Emirates, the state carrier of Dubai, is one of the fastest-growing airlines in the world, has been profitable for 20 years running, and will have the largest long-haul fleet of any airline on earth once more of its A380s are delivered.

It is outfitting first-class cabins in the new A380s with such amenities as in-flight showers, and helping to start a low-cost carrier, Flydubai, this year. Emirates pays less for fuel than the average American airline, and has lower labor costs and an incredibly efficient hub in Dubai. The end result: Emirates may remind the nostalgic of Pan Am in its heyday.

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