After reading 100's (probably 1000's) of trip reports on this forum and enjoying every single one, I figure its now my turn to contribute. I originally wasn't going to write a report for this trip due to the shockingly bad quality of photos and also the fact that it was from November last year, however i'm sure someone out there will find enjoyment in it. The report will also feature pictures of Belgrade and Macedonia as well as some photos my dad took of meals on TG and LX Business class.
This trip was a kind of reward for finishing second year of law school. I was to join my dad in Serbia and Macedonia to visit some family for 2 weeks. Unfortunately the day of the flight was the same day that my final exam was on, so I was soo exhausted from studying the entire night before, the exam on the day of the flight and the 3 hour drive to the airport X:D and couldn't really enjoy my first time on EK.
The tickets were purchased 2 weeks before the flight and an EK return ticket to Zurich + a JAT one way ticket to Belgrade worked out to be the cheapest option at $2200 AUD.
Departure Apt: Sydney (SYD)
Arrival Apt: Dubai (DXB)
Flight #: EK 413
Date: November 19 2009
Flight Duration: 14 h 34 m
Scheduled Departure Time: 21:45
Scheduled Arrival Time: 05:30
Actual Departure Time: 22:08
Actual Arrival Time: 05:42 am (+1 Day)
I checked in for the flight online the night before which was very simple and quick to do on the Emirates website. This is the seen I encountered when I approached the Emirates check in desks.
I was soo glad that I checked in online
. There was no queue at all and the whole check in process for me took 3 minutes. The check in agent was very quick and said that the flight was completely full in all classes. After check in I went to buy some books for the plane and to get something to eat from the new food court. The food is pretty tasty for food served in an airport however ridiculously expensive.
feeling tired with the look of hunger in my eyes
After grabbing something to eat and saying hi to a friend from uni who was travelling to LAX it was time to clear security. The airport was really crowded so I knew the security and customs would take forever and it did.
Crowded area in front of customs.
What crew is this?
After clearing customs and walking through the massive duty free shop it was time to head to the gate. Sydney airport at this stage was still undergoing renovation so it wasn't really looking in great shape.
EK crew doing some shopping.
4 international flights departing within 30 minutes of one another = massive crowding in Sydney airport and an inability to sit down anywhere.
The flight was delayed by about 25 minutes basically because it was full and boarding was taking forever. Upon entering the aircraft the crew who were looking absolutely stunning greeted me warmly by my name and directed me in the direction of my seat. I was originally seated in seat 54A (I think) but moved to another window seat towards the back of the plane so a family travelling travelling together could sit next to eachother.
- cabin view
I'm a little over 6 foot and as you can tell from the pictures leg room was pretty tight. I would say there was more room than QF A380 y seat but less than SQ A380 Y seat. Anyway the seat overall wasn't comfortable at all and in the end I couldn't fall asleep once the entire flight
I was so thankful that EK have such a great IFE system otherwise 14 hours is a little too long on a plane, even for me. I was also sitting next to a very friendly British couple ( I always seem to sit next to Brits on planes and they are always friendly
) travelling to BHX
From the beginning the crew serving my section of the flight gave the impression of not wanting to be here. For most of the flight they seemed to be uninterested, aloof and not friendly at all with the passengers. I think that tiredness may have contributed as a factor as they didn't really seem like they were rested.
Meal service commenced around 2 hours after take off, unfortunately I didn't take a picture and I don't really remember the main course options, but I selected Iranian Lamb with saffron rice (or something like that
), this came with a prawn salad, cheese and crackers and a chocolate desert. The prawn salad tasted nice and light and fresh and didn't have a strong smell or taste of seafood at all. The lamb I didn't really enjoy, i'm not a big lamb eater and was hopeing that Emirates would convert me, it didn't! hehe. The chocolate desert wasn't bad but was pretty forgettable (i've forgotten it). The worst part of the meal service however was the fact that the crew took forever to serve drinks. They didn't serve drinks before or with the meal but served them after everyone had finished. They also didn't really look at the passenger when serving and seemed to have problem with using the words please and thankyou. I'm probably being a little too critical as they really did seem to be tired and i'm sure if they were fully rested that they would have done a better job.
