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Kingdom Calling;Exceptional Emirates (GLA)-DUB-RUH  
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 25000 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, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 25261 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, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 25066 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, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 25097 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, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 4, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 25022 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, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 5, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 25039 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, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 6, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 24681 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 onlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1155 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 24083 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 (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 24006 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, 1310 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 23957 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, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 10, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 23616 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, 1310 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 23508 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 Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 23474 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, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 13, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 22820 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 Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 22349 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, 26520 posts, RR: 58
Reply 15, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 22192 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  



AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 16, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 22007 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 Sep 2006, 1194 posts, RR: 20
Reply 17, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 21975 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, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 21398 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,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 19, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 21173 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 Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 21083 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, 1709 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 20973 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 (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 20787 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 (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 20777 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, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 24, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 20691 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
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 25, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 20562 times:

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, just the 3-4-3 looks cramped in Y.
Nice pics of RUH as well.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 26, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 20369 times:

Quoting pesit4a (Reply 22):
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.  

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 be an idea for DAA to have directed PAX through the retail area when transferring from T1. Given that EI are providing alot of feed traffic. Or at least provide clear signage that shops etc. are back up the escalator.



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Hi Legion.

Quoting legion242 (Reply 23):
Maybe one of the best TRs I have ever read. Great job!!

Oh gosh - nice comments like this are always warmly invited! Thanks - I am known to be a wordy reporter...




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



Greetings Marc! Thanks for dropping in...

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 25):
Nice that you where able to get the ATR to DUB, nice catch nowadays.

Yes it was. It was my first time on this type. I have been having a good time with new types recently...

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 25):
EK looks to be great as usual, just the 3-4-3 looks cramped in Y.
Nice pics of RUH as well.

Yes. Emirates sort of shot themselves in the foot with that layout as it sort of precedes the 777's reputation nowadays. That said - I had no problem's and they probably more than recouped the money on extra capacity.

More pics of Saudi to come Marc.

Many thanks.



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6657 posts, RR: 78
Reply 27, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 20215 times:

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 looks excellent as usual, EK's catering is a class of its own. And yes, even the older IFE versions are great.

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 in an impressively efficient manner.

Blood tests?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Home; Argyll and Cowal

Very nice scenery. I took many of such pictures during my vacation in Scotland in June.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Despite a stunning array of regional crafts, Scotland still can’t seem to escape this cheap, Chinese-made , clichéd tat

Yes, that stuff is everywhere...well, I preferred to buy delicious Scottish shortbread.  

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Only 2nd 777 for me, 1st on -300.

Congratulations. Good to see you also flew on EK's 773 non-ER.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
I think it’s Sheik Zayed Rd, dedicated to Dubai’s No1 fan, PlaneHunter, in support of his decision to hold off retirement!

Thanks! But I don't think I'm Dubai's fan No.1.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

That sounds really bad!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):

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.

Horrible. How did you get to your destination then?


I'm looking forward to your domestic reports!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 28, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 20136 times:

Hi PH.

Thanks for your generous reply... !

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
wonderful report with great pictures, I'm absolutely stunned.

You are too kind. I felt some of the interiors where a bit blurry... but I will work on it. Like I mentioned I have a zoom fault.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
EK's catering is a class of its own.

It truly is. I was really bowled over. I also presume that this is done in DUB which makes it even more impressive.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
Blood tests?

Yeahhh!! I had HIV tests/ Stool samples/ medical interviews and many measurements. It is insane!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
Very nice scenery. I took many of such pictures during my vacation in Scotland in June.

Excellent. I am so happy that you went there and hope it was a great little trip. I saw your beautiful preview photo the other day...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
Yes, that stuff is everywhere...well, I preferred to buy delicious Scottish shortbread.  

All-butter! It can't be beat... They should address the tat though. Our tourism industry is being sat on by clichés and hasn't moved on in a long time.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
Congratulations. Good to see you also flew on EK's 773 non-ER.

! Was I. Yes that is good.. I was happy with both flights. But did have empty seats beside...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
I don't think I'm Dubai's fan No.1.

ha! A close second perhaps..

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
Horrible. How did you get to your destination then?

I eventually got his number and asked a taxi-firm to borrow their phone. But arrival at Saudi airports is horrid. TERRIBLE public transport. . .

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
I'm looking forward to your domestic reports!

I have started writing them... so give it a month!

Thanks PH...



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 29, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 20104 times:

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 airline, but I will fly your favourite (still?) QR in October, I sure am looking forward to that!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
DAA have put up a gallery entitled %u2018Faces of Ireland%u2019 whereby people of Ireland sternly stare down at you in threes throughout the terminal %u2013 it%u2019s a bit naff and doesn%u2019t 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.

Reminds me of the arrival hall at my home airport ARN, where Swedish celebrities greet the arriving passengers with "Welcome to my hometown". They don't look as grumpy or judging as those in DUB though!  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Departures smorgas(board)

Hah, nice one!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Ughh. I can understand why he was annoyed.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
Absolutely staggering Kingdom Tower is the true landmark of Riyadh

Great looking tower. Almost looks like it's photoshopped in there. Would love to see it myself one day. I doubt I'll end up in The Kingdom any time soon though.

Can't wait to read more about your Saudi experiences.

Martin


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6657 posts, RR: 78
Reply 30, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 19800 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 28):
Thanks for your generous reply... !

You're welcome, Luke!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 28):
I also presume that this is done in DUB which makes it even more impressive.

I guess it's just a matter of costs - catering companies can deliver great meals (almost) everywhere.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 28):
Yeahhh!! I had HIV tests/ Stool samples/ medical interviews and many measurements. It is insane!

Unbelievable!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 28):
Excellent. I am so happy that you went there and hope it was a great little trip. I saw your beautiful preview photo the other day...

It was a great trip indeed - and I have become a fan of Scotland. I'm planning to post a report with many pictures, the question is when...

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 28):
All-butter! It can't be beat...

   We bought a few packages so that we can enjoy it at home for a while - with rich black tea, of course.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 28):
A close second perhaps..

Probably, yes.  

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 28):
But arrival at Saudi airports is horrid. TERRIBLE public transport. . .

I'm not planning to leave a Saudi airport anytime soon - I'm just considering flying SV with transfer at RUH or JED.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 28):
I have started writing them... so give it a month!

Good!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineKnightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1695 posts, RR: 18
Reply 31, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 19764 times:

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 your photos really bring out the best in the Emirates Economy Class product.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
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

Wonderful, a not so subtle but still poignant comment.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
This is Deira Square, near the Great Mosque, I think every other Friday this is where beheadings take place.

Sounds like you've picked yourself a nice place to call home.

Even so, looking forward to your reports on the domestic flying.

Cheers,
William


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 32, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 19611 times:

Hello Martin

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 29):
Great report and one of the most interesting reports I've read for sure.

That is too kind... I mean it is nothing exotic but I was glad for the routing...

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 29):
I have yet to fly any Middle Easter airline, but I will fly your favourite (still?) QR in October, I sure am looking forward to that!

Impressive you have managed to hold off for such a time. I still have a soft spot for QR it is true... however I would pay about 5% more for Emirates nowadays. It's all swings and roundabouts. I have no doubt you will have a good time on QR....

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 29):
"Welcome to my hometown". They don't look as grumpy or judging as those in DUB though!  

I am sure they have nice Swedish smiles on!

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 29):
Hah, nice one!

I had totally forgot it's origins...

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 29):
Great looking tower. Almost looks like it's photoshopped in there. Would love to see it myself one day. I doubt I'll end up in The Kingdom any time soon though.

