Luxair747SP From Germany, joined May 2010, 544 posts, RR: 16 Posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 17416 times:
Hi fellow readers,
Welcome to another of trip report. This time im off with my brother and are going to present youseveral reports about our summertrip around the Middle East. In this report I will show you around the first leg, Gulfair from Frankfurt to Bahrain on an A320ER,and on to Dubai on a normal GF A320 .
BACKGROUND AND BOOKING
( written by Emek96)
In january of the year, Gulfair had a big statusmatch promotion, where they would match ANY Goldstatus to Falconflyer Gold, so I applied and got my card not 3 weeks later. That was the point I started thinking about Gulfair, because I didn't want to waste my free goldstatus, and I had a look what prices they had, I finally found the combi FRA-BAH-DXB with an overnightstop in BAH for I think 230 € which is rather cheap in my opinion, also it would be very interesting to fly on an A320ER on a longhaul flight (6,5 hrs). After finding that price, my brother and I looked for other flights around the middle east and found out that it is quite cheap to fly around there. We found out that UA flies DOH-DXB for 40 € one way, also SWISS flight from DXB to MCT was on the agenda to try their long haul business class for one hour. All in all, this trip will be rather good for my log, I logged 5 new airports as well as 5 new airlines.
In this part im going to write about the flights on GF from Frankfurt to Dubai via Bahrain with a stop over there.
The day startd very early, like always when we fly from FRA because our hombase SCN is about 170 Kms away from FRA. This time we left relatively ''late“ and not at Markus o'clock, at half past 5. We took the EuroCity train which has his final destination in Austria, but we would connect in Mannheim to an ICE to FRA long distance station.
Our train in SCN Main Station
And the luggage for this trip
Recently refitted compartments in the carriages
Interior of the ICE high speed train
Our ICE train in Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof
All in all, the rides were very comfy and no delays (!) this time. We arrived at FRA at around 8 am. We directely made our way to T2 where all the non-LH-partners are departing from.
The infamous Frankfurt Terminal One Check In area
We walked threw the tunnel and threw T1, which was very crowded that day, and finally took the Skyline from T1 to T2. Arrived there we had a look for the Gulfair desks, but more than 3 hours before depature we thought we had to wait some time, but the desks were already open, so we made our way for the Falcon Gold desks. A friendly male agent checked us in, took aabout 7 mins because he had some problems in sending our bags only to BAH insted of sending them all the way to DXB. He also handed a golden and very nice lounge invitation to me. The lounge GF uses in FRA is the Cathay Pacific lounge.
By the way, it was the first time I have seen that T2 is crowded that day, very long lines at the (of course) Emirates desks, also the line at the AF/KLM check in was rather long. We than made our way for passport controle and airside. Passport control took about 10 secounds with nobody in front at the EU desk.
Terminal 2 landside, rather crowded that day
As expected, T2 non-Schengen airside is as boring as Schengen airside, there is absolutely nothing exept one big duty-free store and many lounges (CX, EK, JAL and some contract lounges).
The usual Frankfurt traffic
Luckily we were allowed to go into the CX Business and First lounge who is the contract lounge for GF in Frankfurt.
After a simple breakfast consisting of some sandwiches and a drink or two, we slowly made our way to the gate where already a few people were waiting.
Outside CX lounge
The total load of todays flight was just about 50-60 persons so it promised to be a decent flight.
Boarding was soon called and we were allowed to get onto the bus which brought us to the beautiful GF Airbus. IMO GF has one of the best looking liveries around.
BA 767 on the way to LHR
Always great to see an old Airbus of KU
Something for the german holidaymakers
Under the wing, you know
Boarding our A320
Boarding was soon finished with the handful people and as we were boarding late and the bulkhead row was still empty we settled down there.
GULF AIR A320ER
After the safety demonstration and a quick welcome from the cockpit we started our taxi to the „Startbahn West“, which is only there for departing aircraft. Just as side information, so far only one commercial plane landed there, but that was a VO Dash in an emergency.
AB on the way to some sunny destination
And off we go
After a quite long take off roll, we made our way into the sunny german sky.
Quickly after the seatbelt sign was switched off, the crew started with there service in form of nuts and a drink.
As we were in holiday mood we ordered Gabriels signature drink, which tasted more like fuel&tonic, but still was a good way to start the holidays.
Still over Middle Europe
Not long after the cabin filled with the smell of heated food and seconds later the crew started serving lunch. Quite impressive to get the selection of Chicken, Beef and pasta.
Emek96 chose the beef whereas i went with the chicken which was well cooked and one of the best inflight economy meals i had so far.
The beef lunch option
And the chicken version of lunch
Tasty cake for dessert
And a nice pasta salad as appetizer
After lunch it was time to check out the IFE, which was decent, but didnt have as many options as EK or SQ has, but still nice to see the PTV on a narrowbody.
