Wait, Emirates’ Burj Khalifa Stunt Was Real?!?!

Wait, Emirates’ Burj Khalifa Stunt Was Real?!?!

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A couple of days ago I posted about my disbelief of Emirates’ latest promotional video actually being real. Well, the airline has now posted an incredible behind the scenes video that proves just how real this was.

Emirates’ incredible Burj Khalifa video

Last week Emirates posted a video to social media of someone in a flight attendant uniform holding up five signs that have different phrases on them.

The video is intended to celebrate the UAE being taken off of the UK’s “Red List,” which should greatly increase demand for Emirates flights to & from the UK.

In the short 33 second video, you can see a flight attendant holding up signs that read:

  • “Moving The UAE To The UK Amber List”
  • “Has Made Us Feel”
  • “On Top Of The World”
  • “Fly Emirates”
  • “Fly Better”

At first it looks like the flight attendant is just standing in the sky, but then at the end of the video the camera zooms out, and you see that the person is actually standing on top of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s tallest building.

This wasn’t a green screen?!

I had assumed that this was simply a green screen video, because, well, why wouldn’t it be? Nope, apparently that’s not the case…

There was indeed someone standing 830 meters (~2,720 feet) up, on the tip of the Burj Khalifa. Specifically, skydiver and general adventurer Nicole Smith-Ludvik was the person seen in the video. Not only that, but she is actually an Emirates flight attendant as well, so that’s even cooler. She climbed all the way up to the very top of the Burj Khalifa, and then a helicopter and drone company did the filming.

She’s one of the few people to have stood at the very top of the Burj Khalifa — she’s in good company, as Tom Cruise and the Crown Prince of Dubai are among the others who have done this.

As Smith-Ludvik describes describes her involvement:

“This is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing and exciting stunts I’ve ever done. A big shout out to Emirates Airlines for your creative marketing idea! It was a pleasure being a part of the team.”

Meanwhile here’s what TECS Event Services, which was behind the project, had to say:

“Being part of such a special project – not only for the fact that we were trusted to help bring this to life (yes, this is very very real), but also what it means for so many families who have been separated from their families between here in Dubai and the UK. Definitely a project we’ll remember forever.”

Emirates has now put out a behind the scenes video showing exactly how this was filmed.

So, here’s what we know about how this worked:

  • The crew took the elevator to the 160th floor of the Burj Khalifa, and then spent an hour climbing a (mostly narrow) staircase to get to the very top of the building
  • Someone went up there with the “star” to help her get situated, presumably including carrying the signs
  • While up there, the woman was “harnessed,” as there was a pole behind her, and her uniform “clipped” into that

This is simply unbelievable, and this video isn’t getting the attention it deserves given that it’s real. I’m getting vertigo just watching the behind the scenes video. I’m amazed the airline used this stunt just to announce the reopening of travel between the UK and UAE (obviously this is a significant development for Emirates, but it’s not like there was a bunch of fanfare around this stunt).

Below is a video that shows the process of climbing the stairs to the very top of the Burj Khalifa, which is unrelated to this particular stunt.

Interestingly one part of the video does seem to be altered — specifically, it appears that the flight attendant just shuffles two signs, even though there are five phrases written on signs. We can tell because one sign has a fold at the top corner, and you can see it cycled through a few times. So clearly the signs didn’t actually say anything, but that was edited after the fact. It makes me wonder if they actually did this stunt a while back, and then just saved it for the right opportunity.

Bottom line

Emirates posted a video of a flight attendant standing at the very top of the Burj Khalifa, and it’s real. A behind the scenes video has now been posted showing how this video was produced, and it’s pretty amazing. And here I was thinking that we were just getting Punk’d…

What do you make of this Emirates stunt involving the Burj Khalifa?

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  1. Francesca Morrison

    Love the music anyone know what it please?

  2. Robert

    I can't imagine doing this yet, she did. How much was she paid?

  3. austinrob

    corpkid... read the article. It doesn't says she skydived to that spot. It says she rode an elevator to the 160th floor, and then climbed a narrow stairway for an hour.

    And as a former skydiver myself, I wouldn't want to try to land there. Not because I can't hit a 0.0 landing (I can) but because it's windy as hell up there and after nailing the landing the wind would pull you right off.

  4. OPR

    Ben, I'm wondering where you found the information that "she is actually an Emirates flight attendant"? I'm just curious because I'm reading a lot of conflicting information on several aspects of this stunt and I'm not sure what to believe anymore :).

  5. avraba

    I think this type of advertising is irresponsible. There have been many deaths from people seeking thrills and making selfies.. many tragedies. It is totally unnecessary and in bad taste to show this kind of picture.. / video. I would suggest these things be stopped.

    1. OPR

      But this isn't just "people seeking thrills". These are professionals taking all the necessary safety precautions.

