This is my first trip report. I operate many flights, and non-rev/jumpseat on countless others, so most flights are largely the same for me. Today, however, I feel the need to write a brief summary to commend Emirates on a job well done.
Our trip began on 16 Oct, and the original plan was to travel ATL-DXB via DL. As those of you that non-rev on Delta know, TravelNet can be quite unreliable and we weren't able to make that flight as planned. No problem...on to plan B.
We elected to travel ATL-MAN via DL064. Our choice to travel to MAN was based solely on the fact that there were plenty of BusinessElite seats available for us to start our trip. Prior to departure, we paid a visit to the Delta Direct phones on concourse E in ATL. Here, we purchased our ZED tickets for EK018, a 77W flight from MAN-DXB on 17 Oct.
Because I've traveled on DL BusinessElite on many occasions, I'm going to skip that portion of the trip and get straight to the EK portion. If any of you truly want a trip report from DL64, let me know and I'll be more than happy to add it.
Upon arrival in MAN, we cleared customs and proceeded straight to the EK counter where we encountered the most friendly, helpful check-in personnel I've ever encountered. This was my first time using a ZED/ID ticket, so I was quite apprehensive about the experience I was about to have. The EK agents were extremely helpful and patient with answering my questions, despite the fact that I was a standby passenger from a different airline. I had actually planned to travel on EK20 several hours later then EK18 because a phone conversation with an EK agent back in ATL revealed that EK18 was oversold. I listed for EK18, however, just to have a go. The EK agents confirmed that EK18 was quite full, but we would likely be able to get seats due to the high probability of no-shows. My friends and I checked in for EK18, received our luggage tags, and proceeded to the lower level for some coffee and snacks.
Our time came to check back with the EK ticket counter, and we were again greeted by the very same helpful agents. We were immediately issued boarding passes for EK18, seats 37ABC, and our bags were collected (free of charge, I might add). We proceeded through security, enjoyed some of the wonderful duty free shopping available at MAN, and continued to our departure gate.
We were pleasantly surprised to see the 77W at the gate and already boarding premium passengers. There were plenty of agents available so boarding was a breeze. Upon boarding, I was immediately in awe of the clean, classy interior. I'm so used to the bland Delta blue interior that the sight was a complete surprise. We proceeded slowly down the VERY long aisle to the aft Y cabin, where we were in absolute shock of our seat assignments. As it turns out, seats 37ABC are at the 4L door! We had an incredible amount of legroom! I was a bit shocked that EK had crammed 10 seats across the cabin as I was so used to the 9 across config used by Delta. The seats were quite comfortable though, and we quickly settled in for our 7 hour flight to DXB.
The flight attendant stationed at the 4L jumpseat was extremely friendly. He gave us lots of insight about what to expect in the UAE, and what places to visit during our stay. After takeoff, the FA's went straight to work, so we decided to enjoy the Emirates ICE system.
WOW! I've never experienced an inflight system like ICE. The movies were abundant, the seat to seat phone system was a lot of fun, and the inflight e-mail system was something I had never experienced. The inflight cameras were also something I didn't even know existed! What a great feature that was. Not to mention the screens were probably twice the size of the DL system.
The food was far better than what we experienced in Delta's BizElite product, albeit at smaller quantity. We enjoyed free drinks, and watched Europe slip into darkness as the crew set the 77W's mood lighting and stars into action. Before we knew it, we awoke to a picture perfect view of Dubai as we crossed the coast on a downwind leg.
One thing that made EK very special for me was the dedication and hard work of the employees. The agents and crew were always very polite and helpful, as opposed to many US airline employees who are quite rude and very seldom show compassion. The EK cabin crew was working full tilt for the entire flight.
Thank you, EK, for showing me that the romance of flight is still out there, and that airlines can still be customer service oriented. These elements of travel are all but lost in the United States. I truly hope to be a part of your team in the near future!