Carfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2056 posts, RR: 8 Posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 7700 times:
Here is the return report of my flight back to Hong Kong for the summer. As said before, it will include my first ever visit to Dubai International Airport and Emirates First Class trip. I hope it will be an interesting one.
The day began with a short plane ride on American from LAX to SFO, which was okay and I had a few hours to spend at SFO, which I did not mind much. Northwest counters were quite busy, as there were only a few agents working, and most passengers were directed to use the kiosks. The agent was very cheerful and thanked me for flying Northwest Airlines. My bags were checked to Bangkok with the bright yellow priority tag. I headed towards the food court for a bowl of really bad and pricey congee/porridge. I will stick with Harbor Village, and/or Japanese food next time. The security line was almost non-existent, as there were only a few flights departing and every flight was quite spaced out. Qantas flight was delayed two hours, and most JAL passengers were already boarding by the time I entered the security. I headed to the Northwestï¿½s World Club, which is quite large for a single daily flight, but I guess NW shared the lounge with its Skyteam partners, as well as few airlines. Free wifi was good and I can login this time, instead of difficulties at PDX. There were a few additional food items, such as cookies, yogurts, toasts and cakes, in addition to the usual pretzels and fruits. There was a self-serving alcoholic bar, as well as a few tea/coffee/non-alcoholic beverage stations. The lounge was not too busy, and I sat at the Biz Center a bit. I headed out after finishing up some last minute emails and work-related matters. I wanted to spot a few planes, and seeing QFï¿½s Boeing 747-400ER VH-OEC at the SFO gate was cool, even though I saw enough QF 744ER at LAX. Then I saw the JALï¿½s new livery Boeing 747-400 JA8074 doing last minute prep and pushing back. The Concourse A also allowed a great view of domestic takeoffs at R/W1R and 1L.
Boarding began at 12:53pm from gate A9, and the F/As welcomed us on board. There was one really rush and moody Asian F/A, who literally threw amenity kits, slippers, and menus at people, but thankfully, she worked the Y cabin later. Newspapers include AF Airlines (Argentina)">SF Chronicles, and other major US papers, as well as Japanese newspapers. I missed the old days, when they even stocked Chinese newspapers. The Japanese F/A then did her normal welcoming routine and took our entrï¿½e orders. She thanked me for using the pre-ordered Japanese bento service, and soon the cabin was ready to go with 100% full in F and J. We pushed back at 1:32pm, shortly before an AFï¿½s Boeing 747-400 (F-GISD) and KLMï¿½s MD-11 (PH-KCB) arriving and parking gate next to us. We took off from R/W28R at 1:58pm.
Flying time was ten hours and forty minutes, and thanks to the great map function, our routing took us first along the inland towards Sacramento, Redding, and climbed to 34,000feet. Then we passed through Medford, Yancalla, Gearhart, Hammond, and before crossing Ocean Park and headed towards Alaska. We climbed to 36,000feet, and then further to 37,000feet, and then headed toward Kodiak, Port Oï¿½Brien, and Kanatak, Alaska, and climbed up to 38,000feet, and then 39,000feet, and up to our final attitude, 40,000feet.
The service began at 2:15pm with hot towels and the beverage cart with a grey box of mixed nuts. Then dinner service began at 2:52pm with the first course. Then entrï¿½e, and then the dessert cart were rolled out. The F/As were fine, but seemed a bit stressed out. One F/A was serving each aisle, with one galley F/A. The F/A forgot my sake till dessert, and then dropped fruit on me. Nevertheless, the meal was okay and I could not blame the F/A especially what happened to NWA lately. Here is the menu transcript: (Wine list is the same as my SIN-NRT-SFO last month)
Salad of mixed greens
Beef tenderloin with a snowy Boursin cheese and bacon crust, Tuscan harvest potato wedges, glazed carrots
Herb and cheese stuffed chicken breast, butternut squash and a tangy two pepper sauce
Teriyaki Salmon on a bed of sticky rice with shiitake mushroom and spinach blend
Saizuke of shrimp and salmon
The Japanese dinner was quite nice. Soup was a clear soup with green onions, and then the chicken teriyaki came with tomago (Japanese egg Omelet), and vegetable (carrot, pea pod, mushroom, and bamboo shoot). It was served in two courses too with the teriyaki came later.
Brie with peppercorns and white Vermont cheddar Cheese
Ben & Jerryï¿½s ice cream
Coffee or tea
The dessert and fruit selections were much better than Japanese outbound flight. I guess the cost in Japan forced NWA to cut back a few things. The fresh fruit skewer was back with apple, melon slice, cantaloupe, and peach. Cheese selection features the fresh kind, not pre-packaged. The Godiva chocolate cookies were back, and the flavor of Ben & Jerryï¿½s ice cream today was Rum Raisin ice cream with chocolate chunks, served in a chocolate cup.
After dinner, Crystal Geyser water bottles were passed out, and I took a nap after downing almost a mini bottle of sake, specially created for Northwest. Sky basket was set up at the galley area filled with bananas, apples, Toblerone, Nut & Dried Fruit Mix California style, Fritos, and cup noodles.
Light snacks also available from the skybreak basket in the galley.
Please help yourself!
Around 11:23pm, the lights was switched on and hot towels were passed out. A second meal was offered, and I had the cold chicken plate, which was quite nice. For breads, it was a choice of bagel or Danish, and the fruit bowl featured blueberries, grapes, pineapple, papaya, and orange. It was much better than those second meals served by United on similar routes.
Fresh fruit and warmed breads
Farmer Boy scramble with eggs, diced potatoes, Alfredo sauce and cheese
Chicken Florentine roulade and Mayan shrimp with tropical fruit salsa
Cold Cereal, yogurt, and banana
Coffee or tea
Descent began 4:09pm Tokyo local time, and we began preparation at 12:25pm, and landed on R/W16R at 4:38pm. We parked at gate 26 on 4:43pm.
