Emirates operates a total of FIVE daily flights to Mumbai. With 35 flights a week, you will almost always find an EK flight listed at BOM airport at any time of the day. There is a joke that we Indian Anetters share – A day will soon arrive, when the cheapest option between Mumbai & Delhi will be an Emirates flight – via Dubai!
All the five daily flights on the BOM-DXB sector are operated by an assortment of aircraft ranging from the A330-200 to the 777-300ER. Also, all flights are operated using three class aircraft – a testimony to the significant amount of premium traffic on this route.
During the summer of 2010, for a limited period of time, Emirates had deployed their ultra long haul Airbus A340-500 on the late evening flight into BOM. I had never flown on Emirates before let alone on the rare A340-500 type. This seemed like the best opportunity to try both! Moreover, EK was offering quite attractive fares on the BOM-DXB sector.
I decided to make a quick weekend trip to Dubai and booked my tickets on the morning departure out of BOM – EK 505 operated by a 777-300ER and the return on EK 508 – operated by an A340-500. To sweeten it further, I booked the return in Business Class!
Booking was done on the Emirates website. For some reason, the EK website does not accept Amex cards, so I had to pay a visit to the Emirates city office to get the tickets issued. The ticket was promptly issued and presented to me in a nice little folder.
The Meru cab arrived at my place at its designated time and I was soon on my way to the airport, just before the beginning of the morning rush hour. The monsoon had made an early entry into Mumbai this year, and we encountered a mild drizzle on the way.
I was dropped off at the departure gate of Terminal 2C of the Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. After the mandatory check of my passport and ticket, I made my way inside the terminal.
I had checked in online a day before departure knowing well that the morning flight is quite popular given its convenient timings.
The Emirates check-in counters were right in front of the entrance, and I was ushered to one of the empty counters by the EK staff. My boarding pass was issued within two minutes, and I sat down to fill up the lengthy Indian departure card.
After clicking a few photos of the check-in area, I walked to one of the money changing kiosks. As the agent was working on my order, I decided to click a photo of the empty SQ check-in counters nearby. As soon as I had clicked a couple of shots, a Mumbai police constable walking past me told me, “Clicking photos is not allowed here”
That’s it – It’s three times out of three now that someone at the BOM airport has told me that photography was not allowed. And as always, I told him – politely of course – that photography was indeed allowed and he could verify it with the airport manager if he wanted to. He shrugged his shoulders, said “OK” and walked away. This has now become part of the check-in ritual every time I fly out of the BOM International Terminal.
Money changed, I stood in the queue for Immigration. Mornings at BOM are not that busy, and my passport was stamped within five minutes. Next was security check, after which I rode the escalator one level down to the departures area.
The Duty Free area which is normally buzzing with people during the peak hours was quite empty.
Even the F&B outlets wore a deserted look.
Being a Titanium Master Card holder, I was eligible to use the Clipper Lounge at BOM. The lounge was a good 100-150 meters walk and I passed by the dedicated Emirates lounge on the way.
Entrance to the Clipper Lounge
As I had expected, there were not too many people in the lounge, although the comfy leather recliners were all taken. There were quite a few folks from a BA flight to LHR, which had been diverted overnight to AMD and was subsequently cancelled. A couple of BA staffers later came to take them away – presumably to a hotel.
Some photos of the Clipper Lounge
Breakfast at the Lounge
After spending an hour inside the lounge, I freshened up and walked towards Gate 8 – which was designated for EK 505 today.
Waiting for the boarding announcement. Note the tiny passenger!
Flight: EK 505
Aircraft: Boeing 777-36N ER
Scheduled Departure: 0945 Actual Departure: 0959
Scheduled Arrival: 1115 Actual Arrival: 1116
There was a pre-boarding announcement made. When the actual boarding began passengers with infants and small children were invited to board first, followed by First & Business Class passengers and Skywards Gold members. Economy Class passengers were then invited to board zone wise.
It was quite a task to walk through the narrow aisles of the EK 777s due to the 3-4-3 seating configuration. I made my way to the aft end of the aircraft, and settled down in my window seat – 45A. Now, seat 45A was in the last row of the group of three seats. Row 46 onwards had a 2-4-2 configuration because of the tapering rear fuselage.
The EK website did not allow me to select any of the seats in the last few rows, so I asked the FA if I could shift to a window seat there later if they were unoccupied, and she said OK.
