Date: Sep 09, 2006
Flight No: EK 607
Route: Karachi to Dubai
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300
Registration: E6-E?? with FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 titles.
Duration: 2hrs 05 mins
I left the house at a reasonable hour in the morning for my afternoon departure to Dubai. I was supposed to leave two days earlier, but I got seriously sick and had to cancel my reservation, which was the first time I have ever had to cancel a flight due to sickness. This resulted in my flight out of New York to be rescheduled to Sept 11. My family bid me farewell and I proceeded to the departure areas. I soon cleared formalities and went to a remote area inside the departure lounge from where I clicked the earlier departure of 1215, the tails of the old and new airlines of Pakistan, Pakistan International and Air Blue. While busy photographing them a PIA Boeing 747-300 in the Lahore, Garden of Mughals landed in the distance and I quickly photographed it taxing to the terminal. I passed security later and headed to the boarding gate. I noticed the PK 743 had parked right next to the Emirates gate and I was happy to a get another pic of it at close range. While boarding, that same aircraft would move to the other satellite and I would photograph her later. I quite like the new PIA tails and would like to see them on the 777s as well (They ar of course now some three years later). We boarded the aircraft and I recall telling the girl at the gate about the load, saying the ground agent at the town office had said it was wide open. She shook her head in disbelief and said we were going full load unlike the flight in which was practically empty. This was very evident when the passengers just kept coming. Before all seats could get full, I went to the other side and photographed the Jinnah Airport terminal building.
The Earlier EK flight operating with a Boeing 777-300ER
Every single seat on the jet was starting to fill up and I waited to see who the occupants of the two seats at the side of me where going to be. A couple with two small kids used the two near me and the two across the aisle. The screaming kid settled near me and I was so glad it was going to be a short flight. The child reached for every imaginable thing around and yanked the video console out and put it to his ear and talked into it. The father cautioned him not to do it, trying to get him to settle in the seat, while he slid from his hands. We started to taxi and I tried to forget the scene unfolding at the side of me, and got my forward camera ready. We were soon racing down the length of the runway and took a longer time to get airborne compared to our flight into Karachi. I recorded the take off including some outside the window. I then proceeded to photograph our climb out, getting some views of the city as we flew over. We turned left out of 25R heading down towards the Arabian sea and after a while we would turn right and fly almost north west to the Makran Coast before we would turn left again and then fly west to Dubai , the Pakistani coastline now on the right of the aircraft. We climbed to FL360 very quickly and while still in the climb, with the seat belt signs on, the cabin crew began to get up to prepare for the meal service. The full load today meant they needed a head start for the +300 plus in economy in a short time of just 1 hour and 40 minutes or less. I looked at my little friend and he had fallen fast asleep, the climb out having some effect on him, where we hit some light turbulence . Severe turbulence usually has this effect on me, all that rocking gently putting me to sleep, as I experienced on a Malaysia Airlines jet out of Dubai to Newark .The meal service began and the crew did an amazing job.
The guy in the photo below was the lead Purser on my flight from New York.
Earlier in the flight while settling in my seat, I noticed a flight attendant from my flight to Karachi, in fact the one I had photographed up front prior to deplaning. As she approached I informed her that I was the crazy paparazzi who had photographed her on the flight to Karachi, and she was very excited with the coincidence of meeting me again . She asked if I had the photo but I had packed that album into my checked baggage…I went to use the washroom and on my way back to the seat she had hurriedly filled a bag with some Emirates playing cards, a stuffed toy, Emirate packed savoury crackers and said it was a real pleasure to have me on board with Emirates again . I clearly remembered her from the photograph, and she was in the cabin working very professionally and ensuring her passengers were being taken care of even before we had taken off . There was some other cabin crew on that flight that seemed eager to get off before the flight had even pushed back!! . I always like a flight attendant like her dedicated and caring and sometime later in the flight I asked for her name and a passenger comment form. There was no form available however she handed some excellent First Class stationery and I wrote a few good things about her service and asked her to hand it to the Purser of this flight.
