The ME3, not long ago, were set to become the global elite among airlines. Sure, they’re fueled by government subsidies, unfairly, perhaps, to other carriers, but they provide a class of service not matched in the skies. European or Asian carriers might dispute that, but not those in America. Yet, the Trump Administration already dealt a heavy blow – passengers entering the US from those countries must now stow electronics larger than a cellphone, for the duration of the flight. It’s an inconvenience, and a deal-breaker for some passengers. Connecting in the Middle East was once desirable, but now, not on routes that end in America or Britain.
The ban on people, which the Trump Administration hopes to implement, from countries near the ME3 home bases, will impact business too. Passenger numbers diminished the past few years for the ME3, but the 2016 American election perhaps did even more to hinder their growth. The situation could escalate, rather than dissipate.
So how can the ME3 remain at the top of the pack? Keep rewarding customers for flying with you. Keep them entertained, fed, pampered. Keep them happy. Maintain a valued hard product, as well as soft product. In short, do what you’ve been doing, and you are sure to succeed. The following is a brief evaluation of the ME3 for US-based travelers.
Emirates – leading the way
- Dubai, U.A.E.
- US destinations served – Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, JFK, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C., (Toronto).
- Connect from Dubai to 22 destinations in Africa, or 9 in India.
Etihad – not far behind
- Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
- US destinations served – Chicago, Dallas, JFK, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., (Toronto).
- I recently flew Etihad’s double-decker, the A380, from Abu Dhabi to JFK, a long flight, but with Etihad’s dining and service, I could have stayed in the air a few more hours.
Qatar – best fares among the ME3
- Doha, Qatar
- US destinations served – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, JFK, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., (Montreal)
- Neighboring Arab countries cut ties with Qatar’s government and restricted airspace in early June, 2017. Qatar Airways is sure to lose business, and could go belly-up. State subsidies might keep it afloat. Only time will tell.
In the comments, let me know your favorite ME3 airline. If you’ve flown with them, what was your favorite part of the experience?