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To the Oil Rigs of Iraq and Oman! on IA, EK and AF

Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:12 pm

Hey guys and girls,

I recently returned from my first trip of 2018, this time, it led me to the Rumaila Oil Field in Basra, Iraq (Fun fact, there is a Household Cavalry horse named Rumaila, after the oil field where the regiment fought), followed by the West Bukha Oil Field in Oman.

I received my itinerary and was excited to see it involved a trip on the mysterious Iraqi Airways from Manchester.
My route would take me from MAN-BGW-BSR-DXB-CDG-MAN, on Iraqi Airways, Emirates and Air France respectively.

Since it was more convenient for me to travel from my home airport of Manchester, the lovely people in the travel department allowed me to travel from MAN instead of going down to London as per procedure, and then travel from London Gatwick.

Airline: Iraqi Airways
Route: Manchester, UK to Baghdad, Iraq
Scheduled Departure: 21:00
Actual Departure: 21:12
Scheduled Arrival: 06:15+1
Actual Arrival: 05:35+1
Scheduled Flight Duration: 6 hours 15 minutes
Aircraft Type/Reg: Airbus A320-200 (YI-ARA)
Seat: 2A
Class: Business

I arrived at Manchester Terminal 1 at around 1900. My flight to Baghdad took up 3 check-in desks in total, 2 for Economy, 1 for Business.
The polite swissport agent informed me I was the only person in business class this evening and asked if I had a preference of seat or if I wanted to keep my current seat of 2A. I decided to just keep my current seat, dropped my bag off, which had been checked all the way to Basra, before making my way through security. Security wasn't too busy, the back end of the pax for the 2035 Emirates flight to Dubai being pretty much the only other people around.
As an IA business class passenger I was not eligible for any lounge access, so I mooched around in the departure lounge for nearly an hour and a half before we were finally called to Gate 12 for boarding.
At Gate 12, I found myself joined by the same Swissport agent who checked us in, along with a total of 8 others. That's right, a total load factor of 9.
The Swissport agent approached me in my seat and asked me to come forward for boarding, before making the announcement that general boarding would now commence. We boarded via a jetway, and I was greeted onboard by 2 crew, one female, one male, who had the biggest fake smiles i've ever seen in my entire life :lol:
I took my seat in 2A, and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible for the 6 hour flight which lay ahead.
Business class consisted of 4 rows of 2x2, bright blue leather seats, which reclined 36", and also had a footrest which extended, very similar to US Domestic First class products. There was a foldout TV from the centre panel, and my tray table folded out from the window-side armrest.
Honestly, the seats were really comfortable, I was pleasantly surprised.
All other 8 pax boarded very quickly, and the door was soon closed and we were pushing back.
The crew performed a manual safety demo in 2 languages, before the cabin lights were promptly switched off.
As we taxied to the runway the crew offered me a cold bottle of Smartwater.
As I sunk into my seat, all the cabin lights switched off and I stared out of the window, it struck me that I was on my way to Iraq, my first time back since I was deployed there with the Royal Marines (Operation TELIC 1 during the invasion of Iraq, and again on Op TELIC 9 in 2006/7), and I had a mix of emotion, I was sad, excited, nervous, apprehensive about stepping foot in the country which tore my world apart 6 months at a time. I like to tell myself it wasn't for nothing, and so I was excited to see how the country, particularly Basra where we had been deployed too, had developed.
Soon enough, the bright lights of EGCC faded away as we climbed into the clouds over Manchester, we made a long right turn, taking us towards Yorkshire, as we continued our climb. The departure was very smooth, and the cabin stayed in pretty much pitch black, with the lights off until we were well into our climb, 16000ft according to the TV.
As we reached the North Sea, the crew started the inflight service, 1 crew member stayed in Business, while 3 served Economy.
I was first offered a drink, I took a glass of coke, and I was offered a "Classic Arabic Mezze", consisting of Hummus, Tabouleh, and Baba Ghanoush served with Arabic bread. It was very well presented, and actually tasted okay.
Before I was finished, the crew, offered me the choice of 2 mains, Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Tortellini or Lamb Shawarma wrap with tahina sauce.
I took the Tortellini, which again was well presented, and tasted great, however the portion was tiny, and not sufficient at all.
Dessert, consisted of what seemed to be an M&S Fruit Salad, which was pretty old by the taste of it :lol:
Weird fact, for some reason Iraqi Airways don't serve coffee, only tea. Anybody know why?
After dessert, the crew offered me a blanket (However it was more like a luxurious hotel duvet), and a memory foam pillow, and I shut my eyes to tried and catch some Z's. The cabin were lights were again "dimmed", and we were plunged into near darkness yet again.
Surprisingly, I crashed out straight away, and I awoke as we were approaching Baghdad.
I awoke to the cabin lights still dimmed, and with it being pitch black outside still it made the cabin pretty cozy. We were quite a way into our descent at this point, and the crew soon turned the lights in the cabin back to full brightness so they could complete their finals checks before our arrival.
It appeared there was no breakfast service at all, so I hadn't missed much.
However, before we knew it, after an incredibly steep descent, we had a pretty smooth arrival into Baghdad. The taxi to the terminal took no more than 5 minutes, and we docked on stand.
We disembarked onto these very modern, glass airbridges, which were wonderfully air conditioned.
I was surprised to see the terminal at Baghdad was incredibly modern, it has high ceilings, it is wonderfully decorated and has a magnificent mix of smells, it made for a relaxed atmosphere, despite its location.
I made my way through what seemed to be a newly built "Transit" corridor, through Iraqi Customs which consisted of several serious looking blokes who were armed to the teeth checking my passport and papers one at a time, before I proceeded through a second round of security screening.
Strangely, the security staff were all Bangladeshi, and were very pleasant, however it involved quite a strange and intimate frisking in a cubical next to the screening area by a male member of staff. Finally, I made my way back into the departure lounge of the "Babylon Terminal".
The departure lounge was relatively small, with a large portion taken up by a newly opened "Iraq Duty Free", which is near enough identical to the large duty free at Heathrow Terminal 5. Other than that, there was a couple of small cafes, a smoking area and the remainder of the space was taken up by seating areas.
The departure lounge was packed with people, as well as several armed guards, who seemed to be contractors, cutting around the departure lounge with what looked like C8's/M4's or equivalent. Upon further investigation, I found out they were a mixed bag of friendly Ugandan and Australian folk working for, as suspected, a quite well known PMC.