They are going to ease up on visa restrictions sooner rather than later... so you might see it in your lifetime! If you want...






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

Thanks for the follow-up PH!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 30):
catering companies can deliver great meals (almost) everywhere.

Of course. I suppose with DUB's limited scope of airlines I had expected it less. But that is naive. I wonder if it is the same caterer as EY.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 30):
Unbelievable!

But at least it is a quick and efficient process when an agent is going it for you. Only 4 days or so... Having to go down to London was a pain though.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 30):
It was a great trip indeed - and I have become a fan of Scotland. I'm planning to post a report with many pictures, the question is when...

Good stuff... over-the moon to see you so close to my home town of Dunoon. I suspect you had rented a car...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 30):
I'm not planning to leave a Saudi airport anytime soon - I'm just considering flying SV with transfer at RUH or JED.

Well there is no choice in the matter nowadays. SV are really flooding the place with excellent (often one-way) fares at the moment which is decent. It would have to be alot cheaper for me to prefer this option too!


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Hi William

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 31):
Your stream of consciousness writing style is nothing short of overwhelming.

Overwhelmingly long winded I should think! Many thanks and thanks for the comment!

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 31):
Although I'm far from being a fan, I must say your photos really bring out the best in the Emirates Economy Class product.

With the new aircraft filtering through... the incentive should be better too. I think I might have been less pleased if I had a neighbour.

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 31):
Wonderful, a not so subtle but still poignant comment.

ha - yes. It is fairly autocratic here these days... but a fascinating society to observe and try and be apart of.

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 31):
Sounds like you've picked yourself a nice place to call home.

Even so, looking forward to your reports on the domestic flying.

Well. Let's just say life's rich tapestry and all. In defence I have to say that the sort of punishment we so frequently associate with Saudi (flagrant lopping off of limbs) is much less than it would appear. Saudi authorities normally go to great lengths to find blood money/ political negotiations. For example... the Muttawa (religious police) stay well clear of foreigners.

Thanks!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineplanejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 33, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 19565 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 24):
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...

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 on climb out. In fact, one morning I was out walking around and an Air India 747-300 (when they still had them, or the one) came VERY low and slow overhead and loud too, fantastic experience.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 24):
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!

I might give that a go... even though I can get the real thing (just to rub it in, I often hold up a beer, glass of wine or pork pie to my Dad on Skype)

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 24):
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.

That is good - did the air conditioning work on yours? The one I took to DXB in 2007 didn't have working A/C... that was a hot, full, smelly flight - but nice to get a 747-300!


User currently offlineEI320 From Ireland, joined Dec 2007, 1427 posts, RR: 0
Reply 34, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 19417 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 28):


Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
EK's catering is a class of its own.

It truly is. I was really bowled over. I also presume that this is done in DUB which makes it even more impressive.

The catering is actually provided by EI in Dublin. The food looks exceptional.


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 35, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 19368 times:

Hi Jamie!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 33):
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 on climb out.

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' travellers are passing through it as SV becomes a little more main stream....

Quoting planejamie (Reply 33):
even though I can get the real thing (just to rub it in, I often hold up a beer, glass of wine or pork pie to my Dad on Skype)

What a cruel son! Yes - my parents are usually sipping on a Sauv Blanc on Skype and the dog is bounding about in the back which can make it difficult!

Quoting planejamie (Reply 33):
That is good - did the air conditioning work on yours? The one I took to DXB in 2007 didn't have working A/C... that was a hot, full, smelly flight - but nice to get a 747-300!

They are undoubtedly very rickety old things... mine felt like it was really crumbling. I was on the top deck too which was nice. The conditions on SV planes can get pretty dismal intra-Arabic countries I suspect. We should see reports filtering through in the next few months anyway...



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

Hello EI320

Quoting EI320 (Reply 34):
The catering is actually provided by EI in Dublin. The food looks exceptional.

That makes it all the more impressive. It was certainly one of the most wholesome meals I have had up in the sky. It seems a mystery that EI provided such poor looking meals for Y TransAtlantic on their own birds... but yet can pull it out the bag so spectacularly for other airlines...



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinebgm From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 36, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 19350 times:

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 Quarter (DQ) so it's a nice bubble that shields us from the realities of Saudi. No need for home brews either.  

I'm yet to try Emirates but they do sound pretty good. I've heard less positive reports, but yours sounds quite encouraging.

If you have time, you really should visit Madain Saleh, it's probably one of the highlights of living in Saudi - think Petra without the crowds. I've been twice (both times taking friends visiting). First time I drove (10 hours each way, yuck) - 2nd time I flew and it was much more civiilised. Jeddah is also great if you want to go scuba diving. There isn't much to do in Riyadh side from parties and dinners.. you make your own fun here!  

Oh, and i read your other epic trip report last night, I can't decide whether you are brave or crazy - possibly both?! Anyway, love your sense of adventure! 


User currently offlinepesit4a From Ireland, joined Jul 2012, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 37, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 19223 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 32):
Of course. I suppose with DUB's limited scope of airlines I had expected it less. But that is naive. I wonder if it is the same caterer as EY.

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 influence!



You just can't keep a good man down!
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6338 posts, RR: 39
Reply 38, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 19141 times:

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, I know haha)! Great read and great pics to accompany. What a journey!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
Once the blood tests, a full body scan and various other prodding is completed on Harley Street

Gosh.. Things one does to get a visa!!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
“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.

Great ground service by both airlines! Well done. They must have been rather perplexed to see you flying EK out of DUB instead of GLA!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
Despite a stunning array of regional crafts, Scotland still can’t seem to escape this cheap, Chinese-made , clichéd tat

No mini bagpipes?  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
She enquired on my motives which I reply “ Erm... I like planes”.

Haha what other thing can you really say that wouldn't be any more weird?  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
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.

Most interesting. I guess they found a better stone/easier location to produce them from as years went by.. But I was never aware at how close Ireland was to Scotland at the northern part of the Irish Isle!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
All classy airports have a water fountain.

Right, gotta make this one part of a tradition now too!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Only 2nd 777 for me, 1st on -300.

Good to see you logging both the 773 and 77W! Just a little shame on the older product - possibly due to the lower yielding route maybe. Take one from LHR (though they're just about all A380 now) and you'd nearly always have the newer one.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
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.

That's service!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
“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.

And again! Impressive.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
“I’ll go for the lamb thanks” I suspect this would be the option that runs our first.

I wonder how Irish lamb stacks up against Kiwi/Aussie lamb..  
The fact that it was a great meal is consistent to what I know from down here!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
All portioned into ridiculously shaped containers.

Someone (maybe Roni) commented on one of my TRs on EK ages ago and told me that the shape is taken from the Burj Al Arab. It's quite odd but a nice change.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 4):
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.

Gotta try to get more than one meal sometime!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 4):
I cleaned my plate with a bit of kerrygold (this butter is everywhere in Africa alarmingly)

And across the Middle East and south Asia, one will find Anchor Butter!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 4):
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.

Yep, soon time for a new camera/lens..

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
I'd heard BA have an almost ceremonial announcement of last drinks run before entering Saudi Airspace, which I think is rather fun.

Sounds just like the (in)famous '6 o'clock swill' where nobody in NZ was allowed to serve alcohol after 6pm so there was always a mad rush to get drinks before then. Of course, this was way before my time!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
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.

Could have brought out your entrepreneurial skills and asked for baksheesh!?  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
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.

Good to know you enjoyed your EK experience. It's one side of the airline which everyone is happy getting! I can't imagine how different this report would have been with a polar opposite crew onboard!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
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.

Even more of a moral quandary whether to take photos then... :s


Thanks again for a great read!

