EK 72, 22 july 2002
EQPT: A330-200 (A6-AEI)
Got to the airport 3 hours prior to sked departure (15H30). I booked my seat way ahead of time and got 17J which was an isle seat. However, try to avoid this row cause the video box for row 16 which is the first row in the Y class actually can be found in the floor space in front of you !!! Well, I spent the next 6 hours leaning to one side whenever I felt like stretching my legs. Plane was full almost every seat was taken. Push off from the gate as was boarding was late (about 10 to 15 minutes). They announced once aboard that they were still trying to locate a pax and that maybe we had to off load the pax’s bag if not located. No further news on that but we left the gate at 15H45, taxied until about 15H58 and was on hold for take off (28R-08L). Take off roll started at 16H01 and was just a couple minutes but felt very very powerful and we were soon airborne. This was my first trip on a A330 and was terribly impressed by the take off performance. Unfortunately, the forward and below cameras were off the whole time !
The flight was uneventful except for crying babies just in front of me. The flight attendants were nice and friendly and they announced all the languages they can speak on the flight including French, English, German, Farsi, Yugoslav…….and many others !
First service was drinks and a small packet of crackers. Dinner was served consisting of small trout (appetizer) salad, and a choice of chicken curry or steak for the main. I had the steak and was not terribly impressed by it. Standard airline food or slightly worse maybe. The best part was the dessert (Passion fruit bavarois).
The captain did not speak much, just after we took off and before landing.
Seats on row 17 were not comfy due to the video boxes for row 16. Did manage to get some sleep though. I don’t like the fact that the toilets were completely in view of everyone so you could see who went in for how long; I guess every available space was used on this plane. The IFE was wonderful though the movies I did not like very much. But the comedy (English) was wonderful.
We landed in DXB at 23H53. I saw that we had tail wind the whole way from CDG to DXB. Passed the EK terminal (terminal 2?) before stopping off the terminal and descended the stairs to get on the buses that took us to the terminal. Why did they do that ? I saw lots of jetways free, by the way ? But it was nice to feel the heat as you step out of the aircraft (T over 30 !).
Getting off the bus, we actually had to go through security and I even had to take my shoes off! Finally went in to the big supermarket that is Dubai airport. Had to run a long way before reaching the smoking room which was pitifully small and sooo cloudy with smoke you feel like you had smoked a pack as soon as you get in ! Finally found another place to smoke which was a bar. Much more civilized. But I did meet a nice crew from Air Seychelles and his stories really want to make me visit Dubai ! So I have three hours to spend here but did not really check out the shops cause the lay out was really not as nice as in other airports that I have seen….this was more like shop quickly ! rather than stroll and see if you like something.
My connecting flight to CGK was EK 344 leaving from gate 11. The holding area was packed solid when I went in one hour before departure. Was very happy to see that the plane was a 777-300 !!! Again my very first trip on a 777 300. I have been on 777 200s (UA) and was really curious to see how the 10 abreast seating compare to the 9 abreast in most other airlines.
EK 344 23 july 2002
EQPT: B777-300 REG : A6-EMQ
There was again a delay and the plane was jam packed. We left the gate at 03H55 and took off was at 4H10. First destination was Colombo (4 hours flying time). There was head wind but was very weak. Again the crew was excellent…. Though I did once use the call button to try to call an attendant and everyone did look but no one came. I think they thought it was a mistake though I wanted to ask them for headphone. One guy that needs mentioning (I did make the effort to read his name tag) was Yannic ! really nice and helpful and friendly, always a smile and very patient with pax ! My seat was 11C. So, in comparison to other airlines it did feel more cramped (visually) but the seats were actually quite nice and felt that there was more pitch between seats. And the 777 300 really is LOOOOONG. Languages spoken included Romanian and Thai, funnily I did not hear Indonesian even thought the final destination of this flight is Jakarta (CGK), but anyhow there was a change of crew in SIN.
Breakfast was served and there was a choice of omelette or nasi lemak. I chose the omelette with gruyere cheese which was good. The croissant was good too. We landed at CMB at 8 AM and had to stay on the aircraft while it is being cleaned and catered (and the crew too). One hour and 15 minutes later we took off for SIN. The poor crew I thought they really worked hard on this flight. Everyone again was very nice I thought.
And -- the best part -- the cameras forward and below were on the whole time !
At this point on my trip I have been recording fewer things cause I was so tired. I started looking around and thought that EK could use another interior color, a darker one maybe. Seat pitch I quite like though the foot rest is useless for someone tall. Seat width I have no problem with. I did get obsessed with the lumbar support trying to find a position that was the most comfortable, but ended up stuffing a blanket there. The blankets need to be changed since when I disembarked I noticed fluffs all over my black clothes ! OK, from CMB to SIN lunch was served and this time the main was a choice between stir-fried chicken or peppered lamb. I took the chicken though did not eat much of it as I was still in Parisian time and did not feel like eating then. The dessert again was excellent (Watalappan). We landed in SIN, and I made a bee line to the smoking room. Found an open air smoking room !!!! paradise cause not only is it open air, but there was a bar and you can watch airplanes at the same time !!! Did not have time to go shopping though and went to the gate. Again lots of people already in the holding area. But this time the middle seat was empty ! yay ! A light meal consisting of chicken tikka croissant was served. We landed in CGK and I was dead tired of course and forgot to record time etc. I asked a cabin crew finally the reg number of this aircraft and she gave it to me.
Anyway, it was a good experience with EK. The best part was the crew who are consistently nice (best crew from DXB to SIN), the IFE was good, the seats on the 777300 were nice. I liked the fact that the trip had many stops but at the end it got too long. I usually leave CDG later and arrive in CGK earlier with LH (via FRA and SIN). But on my way back it’s going to just be one stop to DXB, so should be better. Would I fly EK again, Yes I would, too bad that it is not part of any global alliance for the miles. I did become a Skywards member but since my travel mostly is in Europe and the US I don’t see how I am going to accumulate miles quickly. A week end jaunt to Dubai, perhaps ? Anyway, if any EK crew reads this, thanks ! I had two first experiences with EK (A330 and B777-300!), so EK will always be special.