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Kingdom Calling;Exceptional Emirates (GLA)-DUB-RUH  
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 27534 times:

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Preamble

What would you do to get into a country? Sit back and allow me a wordy elaboration on how I managed to secure my new lifestyle in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Without shamelessly plugging my previous report series on Africa, you might recall that I made my nest outside one night on a deserted, fragmented section of the glorious Senai coastline of Egypt. Glancing across a stretch of water easing into the cool calm of the twilight, one could see the jagged peaks of Saudi Arabia rising from the Gulf of Aqaba and developing on into land that only my imagination could try and come to grips with. Saudi perpetuates the mystery so well in all its dealings. Whilst I contemplated in the shadows, a rich, blood-red sunset settled on the opposing mountains. It was then that a set my sights on visiting the mysterious kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



View from my bed in August 2011 of sun going down over the mountains of Saudi Arabia.


No-one shall enter Saudi Arabia without a modus operandi, a purpose to fulfil. Whether that is a pilgrimage to Mecca or Medina because you follow the Islamic faith, or it is that you have a skill set that is required by the Saudi government, that is your prerogative. But the option of casually visiting Saudi as a passive observer is largely off the table.
It took me 4 months and numerous hurdles before I finally got my passport embossed with a Saudi Arabian visa. I shall endeavour to explain how I achieved this through the narrative.


3 days later I got an e-mail from my new employees confirming my outbound flight details to be used in 3 days time. The gates to Saudi Arabia had opened.



A very warm welcome to my 12th Trip Report



Kingdom Calling; Exceptional Emirates (GLA)-DUB-DXB- RUH





Great Circle Mapper; your an island in an ocean. Thanks -


Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
65 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 27800 times:

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Narrative




Once the blood tests, a full body scan and various other prodding is completed on Harley Street, the various threads of Saudi Arabian visa processing are synched together in an impressively efficient manner. A pricey British company headed by an ex-SAS ensures that two days later my passport turns up Special Delivery embossed with my Saudi Arabian visa. A victory (especially given my dilly-dallying around the Holy Land detailed in my Africa series). Two days later an e-mail comes with my flight details.



It will be Emirates – as I scan the e-ticket I notice it routes me rather unusually through DUB with an EI regional over from GLA. Regardless, I am elated at the prospect of once more soaring into the skies. I’m not obsessive, but I am always anticipating the next opportunity for getting above the clouds.




Tuesday 8th May 2012.



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It comes sooner than I’d like... I’ve not quite tied off all the loose ends and have to work out my notice in the most dreadful minimum-wage job as a pool attendant/ Rusty-the-Squirrel Mascot at a local holiday centre. The days are enhanced with sentimentality and the seldom seen emergence of Scotland’s infamously shy sun. Extended dog-walks abound, gratuitous amounts of bacon in my morning sarnie, generous glugs of cheapy Glens Whisky in front of crackling fires at night (and more often than not during the day) , the Apprentice, saunas on the banks of a local river, whimsical cycle-rides, and a final meal sweetened by my mother’s renowned hazelnut and raspberry meringue. Alas.... I digress




Signature ‘dog-shot’ made impossible as Meg will not sit still a second


I am a bit restless the night before D(eparture)-Day. Wake fairly early to squeeze suitcases shut, cross the T’s and dot the I’s. Dad’s resident’s saunter down late for their breakfast, and so it falls into place that, as ever in our family, it is a rush to make the ferry. Thankfully there are no queues and a couple of minutes after applying the handbrake, the metal clunk of the ramp going up and subsequent boomy surge of engines below indicated our departure from the Cowal Peninsula.



Home; Argyll and Cowal



No going back really...


There is a comforting finality to this ritual, marking the commencement of the majority of my long trips ; that is to say Western Ferries. Whatever the panic, fuss, apprehension, emotions that dwell at home during the initial planning stage, when the rump clanks shut there is no going back – your journey lies only infront of you. And to ease you into the simple excitement of your journey, there is a flat-calm crossing of the picturesque Clyde estuary.

Today is no exception with a special sort of West coast light throwing some of the horizon into a dream-like incandescence. Only passive ripples are an indication of other vessels in the busy shipping channel. I breathe in the air that I am so fond of – crisp, cool and with punctuated with hints of salt.



Sister vessel gliding back towards Dunoon.



I’ll drive thanks Dad. I’ve not left a tremendous amount of contingency time and so, once we’ve navigated the roundabouts of industrial Clydeside, we set a steady 80mph for the 15 minute motorway drive towards Glasgow Airport.
John Smeaton was not blown out of proportion. No. If anything could encapsulate the rough-diamond sort of edge of Glasgow’s people and its enduring approach to life, it was this baggage handler whose fag-break was interrupted by 3 Islamic fundamentalists barrelling into Glasgow Airport’s passenger terminal in their gas-canister-filled Jeep Cheroque. Their disastrous terror attempt descended into farce when they began running about on fire.

Not keen to see this self-immolation continue, Smeaton attempted to extinguish the flames on one of the men to which he was aggressively rebuffed. Smeaton then proceeded to ‘give him a doing’. By the grace of... incompetence... the terror threat harmed only the perpetrators. I was pleased to see the people of Glasgow turn this confusing event into a farce and, in doing so, rise above it with typical resilience. To quote "Glasgow doesn't accept this. This is Glasgow; we'll set aboot ye."




Passenger drop-off points outside GLA



The upshot of this story is that I park the car a healthy walk away from the spike/ cordon/ bollard/ concrete/ barrier/ police guarded terminal. Wish my father a fond farewell. It is about an hour and 40 minutes prior to schedule departure. I feel horrific and my stomach is doing back flips; I can barely swallow my food or water. This morning Mum suggested it might be nerves. Whatever it is, in a moment befitting the scene from Team America Side-alley, and outside the front of the terminal, I only just manage to duck into a shrub and ... well ... took a technicolour yawn. My third that morning.

Except this time I remedy it with a time-proven glug of whisky. Feeling settled I proceed to check-in at the Aer Lingus counter.




Out of GLA today




Only one check-in desk open, which is fine. My luggage in foreground.


There are seven smartly dressed single travellers in the queue in front of me and somewhere out there a single chirpy check-in agent processing us. So whilst I wait, let me elaborate on the curious case of my air tickets. I see my cheapskate company has basically selected the first thing to pop up on www.unbeatablecheapaschipsflighttickets.com.

Initially I was a little alarmed as I thought there might be a problem checking bags in on the EI regional ticket and also the minimal 70 minute period to navigate and separately check-in for my Emirates flight in DUB. However, I am able to access my full itinerary on the excellent Emirates website which confirms it is on the same ticket and my baggage allowance is there. But that tight connection?


“Morning Sir – if I can have your passport and e-ticket if you have it please” sweetly smiles the Servisair outsourced staff-member.

“Erm yep. Listen, I was sent this itinerary at it has a pretty tight connection at DUB. Can you check me into my Emirates flight too please?”

Much clicking ensues. Baggage tags spew out without problem all the way through to RUH. But boarding passes are not forthcoming and I am sceptical about the promise of the ‘Emirates transfer desk at DUB’.

The irony in all this is that Emirates has a perfectly excellent service that departs GLA at almost exactly the same time. It is my saving grace today as, after a few coo-eeys, my lady manages to get the attention of the idling Emirates check-in staff quite a few counters along. And there, before my own eyes, unfolds a hesitant, fumbling beginnings of an airline alliance.



“Ahem, aye, this passenger's is due to be flying out with youse from Dublin. He’s got a fairly tight connection there. Ikin get his baggage tagged through but could you print his boarding passes out for him?”. And so with a few cursory questions “Is this your Saudi visa aye?” / “Does your connecting flight leave in the early morning?” , I am handed all boarding passes slotted neatly in an Emirates travel wallet. I thought they handled it quite nicely and was pleased to not have to dash around in Dublin. I get my Emirates seat designations but I’ll on the aisle with EI.




My boarding passes



Check-in area at GLA


How it happened, or what caused the tip, I am unsure, but somewhere along the line EDI surpassed GLA as Scotland’s busiest airport. It certainly lost favourability with many for becoming pretty shabby and congested within the constraints of the dingy old terminal. But as the heat was taken off operationally, it has allowed BAA to give GLA a good facelift.


I mosey about landslide a little while. Tesco has set up shop here and I can’t quite decide if it’s a sensible idea or not – but non-the-less, I buy a six pack of Tennants in recognition and savour the amber nectar. The new Security Hall is smart and efficient. But most importantly, the staff are jovial and friendly this morning. I’ve no objection to extensive security so long as I am not harassed.


Security leads to a sort off spangly glitter-suffused black tiled walkway which meanders off into a jungle of BAA’s signature shopping estate. I only deviate to partake in my routine liberal spray of Armani Mania tester. In all fairness there are no obstacles to the path and so if you stay true to it you will emerge no £’s lighter.



Stay true to the path...


The terminal is much less cluttered, but also smaller than I remember. Previously this area was still landside and precious memories resurface of poignant farewells of my older siblings as a young lad.



These beams seem to have been added only for aesthetics.


A boarding pass check and I can proceed off along to a pier of domestic (and Ireland it appears) destination gates.



Off towards the mostly domestic gates – many a memory from this area which used to be landside.



Though not as menacing as LHR, GLA still has a hotchpotch of aircraft to admire; from miniature, rural-lifeline FlyBe props heading off to the Inner and Outer Hebrides, to the odd juggernaut taking Scots off on their endless quest for the sun... en masse. Once in a while we’ll even have a VS 747 pay a visit. It is an airport I also fondly know some of the inner working of as, whilst at Grammar school, I conducted my work experience in ATC and environs.



Shoddy ATC tower where I did my work experience. The enduring image of a young lady bringing down a TravelCityDirect 747, whilst casually flicking through an OK! Magazine shall staff with me...




All shapes and sizes welcome at GLA – this has likely done a couple of sandy landings at Barra in it’s time.




Poor show with the glare I realise, but it was sporting a nice sticker.




Despite a stunning array of regional crafts, Scotland still can’t seem to escape this cheap, Chinese-made , clichéd tat
Final phone-calls to the family... safely at the gate.



I am last to board. It is the same solitary Servisair employee at the gate. I once again check there are no window seats open. She says no but kindly says if I ask the FA’s they might be able to seat me in one of the weight-sensitive seats. Great.