Airline: Iraqi Airways
Route: Baghdad, Iraq to Basra, Iraq
Scheduled Departure: 09:15
Actual Departure: 09:26
Scheduled Arrival: 10:15
Actual Arrival: 10:05
Scheduled Flight Duration: 1 hour 00 minutes
Aircraft Type/Reg: Bombardier CRJ-900 (YI-AQF)
Seat: 7A
Class: All-Economy

After quite a wait, and after several unbelievably strong(yet cheap!) coffees at one of the cafes, boarding was called at 08:45.
We walked down some stairs, across a road, and boarded our shiny CR9 via the front door steps.
A friendly purser greeted us at the main door, and further down the cabin stood the second and final flight attendant.
I took my seat in 7A, which was like any other CR9 seat, pretty cramped, with average legroom. The flight load was pretty full this morning, however I was lucky to have 7B free, it seemed to be one of two free seats in the cabin.
Boarding finished up pretty quickly though, and the door soon slammed shut.
We were shown a manual safety demo, by 1 F/A stood at row 1, so probably pretty difficult for people in the back to see, this was done in both English and Arabic. The in-flight magazine, "IraqSky", was written in English, Arabic, and some parts included Kurdish.
We made a short taxi out to the runway, and made a rolling take-off.
Our departure was incredibly steep, and we made a left turn almost immediately as the wheels left the ground. We maintained this left turn, all the while in this ridiculous climb for a good 10 minutes, before we finally levelled off and made a right turn to head towards Basra.
There were no announcements throughout the flight by the crew, therefore we didn't know that there was in fact no inflight service today.
Interesting to note the seatbelt sign stayed on for the entirety of the flight, and the crew seemed to remain in their seats chatting for the whole flight.
However after not long at all, we were on our way down to BSR.
Last time I was on an aircraft approaching BSR, I had full body armour on, helmet, all the window blinds were closed, and we were onboard a rickety old VC-10.
We made a nice smooth approach, there were no clouds and the sun was fully shining.
After a soft landing onto the runway, it felt strange to hear an announcement welcoming me to Basra, where the temperature was a lovely 22C.
The airport has not changed one bit since I was here over 10 years ago, less the addition of airbridges.
We parked up in between a FlyDubai 738 and a Qatar A319, both of which were deboarding pax via stairs instead of using the airbridges.
We joined them in disembarking, skipping the now quite busy customs queue thanks to our domestic arrival, heading straight to baggage reclaim.
Now was the lottery of finding whether my bag actually made it all the way from Manchester.
After a tense 10 minute wait, mine was the first bag out! :lol:

