Amusing: Emirates & United Try To Sell Glamour

Amusing: Emirates & United Try To Sell Glamour

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I don’t know why I find this to be so funny, but I kind of can’t stop watching this video and chuckling.

Emirates and United are now partnering

Last week Emirates and United announced a partnership. Symbolically this is a massive development, given the feud that historically existed between the “big three” US carriers and the “big three” Gulf carriers. Going back many years, I don’t think most would have seen such close cooperation between American and Qatar Airways, and between United and Emirates.

In terms of execution, I think most people were underwhelmed by this arrangement. It was marketed as a huge deal, but in reality the implementation here is lackluster — there’s not even full frequent flyer reciprocity, and the codeshare flights are limited. Aside from United resuming flights to Dubai, this is primarily an interline agreement with limited reciprocity.

Emirates & United have launched a partnership

Emirates and United are trying to sell glamour

To coincide with this partnership being announced, Emirates and United both published the same roughly minute-long video to their social media, with Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” playing in the background.

It shows both Emirates and United crews walking through the terminal at Dubai Airport. You see impeccably dressed, attractive, and young crews from both airlines walking through Dubai Airport. Passengers look on in awe as they walk by, and the whole thing very much has Leonardo DiCaprio “Catch Me If You Can” vibes.

I’m not really sure I get why the United flight attendants are getting out of BMW sedans while the Emirates crews are getting out of buses, but that’s neither here nor there.

This is a really cute and well done video, there’s just one issue — it has no basis in reality. I mean, remember when Emirates had that ad starring Jennifer Aniston, which showed her flying with a US airline? That’s a much fairer representation of your typical crew at a US airline.

Honestly, seeing an Emirates and United crew walk through the terminal is a night & day difference. Emirates crews have specific appearance standards (down to lipstick), specific luggage, they walk in formation, they can’t be on their cell phones, they can’t walk on planes with frappuccinos, etc.

Meanwhile on a long haul United flight, some flight attendants have a handful of carry-ons including lunch boxes, etc., which they’re carrying with one hand, while they’re yapping on their phone with the other hand. Some flight attendants take no pride in their appearance, and have wrinkled and untucked shirts, and look like they didn’t even brush their hair or shower.

Never mind the conversations they’re sometimes loudly having, whether it’s the pilots talking about vaccines, or the flight attendants talking about how much they’re not looking forward to working on a full flight.

Let me be clear, I don’t want to be sexist, or ageist, or lookist (is that a word?). The Gulf carriers “sell” appearance as part of the experience. US airlines don’t — after all, they repeatedly tell us that flight attendants are there primarily for our safety. And that’s totally fine, as I respect that US airlines offer flight attendants unionized careers with a lot of job security (which isn’t offered at Emirates).

But let’s not pretend this partnership is something that it isn’t. It’s important for the airlines to be real with themselves. To give some credit to a US airline, just look at American. The airline used to have the slogan “Going For Great,” but cut it, because… well… you know. Meanwhile American Airlines used to have clapping at the end of safety videos, but also cut that, because it seemed a bit too celebratory for flying with American Airlines.

Plain and simple, the partnership between Emirates and United gives Emirates passengers access to destinations in the United States, and gives United passengers access to India, Africa, etc. Nothing more, nothing less. So in my opinion the airlines should showcase pretty routes on a map, rather than this.

Bottom line

Emirates and United are two very different airlines, and that’s totally fine. What they have in common is that they’re both in the business of getting people from Point A to Point B. In marketing the partnership, I feel like the focus should be on connectivity, rather than suggesting that the airlines somehow share a love for the glamour of flying.

Anyone else find the marketing around this partnership to be strange and unrealistic?

Conversations (65)
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  1. BigTee New Member

    Love is blind. EK is Top Twenty airline, along with NH, and just behind QR which is number one in the Top Twenty list. UA is not on the Top Twenty list. This pairing is a mismatch. Do EK beancounters need glasses? From my own experience in flying UA business class between Japan and the USA, I was frustrated and disappointed by the UA "service:" walking on board and turning left, I spied my seat...