St. Gall, ATR72


The aircraft looks dashing, like a well cut little emerald. If a little boxy. This is a tie up with Aer Arrann as Aer Lingus Regional. I don’t quite know what is going on. I lower my headphones to appreciate the thrum of the generators and general melee of airport sounds. I only realise at the stairs that a pad has come off my headphones... oh wait, for a certain Anet member, my Sennheiser © PX100-II headphones . Irritating – the earbud, not the copyright. I put out of my mind the thought of a catastrophe if it might be ingested by an engine, and hope I can nab some of the detachable ones on the later EK flight. .


**** (Anet Site Technical Issues) TO SAVE MYSELF LAPSING INTO A SMALL NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, I WILL TRY AND REPOST THE REST OF THE REPORT LATER TONIGHT ****

[Edited 2012-08-29 10:05:12]


Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 27604 times:

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GLA-DUB

Airline; . Aer Lingus Regional (Operated by Aer Arrann)
Aircraft; . ATR 72
Flight; . EI3223
Registration; . EI-REM (St Gall)
Seat; . 7D (Economy / Window)
Departure time; 11.35 (11.36)
Arrival time; 12.40 (12.26)
LF: 98%............. All Y
Distance; . 185 miles

Price; Approx. $728.00 (combined ticket)





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I am warmly welcomed onboard by Ruby. She is quite striking in her uniform, a mature lady but wearing her years well. I immediately ask her if I might take the aforementioned window seat. She enquired on my motives which I reply “ Erm... I like planes”. She says she will check with the captain, but to sit down in the meantime. I do, feeling this is perhaps a bit of a hoo-haa for such a small hop. But a few minutes later she returns and asks me to gather my things and follow-her.




Not sure how much members get out of a safety-card, but here’s a picture all the same.



I am elated to have my window seat and now I can relax and enjoy the babbling, limerick-like announcements of Ruby as the final preparations are made and we are dispatched. Whilst she is graceful, her male Polish colleague (Piotr) looks like Jean Claude Van Damn and fits much-less eloquently into the cosy cabin of this ATR.


We are welcomed by a young sounding female captain and set off to the runway; which we are rapidly cleared to use and so the props rev into overdrive and propel our wee ATR forward and, inshallah skywards. Our ascent is a methodical clipping up over the clouds, steadily, but not really gaining too much altitude. I can’t claim any pigeon senses but it feels like we align to Ayrshire coast and set a straight course over the Irish channel.



Burr and blurr as prop comes online.



Making height over the M8



Byte of information. Aer Lingus 1 – Ryanair 0 . Once upon a time FR offered a pretty excellent frequency on the PIKDUB route, capitalising on the demand for cheap fares, in competition with the ferry option. But EI really upped their game through attractive fares, bolstered frequency and treating passengers with a little more respect. FR’s demise was EI’s opportunity to flourish. Infact, today I overhear some well-heeled passengers talking about it and how dreadful it was in comparison.



Nice views are enjoyed on the crossing. Such as Ailsa Craig, whose granite was famously used for curling stones in times gone by. And a nice ship ploughing the Irish channel.



The nobly island of Ailsa Craig, used historically for curling stones



Stena Line is in the race.



Bit of a squeeze.


My legroom is pretty tight and the hardware is definitely aged. But not aged disgracefully and a lav visit shows it to be in good condition too. It does everything it needs to but in miniature. Kudos to the couple that manage to reach the mile-high club on an ATR72. I have to contort to shimmy in.



Neat lav





I get to thinking it would be pretty audacious to hit the call button for a tipple on the bog.




Happy campers in this neat cabin.


EI offers a glossy menu for their horribly named SkyDeli. Though I’d be impressed if FA’s can prepare all these items in such a miniscule galley space. I satisfy my hunger by thinking about my upcoming Emirates meal but a few PAX happily get a coffee and a muffin and, from other peoples reports, EI offers a fairly consistent and high standard of catering.




Menu


Descent and turns over sea



The turquoise dappled sea dissipates through cloud as we conduct turns in preparation for landing into DUB. It’s a little deceptive for gauging our height. But the lagoon by Malahide soon comes into view and as such, the familiar landscape of the airport.



Lagoon and coastline



I like the sort of graded landscape you get on approach to most airports, normally starting with a rural-like-ideal, succumbing to small-holdings which you wonder how close the aircraft must look like from the ground, giving way to more established infrastructure which guides you into the industrial support industry buffer of any airport, down to the height where surely the perimeter fence must pass under us, and a squint of airport signage and lighting and it’s touchdown.



High in the sky still – the graded landscape


New terminal


Except, today I am distracted : as closing in on the airport the altitude feels quite high, and the captain (perhaps the lady) seems come down faster and we literally are falling down onto the runway, corrective action comes too late and we absolutely thump onto the tarmac, bob briefly up, and once more make contact. A collective gasp comes from the passengers and I see a sister doing a fleeting hail-Mary. We decelerate rapidly and bounce into a wet DUB airport.




New terminal with EK bird sitting at the ready.


We are at a remote stand. It is one of those ridiculous situations where almost every other gate at the airport is vacant but we choose the furthest-away gate. Nice to see my EK 777 sitting at the gate in the distance. Disembarkation is orderly with Ruby respectfully addressing and helping the ‘Sisters’ off. Single bus. Irish immigration is quick and orderly with officers not in uniforms. I’ve to transfer terminals and am familiar with the poorly signposted corridor that leads off baggage reclaim.



All classy airports have a water fountain.


An escalator leads up to a corridor which finds its way maze-like to the security screening. A bored lady guard seems a little perplexed by my route and after me prompting, she explains how to get to Terminal 2. Security is good... quite busy. Back in the hazy days of 1p fares on FR, I came through DUB quite often so had charted the progress of Terminal 2’s construction. So I am happy to see the finished product. A corridor leads to it and passes the airline lounges. It gives me plenty of angles to see my Emirates bird which backs into the corner of the terminal each day.




Stairway to heaven (flight connections)



The connecting corridor gives a nice vista of the A/C today



Departures


The new terminal feels new and has an EI colour theme throughout. It gives heed to the fact that Aer Lingus has become an almost low-cost carrier – as should be the case if DUB is to attract more suitors. On that – Emirates took plenty of time before their entry into the Irish Market. EY has been running the service with apparent good results and just months before Emirates also began a daily service out to the UAE. It was rapidly upguaged from their typical starter A330 to the sleek behemoth 777-300 that I see before me today.



Passengers diligently waiting at gate



I have a root about the new terminal. I think I intercepted the terminal after all the retail opportunities and as such there are few things to hold my attention, so I make my way down to the fingertip and listen to the economic gloom on BBC News.



Towards the end of the terminal



Little excitement at this time of day. Would have loved to have seen our little ATR come tumbling down earlier!



Patience wares with the smattering of arrivals in the midday hours at DUB. A nice EI 330 departure to the US is seen though. DAA have put up a gallery entitled ‘Faces of Ireland’ whereby people of Ireland sternly stare down at you in threes throughout the terminal – it’s a bit naff and doesn’t really give added values to passengers in the main gateway of a country with such rich culture and heritage. Maybe I am missing the point.




‘Faces of Ireland’ will enhance your experience no end.



American bound A330, maybe for ORD?


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continued



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 27639 times:

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Boarding is announced bang on time. There’ll likely be no one definitive ethnicity/ country getting on Emirates flights – and today is no different with many holidaying Irish, a smorgasbord of very satisfied looking Asian tourists, Indian businessmen and a smattering of backpackers heading off for an odyssey in South East Asia. The boarding is orderly and the queue snakes a little bit as crowds congregate. Done according to row.



Seems a fair crowd as boarding begins for today’s flight to DXB.


So besotted am I by this 777-300 nuzzled against the terminal, I took quite a few snaps. Only 2nd 777 for me, 1st on -300.





EI extends the arm of co-operation to EK.



Massive!




As is my protocol (unless a glass of champagne were awaiting me), I allow the frenzy to die-down, cursory glances about the gate area to be made, and the status change to ‘Final Call’. Now I board. Very friendly interface with gate agents, boarding card remains intact and excellent to see three FA’s in resplendent uniforms welcoming passengers and picking up kids for a hello just prior to entering the aerobridge.



Here we go, my first Emirates experience awaits.


FA’s greeting with smiles


I take one last swatch at my a/c before disappearing down the emerald tunnel and onto my first flight with Emirates airlines.





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DUB-DXB


Airline……………..Emirates
Aircraft……………777-300ER
Flight………………EK162
Registration……... .A6-EBN
Seat……………….44A (Economy / Window)
Departure time......13.50 (14.05)
Arrival time……….00.25 (00.09)
LF: 95% Y
Distance….. ……. 3682 miles

Price……………. Approx. $728.00





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A slight bottleneck just beyond the main door. But I take comfort in the cause of this being the warm, unhurried and personalised greeting each passenger is receiving. And I can pick and choose from an excellent selection of newspapers on a trolley. A generous galley space replete with three smiling crew members of varying origins allows passengers to ease onto the aircraft – like that mezzanine area you board onto on a large passenger ferry.




Check out this welcome! How hospitable does this look?


“Good afternoon Mr Addis CC you are right up the first aisle. Have a great flight” , chaperones an African F/A. Wonderful.

Clearly a leisure-bias flight. Families are debating seats, Chinese are flitting around the cabin in excitement, people are up in the aisles generally taking their time. I find my seat without anyone at it and settle in. I have a large cabin bag which I stow once I have taken out my few essentials. 5 minutes later my seatmate joins me – an Asian lady – and thankfully the middle seat stays empty. On my seat is a pillow, a peach-coloured blanket and a sealed bag containing over-ear headphones and some stickers (Sleeping/ shopping/ Eating).



Sealed headphones


Stickers which are in vogue with airlines nowadays



Newspapers


Settled in – I can now take stock of my surroundings. Clearly this is an older A/C, as it feels a bit dated. The predominant cabin colour is cream-like, actually it feels like they’ve used a make-up palette such are the fleshy tones. The seats are big and paddy – which I sort of appreciate now as most airlines lean towards anorexic, clinical Recarro contraptions. The fabric is some sort of acid-trip peacock pattern. My seat-pocket it ripped off and one of my adjustable head-rest flaps hangs limply.




View to mid-galley which is staffed by male FA’s.