I made my way outside, to the unchanged landside part of the airport, and met up with some colleagues who drove me to the Rumaila Oil Field.
It made me quite emotional to see Basra once again, this time, thriving with life, cars everywhere, bustling markets, children in school uniforms playing in playgrounds we built, outside schools we rebuilt after they were demolished! Seeing happy locals, smiles from ear to ear standing outside buildings or on roads and street or roundabouts that I had personally fought at, it was surreal to see the change, It was very good to see, and brought a tear to my eye.
Finally I arrived at the Rumaila oil field, and found my accomodation.
I passed out pretty quick after I hit that bed! :lol:

Now you might be wondering from my previous reports, why the hell am I here, when I always visit offshore oil rigs, especially when my job title is Chief OFFshore HSE inspector, why am I at an onshore oil field?
Well, not even I know the answer to that question, however, onshore and offshore inspectors are all looking at essentially the same thing so it was really no different for me here.

After 2 days here, it was time to depart, I had a tan by the time I left.
I was taken by to Basra airport, and dropped off at the drop off point outside the terminal.
The terminal interior is literally unchanged, and looks more like a train station.

Airline: Emirates
Route: Basra, Iraq to Dubai, UAE
Scheduled Departure: 10:30
Actual Departure: 10:33
Scheduled Arrival: 13:15
Actual Arrival: 13:09
Scheduled Flight Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
Aircraft Type/Reg: Boeing 777-300ER (A6-EGC)
Seat: 1K
Class: First

I used the one dedicated EK First check-in desk to drop my bag off. For this flight, there was a near empty first cabin, and so I was happy to take Suite 1K.
Security was pretty quick, even with the lack of fast track which wasn't exactly a surprise, and then I entered into the departure lounge.
Unfortunately, the VIP Lounge was closed (im not entirely sure if it's ever open), but the departure lounge had actually seen a bit of a revamp since I was last here, with the introduction of a new and modern "Iraq Duty Free", and even a starbucks :lol:
Since I had over an hour until departure, and with the aircraft well en-route to BSR, I thought i'd treat myself to a coffee from starbucks, and have a bit of a wonder of Iraq Duty Free.
I took a seat by the giant window overlooking the airport and watched our beast A6-EGC arrive from DXB ahead of schedule.

At 09:55, boarding was called in the normal order, First and FF, then Biz and so on.
We boarded via an airbridge, and I was greeted onboard by a fellow manc! :lol: Who was as surprised to hear my accent as I was to hear hers, and she guided me to my suite. She took my jacket, and my bag, and asked if I would like a drink.
No booze until after departure, so I took an OJ, which was ice cold.
Standard for EK, no matter how wonderful the suites and the crew and service are, the tacky gold and faux-wood everything interior will always spoil it for me.
In First, there were 3 of us for this 1 hour 45 minute flight to Dubai.
I made myself comfortable in the seat, which was delightful, tuned into the airshow on the TV and enjoyed the view from all 3 of my windows. You've all read about Emirates First suites before, so I'll spare you the details, as it was pretty standard.
After pushback and safety demo, we made the short taxi out to the runway and blasted off into the wonderfully sunny skies.
There was no messing around with the in-flight service, and very shortly after departure, the crew offered us a drink, some warm nuts, and a menu.
Emirates don't cheap out on the champers, and I took a glass of Dom Perignon with the nuts which was nice.
Today, we had the offer of a "Cold Light Meal".
The crew distributed a tray, which contained Grilled Chicken served with yellow lentil salad, haloumi and feta, that was delicious and went down a treat, alongside a cold glass of Coke. Also on the layup was a hot bread roll a fresh fruit salad.
Shortly after this was cleared away I was offered a cup of tea or coffee, I thought i'd mix it up, and took a cup of tea.
The service was pretty impressive from EK, especially for a short of this duration.
In no time, we were descending down towards DXB.
Soon enough, we were on the ground in an equally hot Dubai.
It has to be easily one of the strangest views i've seen, with Dubai's extra futuristic Terminal 3, EK's army of A380's all lined up, with a vast desert stretching as far as the eye can see in the background.
After what seemed a longer amount of time taxiing than we spent in the air, we finally arrived on stand.
Disembarkation was quick for us in First and Business, and I quickly made my way to customs, thankfully, the crew had handed me a neat little card onboard, allowing First pax to go through their own dedicated customs.

