FOR HEDONISTS, WORKERS, SLEEPERS AND THOSE IN MEDICAL NEED
Samsana Ismail, Communications Manager at Airbus Africa Middle East, has been summoned to an important meeting at the A380 lounge. Reluctantly, she drags herself away from the IFE where, unbeknown to her, Airbus colleagues and media guests are hiding behind the curtain to wish her happy birthday. “Surprise, surprise!”
Glasses line the bar and Emirates crew take Polaroid photos as Samsana is presented with flowers and a gift; it’s the first time I’ve experienced a party at 38,000 feet. The fun soon eats up an hour of the sevenhour flight to Paris and when I return to my seat, the passenger to my left is asleep on the flatbed; another is on a laptop; others simply watching films or listening to music. The space of the Emirates A380 premium section allows all these disparate experiences simultaneously.
Returning to Dubai, I was reminded of a more serious side to the A380. An Australian lady was wheeled into the Emirates Lounge at Paris CDG, her left leg in velcro plaster. She had been hit by a motorcycle at a pedestrian crossing. Surgery had been a success but her leg had to be kept straight and a porter was helping with boarding arrangements. Every airline may carry passengers with medical needs but there is something about the cabin space of the A380 which looks particularly equipped to deal with these kind of challenges. Moreover, thanks to the breadth of Emirates’ A380 network, the passenger would be flying the superjumbo all the way home (also on the Dubai-Sydney sector).