I establish the front view camera successfully , then select a musical playlist, then have a look at films. With the added perspective of the camera you can appreciate and enjoy the whole departure process with more incite.




Long push-back from the terminal.


Emirates’ own produced in-flight entertainment is unfolding, with about four flustered FA’s attempting to round up, seat and settle the enormous Chinese group. I can only describe it to settling a giddy class of kids. As one is settled, another pops up and goes off for a chat with a friend two rows back. The FA’s are forced to be a little more terse now as the a/c pushes back making my head sway.



Nice view of terminal as sun makes an appearance




All lined-up. Braced for the thrill of take-off. The forward camera reveals the expanse of the runway off into the horizon
and some standing water in focus. As the nose squares up, what feels like a generous amount of thrust is applied and we accelerate nobly forward. After a few of those delightful weightless sways as we approach optimal speed, the aircraft surges into the demure Irish sky.



Next stop, DXB


I’ll launch into the service in the same way the FA’s lost no time in doing on today’s flight. A very methodical and well practised procedure ensues. Each time originating from the mid-galley.



First – hot towels wind their way around. Two female FA’s carry this out.


My mouth is like an Arabian desert and so ask one of the FA’s for a bit of water. I notice she nods but continues on with her duties and doesn’t seem to have delegated the task. She goes down the other aisle. I fear the worst – is today a flight of FA’s who just ignore? Is the reputation of Emirates wild-card FA’s going to play out? Two male FA’s distribute a delicate little menu with a nice close-up of an Olive branch. It is written clearly in the much recognised Emirates font (is this a trademark !?) and looks delicious.





Menu


Oh and here she is! With my water and a smile... phew. It’s all to play for.


Sensing a pre-service lull I get an FA’s eye and ask if I might have a glass of white wine. I am even given a choice and she breezes off. Better than QR who had previously briskly said “We will begin meal service soon sir”. I only ask for this now as I am keen to settle down – I think a recent report mentioned something about how nice a disarming drinks run prior to service.




Well I needn’t have asked as 40 minutes in a drinks service commences. I can’t congratulate Emirates enough in this respect. It is a full-bar service to do a landlord proud. And it is conducted excellently by the FA’s as they give each customer their undivided attention.


Before me I watch with admiration as the Chinese group get their fill of spirits. Excellent... My delicate lady-seat-mate gets a Baileys. Now me.

“ Sir can I get you anything to drink?”
Pleasingly her accent has an Irish lilt and she delivers always with a cheery smile.

“Whisky please”

“Of course sir – would you prefer a single malt, blend or Irish?”

I am handed a Glenfiddich in miniature on a passing tray and beside it some savoury biscuit nibbles.





“Grand – and anything with that. Of course. The ice-cubes are quite large so will one do? Can I get you anything else sir? ”


No that is just delightful. I am awfully impressed that Emirates have three types of Whisky, as well as an Irish to boot on this run. Superb. The FA also displayed a knowledge about the service too (perhaps her heritage?) ,unlike some other FA’s, it wasn’t a beer poured between three cups or Johnny Walker poured like it was water. The later I don’t get too upset by actually.



Delicious


Superb. Well – what with a single malt and a good feel for the flight ahead, I lower the draw-bridge to my seatmate and begin chatting. So, she is one of the leaders of the group that numbers 60 paediatric surgeons from Beijing on a sojourn around the British Isles encapsulating England, some of Scotland’s gaudy tourist traps and finally ending in Ireland. They’ve had a good time clearly as evidenced by the 600 photos I flick through on her camera of various members of the groups displaying the peace sign in front of plenty of recognisable landmarks.

Perhaps quicker than I would have liked we get down to the perceptions of China, the role of the government and all sorts of juicy topics. Extremely friendly. To pin this back to aviation – this middle-class, holiday-hungry section of Chinese society is a dynamite market to tap into for Emirates. Britain is foolish for making the visa procedure so convoluted for them.


During this nattering (we are also served a second round of drinks such is the insatiable demand for whisky from the Chinese) the FA’s have done their bit and filled the cabin with hearty aromas of food. The plane now has an appetite.


“Hello sir – would you prefer lamb or chicken?”

“I’ll go for the lamb thanks” I suspect this would be the option that runs our first.


If I can make the analogy between an upmarket hotel room in Japan (I’ve never been) and one in America (I’ve never been). Both cater to differing tastes – the Japanese pod will be orderly, space efficient, finished with crisp and clean edges and have great functionality. In contrast to the American pad where tastes are much bigger and bolder, materials are richer and at times some would say gaudy. Emirates for me definitely airs much more on the later analogy in many respects (also the cabin) , whilst Qatar Airways were always a more sleek, tasteful option. The tray is heavy! It is spaced out. It is gaudy with flashes of gold foil. All portioned into ridiculously shaped containers. It isn’t dainty, yet doesn’t feel cluttered despite the look.



The meal try arrives which much ceremony.


Here is an inventory – starter, main in tinfoil, ‘side-dish’ with bread roll, cup for coffee/tea, a blister of water, a foil-sealed dessert, and a dainty little box of Jacobs branded cheese and crackers. Two packets contain a full metal cutlery set and toothpick and the other with salt/ pepper/ sugar etc.



Solid metal cutlery


The starter is a rather easy on the eye smoked salmon, (I know at least one reporter who won’t like this) on a bed of lettuce and potato salad garnished with dill and cherry tomato. Really delicious and good to finally get a little sustenance in a starter (QR’s tend to be some sort of Arabic pulse). It lacked lemon but beggars can’t be choosers.



Starter of smoked salmon



Bread, butter and EK chocky


I ignore the pre-packaged bread and go straight for the lamb medallions. How I’ve come to expect grisly shreds of meat on planes. But the lamb was like chowing down on a revelation. Despite swimming in a rich gravy, it had not been stewed and was almost quite pink in the middle. Tender as loving care one receives from a mother. Despite billed as ‘chunky’ the mash was smooth and well seasoned – not at all processed. The vegetables hadn’t been buggered either and so I enjoyed one of the most excellent in-flight meals. Top marks.



The lamb – absolute top, top marks here.


Keen to ensure that standards were consistent throughout, I tentatively flagged down an FA, assumed my most vulnerable Oliver voice and asked if I might try the Chicken Masala. This came shortly.



Chicken curry – tender and well spiced.


Once more, an exceptional bit of catering. The meat was from the thigh and really delicious. No fat but much taste. The masala sauce was mild and rich, and the dish was finished nicely (though curiously) with a side of edamame beans. These were perfectly cooked with a fresh bite to them.

I cleaned my plate with a bit of kerrygold (this butter is everywhere in Africa alarmingly) buttered bread and set to the morrello cherry torte. Convinced this would be the downfall (I can’t abide rich fruit-infused puddings led by the eponymous Christmas pudding). But gladly the chocolate sauce (though plentiful and gloopy) was not too dark and the tart tang of the cherry sauce lightened the whole desert. It was really perfect.



Morello cherry choc torte


All brought to a close by an Emirates branded chocolate and a perfectly timed coffee. Clearly a memo circulated to Emirates FA’s to grossly underfill cups, as my cup was like staring into a well. Served on those ‘pass-me’ trays with extra sugar and milk available. I had no self consciousness with photos and the Chinese, buoyed by Baileys, were also taking photos of almost every element of the service today. The staff were great with all this going on.


I bagged my Jacobs crackers for a potential onset of hunger during the transit. This was another little culinary treasure trove and contained Jacobs cream crackers, ‘kiri’ cream cheese, a sweet chilli dip and mini crostinis. Brilliant!



Contents of Jacobs ‘snack-box’ taken at later stage – I suppose this acted as a snack during the later stages of the flight.



Amidst the meal service ad-hoc drinks services were conducted, where-by the Chinese lynch mob requisitioned many drams. Once the trays had been collected and the dust settled I began watching The Iron Lady. To echo the pundits, Streep gives the performance of a lifetime. But all this intense performing, numerous time-jumping scenes, the meal sitting happily in my stomach, the multiple single malts working pleasantly into my blood stream and the relative stress of the mornings rushing and stomach contractions lifted me off deeply into sleep.



.

.Zzz


.
Tremendous. I slept very soundly (regardless of the cronky head support) for two hours until some stray action must have roused me.


Initially upon waking, I felt a little cheated that my body had conked out. I so rarely take flights that I like to optimise the time on board. But because the initial part of this flight had been so unrushed, I realised I had actually only slept a couple of hours.


I pressed the call button for a glass of water. Erm.. No: sorry! Emirates crew aren’t too interested in the call button it appears. I pressed it a selection of times (sly tests) and it was not once answered or responded to. That said, the FA’s kept up a fairly active presence in the cabin so one could always be flagged down without drama. Anyway, I wanted to hit the back galley and see what was what.



Clean toilets – I’ve got a technical fault with DSLR zoom, and wasn’t going to stand on the toilet seat, so the scope is a little constricted.


The FA’s were all bustling away preparing a final coffee service. Apparently on this run there is no hot snack, but a good enough coffee and biscuits are served prior to arrival. I do reckon since the hour is approaching local dinner time that something of greater sustenance could be given.




Coffee boiling away in a busy galley.


I asked for a juice and it was kindly given to me. The Emirates were a different type of FA altogether. Whilst I realise that the labour laws (or lack there of fair treatment) are flagged as being pretty ropey with Emirates, I felt the FA’s were much more personable, friendly and (in particular) not shying away from a photo which was nice. The QR FA’s are much more distant at times. A good example of this was that the FA initiated conversation with me as opposed to vice versa as is often the case.


“So where are you off to then?” initiated one of the cheery Irish FA’s.

Superb, welcoming EK crew onboard today. Males a little more reserved.


I told them of my impending prison sentence in Saudi Arabia. Upon which they suggested I might like another Whisky before the drought. Another insightful move. Despite being busy, they were happy to pose for a photo and were gracious when I told them how impressed I was with the service. The three blonde ladies were all Irish decent. The male FA’s were a bit more kept so I didn’t chat to them.



Coffee service commences



Cabin... bit blurry.


They set off with trolleys whilst I talked to a pleasant elderly Chinese surgeon, confident enough to try out his English skills. We found our common ground on aviation matters and he said how nice the A380 that they had taken from Beijing was. I think that is right.



Coffee service,.