Customs was cleared in no more than 5 minutes, and the priority baggage tags on my bag seemed to work as I didn't wait long for my bag to be delivered. Before I knew it, I met my driver, grabbed a starbucks, and jumped in the very cool Rolls Royce Ghost which would drive me the 3 hour journey, across the border to Khasab, Oman.

2 hours 26 minutes later, I arrived at the Atana Musandam Resort, in Khasab.

The resort was beautiful and luxurious. I dropped my stuff in my room and was shown around the picturesque seaside town of Khasab.
I headed back to my resort, and tucked into an amazing Seafood mixed grill, all of which was caught just hours before. The food was amazing, and the people of Khasab were wonderful and hospitable.
However, I had an early start in the morning so decided to get an early night.

At 5am, my alarm went off, and I was taken to Khasab Airport. The airport itself was closed at this time of the morning, with the only scheduled flights being by Oman Air directly from Muscat, however I was able to proceed through a separate checkpoint, and proceed to the AgustaWestland AW139 operated by AeroGulf, which will take me to the West Bukha oil field. There were 13 passengers onboard this flight. Strangely, oil rigs in this field aren't named, simply numbers, so this flight was routing Khasab-Rig 4-Rig 5-Khasab, it would land only on 4 and 5 as these were largest with the biggest helipads, workers from 1,2,3 and 6 and would take boats to 4 or 5 to catch flights home.

The flight took around 25 minutes, and we soon touched down on Rig 4.
Fortunately for me, our company only operates from Rig 4 and 1, so I wouldn't need to rig-jump across all 6.
The temperature was around 22 degrees at 7am, and got progressively hotter as the day went on.
I tucked into a hearty breakfast with the workers on the rig, who were mostly Asians, before I cracked on with what I had to do.
For a part of the world which has become so hi-tech, this oil rig was extremely low tech, to the point where the water would only run at certain times of day, and the hot water was timed.
After spending a night in the recently revamped accommodation, I climbed down a ladder to sea level and took a small fishing boat from Rig 4 to Rig 1, which was considerably smaller in size. The sun and the calm turquoise sea made for a pleasant journey.
Rig 1 is pretty much a shrunk version of Rig 4, with a workforce of less than 100.
After doing what I had to do, I took the same tiny fishing boat back to Rig 4, and waited for the 1700 flight back to Khasab, along with 5 others waiting to go home.
The same AW139 at 1700, dropped off 5 people, and we boarded. We made a smooth 10 minute flight to Rig 5, where 10 people got off, and we were joined by another 11, a full load for the flight back to Khasab. No requirement for an immersion suit for these flights so it was a quick turnaround and 35 minutes later we touched down in Khasab.

I was taken back to the Atana Musandam Resort just to collect my bags, and this time a bright white Escalade arrived to take me back to Dubai.
The journey took a little longer this time, and nearly 3 and a half hours later we arrived in Dubai, and I was dropped off at DXB Terminal 1.