    Love is blind. EK is Top Twenty airline, along with NH, and just behind QR which is number one in the Top Twenty list. UA is not on the Top Twenty list. This pairing is a mismatch. Do EK beancounters need glasses? From my own experience in flying UA business class between Japan and the USA, I was frustrated and disappointed by the UA "service:" walking on board and turning left, I spied my seat number and opened the closed overhead bin, only to see it fully stuffed with large black luggage. What a surprise. I said out loud, "Whose bags are these?" I heard no answer. I looked around at the other bins, all open. Flight attendants neither greeted me nor offered baggage direction to me. I finally spied a small empty space three rows away, and I was able to squeeze one carryon into the overhead, and keep the other personal item down at my feet in my business seat pod. The rest of the flight was standard, until disembarking. I was in the aisle and leaving with my bags, when I saw behind me a United Airlines flight attendance looking like Whoopi Goldberg just rolling out of bed, and I saw her take the large luggage from the bin above my assigned seat pod. It was her personal luggage! So yeah, it will be a long time before I ever fly UA again. The flight attendant service, in air and on ground, in Business Class and Cattle Class, on NH, QR, and EK is much better.

    1. Josephus Guest

      Just WHERE do you think crew are supposed to put their bags when most usable floor space has been allocated to the Polaris suite? Closet space disappeared with the new configuration. If that's your main gripe, then you're way out of touch with reality.

  2. Ardal Hunanwasanaeth Guest

    In todays news."sparks & falling debris as United Airlines plane takes off from Newark Airport. It dumped fuel and landed safely. UA cling on to dangerously old planes".
    This partnership is completely mismatched. Emirates have young customer oriented staff and new planes. United the opposite. It's as if Emirates have no reputation to protect.
    https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/video-sparks-fly-debris-fall-from-plane-in-us-shortly-after-take-off-3367732

    1. Dave Arthur Guest

      Are you kidding me. Are you familiar with some of the near crashes Emirates has had like the 777 that almost hit the ground at 250 knots last year. The pilots forgot to set the altitude properly and then made the rookie mistake of putting the autopilot on right after liftoff. I’ll take United any day.

  3. John Donovan Guest

    It really is a funny partnership and find it strange Emirates wanted to drag its premium brand down to United standards. United really is a terrible airline to fly with.

  4. zyrinda Guest

    UA FA here. I’m totally for taking pride in appearance at work and share many of the same gripes you do — crew obliviously having loud conversations in front of customer’s, messy looking uniform, etc. My uniform is dry cleaned after every trip and I adhere to all uniform policies.

    One thing that puzzled me, though, is your gripe with crew having lunch bags? I bring my own food for every trip, be it...

    UA FA here. I’m totally for taking pride in appearance at work and share many of the same gripes you do — crew obliviously having loud conversations in front of customer’s, messy looking uniform, etc. My uniform is dry cleaned after every trip and I adhere to all uniform policies.

    One thing that puzzled me, though, is your gripe with crew having lunch bags? I bring my own food for every trip, be it a 1-day turn or a 5 day trip. It is expensive to buy food for breakfast/lunch/dinner in every city that we’re staying in. Crew meals are not offered on all of our working flights, and some of us prefer not to eat those meals to begin with. What is wrong with providing food for ourselves on our trips?

  5. Deebee Guest

    Lost the elegance. The ladies are literally marching instead of the BOAC elegant air stewardess we used to know when flying was a pleasure!

    1. Never fly emirates Guest

      Such a sexist commercial- made me feel sick to watch.

  6. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    I doubt those are even real United employees. I bet they are models.

    1. Zyrinda Guest

      Wrong. I’m a flight attendant and those are all indeed real, working crew. UA uses real employees for all of their ads. I’m friends with 2 of the FA’s in that ad.

    2. Will Guest

      I couldn't agree more. The giggling about US cabin crew is mean and worn out. The sexism isn't even remotely veiled. And if the topic is how people are dressed, let's start with what we passengers are wearing.