Transit time was a bit longer and it became a habit for me to walk toward the new wing at Terminal One and had a nice bowl of noodles at ANA Food Court, as well as the new bunch of shops. I headed back to NWA lounge for the free wifi service, and then headed to the gate, 18, which was running a bit late, due to the late pushup of an American Airlinesï¿½ Boeing 777 previously occupying our gate. The flight was overbooked by five passengers and the agent offered a choice of free intra-Asian flight and/or $400 voucher, plus hotel and a flight next morning.
Boarding began at 6:35pm, and the mostly Asian F/As (Thai and Japanese F/As mostly with two US based F/As) made this last leg a bit stressful and the service was just that much better. It is just amazing to me that how intra-Asian flights constantly surpassed USA-Japan flights. Once again, menus, amenity kits, headsets, and slippers were offered again before take-off. Pre-takeoff beverage was served. Door was closed at 7:06pm and we pushed back at 7:07pm. Very efficient boarding process! Narita was not particularly busy and we took off from R/W16R at 7:29pm.
Flying time was six hours and twenty-three minutes, with a longer than normal flying time, due to a longer routing to avoid weather and typhoon near Taiwan and Hong Kong and South China sea. The routing took us towards the Philippines after takeoff. We climbed to 38,000 and then 39,000feet. We turned West after passing Manila, and then entered the Southeast Asia passing Qui Nhon, Vietnam, and headed straight into Bangkok.
Dinner was obviously designed to be served all at once to allow rest time. I always believe that staying awake at this flight to adjust to jet lag, so I could feel tired when landed, and allowed a good night of sleep and adjusted to the new time zone immediately. Beverage was first served with a pack of Otsumami (Japanese mixed crackers and nuts), but I think serving a bowl of mixed nuts was more classy and should not add too much costs. Following beverage cart, the dinner was rolled out with everything served at once, except fruit and dessert. Then fruit and dessert were served. I had the seafood curry, which was okay, but it is Japanese curry, not the Thai curry that most of Americans were familiar here in the US. The appetizer was nice, and the salad was fresh and crispy with a choice of Shiso herb or Caesar dressing. Bread choices include Garlic bread or regular rolls. Fruit and dessert cart were rolled out next, and the fruit was served in a square bowl with six kinds of fruits ï¿½ all pretty good ï¿½ watermelon, papaya, strawberry, longan, pineapple, and kiwi, and then dessert features chocolate cake, mandarin orange in chocolate cup, and steamed milk custard with red dates served chilled. After dinner, lights were turned off, and I returned to my video games with an attempt to avoid sleeping.
Appetizer of spring rolls with smoked salmon, avocado and cucumber
Salad of Mixed Greens
Assorted breads or rice
Grilled Beef Skewer in Barbeque sauce with fried baby potatoes
Seafood Curry with Shrimp, Salmon, Squid, and Clams with steamed rice
Teriyaki Chicken Breast, cocktail shrimp, roasted beef, crab salad, Gouda cheese, and California rolls accompanied by Vegetable Soup and dessert
Fresh fruit and sweet
Coffee or tea
Light snacks available from the sky break basket in the galley.
Please help yourself!
Coffee or tea
During the rest of the flight, the F/As offered the sky basket a number of times, and I really like this part of Northwest service. Even SQ does not offer something like this on its longer NRT-SIN flight, and UA also does not offer any kinds of snacks, too. The skysnack basket features Kit kats, bananas, apples, Pertzï¿½s bread sticks, hand roll (sushi rice with vegetables), sandwiches, Calbee chips, and sandwiches. The F/As were friendly throughout the rest of the flight. At 12:30am, the pilot made an announcement with an updated arrival time and F/As were asked to prepare the cabin early due to possible turbulence during the descent. F/As offered a round of orange juice, as well as candies, before taking their positions early. We landed on R/W21L at 11:52pm finally and parked at gate 41. Of course, we arrived among the late arrival bank and the immigration line was long, and I sincerely hope that this situation will improve, as the new airport opened. I honestly did not mind the picture-taking thing, but if the Thai immigration wants to do this, it either improves the technology to speed up the process, or hire at least double or triple amount of officers. It is just a turn-off when you have to wait in line for forty minutes after twenty+ hours. The bags of course were already out in the belt after we passed immigration. Then I took a over-priced London taxi to my nearby hotel, but I was in no mood to stand in line outside for the normal cab.
I stayed at the Asia Airport Plaza hotel this time because it was really cheap ($40), but it was a mistake, as the hotel turned out to be rather dim in terms of interior and room wise. The only good thing is the good view of landing traffic at R/W21R and L. Even the breakfast buffet was un-impressive. I will definitely stay back at the Miracle Grand Convention Hotel next time. But I guess the new airport will come on line soon and it will be interesting to see what kind of airport hotels are planned. Any insidersï¿½ newsï¿½
I arrived early at the airport and was quickly checked in. I got my boarding passes all the way to Colombo and the agent printed out the lounge pass as well. I walked around before heading to the CX F class lounge. A couple interesting planes ï¿½ Qatar Airwaysï¿½ A330 A7-AEE, Kuwaitï¿½s Airbus A340 9K-ANA, EVA Airï¿½s Boeing 777-300ER B-16702, SQï¿½s 772 9V-SQL, and SQï¿½s 773 9V-SYE (Star Alliance livery)!
The lounge was pretty quiet until passengers for the HKG flight (CX 750) arrived. Boarding began at 11:17am at gate 46. I was welcomed aboard and there were no passenger in first class and only four passengers in business class, with me as the only one in the main deck. Service was as personal as it could be. I donï¿½t think I will get a chance to be the only one in the main deck business class in the future. Door was closed at 11:39pm and we pushed back at 11:42pm, and took off from R/W21R at 11:56am.
