Emirates Air May Turn Crisis Into Opportunity

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As corporations try to trim costs by cutting back on their in-house flight departments, business workers in need of long-distance transport may turn to luxury airlines -- at least, that's the hope of Emirates Airlines, based in Dubai. The airline hopes to appeal to business-class and first-class travelers in the U.S. who need to travel abroad. The airline's widebody fleet can fly nonstop between just about any two spots on earth. To ease the weariness of the trip, Emirates offers perks such as complimentary limousine service, gourmet on-board meals, personal 17-inch video screens with over 1,200 channels of in-flight entertainment, hot showers, and private suites and mini-bars. Emirates recently treated about 500 invited guests in the San Francisco Bay area to a lavish dinner party with actress Hilary Swank as host and a live show by Sheryl Crow, USA Today reported on Tuesday. "It was over the top," said travel broker Terry Brodt. The airline operates more than 120 new widebody airplanes, including 58 Airbus A380s.

The cost for all this comfort isn't cheap. A trip from San Francisco to Dubai would run about $11,000 in business class, or almost $18,000 for a private first-class suite, according to USA Today.