Good Morning, Good Afternoon or Good Evening!
This will be my fourth trip report to HKG
and I thought I would share my latest adventures with you, but this time instead of flying direct I decided to fly from my local airport, Manchester. Hurray for the north, not everyone wants to travel southwards! No offense to London – in fact my favourite soap is Eastenders! Sitting on my favourite side of the sofa I went searching high and low for favourable fares that would take me east. Now I'm quite a lazy person and would rather fly direct but as I wanted to support the north and fly with another airline apart from British Airways or Cathay Pacific I decided to go the only other way, the back way.
Sorry I meant the long way.
Qatar Airways seemed to be the cheapest option but I wasn’t quite ready to fly with them just yet and the next best alternative from Manchester was Emirates. Don’t ask me why I didn’t choose QR
, Qatar is a 5 star airline and Emirates is mass production but EK
seems to appeal to me more. I have flown with Emirates previously from Manchester to Shanghai after I graduated in 2005. They didn’t blow me away being stuck in the middle row in the middle seat with a broken TV
console stuck next to someone flying to Perth on the left who wouldn’t shut up and the Addams Family on the right. Times have changed and I thought with the new terminal already in operation and 5 years is a long time to improve, I will give them another shot.
I decided to book the evening service as that meant I could still do a full day in the office before my flight. However this meant I would connect to the morning flight in Dubai arriving in Hong Kong in the late evening. Not to worry, I am made of harder stuff and decided to book it. Fast forward a month or so and I realise in the forums here that EK
will be using the A380 to Manchester. Score! I was very excited. However this would only apply to my inbound return flight. Fast forward a few more weeks and I realise that EK
will upgrade its Hong Kong services via Bangkok with the A380. Double score! So I would be flying Boeing 777-300ER outwards and Airbus A380 inwards, not bad. I did have the option of flying direct from Hong Kong to Dubai but where will the fun be in that?
Emirates website is very good; I was given a booking code immediately and was able to choose my seat straight away. I like sitting on the aisle as I like to move around the cabin so purposely chose seats next to the aisle, hoping no one will sit next to me. You are able to change and re-change your seat as many times as possible and was logging into my account every week to check the loads and if the seat next to me was taken.
After a not-so interesting day in the office; I left a bit earlier and drove home to take a quick shower before the taxi would arrive to take me to the train station. The train would take me direct to Manchester airport. Now I thought Heathrow was bad when it came to sprawling terminals and endless walkways of concrete tunnels and broken down travelators; but I think the accolade now should be passed to Manchester for the miles upon miles of endless walking to reach the terminal from the train station. Now I am all for exercise and I suppose it is a good thing to reach the check in desk a little out of breath, but this was a little excessive!
Miles of tunnels...
Not to worry and I proceeded to Terminal 1 where all EK
flights depart to and arrive from. The EK
check in desks are located at the far right I think desks 50 onwards where there is a dedicated EK
presence. The whole area oozes EK
from the flashy video promotion screens above the heads of the check in purses, to a dedicated EK
sales desk where a model of the A380 is proudly displayed to EK
branded cordons to manage the queues! I liked it! Go Emirates, you trend setter! I arrived pretty early so there were only a few passengers in the line waiting to drop off their luggage. The night before I did OLCI and assigned myself seats for the MAN
sector and the onward service to HK
The lady at check in hollered me over and asked if I had checked in already. I said that I had but yet to print off my boarding pass. In reality I already had printed off my pass but wanted an authentic, genuine, money cannot buy boarding stub proudly printed from no doubt EK
branded printers with EK
bought printer ink ( I am being over the top here ^_^).
check in desks at Manchester Airport
After asking me the security questions that I am positive the check in purser is able to recite from memory even during sleep; I handed over my luggage where it was stamped all the way to HK
. The airport swallowed my suitcase and that was the last I saw it for the next 18 hours. With so much time until boarding I thought I would check out T3
to see how they faired in comparison. T3
reminded me of LPL
airport, a solitary building where you can easily take the escalator from arrivals to departures, a few check in desks and then departures admission.
