Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 137,829
2013: 330,818

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Ultimate Airport Dubai Goes Behind The Scenes at DXB

Emirate Airline's Network Control at DXB. Image: Jason Rabinowitz.

Emirate Airline’s Network Control at DXB. Image: Jason Rabinowitz.

Dubai International Airport (DXB) is a hugely complex, massive, 24-hour machine. Airplanes land, passengers are exchanged, and airplanes takeoff. What goes on behind the scenes to make this seemingly simple task work, however, is anything but simple. Earlier this year, National Geographic UK took their cameras into the depths of Dubai’s airport, giving the public a rare look at operations at the home airport of Emirates.

BONUS: Photo Tour of Emirates Airline Crew Training in Dubai

The show aired several months ago in various regions, but never made it to the Americas. What the channel guide hides from us, YouTube reveals – all ten episodes are now streaming in HD for anyone to watch. The first episode of the show starts off quite nicely, focusing on the difficulty of getting passengers with short connections across the gigantic terminal, routine mechanical difficulties, and a scramble to finish up construction of a new wing of the terminal.

Click here to learn more and to view the Ultimate Airport Dubai Video

An Overview of First Class Pajamas From Around the Globe

A smattering of airline pajamas.. how many is to many? - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

A smattering of airline pajamas… how many is to many? – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

With so much talk in the past of pajamas in first and business classes, another story on pajamas was due, right?  You’re not sick of it all yet, are you? If you do not remember the previous stories, feel free to take a look:

Why is looking at pajamas something important? I feel they are a link to the past of almost all airlines having high-end service and they are an aspect of an airline’s premium cabin that often get overlooked. There are a few more that I have been able to check out, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

Continue reading An Overview of First Class Pajamas From Around the Globe

Emirates Shows Off Lounges in New Airbus A380 Concourse

An Emirates Airbus A380 at the new concourse in Dubai.

An Emirates Airbus A380 at the new concourse in Dubai.

An excerpt from David Parker Brown’s story on APEX Editor’s Blog

DUBAI: How does one go about making the world’s largest airliner, the Airbus A380, look small? Park it at the new Concourse A at Dubai International Airport, which was designed to handle the giant aircraft and all the high-end passengers who will fly in its premium cabins.

Earlier this year Emirates and Dubai International Airport opened the new concourse. David Parker Brown, a contributor to the APEX editor’s blog was invited for a tour of the Emirates Airline first and business class lounges.

Concourse A opened on 2 January 2013 and is the world’s only dedicated and purpose built concourse for the Airbus A380. The rest of the airport is able to handle the aircraft, but the new concourse was purpose-built with the A380 in mind. A formidable undertaking for the airport and airline, US$3.3 billion terminal required 159,572,880 man-hours to build.

Continue reading Emirates Shows Off Lounges in New Airbus A380 Concourse on APEX

See more photos of the Concourse A in Dubai

Does Photo Show that the Airbus A380 is Coming to Seattle?

The ground is painted at gate S11 to prepare for an Airbus A380 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The ground is painted to prepare for an Airbus A380 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo by Brandon Farris.

For most passengers, they probably do not notice the painted lines below the planes at the gate showing where the front wheel should be for different aircraft types. But for an AvGeek, it is always fun to see what aircraft a gate can handle.

Currently, there are no Airbus A380 aircraft flown into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), but will that change soon? This week, three gates at the South Terminal had “A380″ painted on the ground, but why? Sigh… turns out still no A380 service — for now.

“Yes, that is an A380 spot,” Perry Cooper Airport Media and Public Affairs Manager for SEA explained to AirlineReporter.com. “It is marked just for emergency purposes. That would be the space we’d park it. We do have a couple of other spots marked for it in the cargo area.”

Perry also pointed out the the airport does not have the facilities, such as double jet bridges, to handle the A380 on anything more than an emergency basis.  The airport is planning on only having one gate prepared for the A380 and will be making the decision which one of the gates (S11, S15, S16) will make the cut.

Will Seattle see an Airbus A380 someday? Photo by Jason Rabinowitz.

Will Seattle see an Airbus A380 someday? Photo by Jason Rabinowitz.

Currently, there are only two airlines operating the Boeing 747-400 out of Seattle (Eva Air and British Airways — and Delta starting later this year) and having additional opportunities to spot large birds is always welcomed.

Although short-term we will unlikely see an A380 flying out of SEA, that could change in the future. There are three airlines that operate the A380 and also fly to Seattle: Emirates, Lufthansa and Korean Air. If one of them would start A380 operations, but my guess would be Emirates. But at this time, the airport states that they are not in talks with any airlines on starting A380 service.

Seattle continues to grow with additional international traffic to Asia and Europe and I could see the demand for the A380 happening in the future.