The remaining 5 or so hours of the flight stayed uneventful.
The flight map remained my favorite IFE option
As my brother is Goldmember with GF, he had this vouchers to gave away for F/As and after we did that, the service was even better with top ups of the drinks as soon as we finished one.
Always good to have a chilled can of beer
And our wing
As we were taking quite a lot pictures we were asked to fill out a questionnaire
Some weeks later i got back the following answer email:
Dear Mr Luxair747sp,
thank you for taking the time to fill-up our Suggestions/Comments form and may we say, it is a pleasure to hear from satisfied customers, like yourself.
On behalf of Gulf Air, we appreciate you taking the time to bring your feedback to our attention. It was heart-warming to note of your positive comments toward the level of service that was rendered to you by our cabin crew as well as the quality of meal and our in-flight product during your recent journey with us on the 25th July 2013.
Certainly, our Management will be delighted to receive your compliments. Hence, we have taken the liberty of sharing your kind words with Mr Mohammed Hassan, Senior Manager, Cabin Services, who we are sure will convey the same to the concerned staff.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your constructive comments and suggestions. As a customer focused organization, we consider your feedback an instrumental tool to enhance and improve our services. Rest assured, your comments have been forwarded to the relevant departments, for their perusal and consideration.
Once again, thank you for your warm words of appreciation. We look forward to welcoming you on-board our flights again soon and we would like to assure you of our continued efforts to serve you well
Customer Care and Service Quality Control
In my opinion quite a nice answer.
Sun slowly going down
Unfortunately the flight went over way too quick and soon enough we started our decent into Manama Airport where we landed after a flight time of about 6h10.
Nice to see some old 727 there
Terminal showing up
Great looking tower
So far my longest flight in a narrowbody, but it was a very pleasent one as the GF A320ER planes have 34“ legroom in Y and even more at the bulkhead.
After disembaring we quickly made our way to immigration where we had to fill out landing cards and pay a fee to obtain the visa on arrival but the the guy at immigration looked weird at us when we said we come to the Kingdom of Bahrain as tourists but nevertheless stamped us in.
After getting our luggage, went went out where fellow a-net member Eric was already waiting for us.
He was so kind to take us from the airport to the hotel , the Kempinski Grand Manama, where he was also staying.
Fancy bathroom with highly inovative glass
View from the room at night
After a bit of refreshing in the hotel, we went ot a fancy restaurant called Bushido and it was one of the best ones in Bahrain and the food and service there was just outstanding.
Some pictures from Bushido ( thanks to Eric ) :
The next morning we started the day with a great breakfast.
Mind that we had the whole breakfast room to ourselves and with a great waiter from Spain, this was probably the best breakfast i ever had.
The food spread was so large and just so tasty.
After breakfast we went to the shopping mall, which was conveniently attached to the hotel, before leaving for a tour around Bahrain by car.
Bahrain City Centre Shopping Mall
We also went over the Causeway to the border of Saudi Arabia, which was an interesting side, as it was in the middle of the ocean, just connected to either Saudi Arabia and Bahrain via a bridge.
When do you get to see these destinations on a road sign?
Sandstorm over the causeway
Saudi Arabian Border
Unfortuantely the tour went over way too fast and as our flight was leaving in the afternoon, Eric brought us again to the airport around two hours ahead of departure.
Thanks a lot again Eric for your kindness and company and we really had a blast in Bahrain.
Outside of Bahrain airport
The premium check in at Bahrain airport was empty when we arrived there, so the check in was done within seconds and we went to security which was a breeze again.
I never had such easygoing security checks in either Europe, Asia or US so far.
Premium check in area
Bon voyage and goodbye from Bahrain
Stairway to heaven
Airside we did a bit of shopping as the duty free articles were dirt cheap there and then went to the Gulfair Lounge, which was quite a nice one with hot food options as well as a good non alcoholic drink selection.
Alcoholic drinks were not served during Ramadan.
Bahrain Airport airside
Inside the lounge
Some light lunch
Food offerings in the lounge
Tablet computers available at every table
Oman Air Embrear over to Mascat
And a Kalitta cargo Jumbo Jet
After some proper lounging time, we went off to our gate, where the A320 was already waiting and boarding soon commenced.
Boarding was again very quick due to a light load of around 40%
After the safety demonstration we pushed back and taxied to the runway where we took off soon after.
Again a beautiful winglet
The seatbelt sign was fastly switched off on this short flight and the service started with a drink run followed by a snack box which was a decent meal for the short flight.
The snack box
Mr FlyingFinn, do you still know this?
Soon after the captain already announced the decent into Dubai International Airport and after a bit more than an hour in the air we touched down on the sandy runway.
