Category Archives: Aviation

After taking a flight on Emirates, I never want to fly a domestic airline again

after-taking-a-flight-on-emirates-i-never-want-to-fly-a-domestic-airline-againI recently booked a flight from New York City to Milan for a quick getaway. Faced with the choice of flying Delta or Emirates, both of which had round-trip economy-class tickets for about $800, I quickly opted for the Middle Eastern airline.

Emirates, which is owned by Dubai’s government, has exploded onto the US market in the past several years. It is regularly rated one of the top airlines in the world, and I was psyched to experience it on the eight-hour flight.

The trip did not disappoint. I ate salmon and saffron risotto, drank complimentary (and surprisingly decent) wine, and watched a bunch of movies, including the recent Oscar winners “Birdman” and “Whiplash.”

Even before I boarded my flight from Milan to New York, I could tell this would be different from a flight on most domestic airlines. Any passenger — not just those in business class — could take a newspaper or magazine for the trip.

Even before I boarded my flight from Milan to New York, I could tell this would be different from a flight on most domestic airlines. Any passenger — not just those in business class — could take a newspaper or magazine for the trip.

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Freshly poured mimosas were available upon boarding, but unfortunately for me, those were reserved for business-class travelers.

Freshly poured mimosas were available upon boarding, but unfortunately for me, those were reserved for business-class travelers.

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The flowers hanging by the bathroom were a nice touch. They came down before takeoff.

The flowers hanging by the bathroom were a nice touch. They came down before takeoff.

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Business class looked pretty cushy, with reclining seats, reading lamps, and big TV screens.

Business class looked pretty cushy, with reclining seats, reading lamps, and big TV screens.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

But I wasn’t prepared to pony up several thousand dollars for an eight-hour flight, so I kept heading toward the back of the plane.

 But I wasn't prepared to pony up several thousand dollars for an eight-hour flight, so I kept heading toward the back of the plane.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

At least the overhead bins were spacious, even in the rear.

At least the overhead bins were spacious, even in the rear.

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My seat, 27K, was a window seat, and my row was full. Even so, I had plenty of room to wiggle my knees around. I’d hoped to fly on one of Emirates’ impressive new A380 planes, which have two decks and slightly larger economy seats. But it was hard to complain.

My seat, 27K, was a window seat, and my row was full. Even so, I had plenty of room to wiggle my knees around. I'd hoped to fly on one of Emirates' impressive new A380 planes, which have two decks and slightly larger economy seats. But it was hard to complain.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

And one thing’s for sure … I lucked out with the view. That’s one very large airplane wing, with the Swiss Alps in the background!

And one thing's for sure ... I lucked out with the view. That's one very large airplane wing, with the Swiss Alps in the background!

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Each seat came with a wrapped blanket and pillow …

Each seat came with a wrapped blanket and pillow ...

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And a set of headphones and some brightly colored stickers.

And a set of headphones and some brightly colored stickers.

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The stickers had a cool purpose: Passengers were instructed to put them on their seatbacks to let flight attendants know if they wanted to be woken up for food or shopping.

The stickers had a cool purpose: Passengers were instructed to put them on their seatbacks to let flight attendants know if they wanted to be woken up for food or shopping.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

I made sure I would be awoken for dinner. I had heard good things about Emirates’ cuisine (Saveur’s experts have named its business-class in-flight fare the best two years in a row) and didn’t want to miss it.

I made sure I would be awoken for dinner. I had heard good things about Emirates' cuisine (Saveur's experts have named its business-class in-flight fare the best two years in a row) and didn't want to miss it.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Before we took off, a flight attendant came around with hot towels. In economy class!

Before we took off, a flight attendant came around with hot towels. In economy class!

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She also handed each passenger a printed menu. In economy!

She also handed each passenger a printed menu. In economy!

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

After takeoff, I started browsing the complimentary issue of Italian fashion glossy Grazia, which I’d picked up at the newsstand. It almost immediately put me to sleep …

After takeoff, I started browsing the complimentary issue of Italian fashion glossy Grazia, which I'd picked up at the newsstand. It almost immediately put me to sleep ...

