Monday, December 05, 2011

Happening Dubai

We've been back in Dubai for a week after our trip to Brunei and it's a good time to be here.

Daytime temperature is in the high twenties celcius with very low humidity and, for Dubai, the sky is quite clear.

There's plenty going on too.

Sporting-wise, the Third Dubai International Parachuting Championship is happening here in Dubai Marina. The huge international Dubai Rugby Sevens have just finished...with a win for England. And next weekend is golf's Dubai World Championship.

Global Village is open for business, with pavilions from many countries forming what's in reality a huge souk (market) with some real bargains.

And the Dubai International Film Festival, with Tom Cruise here for the world premier of his latest Mission Impossible movie, which was partly shot around, and on, Burj Khalifa.

December 2 was the 40th anniversary of the formation of the country. It's the longest lasting union in the Arab world which gets stronger each year and there were major celebrations all over the country.

Flight's booked for Sydney next week...and in spite of it being summer there now the weather looks less than inviting. The Sydney Morning Herald is telling me cloudy, showers, maximum 20C. And the coldest first week of summer for more than four decades.

Talking of flights, there's a story in the paper here this morning about Emirates, my airline of choice.

The traditional carriers all complain about the unfair advantage Emirates (and Etihad & Qatar) have in being government owned and demand their governments' protection.

But as I've said before, that's not the real reason they're doing so well. It's mainly about product and service.

A couple of examples.

Reading about American Airline's Chapter Eleven application we're reminded that many US (and other) airlines charge for checked baggage. Others with a free allowance give 20kg for economy pasengers. Emirates gives 30kg free.

Now Emirates are offering a baggage delivery service here in the UAE. Travellers coming through Terminal 3, the dedicated Emirates terminal at Dubai International, can arrange to have their baggage collected and delivered to them. Up to four bags will cost AED200 (US$54) delivered to Dubai or neighbouring emirates, and AED250 to the further emirates. Extra bags are AED10 (US$2.72) each.

It's the sort of thing the other airlines omit to say when complaining about Emirates taking their business. And it's service they don't match. Their default strategy in hard times is to cut services, give their passengers less and charge them more.

It rarely works, in any business.

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