After leaving the plane we collected our luggage and went to the immigration hall which was deserted luckily so we were through in less than five minutes.
To get to our hotel we took the metro as the Dubai World Trade Centre Station is conveniently just next to the hotel. This time we went for the Radisson Royal Hotel, as they had a good weekend deal for Club Carlson Gold Members.
Check in was done efficiantly and we were upgraded to a Deluxe room on the 38th floor with great views of the other skyscrapers in Dubai.
After some relaxing in the hotel we went off to Dubai Mall for dinner.
Great Ford Freakout burger by BurgerFuel
One of the best burger joints out there
Dubai Mall take 2
View from the hotel room at night
So lets leave it here until now and stay tuned for the next part of this series, meaning the daytrip over to Qatar on Qatar Airways and United Airlines.
The conclusion about all flights will be at the end of this trip report series.
Thanks a lot for reading and i hope you enjoyed the report so far.
Luxair747sp in coproduction with Emek96
Sultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1947 posts, RR: 29
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 17140 times:
Nice story of an airline not that much covered here. Actually I was doubting if they were still around, as the competition in the ME region is quite fierce and most other carriers fly the big ones into Europe. However, GF must not be ashamed of their product, the cabin looks very nice and also the meals and available choices are good. And as a bonus you got to fly on the most rare of A320’s, the ER. Guess only GF has these?
adamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1193 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 15495 times:
Hi Johannes (and Elias)!
Great first part to your middle east series!
Gulf Air looks pretty decent, the food looks very nice! Was there any snack or so before landing?
Must have been an interesting experience flying more than 6 hours on a narrowbody!
Nice pictures of Bahrain as well, something you don't see much of here
IberiaA319 From Spain, joined Sep 2005, 606 posts, RR: 35
Reply 6, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 15295 times:
Quoting Luxair747SP (Thread starter): After getting our luggage, went went out where fellow a-net member Eric was already waiting for us.
He was so kind to take us from the airport to the hotel , the Kempinski Grand Manama, where he was also staying.
Quoting Luxair747SP (Thread starter): Unfortuantely the tour went over way too fast and as our flight was leaving in the afternoon, Eric brought us again to the airport around two hours ahead of departure.
Thanks a lot again Eric for your kindness and company and we really had a blast in Bahrain.
Hi, Johannes and Elias, it was a pleasure meeting you. Actually you were the first visit I get here in the Middle East not related to my job. I really spent a nice time with you and the dinner at the Bushido restaurant was amazing.
Quoting Luxair747SP (Thread starter): We also went over the Causeway to the border of Saudi Arabia, which was an interesting side, as it was in the middle of the ocean, just connected to either Saudi Arabia and Bahrain via a bridge.
That's the causeway I drive many times from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, it was great to see some pictures of the causeway on a report.
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 2): I thought Bahrain was a dangerous place to visit?
Actually Bahrain is a safe country, which you can visit without any problem. It was unsafe just during the Arab spring in 2011, but currently there are no issues.
Maybe there are not that many tourist attractions but you can enjoy your stay on the island with dining, night clubs and shopping. And the greatest event on the island is the Formula 1 racing that takes place in April.
Johannes, Elias, great to see you here in Bahrain and excellent trip report.
directorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1973 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 15146 times:
Enjoyed reading your report, thanks for sharing!
Good to know that service on GF is still adequate, although it's a crying shame they send A320s to FRA and CDG when they have a long history of flying to Europe with Tristars, 767s and A330/340s. Transferring in BAH is very easy though, compared to other airports in the region, that alone can tip the scale in favor of flying GF.
Unfortunately not, but i was still filled from the main meal
Quoting adamspotter (Reply 5): Nice pictures of Bahrain as well, something you don't see much of here
Thanks, yeah its a place where not many tourists go actually
Quoting IberiaA319 (Reply 6): Hi, Johannes and Elias, it was a pleasure meeting you. Actually you were the first visit I get here in the Middle East not related to my job. I really spent a nice time with you and the dinner at the Bushido restaurant was amazing.
Thanks a lot again Eric for for great company in Bahrain!
Quoting IberiaA319 (Reply 6): That's the causeway I drive many times from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, it was great to see some pictures of the causeway on a report.
Its for sure one of the most interesting motorways around
Quoting directorguy (Reply 7): Good to know that service on GF is still adequate, although it's a crying shame they send A320s to FRA and CDG when they have a long history of flying to Europe with Tristars, 767s and A330/340s. Transferring in BAH is very easy though, compared to other airports in the region, that alone can tip the scale in favor of flying GF.
Yes its a shame, but actually their 320s have a much nicer cabin than the older 330s.
eastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 911 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (2 years 8 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 14220 times:
Hello Emek96 and Luxair747SP
Excellent report that i was really impatient to discover !