Flying time was an hour and fifty-eight minutes, with a cruising attitude of 41,000feet. Service was very personal, as expected, but the quality of the food ex-BKK continued to be disappointing. The appetizer was definitely the worst one that I ever had with CX and the salmon was not fresh and the beet root salad was bland. The entrï¿½e was okay, but nothing was inspirational today. I am becoming convinced that ex-BKK food is one of the worst catering out stations, especially TG catering should be one of the best ones in the world. I donï¿½t know if CX is not willing to pay or TG tries to make things worst so people can fly TG.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Champagne
Arthur Barolet & Fils Saint Veran 2004
Climbing Chardonnay 2005
Labourne Roi Alaxe Corton Les Hautes Tours 2000
Vieux Chateau Landon, Cru Bourgeois Medoc 2002
Dowï¿½s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2000
Bangkok to Singapore
Peppered Hot smoked salmon with beet root and Apple Salad with Wasabi Mayonnaise
Pork Piccata with Tomato Basil sauce
Linguine Noodles and Baked Vegetable Medley
Braised Fish with Bean Curd Sheets and Mushroom
Steamed Rice and Stir-Fried Oriental Mixed Vegetables
Water Chestnut and Coconut Cream Dessert Thai Style
Tea and Coffee
Bread selection includes garlic bread, and/or regular rolls. The dessert was not my favorite, but I ate half of it. For the rest of the movie, I took a few pictures of the empty cabin, and then watched a few short subjects. Duty free sales began at 1:10pm, and descent soon began at 2:22pm and we landed on R/W20R at 2:54pm and parked at gate D44 later.
During the transit, I actually left the secure area to store my bags for the weekend, and then I headed back in, as the viewing galley was filled with school children. I went back in and had a bowl of prawn noodles in the food court. I headed to the Skyview Lounge a few minutes later. The Skyview lounge was getting busier these days, as Emirates is also using the lounge (but it is a temporary arrangement as EK will have its own lounge opening up soon), as well as the usual Garuda Indonesia. Food selections include soup, dim sum, noodles, and quite okay. There is still free wireless Internet access available.
CX 735 SIN-CMB 1855 2005 Boeing 777-300 B-HNH http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bsz8
The aircraft arrived early from Hong Kong, but boarding did not take place any earlier. The flight was very lightly loaded today in both J and Y. There were a few continuing passengers from Hong Kong, and the F/As were as friendly as possible. I was offered the usual pre-takeoff beverage and more CX Delight for me. Door was closed at 6:49pm and moved to a window seat. We pushed back at 6:53pm and rolled to the close R/W20C, and took off at 7pm. Flying time was three hours and fourteen minutes, with a cruising attitude of 38,000 feet and later climbed to 40,000feet. Routing took us onto Melaka, and then Pematangsiantar, Indonesia before heading out towards Colombo.
I personally like the Singapore to Colombo route because a full dinner was offered. (Why should anyone fly HKG-BKK-CMB, which had two minimized hot meals? Heheï¿½ of course that routing shortened one and two hours of flyingï¿½)! Anyway, beverage was served immediately with a bowl of cashews. Of course, I stick with CX Delight tonight.
Mesclun salad with Japanese Cucumber and Radish served with Miso Dressing
Really nice salad and the Japanese cucumbers were very fresh!
Smoked Salmon with Orange and Mango Salsa
Finally a decent appetizer and nice smoked salmonï¿½ the salsa was surprisingly good.
Roast Lamb Rack with Pesto and Red Wine Sauce
Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Mixed Vegetables
Really good entrï¿½eï¿½ the lamb rack was really delicious.
Stewed Pork with Preserved Vegetables
Steamed Rice and Assorted Vegetables
Steamed Basmati Rice and Beans Poriyal
Cheese and Fresh Seasonal Fruits
Cheese includes Blue, Emmental, and Blue Cheese, and fruit selection features watermelon, melon, strawberry, and big grapes.
Unfortunately, the meal ended with an awful dessert ï¿½ very tasteless!
Tea and Coffee
Hot towels wrapped up dinner at 8:57pm Singapore time, and I spent the rest of the flight reading and watching some TV. The F/A passed out a final round of beverage at 9:55pm, and we landed on R/W22 at 7:44pm. Colombo was an hour and half behind from SIN. We parked at gate A8 at 7:47pm. We were the only flight arriving at that hour, and immigration was a breeze. I was able to arrive at Hilton Colombo at 9pm.
After an evening at Hilton Colombo, I took the hotel courtesy car for the hour ride back to the airport. Traffic at Colombo is pretty crazy, but I guess it can be worst… but the driver does not seem to stop horning for more than few seconds.
As expected, security was very tight at Colombo Airport with a check point for cars and trucks outside the airport perimeter, but they pretty much wave our car along. Then entering the departure hall requires an x-ray of all your bags and the security guard checking all documents and tickets. After passing through various corridors and more passport checks, I arrived at the unimpressive departure hall. I arrived a bit early and the counter was not going to open till 7:30am. There is no directory to check-in counters, but you can ask the two UL agents at the information desk. However, F/J line was not clearly designated and obviously some UL agents directed their friends to the F/J line. The agent was very nice and immediately gave me the two boarding passes, but I had to remind her to give me a first class lounge pass for the second segment. I am grateful that EK F/J passengers can use the much nicer UL business class lounge, which models against Emirates’ own F/J lounge.
Passing the immigration counter is no problem, and soon I am at the UL lounge. A hot breakfast buffet including scrambled egg, various breakfast meats, vegetables, curry, and breakfast breads are available, as well as a cold bar featuring salad, sandwiches, and various pastries. There is an open alcoholic, non-alcoholic, tea/coffee bar. There is free wireless Internet, and also computers. I like the open window with a view of the new pier.
