EK773 From Malta, joined Jul 2004, 242 posts, RR: 2 Posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 32014 times:
Dubai to Shanghai Pudong
Airbus A340-300 A6-ERP
STD 02:15/STA 14:55
Flying time 8hrs 27min
I was abit excited that this flight had finally arrived. It would be my first time to visit Shanghai and also my first flight operated on A340-300 and i was curious to experience the working conditions. And after reading the report by Ryanair of his experience of flying in a former Singapore Airlines A340-300 i was curious to see how Emirates had fitted out the interiors of their recently acquired second hand aircraft. Overall, i enjoyed working on the aircraft and look forward to my next trip on it tomorrow!
Im pleased to say that there is no sign of its previous owner anywhere.. at least not that i could find. When Emirates took delivery of these aircraft they were entirely stripped down inside and several lavatories were relocated, the crew bunk rest compartment was removed, the galleys were re-equipped and reconfigured and a new air-con system was installed. Emirates First and Business class seats have been installed while in Economy class the original seat frames of the previous owner were there, they have been re-upholstered using Emirates fabrics. There were a few minor differences such as the PVS screens are much smaller then normal Emirates aircrafts, there are no drop down tv screens through the cabin but otherwise its difficult to tell that the aircraft formerly flew as 9V-SJI.
Now on with the report...
00:00 It was time to head down stairs to wait for my transport pick up to Crew Briefing Centre (CBC). Im not fond of flights leaving in these early hours because i find it difficult to sleep beforehand. Dubai operates as a hub for Emirates so most of the flights from Europe and the west will arrive in just before midnight and those connecting flights heading east to Asia and Australia will leave at around 2am to allow passengers to connect flights. So its certainly a busy time.
00:20 Our bus arrives at CBC and after storing my suitcase its time to sign on and i was instructed my a pop-up message window to hand my passport in to the duty officer. All crew are required to have a visa for flights to China so they just like to do a visual check first to make sure that a) i had remembered my passport and b) that i had the visa and it is valid. After getting this checked i was instructed to visit the cashier counter to collect my allowance before departure. Our normal procedure is for the allowance to be collected when checking into the hotel but perhaps with currency regulations, our allowance was issued in USD in Dubai.
00:30 After all of this it didnt leave me much time so i headed to briefing room 6 where my fellow crew were starting to assemble. I had not flown with any of them before so it was a table of new faces. We were making small chit chat about who had been to Shanghai before and those who had were telling us the best places to eat and shop. Our Japanese Purser arrived with the briefing folder containing all the flight details and our briefing commenced. We started off with introductions, then the Purser provided us with flight information, her expectations of us throughout the flight and those who had operated the Shanghai flight in the past informed us of their experiences and that passengers smoking in the toilets is always common so a run down of some safety and cabin fire scenarios were discussed. Our working positions were also assigned and i was allocated L3 door responsible for the first row of economy class to the L3 door. Our Captain and First Officer from Italy and South Africa respectively arrived to introduce themselves and provide some further flight information. Turbulent weather was to be expected for the second half of the flight due to storm activity in the Bay of Bengal and also because of the typhoon that had past over the Chinese coast the day before. After hearing this our Purser ran through some severe turbulence scenarios and about the actions to be taken just to make sure its all fresh in our minds.
01:00 The briefing was over and after clearing through the outward security check we were on the shuttle bus to the other side of the airport where the terminal and our waiting aircraft was. Once onboard and storing our bags away the first priority is to check that all of the safety equipment is onboard and located where it should be. Also checking the oxygen and fire extinguishers are to full capacity. Then we go about placing the blankets and headsets on every seat while the galley operators are checking all of their catering and stocks. Once these are done we gather in the aft galley for some more chit chat about Shanghai whilst going about the pre-departure preparations. These include the menus, hot towels, childrens toys/giveaways and a few other things.
01:45 "passengers boarding, crew to boarding positions" is the normal p.a. announcement to inform us all that the clearance for boarding has been given. The aircraft configuration is 12/42/213 while our final passenger figure is 01/12/127 so its certainly a light load. It makes all the difference on these night flights because most people just want some space to rest. Our Welcome Aboard smiles and greetings were not taken too warmly by the passengers and i was wondering why? But then again it is 2am, we have an 8hr30m flight ahead of us and most of these people have awake all day and possibly already flown in from a connecting flight. Oh well.. i keep trying and smiling away. The passenger profile is not what i had expected. There were a few Chinese, a few European but mostly they were single male Middle Eastern business men who were carrying brief cases and document bags. I guess Shanghai is the major commercial centre for China isnt it.
