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Travel and hospitality

Emirates looks to elevate travel environment, focuses on culinary experience

August 16, 2022

Emirates' first class travelers will definitely not go hungry during their flights. Image credit: Emirates


Air travel no longer serves as a means to reaching a destination, but has evolved to become a full-blown experience.

Dubai-based Emirates Airlines is recognizing that travelers are now not only seeking, but expecting, certain luxury amenities during their experiences. With a new $2 billion investment in onboard customer experience, the airline is looking to set itself apart by providing unparalleled flights.

“While others respond to industry pressures with cost cuts, Emirates is flying against the grain and investing to deliver ever better experiences to our customers,” said Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airlines, in a statement.

“Through the pandemic we’ve continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure our customers travel with assurance and ease, including digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground,” he said. “Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programs to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level.”

A culinary experience
While air travel can be nerve-wracking for some, Emirates is aiming to provide disparate types of entertainment and culinary experiences that make travelers feel excited and completely immersed in comfort.

New menus are set to be introduced to Emirates’ first class cabins beginning Sept. 1, 2022 with dishes including pan-fried salmon trout with moqueca sauce and creole rice, roasted duck breast with orange thyme jus, steamed broccolini and fondant potatoes.

Travelers will have plenty of culinary options to choose from, with vegan options included. Image credit: Emirates

Reports indicate that as of January 2021, there were about 79 million vegans worldwide. Emirates recognizes the growing affinity for veganism, implementing a new vegan menu with plant-based meals including pan-roasted king oyster mushrooms, jackfruit biryani and sliced kohlrabi garnished with burnt orange.

What is luxury without caviar? Emirates will be offering unlimited caviar and will also offer Dom Pérignon vintage Champagne, the only airline with an exclusive agreement to sell the beverage brand on board.

For those who would like to meld the comfort of food and entertainment, Emirates is presenting its ice inflight system. The system allows first-class travelers to choose from 5,000 channels while ordering salted popcorn, lobster rolls, sliders, edamame and more on demand.

To prove its commitment to customer experience, Emirates has collaborated with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, an esteemed hospitality management school, in training its staff on providing travelers with elevated experiences.

With this partnership, Emirates’ crew has been engaged in intensive training programs focused on four service pillars: excellence, attentiveness, innovation and passion.

Some popcorn and sliders to elevate one's flight. Image credit: Emirates

The airline has also prioritized travelers’ physical comfort in its refurbishment of aircraft fleet interiors, with retrofitted cabins with new or reupholstered seats, paneling, flooring and additional features.

Edible priorities
The culinary component of luxury travel has ostensibly never served more importance. Several travel and hospitality brands are continuing to pose their edible offerings as a focal point in gaining consumer business.

As the hospitality industry evolves and innovates, Four Seasons alumnus Christopher Hunsberger is helping usher the sector into a delectable direction.

Mr. Hunsberger has teamed up with acclaimed chef Charlier Palmer to launch a new line of hotels revolving around one of life’s greatest delights: food. With Appellation, the pair is taking thoughtful culinary creation within luxury spaces to new levels, as guests will have access to a host of ingredients, cookbooks and learning opportunities, with properties slated to open in late 2023 or early 2024 (see story).

Brands continue to find unique ways in which to spotlight their culinary prowess as well.

Earlier this month, hospitality group Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts’ Hotel Shenzen began channeling culture and cuisine in a new collaboration.

Partnering with Chinese contemporary art institution UCCA, the hotel has produced edible offerings inspired by UCCA’s exhibition, Maurizio Cattelan: Wish You Were Here. Maurizio Cattelan: Wish You Were Here Afternoon Tea will offer several elegant and delicious desserts (see story).