Emirates has announced that it is investing more than US$2 billion in enhancing its inflight experience, including a massive programme starting in 2022 to modernise the interiors of more than 120 aircraft, as well as implementing improvements to other services across all cabins. The announcement follows the Emirates brand’s promise of creating ‘lasting excellence’ for all its products and services.
While aviation is recovering rapidly from the effects of the worldwide Covid-19 restrictions, this is nonetheless a bold investment. However, Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates, is confident it is the right move. He said: “At a time when many are under pressure from the industry to cut costs, Emirates is moving forward and investing in order to deliver better experiences to our customers. During the pandemic, we have continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure that our customers travel confidently and easily, including launching digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground. Now, we are launching a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ outstanding in-flight experiences to a higher level.”
Some of the airline’s latest initiatives include better meal options, an all-new vegetarian menu, an ‘inflight cinema’ experience, upgraded cabins, sustainable options and a holistic approach to introducing those small but important touches that enhance the travel experience.
Emirates passengers will benefit from new initiatives including:
Developments in every cabin class: The most important investment is a comprehensive renovation of the interiors of the aircraft fleet, which will be equipped with new or re-upholstered seats, new facades, floors and other features, across all cabins. When the modernisation programme is completed, Emirates’ fleet will comprise a total of 120 aircraft equipped with the recently introduced premium economy class cabin, with Emirates being the only carrier in the region to offer this class of travel. The first aircraft is scheduled to enter the Emirates Engineering Centre for a cabin retrofit in November. The airline is currently planning the timetable for the wider rollout.
New inspiration, new menus: The airline’s team of chefs, its global aircraft catering team and a variety of suppliers have collaborated to design and deliver what they say is the best luxury dining experience in the air. First class passengers on select Emirates flights will enjoy new menus, including dishes such as pan-fried salmon with moqueca sauce and creole rice; and roasted duck breast with orange thyme jus, steamed broccolini and fondant potatoes. New menus will also be introduced in business and economy class on the 1st of September.
New vegan options: Emirates’ new vegan menu is curated to cater to the growing numbers of customers pursuing this lifestyle. Vegans, or anyone interested in a plant-based meal, will be offered gourmet dishes such as pan-roasted king oyster mushrooms, jackfruit biryani, and sliced kohlrabi garnished with burnt orange. Desserts choices include chocolate truffle cake with hazelnut, pistachio and gold leaf, or a green grape tart adorned with candied rose petals, vanilla custard, and a berry compote glistening with yuzu pearls.
The Champagne and Caviar Experience: Emirates’ first class experience will be further elevated, with unlimited portions of Persian caviar offered as part of the ‘dine on demand’ service, with a pairing of Dom Perignon vintage champagne. Emirates is the only airline with an exclusive agreement to offer Dom Perignon on-board.
Inflight cinema: First Class customers can also enjoy more luxury while watching movies on board, by ordering cinema snacks and choosing from 5,000 diverse channels on Emirates’ IFE system. The snack menu includes classics such as lobster rolls, juice with fruit slices, edamame legumes and salted popcorn, which can be ordered at any time. All passengers are also allowed to set up the entertainment experience prior to their flights, by browsing and pre-selecting movies or TV shows on the Emirates app, and then syncing them with the in-seat system.
Sustainable dining: Emirates passengers departing from Dubai will be served fresh vegetables picked from Bustak, the world’s largest vertical farm that recently opened with an investment of US$40 million in a joint venture through Emirates Aircraft Catering. Emirates continues to invest in sustainable operations and supply chains, looking for local food suppliers and farms where possible to deliver fresh produce on its airplanes.
Specialist training for cabin crew: Emirates has partnered with Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, the hospitality management academy, to formulate the airline’s hospitality strategy and enhance the customer experience. Emirates’ crew has already embarked on intensive training programmes focused on service delivery with its four pillars: excellence, focus, innovation and passion.