I get this question a lot from people interested in Dubai Tourism packages or Business, which of the UAE airlines offer the best flight service to Dubai? Both Airlines offer great service, have good safety record and are aggressively competing against their long established European and American competitors. My travel agency counterparts think it’s a pretty straight forward comparison, they’d usually advice you go with Etihad if you’re on a tight budget but if you have an issue with not flying directly (flying to Abu Dhabi and connecting Dubai by Road) or the one hour bus ride offered by Etihad to connect Dubai from Abu Dhabi and have the extra money to spare then go with Emirates. I don’t totally agree with that, so this blog post will try to x-ray some of the key elements to evaluate, in the end you’ll be the judge. Just a few caveats before I start;
This evaluation is just for the Lagos – Dubai route, it does not include other destinations
This is my opinion, I can understand any difference in view so please feel free to join the conversation and share your Dubai Tourism or Business trip experience in the comment section
I will look at the following elements;
Flight Check-In Process
Airport Experience/Duty Free Shopping
This is one of the clear cut parts of this comparison. I was utterly disappointed when Etihad reduced flight frequency last year; I was even more disappointed with how they handled the rescheduling of already scheduled flights (they didn’t offer adequate palliative and left most of the legwork to the Travel agency). We were actually expecting them to increase frequency to two daily flights(from one daily flight), that way they’ll have one morning and one night flight, that would have really put them ahead of Emirates which offered afternoon and Night flights(the afternoon flight isn’t a very good schedule for Dubai tourism packages). Presently Etihad offers six flights per week compared with two and one daily flights respectively from Lagos and Abuja daily offered by Emirates. There’s really no comparison here, it’s a KNOCK OUT!
Emirates is usually about thirty to sixty thousand Naira more expensive that Etihad. Etihad is rarely more expensive. If you consider the impact of the price difference on the entire Dubai tourism packages, especially if it’s an entire family, you’ll agree with me that it is substantial. Some folks will try to justify this with the fact that you’ll be flying to Abu Dhabi and connecting Dubai by Road when you fly Etihad. This segment should be called Value for money but that’s the objective of this entire post so you can decide at the end of it which of the two airlines offers more value for money. Additionally there are some exclusive deals you can get on Hotels if you flight Emirates for instance there are Emirates exclusive rates for Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Burj Al Arab.
This one really beats my understanding, Emirates’ check-in area is usually a lot more organised than Etihad’s. More often than not, Etihad’s check-in area looks like an Oshodi or Obalende, yes really crowded and a little disorganized, don’t get me wrong, the people are not unruly or anything like that(they have a good class of Nigerians flying Etihad) but it’s just always over crowded, there’s obviously something they’re not getting right
This one clearly goes to Etihad though I wouldn’t call it a knock out as there’s still room for improvement…actually a lot of room if you consider how much shopping Nigerians do in Dubai. A good number of folks that buy a Dubai tourism package do so for the shopping opportunity that it offers
Emirates’ Standard allowance:
30kg in Economy Class
40kg in Business Class
50kg in First Class
Excess baggage rates per kilogram: USD 35(plus applicable taxes) – This can be purchased both from a travel agency and online
Etihad’s Standard allowance:
2 X 23kg in Economy Class
2 X 32kg in Business Class
2 X 32kg in First Class
Excess baggage rates per kilogram: USD 35(plus applicable taxes)
3rd to 6th Piece of not more than 23kg per piece purchased via;
Online/Travel Agency: $140
Contact Centre: $160
Airport Experience/Duty Free Shopping
This is one of those overhyped things not just for Dubai but for all countries, you’d be surprised how often you pay more for an item while thinking you’re getting a bargain because you found it in duty free shop. I’d advice to buy only things you have a good idea of the price, that way you can tell if it’s a bargain or not. This one goes to Emirates, yes that’s one of their strengths, the duty free shopping experience, and the entire airport experience is actually way up there. Etihad is a smaller airport and doesn’t offer half as much options as you’ll get at Emirates DXB Airport. The DXB airport feels like a major hub which it truly is. Several Dubai Tourism Package customers have complained about being treated discourteously at the Abu Dhabi airport, that’s just another reason why I prefer the Dubai airport experience.
I kinda find Emirates cabin crew to be less helpful and fashionable than Etihad’s. The crew at Emirates consistently act phoney when you ask for a second helping of a meal or drink. I’ve been lied to (oops we’ve run out!! But then you still see them serving it) and even avoided (they promise to get it and just avoid you subsequently or pretend to not recognize you afterwards). Etihad’s crew are usually fashion on point, perfect dress size, perfect make up etc while Emirates usually have petite, slightly bland and unfriendly Asians. Both airlines lack local content, I’ve never seen or heard of a Nigeria crew or heard of a crew that speak a local language, I actually find it quite offensive when they boast about having a crew that can speak several languages including Punjab, Hindi etc Hello!!!! This flight is from/to Nigeria, besides English we speak Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and over 50 other local languages, is it too much to ask that you speak one of the local languages or maybe pidgin English? No offence to folks from India but your Punjab and Hindi language skills is not useful to Nigerians as we do not speak or understand it.