When the FA’s returned I had my coffee in the gallery. It came on a savagely shaped saucer with a tasty branded biscuit. It was quite fine really. The FA’s were always polite about passengers in the galley but clearly on an aircraft this size on a sociable-hours flight, where people like to mingle, some toes do get trod on.

For the last segment of the flight (the typical overfly of the Tigris and the emergence of blots of fire emanating from a vast flat plain of desert) I sit back with my tipple and take a second stab at The Iron Lady. Of a lifetime!



Second-stab at Iron Lady. Can’t get the annoying subtitles off.


It feels like we overshoot Dubai, and then fall into an approach pattern some way off. The forward nose camera soon brings into view the runways. We appear to crab a little, but straighten up for a very smooth arrival into DXB.



Landfall over UAE



Runway into view on nose camera



Seconds before, not yet aligned.


Nothing can epitomise the menacing, massive force that is Emirates better than it’s nerve centre. DXB is alive tonight, nay – thriving tonight, as it is every other night, with passengers transferring onto a web of networks spanning it’s enormous network. Aircraft glide past with a sort of frequency associated with buses, all bound to their final far-flung, diverse destinations. So efficient is our arrival (and subsequent departure) procedures, and the fine glare of the terminal windows, that I manage to pass through without the obligatory site of an Emirates A380.



Ruling the Roost



Neighbour



Cabin upon disembarking





Retro!


I allow the plane to empty before heading out. The crew are there to say goodbye as well as further crew halfway up the aerobridge to wish you a safe onward journey. And so I am spewed out into the great DXB assembly line.



Safely delivered by EBN



A final friendly goodbye on the jet-bridge


.



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 27562 times:

.

DXB Transit




DXB has really become the hub that needs no introduction: a human sorting office that, as the world sleeps, spits out world travellers to all corners. Aided and abetted by Emirates, it is truly a place to behold. I’ve never visited the new terminal so I am full of intrigue.



The spacious and well organised transit area.



Departures smorgas(board)


There is an unprobing secondary security check before signs guide you back into the raucous, teeming departures cavern. No place quite scores in the diversity stakes for people-watching. It is just this melting pot of cultures and creeds. Each with their own approach to transiting.


Likely because it was peak time – I felt that despite being so new and architecturally brilliant, it was overburdened with people, alot of clutter with shopping stalls/ islands very close to busy through-ways, or Flight Info Screens inconveniently close to elevators. In short I think they could tweak their passenger movement systems. You felt as though you were often tripping over others, or irking to pass some dawdling family.







That said, on either side of the strip mall, there are much more sedate corridors where sleepers are sprawled out, and others patiently wait in a little bit more calm. You might also explore some of the landscape scenes (Alpine waterfalls/ palm clad oasis’s and the sort) that break up the otherwise heavy retail experience.









You could be in the Austrian Alps already!


Such is the luminescent glare of the retail, spotting anything out of the curved windows is futile. And I was mooching about the JED/LHR gates with the expectancy of an A380.





Walking times...



Such a muddle


With nothing else ado, I head to Gate 212. It’s still not yet boarding so I go off once more. When I return the gate is at ‘Final Call’ for flight EK815 bound to Riyadh. I pause a little for thought at this point for some life evaluation: I Am I making the right decision? Is it wise to be committing myself to the Kingdom? If anything, it is the mystery that draws me in to board – with nice red carpets underfoot, two gentlemen confirm information within the visa, and two men rip my boarding pass.



Boarding at gate 212


An escalator descent down into a smart and spacey holding area. It’s nice to see I am the only Westerner amidst the crowds of largely giddy looking subcontinent workers and a smattering of dubious looking Saudis and there veiled wives. I wonder if anyone is perturbed by me and my story. Probably not.



Descending into the holding area


A newspaper stand has a great selection of Sunday Newspapers (one advantage to weekend flying) as well as the laborious Gulf newspapers which are so utterly infuriating with their enormous spreads of hand-shakings and farty delegations fortifying this or that relationship.





The same papers have some pure unfettered conspiracy and propaganda – Unscrupulous demolishing of Mosques in Switzerland/ Britain unsafe for Muslim tourists with woman in Hijabs being attacked/ Coca-cola said to contain a trace of alcohol and those indulging burning in hellfire. And with no liberal press, there is no stopcock to all this folly and so the Gulf widens. . .



At 01.20 boarding begins. The overseas workers are keen to get onboard, so chaos ensues. Once all are safely onboard I make my way. By now the holding area is completely empty apart from one veiled lady whom personnel are struggling to bring to her senses – she could be dead or drunk. Nothing will bring her to. I’m not sure. Maybe she’s trying to get out of going to KSA. I never know what happens with her. . .

.



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 27577 times:

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DXB-RUH

Airline……………..Emirates
Aircraft……………777-31H
Flight………………EK815
Registration……... .A6-EMX
Seat……………….n/a
Departure time......01.55 (02.07)
Arrival time……….02.50 (03.32)
LF: 85% Y
Distance….. ……. 543 miles

Price……………. Approx. $728.00




View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mark Ralph
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nathan Long




Happy to see –EMX for today’s hop to RUH


I am welcomed warmly onboard. But the biggest plus for me is the upguaging of the A/C from an A330 to another 777-300. You wait for one and they all come along at once! The upguage is strange given that the pax could have easily been accommodated on an A330. It means my Window seat ain't a window seat though.

Interior is a little fresher than the old gal that brought me from Ireland. Infact it is rather slick. I am at ‘35K’ but sit where there is a free row. We wait on the ground for a fair while as more passengers trickle in.


I ask a passing FA whether it is likely to be full. To which she replies “Not completely sir – it will still be busy for us!” With no obvious sign of imminent departure, I dare to ask another FA if I might have a coke. “I don’t see why not sir” comes the reply and pleasingly soon comes a coke and ice on a tray. Great – I’ve never asked for a beverage other than water pre-departure.


Coke pre-departure


Oh – on beverages – all flights to/from Saudi Arabia on Emirates are dry. I presume it is similar for other GC’s – but had reports that Turkish even refuse to serve alcohol for their whole segment. There’d be an uprising if BA tried this with all its G&T thirsty customers. I'd heard BA have an almost ceremonial announcement of last drinks run before entering Saudi Airspace, which I think is rather fun. On this short run I am absolutely in agreement with no booze.

I personally enjoy alcohol on this flight, but I shan’t give the game away.


This is a serendipitous moment. Sipping away on my Saudi bound flight. Which gives me time to observe the FA’s. Actually on the whole these ladies air on the positive side. They are always polite and obliging to all my requests. But they certainly aren’t the same calibre as the endearing lot of the last flight. I tune into a few American accents and some uncensored gossiping in full flow in the aisles. I’m so curious to know whether some Emirates FA’s have stars against they’re name and so get the ‘flagship’ routes.


Still – as I said – not a bad bunch – welcoming and assisting passengers. They also distribute nice toasty towels whilst we’re on the ground.



Hot towel on ground



Whilst loading continues on – probably a full belly is reason for upguage.


Safety checks aren’t exactly thorough. I have to comment that I really like Emirates safety video. It is clear, modern and quick – with an isolated/ levitating passenger seat and etched cabin outline.


Neat, uncluttered safety video


About 10 minutes after scheduled departure, and with a largely undecipherable FD announcement, we push back into the busy taxi-ways of DXB. The night operations are fascinating, I am awed by all the activity – a true feat of human organisation.




Traffic holding for our pushback.



A long line of EK departures in the night.



We taxi past some non-Emirates carriers – reinforcing the odd truth that Dubai had become the hub of the desert. Totally disorientated after 10 minutes of taxi-ing. See a BA 747 covertly holding on threshold and its veiled departure lights which is cool.



Can you see an airline skulking in this photo?



Non-EK carriers – I think PIA/ TAROM and AI ?


Our turn after little waiting time – soar up into the polluted skies, perform a few turns, including a stunning flyover of the airport (which my camera refuses to focus for) and a zip across the excess of Sheik Zayed Road. Our route takes us towards the northern tip of Qatar and then South West deep into the expanse of Saudi Arabia.



Turning onto active.



I think it’s Sheik Zayed Rd, dedicated to Dubai’s No1 fan, PlaneHunter, in support of his decision to hold off retirement!


There is little to say about this flight – except that it can be extraordinarily high-yielding for Emirates with absconding Westerners/ sinful Saudi’s making a break on the Islamic weekend, and an easy to fill option for the vast quantity of workers coming over to do the dirty-work in the kingdom.


I set my ICE guide to something light, body-swerving ‘We Need to Talk About Kelvin’ for the quite superb ‘Muppets’. I love the ICE and its user-free interface. It’s eliminated alot of the drudgery I have found with other systems. I particularly like the guide which is menu-like and compact. Numbers correspond to a search function so no ‘trawling’ – whilst a little red ribbon will keep your place. How quaint.



Compact, easy-to-use ICE guide



Dial-up numbers to find programmes on ICE



Detachable remote



Two trolleys come up each aisle, setting a brisk pace of service. Well – with no audacious booze quests, no food selection and pre-prepared trays, it is a slick operation.



Dinner service beginning.


“Sir, Veg or Non-Veg? Yes – it is a mild chicken korma. Of course”

And so a nice tray is plonked down. A slightly slimmed down version of the DUB flight, but a nice spread regardless. Another two FA’s are resupplying from the back galley. As I say – slick. They arrive at my row (mid-way through the cabin) only 19 minutes after take-off. An accomplishment.



The ‘tray’


The drinks trolley is a sorry sight without the usual ceremony of glinting spirits – all that’s there is a selection of juices and a tray of mini cans of pop. “Can I get a tonic water on ice, and a fresh orange juice?” This elicits much fumbling and pessimistic facial expressions, until I resolve with “I’ll make your life easier, and have a coke and a 7up then please”. This is no problem. A coffee is also served on said tray.



Turbulence resistant cup-holders.



unmasked


Now – the meal. Really fantastic. Simple and very effective. To start is a tasty prawn cocktail on lettuce. I do think they were optimistic with the size of tomato wedge but otherwise very pleasing.



Easy on the tomato! Prawn cocktail starter


Then the main – chicken korma – it is mild, buttery and really brilliant. The rice is well cooked too as well as some pickled ladies fingers to accompany. Very filling. A bread roll accompanies with some butter and spreadable cheese. The tray also has the same accompaniment packs as per the longer flight – so metal cutlery and a toothpick! The pudding is a spiced rice pudding topped with pistachio and almonds. Also excellent. So excellent, they’ve no issue with bringing me a second helping.