02:10 "all ground staff please leave the aircraft, this aircraft is bound for Shanghai" announced our Purser. This is an indication to all crew that boarding is now complete and also for any ground staff who may be onboard that the doors are now being closed. Us four economy class crew get to work handing out the hot towels and menus.
02:20 With our departure time now past the captains makes an announcement that the aircraft is ready to depart but due to congestion in Dubai due to construction works and heavy traffic there is a slight delay in our pushback. Never mind.. at least it gives us a few sacred extra minutes to carry out our ground duties.
02:26 "cabin crew arm all doors and cross check" as the aircraft starts to push back and we make our slow taxi to the runway.
02:38 we were lined up on the runway and after a 52sec roll we were airborne roaring over the suburb of Mirdiff in the early hours of the morning. The inflight announcements began in Arabic, then English then Mandarin. And the usual popular line "Members of the crew on todays flight speak arabic, english, mandarin, cantonese, japanese, korean, afrikaans, french and swahili". After 10min we were called by the Purser thats it ok to start duties but the seat belt sign will remain on due to some choppy weather.
02:53 seatbelt sign comes off as we were working away setting up the bar carts for our first service which was to be a savoury snack.
Asian Chicken Sandwich
large finger sandwich filled with marinated Asian chicken salad
crunchy chocolate chip cookie
tea or coffee
A few minutes later we were out in the cabin serving the snack. An English lady was joking with me that it seems such a weird time to be eating this snack but theres not much else to do during flights but eat and watch tv. We Worked in pairs on each side of the cabin. One crew was pushing the meal cart distributing the trays while the second crew was following with the bar cart offering refreshments.
03:45 With the light load and alot of sleeping passengers our service was already cleared in and the lights were switched off to allow as much sleep as possible for the passengers. As we were flying eastwards into daylight we went about closing all of the window blinds. When i return to the aft galley from completing this there were two trays of hot canapes for us to much on. This was the food from business class which was not served. YUM! So we were munching away and getting to know each other, and finding out we had mutual friends. There were four working economy class crew and our Senior Flight Stewardess (SFS) in charge of the cabin who comes from China so we were picking from her local knowlege and planning our stay in Shanghai. With 5hours to go before the next meal service it was also time to designate the breaks of 2.5hours each which we took in turns. I was assigned to the second break so during the next 2.5hours of working time we monitored the cabin although it seems most people were taking advantage of the spare seats and spreading out for a good nights sleep. Trays of juices were taken out every 30min but we would mostly return back to the galley full or minus only one or two cups.
04:50 Flying just north of Ahmedabad in India the seatbelt sign is illuminated and the instruction announcement to fasten seatbelts is played in arabic and english. The two of us on duty had the dreaded task of waking up those sleeping passengers to fasten their seatbelt. We were greeted with a few not too friendly looks. And then as instructed by the Purser we too had to be seated and strapped in for a few minutes as we rode out the turbulent weather and kept on towards Shanghai. Our routing would take is in a direct line from Dubai over Calcutta and once reaching Mandalay in Burma we turned north-east and made what would have been a straight line for Shanghai except for a few diversions because of the weather.
06:30 Break time till 9am!
09:25 Passengers in the cabin were starting to rise so the lights were switched onto dim and it was time to start the second main service. First out into the cabin were the special meals which have been pre-ordered such as child meals, vegetarian etc which are presented by hand and then came the meal carts. On offer for Brunch today was:
Omelette with Creamy Vegetable Filling
omelette with creamy vegetable filling accompanied with grilled
Nuernberger sausage, spinach, crispy potato cubes and sauteed
onion with tomatoes
Asian style stir-fried beef with vegetables, served with
White Chocolate and Praline Truffle
served with cherry sauce
Cheese and Biscuits
Tea or Coffee
I was feeling quiet pleased with myself because i had managed to offer everybody the choice they had preferred and ended up with no spare meals left over in my carts. Phew! The perfect balance.
10:20 By this time the trays were cleared from the cabin. Two crew went about distributing the landing cards for China while myself and other completed the required paperwork for the liquor bars. Because the alcohol carried onboard is duty free when ever we land into a foreign country we are required to do a so-called stock take of the remaining alcohol which we have in each bar cart and document it. This information is then passed onto the local customs authorities.
10:25 Captain comes over the p.a to wish everybody a good morning, an update with time and weather in Shanghai and to inform us that we will soon be starting to descent. "Oh no".. i still havent finished counting the stocks in my bars and there still alot of work to be done... 1,2,3,4....
10:29 Our Purser announces the completion of the inflight entertainment and requests for the headsets to be available for collection just as the nose of the aircraft dips down and we start our descent... 5,6,7,8....
