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Off To Zimbabwe 1. EI & EY, BHX-DUB-MAN-AUH-JNB  
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Posted (1 year 10 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 14201 times:

Off to Zimbabwe, Part 1. EI & EY, BHX-DUB-MAN-AUH-JNB




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Intro



Hi!

Thanks for clicking on my latest trip report! So, where am I off to this time? Zimbabwe. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m off to the country everybody thinks they know a lot about, but actually have no idea what’s happening on the ground. Why? A relative moved there for work a year or so ago…they talk about it all the time, saying how wonderful it is, and how much I’d love it. Well, who am I to say differently? I’d been thinking about going down for a while, but finally made up my mind in mid-January, just 3 weeks before my chosen departure date.

So, how does one get to Zimbabwe? Since “the troubles”, neither BA nor Air Zimbabwe link London to Harare. Direct long-haul flights are limited to KL and EK, along with some regional links by SA, KQ and ET. Given the lack of competition, fares are quite high. However, not far down the road lies Southern Africa’s largest hub, Johannesburg. Finding a cheap flight to JNB was a lot easier. Whilst I was in the middle of fare hunting, I was told by another relative that they were off to their holiday cottage in Ireland for half term….would I like to come? Hmmm. Yes, yes I would. Making this work to my advantage, I checked fares to JNB out via DUB instead of LHR. Thanks to the outrageous APD charged by the UK Government, fares out of DUB are quite a bit cheaper. I found a nice DUB-MAN-AUH-JNB-AUH-LHR flight on a combination of Aer Lingus and Etihad (whom have just bought a stake in EI). A nice cheap one way BHX-DUB flight, also with EI, sealed the deal.

Now, how to get from JNB to Zimbabwe? Cash fares, particularly one ways are frightfully expensive. Thankfully, BA franchisee Comair operates a number of routes from JNB on an ageing fleet of B737-400s in full BA livery. For the same price (4,500 Avios + £25) as a one way Avios (miles) seat from London to Paris, I could get a seat from Johannesburg to Harare. Now, why fly back the same way? The major tourist draw to Zimbabwe is the Victoria Falls, on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. Sadly, Comair availability was very awkward. Availability changed massively from day to day. There were no award seats from Victoria Falls (VFA) to JNB, but there were from the Zambian town of Livingstone (LVI) a few miles away. There were no seats left in economy, so I had to pay double for Club. So, that’s how it worked out!

The flights



EI 277 Birmingham BHX – Dublin DUB, A320
EI 208 Dublin DUB – Manchester MAN, A320
EY 22 Manchester MAN – Abu Dhabi AUH, A330
EY 604 Abu Dhabi AUH – Johannesburg JNB, A330
BA 6267 Johannesburg JNB – Harare HRE, B734
BA 9292 Livingstone LVI - Johannesburg JNB, B734
EY 603 Johannesburg JNB – Abu Dhabi, A330
EY 19 Abu Dhabi – London Heathrow LHR, B77W

My route, courtesy of GC Mapper, of these reports:


I’ll be splitting the report into 3 parts:

Part 1, BHX-DUB-MAN-AUH-JNB
Part 2, JNB-HRE, LVI-JNB
Part 3, JNB-AUH-LHR

And here’s the map of Part 1:

The Report



So, let start from the beginning. You may recall, before I set off on my last trip to Asia, I bought a nice new bag. Sadly, this was stolen in Bangaldesh. So, I needed a replacement. In late Jan I flew LH to Warsaw (report coming soon, I’m doing them out of order), and was perusing their Worldshop catalogue. I noticed their rather wide range of suitcases. One caught my eye. Just over a week later, it landed on my doorstep, courtesy of UPS.


Obviously, being a piece of luggage emblazoned with the LH logo (and not overly cheap either), I was expecting a pretty decent quality bag. Sadly it wasn’t. Poor overall building quality, and designed without much in mind. Certainly, it will not stand my to many flights, even on its namesake airline. Check out this zip, straight out of the box:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0353.jpg

I shall be sending it back when I get home, then the hunt for a bag will start all over again.

Onto the trip! I caught the train up to Birmingham International, and then the funny little people mover over to the terminal. I was a bit early, so had to wait some 20 minutes for the EI desks to open. When they did, my suitcase was tagged to DUB, and I was given my boarding pass with a “Fast Pass” sticker attached due to my EI Gold status. I was flying with 4 relatives (whom were about 30 minutes behind), so the friendly agent blocked off seats for them in rows 2 and 3.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0363.jpg

Security was fairly quick in the Fast Lane, although my bag was pulled over for a random check.

FIDS…not too busy this evening. Coming from the London area, I’m kind of amazed to see that the last flight of the day departs at 2030. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK, after London.
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With my Priority Pass card, I had access to 4 lounges. I headed over to the Flybe Lounge first, only to find it shut.
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Next I stopped by the 4deck lounge, mostly used my Skyteam. It didn’t look terribly interesting inside, although the friendly lady on the desk did say that she would admit me with 2 guests, whilst only charging for 1.
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Next door is the Aspire by Servisair lounge. This is also the designated EI lounge.
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I was feeling quite hung over from my night out the previous day, so was off the booze this evening. Not long after sitting down, my relatives arrived. I guested two in (one on PP, the other via EI)…it was their first time in a lounge, and they were suitable impressed….”wow, it’s all free? You mean everything?”
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I left them there, whilst another hit the shops. I then headed over with my aunt to what is supposedly the best BHX lounge, the No. 1 Lounge….indeed, it was much nicer than the Aspire (and streets ahead of 4deck). Nice interior design, and even a small complimentary at table menu.

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Before too long, we met up and went down to the gate. I didn’t take many photos from hereon in as my cousins all thought me deeply sad…although did acknowledge that it was thanks to my geeky knowledge that they’d got into the lounge!

“Maolmhaodhóg” would be taking us across the Irish Sea this evening
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Flight #1: Aer Lingus, Birmingham - Dublin



February 2013
Birmingham (BHX) – Dublin (DUB)
Aer Lingus EI 277
Scheduled: 2020-2120 (1h00m)
Actual: 2020-2100 (0h40m)
Airbus A320-214, EI-EDS “St Malachy/Maolmhaodhóg”
Economy



So, no photos from this flight, lest I get scorned by my family….nothing much to say about it either. Take off was bang on time, landing 20 minutes early. Flight was fairly busy. Entertainment value came from (other than my cousins) the lady in row one asking if they coffee on-board was a cappuccino or a latte….the purser looked fairly amused by the question….”no dear, it’s just a coffee”.

This was my first time arriving into the new EI terminal. It’s pretty nice in here.
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My bag came off pretty quickly. I realised pretty soon that the bag scores a near zero for water repellence, so another minus for the bag.

