The Dubai-based airline, Emirates is generally considered a Muslim airline – much in the same way that Dubai and the UAE are Muslim. But Emirates, just like Dubai, has always been known to push the boundaries of what might be considered appropriate under Islamic teachings. It’s one of the reasons both airline and city have been able to appeal to so many people.
In some respects, Emirates is very much a Muslim airline – for example, all of the meals Emirates onboard are Halal and its staff are expected to dress modestly (notice how the female staff uniform skirt falls just below the knee?) but that’s about where it ends. Unlike other ‘Muslim’ airlines like Saudia, Royal Brunei or even Egypt Air, Emirates offers a full and complimentary bar service – even during Ramadan.
But when it came to celebrating special events, Emirates only used to include Islamic holy events – such as Ramadan when the airline offers a special Iftar service for fasting passengers. That was until a couple of years ago.
In 2016, Emirates celebrated Christmas for the very first time – developing a seasonal menu and Christmas themed treats to delight a growing Christian passenger demographic on flights from Europe, Australia and North America. The Christmas theme was extended even further last year, although the festive dinner’s remained Halal with turkey sausages substituting the traditional pork.
For India, the airline’s largest market, Emirates started celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights last year and even Germany’s famous (and very boozy) Oktoberfest was honoured in 2017.
By and large, Emirates has celebrated these special events in the past with free treats. But in today’s economic environment, it’s probably unsurprising that an airline would try to capitalise and profit on the back of a special event.
And what better event than Valentines Day? The Hallmark day of the year, loved by florists, jewellers and card makers. For just $43 USD, Emirates will now sell you a vanilla or chocolate cake accompanied by a 200ml bottle of Moët et Chandon Brut NV – available for Valentine’s day only.
Or how about paying for Business Class Lounge access, the airline suggests – the perfect way to “impress” your Valentine’s date. There will even be heart-shaped Red Velvet cakes and mud cakes available.
And of course, if you’ve forgotten to purchase your Valentine a gift, then don’t despair. Emirates is reminding its passengers that its Duty-Free catalogue, is a great place to get a last minute Valentine’s gift. And between the 10th – 18th February, Emirates is offering a 20% discount on all purchases over $95.
The origins of Valentines Day (or St. Valentine’s Day) date back to Ancient Rome – the exact story is open to debate but it is generally considered to be a Catholic celebration. Although, to be perfectly honest, the official romantic day of the year probably lost all religious significance years ago.
In the last 12-months, we’ve seen both Emirates and neighbouring Etihad Airways, introduce a number of money-making ideas. Emirates was the first to introduce paid-for access to its lounges at its hub in Dubai for Economy Class passengers – an idea copied and extended by Etihad who allows access to its lounges worldwide.
Emirates has also introduced advanced seat reservation fees and “forward seating” areas – the idea being that you can pay to sit closer to the front of the plane for a speedier disembarkation. Not that Emirates is alone – Singapore Airlines in amongst a number of airlines who have similar fee’s. Lufthansa is also set to introduce a “preferred seating zone” as well.
As well as the money-making Valentine celebrations, Emirates will also be gifting a heart-shaped milk chocolate to every passenger departing Dubai on 14th February. First Class passengers will also get a duo of heart-shaped Belgian chocolates along with their usual goodies and Moet & Chandon Rosé Impérial champagne will be served in the Emirates lounge.