EasyJet in T3
I think this way T2
Monarch Airlines in T2
Interlude: Now I shall tell you children a story: In a land far far away resides T2
where a nasty ogre, we shall call her Rodney, is scratching her armpits and on the look out for innocent passengers to bark out at. Now Rodney has no friends and probably didn’t get laid last night so undoubtedly agitated and a little somewhat unsatisfied sitting on the KLM / Air France check in counter where she proudly resides. Her loyal band of dwarfin’ not-so-mighty morphin power rangers are there and if they see trouble will combine their powers bestowed upon them and transform into a giant piece of turd. Rodney senses an evil lifeform intend on causing a security breach. You There! I Command You Stop Taking Photos of the Continental Airlines Sign! ARGHHHH! Now the evil doer no matter how hard he fights cannot stop the mightyless power of Rodney and knows when to back down for fear of being arrested and thrown into jail! The evil doer leaves only this piece of evidence –
Rodney returns to her lair proud she has accomplished another day in her kingdom.
I returned to T2
and decided to head through into security. The fast track lane was the only lane open and proceeded through. I was directed to line 4 to pass through the body scanner. You stand in a glass type container box, like a lift but obviously doesn’t move, and your body gets scanned for any dangerous items. Luckily I was safe and collected my belongings. I was a little concerned because at no point did they ask to see my passport. Actually come to think about it the only time someone inspected my passport was initially when I checked in and that was it. Normally you have to show your passport every 10 steps in an airport so wasn’t too sure if maybe I looked like a safe character
The gate assignment would not be announced for a while so I went Dora the Explorer and walked over to where the flight to Bodrum was leaving. Now I have never heard of Bodrum, sounds like a cheap holiday resort but found out from the nice boarding agents it was in Turkey. I was taking photos of the little activity of the apron and then one of the agents staffing the Bodrum flight waved me over. I thought I was going to get told off again. Did Rodney send one of her lackeys over to abuse me further? She wanted a photo with me, haha, how sweet.
The Thomas Cook flight to Bodrum
Me with the ladies on the Bodrum gate.
Best shot I could get of EK
City Airline? Never heard of them!
Another unknown to me!
Pakistan at T2
Aer Lingus to Ireland.
I saw EK19 from DXB
arrive in a cloudy and rainy Manchester. FYI here is the menu for that flight, not that I had even a mouthful of it!
Appetiser: Classic Greek Salad – of tomato, cucumber and feta cheese with pitted black olives
Main course: Breaded white fish fillet – with a creamy red pepper sauce, dill flavoured mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables
Butter chicken – tender pieces of chicken cooked in a creamy spiced sauce, served with carrot rice and dal makhani
Dessert: Chocolate banana streusel- served with vanilla sauce
Cheese & biscuits
Beverages: Tea or Coffee
Your afternoon tea selection includes assorted reception sandwiches, mixed dried fruit cake, scone, clotted cream and strawberry jam
It was going to a very full flight from the number of passengers in the hold area. The way the gate is positioned makes snapping a photo of A6-ABS impossible. Boarding was called by zone and I made my way down the aerobidge where a smiley Mohammed, from Singapore, and Melissa, from Sydney, (my new friends for the flight!) greeted me and directed me to seat 47A. Secretly hoping no one will be sat next to me was snatched away when a man made himself comfortable. He looked like a well dodgy character! I decided to have an elbow fight with him over the armrest haha, it was fun!
We pushed back 30 minutes late and made our way behind the Cyprus Airlines flight to Larnaca to runway 23 or 26, I forget, and blasted into the night sky. A little about the inflight entertainment system ICE seems appropriate now. I was very eager to try the system again after a 5 year hiatus but to be honest with you I was not blown away by the interface of the system or its capabilities. OK
there are plenty to watch but I am not a movie watcher and using the touch screen was tricky and at times inaccurate, even a hard push with the finger yielded no response. I am not too sure if ICE is AVOD as if I wanted to watch a movie it did not start from the beginning and there was no option I could see to reset from the start. Not particularly impressed. In addition, I have seen other reports where when boarding your TV
screen has a start screen which shows your seat number, aircraft reg, routing etc which seemed to be lacking on the B777-300. I am not too sure if – ABS is a ER
series or a normal -300 series.
As mentioned in other TR
likes to pack in their economy class passengers and this was instantly noticeable when boarding. The aisle was much narrower and you could see how the 4th middle seat seems to eat into the aisle. However the pitch of the seat was comfortable, for me anyway, I had no problem. I was sat at the back where the aircraft tappers in and the there are only 2 seats as opposed to three. This meant I had more space to the side where I stowed my belongings.
