Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Emirates New York Review

Well I finally managed to check out the Emirates Dubai- New York (JFK) flight. A really long flight – the longest I’ve taken at 14 hours and the verdict:- A brilliant flight by Emirates.

The flight started off at 8:00a.m. dubai time which means you can get into Dubai airport at 6:00 a.m. – 6:30 a.m (very convenient) and it reaches JFK at 2 p.m giving you quite a bit of the day in NYC.

The flight takes quite an usual flight path going from dubai upwards through Iran to Russia passing just under Moscow and flow there crossing the Baltic Sea into Scandinavia and then going westwards and crossing Greenland and the Atlantic entering Canada and then turning south to hit New York. I wondered why the flight was taking such a convoluted route until I realized that it only seemed convoluted when spread out over a flat map. When we consider that the globe is round, it probably is the shortest route. In shorter flights the shortest point is usually straight line approach as the distance is negligible compared to the radius of the globe. Not so in this case.

Kind of aircrafts – A340 -500s the largest aircraft presently flown by Emirates until their new A380s come into service. The two things worth noting were the in-flight entertainment and a new service – I’ll call it the moving sky.

The inflight entertainment on the A340- 500s is a definite step ahead from the regular. It features video on demand with a personal TV screen on every seat and so you can surf and they have some pretty good comedies. Personally watched Friends, Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle and a bit of the Incredibles!! What is really noteworthy is that the user interface and the overall experience of using the controls with the wired remote control is excellent. Really a job well done!!

The Moving sky feature. This was something that really impressed me the most. Most frequent flyers would remember how its quite normal when taking a long flight to spend a day or two coping with jet lag esp. when taking a longer flight. The moving sky effect is that on the A340- 500s the roof of the aircraft is lit up with a variety of effects synchronized with the flight paths so that the virtual sky mimics the sky at the take off and landing destination and thus helps your body in coping with the transition. This is noteworthy considering for instance the Dubai- JFK flight was a 14 hour flight where we were chasing the sun from Dubai to new York leaving dubai at 8a.m. and landing at dubai at 2p.m. so a passenger whose window blinds were open would have been quite disoriented. However, with this feature the passenger adjusts much better to the changing time zones. I for one am very much impressed. The roof also has stars which twinkle!!! Must be experienced. And Also, for the foodies, yes the food is very good though you do feel overfed at the end of it all – a full meal, a breakfast and a hearty lunch in the span of 14 hours esp. when you are sitting down and not buring any of those calories.

On the whole, Emirates lives up to its reputation as the airline that innovates on this flight.

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