GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Many of Dubai's new developments are best seen from the air. It's only from bird's-eye level that the amazing constructions of The Palm islands and The World move from imagination to reality. A flight also highlights just how small the city is, and you can choose your craft depending on whether you prefer speed and power or elevation.
Aerogulf Services has regular contracts for offshore oil rig transfers and desert survey work, but it also runs a Fly Dubai tour around the main attractions. Dubai International Airport, Dubai. 4/220–0331. www.aerogulfservices.com.
Seawings offers pleasure flights by seaplane in a seven-seat amphibian Cessna Caravan. The company offers 30-minute tours along the coast to take in Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al-Arab, The World, and Burj Dubai. The company also accepts charters for groups and families. Based at the Marina at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, Jebel Ali, Dubai. 4/883–2999; 800/SEAWINGS toll-free within UAE. www.seawings.ae.
You'll have to start early while the air is cool and conditions are at their most benign, but this slow and gentle method is an incredible way to see the emirate. Pilots cannot absolutely guarantee the trajectory of each flight, but you'll have fantastic views in whichever direction the balloon takes you.
The pilots at Balloon Adventures Dubai have a combined experience of 50 years in the aviation business and run two other operations in Germany and New Zealand. Enjoy a five-hour adventure with an hour in the skies—the rest of the time you'll help set up and dismantle the balloon. Balloon Adventures arranges transfer from most major hotels in the emirate. No flights June through September. 4/285–4949. www.ballooning.ae.
With Voyagers Xtreme you can book a balloon flight in the morning, then link in with one of its desert-safari or desert-camping experiences. Dune Centre, Al Diyafah Rd., Satwa, Dubai. 4/345–4504. www.turnertraveldubai.com.