A few photos from my days in Ireland
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Sadly my time in Ireland was soon up. Thankfully I had a nice 4 leg, 3 airlined flight to Zimbabwe to look forward to. After dropping off my hire car, I made my way over to the nice new Terminal 2. There was no queue at the Gold desk, and my bag was tagged without issue all the way to JNB. This ticket was booked on Expedia all as EY flights. Thanks to the tie up between EI and EY, they offer through check-in on 1 ticket.

Sadly, an issue came with the boarding passes. I had preselected seats via Expedia (which showed on my reservation). Not wanting to mess up anything, I hadn’t checked in online. Sadly, the seats seemed to have vanished, being replaced with a middle seat on MAN-AUH, and a centre aisle on AUH-JNB…er, no thanks. Even worse, the EI lady said that they had no access to the EY seat map…I’d have to ask when I got to MAN.

Sadly, the DUB EY desk was unmanned at the time, so I’d have to wait til I got to MAN so sort out my seats.

Landside
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FIDS


There was no queue at security for Fast Track, and I was through in a few minutes. First stop on my lounge tour was the Anna Livia lounge in T1…I hadn’t heard much praise about this lounge, and it was evident why.

The walk from T2 and T1.
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I was barely acknowledged by the 3 lounge dragons when I entered. The lounge was drab, and offerings minimal. I got a water and coffee.
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After about 20 minutes, I left (without any acknowledgement from the dragons), and headed back to T2. Thankfully the connecting tunnel brings you out on the same level as the lounges.
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First stop here was the Aer Lingus lounge. I spent a few hours here in November. I was planning on writing a report, but I managed to corrupt all my photos. It’s a pretty well-equipped lounge, complete with shower rooms.

View from the lounge…EK is about to depart
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My snacks….a nice Cork Dry Gin
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The mezzanine area
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A nice espresso


The smaller bar area
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Hmmm, a little delay. Not a problem with my 5 hour MAN connection


Before long, EK departs leaving a couple of US bound EI planes.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF7976.jpg

With about an hour to go, I pop next door to the airport run DAA lounge. This is nearly exactly the same as the EI lounge next door, less the green and the shower rooms. It’s also nearly deserted.
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Another G&T please
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Updated FIDS
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Finally, the FIDS changes to say “Go to Gate”, and the 1410 ETD is changed back to 1350. I assume this means that the plane has now arrived and boarding is imminent. I leave the lounge, and head to the gate.
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EI-DEI is sitting at the gate…I assume this is ours.
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It’s not. We sit and wait and wait, with no information at all.
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The gate area
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Finally another plane pulls up next to EI-DEO….pax start to deplane. This will be our plane. Why did they say go to gate so early when the plane wasn’t even on the ground? Grrr.
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20 minutes after our ETD, we’re are invited to board.
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http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 14367 times:

Flight #2: Aer Lingus, Dublin - Manchester



February 2013
Dublin (DUB) – Manchester (MAN)
Aer Lingus EI 208, booked as EY 7984
Scheduled: 1350-1445 (0h55m)
Actual: 1434-1509 (0h35m)
Airbus A320-214, EI-EDS “St Senan/Seanan”
Economy



Good legroom near the front.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF7993.jpg

Baile Atha Cilath
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The load looks to be about 60%. Interestingly, this is the third and final EI flight to MAN of the day. No afternoon or evening flights. The captain apologises for the delay, saying they had just operated into from MAN, and there was heavy snow which had slowed everything down. Lucky the flight wasn’t cancelled.
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Off we go, 45 minutes late
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Cara Magazine


Maps


EI don’t codeshare on the JNB route


Safety card


Sky Deli…I didn’t indulge on this trip


Seat back
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8016.jpg

Before long we began our descent into a murky Manchester. I was excepting to see a lot of snow….turns out there was hardly any to be seen. I guess the earlier flight just got caught up in a bit of a heavy flurry.
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I was quite surprised to see my EY plane already on the ground. Turns out it arrives around 2pm for an 8pm departure.
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A little plane getting de-iced.
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As it was still slushing quite heavily, I was hoping that we’d get a gate with an airbridge…sadly we didn’t. Steps were slowly rolled up to the plane, and then everyone had to dash across the flooded tarmac to the bus.



We were taken on a rather circuitous tour of the tarmac, before being dropped off in a rather depressing alleyway.

Passing EY on the bus
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No immigration or need to stop for bags. Sadly, there is no direct transit available here, so I head to go landside, then back up to departures.

MAN T3 is rather poorly designed in this respect. I stopped by the info desk to ask for directions. I was pointed the right way (out through a car park!), but then asked what flight I was on.

Me: The Etihad
Her: Oh, that doesn’t leave til 8pm, you’ll have to wait
Me: Don’t worry, I already have my boarding pass
Her: You can’t go airside until 3 hours before departure
Me: Er, why? I’ve got my boarding pass.
Her: Health and safety. It’s a confined area you see.
Me: *Pardon*?? Confined area?! (What on earth are you talking about?). Healthy and safety? It’s not safe (or healthy) for me to wait in the departures area, but it is safe for me to wait outside security for 2 hours?
Her: Yes
Me: Errrr, ok.
Her: You can try to go through, but you’ll probably not be allowed in.
Me: Great. Thanks for all your help.

I have no idea if she made that up on the spot or not. I’ve emailed MAN to see what their policy is on such matters.

Despite arriving so early, I’m happy to see some activity around the EY check in desks. Sadly they say they are updating their system and will have to wait until check in opens (at 5pm) to access the seat map. I tried to get onto OLCI, but was unable to change seats online.
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Unsurprisingly, I was allowed through security 5 hours early, and my boarding pass beeped green at every step of the way.

After a quick stop at Boots, I head up to the lounge area.


First stop is the Escape Lounge


It’s farily similar to the No. 1 lounge in BHX, although with less view and less free menu. In fact, the only thing one could order was the soup of the day, something I’d expect to see out on the side anyway.


Tasty soup. I’d rather a sausage sandwich though
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The bar here is manned, and the woman is rather clueless. I get a G&T and some brownies


Nice seating in here
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And another G&T and a coffee
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At 5pm I head over to the EY lounge. The two ladies there are very helpful. They can’t reprint my bp, but find me a window seat on both legs, and phone down to check in to move me. I have to pick up my new boarding pass at the gate.
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Next stop is the Servisair lounge. The Wilmslow lounge is being redone (I assume making one big lounge), so I just use the Bollin Lounge. It seems to be the default *A lounge.
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First I notice is the air con…it’s freezing in here. And it’s packed with Germans. The view is nice though. I have a hard task finding a seat though.
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The catering here is bare bones, and even less appetising than the Servisair lounge in LHR T1. After 20 minutes, I pack up my stuff and head back to the Eascape lounge.
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FIDS


Ah, back in the nicer lounge. I settle down with another G&T and get online.