  7. Ted Guest

    With the US Government bailing out United and subsidizing all of their new aircraft, it’s a match made in the stars for these two

  8. Marco Guest

    The ad shows the United Airlines attendants arriving in cars (while I guess most arrive by transit, at least you see many use transit here in Toronto) while the Emirates FAs arrive by the company buses, which they do in Dubai where they wait at designated stops close to their accomodations. And as others said if only North American FAs look sharp like in the Ads. Emirates FAs can sometimes look sloppy too if you...

    The ad shows the United Airlines attendants arriving in cars (while I guess most arrive by transit, at least you see many use transit here in Toronto) while the Emirates FAs arrive by the company buses, which they do in Dubai where they wait at designated stops close to their accomodations. And as others said if only North American FAs look sharp like in the Ads. Emirates FAs can sometimes look sloppy too if you see closely. The best looking and polished FAs are Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines. The signature painted red nails on the SQ girls along with the famous uniforms.

    1. Ryan R Guest

      I flew both Qatar and Emirates a few weeks ago in Economy. The FAs in both were nice enough and looked decent but they seemed extremely inexperienced, like they didn't really know what they were doing.

    2. Marco Guest

      Probably newbies :)

    3. Regina Guest

      Of course, emirates has a high turnover rate.

  9. G P Guest

    I find it more telling that they picked a male captain and I assume female first officer (?). At least 3 rings vs. 4 rings on the sleeve of the uniform. Of course the male pilot hat to be superior to the female. I get the cars, filmed in Dubai they didn't have a united branded bus, so they used the limousines instead. The girls being excited about the flight attendants walking by is just cringe worthy and defies any reality. Waste of airtime and budget.

    1. A320 pilot Guest

      Your comment is sad and pathetic... Obviously they've hand picked a lady captain (you are obviously having a hard time counting to 4) so that insecure people like you can feel tingles that women are better than men. When it comes to safety gender plays no role, and we're all equal, but I guess sad people like you exist everywhere, so now we have to force "diversity" just to appease you.

    2. LT Guest

      United and glamour should not be used in the same sentence !!!
      Totally unrealistic.

  10. Cbchicago Guest

    I do not see anything funny. I hope it works and it will be great for UA and me. Let’s face it you are not a UA fan and never will be.

    1. Lai Guest

      Not much to fan about the UA unfortunately...

    2. MC Guest

      I think it’s hysterical. Comparing United and Emirates is like a before and after ad of what a lacking airline aspires to be.

  11. henare Diamond

    Honestly, it is just as funny as Ben trying to sell "glamour" here.

  12. Donna Diamond

    I have a good (female) friend who is an FA with AA with 40 years seniority. When they report for a duty flight they are expected to be “put together” professionally with no uniform violations and they are checked out. Thanks to unions, FAs, who are mostly women, cannot be terminated due to age, which once was a thing. They are permitted a career when in times past it was just a good paying job...

    I have a good (female) friend who is an FA with AA with 40 years seniority. When they report for a duty flight they are expected to be “put together” professionally with no uniform violations and they are checked out. Thanks to unions, FAs, who are mostly women, cannot be terminated due to age, which once was a thing. They are permitted a career when in times past it was just a good paying job with nice benefits until you got married, had kids or was asked to leave because you were over 40. To stop just short of saying that FAs working for US carriers are slobs with poor grooming standards, is just a thinly veiled declaration of sexism and ageism.
    I don’t see poorly groomed or unprofessional FAs on my many flights. Most crews are mature, seasoned professionals who are polite and get the job done. It’s not a cat walk.

    1. Lea Guest

      Seen plenty of grumpy and lazier older flight attendants who primarily sit on the galley... Are they doing the job this way? Maybe shod advocate télé or remote flight attendant too lolk

    2. DCAWABN Guest

      You bring up a good point, Donna...if FAs are truly here for everyone's safety, I absolutely question the ability of an FA with 40 years seniority to be able to do much of anything in an emergency. Maybe yell "Brace! Brace! Brace!" over the PA system, but beyond that I'd be interested to know what else (s)he is able to do in an actual emergency, not just the laughable annual "recertification". I don't expect FAs...