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

But I was awoken soon after when the drink cart rolled up. Unlike on most domestic airlines (even those that fly internationally), the booze was free. The white wine wasn’t half bad, and the flight attendant passed me a second bottle before I even had to ask for one. My seat neighbor collected mini bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label as if it were going out of production.

But I was awoken soon after when the drink cart rolled up. Unlike on most domestic airlines (even those that fly internationally), the booze was free. The white wine wasn't half bad, and the flight attendant passed me a second bottle before I even had to ask for one. My seat neighbor collected mini bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label as if it were going out of production.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Champagne was the only thing economy-class passengers had to pay for.

Champagne was the only thing economy-class passengers had to pay for.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The menu was printed in both English and Arabic. Normally I would avoid seafood on an airplane, but I decided to try the pan-fried salmon. How bad could it be?

The menu was printed in both English and Arabic. Normally I would avoid seafood on an airplane, but I decided to try the pan-fried salmon. How bad could it be?

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

It was actually excellent! The fish and risotto were both flavorful, no small feat for airplane food. The food was served hot, and the utensils were made of metal, not plastic.

It was actually excellent! The fish and risotto were both flavorful, no small feat for airplane food. The food was served hot, and the utensils were made of metal, not plastic.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Here’s a closer look at lunch.

Here's a closer look at lunch.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

I was ready to take advantage of “Ice,” Emirates’ entertainment system. The airline review site Skytrax just ranked Emirates the best airline for in-flight entertainment, and I was pretty impressed with the selection.

I was ready to take advantage of "Ice," Emirates' entertainment system. The airline review site Skytrax just ranked Emirates the best airline for in-flight entertainment, and I was pretty impressed with the selection.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

There were hundreds of movies to choose from, including recent Oscar winners like “Birdman,” “The Theory of Everything,” and “Whiplash.”

There were hundreds of movies to choose from, including recent Oscar winners like "Birdman," "The Theory of Everything," and "Whiplash."

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

There was also a program that let customers call one another’s seats. I was flying solo, so I didn’t try it out, but I could see kids having a field day making prank calls with it.

There was also a program that let customers call one another's seats. I was flying solo, so I didn't try it out, but I could see kids having a field day making prank calls with it.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The coolest part of Ice were the real-time cameras on the front and underbelly on the plane.

The coolest part of Ice were the real-time cameras on the front and underbelly on the plane.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

I was thrilled to find a charger next to the infotainment system. It was compatible with all kinds of plugs.

I was thrilled to find a charger next to the infotainment system. It was compatible with all kinds of plugs.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Shortly before we landed, the flight attendants handed out our “snack” — “pizza margherita al pesto.” I had high expectations …

Shortly before we landed, the flight attendants handed out our "snack" — "pizza margherita al pesto." I had high expectations ...

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

… but it was a real letdown. The dough was soggy, and I didn’t taste any pesto at all. It was still better than most airplane food I’ve eaten, though, so I decided to give them a pass on the dish.

... but it was a real letdown. The dough was soggy, and I didn't taste any pesto at all. It was still better than most airplane food I've eaten, though, so I decided to give them a pass on the dish.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

After eight hours, even a first-class suite couldn’t have enticed me to stay on the plane a minute longer. But I would definitely choose Emirates over any of the domestic airlines for my next international trip.

After eight hours, even a first-class suite couldn't have enticed me to stay on the plane a minute longer. But I would definitely choose Emirates over any of the domestic airlines for my next international trip.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

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8 Awesome Gadgets Every Female Traveler Should Check Out

For some of us, wanderlust never dies. And whether you are a jetsetter, businesswoman, or nomadic wanderer, having the right tools for the trip can make your travels effortless. There’s a ton of gadgets and apps out there so we’ve sifted through them and compiled a bunch that could serve every kind of globetrotting lady. So here it is, our definitive list of the top eight essential gadgets for women travellers—because when we’re bound for strange, beautiful, and faraway places, we’re boundless.

