… those that it hopes will grow up to become life-long Emirates aficionados and frequent-flyers for decades to come.


For the wee-est of these guests the airline carries everything aboard from milk formula and baby bottles to two types of jar food, nappies and bassinets, and for their mums and dads it has fleets of strollers on-hand to help those arriving into Dubai with toddlers.


At the same time to keep kids of all ages amused inflight, widescreen in-seat digital entertainment systems feature a-near-dozen new release children's movies, scores of Disney classics, 30+ dedicated kid's TV channels, 60 hours of others like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Fireman Sam, and perennial favourites Tom & Jerry… with special children's-size headphones for a snug fit.


There's even a dedicated Quiksilver channel of surfing and skating programs for teens.


Plus hundreds of music channels feature favourites from One Direction, Demy Lovato and Taylor Swift , to Olly Murs, Little Mix and Justin Timberlake, and for a change in pace, free Inflight Activity magazines called 3,2,1 for pre-school travellers and e-kids for older children that are packed with games, quizzes, stories, puzzles and colour-ins.


Pre-schoolers also get their own 'Fly With Me Monster' toys from a choice of a dozen wrapped around soft polar fleece children's blankets that they can snuggle up with on long flights, (and dubbed Blanket Buddies) or clipped onto seatbelts to encourage safety (Seat Belt Critters.) Kids can take these Buddies and Critters home to start their own Monster Toy collections at flights-end…Emirates giving away an amazing 3.5 million since 2012.


And kid's meals include regular favourites plus Asian and vegetarian options (and dietary meals that can be ordered 24 hours before flights,) with cabin crew trained to assist parents with children, particularly those with several, however they can.


And young passengers can even (with parent's or guardian's permission) sign up to their own frequent-flyer program, earning their very-own points towards free future flights, Apple iPods, games, and the latest fashion accessories.


For more information about flying Emirates with kids, see travel agents, phone 1300 303 777 or visit www.emirates.com/au






[] EMIRATES A380: the airline has 45 of these giants of the skies already in service, and 95 more on order. (Emirates)

[] HUNDREDS of movie, TV, music and other channels are available for children, families and adults to while-away the longest flights. (Emirates)

[] PLAYFUL Fly With Me Monster, Zaive meets-up with a couple of players from AC Milan which Emirates sponsors; Emirates has given away 3.5 Monster toys to young passengers since 2012. (Emirates)

[] CABIN crew give a break to parents of Sophia and Alexander Booth from Bundanoon (NSW) on a flight to London. (Kimberley Booth)

[] COLOURFULLY presented children's meal with playful Monster and zany eyeshades. (Emirates)

[] 3,2,1 is a free children's Inflight Activity magazine packed with games, quizzes, stories, puzzles and colour-ins. (Emirates)


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