The descent into Dubai began and we had crossed inland from the Arabain Sea into the Emirates flying over the East coast, before we began descending mid way through. We were going to make a straight in approach from the East and we passed over some houses , then long winding roads in the sands below. while we descended lower. We had absolutely clear weather and once again the brown hue added to the scenery outside and the blinding heat added to my anxiety of being in the hot weather again . Once again I recorded the approach into Dubai, but this time I did not use the video but the view outside my window. I believe the view is a lot better outside though it is exciting to see the runway approaching to welcome youon the seat back videos. We passed a Boeing 777 holding at the edge of the runway and some seconds later touched down into Dubai. We had a long taxi to the gate going down the length of the runway and then heading back up. The Boeing 777 that we had earlier passed was now climbing into the afternoon sky. We got into the gate and I noticed a Virgin Nigeria A340 alongside two Emirates tails . The familiar Dubai control shone in the afternoon sun and we were back at the Emirates home base. I got a photo of the tail of our jet and hurried to clear all other formalities before I kept my friends in Dubai waiting like I did with my family in Karachi.
Date: Sep 11, 2006
Flight No: EK 203
Route: Dubai to New York
Aircraft: Airbus A340-500
Duration: 14 hours 10 minutes
It was the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Sept 11th events of 2001 in New York, and I was boarding a flight to New York that was scheduled to arrive at 0820 in the morning at JFK some thirty minutes or so before the first jet hit the First Tower. Security was the same as before in regards to the checking bags etc, and was not escalated due to the anniversary of that tragic event. Before long we were all at the gate to board our flight to New York. The load was really full today, because the flight from the day before Sept 10th in the morning had been cancelled and those passengers were put on this night flight. I had a pretty bad experience coming into Dubai from New York with the person in the seat behind me, that I had pretty much made up my mind that I would take the last seat despite the limited recline, and the curvature of the aircraft at the end with these Airbus planes. I had this issue with the A330-200 of Etihad. After getting my boarding pass, I decided to check the Duty Free stores but got nothing so I headed to the gate, which also happen to be Gate 11 which seemed a bit bizzare. Soon the announcement was made and we were on board the Airbus A340-500.
I cannot recall which runway we departed from but unlike my flight this year (2009) where we headed towards Bahrain, Kuwait along the Persian Gulf where we entered into Iraqi airspace and practically flew over Baghdad, this trip was taking us over Iran to Shiraz, part of Iraq, into Turkey over the Black Sea, the Eastern bloc, Romania, Poland over the Baltic Sea to the tip of the Norwegian countries, then over Reykjavik, close to Greenland and then down over Eastern Canada, US and finally New York. Dinner was served almost immediately after take off and this time I decided to put the IFE to better use than I had on the inbound flight. My neighbour who was in 40B had already called it a night being one of those that was supposed to be on the earlier flight but then was told they would be taking the flight at night. I am not sure if he was a transit passenger and was made to pull out the whole day at the terminal or not, but he was clearly tired.
I could not sleep at all and I recall seeing that only 6 hours had passed and another 7 or more had yet to go. The Emirates FAs that sleep in the bunks above the Economy area, change into sky blue track like outfits and it's quite amusing to see the person that served you earlier in crisp EK uniforms turn up suddenly this way like smurfs in the dark cabin with the lights out that you begin to imagine if your eyes are playing tricks on you. Amusingly there was a passenger on board who had a similar outfit and was waiting near the lavatory to use it, with some others before her. I almost asked her how long their break is for, assuming she was one of them, until I saw a famous brand name logo on her outfit!! Water and orange juice runs were made during the course of the flight and some mid-flight snacks were served, and the rest of the flight continued in the dark night. I was so tempted to remove my hand luggage from the top and proudly display my Risesoon Airbus A340-500 1:200 scale (which I had bought from the EK store in Dubai) close to me , while flying on the real Airbus A340-500. But I decided not to!!
The map now also includes Toronto, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco & Sao Paulo
We had now crossed the Atlantic and were over Eastern Canada when the cabin began to stir back to life. It was amazing how some people can actually sleep on these long hauls, freshen up in the washroom and have breakfast like it was the next day after sleeping in your own bed at home. The trays were cleared and now we were closing in on New York. I had spent sometime after breakfast to chat with the crew members, and had told them I had taken pics of their colleagues on the inbound flight. The Purser on the flight was at the back and when I told her about it as well and how I would be documenting this as a trip report, she quickly handed me a can of mixed nuts, that are served in First Class, thanked me for doing that and scurried off before I captured her on film. I think she had met my kind before, so others do exist!!
