United is leaving the region. I was soooo ready to say, "SEE YA!" until I had the experience of flying in cattle class of an Emirates 777.
First off, United and Delta are pissed off at the General Services Administration (GSA) - the main US government procurement entity - for awarding the route between the GCC and Europe to Jet Blue. Jet Blue doesn't own any long-range aircraft. They also don't fly to the GCC. So, they are doing a "code share" (profit sharing) with Emirates. Since United and Delta aren't making any money in this region because they've been cut out of the route contract, they're pulling out. By law, anyone on US official business has to fly on a US carrier that has been awarded that route by the GSA. (The program was designed to give revenue to US airlines from US government travelers.) So guess who they are going to have to fly with (at least as far as Europe)? Emirates. BAM.
I have been so outrageously pissed off at United on the last several flights that I vowed NEVER AGAIN under any circumstances to fly United. I will actually write a post about the experience I had on my previous flight with them. So, I tried to use all my miles on my Christmas trip back to the US. I only had enough for one way, so I bought a return ticket on Emirates to see how they would do.
Let's talk about United's flight out of Kuwait. We were delayed on the ground with no information as to why until about an hour and a half later. People were checking their United apps to see what was going on. It said our flight was going to Boston. Uh.... no.... we were supposed to go to DC. NOPE. We were going to Boston because "the plane is low on fuel." Ok, how is that even possible if the plane is still sitting on the tarmac in Kuwait where there is fuel available?
In the spirit of the Christmas season, I think most people boarding the plane were just happy to be going home. No one really complained. (I kept singing, "Please come to Boston; she said NO!") We all kind of brushed it off.... and flew to Boston where we sat on the plane while they re-fueled. Unfortunately for those passengers who LIVE in Boston, they weren't allowed off the plane. They had to fly to DC, where they missed their connecting flights to (you've got it) BOSTON.
So, we landed 5 hours late. Thank you, United. Merry Christmas to you too.
Had a great time in DC for Christmas. Didn't want to leave. Hoping that one of these next trips I won't have to. More on that later....
Emirates. I dunno why I thought this, but when I saw the ad with Jennifer Aniston, I assumed the clientele on Emirates would be of an upper class. It wasn't to be. I've been having severe back problems (more on that later...) and just couldn't stand the thought of being wedged in a middle seat on their 3-5-3 seating configuration in economy. So when the very lovely Emirates representative came around and offered upgrades to business class for $1000, I whipped out my trusty Amex and moved to the front of the line.
Emirates Business Class: Now that thar has United's business class beat by 100%. I've been in United's business class before and practically had meals thrown at me. One of my friends (hi, Mike!) bought a $12,000 first class ticket on United and was treated like a prisoner. (I may be mistaken, but I think they gave him a $100 voucher after he complained.) Anyhoo, Emirates was FABULOUS. Ana came over and introduced herself as the person who would be taking care of us. She was lovely and kept refilling my champagne glass. The toiletries bag was Bvlgari (soooo nice!) and they also had Bvlgari perfume and cologne in the bathroom - along with fresh cut orchids. I really felt pampered and would highly recommend Emirates business class (or first, which didn't look too much different).
But.... economy.... uh, notsomuch.
I kept my economy ticket from Dubai to Kuwait: Horrible horrible horrible. (I am SO glad that I upgraded on the long flight.) I had a big guy sitting next to me, so I was leaning over into the aisle to accommodate his size. I got whacked in the arm/shoulder 3 different times.
Emirates has no "economy plus" section like United does. Economy plus on United gives you 5" extra room between you and the seat in front of you. And let me tell you - as many of us know - 5 inches makes a HUGE difference sometimes.
I had a hard time in that uncomfortable chair. I can only imagine how some of those big men (contractors, service members, etc) are going to feel, squished into those little tiny, no-lumbar-support seats. I felt like my butt was in a vice.
As for me, I'm not forced to fly Emirates, so I will be checking out the competition. I hate that no one has a direct flight from Kuwait to DC. I don't want to do the stop over in Europe. So I'm thinking maybe Qatar Airways or Etihad. Have any of you flown with either and what do you think?