Our aircraft arrived late from Dubai this morning, and our new departure time is 10:45am. The flight finally landed around 9:56am, and parked at gate A10 a few minutes later. EK 552 is a circle flight from Dubai to Colombo, and then onto Male, and then back to Dubai. Many passengers are continuing onto Male, and only two passengers are going to Dubai from Colombo in business class. Boarding began at 10:30am, and after aboard, orange or apple juice was offered, as well as newspapers, headsets, and hot towel. No menu is offered, but I did some menu scavenging after people deplaned from Male, and got a copy of the original Dubai to Colombo to Male menu, and yes, amenity kit is passed out on the overnight Colombo to Dubai flight. We pushed back at 10:50am and taxied towards R/W22, and took off after an UL’s A320 landed. We lifted off at 11:04am. Flying time was an hour and seven minutes with a cruising attitude of 36,000feet.
Six minutes later, seat belt sign was turned off, and a nice cold meal was served. A cart rolled out at each aisle and the cold meal was offered for those who wanted it. Then a second F/A offered wines and champagne, and other beverages are on demand. Tea and coffee was offered a bit later. The cold meal is pretty nice, and the breadbasket features regular rolls and multigrain twist rolls. The fruit selection includes pineapple, kiwi, grapes, cantaloupe, and orange.
Here is the wine list and menu transcript!
Charles Elner Cuvee de Reserve Brut
Pascal Joliver Pouilly Fume Vintage 2004
Tamas Estate Chardonnay Central Coast, California Vintage 2003
Chateau Potensac Medoc vintage 1996
Torbreck Estate Barossa Valley Old Vines Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre Vintage 2004
Chairman’s Late Bottled Vintage Port Vintage 1997
Assorted Fruit of seasonal Fruits
Salmon and Leek Quiche served with smoked chicken, orange segments, celeriac and apple salad
Fine layers of chocolate cake with raspberry jam
The personal television system is turned on for folks from Dubai to finish up their movies. Hot towels were passed out at 11:42am. Descent began a minute later. We landed at the beautiful Male airport’s R/W18 at 11:41am (Male is half an hour behind from Colombo). The apron features a Bahrain’s Boeing 747SP and a Royal Jordanian’s A340 with the engines covered with red protective cover. There are basically two parking spots maximum. I don’t think the airport can handle more than two commercial flights at the same time.
Dubai bound passengers are asked to remain on board and I took various pictures of the cabin. There is no change of crew, as they told me that it is cheaper to put the crew up at Colombo than the much more expensive Male. There is also no catering at Male, but the clean up crew did show up and tidy up the cabin. Fresh blankets were replaced, but pillows were not replaced. But strangely, the headrests were all replaced with fresh ones.
At 12:15pm, boarding resumed and J class had a lighter load, and I had two seats for myself. Door was closed at 12:31pm, and at 12:39pm, the engine began running and taxied towards R/W18. We took off at 12:45pm. Flying time is three hours and thirty-three minutes, with a cruising attitude of 38,000feet.
Seat belt sign was turned off at 1:10pm, and the F/As swung into action. A more layout lunch was served. First, the beverage trolley rolled out with a bowl of mixed nuts, which had a more exotic mix. Then appetizer tray was rolled out with salad. Then entrée was rolled out, followed by the dessert cart with fruit, cheese, and sweets, and the dessert cart rolled out twice for those who wanted a second helping.
Fresh cut fruit with a hint of masala spices
Something different from the usual green salad, but the fruit salad was a bit more challenging for me.
Salad of Scallops and Prawns marinated in lime and ginger, served with fine green beans
Marinated Beef Salad
Marinated beef and vegetable salad with Asian spices
I chose the seafood appetizer, which was not disappointing. The shrimps and scallops were fresh and delicious, and there were a few slices of papaya used as garnish.
Grilled Seer Fish served with garlic butter and tomato concasse, accompanied with red peppers, broccoli and tagliarelle noodles
I chose the fish, which was a bit tougher than I think. It was just okay.
Peppered Beef served with dhal curry and vegetable fried rice
Roasted Lamb Loin served with rosemary sauce, accompanied with carrot batons, green zucchini and Parisienne potatoes
Bread and Butter Pudding
Traditional bread and butter pudding, served with cinnamon flavored vanilla sauce
Orange Cheese Cake
Light orange flavored cheesecake, served on chocolate mirror
The dessert was really nice, as the F/A served the bread and butter budding from a full tray. They sliced it in front of you, and then vanilla sauce was added individually.
Selection of International cheeses, offered with crudités, grapes and crackers
Blue, Cheddar, Camembert, and Emmental cheese
Selection of Seasonal Fruits
Pineapple, kiwi, papaya, orange, and grapes
Beverage & Chocolates
A box of Godiva chocolates was offered, with cup of tea/coffee.
For the rest of the flight, the F/As refilled water glasses and it was uneventful with some passengers sleeping and watching TV. Descent soon began at 2:54pm Dubai local time, and hot towel was offered again. We landed at very hot Dubai International Airport at 3:18pm, and those passengers with closed connections were asked not to worry. There were two closed flights – one to London, and one to Munich. The London flight was cutting rather closed, but I think they were fine. We parked at bay F14/Gate 27.
As my visit to Dubai International Airport, I was amazed by the size of it, and how spacious the terminal was. There were a number of shops and restaurants along the way. The transit process was straightforward, and there were lots of tall palm trees. I was amazed by the duty free shops complex occupying the basement. I have never seen so many cigarette brands. There are also lots of Filipino workers. However, as a plane spotter, the window was not too helpful and could not see many planes. Anyway, they are mostly Emirates with a few other airlines. I headed toward the Emirates First Class Lounge, which was not as large as I expected, but at the late afternoon hours, it was not too busy. I headed towards the buffet and had a bowl of really good sweet corn soup. Other hot items offered were pasta, sauces, Chicken satay, curry, tuna fish cake, and rice, and then there are lots of bread, fruits, sandwiches, and pastries. There was a full alcoholic and non-alcoholic bar. Vodka was properly chilled. There was also a second level of sitting area, as well as two business centers with five computers. However complimentary wireless and the computers have rather unstable connections. I rated the food as below CX and SQ at their respective home bases, but EK scores higher in terms of sitting area with lots of comfortable sofa. In terms of food, CX has the best food for sure. However the best feature of Emirates is the hotel guestroom, which features a queen sized double bed, a TV, and a toilet with shower stall. It is like a hotel and the agent set up a room for me, and I managed to get a good six hours of sleep there and had a nice shower afterward. So I am fully adjusted to Osaka time, as I only took a short nap after the snack and felt well rested till later that night in Osaka.