The designated TK lounge
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Some snacks
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After a pleasant few hours in the lounge, boarding starts. I pack up and head off.
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At the gate I’m given my new boarding passes. I’m not impressed. The MAN-AUH leg is a very nondescript piece of receipt paper simply stating my name, flight number and seat. The AUH-JNB leg at least looks like a normal boarding pass, albeit also on a cheap piece of thermo paper….no nice card souvenirs from EY on this occasion! The staff at the desk arte very nice though apologising for the cheap paper. At least it’s not a middle seat.

Flight #3: Etihad, Manchester – Abu Dhabi



February 2013
Manchester (MAN) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Etihad EY 22
Scheduled: 2000-0710 (7h10m)
Actual: 2007-0633 (6h26m)
Airbus A330-243, A6-EYQ
Economy



First impressions of the cabin are good. Nice looking seats, and massive PTV screens.

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Safety demo
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IFE system seems good, although I’m disappointed about the small choice of films compared to what I’ve heard EK offer.
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And the map
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Despite the plane having been sat at the gate for the past 6 hours, we push back well after the humans have boarded due to late cargo. The load looks very good (for the airline) with only a smattering of empty middle seats.



Pushback
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Nice mood lighting. EY is the first airline I’ve been on where they seem to really want to get value for money for its installation….it’s like being in a disco
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Just a few minutes late, we take off into a dark, cloudy, slushy sky.
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Map Again
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This is a fairly short overnight hop at just 6 hours 30 minutes. I guesstimate that the lights will be off after dinner within 2 hours.
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Let’s see what’s on the box
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I’m sure a lot of you will roll your eyes, but I’m happy to see Pitch Perfect is showing. Easy viewing to go with my drinking.
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Half an hour after departure, we’re over Belgium and hit some quite heavy turbulence
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An hour after departure the drinks trolley finally gets to my seat….a G&T, sparking water and some nuts.
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Having set my time to AUH time already (a midnight departure), I’m slightly shocked at how slow the service is going.
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I grab another G&T as the trolley makes its way back to the galley…the crew are pretty good at requests – lots of smiling.
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We’re over Romania now….where’s dinner?
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Pitch Perfect is over, so I go for a short comedy. They have a reasonable selection of sitcoms, but only one episode of each
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8118.jpg

Finally, 2 and a quarter hours after take off, I’ve given my dinner. I’m sorry, but this is really way too slow. On a daytime flight this is fine, but not on a night flight. Thankfully it was worth the wait.

The menu was a choice of Arabic spiced chicken, salon and tomato gnocchi, or red pepper pasta. I had already decided on the salmon gnocchi. The FA hands me a tray saying “would you like the salmon?” before I’ve had a chance to request anything though so I think I’ve been lucky. The woman next to me asks for the chicken, but is shot down…”sorry, I’ve only got the salmon left”.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8119.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8120.jpg

Mmm, tasty
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8121.jpg

I think it was a pretty good meal overall. I requested a G&T when they handed out the trays. The FA apologised that they didn’t have any on the trolley, but would go and get me one. She forgot until just before lights out; she was extremely apologetic saying she’d get me one right away. By that time it was a bit late anyway as I was off to brush my teeth.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8122.jpg

With dinner over, but the lights still on and the trays on the table, I switch over to the Big Bang Theory
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8125.jpg

Annoyingly long trailers
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8123.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8124.jpg

A smidge under 3 hours into a 6.5 hour flight, and the tray is still on the table. I want to go to bed!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8127.jpg

We’re now over the Black Sea
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8129.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8128.jpg

Ahhhh, finally, at 0313 AUH time, the trays are cleared, some 40 minutes after I finished eating. Lazy crew or is this standard EY? In the headphone packet this is a small amenity kit which I initially overlook, containing socks, ear plugs and a toothbrush. I head to the back, brush my teeth, then head back to my seat to attempt to sleep.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8130.jpg



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 14316 times:

Over Turkey
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8134.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8137.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8138.jpg

This picture doesn’t do it justice, but there was a fabulous view over a thousand little Turkish villages, all lit up,
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8142.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8143.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8147.jpg

Over Iraq now
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8148.jpg

Baghdad by night
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8153.jpg

Nearing Kuwait
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8158.jpg

And Kuwait by night
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8168.jpg

Over the Gulf we are offered “breakfast”…the lights are still off, so many miss out. Muffins are handed out liberally (I get two big tasty things) and a glass of water.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8171.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8175.jpg

Damman
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8177.jpg

How lucky! A great view of the causeway linking Saudi (right) to Bahrain (left)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8179.jpg

BAH Airport
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8188.jpg

Over Qatar
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8191.jpg

Doha
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8195.jpg

The lights are on as we approach Abu Dhabi
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8199.jpg

Connecting flights are shown, although JNB doesn’t make the cut. These haven’t been tailored (unless someone is connecting from MAN to LHR via AUH)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8200.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8201.jpg

Red mood lights


Approaching AUH
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8203.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8206.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8208.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8209.jpg

It was wonderful dipping between the pre-dawn clouds, with the deserts down below…so beautiful
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8216.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8220.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8224.jpg

And down, nice and early
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8230.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8233.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8235.jpg

AZ and QR in town
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8238.jpg

AUH and RJ
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8241.jpg

As expected (there are relatively few airbridges for such a large airport/operation), we taxied to a remote stand
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8245.jpg

Our neighbour
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8247.jpg

Map on arrival
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8254.jpg

Off onto buses
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8255.jpg



It’s always nice to disembark a widebody via steps. Even nicer is to leave the winter behind in the British Isles. 7am, and 20C. Ahhh.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8257.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8258.jpg

The bus journey to T1 was uneventful, but offered some nice views of the ramp.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0396.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0397.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0399.jpg

We were dumped underneath the big funny ceiling into one of the most crowded airport areas I’d ever seen (if MAN is a confined area, AUH is off the charts!). There were people everywhere. I was eligible to use two lounges. At the first I was redirected to the second, which was supposed to be larger.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8259.jpg


I headed up the escalator into the very nice Al Dhabi lounge. First stop was the bar for some water, then one of the oversized shower rooms.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8260.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8261.jpg

After a nice long (and needed) shower, it was time for breakfast. The spread was much like a 5* hotel, with plenty of choice, and far more staff than was required for a buffet (hence no photos…maybe on the way back).