  6. Todd Scheven

    Behind the scenes:
    https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/emirates-burj-khalifa-stunt-behind-the-scenes-of-the-top-of-the-world-ad-shoot

  7. ihsan duman

    No way!. all I know is you can't stand Over top of the pole like this as if standing on sidewalk waiting for the bus.. because of high wind. it is gonna blow you away!. if you look carefully her scarf moving just the little bit as if there is a breeze in the air that it is impossible in this high altitude. Anyways still it is a creative advertisement. congratulations!.

  8. John

    I hope she was wearing her Depends underwear!

  9. Steven E

    It’s a great promotional video - however it was made , the point is , it works and it’s a sensational visual advertising success

  10. KOdisej

    Ben why do you think this is so impossible? What about Felix Baumgartner and his jumps? Google Alain Robert so called French Spider-Man and his stunts.
    If you have time watch Red Bulls 360 Ascent.
    This is nice. But if you think about it, there are more impressive and terrifying things. It is only perception.

  11. Franklin

    I have already done this before.

  12. Sam

    Im a skydiver and I know both her & her husband. This is definitely real. You can climb up there and if you look closely you can see that she had a harness on and was secured to a pole at the back.
    It’s not so easy to just BASE jump off there because the building gets a lot wider as it goes down. When they did the official BASE jump from the building, they had to erect a platform so that it would clear the balconies below.

  13. Chetan Shah

    I would want to out even if not paid. Rather, I would pay a big sum to get such an opportunity!
    - Chetan

  14. Jim Christian

    Not a big deal, 2700 feet, if you're even a novice level sky diver. Clear two tandem jumps and your first solo is from 3-5,000 feet, from a plane. Given a base jump suit the trek to the top of this building is no biggie. Base jumps have been going on there for 15 years now. WHAT is the big deal?

  15. ILDEFONSO CARBAJAL

    I DON'T BELIEVE THIS IS REAL. At a height like that the wind HAS TO BE BLOWING VERY HARD, but by the movement of her 'scarf' (or whatever that neck thing is called) at times it looks like there's NO WIND AT ALL.
    It had to be e green screen, period.

  16. Leon

    Dr Camp ladies sing dis song ---Do Da, Do Da Day.. If you happen to watch Commercial TV (I don't) every 15 minutes you are presented with no more that 5 commercials. AND at least 3 will be as mindless as this piece. Do Da day!

  17. Brandon

    Pay attention to the cards, she shows 5 different messages but it appears that she only has two cards. Also at that altitude it should be windy and the wind doesn't pickup until the rotates the last card. So there seems to be some questionable pieces to this.

    1. Chris

      Yes, I noted this above. I wondered why they'd fake THAT part.
      Maybe so they can create multiple different messages.

  18. Ron

    Really, why bother when the same effect can be achieved by simulation. The majority viewers of the ad would assume it was simulated anyway.

  19. Jeff

    I assume she climbed up and had a parachute on in case she fell. The camera angle was either hiding parachute or rigging on her back. Either way, kudos to her

  20. Beno Saradzic

    You simply climb the spire from -inside-. It's been done hundreds of times and a few of those are my friends who are photographers. Heck, Tom Cruise was there. Look him up on YouTube.

  21. Chris

    Looking closer at the video, that platform that she is standing on is not standard equipment that stays on the top based on several photos already out there on the building. Also, looking closely at her standing as the shot pulls out, you can see a vertical black bar that she is either just leaning against, or more than likely strapped to.

    As stated, an amazing shot and a once in a lifetime opportunity for Emirates. The problem now is, how do they top it?

    1. Franklin

      They build a new headquarters that is higher than the Burj Khalifa and then make another video.

  22. Tango Victor

    Every year, there is about 5-10 people that are allowed to climb all the way to the top, depending on the project. You need to reach out to EMAAR (developer and operator) and propose a project. Now, if you suffer from vertigo, forget about doing anything remotely crazy like that.

    If you Google, you'll see people from Russian and Australian influencers, German photographers to even crown prince HH Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself.

    https://youtu.be/plijXVEgXko

  23. Jared

    Would love the opportunity to climb up the Burj Khalifa and base jump from the top. #swoon

  24. Paul

    This is an impressive ad. In this video you can better see the platform she stands on and the pole that she is attached to.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0sX9ArivpI

  25. W Ho

    No way.
    The winds would have blown her off.

  26. Ted

    And there appears to be some equipment behind her left leg. I’d guess she’s secured into a harness attached to a pole.

  27. Chris

    There's 'something' not right about the video. Not with the tower, but look at the signs. She has only two pieces of cardboard, but they say multiple phrases as she repeatedly cycles between the two. It's clear when she pulls one off the top and puts it behind that there are only two; she does this multiple times. So somehow that text is edited in.

    1. Chris

      Follow the cardboard with the 'chipped' upper right hand corner if you don't see it otherwise.

  28. Red

    @corpkld

    There have been a few official BASE jumps off the Burj Khalifa, but perhaps the most ballsy was the unofficial one done by sneaking into the construction site in 2008.

  29. Keyser Soze

    Have none of you seen the Mission Impossible movie/Tom Cruise vehicle that also involves this tower?

