Emirates’ first and business class customers can once again enjoy chauffeur services and the airport lounge experience in Dubai, with the re-instating of these services today taking effect.
Though seasoned Pointy End travellers have come to take these perks for granted, for those of us who only fly business occasionally, they are a little bit ‘extra’ (try walking into the Dubai lounge without thinking: ‘holy sh*t’).
Especially considering no-one has benefitted from them for the last few months, those who can now make use of them now will surely be appreciative.
The return of lounges and chauffeur services follows a health and safety review and comes as demand for air travel through Dubai continues to (slowly) climb.
To resume these services, much like when Emirates co-ordinated with the Dubai authorities to become the first airline in the world to introduce COVID pre-flight blood tests back in April, Emirates says it has implemented a “comprehensive” set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees.
To start, the Dubai flagship carrier will open one lounge in Terminal 3 Concourse B, Dubai International Airport (DXB) to serve First Class, Business Class and eligible Emirates Skywards members from 10am on the 1st of July (with more to follow around the world in the next few months).
Lounge guests will enter through biometric gates using facial recognition to reduce contact, and the 9,209 square metre space in DXB will offer Emirates’ premium customers a quiet haven to relax and recharge prior to their flights, with a reduced seating capacity and increased space between each occupied seat to aid social distancing.
Masks are mandatory, too.
“Lounge facilities and amenities have been modified to ensure customer comforts are offered in keeping with the highest health and safety standards, reducing contact and risk of infection,” Emirates says.
In keeping with this focus on hygine, “Food in the lounge are now offered in hygienically sealed meal boxes, including vegetarian options, instead of a buffet offering” and “complimentary beverages, including spirits, will be offered in single serve bottles” Emirates has announced.
Finally, “the lounge will be sanitised and fumigated at the end of each day” and “throughout the day, lounge employees will sanitise each seat and table after each customer leaves” whilst wearing PPE.
The chauffeur service is back as of today too, in Dubai and other cities.
New rules will see the cars cleaned and disinfected inside and out at the end of each shift, the drivers in Dubai wearing masks and gloves, and stringent checks to ensure drivers are fit for work.
The “high touch” points of the vehicle (think: door handles and luggage) will be sanitised at the end of the trip, and child car seats are available on request (and are disinfected and then shrink wrapped after each use).
In addition, “Each car will be limited to 3 customers and masks are mandatory for passengers in Dubai,” the airline says, and larger vehicles, which can accommodate 4 passengers, are available on request.
At the airport, multiple measures continue to ensure the health and safety of travellers including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers. Dubai International airport also employs enhanced disinfecting and deep cleaning throughout the terminal.
All these changes come in a context where the Emirates network serves over 50 destinations, facilitating additional travel options through a convenient connection in Dubai for customers across the world, while undertaking full on measures to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees.
Also of note is customers from Emirates’ network (whose countries will let them) will also now be able to travel to Dubai as the city opens for business and leisure visitors from the 7th of July, with new air travel protocols that facilitate travel for UAE citizens, residents and tourists while safeguarding the health and safety of visitors and communities.
Unfortunately, for now, that rules Australia out. But if you’re hankering for a first class fix you can always live vicariously…