Kuwait – Dubai
Airbus A330-243 (A6-EKU)
Scheduled Departure Time: 9:40
Schedules Arrival Time: 12:10
Actual Departure Time: 9:40
Actual Arrival Time: 11:55
Photo © Gerhard Plomitzer
Photo © Benny Bartels
Photo © Craig Murray
Photo © Craig Murray
Check In: We got to the airport around 7:45. There was only one counter for First and Business Class passengers which already had a long line. We lined up and waited for close to 15 minutes to get to the front. Once we got to the front, our boarding passes were printed for both legs and the bags tagged all the way through. We were issued invitations to both the lounges in Kuwait and Dubai. Once that was done, we headed over to passport control, which was quick, and we were near the lounge in no time.
The Kuwait Airways Oasis Business Class Lounge is set up as a large tent. We entered the lounge and the agent took our invitation and wrote our seat numbers on them. We proceeded into the small lounge and there were hardly any free seats. We decided to grab a bunch of seats in the corner, but just as we did, a group of seats became available so we headed on over to those. As they did not have any apple juice, I ordered some mango juice, which was promptly delivered to my seat a minute later by the waiter. Eventually I went over to use one of the two computers available in the lounge. Soon it was time to head on over to the gate. We grabbed our stuff and headed on over to the Gate. Proceeded through another round of security and were in the gate in no time.
Boarding: Boarding was announced around 9:15 and everybody swarmed towards the jetway. There was no call to board by rows, nor was there a separate jetway for First and Business Class passengers. As usual, there were people pushing and shoving trying to get in front of the line, all I could do was push back and maybe try to trip them if they insisted on cutting me in line. The boarding passes were put through the machine with the stub coming out the other end. We collected our stub and we boarded through door 2L. We were greeted at the door not with a smile, but a “boarding pass?” I showed the boarding pass and walked to my seat. I put my bag in the overhead bin and sat down.
Emirates Business Class on this aircraft is in a 2-3-2 configuration, making it very cramped. The seat was obviously narrow, but to top it off, the world-class airline had a miserable 45-inch seat pitch. Come on, this is not the standard for an airline like Emirates. I never complained before, but now after flying so many airlines with 55 and 60-inch seat pit, this is extremely small, still much better than the economy class seats that I had been in back in August on the same route. The one very positive aspect of this seat was the PTV. It was large and was in the seat in front. I immediately tuned into the forward nose camera and got an excellent view of the Terminal and tug. Soon a flight attendant came by and offered me a drink from a tray containing some orange juice and non alcoholic sparkling wine. I opted for the orange juice, which was very watered down.
Soon the door was closed and they came around with menu’s handing them to each person with no expression on their face. I could see the Indian flight attendant on the other aisle doing this with a smile and “Hello sir/madam, would you like a menu?” Our Australian flight attendant just thrust them in front of our face. The safety video was shown as we taxied to wards the runway. We momentarily held for a delayed Air India A310 from Bombay and headed on out after that. The nose camera provided some excellent views of the taxiway and runway. Soon we lined up and shot down the runway for a very fast and short take off.
The Flight: As we lifted off the nose camera provided some excellent views of city and the coast. We continued to climb and the seatbelt sign went off. The flight attendants came around with some hot towels. A few minutes later they came around with the drink cart and I requested an apple juice. It was handed to me and I said, “thank you.”
She looked at me for a second and forced a smile back at me with a mumbled “you’re welcome.” Soon they came around with table linens and it was gently placed on my tray table with a smile from the African flight attendant serving us. The menu today was as follows:
Fresh Fruit Appetizer
Frittata of sliced potatoes, mixed peppers and zucchini, accompanied with chicken sausage, grilled tomato with herbs and lyonnaise potatoes
Pancakes with Scrambled Eggs
Pancake filled with scrambled eggs accompanied with lamb noisettes, sautéed mushrooms and duchess potatoes
Selection of bread and breakfast pastries served with butter, jam and marmalade
Tea: Ceylon, Green Tea, Earl Grey and Camomile
Coffee: Freshly brewed or decaffeinated
The flight attendant came around with the cart and started serving from the back. Once she got to us she asked which one I wanted, I opted for the eggs. A glass of water was placed on the tray and it was handed to me with a semi smile and I was a little surprised that she did not offer another drink with the meal. Once she was done handing the tray to my mom, she offered a basket containing a croissant and a Danish. I opted for the Danish as you can see in the picture at the bottom. The fruits were fresh and tasted great, as did the Danish. As far as the main dish goes, it was as every bit pleasing. The lamb was tender and the pancakes were excellent, only the eggs were a bit tasteless but that was solved with some pepper. During the entire meal service, I was watching an episode of Friends followed by an episode of ER. Can I ask what is with the “Christmas in Tulsa” Friends episode? KLM had the exact same one last week; it does become a bit boring to see it over and over again.
