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Travel, UX & Technology

The User Experience of Emirates

The UX Connections team recently arrived in Dubai, and the journey here was quite something. Continuing on with our Down in Dubai: UX Inspirations series, we thought we’d carry out a review – specifically, the user experience of Emirates. 

Emirates: A History

Emirates as a company is known for its luxurious customer experience. One of two flag carriers of the United Arab Emirates, it is the largest airline in the Middle East, and had a pre-pandemic rate of operating over 3,600 flights per week from Dubai International Airport! Emirates began back in the 1980’s, when the royal family of Dubai proposed a new airline centred around Dubai that could secure air transportation services for the country and region. This was due to Gulf Air’s reduction of flights to the area, thus meaning they were losing essential airway services. Nowadays, Emirates is seen as a representation of luxury travel!

The Emirates User Experience

The Review

After travelling both to and from Dubai using Emirates airways, we have a few thoughts on some standout aspects of the customer experience, and some improvements they could implement for it to be even better!

Seating

One thing we noticed was the slightly larger amount of leg room that was offered on board the Emirates A380, in comparison to other plane seats we had experienced in the past (with a 34-inch pitch versus 31-inch pitch on other airlines). The extra room made for a more comfortable experience on board, which was very useful whilst on an overnight flight!

Another aspect that helped when it came to sleeping aboard the plane was the reclining seats. Though this feature isn’t new or limited to this plane type, it’s certainly a useful addition to the overall Emirates comfort experience. Available to all seat types, it is not a luxury that is only reserved for those who have paid for a specific area of the plane, which is very  

Food

They offer a huge selection of food choices to choose from whilst completing your online check-in. These include, but aren’t limited to: Indian Vegetarian, Low Sugar, Low Fat, Kosher, Vegan and Halal. Their default meal, also known as ‘The Emirates Menu’, includes meat. 

Though you have two options in terms of main meal, we thought that this area could be improved in terms of how many options you have on-board. Since food options can only be changed up until 24 hours before your flight, Patch noted that it would be beneficial to have spares on board in case some forget to change their food preferences before boarding. This is something we have experienced on other airlines (having a vegetarian option on-board), and something that we feel could greatly improve the user experience of Emirates.

Entertainment

In terms of onboard entertainment, the Emirates ICE system has a huge selection. Whether you want films, TV shows, live news broadcasts, podcasts or music, it’s all available for you. Another very interesting aspect to this is that you can watch the cameras attached to the plane from three different angles. This means that you can watch the plane take off and land, as if you were sitting on the outside yourself!

One thing that we thought could be improved was the headphones offered by Emirates. Different to other airlines we’ve travelled on, you are given a pair of headphones, rather than earphones. UX Consultant, Ali, noted that the size difference of these two offerings meant that you had to increase the volume quite a lot to be able to hear the screen over the noise of the plane. Not only this, but when it came to sleeping, the headphones were quite uncomfortable to lean on. Overall, earphones would be a better alternative. 

Tyrell, when discussing the on-flight entertainment, noted that a great feature was the ability to call other seats from the hand-held device under the screen. This meant he could communicate with other members of our group even though we were quite spread out across the plane. 

In terms of UX of the actual screen, Ali noted that there were some things that could be improved. For example, there was no option to see all of the films, music or podcasts on offer. Instead, they were categorised into general groups, making the user journey slightly more long-winded when they didn’t know what type of film they wanted to watch.

Flight

The takeoff and landing were smooth for the two flights we had with Emirates. The G force was not as strong as we used to feel. Also, we could barely feel the turbulence during the flight. An aircraft as large as A380 provides passengers with flights of much more steadiness.

Overall, we had a very enjoyable experience flying with Emirates. We agree that the customer experience of Emirates feels very luxurious and affluent, even in economy class. However, there are definitely some things that could make the UX of flying with Emirates even better! Make sure to follow our socials to see what we got up to in Dubai, and read up on our Down in Dubai: UX Inspirations series!

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