We were still very high over the city and the New York skyline could be seen just under the wing, before the jet turned briefly to the left heading out towards Long Island and after passing it, we turned right and began the approach for 4R at JFK. It was now almost 0810 (8:20am) local time and the thought of the events of Sept 11, exactly five years before on this day, flashed through my mind. The jet was now over the Ocean and was making that long right turn to line up with 4R. It was a gorgeous clear day with just a few scattered clouds. We passed over the usual buildings that lie on that stretch of Long Island and before long we touched down on 4R, while getting a glimpse of the line up on 4L that was making up the morning rush hour. It was now 0820 (8:20am) and we soon parking at the terminal.
I was desperate to try and get to La Guardia to change my connection from a 4pm departure to one earlier in the morning, firstly I was too tired to wait another eight hours at JFK, and secondly it being Sept 11th, I was too concerned should any events take place, I could get stranded in New York. So I was actually rushing to get out of the plane this time and not be the last to leave. Once in the arrivals hall I proceeded to find the line with the least amount of passengers, but the Airport Personnel in there chose to send me to one of the longest lines. While in the line an announcement blared through the Terminal alerting passengers that a minute's silence (or was it two minutes) was to be observed shortly. The buzzer prior to the commencement of the silence was heard and the Terminal paused in every single activity that it was previously involved in. However two passengers of my flight (I chose not to disclose their nationalities) continued to chat, oblivious to what was happening around. They were still going on in a pretty audible tone, that people in the line signaled them to hush and be quiet. They probably did not understand English, but it is so disrespectful when you behave that way, especially at a solemn moment like this, as I am you can clearly see everything has come to a standstill and some people have their heads bowed in silence. Anyway, after the silence the Terminal sprung back into action and I was allowed entry into the US by a very friendly Customs Officer.
Date: Sep 11, 2006
Airline: Air Canada
Flight No: AC 709
Route: New York (LGA) to Toronto
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Duration: 1hr 35 mins
I managed to get to La Guardia in the next hour and was soon at the Air Canada counter requesting an earlier departure to Toronto. The agent checked and happily informed me I was now on the departure before noon. I could not have been happier. The flight was uneventful and like my arrival into La Guardia some weeks earlier which took me over Manhattan, this time too I was going to be treated to some views of the magnificient Manhattan skyline. We landed on 6R is Toronto and the only thing on my mind was to get home and sleep.
I cleared Immigration and headed down to the baggage claim area of Terminal 1. The bags from the flight soon appeared on the moving conveyor belts and then I thought I was seeing things when I noticed my large suitcase half open, though I know I had locked it in New York when I had opened it to put my Airbus A340-500 1:200 model from my hand carry into the suitcase as I thought with my 8 hour stop in the US, I would have to carry it with me everywhere. And then another smaller bag had this huge tear which was squarish in shape with the torn end hanging halway through away from the bag. I lifted my suitcase and it almost came open when I pulled it off the belt, and I quickly snapped it together as soon I put it to the ground, and before the other smaller bag could pass me, I quickly lifted that but some of the contents spilled out onto the ground, but fortunately not on the converyor belt that I had to run after it to pick them up. I was shocked and terribly upset that my bags had arrived this way. I quickly dragged my suitcase behind me while holding the other smaller bag close to my chest with my left hand, like it was a sick child and went to the Air Canada agent demanding an explanation for this unfortunate arrival of my belongings. She was very sympathetic and said I had probably become a victim of a random baggage check by the US Airport Security due to hightened security on Sept 11. I knew there was nothing I could do about it and left the terminal quite upset, yet relieved to find none of my actual belongings had gone missing or stolen. When I got home I found a leaflet in my suitcase and handbag that I was chosen for a random baggage check, just as the Air Canada agent had told me. I guess it was because I had arrived on a Middle Eastern carrier on the day itself from the Middle East, had requested to change my booking at La Guardia and was a single male of an ethnic background, the real reasons will never be known to me. Fortunately I have never had this experience again, and do not look forward to incidents such as this in the future.