MIAMI— There may have been a shortage of big news at the 2015 Dubai Air Show but there was no shortage of big planes on the static display line. Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad all brought in Airbus A380s for touring while Qatar Airways also brought in an A350 and its brand new 25th Boeing 787-9, a plane delivered from Boeing just days earlier.

The A380s

For Emirates the show was used to show off its brand new, two-cabin interior layout. The plane has 557 seats in economy and 58 in business for a total of 615 on board. It stills featuring the bar at the rear of the upper deck for business class customers while the front section upstairs is now economy seats rather than first class. It also offers an updated ICE IFE kit, including a 13″ screen in economy. One could argue that the screen is too large given how closely pitched the seats are, but in the never-ending cycle of “bigger is better” Emirates continues to push forward. The forward economy cabin also means Emirates likely offers the largest economy class lav flying today; plenty of room in that space.

The Qatar Airways A380 carries the company’s traditional styling throughout and its newer 1-2-1 business class and first class seating layouts upstairs. It also features the Oryx IFE system and what appears to be the longest bar for premium passengers of the three carriers.


For Etihad’s A380, the main features are the ultra-luxe Residence suite up front, better than first class, as well as a single aisle first class cabin upstairs. The economy class seats feature the carrier’s trademark fixed headrest option which it believes offers a better sleeping experience on longer flights as well as the latest Panasonic eX3 IFE kit. At one point in testing we had three different views active at the same time.IMG_7667-001

Other Aircraft

FlyDubai brought in one of its brand new Boeing 737s for the display, offering a peek at its relatively new premium cabin offering as well as the upgraded economy class seats and IFE.

Embraer also had its cabin mockup for the 190-E2 on display, featuring staggered seating up front and larger overhead bins compared to the current gen E90s, among other things. The passenger service units are split so each traveler gets their own, a unique design which the company believes will make the space even more comfortable for travelers.

Flying Display

The daily flying Display offered only a few commercial jet bits with the A350 the most notable. Both the UAE ‘Al Fursan’ and Italy’s ‘Frecce Tricolori’ aerobatic demonstration teams  put on impressive displays while the B1 was spectacularly loud and the Safat 02 was one of the smallest planes I’ve ever seen participate in a major show.