Cheers,
Nicholas

[Edited 2012-09-01 19:30:40]


It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 39, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 18891 times:

Hello bgm (and fellow ex-pat it would appear

Quoting bgm (Reply 36):
Excellent trip report, and welcome to the Kingdom!

That's very kind... and thanks....

Quoting bgm (Reply 36):
It really is quite a unique place isn't it?

Extraordinarily . Yes. Despite my company being a bunch of plonkers - I am more than happy to be out here experiencing and observing this fascinating country. Have you been out a long time?

Quoting bgm (Reply 36):
I live on the Diplomatic Quarter (DQ) so it's a nice bubble that shields us from the realities of Saudi. No need for home brews either.
Ooooh awfully nice. We speak of this like a sort of heavenly place here. I am based by Riyadh Gallery. It's all going on here! I had heard it is quite free in the compounds and diplomatic quarters. . .

[quote=bgm,reply=36]I'm yet to try Emirates but they do sound pretty good. I've heard less positive reports, but yours sounds quite encouraging.

Yes I had heard so many mixed reports... fortunately the reality was it was quite excellent!

Quoting bgm (Reply 36):
If you have time, you really should visit Madain Saleh, it's probably one of the highlights of living in Saudi - think Petra without the crowds. I've been twice (both times taking friends visiting). First time I drove (10 hours each way, yuck)

Oh yes. I have heard how wonderful this place is. I am really keen to get out there but - I don't want to take a tour and - I don't have an International (just Uk) Driver's License.

Quoting bgm (Reply 36):
Oh, and i read your other epic trip report last night, I can't decide whether you are brave or crazy - possibly both?! Anyway, love your sense of adventure! 

Haha. All the African series? Yes I always say i am just foolish/ naive when people croon that I am 'brave!'



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


Hi Pesit4abc.

Quoting pesit4a (Reply 37):
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 influence!

You don't have to defend! I am now a won-over admirer of this catering. And yes - I recognise that DUB has an excellent coverage which can get lost in all the blue and green.


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



Hi Nicholas

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
nother fantastic TR from you, thanks for sharing!

And many thanks for giving a very detailed comment.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
your transit through DXB was much smoother than in DOH

It would be hard to get anything as dreadful as that. Yes it was smooth and fairly painless. Any more than 3 hours at peak time and it could get old.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Great ground service by both airlines! Well done. They must have been rather perplexed to see you flying EK out of DUB instead of GLA!

I think it is a tax-avoidance thing. Something like they only have to pay for the same-ticket EI shuttle. Unsure but yes they both handled it well.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
No mini bagpipes?  

Having been (and loved) 'kiwi-world' in NZ - I can't criticise the cliché's too much. That was fruit/ not bird.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Haha what other thing can you really say that wouldn't be any more weird?  

Funnily enough it seems to bring out some sort of sympathy when I have said... You poor disturbed lamb

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
I was never aware at how close Ireland was to Scotland at the northern part of the Irish Isle!

But a stone's throw! You can see it from Campbelltown and Port Patrick.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Right, gotta make this one part of a tradition now too!

Yes - it is always funny how Anetters get known for their hallmark. Like the kind gentleman who has a things for Muffins.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Good to see you logging both the 773 and 77W! Just a little shame on the older product - possibly due to the lower yielding route maybe. Take one from LHR (though they're just about all A380 now) and you'd nearly always have the newer one.

I wouldn't have known if you hadn't mentioned! What does W stand for? I thought it was just ER? Don't confuse this amateur!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
I wonder how Irish lamb stacks up against Kiwi/Aussie lamb..  
The fact that it was a great meal is consistent to what I know from down here!

Quite excellent. I can't think I have had lamb on a place too many times. NZ lamb went and got itself expensive with the strength of currency/ demand.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Someone (maybe Roni) commented on one of my TRs on EK ages ago and told me that the shape is taken from the Burj Al Arab. It's quite odd but a nice change.

I suppose. Only that they need to leave alot more room on the tray. Thankfully it is a big tray. I really appreciated the Jacobs biscuit pack.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Gotta try to get more than one meal sometime!

you must. FA's don't seem to mind as they know it would otherwise be waste.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Yep, soon time for a new camera/lens..

Must make a shortlist for you to give your opinions on soonish... want new one for next batch of adventures. With a video!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Could have brought out your entrepreneurial skills and asked for baksheesh!?  

Ha - I would say I am not that mean. But I am a Scot!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Good to know you enjoyed your EK experience. It's one side of the airline which everyone is happy getting! I can't imagine how different this report would have been with a polar opposite crew onboard!

I couldn't tell till service really began - but they were a class act.

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 38):
Thanks again for a great read!

And thanks for a great comment...

rgds



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1110 posts, RR: 3
Reply 40, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 18829 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

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 flights with Emirates, the food looks delicious!
Nice pictures of te kingdom too  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
Home; Argyll and Cowal

beautiful landscape

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
So besotted am I by this 777-300 nuzzled against the terminal, I took quite a few snaps

Great pictures of that beautiful aircraft

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Stickers which are in vogue with airlines nowadays

Did you use any of them?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
The lamb %u2013 absolute top, top marks here.

Looks delicious!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 4):
You might also explore some of the landscape scenes (Alpine waterfalls/ palm clad oasis%u2019s and the sort)

Looks pretty nice in an airport

Looking forward to your next part  

cheers,

Brendan


User currently offlinethegivenone From Austria, joined Jan 2008, 189 posts, RR: 2
Reply 41, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 18773 times:

Hi lukeyboy95,

This was absolutely brilliantly written and documented -- an inspiring trip report style to us all. It was nice to hear a largely positive review of EK again. It was also fascinating to hear about Saudi immigration / visa acquisition first hand (I thought I had a difficult time in the States!)


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 42, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 18560 times:

Hello Brendan

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 40):
An absolutely fantastic report you made here. Very entertaining and well written, enjoyed it very much  

That is very kind of you! I only aim to please....

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 40):
Looks like you had some great flights with Emirates, the food looks delicious!

They were excellent flights... I was pleasantly pleased and surprised at how excellent it all was.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 40):
beautiful landscape

You are warmly welcome to visit Scotland!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 40):
Did you use any of them?

Haha! When I fall asleep it is normally unplanned. And normally the result of too much whisky. So I don't think I would have the foresight to put a sticker on. I guess it is useful for frequent flyers that need to rest...

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 40):
Looks pretty nice in an airport

Well... I swither about this one Brendan. I like it in terms of breaking up the man-made environment. But can't help feel it is a bit tacky... The Arab's have these same displays in their Malls. I much prefer the Asian airport spaces that you can enter and interact with...such as SIN's butterfly garden.... or kUL's stone gardens which reflect some of their culture. Still... it is appreciated!



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

Hello TheGivenOne!

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 41):
This was absolutely brilliantly written and documented -- an inspiring trip report style to us all.

Oh gosh. How nice... thanks very much. I realise my reports take a while to get through!

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 41):
It was nice to hear a largely positive review of EK again.

Yes. There is so much mixed information out there. I expected sullen FA's.... and average food. But I was very pleased. I would certainly give 'em another go!

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 41):
fascinating to hear about Saudi immigration / visa acquisition first hand

haha. Yes.. hear being the operative word. You don't want to 'experience' it. It makes Heathrow look like child's play...

Quoting thegivenone (Reply 41):
(I thought I had a difficult time in the States!)

Well. Interesting. I cross a land Canadian border into the US in February just gone and can tell you that the security was alot more intimidating and suspicious that the Saudi's. Infact it was the worst border I have ever crossed in my life (inc. Russia/ China/ African countries). When I finally got dealt with the Saudi was young/ friendly and curious.