The rice pudding with pistachios.



Coffee is served to, as I am fairly worn out by this stage of the journey.


They hand out visa forms. They are even happy to bring me an Emirates pen. Flimsy as it is. Since many of the labourers can’t read or write English, they soon get up the courage to ask me to fill some of it in for them. I oblige at first but when my seat starts to become an office, decline further applicants. Back in the galley it is quiet – no gossiping to be had. Restrooms are clean – Emirates staff are quite happy. One even offers me some chocolate bars and another Coca-Cola. Excellent.



Pen, chocolate bar and a coke.



FA in back galley, she quips whether she looks good in the photo or not.






Mostly subcontinent workers in Y today, otherwise this photo might have caused more of an issue.


I almost wish it weren’t so – but we begin our controlled fall earthwards once past the Jebel Tuwaiq Escarpment, upon which sits the hot, flat landmass of Riyadh. With elevated height comes elevated conservatism. Riyadh remains the strong bastion of Waheebism Islam. FA’s conduct a walk-through, a recorded reminder to passengers on some of the stricter custom regulations and their corresponding death sentences/ limb-severance penalties prattles away.




I don’t see Riyadh city anywhere as me begin final descent into RUH. The nose cameras allow you to appreciate much more the degree of adjustments and crabbing that occurs unbeknownst on landing. The runway lights come clearly into view and my first site of Saudi soil is a prospect.




Smooth landing – and I strain to see what’s going on but the terminal is visible only from port side. We exit and hold after a little bit of taxiing. After 10 minutes the captain comes over “Ladies and Gentlemen, just a quick update to let you know that the delay is due to another aircraft occupying our stand. Saudi ATC are refusing to give us an estimate of when the aircraft will be vacating. We do apologise and will keep you updated” – he couldn’t hide the annoyance at them.

Meanwhile, since the ICE IFE soldiers on, I watched Family Guy during the delay. The irreverent material was made all the more brilliant for where I was watching it.




About 40 minutes after landing we are given clearance to proceed to our stand. Now – the a/c having just vacated looked extremely like an A380! See what you think? I am convinced RUH has no scheduled service, though they have been upgrading aerobridges recently so it might be for testing.



Can you identify this?



When the rest of the PAX have drained away, I make my way off. An amazing site greets me; on two rows the glint of unopened bottles of red wine harks me in. I liberate these, and a bottle of water from Business class. I realise now that it is likely the overseas workers chaffed these on their previous flights, and then after the threat of death sentence, reassessed their need for a glass of Merlot that night.


I thought I’d be brave with photos tonight. But as soon as I enter the terminal building, a palpable unease sets over me. The departure floors looks down onto arriving passengers, who descend, and security personnel keeping a hawk-eye on passengers. Furthermore there are those dangling, black security camera bulbs everywhere. I’ve never felt more observed in any airport in my life. I make to the toilet and relish my last bottle of wine before popping a mint and heading to security.


I think AirlibanX was brave enough to capture some photos of the terminal. It is all cool, taupe marble and brick and very Islamic in form and feel. Angular stairs descend down through a grove of small trees, past a long-dried out water fountain and into the immigration hall. There’ll be more internal airport photos in the second part of this series.



Passing down through the grove towards hellish immigration.


Certainly the most chaotic immigration I have ever endured. Signage is all in Arabic and there is no indication of which line to join. Conscious of not being an arrogant hawagga, I join the tail-end of a line of overseas workers. I do my damndest to make eye-contact with the immigration officials in their booths - behaving like monkeys - in the vague hope I might get pulled forward. But nothing. I squat down for the long-haul – as the other corals of workers have done; the Filipinos are playing cards, the Ethiopians have gone all out and are pouring water from a coffee pot, and Bangladeshi’s squat impassive. Every 15 minutes a slightly sinister-looking youth officer will bark out some Arabic and everyone must stand to appease him. Crazy. Will this set the tone? Yes it will.


After an unmoving hour, another plane arrives. Quite a few ex-pats breeze in through the diplomatic line and exchange greetings with officers before being processed. Deciding that that many diplomats on a plane is unrealistic, or unhealthy, I approach the officers and am invited to join behind the Saudi women being processed.
Before my eyes I have already witnessed the Saudi caste system in miniature, and the rampant racism and systematic mistreatment of its economic immigrants ; Saudi’s are king , then the veiled ladies (most are shakalas (maids)), us white ex-pats, educated migrant workers and then the rest. Wretched things – it’s possible at the rate they were being processed they might be there for days.

Meanwhile – I am called forward by a young man. I’m pretty nervous in all fairness. But I needn’t have been as he was an extremely friendly and chatty fellow. A lot of finger print taking, various photos at various angles. A few questions about Scotland. Wasn’t the slightest bit interested in my diligently filled immigration card, and most importantly not interested in the stamp-evidence trail that showed I’d been in Israel not 6 months before. I was now officially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Don’t believe the fear mongering about customs into Saudi. One screener was open; the elderly Saudi man much more interested in his Iphone than the contents of my bag. My luggage had a myriad of things that could have been interpreted as alcoholic liquids, jaw-dropping porn or pork scratchings. My lap-top and hard-drive weren’t investigated as might have happened in the past.




RUH’s welcome is harsh and realistic. An appropriate introduction –; no signs, no information points, no phones, no ATM’s – just a string of idling taxi-drivers. Immigration has taken so long that then sun is dawning on a new day. Setting the tone for the terrible company whose employment I am currently under, my promised driver was not there to meet me. Here are some silly, trigger-happy pictures but at least show some of the facade of Riyadh airport.



International Arrivals


Looking back on the two interestingly designed terminals and Masjid



The airport Mosque



Riyadh city looks massive, sprawling and gives nothing away. Ten minutes later I collapse onto my bed and lapse into a disorientating depression about finally being in the Kingdom.


I will finish off here. I realise there is the expectation of a few non-aviation photos in my reports. I will include these in my Intra-Saudi flights report in a few weeks. But seriously, photos are not welcome here so I hope you will sympathise.


.



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 27218 times:




.
Now, to briefly conclude.



Aer Arran were a great little bonus on getting me out to Saudi. A friendly, small-scale approach has won them many fans and conversions from the FR crowd. I would gladly fly with them once more, especially for their white-knuckle landings! Not sure how much credit I should give to Aer Lingus for this flight.


Dublin Airport was certainly easy to get through. Whilst I don’t think the new terminal has any great wow factor, it is perhaps well placed for the modest aspirations of a friendly airport like DUB. I’d be keen to see a bit more about identity and culture in here (without being clichéd) over-and-above emerald signage and moody portraits.


Emirates Airline blew me away! It made me realise that I have become way too ensconced in Qatar Airways. There were many aspects which I felt were superior to QR. We’re all aware that Emirates biggest pitfall can be its consistency in soft-product. However I experienced a level of humanity, warmth and personality that was most endearing.


The flight felt like a real treat through the excellent service and reactive attitudes of the FA’s. The hardware (even on the older birds) was great with an IFE system that even I could get excited about. Whilst I thought perhaps they were a bit frugal with the second snack, the main meal was a glorious occasion with delicious food, excellent presentation and real, metal cutlery - most impressive.


Of course, the easiest way to a Scot’s heart is through a dram – so I have to commend Emirates on their brilliant bar service. My transfer was seamless, though all the peak human- traffic was a bit claustrophobic. The final Intra-gulf flight into the kingdom was also of a high calibre. All said, it was a thrilling set of flights with exceptional Emirates. There can be no doubt ; She’s a game changer.


Alot has changed since I arrived in the Kingdom, basically boiling down to my employer treating it’s staff like dogs. So I will be leaving fairly soon, which is good, an excuse for more flights. I have some internal Saudi flying so keep an eye out for that. That report will include many more perceptions, and discussions about Saudi Arabia. It is a highly fascinating place...


This is also the first report I’ve written without a TR dram of whisky, so sorry if the writing style was a little more sober.
In the meantime, as ever, I welcome comments, corrections, financial gifts and advice on Saudi employment law. There are a few glimpses of Riyadh below too.



Best wishes,

Luke


.


Previous Trip Reports

BA And Cityjet - Scotland To London (DND/GLA/LCY) (by lukeyboy95 Mar 31 2010 in Trip Reports)

BA’s Nod To The Northeast – NCL-LHR 747 (by lukeyboy95 Jul 30 2010 in Trip Reports)

An Indian Summer; The North – BA And IT (Part 1) (by lukeyboy95 Jun 11 2010 in Trip Reports)

An Indian Summer; The South – S2 And IT (Part 2) (by lukeyboy95 Jul 15 2010 in Trip Reports)

~A Promise Kept; To France For Chicken AF A380~ (by lukeyboy95 Oct 23 2011 in Trip Reports)

Part 1; The Rushes Run – BA Vs. Virgin Train 1st (by lukeyboy95 Dec 23 2011 in Trip Reports)

Part 2; To Venice For Filming With BA (by lukeyboy95 Jan 12 2012 in Trip Reports)

Pivo In Bratislava ; A Day With FR (by lukeyboy95 May 6 2010 in Trip Reports)

My African Safari (i) ; The Beginning (EZY/ QR) (by lukeyboy95 Feb 27 2012 in Trip Reports)

African Safari (ii) ;The Interlude QR LXR-DOH-KUL (by lukeyboy95 Apr 13 2012 in Trip Reports)

Africa (iii); The Medivac QR Rtn& A3 TLV-ATH (by lukeyboy95 May 19 2012 in Trip Reports)





Scenes from Riyadh




Absolutely staggering Kingdom Tower is the true landmark of Riyadh



To another tower – Masmak Fort which saw the siege of the city in 1902 by Abdullah Aziz bin-Saud who used the momentum to go on and form the modern Democratic Republic of.... oh no - wait - the kingdom of Saudi Arabia



This is Deira Square, near the Great Mosque, I think every other Friday this is where beheadings take place. Quite a trick place to photograph. Moral quandary whether to attend one Friday.



Old Masmak again



Al Batha old town of Riyadh is quite abuzz, but little pleasure to be had.