After I checked out from my room, I grabbed a few snacks at the lounge, as only a light meal was offered after takeoff. I had a few bowls of the soup, which was delicious, as well as the Irish lamb stew with bowtie pasta. The screen was a bit slow in listing the gate for the Osaka flight, and for some strange reasons, when the gate number showed up, it was also showing last call. Unfortunately, Dubai International Airport also followed the same “lying” strategy as Singapore Changi International Airport. They listed final call, but boarding had not even started. Since we used a bus gate at 40, it was quite a hike to the gate, and it was a bit nerve wrecking, when the screen showed “Final Call.” Now I know! Boarding did not begin till 2:15am. Of course, there was a long walk to the bottom, and then waited for the bus. The agent tried to find out all the F/J passengers, but could not do it. There should be a separate F and J bus. Of course, I wanted to take pictures, but an agent politely informed me that photo was not allowed.
Once on board, Robert, a very sweet Eastern European F/A, and Miyako, a great Japanese F/A, who speaks perfect English, welcomed the five passengers in the F cabin today. The suites were amazing, but unfortunately, I could not take many pictures due to the late night nature. I really like the grey leather seats and they are well padded and comfortable. There were also lots of mirrors used, and many compartments to store small items. Unfortunately the main problem was the lack of storage bins, and all the overhead bins were removed. Therefore the F/As had to store the roller on bags separately at empty seats. I can imagine major problems on a JFK flight with full F cabin. The divider was amazing, but then I did not know if I should close it during meals or not. For snacks, I left it open, but for breakfast, I closed the door after the F/A served each course, and then reopened them when I am done with that previous course, so they can serve the next course. Amenities are plentiful with slippers, an amenity kit, and a pajama offered immediately, and there is another “travel well” kit located near the mirror, as long as a stationary set and a pen. Of course, pre-takeoff beverage was offered, but Dom was served after takeoff, as well as a cup of Arabic coffee and a piece of Arabic sweet (nuts and dried fruit). Newspapers are offered as well. F/As were very attentive throughout the flight.
Door was closed at 2:56am, as we pushed back from Bay T5 at 3:02am. Following a number of Emirates’ late night flight, we took off from R/W30R at 3:15am. Dubai looked pretty impressive from the window. Flying time was nine hours and eight minutes, with an initial attitude of 33,000feet, and then heading towards Gwadar, passing Peshawar, before climbing to 37,000feet and then 37,500feet. Then we flew pass Sahache, Urumqi, and turned SE towards Kalgan, and turned south towards Beijing, and Tientsin and turned west towards Incheon, South Korean, and straight into Osaka.
Seat belt sign was turned off at 3:24am, and Donny, the purser, made his round around first class passengers passing out the menu and telling each passenger that everything was a la carte and please used the service bell at anytime. Also, they can also set up each bed with mattresses. Then the Japanese F/A came around and asked for our beverage and what did we want for snack. I ordered Dom Perignon, of course, and then the assorted sushi plate, grilled chicken salad, and the amazing petit fours. Everything was set up properly and linen was always used, even for the tea service. Robert refilled my Dom Perignon frequently, and then he came around with a snack basket to each passenger, that contained items that I should not eat, which include Toblerone, Mars, Toggi, Kit Kat, Snickers, Bounty chocolate bars, a pack of dried mango, Pringles chips, and a small case of tic tac mints. The bar was set up with a bottle of Evian water, Perrier, 7-UP, Pepsi, mango juice, and a glass. Due to the dim light, the picture did not come out properly. The sushi plate was pretty good, as plane sushi came, and then the salad was fresh. The petit fours were just amazing with a nice pecan tart, a chocolate crispy tart, a chocolate coconut roll, a strawberry & Marzipan tart, and a fruit and Marzipan tart. I can have another plate, but I stopped myself. Then I have a cup of hot lemon tea, which was served in an individual silver pot.
Here is the wine list and menu transcript!
Dom Perignon Vintage 1998
Chateau Fuisse Pouilly Fuisse Vieilles Vignes vintage 2001
Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Vintage 2003
Chateau La Luviere Pessac-Leognan Vintage 2003
Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac Vintage 1996
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz Vintage 2002
Domaine des Perdrix Nuits-St-Georges, 1er Cru Aux Perdrix vintage 2001
Croft Vintage 1998
05/06 – FC/LH/EB – Ver1
A selection of sandwiches including smoked salmon on kraftkorn bread, chicken tikka on French bread, grilled vegetables on white ciabatta and beef pastrami on rye bread
Furikake Roast Salmon
Furikake Roast Salmon, served with linguine noodles, ginger relish, sautéed asparagus, and cherry tomatoes
Baked Cheese Souffle
Baked homemade cheese soufflé, served with a tangy plum tomato stew
Seasonal Greens with Grilled Chicken
Fresh seasonal greens, topped with grilled chicken, tomato, cucumber and eggs, served with olive oil
Selection of Assorted Sushi
Selection of sushi, which include kappa maki, California maki, unagi, ebi, smoked salmon, and saba sushi accompanied by ginger pickles, soy sauce, and wasabi
Selection of petit fours
Fresh Seasonal fruit
A limited selection of cup noodles is available throughout the flight
Fresh Fruit Juices
Fresh Seasonal Fruits
Natural or Fruit
Selection of Seasonal Fruit
Sakizuke consisting of chicken wing, bamboo shoot, yam, dried tofu with okura, prawn, and lotus root
Simmer dish with egg custard and sticky mushroom sauce
Hiramasa No Teriyaki
King fish with teriyaki sauce accompanied by seasonal vegetables and rice with Japanese herbs
Fine soba noodles with nori, wasabi, chives, and dried bonita flakes
Served with grilled beef tenderloin, roasted plum tomato, sautéed spinach, and hash brown potatoes
Served with assorted mushrooms and green asparagus, plum tomato with herbs and chive potato cakes
Poached Paprika Egg
Topped with tomato hollandaise, served on a bed of smoked fish hash
Throughout the flight, I watched Kath and Kim, Simpsons, and Family Guy on the ICE network, and also took a short nap after the snack. I stayed awake for most of the flight, as I was in Japan. The F/A always asked if I need anything, when I used the bathroom. The bathroom was really nice and featured a window like most premium cabin these days. It was well stocked with toothbrush sets, shaving sets, and other stuff. It was well lit and the F/A always cleaned up whenever a passenger used the facility.