Airline: Air France
Route: Dubai, UAE to Paris Charles de Gaulle, France
Scheduled Departure: 01:30
Actual Departure: 01:53
Scheduled Arrival: 06:05
Actual Arrival: 06:17
Scheduled Flight Duration: 7 hours 35 minutes
Aircraft Type/Reg: Boeing 777-300ER (F-GZND)
Seat: 1L
Class: La Premiere

I made my way to the AFKL check in desks, and used the La Premiere dedicated check in desk.
I dropped my bag off all the way through to Manchester, and the lovely check-in agent tagged my bags with about 4 different Priority and connection tags :lol:

A first for me, here, a member of staff will escort you through all of the departure formalities and drop you in the DCA Ahlan First Class lounge. "Sara", a KLM uniformed member of the ground staff, escorted me through passport control and security, we boarded the train which would take us to Concourse D.
The lounge is on the upper level, while many many many shops and duty free outlets are on the gate level.
Sara asked if I would prefer to use the Skyteam lounge or the DCA lounge which is for first class pax only, I of course opted for the DCA lounge.
Through the automatic double doors and Sara hands me over to the wonderful staff inside the lounge, where the staff checked my boarding pass, and gave me a quick tour.
There is an enormous TV which shows Flight Radar 24 zoomed in on DXB which is pretty cool and unique as i've never personally seen it before.
The lounge features an amazing cooked to order menu, and the menu is extensive with options from every type of cuisine you can think of. Not only this, but the lounge also features a large buffet of fresh cold food.
I got some Sushi which was absolutely delicious, and the waiter recommended a Japanese beer to accompany it, so I got a glass of "Asahi", which although not the best beer i've had, it did complement the sushi perfectly.
I wish I could have stayed to enjoy a multi-course meal, however, I thought it might have been a good time to leave and head to the gate.
As I was walking past the front desk to leave the lounge, Sara was there, talking to the staff, and she told me she was here to escort me to the gate. I hopped on a dnata golf buggy, and we drove to gate D18, where I proceeded straight to the desk. Here, Sara handed me over to Fatima, who took me down the airbridge to the aircraft. At the aircraft door, I was once again handed over, this time to the crew, who took my coat and bag, and offered me a drink.
At first glance, the seats look really exposed and offer no privacy, however there is an aisle-side partition which can be raised, and curtains which fully enclose the suite, making it actually one of the most private First suites I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Opposite the seat there is an ottoman type thing, where if travelling with somebody can double up as a seat so you can eat together, it also has a neat storage compartment.
There was lots of little compartments and storage spaces, in the armrest there was a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones and the remote for the TV, and next to that were the seat controls.
Another cool feature was that AF seem to have got rid of window blinds for the 4 windows which are in a suite, and have replaced them with automatic shades which you can control from your seat controls.
In First today there was just myself and one other, leaving both middle suites free.
The crew bought out a bucket of ice, which contained a bottle of Bollinger champagne and a bottle OJ.
"Some Champagne?" she asked, "Or perhaps both?".
Both indeed. The Champagne was pretty good, no don perignon, but good nonetheless ;) And the OJ was freshly squeezed and you can never beat that. I was then bought a bowl of nuts and mixed dried fruit, pretty much trail mix, which was nice.
A few minutes later, "Nicolette" came by again, she told me that she was my dedicated hostess for the flight, and presented me the "Clarita" amenity kit, along with some pyjamas.
Nicolette was everything you would expect for a high end French service, she was charming, polite and professional, and I have no doubts that she would have been the boss onboard Concorde back in the day.
The pyjamas were actually super soft, and for the first time ever, I was quite tempted to actually wear them :lol:
She asked if I would like a top up of Champagne or OJ, bearing in mind boarding hadn't even finished at this point and I was already on Glass #2 :lol:

