Sponsor Message:
Aviation Trip Reports Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
The Emirates Experience: Part 2 [CMB-SIN, EK348]  
User currently offlineManekS From Singapore, joined Oct 2008, 243 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 12 months 14 hours ago) and read 9875 times:

THE EMIRATES EXPERIENCE: PART 2 [CMB-SIN ON EK348]


-

Hello everyone,

Happy New Year! Have a fantastic year ahead.   

And don't worry about the world ending - the Mayans were BSing us! Apparently, the stone engraving on which archaeologists found the prophecy was broken, so we didn't get the whole message.   

This trip report is the second part of this series. Part 1 can be found here:
The Emirates Experience: Part 1 [SIN-CMB, EK349]

This half will briefly cover my holiday in Sri Lanka and the return journey on Emirates.

The plan for this trip was to spend a couple of days in Colombo, and then head to the beach town of Gaulle, where we would remain until the day before our flight home.

We stayed at a place called 'Tamarind Hill' in Gaulle. It is a colonial style mansion which has been converted into a boutique hotel with fifteen rooms. It had a very personal feel to it. The atmosphere was casual and during my stay, I always saw familiar faces in the courtyard. The staff were great - no request was too hard to accommodate. One evening, they showed off a huge python they had caught outside the property! The experience was definitely very different than traditional hotels. All in all, I was very happy. The service was impeccable, the staff was genuine - almost like chums, the rooms were comfortable (though the mosquitos drove me nuts), and the food was fresh and delicious.    My only gripe was the unreliability of the Wi-Fi. But it did give me time to finish of reading Steve Jobs' biography. Boy, what a guy! The movie is going to end up being a comedy simply because of the way he talked to everyone - "Everything you've ever done in your life is sh#t, so why don't you come work for me?"   

Here are some pictures from the trip:


-
Nice garden around which the whole house is built


-
Tea leaf pickers


-
This is where the leaves are washed


-
Hard work!


-
Result after being processed in one of several machines. The machines this plantation uses are over 150 years old!


-
Ran into a protest on the way back to the hotel. We were stuck here for a while   


-
Beautiful


-
Cricket stadium


-
That guy's got some balance!


-
The reason most tourists are here - the beach

After five relaxing days, (not entirely relaxing because we were accompanied by my five year old cousins - twins. As cute as they are, it wasn't very pleasant hearing BAM BAMs on my door every morning) it was time to head back. We spent a night at the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo. The hotel is average - decent rooms but the quality of the F&B was very poor, just like the Hilton Colombo.

We left the hotel at 10.15am on the 27th. It was a long drive to the airport, during which I thought about the trip.

So here's what I think of Sri Lanka: A visit to Colombo is superfluous. As the biggest city, it's simply a gateway to the country. Gaulle is nice if you want to kick back and do absolutely nothing for a few days. Though it's touted to be the premier beach destination, the beaches aren't white or sandy. Activities outside the resort are hard to come by - the tea plantation we visited was one of maybe five attractions in the area. Lastly, there is a lack of quality resorts. It is virtually impossible to find international chains in a place like Gaulle. This therefore limits your choice of accommodation.

I was particularly underwhelmed because I had heard people rave about the country before the trip. I read they had a 35% increase in tourist traffic year-over-year, with the biggest jump coming from the UK - Westerners do like their sun. It's going to take them a while for them to compete with the likes of Bali and Thailand. That being said, I must recognize and appreciate the hospitality of the Sri Lankan people. I met some very friendly folks on this trip. Taking everything into account, it was certainly an enjoyable vacation.   

Anyway, as I was lost in these thoughts, time had flown by and we were minutes away from arriving at Bandaranaike International Airport. Interestingly, the driver's license and nationality of passengers were recorded before you could be dropped curbside. Tickets and passports were checked before entering the terminal. Then, all baggage was scanned, after which a fifty meter walk down a corridor lead you to the actual terminal. UL was advertising their four day old service to Zurich, Switzerland. I must commend them for spreading their wings so far - they've done well to recover from the attack on their fleet a few years ago, and also from the loss of support from Emirates.   


