Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
This is the final part of my trip to Bangkok, Phuket, Muscat and Dubai, which actually took place a few months back now.
After a warm few days in Dubai, it was time to leave. As my flight wasn’t due to depart until 15:45, it was a relaxed start. I headed downstairs to grab one of the cakes I had seen in the hotel coffee shop around 10 am.
This cake was GOOD. A very moist stick to the roof of your mouth type!
After this, I went upstairs to get a bit of sun by the pool for an hour or so.
Views from the roof
Around 11:50, I checked out of the hotel, and made my way to the airport, stopping once again at Deira city centre along the way for a bit of a wander and to spend my last few Dirhams on a burger.
Overview of the Flora Grand
Heading on to the Metro
A few moments later I arrived at the mall:
Once I was done, I headed off to the airport on the metro.
Upon arrival, it was off to check in to grab my boarding pass.
It seemed like most of the self serve machines had problems, but I eventually found one that was working.
I decided to have a look to see if there were any free rows further forward:
Looks to be a full flight, so I made do with my pre assigned seat.
Following this, with not much landside, I headed through passport control. This was pretty slow mainly due to people waving goodbye to their families until the very last second.
Once through, I went for a wander to the end of the terminal I didn’t see the other day.
EK merchandise in the Emirates store
As I hadn’t really brought anything for myself on this trip, picked up a souvenir from the official Emirates store along the way.
I then thought it would be a good idea to catch the train over to the gate after this.
Once at the A380 (and 777 and A340 terminal it seems), I headed off in the opposite direction of my gate to see as much of this area as I could. Although there wasn’t as much to be seen in this part as there was the B gates.
Once I had completed a lap, my gate was open, so headed in.
Once downstairs, I found A6-EDL waiting, in service with EK since August 2010. Due to the layout of the terminal and this particular gate, it was impossible to get a picture though.
Boarding was called at 15:05 for business passengers and families, shortly followed by the various boarding zones.
I finally managed to grab a couple of semi decent pics
11th May 2013
A380-861 / A6-EDL
Seat: 85K / Economy
Off Stand: 15:45
On Stand: 20:01
I made my way onboard and was welcomed back by the crew at the door and directed to my seat. Once I reached my seat, I overheard one of the crew say this would be a pretty full flight.
Legroom was decent, as on the flight from London
I noticed there was a slight difference to the seatback to the previous EK A380 that I went on. Most noticibly the headphone socket was now in the seat back, and there was a USB and power socket.
Most people in the rear section at least seemed to be Australian.
This one made quite a bit of noise on start up
IFE set for departure.
After a while, two people came and sat next to me, however somebody else came along and claimed the aisle seat. Turns out they were in 85F and G. Then, a few moments later an Indian guy claimed the middle seat.
Mr 85H (anybody know what happened to 85I?) was talking on his phone pretty much from boarding to takeoff, and the only reason why the call ended was because I suspect he lost signal – hope he had a UAE SIM card, otherwise that call would have cost him a fortune!
Shortly after, the French captain was over the PA saying that the flight time would be 6hours and 45minutes, saying that we would be flying at 38,000ft and that we would be flying over Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey before heading over Europe.
Once boarding was complete, the hot towels were handed out.
As expected, this flight was pretty full.
Pushback came exactly on schedule, and the safety briefing was played, followed by the introduction to the ICE IFE.
During the taxi out to the runway, the cabin crew came and said to the guy in the middle seat that they had found him another seat up front, so got up and moved – at which point both me and the guy in the aisle seat said to each other thank god for that – as he was a bit on the large side!
There was quite a wait at the end of the runway for some unknown reason, but around five minutes later we lined up and made a very quiet amble into the air, at just past 4pm local.
Shortly after departure, the mood lighting was set to the orange mode.
As there wasn’t much to be seen outside, I decided to carry on where I’d left off with Curb Your Enthusiasm.
And todays’s dinner choice would be:
Around an hour after takeoff, the drinks service was started.
Following this, and an episode of Family Guy, I decided to see what movies I fancied. I went with Looper.
I didn’t get on with it though, and switched it off after a few minutes. I went with Robot and Frank instead, which was much easier to watch.
Around two and a quarter hours after takeoff the meal service began. I chose the chicken (again).
EK cutlery in Economy.
During the meal service, there was some light turbulence and the seatbelt sign was switched on. However not many people chose to take notice if this and despite further announcements over the PA people just didn’t seem to listen. This must be so frustrating for the crew.
I noticed quite a few other movements outside during the flight – a couple of freighters, an EK 777 and an LH A330 passing very close by indeed. Times like that I wish I had my camera to hand, but they pass by just too quickly. There were some nice mountains to photograph instead though.
Following this, I was starting to feel the effects of my session by the pool earlier. I went to the galley and asked for some water and explained that I’d had too much Dubai sun, and the attractive young French flight attendant gave me plenty to keep me going, along with a reassuring stroke to the arm and said if I needed any more, ring the call button and she would shower me with drinks, although not literally I hope!
Following this, it was another movie.
I’m a big kid really! That and the fact I wasn’t in the mood for anything too complicated.