After boarding was completed, the glasses and bowls were cleared up, and after the safety demonstration(which is brilliant I must say), we were presented with food & beverage menus. Both menus were extensive, and I was looking forward to tucking in to some food before trying to catch some sleep.
There is even an option to create your own salad from a list of various ingredients.
The cabin lights were dimmed and we joined a queue of various EK aircraft awaiting departure.
We became airborne 23 minutes behind schedule, departure was smooth, and we had wonderful views of the city as we climbed away.
Very soon after departure Nicolette came by, she asked me if I would like a drink, which I took a beer which came in the form of a Heineken, she also took my order for my starter and main. Nicolette politely informed me that the other passenger in La Premiere had ordered a special meal, so all of the mains and starters on the menu were available, and she encouraged me to take more than one :lol:
I ordered the Poached Jumbo Shrimp for starter, and I took both the Grilled filet of Beef and the Swordfish steak with herbs and lemon salsa. Following this she disappeared shortly, then reappeared to make my table for me. The windows in La Premiere were all dimmed, and the lights were on quite a dim setting, although enough to see everything if that makes sense, so it made for a very cozy and romantic setting, would be good if travelling with ones better half :lol:
The tableware that Air France use is all custom designed and look beautiful.
Not long after, I was presented with the Jumbo Shrimp, which was served with chinese noodles, it was wonderfully presented, and it tasted absolutely spectacular. Nicolette recommended a particular red wine, and offered me a glass to accompany the shrimp, which went down a treat.
I inhaled the shrimp, and was keen to get started on my 2 mains :lol:
I must note, that each time I am offered something, whether its food, drink, or just a bowl of nuts, it's presented on a wonderful silver tray.
Just a few minutes after she had cleared away my starter, my whopping great big main came.
The beef was served with leeks, potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, and I tucked into this first, as recommended by Nicolette.
I was also offered another drink, however this time I kept it clean and took a Coke, with came with ice and a slice in a neat little Air France glass. No sooner after I finished the beef, was I tucking into the Swordfish, which was served with coriander rice, sugar snap peas, carrots and bell peppers. Honestly, the Swordfish has to be THE best food i've ever been served on an aircraft, it was absolutely wonderful, it must have been evident that I enjoyed it, as Nicolette even offered me seconds.
Like a pig, I took them, but it would have been stupid not too :lol:
I passed on a dessert, as I was stuffed from eating 3 mains. I decided to go and get ready for bed in the bathroom, using the wonderful amenity kit, even though I had no idea what any of the various creams etc did :lol:

Once I returned, I noticed my bed had been turned down for me, and I was wished a good night by Nicolette and her La Premiere colleague. I asked Nicolette to kindly wake me in time for Breakfast service. She asked me what I would like so she could have it ready, so I opted for the Continental breakfast, as I didn't know if i'd be feeling waffles come the morning.
I layed down on the bed, the bedding is incredibly comfortable, probably the best i've experienced on a plane, which made sense since the bedding was from Sofitel, and Nicolette whipped the curtains shut, leaving my suite in pitch black darkness, less the light from the TV.
Honestly, it was amazing, and so cozy I could have stayed here forever.
I managed to catch a good couple of hours of solid sleep which was really pleasant.
However I was soon woken from my dreams by Nicolette, who as requested woke me up in time for breakfast, little did I know she was actually bringing me breakfast in bed. She quickly set up my table with one hand, juggling a breakfast tray in the other.
Croissants, various pastries, strawberry yoghurt, a fresh fruit salad, a glass of cold orange juice delivered to me while I lay in bed. She also asked if I would like a coffee, which I definitely accepted. A few moments later she returned with a coffee, which came with a separate jug of milk, sugar cubes, and some biscoff biscuits.
Honestly the personal attention I received here on AF will take some beating. I looked at the TV and noticed we were over Augsburg, so I quickly ate a bit of brekkie, drunk my coffee, before whipping my curtains open, blinding myself in the daylight :lol:
My table was quickly cleared away, and I went to the lavatory to freshen up.
The cabin had a wonderful smell of Cinnamon, almost like someone was burning incense sticks.
I returned to my seat to find it had been tidied up for arrival, and not long after I sat back down, we started our descent.
A final round of coffee from Nicolette, and then the crew did their final checks as we came into a cloudy and rainy CDG.
Approach was smooth, as was touchdown, and we were soon welcomed to Paris.
Here was where I got a little nervous, as we arrived behind schedule, I had less than an hour to make my connecting flight to Manchester.
I thought i'd leave it for now, and try and rush my way through connections.

As we arrived on stand, I said goodbye to Nicolette and thanked her for her wonderful hospitality, and as I stepped off of the aircraft I was met my "Margaux", who very enthusiastically jumped in front of me and greeted me with "Good Morning Mr. Fitzgerald", "Connecting to flight 1668 correct?"
Honestly, I didn't know the flight number, so I just nodded along and hoped I was correct :lol:
How did she know who I was? Creepy :lol: But excellent service.

