Fearless 'airline stewardess' perches atop world's tallest building

The ultimate high-flyer: Fearless ‘airline stewardess’ perches on top of the 2,722ft Burj Khalifa as an Emirates A380 thunders past for daredevil commercial

  • Nicole Smith-Ludvik went viral last year standing atop the world’s tallest building
  • Emirates repeated the same stunt on top of the Burj Khalifa but with a major twist
  • The airline flew the world’s largest passenger plane right behind the tower
  • Nicole smiled for the camera as the humungous Airbus A380 screamed past 
  • The daring stunt was for a Emirates and Dubai Expo 2020 commercial 
  • A fearless ‘airline stewardess’ who went viral when she stood atop the world’s tallest building in an Emirates airlines advertisement last year has repeated the feat – but this time with even higher stakes.

    Skydiver and social media star Nicole Smith-Ludvik once again donned her Emirates uniform and clambered to the top of the 2,722ft tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai last week. 

    Holding a series of Love Actually-inspired placards, Nicole joked: ‘I’m still here!’, before displaying the words ‘finally, here come my friends’. 

    Moments later, a humungous Emirates A380 Airbus – the largest passenger plane in the world – screamed past the smiling stuntwoman, seemingly mere metres away from the top of the tower.

    The advert, in which the A380 plane glided past the stranded stewardess at incredibly low speed, was Emirates airlines latest promotion encouraging viewers to ‘fly the iconic Emirates A380 to the world’s greatest show’ in reference to the Dubai Expo 2020.

    The airline released a second video on YouTube shortly after the advert was published and seen by millions to explain just how they managed to pull off such a daring stunt.  








    Skydiver and social media star Nicole Smith-Ludvik once again donned her Fly Emirates uniform and clambered to the top of the 2,722ft tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai tower last week

    Skydiver and social media star Nicole Smith-Ludvik once again donned her Fly Emirates uniform and clambered to the top of the 2,722ft tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai tower last week

    Holding a series of Love Actually-inspired placards, Nicole joked: 'I'm still here!', before displaying the words 'finally, here come my friends'. She then held a placard inviting viewers to visit 'the world's greatest show' - Dubai Expo 2020, as an A380 Airbus screamed past behind her

    Holding a series of Love Actually-inspired placards, Nicole joked: ‘I’m still here!’, before displaying the words ‘finally, here come my friends’. She then held a placard inviting viewers to visit ‘the world’s greatest show’ – Dubai Expo 2020, as an A380 Airbus screamed past behind her

    The advert, in which the A380 plane glided past the stranded stewardess at incredibly low speed, was Emirates airlines latest promotion encouraging viewers to 'fly the iconic Emirates A380 to the world's greatest show' in reference to the Dubai Expo 2020

    The advert, in which the A380 plane glided past the stranded stewardess at incredibly low speed, was Emirates airlines latest promotion encouraging viewers to ‘fly the iconic Emirates A380 to the world’s greatest show’ in reference to the Dubai Expo 2020

    Pilots could be seen waving from the cockpit of the plane as it breezed pass around half a mile away from the tower

    Pilots could be seen waving from the cockpit of the plane as it breezed pass around half a mile away from the tower

    The stunt was in aid of the Dubai Expo 2020 – a world Expo running from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 – in which 192 countries are displaying a host of cultural offerings along with their most innovative technologies.  

    The Emirates airbus was emblazoned with a colourful livery promoting the expo as Nicole invited viewers to visit the event and to fly Emirates along the way. 

    There was much speculation over how the airline was able to co-ordinate such a stunt which clearly contained a high level of risk for both the pilots and stuntwoman.

    The airline released an explainer video in which it revealed that the plane in fact was flying roughly half a mile away from the tower, but looked to be incredibly close to Nicole standing at the top thanks to some clever camera work. 

    There was still a great deal of risk however – in order to capture the perfect shot, the airbus was forced to carry out a fly-by eleven times in succession, which it did while travelling at only 145 knots (166 mph). 

    This is extremely slow for such a huge plane, which typically cruises at close to 600mph and can reach speeds of 634mph at full throttle.

    In addition, the pilots had to maintain the world’s largest passenger plane at the paltry speed of 166mph while at an altitude of under 3,000ft in the sky above Dubai – a scenario which could have quickly descended into chaos and resulted in huge consequences had anything gone wrong.

    Nicole, who was forced to stand atop the Burj Khalifa on precarious footing for hours while the advertisement was being filmed, seemed thrilled to have pulled off the stunt successfully a second time.

    ‘We’ve done it again – but bigger!! I’m back at the top and this time I have an #a380 with me,’ she wrote on social media. 

    Nicole gained notoriety for her appearance in the original stunt, which was revealed in August 2021 when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was placed on the UK’s amber travel list amid a relaxation of Covid travel restrictions. 








    She previously held up various placards on top of the world's tallest building in Dubai to celebrate the UK moving the UAE to its Amber list

    She previously held up various placards on top of the world’s tallest building in Dubai to celebrate the UK moving the UAE to its Amber list 

    The 'stewardess' was revealed to be stuntwoman Nicole Smith-Ludvik

    The ‘stewardess’ was revealed to be stuntwoman Nicole Smith-Ludvik

    Nicole previously held a series of placards which said: ‘Moving the UAE to the UK Amber List… has made us feel… on top of the world… Fly Emirates …Fly better.’

    Dubai holidays for Britons had been on hold since the start of the year but a flurry of bookings took place after the Foreign Office moved the UAE off the Red list and onto the Amber in August.

    That meant fully-vaccinated travellers were able to return from the Emirates without needing to quarantine.

    The updates caused a surge in holiday searches, with Hays Travel, the UK’s largest independent agent, reporting a 193 per cent surge in bookings between Thursday 5 and Friday 6 of August.  

    According to Skyscanner, searches for holidays to Dubai were up 213 per cent, making it the second-most popular search on the comparison website after Spain.

    Nicole previously held a series of placards which said: 'Moving the UAE to the UK Amber List... has made us feel... on top of the world... Fly Emirates ...Fly better.'

    Nicole previously held a series of placards which said: ‘Moving the UAE to the UK Amber List… has made us feel… on top of the world… Fly Emirates …Fly better.’ 

    The daredevil 'stewardess' stood atop a tiny platform on the spire of the 2,722ft Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai

    The daredevil ‘stewardess’ stood atop a tiny platform on the spire of the 2,722ft Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai

    Emirates Airlines, the flag carrier of the UAE, shared the promotional stunt video today, saying: ‘Reconnect with your loved ones or take a fabulous vacation. From 8th August travel to the UK gets easier.’ 

    Daredevil influencer, Ms Smith-Ludvik, said on Instagram: ‘This is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing and exciting stunts I’ve ever done.

    ‘A big shout out to Emirates Airlines for your creative marketing idea! It was a pleasure being a part of the team!’ 

    An Emirates Airlines spokesperson told Gulf Today the filming on top of the tower was real and made possible by a number of local organisations.

    The spokesperson confirmed that a raft of safety measures were put in place for the impressive promo shoot.