I’ll lean slightly towards Etihad on this one as I prefer the user interface, screen responsiveness and general usability of the E-Box (Etihad’s In-flight Entertainment system). Don’t get me wrong ICE (Emirate’s in-flight entertainment system) is great and offers a whole lot of variety just like the e-box. I particularly like the fact that you can place your Duty Free Orders via the E-box. I noticed a few Nollywood movies on Emirates, while I’m not a big Nollywood fan, I think lots of Nigerians will find it interesting. They should make efforts to improve their Nollywood content, I believe IrokoTV has rights to a very impressive selection of Nollywood movies, the best out there I might add, it shouldn’t be difficult for to arrange a deal for their rights. I was also slightly put off by how much commercials that ran on ICE advertising top resorts like the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Atlantis etc
You’ll most probably eat some curry or cheesy stuff on both flights, while this is not a problem for me; it is for most Nigerians so both airlines need to substantially up their game in this department. While the curry and cheesy stuff are great, our poundo/Amala with Egusi or vegetable soup taste better to us. It’ll be great to have rice and plantain too. I learnt Emirates now offer rice, Eforiro etc Way to go guys! Based on that I’ll give this one to Emirates. You can have your Travel Agency put in a special meal request which is subject to approval for both airlines. Our travel agency has however not ut in a request for a local meal before, we will try this in the next days
This evaluation so far is as seen and experienced by me, add to that also the fact that I work for a travel agency, so customers also share their Dubai Tourism travel experience I’d really let to get your opinion of both airlines, feel free to drop your comments
Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I finally got around to doing my first post!!!!!!! Okay, I'll dive right into it.The thing about shopping in Dubai is that the actual shopping is quite average. Yes I said it! However the experience is quite intriguing. If you've shopped in New York, London,Paris or Milan then Dubai malls will for sure be a disappointment. You get to see all of the familiar brands, just more expensive I'd say. You can always find an odd bargain here and there, for instance I got a Nikon DSLR at Burjuman Centre with so many add-ons(Additional Memory,Pouch etc) at a crazy price. If you're a strictly "bargain shopper", you might want to think again about Dubai. Below, I'll try to capture some of the most popular shopping resorts in Dubai.
Dubai Mall - this is the biggest shopping mall in the world based on leasable space. It is located in the popular downtown area that has lot of famous attractions like Burj Khalifa. The mall itself houses some remarkable attractions like the Dubai Ice rink, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Sega Republic and Kidzania.
Mall of the Emirates - This is another really popular Dubai mall, it houses some interesting attractions like Magic Planet which is a a family friendly entertainment center offering rides, games and a theme park. It also has a a 14 screen Multiplex cinema, Ski Dubai, lot of dinning options and 2 five star hotels (Kempinsky and Sheraton).
Burjuman Centre - Located in the middle of bustling Bur, the Burjuman Centre specializes in high end fashion,it has all the major brands. Now most of the brands are luxury brands so you are sure to shell out some good cash for some good stuff. Other than the luxury brands there are also some more affordable brands like DKNY, Guess etc The mall has an old and new new part with the earlier housing most of the luxury brands while the later houses the more affordable brand. The mall also has a food court,play area (located in the 3rd floor). The sunny courtyards and the impressive gardens gives the mall a unique outdoor feel. The are plenty of dinning options, underground parking and a taxi rank outside the mall.
Dragon Mart - Now this is the biggest Chinese market outside China. The mart offers a rare channel to Chinese products for the Middle East and North African markets. This 150,000 square meter mart containing almost 4000 shops offers both retail and wholesale trading opportunity for Chinese manufactured products. The mart is situated on the Hatta Al Ain highway.
Global Village - This shopping resort is situated in Dubailand is is touted to be the biggest leisure, entertainment and tourism project. It is Dubai's most unique and exciting cultural and tourism destination. It has 37 country pavilions and offers culinary, entertainment and breath taking live performances in addition to a theme park.
Deira City Centre - this is situated on the waterfront. Shopper are usually suprised by the rousing welcome that comes with a complimentary bottle of water. This mall boasts of over 350 stores offering a diverse range of merchandise. The major fashion brands are present. This mall is great destination for jewelry shopping as it offers 33 dedicated jewelry stores. It also houses a cinema, Magic Planet and some hotels. Deira City Center is the first mall to offer leisure, entertainment and shopping within the same complex in Dubai.
Al Ghurair Centre - This is one of the prime fashionista destinations in Dubai boasting of an impressive collection of the major brands. There are also shops specializing in local fashion. The mall also offers a large accessory gallery with a cosmetic section. There's also a large cinema offering both Hollywood and Bollywood movies, a kid's play area that ensure that the entire family gets entertained.
Ibn Battuta Mall - This is the largest themed shopping mall in the world, designed in honor of Ibn Battuta the renowned Arabic explorer. You can enjoy a shopping experience that is historically informative. The mall offers about 275 shops, 50 restaurants, a 21 screen cinema, a large exhibition center(China Court) amongst others.
Wafi Shopping Mall - This mall that offers about 350 stores describes itself as offering a unique shopping experience. What really differentiates Wafi is perhaps its extensive collection of art.This is inspired by both the legacies of pharaoh and modern art. The mall also houses plenty of art galleries featuring both local and international artists. The mall is hard to miss, it has a unique pyramid type façade, the obvious Egyptian theme continues throughout the mall. Lifestyle is another area of emphasis for Cleopatra Spa boasts pristine decor and an extremely relaxing atmosphere. There are also several restaurants and retail outlets.
Al Bustan Centre - This mall is a great choice for guests with kids. It has the biggest indoor amusement parlor in UAE. Fantasy Kingdom has a medieval castle theme,there is also a traditional video arcade,rides for the kids and bumper cars for the older kids. The kids can busy up with the several play options while you explore over 80 retail outlets that the mall offers.
Festival Centre - This mall is situated at the banks of Dubai creek, it offers lots of great retail outlets. The most distinctive feature of this mall is the 250 metre wide yacht club that it is built around.This mall is surrounded by some of the top hotels in Dubai. This is a family friendly mall which offers a cinema, bowling alley and even a karaoke lounge.