And of course, the reason why I am all the way out in this strange land! The little shits....  
Teacher Luka



I’d mentioned the Tuwaiq Escarpment which RUH sits on – here it is, AKA ‘Edge of the World’



Small, but very kind, Saudi, big camel.



Dates during Ramadan



And finally... on this insistence of a Saudi Chief of Police;


Me in traditional Saudi dress, the thobe and shmuh, certainly striking. [/font]




END



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1300 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 26619 times:

Interesting to follow your moving to Saudi. Very well written. Great to see a few pics of GLA too as i was only there a few weeks back. Same with DUB. Also hoping to make a trip out to DXB next year sometime.

All the best for your new life!



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlinetechnobie From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 23 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 26541 times:

A very arresting TR! You have a way with words and I ended up chuckling more than once! Good job and good luck!

User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1360 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 26493 times:

Oh what a great report! So intersting. I can't wait to read the rest. I have planned a allowed 2 stop transit in KSA in January and as more as I read about this, I know more to expect, however I understand that working and living there has nothing to do with passing the country in 18 hours, alhtough it will include a domestic leg and immigration will certainly be fun....

To go back to the aviation part, I have flewn EK recently for the first time as well. And I found it excellent as well on all 3 flights. They really lived up to their reputation and I must simply admit that they are a great airline.


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 26151 times:

*** I am really disappointed with the finish of this report - the website wouldn't allow me to go and edit/ two paragraphs have taken on mistaken identities as website links and there is a duplicate post. Very annoying. Also it is split up oddly also because of the website. Grrrr. Hope you can see past this ****




Hello James....

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 8):
Interesting to follow your moving to Saudi.

Well it was a fairly interesting time!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 8):
Very well written.

Cheers!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 8):
Great to see a few pics of GLA too as i was only there a few weeks back.

I recall!I was really impressed by how the airport is doing!

*
*

Hello Technobie. Many thanks for your reply...

Quoting technobie (Reply 9):
A very arresting TR!

If only my students were as easily arrested!

Quoting technobie (Reply 9):
a way with words and I ended up chuckling more than once!

Good!




*
*


Halo Reifel!

Quoting reifel (Reply 10):
Oh what a great report! So intersting.

Great... I am glad. It is something different in my life too..

Quoting reifel (Reply 10):
I can't wait to read the rest

It shouldn't take as long to get up online. . .

Quoting reifel (Reply 10):
I have planned a allowed 2 stop transit in KSA in January and as more as I read about this, I know more to expect, however I understand that working and living there has nothing to do with passing the country in 18 hours, alhtough it will include a domestic leg and immigration will certainly be fun....

Oh great. Well then - the next report should be much more helpful and let you know what you can expect. Saudi's are very friendly but most of SV's staff are Egyptian/ Filipino. What is your routing? I did JED-RUH last week. In January the skies should be clear and the views better.. . . .

Quoting reifel (Reply 10):
I have flewn EK recently for the first time as well. And I found it excellent as well on all 3 flights. They really lived up to their reputation and I must simply admit that they are a great airline.

I was so impressed! I don't know why I hadn't tried them yet...



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1360 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 26044 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 11):
Oh great. Well then - the next report should be much more helpful and let you know what you can expect. Saudi's are very friendly but most of SV's staff are Egyptian/ Filipino. What is your routing? I did JED-RUH last week. In January the skies should be clear and the views better.. . . .

Hi, I am flying 3 different flights (real different flights, not "stops" as SV have a lot):
-KWI-JED (6 hours transit)
-JED-RUH (8 hours transit)
-RUH-MXP

According to immigration rules 18 hours transit with 2 in transit stops in KSA are allowed without visa in case the whole itinerary is on SV (it is, plus it is on one ticket).

All with A320, but hey you can't have everyhting...

I believe I will not be allowed to leave the airport, but luckily I get lounge access (whatever this is worth in RUH and JED, but still better than no lounge I guess, not expecting a good airport experience anyway). Obviously not all all comparable with your travel, as I will have had seen nothing of the country,


User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined exactly 3 years ago today! , 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 26009 times:

Wow, I've been waiting for this one for a long time, RUH is an old friend/foe of mine...

Too big to quote so I'll just rattle off a few points:

1- GLA-DUB-DXB-RUH has to be the oddest routing I've ever heard of anyone do to/from RUH! I did once fly EK between RUH and DXB and I was so appalled by the service and the cramped cabin (10 abreast seating... big no no for me) I vowed never to fly with them again! Your report did make me reconsider but maybe only on an A330, A340 or A380...

2- All foreign airlines have an announcement when entering Saudi Arabian airspace that all alcohol will be locked on board, having said that I've seen someone searched after baggage claim with a case full of miniatures (on the other hand many have smuggled booze and even pork in!)

3- Immigration can be a breeze at RUH IF YOU STICK TO THE FAR RIGHT HAND LANES . As I'm sure you learnt during your stay in the magic kingdom, workers from the Indian Subcontinent are basically treated as slaves and the airport is no exception for this, they are pushed over to the right and then called over after about 5 hours. They process all the other countries before them, even being called in front of their lines. The houseboy that we had working for us (these are common in Saudi, we certainly didn't treat him like a slave before I get any hate for this) used to fly EK back to India simply because they serve his "local" airport (still involves a 3 hour train back to his home town). One thing EK doesn't have a grip on is ideal connection times so many people sleep overnight at DXB

4- While you're there, try out SV either domestically or internationally, they still fly 747-300s (and are perfectly safe, just very worn out) and MD-90s (two rare types in Europe). I was lucky enough to get a 747-300 on a flight from RUH to DXB back in 2008, sadly a 777-200 back (still interesting nonetheless). Also try to get on BD to LHR, I believe G-WWBD is back in service now so it will be one of the last few "true" bmi flights, not saying they're good but I've had my best and worst experiences travelling with them (see my trip report to RUH when I got stuck in the snow at LHR back in 2010)

5- Over a year ago when I was on the early morning BA flight (I think this is ending once they take over the BD flights) and sadly my last flight from Riyadh (until maybe Easter break this year where I'll go to lock out any distractions so I can focus on studying for my A2 exams in June) and there was an EK A380 at Gate 15. As far as I'm aware they might use it as an equipment change from time to time, RUH is large enough (with 2x 4000m runways) to handle the A380 (it was an alternative landing site for the space shuttle), it could be Gate 15 connects the two jetbridges to the lower deck but that photo certainly shows an A380, you can tell by the outline and the wings.

Finally, don't be too quick to comment on the people Saudi Arabia as I actually found most of the people more hospitable and welcoming than anyone or anywhere I've been in the world and I would work there in a heartbeat (just not for BAE... but I won't flame them here). I suggest you find a more permanent (there is no such thing over there be warned) job and get a good 2 years out of it (tax free of course), buy a 4x4 go off roading in the desert (there is a group, again I won't advertise on here but PM me) and get the most out of it. Looking back, I loved and hated my time there (being 14-16 it wasn't exactly the most sociable place for me) but the experiences I got (and from visiting other countries and parts of the kingdom too) was one I'll keep with me for the rest of my life  


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 25355 times:

Quoting reifel (Reply 11):
-KWI-JED (6 hours transit)
-JED-RUH (8 hours transit)
-RUH-MXP

Nice! The routings are unusual with SV - it seems an almost all connecting flights you can choose to take a domestic run. It will be very interesting to see Medium Haul on narrow-body SV

Quoting reifel (Reply 11):
All with A320, but hey you can't have everyhting...

It could get upguaged as most domestic flyers in Saudi tend not to book till the last minute as pricing is the same. I took a 747-300 last week on JED-RUH and she was completely full.

Quoting reifel (Reply 11):
I believe I will not be allowed to leave the airport, but luckily I get lounge access

No you went - and there again it is a blessing. The airport is very far out of town and it'll be roasty hot. Although less so at that time of your. Fear not - rumours are rife out here that fairly soon (measured in years for Saudi's) they will start issuing tourist visas for the kingdom!


****************************************************************************************




Hi Jamie. A very nice and thoughtful reply...

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
Wow, I've been waiting for this one for a long time, RUH is an old friend/foe of mine...

Yes - I didn't want to put it up too soon as I had no photo's of Saudi Arabia yet. I realise your history!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
Your report did make me reconsider but maybe only on an A330, A340 or A380...

I've seen all three (I am almost sure that was Emirates A380 t'other day) in RUH. The newer 777 might not be so bad.

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
searched after baggage claim with a case full of miniatures (on the other hand many have smuggled booze and even pork in!)

I think they like to proliferate the fear by reputation but in practise they're fairly lax. You'll know yourself how much booze and illicit activity is floating around this country under their noses!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
mmigration can be a breeze at RUH IF YOU STICK TO THE FAR RIGHT HAND LANES . As I'm sure you learnt during your stay in the magic kingdom

I'll know next time... you might have even mentioned it before I left.

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
then called over after about 5 hours.

It really is a disgrace and fairly unnecessary how the labourers are treated at this airport.

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
The houseboy that we had working for us (these are common in Saudi, we certainly didn't treat him like a slave before I get any hate for this) used to fly EK back to India

Yes - it is just the culture. You are in a compound though aren't you? Actually - it is important that all these positions exist - gardener/ houseboy/ officeoboy/ nanny etc. - as it provides so much employment. Emirates have really cornered the market . . .

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
While you're there, try out SV either domestically or internationally, they still fly 747-300s (and are perfectly safe, just very worn out)

I DID! Last week infact and it was excellent!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
I was lucky enough to get a 747-300 on a flight from RUH to DXB back in 2008

Yes - I got the very plane (M) between JED-RUH and it was a glorious experience. Food was fairly terrible/ and service - but the plane was stunning and I was allowed to visit the flightdeck.

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
Also try to get on BD to LHR,

I don't think I'll have a say Jamie...

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
Riyadh (until maybe Easter break this year where I'll go to lock out any distractions so I can focus on studying for my A2 exams in June)

A good place to study! haha... distractions...

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
they might use it as an equipment change from time to time, RUH is large enough (with 2x 4000m runways) to handle the A380

Also Emirates really seem to value the elite Saudi market so putting A380 with the good elite product is sensible. The JED service seems to have done excellently.

