I arrived in Dubai a few hours ago, after taking a thoroughly enjoyable flight on Emirates' 777-200LR out of JFK.
I've been writing about the carrier's stellar in-flight entertainment system ICE (information, communication, entertainment) for years, but this was the first time I've actually had a chance to try it (in business class, praise the Lord).
I must admit I found the system a bit overwhelming at first. So many choices! But, on a 13-hour flight, having loads of choices is a very, very good thing.
The system, based on Panasonic hardware and CoKinetic software, further solidified my belief that embedded hardware IS NOT headed for the scrap heap, as some individuals have suggested. Indeed, having a robust IFE AND C offering (yes, Emirates offers sat phones and narrowband SMS/email) is crucial for long-haul flights.
I've taken my daughter's Barbie doll with me on this trip to stay in touch by sending snaps back to the munchkin. Here, Barbie does Bob Barker proud and showcases the funky, wireless multi-purpose seat control/system control in business class.
Emirates is making its "C" offering even better by equipping its fleet with AeroMobile's in-flight mobile connectivity solution. The Emirates birds now flying to the USA have not yet been equipped with AeroMobile, but that will come in due time.
AeroMobile chief commercial officer Peter Tuggey in August told me that, at that time, Emirates' AeroMobile traffic as a whole indicates that 35% of usage occurs on routes to Europe, 16% to the Middle East, 15% to North Asia, 4% to South Asia, 21% to Africa and 9% on Australasian route.
"When we look at where the traffic comes from, although we've got a lot of aircraft installed and Emirates moves aircraft around, the results that we have to date are representative of having 40% of the Emirates fleet installed. As we get on some more of their [Boeing] 777s, I think we'll see their traffic levels increase for the USA and Asia as well," he said.
So what's the #DXB09 in this blog post's headline, you ask. That's the hashtag that all aerospace journalists will be using when reporting from and about the Dubai air show on Twitter. I'm currently ensconced in the Flightglobal news room. Yeah, we got this baby wired and ready and rock n' roll. Come and join the party at Flightglobal's Dubai air show landing page.