‘Shower of Affection’ Greets Emirates Flight

The Dallas-Fort Worth drought ended just in time to greet the first Emirates flight from Dubai. <em> Photo by Jeanne Prejean</em>
The Dallas-Fort Worth drought ended just in time to greet the first Emirates flight from Dubai. Photography by Jeanne Prejean

The Eagle, er, the Emirates, has landed. At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, at about 8:45 this morning, to great fanfare – as shown in the photo above of the so-called “shower of affection” that was accorded the Boeing 777-200LR aircraft upon touchdown. (“Shower of affection” means something else where I come from, but apparently this is an aviation ritual.) The plane had left Dubai about 16 hours earlier, becoming Emirates Airline’s first-ever daily, non-stop flight to D/FW. It was scheduled to turn around and head back to the United Arab Emirates a couple of hours later.

Ambassador
United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba

As part of the inaugural hullabaloo, various government and airline officials cut a cake, said “Howdy” a lot, and gave each other gifts. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price handed Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, her black cowboy hat. When the ambassador (they actually call him “Excellency”) put it on, he joked, “I’m gonna get shot when I get back to D.C.” That was an apparent reference to the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry (we think).

The officials also said that Texas is the U.S. leader in exports to the UAE, accounting for $2 billion of the $16 billion that’s logged annually. That figure, they added, is sure to increase with the new service to Dubai, which in turn will offer flyers connections to many more destinations in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent.

At that they opened up the 777 for a quick tour, showing off the plane’s gourmet grub, red-capped flight attendants (see below), all-class entertainment system (100 TV channels, 500 audio channels, 100 video games, etc., at each screen), and luxury seating. At each of the “lie-flat” beds in Business Class, for example, rose petals had been strewn, and one immaculate little pair of white “sleeping socks” had been set out. The 777 seats 266 passengers in all, eight in private suites with their own bar.

The plane's first-class "private suite." The Pringles are complimentary (we hope).
The plane's first-class "private suite." The Pringles are complimentary (we hope).

According to Nigel Page, Emirates’ senior VP for commercial operations, the new service is expected to produce an economic impact of $227 million on North Texas annually. He said that today’s flight from Dubai had been at 76 percent of capacity, that the return flight would be 100 percent full, and that he expected all the airline’s daily flights to average 75 percent capacity in the early going.

This DFW Airport Ambassador (left) seems a tad wary of the brightly smiling Emirates Airlines flight attendant.
This DFW Airport Ambassador (left) seems a tad wary of the brightly smiling Emirates Airlines flight attendant.

12 comments on “‘Shower of Affection’ Greets Emirates Flight

  1. I think I’ll pass, . . .

    From Amnesty International
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/uae/report-2010
    “Women continued to suffer discrimination in law and practice. Foreign migrant workers, who make up a large proportion of the UAE’s workforce and many of whom are employed in construction, faced exploitation, abuse and poor living conditions. Media reports suggested that some women survivors of rape did not report the crime to the police for fear that they would be charged with engaging in illicit sex.

    Marnie Pearce, a UK national, was released in April after she had served 68 days of a three-month sentence imposed for adultery, which is prohibited in the UAE even when carried out in private between consenting adults. Adultery is punishable by death although lesser punishments can be imposed. The law covering adultery and its application have had a discriminatory impact on women.”

    Maybe the Bush Institute can lead the charge for human right for women in the UAE, they don’t so well Saudi Arabia.

  2. Was this “shower of affection” performed with gray water or some other recycled source??? I would hate hate hate to think that we would be victims of economic and environmental hypocrisy…

  3. Really you guys are pathetic! You want economic growth and when it comes you nit pick everything little thing about it and are so negative! WELCOME EMIRATES!!! I love Dubai and I love your airline! happy to have you in the big D

  4. Hey Grumpy Demo, im not middle eastern or muslim but I know enough about Dubai and the middle east to say it is very westernized and a financial and global center comparable to London, New York, and Hong Kong; so to say that Dubai and the UAE is oppressive is highly irresponsible and inaccurate. It’s like saying Texas is a state that wants to secede from the Union and its full of southerners who love slavery……

  5. Grumpy:
    So the pitch here is that we accept flights only from countries that are PC?

  6. @Rob — we’re happy they are here, just want them welcomed responsibly. No one is dissing the economics of the situation, only the wasted water.

  7. The shower is traditional in any airport worldwide when the inaugural flight touches down. This will benefit UAE, and Dallas and for those who haven’t flown Emirates, its a level above any US carrier and that’s even economy class! For the Amnesty poster, do some research. There are many female CEO’s in the UAE and even local women sit on the cabinet at federal govt level. Dubai is very westernised. You can drink alcohol, go to clubs, wear bikinis on the beach, go to church, own your own business if you’re an expat. I feel safer here than in any other country I’ve been to and we pay no tax! If you want to talk about exploitation of foreign workers, just look south of your own border ! Maybe a visit here would open your eyes to the insecurities that many americans feel until they visit somewhere. FYI, there are 20,000 american citizens here approx, Canadians, Brits, Aussies, Kiwis…..you name it. We can’t have all got it wrong!

  8. Jessica Haden is the beautiful attendant & is a U.S. citizen. Salisbury, MD is proud of her!