Most passengers began to wake up about three quarter into the journey, and I did not have breakfast till ninety minutes prior to arrival. I chose a western breakfast with fresh fruit and yogurt to start, followed by mixed grill. The fresh fruit plate featured mango, peach, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, and grapes, and the fruit yogurt is strawberry flavored. The individual breadbasket contained a croissant, Danish, mini Kaiser roll, white and wheat toasts, and the entrée came later with a piece of beef tenderloin, grilled chicken breast, 2 veal sausages, mushrooms, potato cake, and tomato. A perfect cup of tea ended the fabulous meal.
Descent soon began at 4:44pm Osaka local time, and pilot signaled the F/As to prepare the cabin at 5pm, and the F/As passed out another round of hot towels. Donny once again went around the cabin and thanked us for riding with Emirates. We landed on R/W24 at 5:23pm, and parked at gate 27 six minutes later. We arrived at a really good hour, as there was no one at immigration. The airport was quiet, and I was able to exit immigration and custom (I have no bag) in ten minutes. I headed over to Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport shortly after.
Emirates First Class is definitely a wonderful experience and the service definitely matched up very well against CX and SQ. The seat itself really made CX and SQ seats looked tired, and the amenity kits offered were amazing, as well as the PJ. The slippers were the terry cloth kind. However, I think it will be nice if EK can use duvet blanket, as well as adding some more storage space. Food wise – it is always the tricky part especially a 3am departure time. Most passengers did go straight to bed, and a dinner would be wasted. One can easily make a dinner out from the snack menu. However, I can use a bowl of noodle soup or a hearty soup too, and cup noodles seem a bit lame for first class. However, I think a full lunch should be served prior to arrival, as it was a 5pm arrival time. Breakfast was a bit lame, or maybe a brunch with a few more lunch offerings. The service was really good though. The F/As were polite and helpful. It is a good experience and I am already looking forward to the return flight. I only hope that their flights can be at least daytime for one of the directions. These redeye flights did not allow me to enjoy the food that much.
SQ 973 KIX-BKK 1330 1725 Boeing 777-200ER 9V-SRH (Two-class regional configuration) http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bs2K
After a nice evening at Kansai, I headed to the observation deck the next morning. Unfortunately, rain once again dampened the mood, but I managed to take a few pictures of my favorite Finnair’s MD-11 before rushing back for the 11am bus. The Vietnam Airlines’ Boeing 777 was also quite a sight and all the plane enthusiasts rushed out to greet the VN’s 772 too. It was always a good feeling to see so many people, who love planes as much as me. The US crowd was smaller, and not many airports had a great facility like Kansai. The morning was definitely a good time to visit and saw all those European bound planes taking off.
I checked in around noon and the check-in counters were very quiet, as this flight was not particularly busy. J class cabin was about 1/3 full. I asked for an aisle seat with a blocked window, and the agent just could not that that idea across. But 12D was to avoid at all costs. Yes, you got unlimited legroom, but you have no seat pocket and nowhere to place your bag in front of you. I went to the Silver Kris lounge, which was surprisingly nice with window overlooking our aircraft. The food selections include hot dim sum (shrimp dumpling), cup noodles, instant porridges, sandwiches, and various snacks, with a full self served alcoholic and non-alcoholic bar. There is also free wireless service.
Boarding began at 1:02pm at gate 41 and Irene immediately welcomed me aboard and addressed me by my last name. SQ F/As are absolutely the best in the world and the service is just second to none. You are addressed by your last name immediately and the F/As always want to provide the best service available. We had a casual conversation about the weather… Who said SQ F/As were robotic? The load was obviously very light on this short segment and I asked about a pair of seat in the back. Irene talked to Doreen, the pursuer, and told me that 15 and 16AC were opened on this leg to Bangkok. I moved to 16A immediately. Four F/As serving us up front were excellent, not to mention a cute Singaporean Boy. Door was closed at 1:22pm, and pushed back at 1:29pm, and headed towards R/W24. We took off at 1:43pm.
Flying time was four hours and fifty-eight minutes. We climbed to 11,582m and then passing Miyazaki, before climbing up to 11,887m and crossing the beautiful Okinawan Islands and then head towards Tianan, before taking a more SW direction towards Danang, Vietnam, and climbing up to 12,192m.