Airline: Air France
Route: Paris Charles de Gaulle, France to Manchester, UK
Scheduled Departure: 07:20
Actual Departure: 07:30
Scheduled Arrival: 07:55
Actual Arrival: 07:39
Scheduled Flight Duration: 1 hour 25 minutes
Aircraft Type/Reg: Airbus A319-100 (F-GRHF)
Seat: 3A
Class: Business

Margaux asked if I would like to quickly stop in the lounge for a drink, or if I would prefer to go directly to the gate.
I opted for the gate, and she guided me through SkyPriority Passport Control, then security, before she dropped me at Gate K35.
CDG T2E departure gates have a TV showing quite detailed info on the flight, including food offerings, and info about the captain.
Boarding was called pretty quickly, in the normal order.
From the gate to the aircraft door is quite a long walk, but eventually I was greeted onboard by a friendly crew. I took my seat at 3A, typical of any euro-business class, it was 3 Y seats with the middle seat blocked. The Business class seats had some pretty cool AF pillows on them however.
The flight was about half full, however as the crew stated, the flight was fully booked on the way back to CDG.
Luckily, I was the only person in row 3 today, but row 1 was full, and row 2 had 2/4 seats full.
We were quickly handed hot towels, which was nice to help me wake up a little, followed by a cold bottle of water.
After a manual safety demo, we pushed back, and joined the queue for departure.
Our noisy old A319 was soon in the air, making a hell of noise.
The crew sprung into action quickly, shutting the curtain, and serving me first which was lucky, firstly a round of drinks, I got a coffee and an OJ, followed by breakfast.
Breakfast was actually pretty good and was a substantial offering, it consisted of a cheese roll, with a selection of cold meats, a yoghurt, and a fruit salad. It was decent and definitely filled me up until I got home.
Not really much to write home about on this flight, after the meal service, our trays were cleared, we were offered a second round of drinks, where I got yet another coffee and OJ, before the crew swiftly cleared everything away in prep for arrival.
We descended at a pretty sharp angle, and made a long left turn to line us up with 23L. Our approach was made quite turbulent with the thick clouds, but the touchdown was smooth, and we then made the long taxi to Terminal 3.
We docked on stand, and it was only a short time before the door opened and we disembarked.
Customs was dead, and I was through quickly. Baggage delivery took quite a while, but my bag did make it all the way from DXB despite the short connection, and I headed out to a patiently waiting wife.

The product offered by AF was absolutely amazing, I felt lucky to be able to experience it, and I genuinely felt welcomed and at home 36000 feet in the air.

Thanks, I hope you enjoyed reading, comments welcome as always!
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:11 am

Re: To the Oil Rigs of Iraq and Oman! on IA, EK and AF

Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:26 pm

Photos please.....
Posts: 450
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:42 am

Re: To the Oil Rigs of Iraq and Oman! on IA, EK and AF

Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:49 pm

I love your reports! I wish I had a job like yours. Keep them coming and safe travels!
Fly me to the moon let me play among the stars.
Posts: 960
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:54 pm

Re: To the Oil Rigs of Iraq and Oman! on IA, EK and AF

Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:08 am

bgboiflyer wrote:
Photos please.....

+1, I've never seen an IA TR before and a TR is incomplete without photos.
Posts: 3237
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

Re: To the Oil Rigs of Iraq and Oman! on IA, EK and AF

Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:07 pm

Yes, pictures PLEASE!!!

What I don't understand, the airline is still banned from the EU... So why is it operating from MAN?! ... ist_en.pdf

IRAQI AIRWAYS - CARRIERS WHICH ARE BANNED FROM OPERATING WITHIN THE UNION, WITH EXCEPTIONS;Air carriers listed in Annex A could be permitted to exercise traffic rights by using wet-leased aircraft of an air carrier which is not subject to an operating ban, provided that the relevant safety standards are complied with

Following today's update, a total of 178 airlines are banned from EU skies:
Six individual airlines, based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran),Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:05 pm

Re: To the Oil Rigs of Iraq and Oman! on IA, EK and AF

Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:05 pm

So, um, how does one become an oil rig inspector?

Also, AF First sounds divine.
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Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: To the Oil Rigs of Iraq and Oman! on IA, EK and AF

Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:37 pm

Pictures would have been fascinating.
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:53 pm

Re: To the Oil Rigs of Iraq and Oman! on IA, EK and AF

Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:27 am

The corkscrew take offs and landings are for security. That is why you spiral up and down into those airports, to keep you above their controlled perimeter as much as possible.
Nice report BTW!
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"

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