Thanks!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3047 posts, RR: 12
Reply 43, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 18125 times:

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 week, and then reply).

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Plug away! I only glimpsed Saudi breifly from Aqaba....does look stunning I must say

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
%u201CErm 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?%u201D

I thought for a moment they were going to see if you could get on the GLA-DXB flight! Still, getting your bps was better than nothing.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
a few minutes later she returns and asks me to gather my things and follow-her.

Nice to get your window seat on a short hop

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
“Good afternoon Mr Addis CC you are right up the first aisle. Have a great flight” , chaperones an African F/A. Wonderful.

Nice welcome!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Excellent, always nice to get a pre-drinks run drink!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Loks good

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Contents of Jacobs ‘snack-box’ taken at later stage – I suppose this acted as a snack during the later stages of the flight.

Looks perfect. You're now just missing a bottle of red, and a cold, un mopped, airport floor!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Shame they weren't so hot on the call bells

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
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. . .

Clearly she preferred the bright lights of Dubai to her Saudi prison

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
“Can I get a tonic water on ice, and a fresh orange juice?”

Ha, never heard that one. You're making the FAs work tonight!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):

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.

No forms in Urdu?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
FA in back galley, she quips whether she looks good in the photo or not.

I love this photo. A small, delicate lady in charge or a large, unyielding machine. Lovely!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Oh dear, not good. As hard as it is to accept the situation, at least you can "relax" in the knowledge that you don't need to undergo such tribulations for something as simple as immigration

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Me in traditional Saudi dress, the thobe and shmuh, certainly striking. [/font]

With a razor thin mo, you could also pass as a Saudi prince!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-JMK,JTR-LHR-WAW,MSQ-FRA-EZE,IGR-EZE-CUN,MEX-FRA-LCY,LHR-TXL-LHR
User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 44, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks ago) and read 18036 times:

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 too. I suspect that the GLA-DXB flights were booked by the time the reservation was made (seemingly at the last minute) by your employer, hence the scenic trip to DUB. But as an aviation enthusiast, who could complain?  

It is good to see that your experience on EK's flights was satisfactory. I liked your descriptions of the food presentation and the analogy between Japanese and American. Very effective.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
However I experienced a level of humanity, warmth and personality that was most endearing.

This is heartening. I have read and heard different experiences from people who have travelled with EK. My own has always been of a high standard, especially when I have travelled with my mother who has limited mobility and suffers from Alzheimer's. The care and attention they provided was beyond reproach: they made her feel welcome and special. I am glad that the crew on your flights were equally attentive to passengers and showed a caring attitude and that it extended to passengers in economy, not just those in business or first.

The treatment of migrant workers from the sub-continent appears shameful but I wonder, aside from the fact that they are looked down upon, if they are indentured labourers would they need to wait until an employer's agent arrived or anything like that? It seems rather pointless and arrogant to keep them waiting otherwise.

Thank you for adding the charming photos of you and your charges in Saudi Arabia, as well as the local scene. They add a very human touch. May I also add how charming you look in the traditional thawb, bisht and keffiya.

Thanks for sharing,

Roy / Quokka


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1070 posts, RR: 3
Reply 45, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 17916 times:

All your reports are "gems."

Very interesting. I am surprised they allow Israeli stamps.


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 46, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 17842 times:

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 a lot of courage for taking a plunge into the darkness and accepting a job in the KSA just like that. It certainly is a whole different world. But of course this is the way to get to see the more obscure and closed parts of this world, well done!

I was actually supposed to go to Riyadh six years ago - I even got a visa in my passport. My back then employer was trying hard to sell them some stuff but unfortunately the thing eventually fell through at the last moment (story of that company - that's why it hasn't existed for years...) and I didn't make it there.

Emirates looked quite good here, and the transfer at DXB is definitely way better than Doha. Maybe you have a new favorite, Qatar has been replaced by mama Emirates?  . At least they kept you well lubricated (well not on the RUH flight for obvious reasons).

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Actually that process wasn't too complicated. The questions on the application form where a little weird and as you mentioned I was a bit baffled that there's no such thing as a tourist visa to Saudi, either you are a pilgrim, a slave worker or doing some serious business - weird.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Home; Argyll and Cowal

Awww, such beautiful views - how come you want to leave this lovely corner of Scotland? Ok, the weather is shite 360 days of the year, I understand that, but still...  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
but non-the-less, I buy a six pack of Tennants in recognition and savour the amber nectar.

You downed a six pack this early in the morning in the 45 minutes or so you had before he departure of your flight? LOL, you are even worse than me...

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
How it happened, or what caused the tip, I am unsure, but somewhere along the line EDI surpassed GLA as Scotland’s busiest airport.

Ryanair happened. EDI gave MOL a deal he couldn't refuse and GLA couldn't counter (with PIK nearby and all).

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
I get to thinking it would be pretty audacious to hit the call button for a tipple on the bog.

If you are in first class nothing is too decadent!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Stairway to heaven (flight connections)

Wow, they finally have it! The lack of this most simple of facilities was a major pain in the backside of the old Dublin terminals!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
It was rapidly upguaged from their typical starter A330 to the sleek behemoth 777-300 that I see before me today.

Amazing that they are able to fill so much capacity from the "Island that went bankrupt".

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Stickers which are in vogue with airlines nowadays

Hey, I still have my Aeroflot stickers somewhere...

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
I am handed a Glenfiddich in miniature on a passing tray and beside it some savoury biscuit nibbles.

Glenfiddich in economy? Ok, I'm a bit impressed.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
The starter is a rather easy on the eye smoked salmon, (I know at least one reporter who won’t like this)

Haha, don't do it!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Ewww, that looks horrible.

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

Lad, you really are something, you know that? How have you been able to cope with the dryness? Some people who've been there mentioned that there are ways to get your whistle wet, the embassies are the key. Germans = beer, British = hard liquor  . Actually one of them (a Finn) was made a persona non grata and deported from the Kingdom after the religious police found him drunk in public - something that should be impossible in KSA  .

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Wretched things – it’s possible at the rate they were being processed they might be there for days.

That sounds horrible! I always thought the guest workers were treated badly in the UAE but this sounds ten times worse.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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'm not sure whether I'm happy or sad that I missed Riyadh. I guess it would've been interesting for the few days I was supposed to be there but not really for a longer visit. My colleague who actually made it there told me some pretty weird stories from his week in there.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Scenes from Riyadh

Hey, I missed this annex the first time I read through this report, so glad I came back! Nice pictures - shame such a beautifully rugged part of the world is run by religious zealots and fundamentalists.


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1157 posts, RR: 5
Reply 47, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 17772 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello Luke,

And here you take us heading off to Saudi Arabia!!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

What a great opener!!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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."

Huh, I had to struggle trying to understand this one. It was not methaporically written was it?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Could you not have gone with EK directly from Glasgow? Nice that they could check you in right there for the Emirates flight out of Dublin

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
A collective gasp comes from the passengers and I see a sister doing a fleeting hail-Mary.

lol

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
It was rapidly upguaged from their typical starter A330 to the sleek behemoth 777-300 that I see before me today.

Now you must address her correctly as the -ER version lol

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
‘Faces of Ireland’ will enhance your experience no end.

Such glum faces to represent Ireland. Or was it the signs of the Economic Times showing on their faces!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
FA’s greeting with smiles

You definitely got the more cheerier ones of the bag of mixed nuts on this flight.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Check out this welcome! How hospitable does this look?