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8262.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8263.jpg

Fruit
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8266.jpg

Juice, water and coffee. Not sure if they had champagne on offer, it was a little early.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8265.jpg

About a ¼ of the lounge. It was large and empty.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8264.jpg

Despite there being pretty good views, I assume because of the heat, all of the curtains were closed. I did pull these aside though, and this was the view
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8267.jpg

FIDS…a small delay for us
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0402.jpg

As well as the numerous EY flights, there was a small posse of AB ones too, the most interesting of which was a continuation from Germany to Phuket.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0403.jpg

With an hour to go before departure, I thought I’d see about changing the seat for my onward flight (I know, I’m very fussy). I’d been given a window seat right over the wing (which also had someone in the aisle), something I really didn’t want…I don’t like staring at big wings. Sadly, no other windows seats were available, but the friendly lady did offer me a central aisle seat with an empty middle. Hmmm, I guess I’ll go with that.

JNB is one of the last morning flights to leave, so the terminal had quietened down considerably.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0404.jpg

Air Astana:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8268.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8269.jpg

T3. The flight on the end is for ORD
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8270.jpg

Once again our A330 was given a remote stand. I joined the queue for the bus.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8271.jpg

We drove over to where the MAN flight had parked. In fact we drove right up to it…oh no, not the same reg again! Thankfully, we ended up on her neighbour, A6-EYR

Flight #4: Etihad, Abu Dhabi - Johannesburg



February 2013
Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Johannesburg (JNB)
Etihad EY 604
Scheduled: 1035-1710 (8h45m)
Actual: 1112-1710 (7h58m)
Airbus A330-243, A6-EYR
Economy

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0409.jpg

I was greeted at the door, and directed down the aisle. My comfy twosome
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8272.jpg

Safety demo
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8274.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8275.jpg

AUH map
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8277.jpg

A330 indeed
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8280.jpg




Takeoff was rather late (the captain explained that AUH was congested, something I find hard to believe given how LHR can generally function with so much more traffic)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8283.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8284.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8285.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8286.jpg

As I mentioned before, I thought the IFE choice was rather limited. In fact, after Pitch Perfect, I was struggling to find a single film that I wanted to watch. In the end I settled for Blood Diamond, an oldish film that I’d missed in the cinema.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8288.jpg

IFE guide


EY magazine


Interesting to see the AB and HM fleets there as well. I now need to go to the Seychelles to check out the “Flying Shoebox” (Short’s 360 – does anyone else still operate them?). Interestingly, there seemed to be an entire dead heading HM crew in uniform on this flight…I guess to operate the HM flight back to Mahe?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8295.jpg

Map
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8296.jpg

Over the deserts
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8297.jpg

Cabin after departure


I headed back to see if I could take some photos from the back door…the window was a bit small


Console on the staff monitor by 4L
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0420.jpg

Thankfully, EY is the only airline (as far as I know other than AF Saab 2000s) that feature a window in their Y lavatories.


Nice amenities
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0414.jpg

Over the Saudi wastelands
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0411.jpg



Menus are handed out…beef stew, chicken biryani or fusilli pasta.


Half an hour after departure, the drinks trolley gets to my row. Now why did it take so much longer on the MAN-AUH flight? A G&T and a soda water, and some nuts
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8299.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8301.jpg

Mecca off to the right
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8302.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8300.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8303.jpg

The special meals were handed out first, well ahead of the rest
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8304.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8305.jpg

Over Yemen…definitely on my to do list, although maybe when it’s a bit less Al Quaedaish.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8306.jpg

90 minutes after departure, lunch is served. None of the choices really inspire me, but I go with the biryani in the end, which is a pretty good.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8307.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8309.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8311.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8312.jpg

Leaving Asia behind, Africa beckons
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8315.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8317.jpg

Below
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8318.jpg

In front
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8319.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8320.jpg

I finish Blood Diamond as we are over a rather tumultuous part of Africa…maybe it wasn’t such a good choice of film when I’m en route to Zimbabwe.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8323.jpg

Post lunch hot drinks are handed out. I ask for peppermint tea, which they don’t have, so go with hot chocolate instead.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8321.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8322.jpg

I feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel now with my film choices…Rain Man will have to do, another oldie that I’d never seen.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8324.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8325.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8329.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8330.jpg

Over Africa
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0417.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0418.jpg

Cabin mid-flight


Time for another drink, just a soda water this time
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8331.jpg

More progress is being made
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8332.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8333.jpg

I love the colour scheme in the cabin
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8368.jpg


With roughly 90 minutes left to run, it’s time for the “café service” (what a ridiculous name). The choice is of either ham or mushroom pastries. I go with ham.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8335.jpg

Well, it’s ok, but I’d rather a Monty’s Hot Wrap. Lamb and mint maybe?
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8337.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8339.jpg

We’re over Mozambique now, also high on my to do list now that I’ve have a perusal of the guidebook.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8340.jpg

Not too long to go now
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8341.jpg

Just enough time for another G&T though
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8342.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8345.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8347.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8300.jpg



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 14295 times:

Approaching South Africa
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0422.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0423.jpg

With the cabin secured, and the disco lights on full, we begin our descent into Jo’burg.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8349.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8351.jpg

For some reason the IFE was unable to realise the time difference between AUH and JNB. We landed around 5pm, not 3pm.


Alas I have to window. Thankfully, EY have nose cams. To be honest, it’s nice to be forced to have a different perspective occasionally. Watching the nose cam, I don’t miss the window seat too much. I even filmed the occasion.
http://youtu.be/h0cOWHuqodg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8356.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8358.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8361.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8364.jpg

And we’re down! Welcome to South Africa, my 8th African country!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8367.jpg

Not too busy here in JNB compared to Europe, despite being one of the busiest in Africa
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8370.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8371.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8372.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8373.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8377.jpg

STOP!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8385.jpg

Everyone packs away their things, and heads for the exit.


Walk to immigration
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0427.jpg

The queue at immigration. Before arrival, the crew apologised for not having any landing cards to hand out. However, there were none available to pick up in arrivals, and the immigration officer didn’t ask for one.


Arrivals
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/IMAG0430.jpg

By the time I got to the baggage belt, but bag was merrily going round.


The arrivals hall


I immediately headed upstairs to the check in area to get my boarding pass for the next day to Harare. Once again, I was having some seating issues. Being One World Emerald, I was eligible to select my seat for free at the front of Y (row 4). However, every time I selected a seat in MMB, it wouldn’t stick. The last time I logged on, it showed me as being in 4A…this will do ( I wanted to be as far forward as possible to avoid Visa On Arrival queues. When I got to the SSCI machines, I gave me 7A, saying rows 4-5-6 were full. Annoying!)

I found my driver waiting for me in the arrivals hall, and we sped off for the Airport Game Lodge, my home for my one night South African layover.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8386.jpg

Passing the sleeping heavies ahead of their night runs home.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8387.jpg

So, what did I think?