  30. Robert J.

    It’s no mystery how she got up and down from there. There’s a ladder inside the spire. Here’s a video showing it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30_b22TVY7s

  31. ffi

    Risking the life of someone else is all fine.
    I will be speechless if the Emir of Dubai or the CEO decided to do this
    - that will show his true desire for the glory of Emirates

    1. Schar

      im sure sheikh Hamdan would totally do something like this (hes the son of Dubai's sheikh). hes into extreme sports, look him up stuff he does is pretty dope.

  32. corpkid

    As a former skydiver:

    1) No way she skydived onto that little platform (she was either dropped via helicopter or climbed up

    2) I know SEVERAL people (nuts) who would *kill* for the chance to climb up that building and jump off (BASE jumping)

    Which leads me to the bigger question nobody is asking: How did she get down?

    :)

    1. Dave C

      Did you read the article or watch either video

  33. Endre

    “I’m getting severe anxiety” — don’t be a stereotypical millennial, please

    1. Eskimo

      Don't judge top level athletes please.

      They just recently weaponized that.

      Soon all those stupid bulls**t ESA will spill over from planes to everywhere.

  34. Bob

    If you freeze the video at 0:21 you can see there is some sort of pole running up behind her. I'd presume she's wearing a safety harness under the uniform and is attached to that pole.

    And, no, she did not skydive down to the platform. She rode the elevators up, climbed a ladder, and reached the top, like they do when they need to perform inspection or maintenance on the spire/antennae

  35. Aaron

    The tower is actually hollow and there is a ladder inside. You can see some cellular equipment at the top of the tower, and that ladder is how maintenance crews can access the equipment. She almost certainly got to the top the same way. As for a safety tether, I’m sure it is cleverly disguised by her uniform.

  36. Phillip

    While it was Red, that is!

  37. Phillip

    You only have to add up the daily flights that Emirates had out of London pre-covid, let alone the rest of the U.K. to realise what a crucial market it is for their operations and how damaging the U.K. Red list has been for them - remember that even if you transit through the UAE from a Green or Amber list country, you enter the U.K. as a red list arrival!

    1. Chris

      Exactly this. It’s not at all surprising that this is a huge deal for Emirates. London is by far Emirates’ most important destination in commercial terms (they usually fly twice as many people to London each year as their next biggest destination (BKK)), and the UK as a whole is, I believe, their single biggest market. The UK red list has been extremely painful for them.

  38. Dennis

    She does have an unspoken tension in her face that indicates she is up there. As to your questions, I've read that there is a ladder to the top and apparently their day started at 4:30am and she was down by 11am or so. Secondly, for sure she would have been wearing a fall restraint that could easily be hidden from view.

    1. Klaus

      Thanks for the additional information.
      It is interesting to see how small in diameter and how long the antenna actually is.

  39. anon

    would have been more authentic to have a real flight attendant stand in front of a green screen than have a skydancer/stuntwoman on top the real thing

    1. Space Ghost

      Guess you can't read. She is also an Emirates flight attendant.

    2. Space Ghost Coast to Coast

      Guess you can't read none too good.
      She is a real Emirates Flight Attendant. LOL!

  40. Todd

    Incredible stunt and great marketing campaign even though the concept is very simple. But how did she get there in the first place and how did she get down? If she’s a professional skydiver did she just parachute down? Can’t imagine she did that with those placards though.

    1. Eskimo

      Like I said yesterday in the other post, Tom Cruise did it first.

      It was for Ghost Protocol, which I think was over 10 years ago. Nothing new or exciting here.
      If she did it like Cruise, it was heli drop off and pickup.

    2. Anastasia

      You beat me to mentioning tom cruise! And he wasn't even wearing shoes. They did it via helicopter, it's not exactly impossible (ha) to get up there.

    3. Space Ghost

      The person who "did it first" was the one that welded the last piece of steel on the top of the tower. Duh! ;)

    4. Ppn

      Impossible and this is a photo magic *

    5. TangoVictor

      Nope, it's real. Not the first, not the last person on top of Burj Khalifa.

  41. Morgan

    This is definitely real because why would emirates do a green screen of this anyway like it seems if they are doing this they may as well do it real, also I was initially skeptical when you said this was fake because it just looks so real which explains how that it is in fact real.

    Also if you pause it as the camera is panning out you can see a black pole behind her which I assume she was strapped and harnessed to.

  42. Eric Haley

    You can see a orange harness if you freeze it

Featured Comments Load all 61 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Paul

This is an impressive ad. In this video you can better see the platform she stands on and the pole that she is attached to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0sX9ArivpI

corpkid

As a former skydiver: 1) No way she skydived onto that little platform (she was either dropped via helicopter or climbed up 2) I know SEVERAL people (nuts) who would *kill* for the chance to climb up that building and jump off (BASE jumping) Which leads me to the bigger question nobody is asking: How did she get down? :)

S

No amount of money you could pay me to do that.

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