EK A380 BHX-DXB (Suites) 09/09/09
Being a loyal Emirates supporter and frequent fare paying passenger (I have travelled on over 70 EK flights in the last 5 years) I have for some time wanted to try out the EK A380 and most importantly the new suites. As I'm a big BHX fan and always support the BHX-DXB route I thought my first EK380 experience would be on a one of my frequent trips between DXB-SYD (I avoid Heathrow with a passion!). So you can imagine my excitement when Emirates announced they would be replacing the EK40 77W flight with an A380 on 09/09/09 to celebrate the 70th birthday of BHX & also the opening of the new international pier. An opportunity too good to miss, so when the flight was updated online showing the A380 and P class was released for sale I booked my ticket. So here it is, my trip report on the first ever A380 BHX-DXB continuing on to 77W DXB-SIN. Hope you enjoy it..
Its my first trip report so please go easy on me!
BHX-DXB Flight Information:
Airline: Emirates Airline
Flight number: EK40
Origin: Birmingham International Airport (BHX)
Destination: Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Departure time: 15:05 (changed from 14:15 due to first A380 visit)
Scheduled arrival time: 01:05
Class of Travel: First/Suites
Journey to the airport:
One of the great things about flying EK business or first is the complimentary chauffer drive service, its the little things like this that makes EK a great airline and also makes me wish I didnt live so close to BHX (approx 25 minutes away) just so I can enjoy the chauffer drive for a little longer. Approximately 3 hours prior to our scheduled departure time my chauffer car arrived. As always a polite and professional driver collected my luggage and ensured I was comfortable for our relatively quick trip to BHX. Upon arrival at BHX I was dropped off outside the far end of departures which is right next to where the EK check in desks are located. My driver wished me an enjoyable and safe trip.
|Arrival at Birmingham Airport (BHX)|
Arrival the airport:
It was a beautiful day in Birmingham, around 20 degrees and relatively clear sky. Upon entering the terminal I was surprised to see no additional fan fair regarding the first EK A380 flight, the one obvious difference to the normal check in area for EK was the addition of 2 check in desks allocated to First Class.
The terminal itself was very busy with hundreds of people crowding around the windows overlooking the runway to get a picture of the A380 arrival. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of her arrival, mainly due to the crowds!
I had checked in online the day before but as I wanted a proper boarding card I still checked in at the first class check in counter. I was asked the usual security questions, handed by boarding cards and a letter addressed to me. The letter was from the airport manager detailing the flight in full including names of our cockpit crew and purser for the flight. Overall check in was nice and easy as always, with a little added extra.
Post security and boarding:
As usual for BHX the queues for security were horrendous! Luckily BHX now have a priority lane for F & J passengers. And too my surprise there was no queue so I was through security in less than 3 minutes.
I then spent a large amount of time in the new international pier. Part of it had been closed off to public access to allow for the 70th Birthday party to take place. (see photos) The party was invite only and as I didn't have an invite I sat and watched planes arrive and depart. You may be wondering why I didn't use the lounge. Well, the lounge at BHX is awful. Small, cramped and in major need of a refurb. The good news is that EK will be opening a dedicated lounge sometime in early December, Just a shame it wasn't ready for today's flight.
As the flight had a revised departure time of 15:05 boarding started just after 14:30. Calling all first & business class passengers I made my way to the front of the queue, as soon as my passport and boarding card was checked I made my way to the aircraft. Walking down a few stairs and along airbridge 1 at gate 44 we entered the aircraft via door 1L. Economy passengers were boarding via door 2L
Pre take off:
Greeted by a very friendly purser I was escorted to my private suite. Within 60 seconds of taking to my seat the head purser introduced herself and proceeded to explain the suite in detail and taking my pre-takeoff drink order. The atmosphere on board was very relaxed and I must say that all the crew were fantastic. Once most of the upperdeck had boarded I started to have a quick look around the aircraft, taking photos etc At the front of the A380 is the first class social area, this is located at the top of the stairs and opposite the shower spa. As I was taking a photo of the water feature the very friendly spa attendant asked if I would like to have a look at the showers.. which of cause I jumped at. I really can't tell you how fantastic the crew were at this stage of the flight. After around 15 minutes of snapping various parts of the aircraft it was time to return to my seat as push back was about to commence.
Take off was from runway 15 and the first thing I noticed about the A380 was the power she has. I struggled to sit upright in my seat so I could record the take off! We finally got airborne around 3/4 down the runway. (See Video)
Taxi Video: (long wait once on runway so you may want to stop viewing then)
Take off Video: (turn your sound up!!)
Shortly after take off the inflight service began. I Was approached by a very friendly member of the crew who asked if I would be taking a shower on board todays flight - my answer was obviously YES.. I booked my shower for 1hr prior to arrival in to Dubai.
I was then greeted by the flight purser who introduced her self and we had a good chat for at least 15 minutes talking about various things from the A380 to her favorite destination to life in Dubai. At the end of our conversation she explained the service for todays flight and took my drink request.
Let the service commence!:
The service was A'la Carte, this means you can order food when you like and also how much you like, the whole menu in fact. I didn't order the whole menu but I can tell you the food was superb. I made all my orders by using the in suite room service call button on the phone and placing my order directly to the galley (see pics of the wonderful dinner service)
After finishing eating everything I possible could fit in I decided to take a wonder around the upperdeck. I wanted to see if the bar area was as good as everyone say's..
My first point of call was the "social" area for first class passengers. This is located at the front of the upperdeck, opposite the 2 on board showers/spa
This area is not maned all the time and you simply help yourself which is a nice touch. Whilst having a nibble on the offerings a member of the crew asked me if I would be visiting the bar area. and would I like my chair turned in to a bed? I said yes and made my way to the bar area.
The bar is fantastic and really drives down any barriers you may have with fellow passengers. it has a great atmosphere and really brings back some of the fun to flying!! I spent a good hour at the bar, chatting away to fellow passengers and crew.
I then made my way back to my suite where I simply rested prior to my shower and arrival in to Dubai.
Just over 1hr prior to arrival a member of the crew knocked on my door to let me know my shower was ready... oh how excited was I.. my first every shower at 41,000ft. I know a lot of people on this site have had a thing or two to say about the EK showers.. well all I can say is its one of the best modern day inventions. simply fantastic. I spoke a little to the crew about the showers and the popularity with customers. The said on the shorter flights i.e DXB-LHR only about 50% of the passengers take a shower. however on the longhaul sectors to Oz & Canada they are used almost 100% of the time by every passenger and the feedback they have received is fantastic. anyway back to my shower... here are the pictures!
I spent a good 20 minutes in the shower/spa. This meant I got back to my seat just in time for a quick coffee prior to arrival in Dubai.
As always I had another outstanding flight with EK. today was by far one of my best flying experiences and something I will always remember. EK are a superb airline. Yes they have a few consistency issues to sort out but overall they are my favorite airline and I will continue to support them as long as they continue to offer the high level of service I have become accustom too. Well done to EK & BHX for a very successful first A380 flight.