      You bring up a good point, Donna...if FAs are truly here for everyone's safety, I absolutely question the ability of an FA with 40 years seniority to be able to do much of anything in an emergency. Maybe yell "Brace! Brace! Brace!" over the PA system, but beyond that I'd be interested to know what else (s)he is able to do in an actual emergency, not just the laughable annual "recertification". I don't expect FAs to be firefighters that can pull someone from a burning building, but what exactly can they do to ensure my safety?

    3. Regina Guest

      Excuse me sir, but the the fact they cannot be fire has nothing to see with the union, it is a US law, and it applies everywhere.
      Emirates will get away with it, because they are hiring Us citizens, under Dubai law. But rest assure , law suits are on the horizon.

    4. Will Guest

      I couldn't agree more. The giggling about US cabin crew is mean and worn out. The sexism isn't even remotely veiled. And if the topic is how people are dressed, let's start with what we passengers are wearing.

  13. MaxPower Guest

    This really is the most Patrick Quayle -type announcement I've ever seen. Desperate to look relevant but incredibly out of touch in reality.

    1. James Guest

      I've met Patrick before and he is a nice guy personally, but has a big ego in doing useless things. He makes these alliances sound much better and more useful than they actually are.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Patrick and his team are group of smart people since AA. His career progression says it all. He's definitely going to be CCO in the future.

      I highly doubt he is behind this campaign material.

  14. Caleb Guest

    But can we agree - the Emirates pilots in this video are GORGEOUS

    1. henare Diamond

      No, we can't agree on this at all. They're pretty middling, imho.

      Also, attractive pilots are not the reason I choose an airline. I can find partners without having to hope that a pilot is hot or not.

    2. Hg Guest

      Seen plenty of grumpy and lazier older flight attendants who primarily sit on the galley... Are they doing the job this way? Maybe shod advocate télé or remote flight attendant too lolk

  15. TravelinWilly Diamond

    It’s like the Jets meeting the Sharks, but instead of fighting, they pretend to fuck.

    The cultural unfitness is clear.

  16. TJ Guest

    The only thing glamorous about an Emirates flight is when you finally get off the overcrowded sardine can and walk away

    Every flight I've ever been forced to endure on that sorry excuse for has been miserable.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      Then stop flying steerage.

    2. Gwen Guest

      You might fly in first class, but it seems you have zero class.

    3. Srini Rao Guest

      Lots of losers here pretending to fly business or first.... most people fly in Coach and don't contribute to the carbon footprint as much as aholes flying in first or business and most of the time in there company dime or miles by churning credit cards.

    4. TJ Guest

      Nice assumption..... laughably wrong but still a nice try. Nope, none of those were in cattle class.

  17. Tim Dunn Diamond

    I'm still trying to figure out how UA's joint venture partner airlines in the Lufthansa Group think of all this fawning over Emirates.

  18. Gugs815 Guest

    What would be glamorous is if Emirates upgauges to an A380 on their Chicago route…

  19. tom Guest

    Passengers would actually look up if they ever saw a United crew that looks like this...

  20. robbo Guest

    It'll be interesting too see how Emirates handle the "diverse" flight stewards of UA LOL, stand by

    1. Dan77W Guest

      They have plenty of “diversity” stewards too. Not an issue in reality unless they are hanging a rainbow flag outside their SZR apartment.

    2. Lea Guest

      Their flight attendants are very diverse too. They recruit from all over the worlds. More than US flight attendants.

  21. Steven E Guest

    You’re absolutely correct, it’s apples and oranges - United is just a bin fire - dishevelled and a total mess - no pride in the uniform at all - lunch boxes, no grooming and rude - Emirates is totally the opposite, it just isn’t tolerated , they would be dragged into management and given a warning

    1. Zach B Guest

      They look fine to me. People are really getting so hot and bothered over UA FAs not looking like fashion models. The jet age wasn't as glamorous as we like to romanticize it with what the reality of being a FA was like back then and why FA unions exist now. Their looks shouldn't really matter other than do they look or act professional.

    2. DCAWABN Guest

      It's not that anybody wants them to look like models, it's that the US carriers, save MAYBE Delta, have such loose uniform standards to accommodate too many "body types" - some of which absolutely aren't "here for [my] safety". Literally every flight I'm on all the male FAs and all the female FAs have a different variant of the same "uniform" for their gender. Some will wear slacks while another will be in a skirt....