Yes quite the welcome. And one that could be compared with the warm welcome on my last Etihad Airways flight from Toronto to Abu Dhabi.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
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.

The signs of the times for some of these -300ER series.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Oh and here she is! With my water and a smile... phew. It’s all to play for.

Luckily it was honoured and did not go unattended.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
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.

Great comparison of the two, though I cannot speak on behalf of QR. I have yet to fly with them.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
(QR’s tend to be some sort of Arabic pulse).

Couscous?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Despite swimming in a rich gravy, it had not been stewed and was almost quite pink in the middle.

Some might have considered that uncooked and left the meal....or perhaps ask for the Chicken Tikka Masala as you did lol

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Clearly a memo circulated to Emirates FA’s to grossly underfill cups, as my cup was like staring into a well.

Too funny...you have a way with words!!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
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.

I wish these conditions would help me sleep. Unfortunately nothing does, perhaps some turbulence with the rocking to and fro, unless very severe!!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
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.

Again a great comparison and something I need to take into account if I ever fly with QR. I've never had any issues with the EK FA's and photos.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Cabin upon disembarking

Very neat cabin. You should see what other -300ER long haul flights land up as, even on a short haul like out of KHI!!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
EMX for today’s hop to RUH

Ah now we have the true -300 series lol

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
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.

Looks like you got the other half of the mxed nuts this time lol

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
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.

I was truly impressed with the same quick level of delivering meals so quickly after take off on the fully loaded KHI-DXB flight and yes on a Boeing 777-300ER

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
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.

That is pretty scary!!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
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.

Quite amusing considering where you were presently located lol

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
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.

Such levels of discrimination (and racism). But it is the truth of how poor expat workers from indianSub-continent and Asian countries are treated.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
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.

Yes the non-aviation photos were lacking. But I would not refer to those as non-aviation. Those are pics of you capturing life!! I do look forward to viewing these but already feel a bit disappointed that I will not be receiving a plethora of images from you like you did with your African trip report series, and others from around the world. You will however still hear the oohs and aahs once you post those pics....a small glimpse already with two to three pics on here already.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
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.

The report was quite "Lukeboy" so you have no reason to think otherwise!! Thanks for the report !!


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 48, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 17327 times:

What a nice bunch of hearty replies... many thanks. Always encouraging to get me writing the next report. Now...

Hello Mr Chew

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
(ha, only joking, although I did read it, let it sink in for a week, and then reply).

Sink in! Nice, it is like I have given you some shocking news...

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
I only glimpsed Saudi breifly from Aqaba....does look stunning I must say

Well then , we were in the same boat. Sadly I am not on this part of the coast (that you could see), but I did manage to get onto the coast.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
they were going to see if you could get on the GLA-DXB flight!

I don't think I would have accepted. Apparently it goes out fairly full most days. About to be double daily which is a real victory for GLA

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
Excellent, always nice to get a pre-drinks run drink!

Always! Takes a special sort of skill...

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
You're now just missing a bottle of red, and a cold, un mopped, airport floor!

... and some French police poking their nose in. It was certainly a good pack...

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
Shame they weren't so hot on the call bells

It is, but as I mentioned, they weren't hiding either. They did disarm all the call buttons at the start, as if they might be summoned by them, but it wasn't to be 
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
Ha, never heard that one. You're making the FAs work tonight!

Haha! Tonic and orange? I thought it was fairly mild but now you mention it!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
No forms in Urdu?

HA! Making life easier for economic migrants = not a priority!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
I love this photo. A small, delicate lady in charge or a large, unyielding machine. Lovely!

Filth!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
at least you can "relax" in the knowledge that you don't need to undergo such tribulations for something as simple as immigration

Well, it seems that sort of mistreatment and employee disregard has seaped (although much more moderately) into my company. As a result I resigned last week ( hence the DPS question... which actually, whist I am here, and since you read replies... I opted for GLA-LCY/ LHR-IST-KUL-DPS. A330 out of KUL. I just really don't like early morning flight's service.. it normally seems an excuse to be lacklustre. It will give me enough time to go and get a kebab and smell the Bosphorus! The advice was appreciated, and CGK was considered, but the thought of that city made me dizzy!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 43):
With a razor thin mo, you could also pass as a Saudi prince!

I could. I show my Saudi students this picture, and they are absolutely delighted! It is quite funny....



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

Hi there Roy

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 44):
Certainly one of the more interesting reports that I have read on Anet (no offence to other posters intended).

That is awfully kind, and thank you for taking the time to reply.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 44):
I suspect that the GLA-DXB flights were booked by the time the reservation was made (seemingly at the last minute) by your employer, hence the scenic trip to DUB. But as an aviation enthusiast, who could complain?

Now you say that, it could have been true, as it is a popular service (a second daily service will , or may have already, started). But someone else on the forum thought it was a tax-avoidance scheme. Something like EK would only have to pay carbon taxes/ UK taxes, on the first short-hop. Who knows! My happiness rises exponentially against number of flights!

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 44):
I liked your descriptions of the food presentation and the analogy between Japanese and American. Very effective.

ha, well, as I say, I have never been there. But I think the Dubai hotel rooms are the same... rich and sumptious, gold leaf adourned!

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 44):
My own has always been of a high standard,

Good, time for this airline to start making a good reputation from it's FAs.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 44):
The treatment of migrant workers from the sub-continent appears shameful but I wonder, aside from the fact that they are looked down upon, if they are indentured labourers would they need to wait until an employer's agent arrived or anything like that? It seems rather pointless and arrogant to keep them waiting otherwise.

That could be true. When I was cleared, I saw no labourers passing through, so perhaps when their fat, lazy employer shows up after a lie-in, they are released. Otherwise they might scatter. But the manner in which they queued looked as through some sort of proces was happening. Saudi's ain't too hot on the way they treat overseas workers.

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 44):
Thank you for adding the charming photos of you and your charges in Saudi Arabia, as well as the local scene. They add a very human touch. May I also add how charming you look in the traditional thawb, bisht and keffiya.

Oh, very nice of you! It pleases my Saudi students, they are very proud of it. I was think it looks quite severe, but when youa re used to it, it is a beautiful national dress.


Thanks Roy!

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

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 45):
All your reports are "gems."Very interesting. I am surprised they allow Israeli stamps.

And all your replies are gems!

The Israel thing isn't as strict as some make it out. As an example, we have a jewish American working in our company. They don't allow his residence, but he can work without trouble.



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

Mr Finn!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
What an amazing story, once again. I could tell you how I like your witty writing style but you already know that.

Oooh, go on then! One more time. No, that is very kind of you.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
You certainly have a lot of courage for taking a plunge into the darkness and accepting a job in the KSA just like that.

Well, I thought 'how bad can it be'... Summer in Saudi? The truth is, it was worse than I expected (my employer, that is, and they have made it feel like a prison), but Saudi's are very nice, curious people and the country is fiarly developed (at least in the hard-product, they're views of the world still have another 200 or so years to go).

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
I was actually supposed to go to Riyadh six years ago - I even got a visa in my passport.

It will open up much more in the next 3-5 years, so there will be oportunities to visit. I wanted to visit whilst it is still 'off-limits'

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Maybe you have a new favorite, Qatar has been replaced by mama Emirates? .

For sure. QR shat on their reputation with the way they treated me, and subsiquently dealt with the complaints. I still have a soft-spot admittedly, but it is good as now I am eager to try other carriers...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
questions on the application form where a little weird and as you mentioned I was a bit baffled that there's no such thing as a tourist visa to Saudi, either you are a pilgrim, a slave worker or doing some serious business - weird.

