Saturday, May 23, 2020

Coronavirus changes the face of Emirates first and business class

A lot of people are anxious for life to resume its regularity at the earliest; but aren’t you curious about what changes it will bring? One thing is clear, things won’t be the same again and in order to get the ball rolling, we have to make modifications, take proper precautions, and get down on the battlefield called life.
For now, I am curious to see how service will evolve in international first class on one of the world’s top airlines? Emirates is restarting with selected flights this week and a new set of guidelines has been distributed to cabin crew which shows how Covid-19 is taking some of the shine off Emirates’ premium travel experience. Emirates’ crowning glory, their swish cocktail bar, and lounge will now be closed as will the onboard showers for first class passengers. The cocktail bar was a great spot to socialize while traveling which is why that would be the first thing to go in order to practice social distancing and reduce touch points.
Cabin crew courtesies will also change to limit interaction with passengers; these measures are very similar to the ones being followed by Qatar Airways that we posted earlier. While you can welcome your customers warmly the crew is no longer required to escort them to their suite/seat. They are not expected to help customers stow their hand luggage or hang their jackets. In fact, crew is not required to make customers beds either. Even the dine-in experience will change with most food being pre-plated, wrapped in plastic, cutlery will also come in its own envelope, and the variety of wine carried on each flight will also be reduced.
There are no freebies here anymore, not even Wifi or live TV. When flying Emirates you’ll have to pay 9,5 Euros (US$10) for 150MB or 14,70 Euros (US$16) for 500MB. Live TV service entails significant data and licensing costs, which is why they are now removed from Emirates’ in-flight ICE entertainment system. All these changes though necessary do take the premium out of first-class. Would you still travel first-class or does it make more sense to travel economy now?

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