The view from my seat – A Qantas A330 to SIN
The boarding took about 30 minutes to complete, and the crew began securing the cabin for take-off. The EK safety video was then shown. I moved two rows behind and settled in another window seat.
Pre-departure drinks were passed around
We began our pushback a few minutes later than our scheduled departure time, and one by one the massive GE-90 engines came alive. It was great to hear the typical low moaning sound as the engines spooled up. With both engines powered up, we began our taxi towards the runway.
The most recognized face on EK
The BOM spotting location. No one there today!
The view from the nose-wheel camera as we lined up on Runway 27.
With the typical GE-90 whine, the engines spooled up to take-off power, and we rolled down Runway 27 accelerating swiftly. Within 40 seconds, we lifted off into the hazy and overcast Mumbai sky.
Leaving the Mumbai coast and heading west.
Flight details and routing
There was mild turbulence as we broke through the thick layer of monsoon clouds.
It was now time to explore EK’s famed IFE system – ICE. I had heard and read so many good things about ICE, and therefore had really high expectations from the system.
Plenty to choose from and not enough flying time!
There were tons of movies and the one that I wanted to watch was right at the end!
I had not watched “Up in the Air” yet, and what would be a better time to watch it than now??
The IFE controller
The crew handed out Menus for the breakfast service on today’s flight.
The lead steward, a cheerful British guy, asked me what I would like to drink. I asked him if they had any wine, and he said that he would check. He soon returned with a tray filled with an assortment of reds and whites. “You’re in luck, Sir. We have quite a few!” he said.
I chose “Vina Esmeralda 2009”, a Spanish white to accompany my meal – fluffy omelette with a cheese and tomato topping.
The omelette was superb – soft, fluffy and piping hot. The accompanying herbed potatoes and chicken sausage were also quite delicious. This was one of the few in-flight meals that I found to be really tasty.
The meal was rounded up with a nice cup of tea.
We were now cruising nicely over the Arabian Sea.
And so was this guy.
After finishing the meal, it was time for the mandatory cabin photo. The pink mood-lighting made for a nice shot.
Soon after, the captain announced our initial descent into DXB. As I settled down in my seat to watch the remainder of the movie, the brown coastline of the UAE came into view.
The IFE screens showed the gate information for connecting flights and the belt number for our baggage.
As we descended further, the Arabian desert came into full view.
We rounded off the northern tip of the UAE near Sharjah and began a left bank to turn into Dubai.
We soon lined up with Runway 12L. The skyscrapers of Sharjah can be seen in the distance.
We made a smooth touchdown on Runway 12L and as while slowing down, we passed a couple of parked EK A380s.
As we exited the runway and made our way towards Terminal 3, I could see another massive terminal construction in progress.
We finally docked at Gate B22 next to a company 77W.
As I was in the last Y section of the aircraft, it took a good 10 minutes before I could disembark. After thanking the crew and clicking a couple more cabin shots, I made my way out of the aircraft.
DXB Terminal 3 is an exclusive Emirates facility. From the outside, the terminal looks more like a gigantic space-ship. From the inside, it is quite nice really.
Arriving at the Immigration area
Immigration took nearly 15 minutes to complete, after which I walked towards Belt 10, to collect my bag.
As I made my out of the cool confines of the terminal, a scorching wave of heat welcomed me to Dubai.
This brought to an end my first flight on what is arguably one of the most omnipresent airlines in the world.
As many have said before, Economy Class on Emirates is almost always a good experience. The superb IFE and food combination makes up for the dense 3-4-3 seating configuration. Add to that a warm and responsive crew, and your experience becomes even better.
Now, I await my next flight on Emirates – the return journey in Business Class. After the first flight, my expectations have only increased!
My Previous Trip Reports:
Flying The Good Times: BLR-BOM On Kingfisher A320
To Bangalore on Jet Airways B737-800
The Kingfisher Experience: BOM-SIN-BOM A330-200
BOM-HKG-BOM Cathay Pacific B744/A333
Voyage To Nepal: Nepal Airlines/Buddha Air
BOM-HYD-BOM On Kingfisher + Spotting At HYD
BOM-DEL On Air India, Brand New A321
BOM-GOI-BOM On IC. A320/A300B4
BOM-DEL-BOM On IC A320/AI 743 Combi DEL Fog
BOM-KUL-PEN-KUL-BOM On MH/Air Asia
BOM-AMD On Air India 743 Combi Upper Deck
BOM-CMB-BKK-CMB-BOM On SriLankan Airlines