DUBAI IS OFTEN called a “Disneyland for the rich”. At the city’s airport the three first-class lounges of Emirates, the United Arab Emirates’ flag-carrier, do not disappoint. Each one is as big as the terminal’s concourse, built to accommodate thousands of passengers. But every day only a hundred or so enter each first-class lounge. Instead of the overpriced fast-food on offer in the public concourse, a maze of restaurants and bars serve free caviar and champagne. In their duty-free sections no knock-off cigarettes or booze are in sight. Think instead Bulgari necklaces and whisky at $25,000 a bottle. The facility is so large, its manager admits, that the most common reaction heard from new arrivals is, “Oh my God, where is the lounge?” Yet the rows of hundreds of empty armchairs suggest that something is not quite right. Airlines are falling out of love with first class. And that is true even of Emirates, which sells far more first-class … [Read more...] about First-class air travel is in decline
Emirates upgrade to business class
You know that just beyond the curtain lies a heavenly world of flat beds, free-flowing champagne and fluffy duvets. But does it live up to all of those mid air fantasies? Travelling from Dublin to LA recently, I finally got to find out. The seats…Aer Lingus flights to New York and LA are on an Airbus A330 from Dublin, with 23 seats in business class. With a seat pitch of 58 inches and a width of 21 inches, you have a good bit of room to play with, and the seat reclines into a fully lie-flat 6’6” long bed. The seat pitches are fairly standard, but not the best in the business – Virgin Atlantic, which flies to LA from London, also has a 6’6” long bed but a width of 33 inches, and the seat placement means there’s no one in front of you. Ethiopian Airlines, the only other airline flying direct from Dublin to LA, has a pitch of 68 inches, though the beds don’t fully recline. While not gargantuan, I am fairly tall (one of my crueller nicknames … [Read more...] about Review: What’s it really like to fly in Aer Lingus Business Class?
Emirates' latest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fitted with the Game Changer First Class product will operate between Dubai and Vienna on a daily basis from 1 December. Austria will be one of the first few countries in the world to be served by Emirates' Boeing 777 aircraft with fully enclosed private suites inspired by Mercedes-Benz. Emirates flies to Vienna twice daily and both flights will be operated by its flagship products - the iconic A380 and game changer Boeing 777 product - underscoring its commitment to the market since 2004. It also means customers travelling to or from Vienna can enjoy the latest Emirates products regardless of which of the two daily flights they opt for. With floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and sleek design features, Emirates' new private suites on the Boeing 777 takes luxury and privacy to the next level. Offering up to 40 square feet of personal space each, these spacious, fully-enclosed private suites are laid out in a 1-1-1 configuration. The new suites … [Read more...] about Emirates’ game changer First Class Suite to debut on Vienna route
First-class airline service has long been the playground of the fabulously famous and fantastically wealthy, with luxuries ranging from free-flowing Champagne and mountains of caviar in the early years to private cabins with a bed and shower on some carriers today. But after British Airways in 2000 introduced lie-flat seats in business class for thousands of dollars less than first—an innovation that quickly spread throughout the industry—it was hard to argue that it’s worth the extra cash for a few more inches of legroom and a better wine list. Bookings started to fall sharply as the 2008 financial crisis curbed corporate spending and made public displays of wealth unfashionable, so over the past decade scores of airlines have ripped out some or all of their cushiest and priciest seats.Carriers today say they may have cut too far, especially as the ranks of the super rich continue to expand and the stigma attached to conspicuous consumption has faded. With the global … [Read more...] about First-Class Flying Is Back and It’s More Luxurious Than Ever
FIFA spent $11.7 million in less than three years on private jets, including luxury sight-seeing trips for a top official, a newly published legal document shows. Jerome Valcke, then the FIFA secretary general, was urged in a 2013 internal memo to find "more cost efficient alternatives whenever possible," according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport's verdict explaining why his appeal against a 10-year ban was dismissed. Excessive use of private jets and ordering business class travel for his son was a factor in Valcke being banned from soccer by the FIFA ethics committee after he was fired in 2016. His appeal was dismissed by sport's highest court in July. Valcke's interventions to help place a World Cup contract worth an initial $709,000 linked to his son's business interests were also detailed. The CAS verdict noted Valcke broke FIFA rules four times by flying unnecessarily by private jet or with more than one guest, and without repaying the extra cost. The flights included a … [Read more...] about Private jets, favors to son detailed in FIFA official’s case