The trays were collected and we began our decent into Dubai with the forward nose camera again providing some excellent views. You could clearly see the mansions down there and just how vastly populated the U.A.E. is.
Arrival & Transit: We touched down at 11:50 and I managed to catch a glimpse of the A340-500 sitting at the maintenance facility. Hopefully I will be able to try this magnificent beast out on my own someday. We quickly taxied to the terminal and docked at Gate 11. We disembarked through door 1L and the First Class flight attendants were happily smiling and saying “bye.” We got out ran through the connection center and security that we must do while changing planes in Dubai and were at the shopping center in no time.
The airport was not very busy at all at this point in time. There were a few Emirates planes around. In addition there were two PIA A300’s and a delayed Air India A310 from Delhi. Otherwise the airport was pretty much dead. My parents did some shopping but I decided to save myself for Amsterdam next weekend. I don’t like lugging things halfway around the world when I can easily find them halfway around the world!
Dubai – Mumbai (Bombay)
Boeing 777-21H/ER (A6-EMJ)
Scheduled Departure Time: 13:30
Schedules Arrival Time: 17:45
Actual Departure Time: 13:45
Actual Arrival Time: 17:30
Photo © Montague Smith
Photo © Anthony decolvenaere
Photo © Aeroview Zurich/Worldwide
Photo © Craig Murray
Boarding: They were announcing the final call for this flight and we decided at that point enough shopping. Got to the podium, they checked the passports and sent the boarding pass through the machine. I was pleased to see that our aircraft had been upgraded to a 777-200. Something different from the abundance of A330’s I flew on this trip. We stood near the door, as we knew that boarding would not commence by row numbers, but it would be a free for all once again. Soon an agent came by to let some wheel chair passengers through, at exactly that moment, the entire gate area stood up and rushed towards the door. They were all pushing and shoving trying to get to the front by acting like a bunch of gorillas. Someone really needs to tell them that the plane is not going anywhere! Why do they believe that all the shoving and pushing is going to let them through? Do they really need to whack poor children in the head with their oversized bags with everything in it but the kitchen sink? These were some of the most ill mannered bunch of passengers anywhere and a sharp contrast to the passengers I experienced on KLM out of Delhi seven days later.
Soon the doors were opened and the sea of humanity rushed towards them. There was this guy with a briefcase trying to shove me to the side so he could get in front of me, I just gave him one good whack in the leg with my handbag and he knew I meant business. The three of us finally got on the jetway and quickly took a left turn towards the jetway that was for First and Business Class passengers only. Peace and tranquility at last. The Indian lead purser welcomed us onboard. We sat down in the bulkhead seat in the front part of the 777. There were two rows of seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. The seat was wider than the A330 but the drawback was there was no PTV in the seat in front so there was no way of watching the forward camera during take off and landing. The legroom once again was no more than 45 inches. I could easily rest my leg on the bulkhead, something I could not do on my recent NW, KL or CO’s business class flights.
Soon drinks came around and I selected a glass of water. The plane eventually started to fill up and an Asian flight attendant came by offering us menus and a wine lists. A few minutes later she came by again with some hot towels. About five minutes later a British flight attendant came around with another set of hot towels. When we mentioned that we had already got some, she said “Oh!” and walked away leaving them on our armrest for the rest of the flight. Good thing she left them cause when I pulled my PTV out, it had dried pieces of something on it, like someone had spit back their food on it. So I ended up trying to clean it up myself. I shall never complain about the finger printed PTV’s we get on the KLM 767’s ever again. This was disgusting!
The menus were handed out along with a wine list by our Asian flight attendant, who did not offer me a wine list. It was all right I guess, I am 21 but I did not want to drink anything so it worked out in my favor; but it would have been nice to be offered one. The pilot came on and stated that we would have to offload some bags as a few passengers had “somehow managed to loose themselves between the gate and the aircraft.” The British flight attendant came around to take our lunch orders; I opted for the chicken. The safety video was screened and then we commenced pushback a short while later. Just then I noticed how filthy the aircraft windows were; this plane needed a wash badly. The crew went to sit down and I pulled my PTV out so I could see the forward nose camera. Low and behold, the camera lens had a bunch of spots on it obstructing the view. This is not how I would expect Emirates to maintain their 777’s. Now that the A340’s are in, is it time to ignore the 777’s?