Aer Lingus performed as they usually do. Being a Gold member makes flying with them that little bit more comfortable (although not getting a free checked bag (although you do get an extra carry on, not that anyone ever checks) or free catering is a bit of a shame) than normal. And of course, it’s miles better than the attitude you get from Ryanair on the Irish sea routes. The fares I got BHX-DUB was actually cheaper than FR, so that was also a bit of a bonus. Sadly, FR are cheaper, making it harder to choose EI. The lack of information during the DUB-MAN delay was a bit annoying though. Not one announcement was made whilst waiting at the gate.

Etihad is a pleasant airline to fly. Of the big three (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar), I’d only flown QR before, and have been consistently impressed. EY I thought were a big of a come down from QR. The staff were generally excellent (although it was a bit sad to see how subservient some of them were…threats of discipline from management obviously keep everyone in line), and fairly quick to respond to requests. The catering was tasty, and it was nice to see spirits available in Y. However, comparing EY to Lukeyboy’s EK report, it seems EK have the edge on the economy class tipple. What did disappoint me was the very slow meal service. On a night flight, the trays should not be sitting there half way through A 6 hour flight. Also disappointing was the IFE choices. It’s true I hadn’t researched properly beforehand, but I did assume that they’d offer something similar to EK’s ICE, with their million and one film choices. Thankfully, my return flight will be in March, so they’ll have changed the options. Hopefully the crowding in AUH T1 will also be reduced at some stage, although I have no idea about AUH or EYs expansion plans.



As always, all comments and questions welcome, and thanks for reading about my latest trip!

Upcoming trips reports:



Of course, the next reports will be my BA/Comair connections around Southern Africa, and the Etihad return to London. Advance warning to those of you who shy away from non-aviation photos, the next report will have a LOT! A small taster of what Zimbabwe has to offer:

Amazing sunsets
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8770.jpg

Birds
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8888.jpg

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9236.jpg

Crocs
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8908.jpg

Prehistoric cave paintings
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF8970.jpg

Balancing Rocks
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9025.jpg

Elephants
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9205.jpg

Sunset fishing
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9330.jpg

And finally, my favourite animal, hippos
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/zim/DSCF9363.jpg


Late Jan/early Feb saw me complete my Star Alliance lounge tour of Europe (i.e. do the lounges I want to see before my LH Silver card finally gives way to Blue) with LH, LO & OS routing LHR-DUS-WAW-VIE-LHR. I’m writing this trip up after my African adventure
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/dubrovnik/wawtrip.gif

Easter will herald another inaugural, Cityjet’s new LCY-DRS route, along with a return NUE-LCY.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/dubrovnik/drstrip.gif

And finally my Virgin flight up to Manchester for the A.net meet

Some of my other TRs:



La Dolce Vita with Alitalia, Part 3, BDS-LIN-LHR
La Dolce Vita with Alitalia, Part 2. MXP-NRT-FCO-BRI
La Dolce Vita with Alitalia, Part 1. LHR-FCO-GOA
Dubrovnik with British Airways. Club on the B734
Autumn Asia Part 10: Take me home Saudia! DEL-RUH-LHR B777
Autumn Asia Part 9: Air India 787. Calcutta - Delhi
Autumn Asia Part 8: United Airways DAC-ZYL, Jet Airways DAC-CCU
Autumn Asia Part 7: Going Beyond Expectations. MH KUL-DAC on the A330
Autumn Asia Part 6: Silk Air and Firefly around the Malay Peninsula. SIN-LGK-SZB
Autumn Asia Part 5: Fine Dining on Scoot. TPE-SIN on the 777
Autumn Asia Part 4: First with Cathay Pacific: HKG-TPE F on the B744
Autumn Asia Part 3: Around China with KN, MU & CN
Autumn Asia Part 2: JALing it to Beijing. JL HND-PEK 772 Business
Autumn Asia Part 1: Limoncello with Alitalia. BA/AZ LHR-MXP-FCO-NRT
Va BeNe with Cityjet. RTM-LCY Fokker 50
Truly Great Britain: FlyBE EDI-IOM on Saab 340 & BA IOM-LCY on Saab 2000
Cyprus with Aegean. Business on the A321, LHR-LCA-LHR
Scotland In A Day: FlyBE GLA-BHD-LGW. DH8 & E190
Tegel A.Net Meet. SN LHR-BRU-TXL, LH TXL-BHX
Bye Bye Baby: easyJet LTN-BFS, bmi Baby BHD-BHX
Air One and Alitalia to Sicily – LGW-MXP-PMO-LIN-LHR
Part 12: Sun Air of Scandinavia & BA, DUS-BLL-MAN-LHR on the J31, D328 and A320
Part 11: Thai Airways BKK-FRA, B77W First Class & LH FRA-DUS Business
Part 10: Thai Airways Kathmandu-Bangkok, B772 Business Class
Part 9: Yeti Airlines “Everest Express” on the J41
Part 8: Biman Bangladesh A310 Dhaka-Kathmandu
Part 7: United Airways ATR Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar & Regent Airways Dash Chittagong-Dhaka
Part 6: Biman Bangladesh DC10 Calcutta-Dhaka
Part 5: SpiceJet B739 & Jet Konnect B738 Calcutta-Bagdogra rtn, with Darjeeling
Part 4: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class Singapore-Calcutta
Part 3: Sriwijiaya Airlines & Lion Air Boeing 737-900ER Banda Aceh-Medan-Jakarta-Singapore
Part 2: Valuair/Jetstar Asia SIN-MES and Garuda MES-BTJ
Part 1: U2 LTN-BCN, SQ BCN-SIN 77W Business
Africa Part 7: British Airways Club Europe B767, LCA-LHR
Africa Part 6: LX ZRH-ATH, A3 ATH-LCA. A Greek Tragedy
Africa Part 5: Dar es Salaam – Nairobi – Zurich with Swiss First
Africa Part 4: Fly 540 DAR-ZNZ in Y, and Zanzibar photos
Africa Part 3: ET KGL-EBB-ADD-DAR-ZNZ, A to Z with Ethiopian Airlines in C
Africa Part 2: SN BRU-BJM, SA BJM-KGL, Business to Burundi and Rwanda
Africa Part 1: BD LHR-CMN, TP CMN-LIS, SN LIS-BRU in Y and C
A.net meeting in snowy Tallinn. U2/FR STN-TLL-LTN
easyJet and bmi up to Aberdeen, LTN-ABZ-LHR
The Costa del Sol with British Airways. LGW-AGP-LCY
Mysterious Moldova (and Transnistria). Lufthansa LHR-MUC-KIV
BA to the Austrian Alps. LHR-MUC, INN-LGW
I can't get no Jetisfaction: LH LGW-FRA inaugural
Colombia Part 4: Colombia to London via FRA/MUC/HEL on LH & BA
Colombia Part 3: Colombia with Avianca (AV). SMR-BOG-MDE-BOG
Colombia Part 2: Colombia with Avianca (AV). BOG-MDE-CTG
Colombia Part 1: London to Colombia via ARN/MUC/FRA on BA & LH
USA and Mexico Part 4, British Airways Mexico City – London, World Traveller Plus
USA and Mexico Part 3: Around Mexico with Aereo Calafia Cessna 208B & Viva Aerobus B733
USA and Mexico Part 2: Sightseeing tour of SAN, and AA San Diego - LA – Dallas - San Jose Cabo
USA and Mexico Part 1: easyJet Luton to Paris, and BA Paris to San Diego via LHR in World Traveller Plus
British Airways to Scandinavia (LHR-CPH,GOT-LHR)
Where’s my bag? British Airways, Milan to London
What airline am I flying again? Bmi/Lufthansa Italia LHR-MXP
Albania and Macedonia: Austrian LHR-VIE-TIA, Macedonian Airlines SKP-ZRH, Swiss ZRH-LCY
Part 1, Lufthansa London-Munich-Frankfurt-Nanjing, Economy Class A321 and A343
Part 2, Cathay Pacific Shanghai to Tokyo via Hong Kong, Business Class A330 and B747-400
Part 3, ANA Boeing B767 Tokyo to Shanghai, & Air China Airbus A340 Shanghai to Beijing, Business Class
Part 4: Chinese domestics, inc. Joy Air Xi’an MA60, Tianjin Airlines ERJ, and China Express Airways CRJ
Part 5: Lufthansa Beijing-Frankfurt-London City, Economy Class A388 and E90
5 Countries, 5 Flights, 5 Days, with Ryanair (FR)
bmiFriday: Welcome to Sunny Norway, London to Bergen, A319)
Royal Jordanian, London to Aqaba via Amman. A330 and A320
Royal Jordanian, Amman to London, A330
London City to Antwerp with Cityjet and the Fokker 50
Croatian Airlines, LHR-ZAG,PUY-ZAD-ZAG-LHR, A319 and Dash 8
British Airways, Iberia & Binter to Tenerife and Gran Canaria, LHR-MAD-TFN-LPA-MAD-LHR, A320,ATR, A321
British Airways, London To Amsterdam, LGW-AMS-LHR, B737 & A321
British Airways up to a snowy Glasgow, with a change of flights and delay, LHR-GLA-LCY A321 and E90
Turkish Airlines Business Class from London to Istanbul. From Terrible To Fantastic
Turkish Airlines Business Class from Istanbul to Batumi (Georgia). Not again!
bmi Business Class, Tbilisi to London via Azerbaijan
Tallinn to London, with Estonian Air and BA, via ARN
Cuba! BA/IB London-Madrid-Havana, Business Class
Aerocarribean, Baracoa to Havana
Asia Trip, Pt 1: Qatar Airways Business Class (LHR-DOH-ICN)
Asia Trip, Pt 2: China Southern and Hainan Airlines (A321/A346)
Asia Trip, Pt 3: Malaysia Airlines, Hong Kong to Penang
Asia Trip, Pt 4: Qatar Airways Economy (HKG-DOH-LHR)
A weekend in Transylvania with Blue Air (LTN-SBZ)
Helsinki for the weekend on BA and KF
Easter in Ukraine with Austrian
UAE and Oman with BA and Air Arabia. Y & Y+
HKG-LHR-HKG Air New Zealand, Premium Economy and Economy
US Airways LGW-DCA-MSP-LGA-LGW
London Heathrow - Zurich - Venice on Swiss Business for the weekend
Chasing the Eclipse on China Eastern
Taiwan: EVA Air (HKG-TPE rtn), UNI Airways (TSA-HCN), Daily Air (TTT-KYD rtn)
UA HKG-SIN-HKG Y Class, SQ KUL-SIN C Class
Bangkok to Beijing, Egyptair Business Class
Air China Beijing to Harbin, B777 Economy outbound, A330 First Class return
Tiger Airways, Singapore to Darwin return
A selection of Chinese Domestics; China Eastern, Air China and Shenzhen Airlines
Hong Kong to London on Singapore Airlines (744/380/77W)
Qatar Airways Beijing-Doha-London Heathrow (A330/A340)
Air China First Class. Beijing-Guilin via Xi’an
Armenia with Austrian Airlines. LHR-VIE-EVN
Round Asia Trip. URC-HTN,OSS-FRU,ALA-URC-LHW-KMG-JHG-KMG-SYX,HAK-NKG-PEK-NRT-LHR,
Hainan Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lucky Air, ANA, Economy and Business Class.

SAS and Lufthansa Business Class, LHR-OSL-FRA-FRA, B73G and B744



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27337 posts, RR: 60
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 14024 times:

Hey Gabriel  

Interesting report and nice routing. EY look good. Biryani looks tasty too.  

Nice to lounge hop. That PP is worth its weight in Gold when you can really take advantage of it like that. The old Anna Livia lounge in DUB is the worst of the bunch. Very small and drab. I often skip it now and go to the Chocolate Lounge instead as its much nicer ! Just shows how bad it is that a public cafe is nicer than a Exec lounge. I dont like the DAA T2 lounge either and think the EI GC lounge is still way ahead of it .

Interesting comments about EK / EY. A lot of Irish based business professionals I speak to prefer EY over the EK service and prefer the A330 . I guess its horses for courses and all that.

Anyway looking forward to the next installment.

Safe travels  

Philip


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 13077 times:

Quoting OA260 (Reply 4):

Interesting report and nice routing

Thanks Phil!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 4):
Biryani looks tasty too.

Yes, it was. Yum

Quoting OA260 (Reply 4):
That PP is worth its weight in Gold when you can really take advantage of it like that.

I know, I love it!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 4):
Interesting comments about EK / EY. A lot of Irish based business professionals I speak to prefer EY over the EK service and prefer the A330 . I guess its horses for courses and all that.

Well, I guess I have to try out EK myself sometime. The EY schedules from DUB are a bit annoying. When they go x2 daily it'll be nice.



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 12454 times:

Hello Gabriel!

Nice report as usual! Glad to see you had a couple of nice flights with EI and EY, both of them are airlines I want to try some day and I have been close to booking EI, but nothing in the schedule as of now.
Also nice to see some pictures from BHX as I'll be there in May, flying SK back to Stockholm so I think I'll have access to the Aspire lounge.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I then headed over with my aunt to what is supposedly the best BHX lounge, the No. 1 Lounge%u2026.indeed, it was much nicer than the Aspire

That does look like a nice lounge. I've been to the No. 1 lounge at Gatwick South terminal once, I found it quite nice as well.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I realised pretty soon that the bag scores a near zero for water repellence, so another minus for the bag.