After finally counting the stocks, i make a round through my section of the aircraft to collect the headsets and also to secure the cabin for landing. Making sure the seatbelts are fastened, seats upright etc.
10:51 Finally with everything complete, my cabin secured and the galley all cleared up it was time to take my seat for the landing.
11:00 Touchdown in Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 3pm local time.
11:05 After a short taxi we docked at the terminal building after after a few "zai jian" "goodbye" "auf wiedersehen" and alot of "shukran, masalama" all the passengers had disembarked. Before any of the ground crew can enter the aircraft we take a sweep through the cabin looking for any items left behind before taking our things and disembarking. It was a humid 31deg in Shanghai at the time and it was even very muggy inside the terminal. It seems the air-con system does not function that well... or maybe im used to the blasting air-con of the desert countries!
12:20 Following a 50min bus ride in Shanghai we finally reach the hotel concluding a 12hr20min journey from door to door.
EKFirstClass From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2004, 87 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 31804 times:
With some minor differences A343' interior is similar to the A332. Here's some differences I noticed: the screens in YC aren't touch screens and are smaller, some differences in the last galley (the galley is a little bit bigger with more storage closets), JC is split in two 3 rows before and 3 rows after LR2... From the safety point of view the only difference is that the passenger's oxygen in case of emergency is liquid oxygen stored in the cargo while on all the other aircrafts the oxygen is produced with a chemical reaction on each PSU (Passenger Service Unit).
All the Emirates cabin crew is trained for Airbus 332/343. The aircrafts are similar inside. The cabin crew can operate both aircrafts. In the last year the new crew was trained in the Training College for A343 while the others had to wait until their SEP (Safety and Emergency Procedures) refresher to receive the training and to have their licenses updated. Everybody can operate all the fleet except the A345. A345 have a dedicated crew. Of course they operate all the other aircrafts but mainly their rosters are built on the A345.
To the last question probably EK773 will answer. I am on the A345 crew so I can't have Chinese visa.
Ryanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4783 posts, RR: 24
Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 31646 times:
I am glad that EK decided to re-do the interior completely! This is MILES better than what Gulf Air did (or didn't do) with their A340s. The fact that they didn't install EK PVTs, does this mean that they won't be keeping the A340s much longer?
And the usual popular line "Members of the crew on todays flight speak arabic, english, mandarin, cantonese, japanese, korean, afrikaans, french and swahili".
I noticed this on board GF as well. I wonder if this is a trait among all Middle Eastern carriers? Qatar Airways as well, perhaps?
I also observed that the crew on all your flights reported so far are all very friendly with one another. Could it be a better arrangement to fly without teams (aka SIA)? At least if you do not get along with one another, you start with a clean slate with almost every flight.
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
EK773 From Malta, joined Jul 2004, 242 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 31615 times:
All crew are qualified to operate B772/3 and A332. All crew are in the process of being qualified to operate A343 at the moment during annual refresher training however only select crew are operating A345. The only difference from the SEP point of things between A343 and A345 is the crew bunk rest compartment however different service training is required for P/J class crews.
Its not always the case that you get along with one another, maybe im just a friendly guy : ) but i think it certainly helps that if you dont get along then you probably wont work with that person again once you get back to Dubai. At the same time though, it can be hard work constantly getting to know new colleagues and different working styles. So far though... no complaints.
SQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1825 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 31612 times:
Great report again. I look forward to your return flight, would be interesting to see how different the procedures are ex-DXB and ex-overseas stations.
I can't see any pictures either. Can you authorise us to view them?
Taking up on Ryanair's question, is it true that EK crew do not fly in teams? AFAIK, SQ crew operate in teams, but due to various circumstances such as crew reporting sick, changes in individual schedules, crew called up during standbys, SQ crew seldom operate with their original teams.
Now, wouldn't it be great to have a crew report by one of our SQ crew on A.net?!
Sky0000547 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2004, 270 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 31522 times:
First out into the cabin were the special meals which have been pre-ordered such as child meals, vegetarian etc which are presented by hand and then came the meal carts.
I just came back from MEL-SIN-DXB-LHR on EK773 last week, I didn't find the FAs to be very elegant giving out the special meals by hand. They usually stack about 3 or 4 meals one on top of another and carry them out to the passengers. How they didn't drop them I wouldn't know. Sometimes they struggled to find the correct seat because passengers moved seat and also they had their hands full.
EK773 From Malta, joined Jul 2004, 242 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 31234 times:
Sorry for the delay, ive been away but here are the answers to some of the queries:
Flying_Belgian: All crew are qualified for B772/3 and A332. All crew are in the process of being qualifed for A343 and a select crew are trained further for A345... which i just found out today that i will be aswell : )) And lets not forget our lone A310 which has a very small number of crew for exclusive use.