Shortly after the film began, I noticed a young couple head down to the toilets at the rear with mischievous grins on their faces… And then return together more than a few minutes later. Hmmm! I’ll say no more!!
As we passed Romania, there were some great views. However as my camera still wasn’t behaving, as it should – and the battery was now dying too, there weren’t any decent pictures to be had.
With just over two hours before arrival, afternoon tea was served. Very good it was too! Not too little, not too much and keeping consistency with my other EK flights on this trip, it was of high quality. The Scones were nice and warm too and they also had their own dish – take note BA! Fed up with having to balance their bread rolls on the cheese plate…
Catching up with the news mid flight.
Following this, once the film had finished, I just sat and watched the skymap for the final hour or so of the flight. At this point my SLR battery died, so it was on to the slightly rubbish pocket cam from that point onwards. Luckily, there wasn’t any more service to report on and as we passed Germany, it clouded over so no views to be had either.
Something’s not quite right here?
Heading across the English Channel as the flight was drawing to an end.
Just before we started our approach, the South African first officer updated us with the progress. it sounded like a typical British spring evening – wind, hail and a possibility of a couple of storms that we might have to avoid – fun! He also gave us a couple of technical details, saying we would be landing on 27L and we had a landing weight of 386,000 kgs.
Descent into London started at 19:13, and almost immediately the turbulence started, although the approach wasn’t as bad as the flight crew made out really.
Slowing a little.
During descent, one of the crew members (the same French one from earlier) told the guy a few rows in front to put his seat upright. He did – for about 3 seconds. And the crew member spotted this. She once again told him to put his seat upright, and they ended up in quite a discussion about it that lasted a good five minutes about how the guy felt it was his right to be able to recline his seat, and he cant see why its such an issue. Once that was done, she then spotted somebody wondering around the cabin – and firmly told them to ‘sit down now were landing’. She walked off rolling her eyes and letting out a big sigh. And I can understand why! That’s something I had noticed about all my flights to/from DXB actually – the passengers just don’t seem to pay any attention to the crew.
Slightly iced up tail view on final.
Touchdown was made just before 20:00, we made quite a long rollout as experienced in DXB, then made the very short taxi over to T3 pier 6.
We pulled in alongside our sistership that departed DXB pretty much as our flight was boarding and two more A380’s about to head off on their long journeys into the night.
Once on stand there was a good fifteen minute wait before anybody was let off – in which time the heavens had really opened outside.
On the way out, I noticed the first officer stood at the door, and I asked for a flightdeck visit that was happily granted. No sign of the captain though – guess he had a bus to catch. The first officer was a very nice guy however and he was very happy to show me pretty much everything that was different on the A380 compared to the A320 and answer all my questions. I also noticed a plaque on the rear wall saying who this aircraft was leased from and that it was operated by Emirates airlines of Dubai. I commented on this and the first officer said that the amount Emirates are giving the mentioned leasing company, the chances are they pretty much own that too!
Unfortunately as my camera battery had long died, this was the best picture I could get
After this, it was out through T3. Amusingly, on the way out a girl saw me and asked if I had just come out of the ‘pilot area’ – I replied I had, and she asked me what it was like. I replied mostly computer screens and she thanked me for the smooth flight anyway!! Well, ok thanks. How the general public thinks! I’ve Never seen a pilot wear jeans, T Shirt, trainers and generally looking bit hot and bothered before!
On to the central bus station.
Once back into the UK, I realized I had a bit of a wait for the next coach home, so I grabbed a bit to eat from boots and made my way to the coach station, arriving home at around 10PM – which I think is a pretty good time to arrive home from a long flight actually, as you can get in, shower, settle and then get to bed at pretty much your normal time without having to worry about staying awake for as long as possible like on the flights that arrive early in the morning.
So what did I think?
I actually thought they were pretty good, however after reading some reviews before departure maybe I was expecting a little much – meaning it was a bit of an anticlimax. However, I still think they were one of the better airlines I have been on, and I would definitely fly with them again. Their A380 is great, as are their 777’s, although my opinion may have been slightly tainted by the fact I had free seats next to me on all my flights.
Thai were also pretty good, despite the issue with the original aircraft on the BKK-HKT sector. I thought it was a good move by the flight crew to find us another aircraft rather than persevere with a plane that clearly had an issue. The aircraft swap over was relatively painless despite the language barrier.
The real star of the show that day though was the refurbished 747 on the HKT-BKK sector. Clean, modern, decent legroom and I wouldn’t be against spending a few hours on it, despite the full load.
The meal service on both flights were fairly decent too, as were the crew. I was impressed that a fully loaded 747 managed to get a fed and watered with a flight time of just an hour.
Despite having two sectors with Oman Air, it was really only the one as the DXB-MCT sector was effectively operated by Smart Wings / Travel Service. The hot meal service was impressive though, which is generally more than what you get on European sectors of twice the length.
The actual Oman Air flight I went on was also good – the IFE and dedicated business class cabin, despite being on a regional jet was impressive.
Next up are a few Euro-Trips, seeing me head to a wet Denmark, a baking Germany to meet a fellow a.netter, a last second trip to Stockholm and a frustrating trip to Edinburgh.