That's not a good feature for a bag belonging to someone living in the UK!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Sadly, the seats seemed to have vanished, being replaced with a middle seat on MAN-AUH, and a centre aisle on AUH-JNB%u2026er, no thanks. Even worse, the EI lady said that they had no access to the EY seat map%u2026I%u2019d have to ask when I got to MAN.

Sadly, the DUB EY desk was unmanned at the time, so I%u2019d have to wait til I got to MAN so sort out my seats.

Aaahh, very annoying.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):

First impressions of the cabin are good. Nice looking seats, and massive PTV screens.

The cabin looks very nice indeed.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
These haven%u2019t been tailored (unless someone is connecting from MAN to LHR via AUH)

Well, if someone would do it I'm sure he'd be a member on this site!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
First stop was the bar for some water, then one of the oversized shower rooms.

Good thing it wasn't crowded in there! 

Martin


User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1273 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 12159 times:

What shots did you need in South Africa? Malaria pills?
Did you get sick there?

That's what puts me off going there.

I love Dublin Airport. I connected from New York to Geneva and it was a breeze. New terminal and small. On the way back I connected in Madrid which is a huge airport and I really missed Dublin. And I liked Aer Lingus. Good legroom and nice crews.


User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1177 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 12087 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Gabriel,

Great first part of your trip to Zimbabwe, really enjoyed it. Looks like you had a couple of nice flights with EI and EY. Not too impressed with the crew taking so long on a night flight though!


Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I was feeling quite hung over from my night out the previous day, so was off the booze this evening.

Lucky you didn't have a long flight ahead of you ha!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
unless someone is connecting from MAN to LHR via AUH

It could be someone on a mileage run or just a crazt a.nutter 
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
FIDS…a small delay for us

Nice list of EY destinations there..

Looking forward to the next part!

cheers,

Brendan


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 11757 times:

Thanks for the comments guys!

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 6):

Nice report as usual!

Thanks Martin

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 6):
Also nice to see some pictures from BHX as I'll be there in May, flying SK back to Stockholm so I think I'll have access to the Aspire lounge.

Yes, the Aspire is quite nice

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 6):
That's not a good feature for a bag belonging to someone living in the UK!

Ha, indeed not

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 6):
Good thing it wasn't crowded in there!

I guess so

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
What shots did you need in South Africa? Malaria pills?

I don't check stuff like that much nowadays. I have my yellow fever certificate, and otherwise just try not to get bitten by anything. My aunt gave me malarone for the Vic Falls, but I wouldn't have taken it if she hadn't given it to me. Lukeyboy (check his reports) has had malaria 3 times, and it hasn't put him off at all....a proper traveller!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
Did you get sick there?

Haha, not yet, but plenty of oppourtunites left!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 7):
That's what puts me off going there.

Well, it's your choice. Be constricted by fear, or grab life by the balls and give it your best shot. You can die trying, or die having sat at home and dreamt about doing something.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 8):
Great first part of your trip to Zimbabwe, really enjoyed it

Thanks!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 8):
Not too impressed with the crew taking so long on a night flight though!

No, not at all. Very poor.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 8):
Lucky you didn't have a long flight ahead of you ha!

Indeed!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6675 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 11676 times:

Hi Gabriel!

Nice to see you go to Africa again.

Flights on EY looks nice but very bad with the slow meal service. Also bad that it took so long time to clear the trays after the meal service. That annoys me a well.

Amazing that you had time for a Safari ! Look great !

Looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1273 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 11617 times:

Maybe I missed it but which game park in Zimbabwe is this?

User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2242 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 11412 times:

What a unique TR! Thanks for the report, Gabriel! Great writing as always and beautiful pics to accompany.

EY's Y product looks like its kind of dwindling. Would you agree?



next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
User currently offline4engines4lnghll From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 77 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 11242 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great TR! Those red mood lights look pretty intense!     


4engines4lnghll
User currently offlineeastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 858 posts, RR: 20
Reply 14, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 11149 times:

Thanks for this great report very funny, especially when your friends asked if everything is free in there.
With all the lounges visited, how did you manged to keep your appetite and for the airline meal.
The meal looks ok but not worth waiting so long for the first EY leg.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Welcome to South Africa, my 8th African country!

Including, how many stamp runs?

Of course, the last pictures are mouthwatering, so i'm eagerly looking forward to seeing the next chapter

regards



Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 11109 times:

Hi Lars!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
Nice to see you go to Africa again.

It's nice to be back!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
Flights on EY looks nice but very bad with the slow meal service. Also bad that it took so long time to clear the trays after the meal service. That annoys me a well.

Yes, it made the flight quite tiresome

Quoting The777Man (Reply 10):
Amazing that you had time for a Safari ! Look great !

I'm going on another tomorrow...can't wait!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 11106 times:

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 11):
Maybe I missed it but which game park in Zimbabwe is this?

It's by Kariba Lake, not a game park per se.

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 12):
What a unique TR! Thanks for the report, Gabriel!

Thanks!

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 12):
Great writing as always and beautiful pics to accompany.

Very kind of you to say!

Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 12):
EY's Y product looks like its kind of dwindling. Would you agree?

Well, I don't know what it used to be like, so I couldn't say. It's still leaps ahead of most EU carriers though

Quoting 4engines4lnghll (Reply 13):
Great TR! Those red mood lights look pretty intense!

Very!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 14):
Thanks for this great report

Glad you liked it!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 14):
very funny, especially when your friends asked if everything is free in there.

Well, they are young and new to the world of lounges!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 14):
With all the lounges visited, how did you manged to keep your appetite and for the airline meal.

Well, I was in the MAN lounge for about 5 hours, not eating that much...and the meal was served late....

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 14):
Including, how many stamp runs?

None!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineMIAspotter From Spain, joined Nov 2001, 2853 posts, RR: 25
Reply 17, posted (1 year 10 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 11047 times:

Hi Gabriel, nice read there.

Was this route cheaper than taking the EY from Dublin instead of going back and forth to the UK?

EY seems like a nice airline to fly, just like you, I have only flown QR out of the big 3, I was not dissapointed, but wasn´t really impressed either, (DOH is a total dump) still I think I prefer the A330´s 2-4-2 for a long flight than the 3-4-3 on the 777s

The cabins look very cozy and inviting, and the mood lightning adds a nice touch, food also looks nice.

Looking forward for the Zimbabwe adventure!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
And finally, my favourite animal, hippos

Hmmm... Hippo.

MIAspotter



I think, therefore I don´t fly Ryanair.
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6944 posts, RR: 77
Reply 18, posted (1 year 10 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 11011 times:

Hi Gabriel,

interesting first part of your journey - unfortunately pictures didn't load any more in the middle of the report (despite having a high speed Internet connection), so all I could see was your trip to AUH.

