Date: 20th July 2001
Route: Manchester - Dubai
Aircraft: A330-200 (A6 EAA)
I arrived at Manchester Airport T3 at 10:45am to check in for my 2pm Emirates (EK036) flight to Dubai in economy. Check in was quick and my boarding cards were issued for both of my flights with Emirates. I was through to the departure lounge shortly after 11am. It was my first ever flight from Terminal 3 and the first thing I noticed was how small it was compared to the other two terminals, mainly due to it being primarily a domestic terminal with most flights operated by British Airways and OneWorld members. I had a brief look around some of the shops and had a coffee at Starbucks whilst looking out onto the tarmac. A particular highlight for me was seeing a bmi british midland A330 depart for Washington. I saw many other aircraft including a Delta 777 depart for Atlanta in the following c/s:
Photo © Simon Willson
I proceeded to gate 55 about an hour before departure where my aircraft was parked. It was an A330-200 (with the Dubai Summmer Surprises logo on the fuselage):
Photo © Chris Sheldon
As I waited at the gate a British Airways 737 bound for Milan was boarding at gate 54. Boarding for my flight commenced at 1:30pm and I made my way to my seat 14K. Newspapers and Menu's were distributed as people took their seats. We pushed back pretty much on time, at 2:05pm and taxied to the new 2nd runway. Take off was smooth and we headed over north Manchester past the Trafford Centre and towards the Pennines. One thing I really liked about Emirates was their onboard cameras. I watched the ground cam as we lifted off the runway which was pretty weird to watch. Looking out of the window I got a great view of the city of Manchester, Old Trafford and the Airport.
The route to Dubai took us eastwards over Sheffield, down the North Sea, over Holland, Germany and the Balkans where we experienced a period of turbulence. We then flew over Turkey, Cyprus, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and on to Dubai. I found the airshow an interesting feature of the inflight entertainment. The PTV's were also very good, touch screen with loads of channels of entertainment and computer games.
Refreshments were served about an hour into the flight, by which time we had reached our crusing altitude of 37,000ft and were travelling at a ground speed of 583mph. I had a Gin and Tonic, as I always do on flights!
Dinner was served 3hrs into the flight and there was a choice of lamb or chicken. I had the chicken which was accompanied with couscous and vegetables. Also included was Prawn Cocktail, Mixed Salad, Chocolate Praline Mousse and Cheese and Biscuits. Steel cutlery was also standard which was a unique experience for me as it was my first scheduled flight ever!!!
After Dinner the cabin lights were dimmed to allow passengers to catch up on sleep. I had a walk around the cabin and the flight was completely full. I found the cabin of the A330 very pleasant in the 2-4-2 config and it felt quite spacious.
5-6hrs into the flight tea and coffee were served and later on choc ices were served which I thought was a nice touch. The cabin crew were excellent and they provided great service throughout the flight. The only thing I would have liked was more announcements from the flight deck, as there were only 2. However, I guess the airshow gives most of the info.
We arrived at Dubai at 12:20am local time, 10 mins late. Our flying time was 7hrs. The aircraft taxied to the terminal and we parked at gate 1 next to another A330 which had arrived from Birmingham. I disembarked and proceeded to the transfer desk for the next leg of my flight.
Route: Dubai - Bangkok
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300 (No Reg. Sorry! It was dark and I was tired!)
I proceeded to gate 23 for my 3:15am flight to Bangkok which was continuing to Hong Kong. I watched the (Huge!) aircraft being prepared for departure. Boarding commenced at 2:40am and I made my way to my seat 10F, this time I was in the middle row. The cabin of the 777 is more open and spacious than that of the A330 and has a config of 3-4-3, however I still felt cramped in the middle row, the window seats are much better in my opinion.
Photo © Martin Muhr
We departed on time and taxied to the runway. Again, I watched the onboard cameras. We began our roll down the runway which was very very long and lifted into the air. There was a very loud whining noise in the cabin during takeoff, like on a DC-10, which I thought was a bit strange. Thankfully, this noise stopped once we reached our cruising altitude. Airogyms were handed out to everyone onboard shortly after take off which were complimentary of Emirates. Hot towels were given out followed by a juice service. Lights were then dimmed and I got some well needed sleep. 4hrs later breakfast was served where there was a choice of Omelette or Chicken. Hot towels were again given out before arrival at Bangkok. I watched the approach into Bangkok on the onboard camera and I was surprised to see how much the plane deviates from the centre of the runway during approach, swinging from one side to the other - quite exciting to watch.
Overall, my outward trip was excellent and considering that I had been travelling for 20hrs I felt very comfortable on arrival at Bangkok.
However, my return trip was far from that. I had travelled down to Singapore during my trip through Thailand and caught a flight from Singapore to Dubai on a 777-200, then after two days in Dubai I would fly DXB-MAN. My flight from SIN-DXB was subject to a delay of 15hrs!!!! Which was announced while we were at the gate waiting to board. The delay was due to a navigation system failure. I was accommodated in a hotel but I lost a day of my holiday and now had only one day in Dubai. And it doesn't stop there! After my short stay in Dubai it was time to fly back to Manchester. I was hoping that the plane wouldn't be delayed again. What are the chances of that happening I thought - this is Emirates, worlds best! I Got to the gate, boarded and we pushed back right on time, 7:35am. The aircraft was an A330 Reg. A6 EAC. We then taxied to the runway and began our take off roll. Half way down the runway the engines stopped and take off was aborted. We then turned of the runway and taxied onto a remote stand. The first officer appologised for "not taking off" and apparently a light had come on in the flight deck showing a problem with the air conditioning system (apparently!) A 1.5hr delay followed where we had to sit on the plane not knowing what was going on. Eventually we departed and arrived an hour late at Manchester.
Thats my report, and thanks for sticking with it and hope you enjoyed it! Overall I thought Emirates were excellent, I was just very unlucky on the return trip but even during the delay Emirates handled the situation very well and sorted out a very nice hotel and food for everyone. Looking back at my flight home I just have to laugh at it all but at the time it was a bit frustrating!
Thanks again for reading my report, any comments or questions are welcome!