For the next ten hours or so, I watched some movies, chatted with my seat mates and had a nice conversation with one of the fa's while waiting to use the lav. He said that the crew generally dreaded operating the SYD-DXB sector, understandbly!. Around 2 hours prior to landing breakfast was served, I chose the mixed grill which was OK but I wasn't really hungry.
The steak was tough but the beans were edible as was the broccoli.
Breakfast was cleared and we began our descent into DXB, the landing was smooth and the crew thanked me and wished me a pleasent stay in DXB as I deplaned. I had 3 hours to kill in DXB, as it was my first time, the hours flew by. I really enjoyed seeing all these interesting flight destinations on the departure boards and looking at the different types of people around the airport.
Departure Apt: Dubai (DXB)
Arrival Apt: Zurich (ZRH)
Flight #: EK 87
Date: November 20 2009
Aircraft: B777-300 ER
Flight Duration: 6h 23m
Scheduled Departure Time: 08:45
Scheduled Arrival Time: 12:35
Actual Departure Time: 09:15
Actual Arrival Time: 12:38
I pretty much slept the entire duration of this flight only being woken up when the crew were serving meals. The load on the flight was pretty light (approx 60%) and there several spare seats around the cabin. I had 2 spare seats next to me so I was looking forward to stretching out for the duration of the flight but an older Swiss guy who was sitting in a middle row with each of the seats taken, asked if he could sit on my row so he had more room
. I suppose it was nice of him to ask so I said "sure" and he was very thankful.
Seat before Swiss seat mate arrived
The seat on the b777-300 was so much more comfortable than the seat on the A380. It seemed wider and there must have been at least a few more inches of legroom.
Emirates' IFE is the best out there in my opinion.
The crew on this flight were better than on the flight from SYD. I had a guy from bulgaria, who was very talkative and friendly and a girl from Australia who was OK. I didn't take pictures of the meal but they served a breakfast after take off, I had an omelette and it was the best omelette that i've had on a plane. Prior to arrival a Tandoori chicken wrap was served as well as a cookie, both were delicious. Drinks were again served after the meal, I don't know if this is the norm but I hated not having a drink as I was eating.
Landing into ZRH was very bumpy, there was thick fog over the airport and I didn't see the runway until impact
Overall this flight was much more enojoyable than the earlier one. The seats were more comfortable, the food was great and the crew were much friendlier
. I now had 6 hours to kill until my flight with JU to BEG. I decided to catch the train and head into Zurich to buy some chocolate and get something to eat.
Unfortunately my camera died, I was really looking forward to the flight with JAT so I was dissapointed at not being able to take any photos. Anyway some brief details on the flight. It was operated by a b737-300 and was delayed by 1 hour due to the aircraft leaving Belgrade late. The reason for this was that fog had shut the entire airport. Upon entering the plane I was first hit by a smell of mould mixed with cigarettes hehe. The crew were a little older, a little eccentric but very warm and friendly. They served a cheese, mayonaise and pickle sandwhich, which was absolutely delicious and 2 drink services, with soft drink and juices. The seat was also very comfortable, old style, with great legroom and soft padding. Prior to arrival into BEG the pilot announced that due to thick fog we may have to divert to SKP or TGD. We ended up landing in BEG, with a very firm landing, it seemed like we were coming in very fast. We were one of only 2 flights to have landed that evening, all the others were diverted and the fog was so thick that we were driving around the hotel in circles not being able to see it right in front of us, I have no idea how he landed
. Overall I would love to fly JAT again and if i had a choice between flying JU BEG-DXB or EK BEG-DXB (If they ever fly this) I would choose JU.
