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Emirates at its premium best

When you’re paying for yourself, premium economy really is the only way to fly

Emirates premium economy Emirates
A premium economy cabin on board an Emirates A380 aircraft – the only way to travel?

The suhur season is drawing to a close, but it is always good to save the best for last.

Emirates Airline put on quite a spread on Thursday night at the Asateer tent at the Atlantis hotel on the Palm Jumeirah, with just the right blend of informal camaraderie and corporate messaging.

The big takeaway for me – apart from the business-class toiletry bag and sleepsuit – was the confirmation that my favourite class of air travel, premium economy, is a real winner, and will be rolled out massively across the Emirates fleet in the coming months.



It was just under a year ago that I first flew premium (no need for the economy tag, really) to London, and enthused in these columns about the experience. Since then, I’ve had even better times on the real long-haul to Los Angeles, and find myself a convinced believer.

I said before, tongue in cheek, that Emirates should pioneer the concept of “no class” travel, and fit out the entire fleet with premium, abolishing economy, business and first in the process. I can reveal that the airline is indeed moving in that direction.

Currently, Emirates has 27 of the marvellous A380s fitted with premium, flying to 15 destinations. But, in what Emirates has called “the largest aircraft refurbishment programme in aviation history”, 67 more A380s and 53 Boeing 777s will be fitted out in premium style, beginning this summer.

The new A350s scheduled to join the fleet in late summer will all have premium class, which will eventually be available on roughly half the Emirates fleet.

When you’re paying for yourself, premium really is the only way to fly.

FedEx shredded my birth certificate

International air logistics is not always as smooth as a premium seat on Emirates.

A week ago, I received an email from FedEx that said in effect: “We’ve shredded your birth certificate. Thank you for choosing FedEx!”

That seems to be the final word in a saga that has been simmering since early last November, when I entrusted the only attested copy I possessed of my birth certificate to FedEx, motto “we live to deliver”.

My son in London needed it to apply for an Irish passport like his dad (sensible chap), and – swayed by the heroic dedication of FedEx “employee” Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway – I handed over this unique historical document to the DIFC branch of FedEx.

My boy tells me that one attempt to hand over the document failed because he was not at home, but that was the only time they tried to deliver. He received no further calls from FedEx or its agents.

Perplexed, I gave the DIFC desk an alternative address where I know there is always somebody at home. Again, no calls were made either to that address or to the contact number I provided.

The FedEx tracker shows that my package spent quite a lot of time at Stansted airport and the FedEx station in Hornsey, north London, until the end of November, when it was marked “return to shipper”.

After that, nothing… Until news of its destruction last week “as it was in overgoods for more than 30 days as per FedEx policy”.

I have since received a couple of emails and phone calls from FedEx people apologising “deeply” for the inconvenience caused by their mistake, as well as promises to escalate the matter to London and, even, New York.

I await the formal result of that escalated global investigation, with little hope. What would Tom Hanks do in these circumstances?

Real estate sustainability

In a great bit of reporting, AGBI’s Megha Merani revealed earlier this week that land prices in some parts of Dubai had quadrupled over the past year as developers seek to satisfy apparently unquenchable demand to buy and rent real estate in the emirate.

A 400 percent increase seems so outlandish and downright outrageous that I have a more manageable statistic to help readers get their head around the crazy state of the current property market: 84 percent.

That is the amount rental prices have gone up since October 2022, the last-but-one time I signed a tenancy contract, in my little corner of Dubai.

Last month, I moved to a similar three-bedroom apartment in the same pleasant tower, with a rather better view of the Marina admittedly, but for that massive mark-up.

On top of Megha’s revelations, the word “unsustainable” just screams at you.

Frank Kane is Editor-at-Large of AGBI and an award-winning business journalist. He acts as a consultant to the Ministry of Energy of Saudi Arabia and is a media adviser to First Abu Dhabi Bank of the UAE

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