-
Curbside at CMB


-
See what they did with the cheese?

Landside had some seating, shops and restaurants. After yet another passport check, we walked up and down the check in area to find the EK counters. When we did, they weren't open yet, and there weren't any staff in sight either. Soon, more passengers showed up, and the crowd began to build. Eventually, a group of agents made an entrance. When my dad inquired when check in would begin (it was now 11.45am, 3 hours before departure), she replied "why in a hurry?"! Rather rude?    We waited, with the queue growing steadily. At 12.15pm, we asked her again. This time she indicated the systems had crashed. They finally began at 12.30pm and the bitch quickly handed over our boarding passes. Pardon my French.   


-
Landside before entering the sterile check in area


-
Lifeless EK counters


-
I do like these banners they come up with


-
Very thoughtful and great quality too


-
Christmas at CMB   


-
FIDS

There was a boarding pass check before clearing emigration. A few shops are located downstairs, but departures and the main shopping area is on the floor above. Beware: everything at CMB is charged in US Dollars. $30 for a small (thawed!) chicken entree (at the only restaurant airside) is daylight robbery. The Coffee Bean was much more reasonable. I was getting pretty bored now, so I went to explore the relatively compact terminal. I counted no less than four lounges - only one of which was operated by an airline. The FIDS indicated a gate change, and sure enough, EK staff came by yelling "Emirates passengers. Gate change. Gate 9. Emirates passengers … "


-
The mini shopping area downstairs


-

-
Airside


-
Check out the prices of these plastic, toy airplane models. Thieves!   


-

-

-
Sri Lankan reigns here


-
Nice big windows


-
New airport this year!


-
"Sri Lanka's first F1 car"


-
Entrance to the Sri Lankan Airlines lounge


-

-

-
More pictures from the airside


-
They're expanding this airport, AND building another one?!   


-
Quiet afternoon for ATC


-
Heading to Gate 9

Security at CMB is at the gate, just like in SIN. Boy, they sure make you strip here! Shoes off, belt off, watch off. As I put myself back in one piece, I watched our plane land and taxi over. A6-EMP would have the pleasure of hosting me this evening. As on the inbound, only passengers terminating their journey in Colombo got off the plane. There seemed to be a lot of them. It was pretty clear we wouldn't be leaving on time. A cowboy was the last passenger off the plane! Tiny town in Texas - IAH - DXB - CMB?   


-
Two gates share security


-

-
A peak at my bird


-
Little stub


-
Ample seating

The boarding procedure was explained at 2.25pm, but no announcements followed. As I watched Sri Lanka collapse against South Africa in Cricket, I realized people were already boarding - it was a free for all! So down the jetway I went..


-


-

TUESDAY, 27 DECEMBER 2011
EMIRATES
FLIGHT# EK348
DUBAI [DXB] TO COLOMBO [CMB] TO SINGAPORE [SIN]
Scheduled Dep: 1425, Actual Dep: 1525 [60 Minutes late]
Scheduled Arr: 2105, Actual Arr: 2123 [18 Minutes late]
BOEING 777-300 [A6-EMP] ECONOMY CLASS


-
Map generated using Great Circle Mapper

I was greeted politely by name by the friendly flight attendant. There were many passengers already onboard (I guesstimate about half the plane was continuing from DXB. It seemed like most pax had disembarked at CMB, but clearly not. Really puts the massive capacity of these birds into perspective) . I settled into 28A, and as usual, started the forward cameras - one of the features I was really beginning to love.


-

-
View from 28A


-

-

-
Notice the IFE box on the left - it eats into your legroom

Boarding was completed at 3.10pm. The first officer came on to announce a flight time of 3 hours 35 minutes, altitude of 35,000 feet, and a detailed description of the route. With all the ground crew out, we pushed back at 3.16pm. F/a's came around with warm towels (not piping hot like on the last flight). The pilots were certainly eager to make up the time we had lost. We made a mad dash towards the active - the crew didn't get an opportunity to finish handing out the hot towels. We held for a minute, and then blasted off into clear Sri Lankan skies.


-

-

-

-
Goodbye Sri Lanka!   