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
Finally, don't be too quick to comment on the people Saudi Arabia as I actually found most of the people more hospitable and welcoming than anyone or anywhere I've been in the world

Of course - I give all people a fair trial and recently have been making more friends with them. It is easy to judge in a city like Riyadh. Saudi's get annoyed because so many of the workforce are brought in from the rest of Arabia (e.g. Egypt and Algeria) and can give the country an unfair bad name. More observations next time...

Quoting planejamie (Reply 12):
get the most out of it. Looking back, I loved and hated my time there

Yes - it brings out the best and the worst emotions in me too. But when you do get a good moment (such as that of genuine hospitality) - it is always a moment to savour.

Thanks Jamie!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined exactly 3 years ago today! , 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 24884 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 13):
Yes - it is just the culture. You are in a compound though aren't you? Actually - it is important that all these positions exist - gardener/ houseboy/ officeoboy/ nanny etc. - as it provides so much employment. Emirates have really cornered the market . . .

Yeah I was, that very large one full of Brits... bit like Blackpool with sun...

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 13):
Yes - I got the very plane (M) between JED-RUH and it was a glorious experience. Food was fairly terrible/ and service - but the plane was stunning and I was allowed to visit the flightdeck.

Nice one  I found the curry Saudia used to serve to be quite good, but yeah the service was pretty much non-existant. I mean you must have seen how strict the crew are on safety (not, every flight with them a child would be running down the aisles on take off)

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 13):
A good place to study! haha... distractions...

Yeah, it's not like I can go out getting drunk every night/partying (plus no one I knew when I was there still live there!)... unless there's homebrew (blegh)


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26972 posts, RR: 57
Reply 15, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 24727 times:

Hey Luke  

Great report . Nice routing too ! Hope your surviving the dessert   EK look pretty damn good. Loved the meals. Some interesting scenes from KSA . Looking forward to seeing more . Especially after the sneak preview I got of your Domestic sector . Cant wait to see that report.

Regards

Philip  


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 16, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 24542 times:

.
Hi again Jamie.

Quoting planejamie (Reply 14):
Yeah I was, that very large one full of Brits... bit like Blackpool with sun...

In many ways I am thankful to be leaving right in the city. I get quite a nice 'on the frontline' experience. But what I wouldn't give for a swimming pool!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 14):
I found the curry Saudia used to serve to be quite good

I had a breakfast of fuul and you will see in the next TR how terrible it looks!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 14):
I mean you must have seen how strict the crew are on safety

The audio for our safety video played and they didn't even bother coming out to do the actions!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 14):
nless there's homebrew (blegh)

I make my own brew! Cider... Not very adventurous. I think I went 3 months before I cracked... my employer drove me to it!



*************************************************************************************************


Yo-ho Philip!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 15):
Great report . Nice routing too !

At least now you know what fun the PAX on the Emirates service are having each day. I was quite happy to fly out of DUB. Did you think I was unfair in my comments on the terminal? I even tried to look for that 'Cafe Chocolate' place you're such a good customer of. . .

Quoting OA260 (Reply 15):
Hope your surviving the dessert   EK look pretty damn good.

You'll have to try it out! I wonder if they will open their own DUB lounge.?

Quoting OA260 (Reply 15):
Especially after the sneak preview I got of your Domestic sector . Cant wait to see that report.

Just small sectors but also a great adventure.

Cheers!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineROGERBCN From Andorra, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 17, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 24510 times:

Hola Luke!

A great report I was really looking forward to reading.

Very interesting to see the EK flights and how a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and creeds DXB airport has become, they have flights all over and sure their service and routings are becoming a serious thread to many classical airlines. Why not take a detour over DXB when flying to the other side of the world?

Very sad to see the welcome treatment Saudi Arabia delivers to foreign workers... Just a glimpse of what comes ahead for them in their jobs.

I am sure your working experience at the school will become in the future a real asset on your personal records. Great adventure!

Looking froward to reading the next installments.

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8539 posts, RR: 54
Reply 18, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 23933 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great read as always, in years ahead you could put all these reports into a book!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Glancing across a stretch of water easing into the cool calm of the twilight, one could see the jagged peaks of Saudi Arabia rising from the Gulf of Aqaba and developing on into land that only my imagination could try and come to grips with. Saudi perpetuates the mystery so well in all its dealings. Whilst I contemplated in the shadows, a rich, blood-red sunset settled on the opposing mountains. It was then that a set my sights on visiting the mysterious kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

- Good on you, never had the slightest interest to go there.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
the option of casually visiting Saudi as a passive observer is largely off the table.
It took me 4 months and numerous hurdles before I finally got my passport embossed with a Saudi Arabian visa

- Certainly not one for tourists!  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
Once the blood tests, a full body scan and various other prodding is completed on Harley Street, the various threads of Saudi Arabian visa processing are synched together

- Your kidding!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
I’m not obsessive, but I am always anticipating the next opportunity for getting above the clouds.

- Me too

EK catering looks most impressive, not flown them for many years, all those 777's put me off, not a 777 fan.

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 19, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 23708 times:

Hola Roger -

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 17):
A great report I was really looking forward to reading.

Many thanks... it took an age to get it up. Really I must improve the turnaround efficiency of reports!

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 17):
their service and routings are becoming a serious thread to many classical airlines. Why not take a detour over DXB when flying to the other side of the world?

Yes it is quite amazing. I mean already the airline has outgrown the airport - so it seems it is only going to grow. Perhaps this new DWC will required sooner rather than later

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 17):
Just a glimpse of what comes ahead for them in their jobs.

Sadly so - Saudi's still have a bit of a 'slave' mentality here. Alot are fair with their employers but most people hate it. Westerner's receive a much better deal.

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 17):
I am sure your working experience at the school will become in the future a real asset on your personal records.

I really think so - I have picked alot of useful and transferable skills with regards to culture/ teaching/ interaction/ presentation etc. . . Because it isn't an industry I want to continue in!



**********************************************


Hi Mark. Many thanks for your awfully kind comments...

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 18):
Great read as always, in years ahead you could put all these reports into a book!

Yes - my life's work! I hope they never remove the servers for Anet as it provides a great archive for me personally of all my aviation travels.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 18):
- Good on you, never had the slightest interest to go there.

Which I can sympathise. Some aspects are quite good out here - but I think the weighting tends to be on the negative. Tax-Free can only cover up so many inconveniences...

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 18):
- Your kidding!

That was moderated - there were stool samples/ follow-up medicals. They say that the processing fee of each employee in my company normally runs to about double their annual salary. I somehow doubt all the labourers have to go through the same palaver.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 18):
EK catering looks most impressive, not flown them for many years, all those 777's put me off, not a 777 fan.

I wouldn't have naturally flown them for many more years either - but you gotta suck and see! I am warming to 777's. But I need to get me a long-haul A380.



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined exactly 3 years ago today! , 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 23618 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 16):
Hi again Jamie.

PM me if you want to chat or ask anything/advice on anything - I'm worried I'm spamming the comments!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 16):
n many ways I am thankful to be leaving right in the city. I get quite a nice 'on the frontline' experience. But what I wouldn't give for a swimming pool!

Oh yeah, the pools were fantastic though I hear the pools on a certain compound that I once lived on have been plagued by someone err 'depositing' in them...

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 16):
I make my own brew! Cider... Not very adventurous. I think I went 3 months before I cracked... my employer drove me to it!

Was it any good or did it taste of piss?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 16):
The audio for our safety video played and they didn't even bother coming out to do the actions!

Pfft, the Audio played that's good enough, on one of my flights (an SV 777-200) they played the arabic video which finished when lining up on the runway then played the English one after take-off, not good at all...


User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Reply 21, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 23508 times:

Hi Luke, another lengthy, adventerous and fantastic report from you. Took me more than 2 hours to read, and it sure was enjoyable!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
A pricey British company headed by an ex-SAS ensures

So I suppose he must've been an ex British elite soldier, and not a former overpaid lazy employee at a certain Scandinavian airline?  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
we set a steady 80mph for the 15 minute motorway drive towards Glasgow Airport.

That's fast! Are speeds like that even allowed?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Except this time I remedy it with a time-proven glug of whisky.

Seriously, scotch on an empty stomach! Were you looking to get drunk quick, or what!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Tesco has set up shop here and I can’t quite decide if it’s a sensible idea or not

Were the prices the same as on any Tesco, or were they airport overpriced?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
this has likely done a couple of sandy landings at Barra in it’s time.

Shame those planes are no longer in BA livery.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
oh wait, for a certain Anet member, my Sennheiser © PX100-II headphones . Irritating – the earbud, not the copyright.

Well perhaps you should consider upgrading to Bose® QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling® Headphones 
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
her male Polish colleague (Piotr) looks like Jean Claude Van Damn and fits much-less eloquently into the cosy cabin of this ATR.

So it seems EI are also taking advantage of cheap labour, by hiring polish people on polish contracts.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Check out this welcome! How hospitable does this look?

Oh my, if any boarding greeting could be that good, I'd be a happy man now  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
“Good afternoon Mr Addis CC you are right up the first aisle. Have a great flight”

Oh my, they even greet passengers in Economy Class. That's seriously impressive!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 4):
Departures smorgas(board)

You really seem to have an affection for this Swedish word 
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
Now – the meal. Really fantastic. Simple and very effective.

Must say that for such a short flight, that meal really looks fantastic! If only the carriers in Europe were that generous with the food.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
I make to the toilet and relish my last bottle of wine before popping a mint and heading to security.

God grief, how did you manage to down a bottle of wine in such a short time, and still manage to leave the scene fairly unaffected. Are you some sort of alcohol-immune superhuman or what?  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
Absolutely staggering Kingdom Tower is the true landmark of Riyadh

Ironically it looks like a giant bottle opener. Quite strange thing to have in a country where beer is illegal...  

"Wheels Up!"
//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlinepesit4a From Ireland, joined Jul 2012, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 23322 times:

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
So it seems EI are also taking advantage of cheap labour, by hiring polish people on polish contracts.

No, 10% of the population of Ireland are Polish nationals. Many immigrated here during the boom years and many have stayed. You will meet Polish people in all professions in Ireland.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 16):
At least now you know what fun the PAX on the Emirates service are having each day. I was quite happy to fly out of DUB. Did you think I was unfair in my comments on the terminal? I even tried to look for that 'Cafe Chocolate' place you're such a good customer of. . .

You only saw the Boarding Pier of Terminal Two. Had you gone up the escalator at the start of the pier, you would have arrived in the main departure lounge where all the good stuff is located.  



