Following a somewhat early alarm call, it was time to head back to London.
I figured that the breakfast in the hotel would be a little better than what was on offer in the lounge at the airport, so I stopped there first. Upon checking PlaneFinder, I spotted that it would be the same aircraft taking me back to London that had brought me to Dubai a few days previously.
It was then a 10 minute walk to the Metro station for the 30 minute journey to the airport.
Upon arrival, it was fairly quiet at DXB. I had already checked in online, so there was no need to stop at check in. Which was lucky as the British Airways desks weren’t particularly obvious. As this is the Emirates terminal for the most part, there was a sea of red check in desks, with the blue of British Airways hidden in the corner nearest to security.
Speaking of security, this was very quiet, and I was through in a few minutes.
Following this, it was off to tick off another Hard Rock Cafe.
Almost next door was the Maharba Lounge, which British Airways are using at the moment. British Airways do have their own lounge in Dubai, and its one of the more recent additions to their lounge network. However, this is located in terminal 1, which is currently closed.
As far as third party lounges go, this one wasn’t too bad. It was a fairly large open space, with decent food and drink options. The only issue being was that it wasn’t particularly quiet.
As I had already eaten at the hotel, I only grabbed a drink before heading on my way. As far as the food options in the lounge went, I made the right decision to eat at the hotel. It was the standard fare really – a selection of sandwiches, along with a breakfast buffet.
As I had seen my ride home from the metro, I knew it was parked up at the opposite end of the terminal. Those familiar with Dubai Airport will know that it’s fairly long. Therefore to avoid any rush, I headed off a little early.
Dubai – London Heathrow
Airbus A350-1000 G-XWBD
By the time I had reached the gate, it looked like boarding was complete. There was nobody around other than the last few stragglers heading through. I was wrong though. It was a case of the boarding pass scan being before heading down into a holding pen.
There was around a 15 minute wait here before some form of priority boarding began. As there were 2 jet bridges attached, the forward Club World cabin was able to board first, followed by the now standard rear to front procedure.
I had chosen a seat towards the rear of the Club cabin on this flight. There were no obvious differences between this one and seat 1A on the outbound. At least to begin with.
Once the Club cabin had boarded, the hand sanitiser and anti-bac wipes were distributed.
As the Club cabin was able to benefit from priority boarding on this sector, I was able to take my time getting settled in for the flight ahead.
The load in Club seemed to be reasonably healthy.
Despite being the latest business class product from British Airways, you’ll still struggle to find storage for even a small laptop.
In fact, I was able to store all my bits (an iPad Pro and headphones) without issue in the old generation seat, which is notorious for having a lack of storage.
Pushback came a few minutes ahead of schedule. The engines fired into life and we made a long but quick journey over to the runway. We were airborne around 10 minutes later.
Shortly after departure, amenity kits were handed out. Although no water bottles this time.
The onboard service began with a round of drinks.
During this time, another member of the crew came around taking meal orders. It was executed pretty poorly once more. I was asked whether chicken was ok – they did have a couple of pasta options, but they were a number of meals short, and everything else had already gone to gold card holders etc etc. Erm… I’m a gold card holder too? This was met with ‘gold guest list sir’. Why go all around the houses? Just say you’ve run out!
That being said, the chicken was tasty enough. Although the presentation isn’t anywhere as near as good as what’s on offer at Gatwick. Makes a change for Gatwick to get the better deal for once.
I’ve since learned that Dubai flights are return catered. Hence the consistency with the presentation from the outbound flight.
Everything except the main was identical to what was served on the flight from London a few days previously.
The service was finished with coffee. And then the crew virtually disappeared.
The Club Kitchen, which is a self serve area, was set up on this flight. Again, it was somewhat lacking compared to what I experienced from Gatwick previously.
Much like last months trip to St Lucia, the IFE options weren’t anything too special. Another side effect of the pandemic is that most of the big name films have been delayed. This means that most of the options on the on board IFE are older films and/or things I’ve never heard of. I went with Juno as its something that I saw many years ago and doesn’t require too much concentration.
The rest of the flight was spent with the skymap and my iPad – which is my most common inflight set up these days.
WiFi is also available on the British Airways A350, although unlike on the 777 fleet, it doesn’t represent the best value.
There was some fairly good in flight entertainment out the window for most of the flight.
With 90 minutes to run, the second service began. This consisted of another lunch box, with either a cheese and tomato sandwich or a chicken Caesar sandwich. This was joined by another couple of light snacks.
And of course, a drinks service. As I’ve found common on BA flights – even before the pandemic – there was a limited selection of drinks on the trolley. Basically if you want anything other than juice, still water, tea or coffee you’ll have to wait. Its not a problem but I can’t help but feel you’re being a bit of an inconvenience to the crew by making them run back to the galley. With this in mind, I ordered a sparking water, and off they went, returning a few moments later.
Throughout the flight, the following noticed popped up multiple times on the IFE.
Thinking about it, I guess there were more than a few people congregating in the Club Kitchen. You could argue that if I was there, I was probably guilty too. In my defence though, I went there, grabbed what I wanted and returned to my seat.
Descent started and my attention returned to the outside world.
Due to the fairly low cloud base, there were no views to be had over London today.
We broke free of the clouds a few miles from the runway over the Hounslow area. The weather here was certainly in stark contrast to what we had left behind.
Arrival on to stand at T5C came more or less on time. As is the norm these days, disembarkation would be done from front to rear.
Although it would appear that not everyone got the message the first time around. Or the second. Or the third. In the end, the crew had to think on their feet a little and resort to threats!
“Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t sit down and observe the social distancing rules, the whole aircraft will have to go into quarantine for 14 days, SO STAY SEATED UNTIL YOUR ROW IS CALLED”
This seemed to do the trick.
As it happened, once disembarkation was started, I was one of the first off. Annoyingly, the transfer train between the satellites at T5 was out of action, so it was a long walk over to the main building.
Arrivals wasn’t particularly busy, so it was more or less non stop from plane to kerb.
Whilst I didn’t find the Club Suite all that comfortable to sleep in, it was fine for the daytime flight. Once more, I found the door was a little redundant as it isn’t anywhere near as high as what’s found on the Qatar Airways QSuite. Once you recline a little though, it does feel more private.
The crew weren’t too bad. Not the best I have experienced over the years, but not exactly the worst either. One minor complaint was the Club Kitchen. It was definitely a little sparse compared to what I found out of Gatwick previously.