Emirates: new Dubai business & first class airport shuttle buses

By John Walton, December 14 2012
Emirates: new Dubai business & first class airport shuttle buses

Business travellers fed up of getting stuck at the back of the bus when their plane parks on the tarmac away from the terminal will be keen on Emirates' new business and first class shuttles.

The 41 new vehicles mean that passengers paying a premium for the expensive seats don't have to hang around on the hot concrete waiting for everyone else to get off the plane before the bus heads for the terminal.

Instead, the shuttles will give business and first class passengers a head start over economy passengers when it comes to pelting towards the terminal — and, if you're on a short connection in Dubai, it'll mean a less stressful "will I make the plane" experience.

At other airports, since business and first class passengers are usually off the plane first, it's an awkward choice of staking out and defending a spot near the door to be first off, or ending up squashed into a corner and being last off.

Not a great way to end your otherwise comfortable and pleasant flight — especially with the bus doors open to Dubai's blisteringly hot air.

Emirates has stumped up the equivalent of A$19 million for the 26 business class shuttles and 15 first class transports. First class passengers will enjoy one of 43 Mercedes E-Class cars or 20 Viano vans to whisk them across the tarmac.

The airline says that it has outfitted the shuttles with a "stylish interior designed to reflect the ambiance and quality of their onboard experience."

We're hoping that reflects the more sedate design of business class rather than the brass and glitz of first.

“With the addition of the new transfer shuttles, our vision is to extended and interpret the luxury of our onboard product in a way that will both delight and exceed the expectations of our discerning customers,” says Tony Chandler, Emirates' Vice President in charge of Product Development and Operations Improvement.

Australian Business Traveller hopes other airlines follow suit. The bus dilemma is a real pain, especially at international hub airports where customs and immigration queues are longest.

For the very latest news, information and reviews relevant to you, follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 65

Do you know if this applies to loading the aircraft or just arrivals?

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 527

Garuda do this for their Business Class passengers already if the plane is parked away from a finger at Jakarta.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

That's a really good idea, it's just we don't really need it in Australia (from where I have been) except between the terminal block to regional aircraft sometimes. That's a huge investment for something like that! They need it more at airports where people have to walk or catch a bus from the block to the aircraft. It's a good idea anyway!

01 Feb 2012

Total posts 370

Major airports still have shuttle buses? More surprisingly, Emirates uses them to board passengers in Dubai airport? The last time I was on a shuttle bus was probably at Kai Tak.

13 Feb 2011

Total posts 31

Qatar have a dedicated Business Class bus that departs a soon as all Business Class passsengers have disembarked and then heads to the wonderful "Premium Terminal" at Doha airport.  All in all it makes an unpleasant experience (no airbridge) into a pleasant few minutes sitting in airconditioned comfort.


Somehow I think the Economy Class passengers at Doha don't get such a good deal!

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