You just can't keep a good man down!
User currently offlinelegion242 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 23312 times:

Maybe one of the best TRs I have ever read. Great job!!


Don't make me release the monkeys!!
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1092 posts, RR: 31
Reply 24, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 23226 times:

Hi Jamie.

Quoting planejamie (Reply 20):
PM me if you want to chat or ask anything/advice on anything - I'm worried I'm spamming the comments!

Well much rather that than the some 99% of silent readers - so it is appreciated!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 20):
plagued by someone err 'depositing' in them...

It was probably the bitter gardeners! I have heard those places can get ridiculous (esp. the price). But I would like to try and get in one and see what it is like. Your father's sounded good underneath the flight path...

Quoting planejamie (Reply 20):
Was it any good or did it taste of piss?

It tastes just fine! I do 3 litres a week. Very simple (I will post a photo on the next report) but just 12 teaspoons sugar/ 1tsp yeast and let the magic happen over a week. Good to unwind with at the weekend. I filter it twice and let things settle. Normally have with that fruity vimto cordial. Heahaches do happen though!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 20):
Pfft, the Audio played that's good enough, on one of my flights (an SV 777-200) they played the arabic video which finished when lining up on the runway then played the English one after take-off, not good at all...

My mind was more preoccupied with the condition of the old gal 743! What a beaut though - was so pleased it didn't get equipment change.


******************************



Anet Royalty Mr Jonas.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Hi Luke, another lengthy, adventerous and fantastic report from you. Took me more than 2 hours to read, and it sure was enjoyable!

2 hours. Yes that seems about right. Too long? I will read yours soon enshallah...

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
So I suppose he must've been an ex British elite soldier, and not a former overpaid lazy employee at a certain Scandinavian airline?

Ha - you are a witty one. Actually I got a free coffee in their offices too.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Are speeds like that even allowed?

Hmm. Well - not technically - no. But this stretch of motorway is fairly quiet. The police will normally let you away with 10% above the limit but on this motorway they are rarely checking. British motorways tend to be quite fast!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Seriously, scotch on an empty stomach! Were you looking to get drunk quick, or what!

But it settled it! It was much better medicine than anything else!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Were the prices the same as on any Tesco, or were they airport overpriced?

Fortunately yes. It's their Tesco Metro pricing model. But since most people about to jet off on holiday don't tend to pick up potatoes and ready meals alot of the stuff was actually reduced. It'll kill competition (you could get a meal deal vs. crappy restaurant offerings). Main purpose is for arriving passengers.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Shame those planes are no longer in BA livery.

They looked really great...

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Well perhaps you should consider upgrading to Bose® QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling® Headphones

Our is a marriage made in heaven. I am loyal!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
So it seems EI are also taking advantage of cheap labour, by hiring polish people on polish contracts.

Perhaps... after all they are FR in disguise. But this is likely Aer Arrann employing.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Oh my, if any boarding greeting could be that good, I'd be a happy man now
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
“Good afternoon Mr Addis CC you are right up the first aisle. Have a great flight”

Oh my, they even greet passengers in Economy Class. That's seriously impressive!

Yes - it is clearly and Emirates policy to provide this level of staffing and greeting and it really works.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
You really seem to have an affection for this Swedish word

One day I will order one. It is a meal isn't it? I also like the word soporific . . .

Quoting planejamie (Reply 20):
Must say that for such a short flight, that meal really looks fantastic! If only the carriers in Europe were that generous with the food.

It's pretty decent eh!? And with a prawn starter... The Gulf markets are important - and it is the culture to provide visitors/ guests with food and drink so perhaps that has something to do with it.

Quoting planejamie (Reply 20):
Are you some sort of alcohol-immune superhuman or what?

Ha! They were just miniatures and it had been 5 hours since my last drink so I was in control! Actually I moderate my alcohol consumption account for Anet report. Don't want to be judged!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 21):
Ironically it looks like a giant bottle opener. Quite strange thing to have in a country where beer is illegal...

It does - the Saudi's get a bit flustered and pretend to not know which building I am referring to when I say this.

Beer is legal here Jonas! Just not alcoholic! They have some diabolical apple/ mango flavour Budweiser here. I just won't stoop that low!

Thanks!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
25 MSS658 : Hi Great report, thanks for sharing it with us. Nice that you where able to get the ATR to DUB, nice catch nowadays. EK looks to be great as usual, ju
26 lukeyboy95 : Thanks. Yes I rather thought that is what was going on. But I am not a big shopper so wasn't keen to disturb the natural flow of the airport.It would
27 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Hi Luke, wonderful report with great pictures, I'm absolutely stunned. And I'm glad you experienced the version of Ek which I like so much. The food l
28 lukeyboy95 : Hi PH. Thanks for your generous reply... ! You are too kind. I felt some of the interiors where a bit blurry... but I will work on it. Like I mentione
29 Post contains images deltamartin : Hello Luke! Great report and one of the most interesting reports I've read for sure. Emirates sure seems great, I have yet to fly any Middle Easter ai
30 Post contains images PlaneHunter : You're welcome, Luke! I guess it's just a matter of costs - catering companies can deliver great meals (almost) everywhere. Unbelievable! It was a gr
31 Knightsofmalta : Hi Luke Interesting report. Your stream of consciousness writing style is nothing short of overwhelming. Although I'm far from being a fan, I must say
32 lukeyboy95 : Hello Martin That is too kind... I mean it is nothing exotic but I was glad for the routing... Impressive you have managed to hold off for such a tim
33 planejamie : I was brilliant when I lived there and they were using 15L for take-offs, my bedroom window was in the right place to get a good view of the heavies
34 EI320 : The catering is actually provided by EI in Dublin. The food looks exceptional.
35 lukeyboy95 : Hi Jamie! Which is a shame as I can only see them very distantly from where I live. It is a strange airport really... and yet more and more 'normal'
36 Post contains images bgm : Hi Luke, Excellent trip report, and welcome to the Kingdom! It really is quite a unique place isn't it? I am quite fortunate, I live on the Diplomatic
37 pesit4a : 27 Scheduled operators and about 30 charter ones is not that limited - it can just seem that way sometimes with the overwhelming Green and Blue influ
38 Post contains images NZ107 : Hi Luke, Another fantastic TR from you, thanks for sharing! Good to see that your transit through DXB was much smoother than in DOH (though not hard,
39 lukeyboy95 : Hello bgm (and fellow ex-pat it would appear That's very kind... and thanks.... Extraordinarily . Yes. Despite my company being a bunch of plonkers -
40 Post contains images adamspotter : Hi there Luke, An absolutely fantastic report you made here. Very entertaining and well written, enjoyed it very much Looks like you had some great fl
41 thegivenone : Hi lukeyboy95, This was absolutely brilliantly written and documented -- an inspiring trip report style to us all. It was nice to hear a largely posit
42 lukeyboy95 : Hello Brendan That is very kind of you! I only aim to please.... They were excellent flights... I was pleasantly pleased and surprised at how excellen
43 gabrielchew : Excellent report Luke, and I didn't even need to clear my day's schedule to read it (ha, only joking, although I did read it, let it sink in for a wee
44 Post contains images Quokkas : Hi Luke, Certainly one of the more interesting reports that I have read on Anet (no offence to other posters intended). It was an interesting route to
45 lychemsa : All your reports are "gems." Very interesting. I am surprised they allow Israeli stamps.
46 Post contains images FlyingFinn76 : Hi Lukey laddie, What an amazing story, once again. I could tell you how I like your witty writing style but you already know that. You certainly have
47 flightsimboy : Hello Luke, And here you take us heading off to Saudi Arabia!! What a great opener!! Huh, I had to struggle trying to understand this one. It was not
48 Post contains images lukeyboy95 : What a nice bunch of hearty replies... many thanks. Always encouraging to get me writing the next report. Now... Hello Mr Chew Sink in! Nice, it is li
49 Post contains images akhmad : السلام عليكم Luke or should I say Mister Luke? You never fail to amaze me. It is so heartwarming to see how you attend to the call of chil
50 NZ107 : W is the official letter given by Boeing to distinguish it. 772, 77E, 77L, 77F, 773, 77W - I'm sure you now know what means what in the 777 family! W
51 signol : Hi Luke, absolutely fascinating! EK seems to be a bit like FR in that they have fans and haters - until I sample them myself I won't judge, but you ce
52 Post contains links lukeyboy95 : And your reply is due! - Hi Flightsimboy Thanks for a nice detailed reply... Of course! A little unexpected? Well... Maybe because some of it is in ve
53 NZ107 : Ah, gotcha. Might put the plan to action as early as next week! I know of only one.. McDonalds... LOL
54 SR 103 : Thanks for a great TR Luke. You definitely seem to have enjoyed Emirates quite a bit. It was interesting to see you compare them to QR, an airline I f
55 Post contains images akhmad : السلام عليكم Teacher Luka, Very smart! Exactly how I felt after my flights with Emirates. : شكرًا That’s the key! Then, I should get
56 lukeyboy95 : Let us know the outcome! I am sure your kiwi charm will work wonders... ************************************** Hello SR 103 And many thanks for a kin
57 Osprey88 : Luke, Excellent trip report, it made for a very good read, thank you for taking the time to prepare and post it. I think I speak for all of us when I
58 lukeyboy95 : Hi Andrew That is very kind apologies for my belated reply... Well - that is the important thing! Trip reports have an infamously low 'reply rate' so
59 Post contains images HiJazzey : Good to see your stay in our beloved kingdom hasn't caused you any permanent damage
60 lukeyboy95 : Hi HiJazzey Thanks my friend. No - no permanent damage. Put your war hat on though as the next installment may have semi- controversial observations.
61 Post contains images sultanils : Hello Luke, Wow, what an epic travel adventure! The last part reads like your the only Westerner ever to have dared to enter Saudi Arabia through it
62 HiJazzey : Look forward to it.
63 lukeyboy95 : Hello Nils! You are more than welcome and thanks for the kind reply - incidently, yes, so many foreigners come through here. But they mostly don't re
64 beowulf : Only discovered this now. Amazing. How long will you be in Saudi Arabia?
65 lukeyboy95 : Hi Beowolf. I am trying to uphold my record of always replying to comments, and saw that I had missed yours. I was in Saudi Arabia for 5 months, the
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