-
Ancient, aren't they?   


Takeoff video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob9OO7INqH4


-


-
Familiar places


-

-
Scenic mountains below

Languages spoken were announced. Again, it was a very impressive list. It was after this point that I really began to see EK's famed inconsistencies. The crew came around handing out menus - but they were for EK349, i.e. for the return flight ex-SIN. And you only got one if you happened to be looking at f/a. Once they realized their blunder, they came around to collect them, and then again to give people the right one. Special meals were served first. I decided Captain America would give me company.


-
Can't believe I missed this one in theaters

In the seat pocket on my flight to CMB, I was lucky to find a menu from EK348, i.e. this flight. I discovered that, as on the inbound, I couldn't eat either choice, so I ordered my family and myself Asian Vegetarian meals a few days before the flight. My dad got his while my mum, sister and I waited. When the regular dinner cart rolled up, we were asked if we wanted the beef or the fish. We informed the f/a we had ordered special meals. She got my sister her's, and then continued down the aisle with the regular trolley. Okay.. After a while, I managed to flag down another f/a and let him know my mum and I were waiting. This time, I got mine, but my mum still didn't. She got her's two hours into the flight.


-
Please offer a vegetarian option, or at least a meat which is eaten more commonly in the Indian subcontinent


-
They got the options on the first leg right!

The meal consisted of cottage cheese with spinach, lentils and rice - pretty standard Indian cuisine. It was very good, except maybe the cottage cheese, which was a little hard. Drinks and coffee/tea ensued. I asked for coffee, and the male f/a poured me what he had left, which filled up a quarter of my cup. He said "Sorry, little only", and moved on. Really?    I was actually appalled by the service - I couldn't believe I was flying the same airline I had flown just a week ago. Perhaps I've witnessed EK's best, and EK's worst on these flights. Dinner was cleared at 5.20pm.


-

-

-

-
As with all Indian food, it tasted better than it looked

After the meal service, I visited the lavatory, where a sizable queue had formed. Though the group of us stood there, we were non existent as far as the five flight attendants in the galley were concerned. Would a little nod or smile kill ya? Oh well, like I said, I've probably witnessed the worst. The toilet was clean and stocked with a few amenities. I made my way back from the brightly lit, rear cabin into the dark, forward cabin. I was finishing up the movie when the captain announced we were on descend and would be on the ground in 20-30 minutes depending on congestion. Temperature was 27 degrees celsius.


-
Sunset


-

-
They probably have to update this every week!


-

-

-
Packed flight - load over 95% I reckon'


-
'WTF' ending to this film


-
Flimsy   


-

-
Closing in


-
Great selection, but they're missing Coldplay!   

Soon, the lights of the city and the hundreds of ships around Singapore came into view. We touched down on runway 02L at 9.23pm local time, and taxied over to gate C22, on blocks at 9.27pm. After disembarkation, I visited the restroom so I wouldn't have to get my bladder a tombstone. I then joined the longer-than-usual queue at immigration. Looking back at the line - holey moley    - glad I wasn't at the back of that. Bags took a while, as did the taxi, but eventually I was on the way back home.


-

-
Runway in sight!


-
Jack Sparrow has arrived


-

-

-

-
Seconds to go!


-

-

-

-
Welcome to Singapore


-

-
Four hour break before it goes back home to Dubai via Colombo


-
I made it in the nick of time!


-

-
Everything's orchestrated here

Conclusion. As I said at the end of Part 1, I was really looking forward to this sector to see if EK have some sort of consistency. If it isn't obvious yet, no, they don't. But this discovery is far from revolutionary. This weakness has been highlighted frequently. Service was poor, except from a couple of crew members.    Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the airplane. That being said, EK did still excel in other aspects like the IFE and the food. I would fly them again because they are great value for money - I paid $500 for the roundtrip - SQ was $950.

I ask myself this question at the end of every trip: Would I rather have consistently great service which has been trained to perfection on SQ, or would I rather have occasional great service which comes from the heart on other carriers? When I fly SQ, my answer is other carriers, but when I fly other carriers, my answer is SQ. I can't make up my mind .. I guess its just human nature.