      It's not that anybody wants them to look like models, it's that the US carriers, save MAYBE Delta, have such loose uniform standards to accommodate too many "body types" - some of which absolutely aren't "here for [my] safety". Literally every flight I'm on all the male FAs and all the female FAs have a different variant of the same "uniform" for their gender. Some will wear slacks while another will be in a skirt. One man will be wearing a vest while another will have a sweater on. It's absolutely sloppy and undermines the literal term "uniform" and also reflects poorly on the airline. That's before you get to the fact that you'll rarely find a uniform that fits correctly on an FA. Whether that's shoddy tailoring or poor body shapes is immaterial. It's a crap shoot of...wait for it...uniformity. There's no reason why an airline in the US can't have better uniform standards for it's employees.

  22. derek Guest

    Alaska Airlines is losing a lawsuit so that men with beards can wear women's dresses. Those suing want to mix and match mens and womens clothing. Let's face it. The public wants an attractive woman and a sharp looking man. That plus attentive service.

    As far as uniforms, I'd be ok with a green or gray jumpsuit and patches, like the military.

    1. SamB Gold

      Who cares if someone wears men's or women's clothing. All I care is that they're adequately groomed and presentable. These are safety and service jobs, not Playboy spreads.

  23. Stan P Guest

    I would not mind seeing an article about top 10 or top 20 of airlines’ commercials

  24. Crosscourt Guest

    The flight crews on USA carriers are invariably a dishevelled mess. They show little or no pride in the product and brand they represent so a so-called "glamour" ad with UA and EK is false advertising.

  25. David Diamond

    I don't think it's even sexist or ageist to expect public facing employees, wearing company uniform, to present themselves in a professional manner. If you were meeting a client as a lawyer, or even working at the teller counter as a bank employee, you are expected to not look professional. It doesn't have anything to do with traits you can't change (like age, sex or facial features), but has everything to do with things that...

    I don't think it's even sexist or ageist to expect public facing employees, wearing company uniform, to present themselves in a professional manner. If you were meeting a client as a lawyer, or even working at the teller counter as a bank employee, you are expected to not look professional. It doesn't have anything to do with traits you can't change (like age, sex or facial features), but has everything to do with things that you DO have control over (and hence unprofessional if you choose not to care about it).

    1. David Diamond

      *Expected to look professional.

  26. David Guest

    I wonder how many of the UA crew in the video at DXB are LGBTQIA+ ?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      All I can see is United crews came with 3 private cars and Emirates crews took a shuttle bus.
      We can all see how this relationship is heading.

    2. Srini Rao Guest

      Question is how many of the Emirates staff are LGBTQIA+ ...a lot more than you realize..

    3. Yiannis Guest

      Most of them? Gotta be!

  27. RF Diamond

    Lol, United should be spending their money improving the catering and WiFi.

    1. Lea Guest

      Emirates offer full free WiFi on the upscale class before and now limited. UA none.. you pay everything on your own

  28. Icarus Guest

    I flew United just yesterday. Glamour lol One crew member was well groomed. The purser looked like she’d dressed in the dark. In fact, I didn’t even realise she was staff until I saw the lanyard. American airlines don’t know how to do glamour.

    1. Lie Guest

      Going to funeral attire?

  29. LeeAnn Guest

    You’re right. And don’t forget United is only going for “Good”

  30. George Romey Guest

    Nothing says "glamour" more than most of the people I see at an airport. Maybe "trailer park" would be more appropriate.

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

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

David Diamond

I don't think it's even sexist or ageist to expect public facing employees, wearing company uniform, to present themselves in a professional manner. If you were meeting a client as a lawyer, or even working at the teller counter as a bank employee, you are expected to not look professional. It doesn't have anything to do with traits you can't change (like age, sex or facial features), but has everything to do with things that you DO have control over (and hence unprofessional if you choose not to care about it).

6
George Romey Guest

Nothing says "glamour" more than most of the people I see at an airport. Maybe "trailer park" would be more appropriate.

3
Lea Guest

Their flight attendants are very diverse too. They recruit from all over the worlds. More than US flight attendants.

2
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