Thanks to show us what GF offers for catering on a daylight flight from an European mainstream destination, and as you said it looks really good especially for the price paid!
The Golden Falcon lounge appears to be somewhat very inviting too, very lucky from you to get this generous status match! .
Quoting Luxair747SP (Thread starter): All in all, this trip will be rather good for my log, I logged 5 new airports as well as 5 new airlines.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 7100 posts, RR: 75
Reply 11, posted (2 years 8 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 13487 times:
Hi Elias and Johannes,
very nice report with good pictures! Excellent idea to try Gulf Air, I had been waiting for a report covering their new "long-haul" A320s.
Quoting Luxair747SP (Thread starter): I finally found the combi FRA-BAH-DXB with an overnightstop in BAH for I think 230 € which is rather cheap in my opinion, also it would be very interesting to fly on an A320ER on a longhaul flight (6,5 hrs).
That's indeed a decent fare.
Quoting Luxair747SP (Thread starter): Just as side information, so far only one commercial plane landed there, but that was a VO Dash in an emergency.
jwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1586 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 12651 times:
Hi guys, glad this thread got a bit of a bump up the order - must admit I'd forgotten about it! Glad I got the chance to catch up though. Seems odd to see an A32X on such a long route. Looks good enough though, as did the short haul one over to DXB.
Bahrain actually looks pretty good too. I like how they have chairs at the premium check in area.
Interesting to see the Oman Air E175 - thats the exact bird that carried me between MCT-DXB a couple of months previously.
Nice pictures of Dubai too - especially the Dubai mall - brings back the memories of my trip.
globalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1047 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 12227 times:
Hi Johannes, this was a really great TR. GF is not really something your hear about much and their service really looked nice. As for BAH, as an American, my Company will not allow travel there but it looked quite nice and peaceful? Wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Will.
Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
malioil From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2010, 147 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 11169 times:
I am really glad you enjoyed your flight with GF, Bahrain Airport and Bahrain in particular. Bahrain can be a great place to spend a week or so if you have someone with you that knows the country inside out and can help you uncover her hidden treasures.
As to Bahrain being unsafe for visitors, that entire notion is utter nonsense. Unless you head to some of the most shady areas of the island (where you have no business), you are much safer walking around Manama at the ungodly hours of night than you ever would be in major American and European cities. It is true that in the February and March of 2011 the nation suffered political instability, but the island has passed that now.
Reifel, Bahrain Airport does indeed have jetways. It is a very old airport (1932), and has quite a proud history. Indeed, Concorde's first ever revenue flight was a London-Bahrain journey back in 1976. Some of you may remember Shirley Bassey filmed part of her famous concert at the BBC at Bahrain Airport in the 70s. Over the years the airport has pretty much welcomed all of the world's major airlines at one point or another.
Nonetheless, recently the airports main terminal (built in the 70s, but heavily renovated, and partly rebuilt in both 1997 and the early 2000s), does not have enough jetways for all the aircraft. In my experience, I've found that nine times out of ten foreign carriers are given jetways, and GF aircraft usually park at remote parking stands. I have never seen or boarded a BA, CX, EY, EK, UA etc aircraft at anything but a jetway.
Thanks again for the fantastic review and pictures of my homeland which I miss dearly!
ronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1687 posts, RR: 52
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 10385 times:
An excellent report on Gulf Air. It most certainly brings back a lot of nice memories from my stay in Bahrain last year
It is great that you managed to try their narrowbody longhaul product, as it is quite unique in the industry. The catering did in fact look as great as you described it, and that is mainly because Do&Co is Gulf Air's caterer out of FRA! So the food out of that station tends to be one of the best on their network!
I still do not understand this handing out of vouchers to the crew. What exactly is it for? But hey, if it got you better service, then it must be serving its purpose
Thanks for sharing this with us! Looking forward to more!
A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3779 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 9488 times:
Nice report Johannes & Elias! Looks like GF are keep up standards, even if they are not exactly flourishing. My first ever flight with PTVs was with GF back in 2001 LHR-BAH-SIN on the A330/A340.
Quoting Luxair747SP (Thread starter): As expected, T2 non-Schengen airside is as boring as Schengen airside, there is absolutely nothing exept one big duty-free store and many lounges (CX, EK, JAL and some contract lounges).
Its quite shocking that that terminal is so plain and boring....there's nothing to do!
Quoting Luxair747SP (Thread starter): The total load of todays flight was just about 50-60 persons so it promised to be a decent flight.
I was initially surpised that GF were using an A320 to FRA, but with loads like that, I guess they should be runing an E175!
Quoting Luxair747SP (Thread starter): Not long after the cabin filled with the smell of heated food and seconds later the crew started serving lunch. Quite impressive to get the selection of Chicken, Beef and pasta.