Emirates will kick off nonstop service between Houston and Dubai beginning in early December.
The new flight will be among the world's longest, but it will shorten travel times between Houston and Dubai, said Nigel Page, senior vice president for Emirates.
"We believe we will have the fastest service from Texas to the Gulf, to Dubai," Page said.
The flight time from Houston to Dubai will be 15 hours and 10 minutes, Page said. That compares to a total of 18 hours and 25 minutes for a flight on British Airways connecting in London, which is one of the shorter flights now.
This new service would compare even more favorably to the 23-hour treks I've taken on KLM via Amsterdam, or on JetBlue and Emirates via JFK. I think I've said before that I've noticed that a good number of the people on KLM flights from Houston to Amsterdam also seem to appear on the flights from Amsterdam to Dubai, and vice versa, which indicates that there is a steady stream of people flying from the two cities. The folks at Emirates obviously believe this, as well, especially given Houston's large Indian and Pakistani communities:
The head of Emirates said in a prepared statement that there is a growing demand for convenient air travel connections between the U.S. and cities in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent.
Houston will be the second gateway city for Emirates, which has three daily flights to Dubai from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
I knew that this route was under consideration, along with routes from Dubai to Chicago and Los Angeles, but I honestly didn't think nonstop service from Houston to Dubai was going to happen this quickly. I am pleasantly surprised.
It's hard to say when, or even if, I'll be sent back to Dubai again. But regardless of how often I'll get to use this service, this is good news for the entire city of Houston.
UPDATE: Ben Mutzabaugh's entry about this new service is here. He links to Emirates' press release. Dubai Informer's story on this new service is here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: According to the Emirates press release, the initial flight numbers and schedule for this new service will be as follows (all times local):
EK211: Departs Dubai (DXB) at 9:05 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and arrives in Houston (IAH) at 4:10 pm
EK212: Departs Houston at 6:25 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrives in Dubai at 7:35 pm the next day