Service began immediately with the famous Singaporean satays – beef and chicken with cucumber and onion. Then the Japanese F/As passed out the menus and took our entrée orders. I decided to give the Japanese meal a try. The only disadvantage was that the Japanese was all served in one course, and the portion could be a bit small for a big boy like me. (But I had some food at the airport before, so I was fine). Here is the wine list and menu transcript:
Chateau Cissac 1998 Cru Bourgeois Haut Medoc
Serrata Belguardo 2003 igt maremme Toscana
Dow 2001 late bottled vintage port
To Nibble on…
Satay with onion, cucumber, and spicy peanut sauce
A Savory Note
Marinated Prawns garnished with tomato and cucumber salad, cocktail dressing
The Main Event
Coq Au Vin
French style stewed chicken in red wine, seasonal vegetables and sautéed potato
Sweet and sour salmon served with assorted vegetables and fried rice
Spaghetti pasta with assorted mushroom “Bolognese,” shaved Parmesan cheese
“Finding the change of the four seasons in a flower and translating it into cuisine”
An array of nine appetizers and entrees together with miso soup, served in Japanese style
Tilefish rolled with cucumber, river shrimps, lady finger, baby abalone
Sesame curd with bonito flakes flavored jelly, wasabi
Grilled eel and cucumber salad
Simmered Prawn, Japanese yam, green beans
Sea eel sushi
Ginger flavored steamed rice
Steamed glutinous rice with green soya beans
The Cheese Board
Gourmet Cheese with garnishes
A Sweet Note
Haagen Dazs rum and raisin ice cream with grapes and yuzu
A selection of fresh fruit
A connoisseur’s Choice
Selection of tea and pralines
The Japanese meal was quite nice though and I saw the galley F/A plating the meal, which was not easy because some of the boxes had to be filled by F/A (hot items). My favorite was the Takiawase, sea eel sushi, and the steamed glutinous rice with green soya beans, and the tofu. The cheese plate was not attractive, so I went by a few pieces of fruits, which include banana, peach, orange, grapes, and apples. The ice cream was nice of course, and a cup of tea ended my meal, not to mention a nice piece of chocolate truffle.
The entertainment system unfortunately was the older kind with no on demand function, but power ports were installed. The F/As made their rounds and I had my glass of water refilled. The F/A also passed out packets of mixed nuts as we got closer to Bangkok. Descent soon began at 4:13pm Bangkok time (two hours behind from Tokyo), and we landed on R/W21L at 4:41pm. Unlike CX and EK, we had to leave the aircraft with all our belongings on this layover. It has to do with increased security alert mandated by Singaporean government. I headed towards the lounge, which was quite busy. With a not-so-attractive menu for the onward flight, I had a cup noodle, lots of dim sums, and a ham and cheese sandwich. In terms of plane-spotting, I saw a number of interesting planes, including a Biman Bangladesh’s Airbus A310, Royal Jordanian’s A340 JY-AIB, BA 744 G-CIVT, QF744 OH-OJT, NH772’s JA707A, CX 744’s B-HOR, and Ethiad’s brand new Boeing 777-300ER A6-ETE.
SQ 973 BKK-SIN 1830 2155 Boeing 777-200ER 9V-SRH
Boarding resumed at 5:50pm at gate 51, and the flight was much fuller this time. I returned to my original seat, 12D, even though Doreen made the Osaka staff to send a telefex to Bangkok to request a seat change. Thankfully 12E remained empty, and with a fuller load and a long layover time, menus and headsets were already placed at each seat pocket. Irene immediately came with a fresh copy of the day’s Strait Times, but for this leg, she helped out in the back. Door was closed at 6:23pm and pushed back shortly after. We took off from R/W21R at 6:39pm.
Flying time was a short two hours and a minute, and we cruised at 11,277m. Beverage and mixed nuts were served first, followed by dinner. Everything was served in a single tray, as time was shorter this time. The food was a bit weaker, but not as bad as CX. The appetizer was still very questionable, and I only ate the fresh greens, but the fruit was fine with rose apple, papaya, melon, and pineapple. I had the special Georg Blanc’s entrée, which was excellent. Even SQ used a casserole dish for entrée on this short flight, it was still significantly larger than CX one. The beef was tender, and the vegetables were not overcooked. Good job, SQ! Here is the transcript:
A savory note
Thai style fried fish and roasted peanut salad
The Main Event
“Meurette” style stewed beef cheek served with baby vegetables and sautéed potato
*Exclusively created by Georges Blanc, Vonnas
Pan fried garoupa served with creamy light mustard sauce, selected vegetables and buttered potato
Thai style fried sliced chicken with string bean in chilli paste served with steamed rice
A Sweet Note
Fresh fruit selection
Bread basket featured some really nice soft bread, garlic bread crackers and dark rolls. After dinner, tea/coffee was offered, and soon descent began at 9:07pm Singaporean time. We landed on R/W2L at 9:40pm, which meant a long taxi to our gate, F56, which would go to Perth later that evening. Unfortunately, I had to report that the hated SQ’s Boeing 747-400 9V-SMT was once again schedule on the SIN-ICN redeye run. SIN was fairly busy at night with lots of flights to most SQ destinations. But the immigration was relatively quiet and got out quickly. However, I had to head to terminal one to pick up my stored bags. Thankfully I managed to catch the 10:30pm shuttle to the Le Meridien Changi Village, which was renovated, but service was still lacking.
SQ 862 SIN-HKG 1100 1445 Boeing 777-200ER 9V-SQN http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8QbNHDNy5bs2o
The next morning, I took the 9am shuttle to the airport, and then checked in my bags. I received my boarding pass to HKG the day before. I guess my layover was too short to count as a real stop. The Raffles Class counter was fully staffed and I found an empty counter fairly quickly. Just to note for those folks on the A340-500 flights to LAX and EWR, you have a separate check-in even in J. 9V-SGE was used on that day’s flight to Newark. The new renovated terminal two was very impressive with lots of glass structure, and a much better improvement from the terminal one. I headed over to the Silver Kris lounge, and the offerings were definitely lacking compared to F. The breakfast food was okay with some mini warmed breakfast breads, sliced cheese, fruit plate, some fried kway teow, curry dish, plain omelet and hot cakes. I sort of wishing for the fried carrot cakes. There is wireless, but also lots of Ethernet set up stations, which proved to have a speedier connection. I did some emailing and then waited till 10:25pm before heading to the gate. Of course, the board showed final call, but of course, most passengers were still waiting in line.