GoGirl

When you gotta go, you gotta go… We couldn’t really have a list of travel essentials for women without including this gadget, which makes life for nature-loving women a whole lot easier. The Go Girlis a feminine urination device that allows women to pee standing up. It’s easy to clean, fits in your purse, and makes peeing in the woods just as simple for the ladies as it is for men. Yay, for no more rashes from strange plants (#sorrynotsorry, the struggle is real).

Nimb Smart Ring

The unfortunate reality is that personal safety is always in the back of a woman’s mind, especially if she’s traveling alone. The Nimb is a sleek ‘Smart ring’ that tracks your location and gives you quick access to emergency services, people nearby, and chosen contacts. By holding Nimb’s button down for three seconds, you alert these contacts to your location, potentially saving your life. The ring is chargeable, lasting for two weeks at a time with regular use, and compatible with recent Bluetooth, Apple, Android, and Windows Mobile systems and specifications. Safe, savvy, and stylish. Preorder yours on Indiegogo now.

Bluetooth Beanie & SleepPhones

A Bluetooth beanie from BE Headwear is an unconventional pick for a travel gadget list, but for an always on-the-go traveller it’s sporty, fun, and worth it. This gadget lets you listen to music through your hat, making it perfect for bike trips (install it into your helmet) or long plane rides, where a good playlist can make a long trip shorter. If you’re not into listening on the fly, then try Sleepphones, and hear your fave playlist comfortably while you fall asleep.

JBL Charge 3

What’s life without music? Grab a JBL Charge 3 so you don’t have to find out. There seem to be countless Bluetooth speakers out there, but the Charge 3 stands high among them in durability, sound quality, size and design—and importantly, popularity. In addition to its admired technical features, the Charge 3 is economical, waterproof, and available in several different colours, which makes it a great choice particularly for summer travel.

How safe is flying? Take the aviation safety quiz

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in aviation or at least riding a commercial aircraft safely from Point A to Point B. Airplane accidents tend to get hyped in the media, generating more anxiety about flying than the facts warrant. Is it safest to fly in the front or back of an airliner? Are some airlines safer than others? Take this quiz to test your knowledge of aviation safety.

1. Worldwide, the number of people who died from aviation accidents went up in 2012. True or False

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2. In the US, what form of transportation is the safest statistically?

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3. To improve survivability, an FAA regulation requires all aircraft built after 2009 to have ...

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4. Where is the safest place to sit in a commercial aircraft?

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5. The No. 1 job of a flight attendant is ...

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6. Most aviation accidents are caused by ...

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7. What’s the oldest a commercial airline pilot can be?

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8. On Jan. 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 piloted by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger took off from LaGuardia airport in N.J. but soon crash landed in the Hudson River. No one died. In fact, a ferry arrived to rescue all passengers and crew within four minutes of the crash. What caused the crash?

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9. Which airline is on the world's Top 10 safest airlines list, according to the Air Transport Rating Agency in 2011 (based on 2010 data).

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10. In the US, which of the following had the lowest accident rate (accident per hours flown) in 2012?

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11. The problem of wake turbulence – a vortex of spinning air lingering behind a large aircraft – has been mitigated by ...

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12. Flight attendants must stay alert to prevent an emergency door being opened mid-flight by an anxious passenger. True or false?

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13. Which government agency investigates civilian aircraft accidents in the US?

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14. When was the last fatal crash by a commercial airline in the US?

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15. True or false? If you're travelling long distances, you should take multiple, short flights – that don't gain too much altitude – because they are statistically the safest.

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16. What language (or languages) must all air traffic controllers speak with pilots of international commercial airlines?

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17. Which of the following has NOT been a successful way of keeping birds away from airport runways?

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18. When a plane crashes, most people die. True or false?

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19. In late 2011, the FAA proposed new rest rules for commercial aviation pilots, including that pilots must have minimum rest periods of at least 10 hours between shifts – but exempted one group. Which group was exempted?

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20. Over the past decade, how many fatal accidents have occurred on average each year on large US commercial airlines?

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21. Plane crashes don't get as much media coverage as murders. True or false?

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