The Flight: We eventually lined up and took off into a misty Dubai sky. Soon the entertainment was started and I opted for “Pirates of the Caribbean.” I just noticed that the PTV was relatively small and worse yet, this movie was in wide screen format, thus it was even smaller. It was a real strain watching it. Here is the list of what was available on today’s flight.
Channel 1: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of The Black Pearl
Channel 2: The Legend of Johnny Lingo
Channel 3: Seabiscuit
Channel 4: Matchstick Men
Channel 5: Open Range
Channel 6: The Medallion
Channel 7: Suspicion (1941)
Channel 8: Hindi - Kuch Na Kaho
Channel 9: Arabic - Tayeh Fi America
Channel 10: Arabic TV
Channel 11: Sports
Channel 12: Comedy
Channel 13: Drama
Channel 14: Quest
Channel 15: A Bug’s Life
Channel 16: Airshow
Channel 17: Flying Camera
Soon the bowl of mixed nuts came out with a drink of our choice. I opted for a coke, which the British flight attendant poured into a glass. My dad opted for beer and he was a little surprised to get “Bintang,” but he enjoyed it, as he had not had Indonesian beer in quite some time. 15 minutes later the cart rolled down the aisle to collect the bowl of nuts and place the linen down. The menu for today was listed as the following:
Grilled Pesto Chicken
Grilled pesto chicken with plum compote, garnished with green pepper corn, served with saffron sauce
Moti Chana Chat
Chick peas cooked with spices, served with kastchumber salad, lemon and tomato wedge
Marinated pieces of mutton cooked in green masala and creamy cashew nut paste, offered with vegetable jalfrazi and tomato rice
Chinese style grilled chicken with Manchurian sauce, served with yellow squash, sugar snap peas and egg noodles
Okra cooked in spicy tomato sauce, accompanied with vegtable makhanwala and steamed rice
Selection of Cheese
Cheddar and Camembert served with crackers and grapes
Selection of Seasonal Fruits
Beverages & Chocolates
Tea: Ceylon, Green Tea, Earl Grey, Camomile
Coffer: freshly brewed or decaffeinated
Espresso or Cappuccino coffee will be available at any time during the flight, except Airbus A310 aircraft
Emirates Business Class Wine List
Fleur De Champagne, Brut NV
Sancerre Blanc, 2002
Cahrdonnay, Deen Vat 7, 2002
Medoc, “Collection Privee,” 1998
Cabernet Sauvignoon, 2002
Chairman’s Port, L.B.V., 1997
The British flight attendant came around about five minutes after the linens were placed and asked which appetizer I would like? I opted for the chicken. She then asked my dad for his choice and once she had placed his tray down she offered a breadbasket containing three types of bread and naan. I opted for the garlic bread as can be seen in the pictures. She offered us both a choice of wine, which only my dad accepted, but that was it; she never offered me anything else to drink. I had to be content with the glass of water that had been placed in my tray. The chicken was a little dry and ice cold to top it off. The sauce was a big help in adding flavor to it. Once that was done the flight attendant came around and collected the appetizer plates. A second round of bread was offered but I declined, as I was getting a bit full from so much food in such a short period of time. The chicken dish was placed on my tray a short while later. As you can see from the picture, it contained two large chunks of chicken on the left with noodles in the middle and vegetables on the right side. The chicken contained a lot of fat but was nice and meaty. The sauce with it was more along the lines of something I would get at a Chinese fast food place in the United States. Fine and dandy but I do not expect Emirates business class to be serving something along the lines of fast food. The noodles were decent but as some parts had been dried too much in the oven, it became a bit too crunchy. How come so many airlines now seem to keep their rice and noodles moist yet Emirates missed it this time round? I then started on the fruits, which were moist and fresh. Then on to the fruit custard for desert, the saving grace of this meal! It was exceptional, really well prepared and tasted excellent, just wish there had been more of it; as it was finished within four teaspoons.
The trays were collected and I continued to watch the movie. It was becoming a strain on the eyes and was getting unbearable. I decided to switch to the forward camera for some relief. The flight was nearing its end and decent started. But wait a minute, they had not handed out the arrival forms yet, this was not good. Immediately someone reminded them and the Asian flight attendant came around with the forms giving one to each of us. As we were filling them out, my dad realized one thing; these were the forms for “foreigners visiting India.” She had handed these forms out to the entire section full of 14 Indian nationals. At that moment the male Indian lead purser was opening the curtains that were dividing First and Business. My dad asked if there were separate forms for Indian nationals? “Of course there is sir. I shall get them for you.” Ok, now with five minutes left, this is not exactly the ideal time to be filling out forms is it? At that moment he decided to hand out some pens and I grabbed one so I could fill mine out instead of waiting for my dad to finish with my pen. I completed the form and put my tray table away at the exact moment full flaps were lowered. The gear was lowered a few seconds later and it was very clear to any regular traveler to Mumbai that he was coming in way to fast.