EY's product looks fine, especially the food. However, in terms of IFE it's far behind the competition.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1405 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 10860 times:

Hi there Gabriel, great read as usual. In fact, I was so engrossed in it it actually took me more than my half hour lunch break to read it!

EI looked like the standard EI really - much the same as my experience with them last year. Etihad look pretty good though and their planes look in a good condition from the pics - although I wonder why they used an A340 on their sky map when you were on an A330?

Looking forward to reading the next installment!



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 offlineTheAviator380 From UK - England, joined Feb 2013, 441 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 10 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 10793 times:

Wonderful TR (as always) !

Having set my time to AUH time already (a midnight departure), I’m slightly shocked at how slow the service is going.
_______________________

I flown on EK20 last time, it was 9pm departure and we didn't get food till we reached over Romania ! I was shocked and couldn't make out why is that. Weather was calm and flight didn't hit any turbulence so god knows why delay was all about.


Also it is bit surprising how EY is having that long waiting time at MAN - 6 hours turnaround is too much..don't they pay extra for this?

But overall service looks fantastic on your both MAN-AUH and AUH-JNB sector.


User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1789 posts, RR: 30
Reply 21, posted (1 year 10 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 10565 times:

Hi Gabriel,

An interesting piece! And quite heavy on the photos. Good to see you trying out another Gulf carrier. Since their introduction in BRU, they've always intrigued me in a way. I believe they're doing quite good in BRU. They're obviously not on the same expansion spree as EK lately but let that be a good thing. If there's quality over quantity, I'm happy and you are as well. And you're right, that meal service was too slow compared to the duration of the flight   

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK, after London.

Hmm, I thought that was MAN given the larger airport but that's no argument of course.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
”wow, it’s all free? You mean everything?”

  

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
“Maolmhaodhóg”

I'm sure fellow a.netter OA260 will be able to pronounce that in the right way?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
so I’d have to wait til I got to MAN so sort out my seats.

Quite annoying from an a.netter's point of view...

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
EI-DEI is sitting at the gate…I assume this is ours.

It was mine on Oct 6th 2012, going from BRU to DUB.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
and some brownies

Are you sure those were brownies? More like 'blackies' and already having been eaten.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
we’re over Belgium and hit some quite heavy turbulence

Sorry mate, I had the heating on full power!

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 22, posted (1 year 10 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 10516 times:

Hi Gab, great to read your start of this African journey. A LOT of pics already, interesting to glimpse into all these lounges... then we get airborne and what dissappoints me also is EY. I expected more. The mealservice slow, really annoying indeed. Good to see G&T, and the blanket black/white design is really my taste and 'different'  
I think EY will soon start up flights from AMS, with A330s also. Well, they might offer good fares to e.g. SE-Asia, maybe good to give them a try in the future. The meals are looking mostly fine to me.
btw, the first introduction normal pix of Zimbabwe are great, and looking forward to more  

Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (1 year 10 months 10 hours ago) and read 10093 times:

Thanks for all the replies guys!

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 17):
Hi Gabriel, nice read there.

Thanks!

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 17):
Was this route cheaper than taking the EY from Dublin instead of going back and forth to the UK?

The direct DUB flight was slighly cheaper, but the timings didn't work for me (left DUB too early)

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 17):
The cabins look very cozy and inviting, and the mood lightning adds a nice touch, food also looks nice.

Indeed, good work from EY there

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 18):

interesting first part of your journey

Thanks

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 18):
unfortunately pictures didn't load any more in the middle of the report (despite having a high speed Internet connection), so all I could see was your trip to AUH.

Hmmm, strange. They load fine for me on a slow Zimbabwe connection...? Try on Firexox/IE etc?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 18):
EY's product looks fine, especially the food. However, in terms of IFE it's far behind the competition.

Yes, EK is miles ahead

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 19):
great read as usual.

Thanks

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 19):
In fact, I was so engrossed in it it actually took me more than my half hour lunch break to read it!

Haha, good to hear

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 19):
although I wonder why they used an A340 on their sky map when you were on an A330?

I guess it's just a generic map?

Quoting TheAviator380 (Reply 20):
Wonderful TR (as always) !

Thanks!

Quoting TheAviator380 (Reply 20):
I flown on EK20 last time, it was 9pm departure and we didn't get food till we reached over Romania ! I was shocked and couldn't make out why is that. Weather was calm and flight didn't hit any turbulence so god knows why delay was all about.

I guess they know 95% of pax are connecting so can sleep/eat on the next flight. But still...

Quoting TheAviator380 (Reply 20):
Also it is bit surprising how EY is having that long waiting time at MAN - 6 hours turnaround is too much..don't they pay extra for this?

I guess it's all to do with timing at their banks

Quoting sultanils (Reply 21):

An interesting piece

Thanks

Quoting sultanils (Reply 21):
And quite heavy on the photos.

As always. I hope you like them!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 21):
Hmm, I thought that was MAN given the larger airport but that's no argument of course.

BHX is too close to London, hence why MAN is busier. Also, there are lots of big cities near MAN (e.g. Sheffield and Liverpool) with no/small airport)

Quoting sultanils (Reply 21):
Quite annoying from an a.netter's point of view...

Very

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 22):
great to read your start of this African journey.

Thanks

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 22):
A LOT of pics already

I've taken over 2500 in the last 10 days!

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 22):
Good to see G&T, and the blanket black/white design is really my taste and 'different'

Yes, both nice to see

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 22):
btw, the first introduction normal pix of Zimbabwe are great, and looking forward to more

Lots more pics still to come of this facsinating country



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 1033 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 9360 times:

Hey Gabriel,

Great detailed trip report, I enjoyed reading it! Looking forward to hearing about your flights to and from Zimbabwe!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Obviously, being a piece of luggage emblazoned with the LH logo (and not overly cheap either), I was expecting a pretty decent quality bag. Sadly it wasn’t

Indeed. I bought a LH rollaboard last year. Already broken a bit too. And although it seemed big, it is really hard to fit just enough for 2 nights in!


25 lukeyboy95 : Oh Gabriel . . . As ever, what a delight to read your reports. I have used an hour in an internet cafe to mark the occassion, and the chance to relax
26 gabrielchew : Glad you liked it! I'll get writing tomorrow! Oh dear. Why is LH putting their name on such crap items? Oh, what an honour! Yes lots of lounges. On m
27 MSS658 : Hello Gab Finally managed to read and reply. EI looks good fro your point of view, interesting since I'm kinda flying them between LHR and MAN in a mo
28 lukeyboy95 : If you think your up to it, I would be more than happy. Probably going to 'retire' fairly soon from this budget malarky anyway. Now. I got your faceb
29 gabrielchew : Yes, EI were pretty good. I think Little Red will be quite different from EI though! Well, overall I preferred QR. Still, it's not a bad airline. Hoh
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