Yes, things are very black and white here. Either you're Saudi, or not. Either you're Muslim or Non-Muslim. Rich or poor, man or... erm, non-man. It makes the most sense for them. But they don't judge white westerners too much...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Awww, such beautiful views - how come you want to leave this lovely corner of Scotland?

Your comment sent me spinning into thought. I think it is the comfort, and thought, of knowing it is always there. In the same way someone can face more dangers in life when he believe there is a heaven over the hill. Because I must always recharge...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
You downed a six pack this early in the morning in the 45 minutes or so you had before he departure of your flight? LOL, you are even worse than me...

Haha! Well noticed. Scottish licensing laws mean that alcohol can only be sold in multi-packs nowadays (so jakeys can't buy one can of Tennants Super every time they steal a quid). I left a can, as I didn't want to make myself sick.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Ryanair happened. EDI gave MOL a deal he couldn't refuse and GLA couldn't counter (with PIK nearby and all).

I think the balance was tipping even before FR's entry. It only sped things up though. PIK is going to the dogs, so GLA might 'pik'-up again. Get it??!!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
If you are in first class nothing is too decadent!

Haha, like that reported that had it away with his missus in the staff rest area on a CX flight? Wasn't he a forum user?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Wow, they finally have it! The lack of this most simple of facilities was a major pain in the backside of the old Dublin terminals!

I think it has been there a while no? Just left of luggage claim. I mean, for that it is worth. . . you don't fast-track the full security line. But, at least there is a transfer. About 10-15 minutes from gate-to-gate.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Amazing that they are able to fill so much capacity from the "Island that went bankrupt".

Well, they find they're niche in lands that national carriers have abandoned (hence GLA's success). Ireland has so much tourism potential too...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Glenfiddich in economy? Ok, I'm a bit impressed.

 
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):The starter is a rather easy on the eye smoked salmon, (I know at least one reporter who won’t like this)Haha, don't do it!Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):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. Ewww, that looks horrible.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Lad, you really are something, you know that? How have you been able to cope with the dryness? Some people who've been there mentioned that there are ways to get your whistle wet, the embassies are the key. Germans = beer, British = hard liquor

Looks horrible; as in the safety video, not the salmon!? It was certainly less camp than the ANZ one where they're doing 60's dance aerobics and conducting safety checks in the buff!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Actually one of them (a Finn) was made a persona non grata and deported from the Kingdom after the religious police found him drunk in public - something that should be impossible in KSA .

Oooh, sign me up! I want out of here... one thing though, this is very typical. Despite KSA having all these crazy sentences/ punishments flying about, they seldom use them, especially not with Ex-Pats. They much rather just keep it quiet, and tell the company to get them employee out. I make home-brau, and don't go to pains to keep it a secret. Infact, I shall read your latest report over some homebrau tonight!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
That sounds horrible! I always thought the guest workers were treated badly in the UAE but this sounds ten times worse.

Saudi is king in all aspects!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 46):
Hey, I missed this annex the first time I read through this report, so glad I came back! Nice pictures - shame such a beautifully rugged part of the world is run by religious zealots and fundamentalists.

Bonus! Thanks for the kind reply P!!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2433 posts, RR: 53
Reply 49, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17172 times:


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 children who are in desperate need of a devoted, well-read and very exprienced English teacher.  


Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
And of course, the reason why I am all the way out in this strange land! The little shits....  

How adorable! You look very happy together!

I have to agree with you about the attitude of Emirates’ crew members. Their Qatari counterparts may strive for the five star service. Nothing wrong with that and I really appreciate their service. But, the more open, easy going approach is evident with Emirates.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
xcellent to see three FA’s in resplendent uniforms welcoming passengers and picking up kids for a hello just prior to entering the aerobridge.
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Oh and here she is! With my water and a smile... phew. It’s all to play for.
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
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.
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
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.
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
The ice-cubes are quite large so will one do? Can I get you anything else sir? ”
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
A in back galley, she quips whether she looks good in the photo or not.

I prefer it this way!

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

You’re not obsessive. At least not like me.   


Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
a final meal sweetened by my mother’s renowned hazelnut and raspberry meringue.

It must have been an emotional evening. The meringue just emphasized your home sweet home.

Motherly power of love which extended beyond , to the airport….

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
“Morning Sir – if I can have your passport and e-ticket if you have it please” sweetly smiles the Servisair outsourced staff-member.


And bound two airlines…

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 1):
And there, before my own eyes, unfolds a hesitant, fumbling beginnings of an airline alliance.

To take good care of beloved son on his mission. I wonder if Qantas and Emirates’ partnership could have happened this way.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
her male Polish colleague (Piotr) looks like Jean Claude Van Damn

Mature, hunky and muscular? I wish I was on board with you.  


Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 2):
Except, today I am distracted

Not surprising as you are aware of the landing procedure and scenery.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
The seats are big and paddy

Good to hear from you that 3-4-3 arrangement on 777 is not that bad.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
“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.

Wow, choices of whiskey in Economy?  Wow!


Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
I flick through on her camera of various members of the groups displaying the peace sign in front of plenty of recognisable landmarks.

Somehow, they remind me of Japanese tourists.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
The meal try arrives which much ceremony.

What a great presentation!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
(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

Which reporter could it be?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
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.

Please soothe me more with your delightful culinary reviews.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
with a side of edamame beans. These were perfectly cooked with a fresh bite to them.

My favorite! You make me craving for edamame beans.   


Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Males a little more reserved.

Oh dear, the male FA is mysteriously attractive!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
A final friendly goodbye on the jet-bridge

Sweet!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
Dial-up numbers to find programmes on ICE

Hey, why did I not know about this ?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
I oblige at first but when my seat starts to become an office, decline further applicants.

You are a good Samaritan. But good on you for not letting anyone take advantage of you.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
Saudi’s are king , then the veiled ladies (most are shakalas (maids)), us white ex-pats, educated migrant workers and then the rest.

Evidently no leisure destination.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 5):
But seriously, photos are not welcome here so I hope you will sympathise.

No worries, Luke. Your words are enough.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
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.

I would not fancy any pictorial details of the event.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 6):
Me in traditional Saudi dress, the thobe and shmuh, certainly striking.
تحي Luka, you look great!  



Believe me or not, it took me three evenings to read, re-read and reply (to) your story. Just because I do not want to miss a thing. Just like how you do not miss to address every single one who has posted your reply!

Luke, : شكرًا, thank you.

Suryo  



Friends forever
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6338 posts, RR: 39
Reply 50, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 16905 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 39):
I wouldn't have known if you hadn't mentioned! What does W stand for? I thought it was just ER? Don't confuse this amateur!

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!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 39):
you must. FA's don't seem to mind as they know it would otherwise be waste.

What's your reckoning about when to ask for the second in order to be late enough that they've finished serving everyone but early enough before they confine the leftovers to the bin (metaphorically)?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 39):
Must make a shortlist for you to give your opinions on soonish... want new one for next batch of adventures. With a video!

You know where to find me! Fire away, though I might be slow in replying if you catch me on holiday soon!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 39):
Ha - I would say I am not that mean. But I am a Scot!

There must be some aristocrats from Scotland who made money!


Cheers,
Nicholas



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 2985 posts, RR: 8
Reply 51, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 16900 times:

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 certainly paint a rosy picture.

Interesting work you have there in KSA, looking forward to more photos from the destination! (I must add the Kingdom Tower or whatever it is called, looks just like a big potato peeler.)

Thanks

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 52, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 16649 times:

And your reply is due! -


Hi Flightsimboy

Thanks for a nice detailed reply...

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Hello Luke,

And here you take us heading off to Saudi Arabia!!

Of course! A little unexpected? Well...