767er: With no bias i actually find the quality of our Yclass meals of a high standard and we regularly get positive feedback from passengers when clearing in the trays. On our breaks, unless you are on a flight equipped with bunks then we are not allowed to sleep, its purely rest. We cannot watch tv, listen to radio or read unless it is Emirates material such as our safety manuals or the inflight mag. Personally i'll eat something light and just rest with minimum talk to rest myself.
SQ772: thats right, we dont fly in teams. Every trip starting from DXB is with a new crew. We have the flexibility to request for our whole months roster, although its something never guaranteed. It depends on your seniority which changes every month in 6monthly cycles. My next time is another LHR so i'll try to provide another perspective and report the LHR-DXB sector. As for the pics, im not too sure how to authorise it but they are posted on http://www.vpmag.com/yssy/viewtopic.php?t=9027
Sky0000547: I know what you mean but in fairness to my colleagues on a typical flight we would have 70+ special meals to be hand delivered and on a LHR/LGW flights its normally 100+. So if we were to carry out a meal in each hand it would just take for ever and for those who were choosing off the menu would be kept waiting even longer then what they already do.
Airlinefreak1: Sorry, the A343 is equipped with the same seating/entertainment options as the A330.
Chepos From Puerto Rico, joined Dec 2000, 6339 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (11 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 31080 times:
Great trip report, I enjoyed it very much.
Have you ever flown the DXB-JFK flight, does EK have its fair share of American f/a's ? and what would be your favorite layover city ?- This question has nothing to do with the the trip report, but Im curious to know since EK flies to such a wide array of cities . Its great to have more and more f/a's on A.net . Sorry for the amount of questions.
EK773 From Malta, joined Jul 2004, 242 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (11 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 31025 times:
Perhaps i'll compress my answers into one thread.
Flying_Belgian: Since we fly to most destinations on a daily basis our layovers are normally 24hours, whereby we fly in one day and operate the return/onward sector the next. Depending on the city and its airport location we have a fair mix of airport/downtown layovers. Our longest trip away from DXB is 11days. Perhaps you could write us a report of your travels?
Chepos: We do have some American crew but im not sure how many, i believe its a single digit. We are recently receiving alot of spanish/portugese speakers from south america which we will start flights to shortly and i believe recruitment also takes place in Canada.
If i were to list my favourite trip that would be Munich. The perfect combination of nice passengers, nice hotel and a nice city. What more to ask for? MUC is very hard for us EK crew to get because everybody is bidding for it.
ZS-SAZ From South Africa, joined Jul 2001, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (11 years 3 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 30852 times:
This is really interesting! Thank you for writing it. I recently flew JNB-DXB-SIN-SYD and then PER-DXB-JNB, and was really impressed with how the crew handled the flight. On the way to SYD, a particular man insisted on having a cigarette in his mouth (since he couldn't smoke), but the chief purser wouldn't have it for one second, and was one tough bitch about it! She got her way.
Just a few questions...
1) Do you organise your own visas?
2) Are you from the UAE, or are you a different nationality?
3) And then if one is a different nationality, is it not an absolute mission for Emirates to coordinate different visas for different countries?
EK773 From Malta, joined Jul 2004, 242 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (11 years 3 months 9 hours ago) and read 30676 times:
Thanks for the feedback ZS-SAZ. In answer to your questions:
1. the company will apply for the visa and cover the neccesary costs.
2. im Australian
3. we only require visas for 2 destinations, Shanghai and New York. For all other destinations, regardless of your nationality a visa is not required as we do not enter the country using our passports. There is a document called a 'General Declaration' that the immigration officials receive in advance. Thats how we can normally clear the customs control much quicker then the passengers ; )
DoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 25, posted (11 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 30540 times:
Nice trip report, EK sounds like you guys have fun. I did consider applying to Emirates at one stage (still haven't ruled it out completely) although I'm not generally a fan of long flights (here at easyJet our longest sector is currently 3.5 hours, London/LTN/LGW-ATH, and I find that a long slog). On the other hand, if we're kept busy with multiple services the flight tends to move along at a nice pace. I'll shortly be joining BA eurofleet, so I'll probably get a taste of longhaul in the winter when the 767 replaces some 777 routes.
Hope you're enjoying Dubai, and if you ever meet a guy called Sammy (from UAE, joined EK from easyJet recently, tell him we all miss him loads!....). I know Emirates is humungous compared to ezy, but if you do come accross him, he's a great guy.