It was now time to enjoy 2 days in Belgrade and 2 weeks in Macedonia (photos at the end of the report)
Departure Apt: Zurich (ZRH)
Arrival Apt: Dubai (DXB)
Flight #: EK 86
Date: December 2 2009
Flight Duration: 6 h 14 m
Scheduled Departure Time: 21:45
Scheduled Arrival Time: 06:45
Actual Departure Time: 22:29
Actual Arrival Time: 07:43 am (+1 Day)
I don't really remember anything about the check in for this flight, I just remember arriving at the airport way too early, grabbing something to eat and a beer before catching the train to the empty gate lounge.
My dad checked in here for his LX flight to BKK
Where I checked in
Love seeing that HELLO bird everytime i'm in ZRH
Ate and grabbed a drink here.
Zurich Airport was pretty empty by this stage and most of the shops in this part of the terminal were closed and departure gates empty.
Unfortunately I didn't get the registration.
The plane was delayed by 45 minutes due to "deicing" of the aircraft. Regular announcements were made at the gate by the gate agent and then an apology and explanation was given by our South African pilot. The crew again greeted me by name as I entered the aircraft and seemed very friendly. The plane looked a little dated compared to the b777-300er and A380, the interior was showing signs of wear and tear and the legroom was much tighter.
I was seated in a middle row at the rear of the plane, with the middle seat remaining free. The IFE box was placed in a very leg room restricting place haha.
The IFE system on board this plane was older and nowhere near as good as on the previous flights.
The crew then distributed blankets and pillows before take off (or they were already there hehe)
There was a guy seated a few rows ahead of me who has extremely intoxicated and was approached by the crew a few times telling him to calm down and be sure to remain seated for take off etc. He did however not obey orders and just before the aircraft was beginning its take off roll he stood up and began yelling at the crew to bring him a drink lol, anyway a male member of the crew came over to him and forcefully told him to remain seated and keep quite unless he wants to be taken off the plane by Swiss police. He wasn't heard from for the rest of the flight
Again the crew serving my section were pretty poor, uninterested and unprofessional. The Spanish guy wasn't that bad but the Australian stewardess seemed like she wanted to be somewhere else. I was also right at the back of the plane and could pretty much hear the conversation which was going on between the crew, it was interesting to say the least
Meal service started around 1.5 hours after take off and consisted of a light meal. I chose the chicken.
The vegetables tasted fresh and weren't soggy, the chicken was nice and moist but the "orange cream " (i've never had that with chicken before) was way too sweet and overpowering, but the main meal overall was still pretty good. The desert was also very nice as was the seasonal salad. Again drinks were served after the meal. I was kind of expecting a snack before arrival into DXB but we only had another drinks service.
The lav was kept clean throughout the flight but had no amenities like on other airlines.
Overall the flight, aside form the food, was pretty dissappointing. The seats were uncomfortable and the crew were significantly worse than on other carriers that i've flown long haul (SQ, TG, LX, TK, QF). EK also receives lots of positive reviews so I guess there service is pretty inconsistent. Also the male members of the crew seemed to be so much more friendly than the female members of crew on all of my flights with EK, I don't know whether or not this is the norm.
I also have some meal photos that my dad took flying C class with TG and LX SYD-BKK-ZRH. He said the food was fantastic on both flights (a little better on LX) as was the service (a little better on TG)
Starter of smoked duck, salmon, scallop and mixed salad.
Main course of prawns and Nile perch
Fruit and cheese
Dessert of passionfruit cheesecake.
Light snack of stir fried noodles, fruit and chocolates
Starter of Thai style beef salad.
Main course of braised beef cheek
Dessert of mango with coconut sauce
Now for some non av photos. I had a great time in Belgrade, Macedonia and the rest of the region. I'd recomend it to anyone who hasn't been to Eastern Europe or the Balkans before.
Skadarlija (city's old town)
Bridge to Novi Beograd
Parliament of Serbia
From the NATO bombing
Typical food from the Balkan.
Skopje Alexander The Great Airport
Macedonians still feel a lot of YUGO nostalgia, and there are cafe's and shops dedicated to Tito etc.
Kokino, the world's 4th oldest observatory after Angkor Wat.
Wow I didn't think I would write so much! Thanks everyone for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. Questions and comments welcome.
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I have a long list of trip reports to write the next one will be 3K BKK-SIN