-

Thank you for your support, and I look forward to reading your feedback. My next trip report will be SIN-CGK-SIN on Lufthansa, about four weeks from now   . Until then, Adiós!
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Previous Trip Reports (Listed Chronologically)
1. MI To Penang
2. DL 777-200LR BusinessElite, Singapore to Tokyo
3. The Emirates Experience: Part 1 [SIN-CMB, EK349]

2 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 8744 times:

Hi

Nice return trip report as well! Thanks for sharing us the pics of Sri Lanka
Liked the add of the new CMB-ZRH flight, it had some humour in.
Glad that EK brought you back safely!

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineManekS From Singapore, joined Oct 2008, 243 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 8506 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 1):
Liked the add of the new CMB-ZRH flight, it had some humour in.
Glad that EK brought you back safely!

Hi Marc,

Glad you enjoyed it   Yes, took me a while to realize, but it is indeed quite a creative piece of work from UL's marketing department.


Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic The Emirates Experience: Part 2 [CMB-SIN, EK348]
Username:
No username? Sign up now!
Password: 


Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Trip reports only! Other topics here
  • If criticizing an airline, express yourself in a dignified manner.
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
  • DETAILED RULES
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)


Similar topics:More similar topics...
RTW Part 2 SQ To SFO : The Ultimate Experience? posted Mon Oct 31 2011 05:56:57 by milesaddict
The Kingfisher Experience: BOM-SIN-BOM A330-200 posted Thu May 6 2010 08:39:00 by vivekman2006
The Media Experience On Emirates A380 Trans Tasman posted Mon Feb 9 2009 04:14:15 by N178UA
The British Airways Premium Experience (Part 2) posted Mon Aug 11 2008 06:15:06 by Genius12
Around The World In Y, Part One: SQ LHR-SIN In posted Fri Aug 3 2007 18:50:35 by Boeing77W
Moving Back To The USA - Part 2 (MNL-SIN) posted Sun Aug 3 2003 14:08:41 by USAJPNflyer
EVA Air Part 4: TPE-SIN On 77W posted Mon Dec 5 2011 08:46:44 by 9V-SVC
The Innsbruck Experience - 2 A.netters In Austria posted Sat Nov 19 2011 07:43:25 by infodesk
Europe Trip 2011 Part IX – SIN-BKK-HKG SQ J & TG F posted Sat Oct 15 2011 12:49:13 by sutrakhk
Europe Trip 2011 Part III – SIN-LHR On SQ F Suite posted Sun Oct 2 2011 03:24:08 by sutrakhk
The Media Experience On Emirates A380 Trans Tasman posted Mon Feb 9 2009 04:14:15 by N178UA
The British Airways Premium Experience (Part 2) posted Mon Aug 11 2008 06:15:06 by Genius12
Around The World In Y, Part One: SQ LHR-SIN In posted Fri Aug 3 2007 18:50:35 by Boeing77W
Moving Back To The USA - Part 2 (MNL-SIN) posted Sun Aug 3 2003 14:08:41 by USAJPNflyer
EVA Air Part 4: TPE-SIN On 77W posted Mon Dec 5 2011 08:46:44 by 9V-SVC
The Innsbruck Experience - 2 A.netters In Austria posted Sat Nov 19 2011 07:43:25 by infodesk
Europe Trip 2011 Part IX – SIN-BKK-HKG SQ J & TG F posted Sat Oct 15 2011 12:49:13 by sutrakhk
Around The World In Y, Part One: SQ LHR-SIN In posted Fri Aug 3 2007 18:50:35 by Boeing77W
Moving Back To The USA - Part 2 (MNL-SIN) posted Sun Aug 3 2003 14:08:41 by USAJPNflyer
Part 2: Valuair SIN-MES, Garuda MES-BTJ posted Tue Mar 20 2012 21:44:42 by gabrielchew
Comparison: The New Style A388 Ex SIN posted Fri Mar 16 2012 09:50:48 by FLIEGER67
EVA Air Part 4: TPE-SIN On 77W posted Mon Dec 5 2011 08:46:44 by 9V-SVC

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format