Arrival: We came in fast hitting the concrete extremely hard with almost instant full reverse thrusts. The brakes were slammed on hard with a very evident screeching. Anything that was not buckled in would have gone flying through the cabin the way this landing was carried out. We exited the runway at about 40 miles an hour with the reverse thrusts still engaged.
We taxied past the Indian Airlines domestic terminal first followed by the Jet Airways and Air Sahara. We eventually docked next to a Gulf Traveler 767-300 in the old colors. It was none other than A40-GV, the exact plane I had flown in December 1998 from Frankfurt to Bahrain; it looked vastly different now. We took the long trek to the non-functioning escalator down towards immigration only to find that the Gulf Traveler had just got in moments before us. At least Mumbai now has some barriers formed to create some lines. It creates less of a zoo type atmosphere. It took 15 minutes for us to get to a podium. Once that was cleared we headed on out to get our bags. Not easy as most of them had been taken on the carousel and placed on the side. It is like a maze trying to spot your bag, and once you do, you have to hurdle over people, carts and bags getting to your stuff.I managed to get all four checked in bags and we went on over to line up for customs. That was done with a two-minute wait and we out into the city that is known as Mumbai!
Verdict: Not exactly the world class Emirates I am used to. The service was very minimal and the food was no-where near the world-class standards Emirates has set over the past few years. I remember the days when I could rely on Emirates to provide excellent service with some of the best cuisine served in the sky. What happened? Have they expanded so rapidly that they lost track of quality? Before any of you say Mumbai is a secondary destination, I have had some of my best experiences with Emirates on their Mumbai flights. I hope this is not the beginning of a downward spiral for Emirates in-flight service. It would be a shame to see such a magnificent airline go down the drain like this. This was the second less than mediocre Emirates trip this year. When I had done these exact two flights back in August 2001, the service was unparalleled to any other airline out there. What happed in the past two years?
If the service on the long hauls is like what I experienced then I will continue to fly via Amsterdam on KLM and count my blessings rather than take a chance on a 14-hour Emirates flight to the States.
Check In: 6 (One counter for F/C. 15 minute wait with a long line)
Lounge: 7 (Kuwait Airways Oasis lounge-Lacking in seats)
Boarding: 1 (Free for all with no I.D. check)
Seat: 7 (Comfortable for a short flight, but not up to other International airlines standards)
Crew: 5 (forced smiles, but they eventually warmed up, like they were scanning passengers)
Aircraft: 10 (Clean and carried itself well. It is an Airbus after all!)
Entertainment: 9 (No AVOD, but perfectly acceptable for this short leg)
Meal: 9 (Excellent quality and quantity for such a short flight)
Boarding: 3 (Free for all again, but at least there was a separate jetway for F/C)
Seat: 7 (Fine, same as above)
Crew: 4 (Average, but completely fell apart after the meal service)
Aircraft: 5 (Filthy from the outside and it had signs of ageing inside)
Entertainment: 5 (Quality was appalling, screen was too small to top it off)
Meal: 5 (Main dish was plain and insipid, only redeeming factor was the dessert)
Arrival: 7 (The chaos that is Bombay, but the bags were out showing the priority labels worked)
Emirates scored a total of 60%. This is absolutely appalling when Emirates constantly wins awards and is recognized for its superior service.
Now for the pictures:
Take off from Kuwait
View of Kuwait City
Menu for KWI-DXB sector
The Business Class PTV on the A330
The Business Class cabin on the A330
Entering the coast of the UAE
Moments before touchdown into Dubai
View of part of Dubai's terminal on take off
Menu for DXB-BOM sector
My fathers drink with a mixed bowl of nuts
My coke with a bowl of mixed nuts
The appetizer plate for lunch
The main course with the dessert in the background
The Business Class PTV on the 777-200
The Jet Airways and Air Sahara terminal after landing in Mumbai
Emirates Business Class menu cover for both flights
Emirates Business Class wine menu cover
Emirates Business Class wine selection
Emirates in-flight magazine and entertainment guide
Unused lounge invitation for Dubai with map of the airport on back cover
There you have it. Hope you enjoyed it. This is the first photo trip report; so let me know if this is what you guys would like in the future.