Once onboard, I was escorted to my seat, 11K, and my neighbor soon moved to 11F, as the load was relatively light in J. All the usual beverages were offered including orange juice, champagne, and Welcome Drink, Golden Spice. Socks and eyeshades were offered again, with newspapers (include HK papers), noise-canceling headsets, and hot towels. Door was closed at 10:55am, and we took off from R/W20C at 11:07am. Things were fairly quiet at SIN this morning. Flying time was three hours and twenty-six minutes with a cruising attitude of 11,582m. We flew past Tioman and the headed straight to Hong Kong.
No satays on this flight… only SQ 2 the continuing flight to SFO has the satays. Mixed nuts were offered with our first beverage. Then dinner began with appetizer, and then entrée, followed by cheese and fruit plate, and then dessert, and then tea/coffee/praline.
SQ 862 SIN-HKG (SQ862A SIN-HKG [L1] 88-1.1 07 RC
A Savory Note
Prawn and somen salad
Marinated prawns with white wheat noodles salad topped with mache, salmon roes and yuzu dressing
A nice cool salad to start… prawns were fresh and I liked the yuzu dressing!
The Main Event
Stuffed Chicken with spinach and pinenuts in cress sauce, carrots and buttered tagliatelle with mushroom
*Exclusively created by Georges Blanc, Vonnas
Wok fried marinated pork chop with Chinese barbecue sauce served with braised beancurd and vegetables, steamed rice
Seared salmon trout served with cilantro pesto butter, vine ripened cherry tomato and olive oil flavored potato
Papardella pasta with vegetables in basil pesto, roasted vine ripened cherry tomato, asparagus
*Specially created meatless dish
I ordered the Book the Cook, and the Singaporean Chicken Rice was excellent, as the chicken was tender and moist, and the rice was wonderfully flavored. Three sauces were provided (served in first class ramekins curiously) – dark soy sauce, ginger & garlic sauce, and chili sauce.
The Cheese Board
Gourmet Cheese with garnishes
I had the cheese plate, which featured Camembert (but pre-packaged President’s kind), white Cheddar, and goat cheese flavored with herb, walnuts, dried apricots, and grapes.
A Sweet Note
Cherry ice cream with chunky chocolate and whole cherry served with vanilla sauce and tuile
A selection of fresh fruit
Great ice cream, and the fruit basket featured banana, apple, oranges, and peaches.
A Connoisseur’s Choice
WISEMEN 3000 was nice and I watched some short subjects, and then did some duty free shopping, including buying the A380 model. I also noticed a new blanket was used by SQ, which was softer and a nice color.
We began descent at 2:03pm, and we landed on R/W25R at 2:33pm, and parked at gate 24 at 2:42pm. I was a bit disappointed that the F/A forgot to bring my Raffles Class’ writing pads I requested, but I guess there was always a second time.
Well here is the end of my July report!
Northwest was a fine carrier, if you set your expectation right. Intra-Asian flights continued to be better than the over-water segment. Food wise – Northwest tried hard and the snack basket on the NRT-BKK/SIN segment was nice, and most of the snacks could be reused, so no wastage and people who were hungry could get a substantial bite. I am fine with WBC seat, but then the AVOD entertainment was good, but some more short subjects should be added.
Emirates is an amazing experience, and Dubai International Airport is great. Not sure if they have the cheapest price, but good enough for me. The EK lounges are great and the guestrooms at F lounge are nice. Now on my return, I have a much longer layover. I wonder what I should do… 5am to 11pm… should I join a tour?
Cathay Pacific is fine, but ex-BKK food is a disappointment. It can do better, and SQ scores a bit higher in terms of food. The service though is good as usual. SIN-CMB is definitely a nicer flight than BKK-CMB. However the regional J seats at the Boeing 777-300s are getting tired looking, and the new regional seat is just awful. I think CX should stick with the lounge chair design and just update the seats with electronic seat control, better seat padding, and AVOD. 45 inches of legroom is acceptable on these short flights, but I think CX should not these regional planes on these long flights to Middle East, and Australia.
Singapore Airlines is amazing in any aspect, and food wise, it is second to none. Only ANA’s international long haul food can match up with SQ (but then ANA’s short and medium haul J food was not that good). The regional seat at the two-class Boeing 777-200ER was actually not too bad, and reclines seemed to be a bit better than the three-class regional configuration with a bit more recline. The only thing is the lack of AVOD PTV, but I guess as the next wave of Boeing 777s and 787s arrived, it will be changed.
The next report will be in mid-August, as I will head for Europe and my first ride on the new J bed of Finnair and VLM’s Fokker 50.
HB-IWC From Indonesia, joined Sep 2000, 4591 posts, RR: 70
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6782 times:
Quoting Carfield (Reply 3): Unfortunately the main problem was the lack of storage bins, and all the overhead bins were removed.
That is indeed a problem on the EK A345. I was on a DXB-JFK flight will a full F-cabin and I had to had over my stroller to the cabin crew as there is really no space to stow it in the immediate vicinity of the seat. I found it annoying to have to ask the cabin crew when I wanted something from my bag.
Apart from that, my experience with the EK A345 has been equally formidable as yours.
EK773 From Malta, joined Jul 2004, 242 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6307 times:
Without boring you with the finer details of our service manuals, the service between KIX-DXB is hot-light meal after take off and then hot breakfast before landing. However the services dont really apply in First Class on A340-500 as you may order what ever you want whenever you choose from the 'Room Service' menu. Breakfast after take off and a hot meal before landing, the choice is yours.
Sadly you'll be flying through night all the way, but dont let that deter you from taking more pics.
767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2094 posts, RR: 23
Reply 12, posted (9 years 4 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 6181 times:
Excellent report! The pics from your Emirates flight from DXB on the A345 are amazing. The food and the service seems to be far superior than almost any other airline. The cabin looks unique and lavish. I really hope to have the opportunity to fly Emirates soon.