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Huh, I had to struggle trying to understand this one. It was not methaporically written was it?

Maybe because some of it is in venacular. I should have explained it better... it is about a terrorism attempt at Glasgow airport. Here is the wiki entry which might give more clarity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Smeaton_(born_1976)

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Could you not have gone with EK directly from Glasgow? Nice that they could check you in right there for the Emirates flight out of Dublin

They could have. But it is a busy service (about to go twice daily) so it might have been rather expensive. I was happy for the extra flight!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Now you must address her correctly as the -ER version lol

I now know that!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Yes quite the welcome. And one that could be compared with the warm welcome on my last Etihad Airways flight from Toronto to Abu Dhabi.

It makes such a difference...

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Couscous?

yeah... that and lentils and beans and that sort. Never has meat in a QR starter. . .

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Some might have considered that uncooked and left the meal....or perhaps ask for the Chicken Tikka Masala as you did lol

I take my steak 'blue' so you can imagine I was happy with a smidge of rose in my lamb!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Very neat cabin. You should see what other -300ER long haul flights land up as, even on a short haul like out of KHI!!

Yes they kept in good order. The RUH sector was left in more of a muddle.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
I was truly impressed with the same quick level of delivering meals so quickly after take off on the fully loaded KHI-DXB flight and yes on a Boeing 777-300ER

They've totally worked out the technique so good on them!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
That is pretty scary!!

well... the bark is worse than the bite!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Such levels of discrimination (and racism). But it is the truth of how poor expat workers from indianSub-continent and Asian countries are treated.

It is. And it is also their choice to come out to work. They know how badly they will be treated but sometimes we have to do bad things for money for our family... c'est la vie

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
Yes the non-aviation photos were lacking. But I would not refer to those as non-aviation. Those are pics of you capturing life!! I do look forward to viewing these but already feel a bit disappointed that I will not be receiving a plethora of images from you like you did with your African trip report series, and others from around the world. You will however still hear the oohs and aahs once you post those pics....a small glimpse already with two to three pics on here already.

Oh no! You will just have to conjure the images through my words... but it is super difficult as I mention.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 47):
The report was quite "Lukeboy" so you have no reason to think otherwise!! Thanks for the report !!

Good! I thought it might lack summit... but that is good news... !




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



Salam Aleikum Suryo

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
السلام عليكم Luke or should I say Mister Luke?   

My moniker is 'Teacher Luka'. They don't seem to go for Mr Addis (as we would in Europe)

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
ou never fail to amaze me. It is so heartwarming to see how you attend to the call of children who are in desperate need of a devoted, well-read and very exprienced English teacher.  

haha... well - less good will this time as I was getting paid. But still - it was a great experience. Teaching is not my forte but I loved the experience.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
How adorable! You look very happy together!

Yes! This class was really charming. I didn't ask them for the photo but instead brought my camera and let them take the photo!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
But, the more open, easy going approach is evident with Emirates.

Yes - and I had badmouthed them. It was a revelation!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
You’re not obsessive. At least not like me.   

You are thorough Suryo!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
It must have been an emotional evening. The meringue just emphasized your home sweet home.

Well. To be honest - not really. My parents have a very relaxed attitude to my globetrotting and are fairly at ease with it. We keep in contact. It is better this way as neither party has to worry to much and we can avoid crushing sentimentality. We all love one another though - don't get me wrong!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
Mature, hunky and muscular? I wish I was on board with you.

Sorry I didn't get a photo for you...

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
Good to hear from you that 3-4-3 arrangement on 777 is not that bad.

Nah. I mean... alot of fuss over it. I did have a space beside me but I doubt it would be bad even if that was filled.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
Wow, choices of whiskey in Economy?  

I know eh! My sorta airline !!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
Which reporter could it be?

A certain Finn who considers there to be worms in smoked salmon!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
Please soothe me more with your delightful culinary reviews.

haha... I love food.. . and I know you do too...

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
Oh dear, the male FA is mysteriously attractive!

Floppy-haired and moody? Well each to their own Suryo!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
Hey, why did I not know about this ?

A great system. As I said I rarely enthuse about IFE!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
No worries, Luke. Your words are enough.

That is nice to hear...

Quoting akhmad (Reply 49):
Believe me or not, it took me three evenings to read, re-read and reply (to) your story. Just because I do not want to miss a thing. Just like how you do not miss to address every single one who has posted your reply!

Luke, : شكرًا, thank you.

Suryo  

Well shukran jazilan to you too Suryo. I am happy there are members who take time to digest the information. I can imagine so many people scroll through it in minutes... which seems a waste.

Rgds





****************************************************8

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 50):
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!

Hey... what can I say!? I am an amateur. I only note the Reggies for you dudes!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 50):
What's your reckoning about when to ask for the second in order to be late enough that they've finished serving everyone but early enough before they confine the leftovers to the bin (metaphorically)?

Ah yes... I have a good guide to this...

If I am sitting towards the back (and get served latterly) then I am aware they will have put most of the stuff away. Stowed... that is the word. So....
- I first choose the option I think they will have the least of. Enjoy this. But I put things like the pudding and sometimes the starter to the side.
- I finish early and flag and FA. Lots of sweet smiling and 'that was delicious. If you have any spare I would love another. Only if it is Ok' ... fluttering eyelids etc. Never failed me. Sometimes they will bring a whole new tray... other times they just bring the hot option. I mean... you so seldom get airline food so best make the most of it!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 50):
There must be some aristocrats from Scotland who made money!

Of course... noticed how many rich Mcxxxxx's there are around the world??!!




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

Hello sir (Signol

Quoting signol (Reply 51):
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 certainly paint a rosy picture.

Oh goody. Yes - I thought they were just excellent. And I can tell you that I vowed I would never fly with them before this - at least until the overall reputation was a bit more positive. But I found it really excellent. Throw in a direct flight to regional airports (NWI!!??) and you have a winner.

Quoting signol (Reply 51):
Interesting work you have there in KSA, looking forward to more photos from the destination! (I must add the Kingdom Tower or whatever it is called, looks just like a big potato peeler.)

Yes - and I tell them it looks like a bottle opened. And they say it looks like a majestic Arabic pen. Whatever! But... it is striking when you see and feel the tumultuous sprawl of Riyadh... the savage heat and welcome of the city. And there is this almost Mortdor (Lord of the Rings) type tower gleaming amongst it all...

Cheers R!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineNZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6338 posts, RR: 39
Reply 53, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 16624 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
Ah yes... I have a good guide to this...

Ah, gotcha. Might put the plan to action as early as next week!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
Of course... noticed how many rich Mcxxxxx's there are around the world??!!

I know of only one.. McDonalds... LOL



It's all about the destination AND the journey.
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 54, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 16573 times:

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 fly relatively often. I had sworn off EK almost a decade ago after quite a few disappointing experiences. However last month I had no choice but to fly EK as there was no alternative.

The Middle East is definitely unique in many ways and it can take some getting used to. Shame it did not work out for you there the way you wanted, but you have to do what you have to do.

Looking forward to your domestic reports as well as you return trip.


User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2433 posts, RR: 53
Reply 55, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 16438 times:

السلام عليكم

Teacher Luka,

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
I didn't ask them for the photo but instead brought my camera and let them take the photo!

Very smart!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
It was a revelation!

Exactly how I felt after my flights with Emirates.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
You are thorough Suryo!
: شكرًا


Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
We keep in contact.
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
We all love one another

That’s the key!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
Sorry I didn't get a photo for you...

Then, I should get one myself on board.   


Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
A certain Finn who considers there to be worms in smoked salmon!

I knew it! 


Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
and I know you do too...

Oh yes, and how…

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
Floppy-haired and moody? Well each to their own Suryo!

Sure! Attractive by themselves.


Suryo  



Friends forever
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 56, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 15896 times:

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 53):
Ah, gotcha. Might put the plan to action as early as next week!

Let us know the outcome! I am sure your kiwi charm will work wonders...






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

Hello SR 103

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 54):
Thanks for a great TR Luke.

And many thanks for a kind comment...

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 54):
It was interesting to see you compare them to QR, an airline I fly relatively often. I had sworn off EK almost a decade ago after quite a few disappointing experiences. However last month I had no choice but to fly EK as there was no alternative.

And how where your experiences? I too had sworn them off my list... but it shows you (as in me who only goes on word of mouth alot) can believe reputation until you try. Then of course there was the push factor of QR being so abyssal to me last time I flew with them...

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 54):
The Middle East is definitely unique in many ways and it can take some getting used to. Shame it did not work out for you there the way you wanted, but you have to do what you have to do.

It is. I really love how savage it can be at times... culturally and climatically I was totally prepared for the move. But I hadn't prepared for the fact that Saudi's still treat staff like cattle (albeit more subtle in some cases).

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 54):
Looking forward to your domestic reports as well as you return trip.

Should be up soon... just need to load up on coffee and get writing!!!



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


Hi Suryo....

Quoting akhmad (Reply 55):

السلام عليكم
Teacher Luka,

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 52):
I didn't ask them for the photo but instead brought my camera and let them take the photo!

Very smart!

Get some of the best results that way!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineOsprey88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 330 posts, RR: 1
Reply 57, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 15497 times:

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 say we do appreciate it. I am currently planning a trip to Riyadh and Abha and your trip report makes me want to go even more. Thanks again!

Sincerely,
--Andrew



"Reading departure signs in some big airports reminds me of the places I've been"
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 58, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 14960 times:

Hi Andrew

Quoting Osprey88 (Reply 57):
Luke,

Excellent trip report, it made for a very good read, thank you for taking the time to prepare and post it.

That is very kind apologies for my belated reply...

Quoting Osprey88 (Reply 57):
I think I speak for all of us when I say we do appreciate it.

Well - that is the important thing! Trip reports have an infamously low 'reply rate' so it is excellent to hear from you!

Quoting Osprey88 (Reply 57):
I am currently planning a trip to Riyadh and Abha and your trip report makes me want to go even more. Thanks again!

How will you manage with Visa's or are you there with a job? Well... the good news is that I have some pictures of Abha in the next report as I was there a month ago. It is really nice there and quite beautiful up in the Hejaz mountains! We work on a university out of Al Baha too which I hear is very excellent!

Rgds


Luke



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineHiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 855 posts, RR: 1
Reply 59, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 14420 times:

Good to see your stay in our beloved kingdom hasn't caused you any permanent damage 

User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 60, posted (1 year 7 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 14085 times:

Hi HiJazzey

Quoting HiJazzey (Reply 59):
Good to see your stay in our beloved kingdom hasn't caused you any permanent damage

Thanks my friend. No - no permanent damage. Put your war hat on though as the next installment may have semi- controversial observations... but I love Saudis... they are charismatic - curious and generous people. Hurrah to you!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1581 posts, RR: 30
Reply 61, posted (1 year 7 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 13809 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

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’s gates at RUH. It was a fascinating read. I’m glad you finally got yourself on a B773 and Emirates doesn’t look half bad either, certainly way better than your last flights with another carrier from the Middle Eastern Region. I hope to read more later on some domestic sidetrips as well?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
But the option of casually visiting Saudi as a passive observer is largely off the table.

So no dice to go on a holiday there? Only to buy or sell horses  

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

Same here. And these flights seemed like a nice gift. Why go direct when you can do a detour?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
The aircraft looks dashing

That’s nearly impossible for an ATR 

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Byte of information. Aer Lingus 1 – Ryanair 0 . Once upon a time FR offered a pretty excellent frequency on the PIK –DUB 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.

Good to hear. It’s good to see Aer Lingus - despite the takeover - stays afloat and does it’s things right. Besides, I tend to believe that FR’s glory days are almost over...

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
It gives heed to the fact that Aer Lingus has become an almost low-cost carrier

It indeed does, the terminal is really nice and very Aer Lingus.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

You actually asked for a 2nd meal? You’re a crew tester!

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
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.

Some things are still out of this world...

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
“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.

Ha ha, they were probably wondering about where those fresh oranges were stored?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Mostly subcontinent workers in Y today, otherwise this photo might have caused more of an issue.

This pic very well shows how nice and tranquil the EK cabin looks. The colours are not my favourite but they work all together to make a peaceful ambience.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Thread starter):
Me in traditional Saudi dress, the thobe and shmuh, certainly striking.

What a sight!

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineHiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 855 posts, RR: 1
Reply 62, posted (1 year 7 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 13412 times:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 60):
Thanks my friend. No - no permanent damage. Put your war hat on though as the next installment may have semi- controversial observations... but I love Saudis... they are charismatic - curious and generous people. Hurrah to you!

Look forward to it.


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 63, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 12841 times:

Hello Nils!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 61):
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’s gates at RUH. It was a fascinating read.

You are more than welcome and thanks for the kind reply - incidently, yes, so many foreigners come through here. But they mostly don't really care on giving them a smooth experience. Furthermore, most foreign employees seem to be based out there a long time, so know the correct systems etc.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 61):
I’m glad you finally got yourself on a B773 and Emirates doesn’t look half bad either, certainly way better than your last flights with another carrier from the Middle Eastern Region.

Absolutely! Infact, EK has now surpassed QR in my books. A recent experience (yesterday) on QR confirmed this in my mind....

Quoting sultanils (Reply 61):
I hope to read more later on some domestic sidetrips as well?

Very shortly! Half way through the narrative!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 61):
So no dice to go on a holiday there? Only to buy or sell horses  

Well, they estimate that in 3 years it might be possible to geta tourist visa. But who would really want to go out there?? I think it would be niche but certainly a great demand. It might upset a delicate balance of power and culture though....

Quoting sultanils (Reply 61):
Same here. And these flights seemed like a nice gift. Why go direct when you can do a detour?

Send me the long way round!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 61):
That’s nearly impossible for an ATR 

Oh, you jest!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 61):
Good to hear. It’s good to see Aer Lingus - despite the takeover - stays afloat and does it’s things right. Besides, I tend to believe that FR’s glory days are almost over...

Yes, I predict more moderate growth as people realise better value of EZY, and particularly BA at times. . .

Quoting sultanils (Reply 61):
You actually asked for a 2nd meal? You’re a crew tester!

With the sweetest voice!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 61):
This pic very well shows how nice and tranquil the EK cabin looks. The colours are not my favourite but they work all together to make a peaceful ambience.

It is; I felt very relaxed, and not squashed whatsoever . . .

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

HiJazz

Quoting HiJazzey (Reply 62):
Look forward to it.

Good! I have nothing but nice feelings about the majority of the people! Report out next week inshallah...



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinebeowulf From Singapore, joined Jul 2003, 730 posts, RR: 14
Reply 64, posted (1 year 6 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 10868 times:

Only discovered this now. Amazing. How long will you be in Saudi Arabia?

User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1085 posts, RR: 32
Reply 65, posted (1 year 2 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 8756 times:

Quoting beowulf (Reply 64):
Only discovered this now. Amazing. How long will you be in Saudi Arabia?

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 last month of which was unpaid in order to get out of a devilish contract with my employers! Fascinating country...



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
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