The Flying Kiwi strikes again with hot news from the world inside Emirates. He took the tour of the new facilities that Crew On Duty will enjoy at the new Crew Briefing Center. We were invited but I didn’t go, I was down route in Paris when the tours were scheduled… But thanks to Mat and his long going curiosity, he reports for the sandwiche hungry, costa coffee loving crew…
Crew Briefing Centre [CBC] (noun); An Emirates Flight Attendants home away from home, formerly in the shape of a run-down portacabin containing threadbare carpet, a failing intercom system, and a barcode reader or ten that don’t work. Now in the form of the World’s First crew airport, featuring every modern facility that matches a world-class passenger terminal. Our new home.
As of the end of June, we will say goodbye to our old premises, and relocate to our exotic new location consisting of two entire floors of the brand new Emirates Group Headquarters building, a purpose built gargantuous structure, recently opened next to the new Dubai International Airport Terminal.
In preparation for its fully operational cutover date, they have been running tours of the facilities to familiarise the crew so we look less like lost lambs and more like lost lambs with half a clue. And a good idea too, as upon stepping inside, you realise just how amazing our new CBC is.
After being dropped off at the dedicated Crew Departure Level, you process yourself through the eGate automated immigration system and head directly to one of 16 self-service Crew Check-in stations. Swipe your ID card, which will then take you through a series of interactive touch-screen instructions, instantly telling you which of the 36 breifing rooms to proceed to, it will print you a bag tag for your flight, and give you all kinds of additional information for your flight. If you have been lucky enough to be selected for the random Drug and Alcohol Screening, the check-in system will tell you, and you proceed to the specially designed pee-in-the-cup room. If not, you then drop your bag off onto the conveyor belt, and it gets taken into the complex underground maze of automated baggage sorting tracks, and loaded onto your bus without you having to lift a finger!
Each of the 36 breifing rooms is themed in one or more of the 100 Emirates destinations, and without waiting to swallow, I began my search for the Christchurch room. Breifing Room 11. Along with Bangalore and Doha (which to be honest, I wasn’t interested nor bothered to look at), Christchurch adorns the walls of CBR11, where photos of the Chalice, ‘Kiwi-Crossing’ road signs, the Old Stone House, and Whale Watching in Kaikoura, along with a brief blurb of our wonderful city are plastered over the walls of the room! 56 inch Plasma TV screens in every room provide important information about the flight, including passenger loads, crew names/photos/check-in status, minutes until departure, which bus to board to take you to your aircraft and a myriad of other technological fabulosity!
Our new Airport Standby facility, for the times when you are on reserve, now includes several couches, internet surfing stations, showers, bathrooms, relaxation rooms with reclining lounge chairs and a refreshment zone.
There are three additional Crew Lounge facilities for socialising before departure, one which will contain a Costa Coffee shop, there is also a new dedicated Crew Duty Free shop in Arrivals selling everything a regular shop would. Once their licence comes through, they will even stock alcohol, which they promise will be even cheaper than elsewhere.
The Arrivals floor consists of four Baggage Reclaim belts, exactly like being in any passenger arrival hall, thousands upon thousands of crew mail boxes, which is handy considering they plan on growing the crew numbers from the current 9000 we have, up to 21000 by the end of 2012!
A truly amazing facility which is unfortunate that the public won’t get to use, but really confirms how great it can be to work for such a rapidly developing and cash-rich airline.