This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.

David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.

@AirlineReporter | Flickr | YouTube

Interview with an Emirates Airline’s Vice President on Wi-Fi

Line of Emirate's tails in Dubai.

Line of Emirate’s tails in Dubai.

Recently, I had the ability to ask Patrick Brannelly, Emirates Airline Vice President – Corporate Communications, Product, Publishing, Digital & Events, some questions about Wi-Fi and the future of entertainment on the airline. Here is our discussion:

AirlineReporter.com (AR) How many Emirates aircraft currently have Wi-Fi available?
Patrick Brannelly (PB): The whole A380 fleet (currently 21 aircraft) has Wi-Fi. We’ll be getting another 10 A380s before the end of 2012 and they’ll all have Wi-Fi as well. We’ll also be introducing the ability to use your own mobile phone next month on our A380s – a service that we already have on over 90 of our other aircraft (we launched that service in 2008).

AR: What is the schedule for the entire fleet to be fitted?
PB: Going forward, all A380s will have the service and we aim to start fitting the rest of the fleet with internet before the year end. It will take some time to equip the entire fleet but we are working on accomplishing this as quickly as possible.

AR: Are new Airbus/Boeing aircraft equipped with the Wi-Fi?
PB: Yes for our A380s and we hope to have our Boeing 777s equipped from mid-2013.

Why did Emirates choose OnAir?
OnAir was the only option offered by Airbus for equipping the A380 fleet straight out of the factory – they have provided a good service and we are happy with them.

Emirates plans to install Wi-Fi to their 777 fleet in the future.

Emirates plans to install Wi-Fi to their 777 fleet in the future.

AR: Currently, Wi-Fi pricing is set up based on the amount of data used and how do passengers patrol/control the amount of data used?
PB: Customers buy a package of data, either 5MB or 30MB for mobile or 30MB/100MB for laptops. They can see their current usage and decide whether to buy extra MB or cut off at the limit.

AR: Is Emirates looking at offering an unlimited plan?
PB: The above packages are often more than most people need during their flights. Over two thirds of passengers use less than 20MB and only 1.6% of passengers use more than 100MB.

AR: A recent APEX story shows the record being at 680MB, has that been broken yet?
PB: It’s still a record – 680.51MB was used on our New York flight on Valentine’s Day. Someone in love perhaps!

AR: What is the current pricing structure?
PB: We may tweak this pricing in time, but currently users can connect a mobile from as little as $2.75 for 5MB of data. This is more data than most will need to connect socially throughout even a long flight. We also have a heavy (30MB) mobile package available for $15 but few opt for it. Laptops can connect from as little as $5, and there is a heavy user package for $15 for 100MB. These prices are low for satellite connectivity, but we see this as a service to our customers rather than a profit centre (in fact we lose money).

AR: What are the usage statistics? Is there growth?
PB: Yes – we are still seeing growth. This is probably because awareness is still growing about the service and because increasing numbers of people are carrying on devices that can connect. We see over 4% of passengers connect on the very long flights of over 12 hours (such as New York / Sydney etc.) but much less on flights under 5 hours (less than 1.5%).

Emirates already offers a pretty slick product. Adding Wi-Fi will only make it better. This is First Class seen on a Boeing 777.

Emirates already offers a pretty slick product. Adding Wi-Fi will only make it better. This is First Class seen on a Boeing 777.

AR: Are there any plans to offer on-board Wi-Fi entertainment options (where passengers can access Emirates entertainment from their personal devices via Wi-Fi)?
PB: We are looking at all options – but with over 1,300 channels of the latest and greatest entertainment available on your large screen personal TV for every Emirates customer, the need to play media on your own device is reduced.

AR: Will passengers be able to access the internet through ice (the name for the entertainment system)?
PB: We hope so but not at the moment. There are some technical issues, largely to do with the seatback’s light-browser’s capability to connect to the internet for a good experience. You really need a mouse and a keyboard at the moment and that’s not practical. However, we are working on it.

AR: Are there dark spots where passengers will not be able to have internet?
PB: The OnAir service uses Inmarsat’s geo-stationary I4 satellites which cover the entire globe except for the extreme poles (above about 80 degrees). There are also a few countries that are yet to provide approval to use the service in their airspace, so we have to block it… but these are reducing.

AR: What digital “wonders” from Emirates can passengers expect for the future?
PB: Emirates has led technology in the air for 20 years or more. From being the first airline to install TVs on every seat on the entire fleet in 1992 to today, when we’ve introduced services such as mobile phones and internet inflight, as well as large HD capacitive touch screens onboard our latest 777s. Rest assured we have a lot more innovation coming, but we tend to talk about it when it’s ready to launch rather than before…

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