Boarding the B777
My View from my seat
Leg room was adequate for me.
Meal service was followed once airborne which on today’s EK20 service would be:
Appetiser: Prawn Cocktail - traditional prawn cocktail, served with a slice of smoked salmon and curly endive
Main – Lamb curry – creamy lamb curry with spinach, served with yellow rice mixed with raisons and red bell pepper ragout.
Roasted Chicken fillet – roasted chicken breast fillet, topped with arrabbiata sauce, served with mashed potatoes and Mediterranean style sautéed vegetables
Dessert – Chocolate & Praline delice – rich chocolate sauce topped with dark chocolate brownie pieces, encased in a hazelnut mousse
Cheese & biscuits
Beverages: Tea or coffee
A selection of beverages will be offered prior to arrival in Dubai
Now I do not think I am a fussy eater but my partner thinks I am, apparently I am high maintenance! On this menu I do not eat prawns so the starter was out, I don’t eat curry so that’s out and the mousse was too rich so that was out. I only ate the chicken and I am lactose intolerant so the cheese was passed. But everybody else seemed to enjoy their meal which did look nice and compared to Virgin Atlantic meagre offerings seemed like a banquet!
At the back
This is now where I befriended half the crew on board. Not wanting to sit next to the passenger I went to the rest rooms in the back of the aircraft where half the crew were chatting or playing cards. They asked me if I was a dancer from the clothes I was wearing as they were a group of dancers heading to Bangkok for a competition. I said I wasn’t and they invited me into their group from there. It was so much fun talking to them and Melissa from Sydney was so sweet, she was an extra in the Oz soap, Home and Away she was telling me about. Learning about the crew and where they came from was really nice and they asking me about where I was going etc. Mohammed the friendly Singaporean was really nice and kept offering me things from the galley. He gave me the crew meals, offered me cakes from business class, fruit from the crew meal and even whole cartons of unopened milk! Apparently they all get thrown away which I thought was a waste.
Melissa then gave me a EK
pen and said wait there. During that time I got talking to a nearly graduated EK
flight attendant from Mauritius. Manchester was her penultimate sector that she would be assessed on before her final sector to Mumbai in a couple of days times. I also talked to two flight attendants from Serbia who joked that whenever they do the Manchester run they call it the Primark run! Lol. Also I chatted to a pretty girl from the Philippines who I thought was from Japan. Melissa then returned with two handfuls of business class goodies , including eye shades, socks, razor, comb, creams, ear plugs, cards it was really too much. I told her that she would get into troubled but she said no, you paid for it. I then joked and said I also paid for this aircraft and will take this too! Then she said you also paid for me and get that included too lol!
Me and Melissa
My stash of EK
The flight purser from Singapore who kept giving me lots of crew stuff then said yes, of course you deserve it! I was thinking how do I deserve it? The crew were all super nice and amazing. I then got talking to them about the A380 and they were talking about things I didn’t understand something like 4-2-0 or something and saying that the service on these flights were suffering. Neither Melissa nor the crew from Mauritius wanted to be A380 trained, well not yet anyway. The girl from Serbia was talking how EK
didn’t like how her hair was too blonde and that she should tone it down! Considering that was her natural hair colour was a bit much.
I could go on and on about what we talked about but you get the picture. Mohammed even asked if I wanted to make the flight announcement when we arrived into Dubai. They have a sheet to read from and they fill in the temperature details which was Melissa’s job and she joked that when she does announcements she does it from the heart, and I replied I know I felt it right here, thumping my heart lol. You can hear her in the link below to Youtube.
The crew were definitely not robots and were joking around with each other, pulling faces and just generally relaxing as they are not allowed to sleep on flight less than 10 hours. Before long the refreshment service was in full swing and Melissa said I was in charge of the galley area at back, I literally was alone in the galley area. Numerous crew popped in now and then where we briefly chatted before they had to serve again. The number of times the galley phone rings is ridiculous, all the time haha. I actually missed the refreshment service as I was in the back. Melissa came back and said if all was well. I replied if any passengers are trouble I will just thrown them outta the aircraft door!
The captain came over the PA and announced we would be arriving into Dubai shortly. I returned to my seat where the blankets and headsets were collected to be washed or reused. We gently arrived into Dubai and all I could see was Emirates! I gave a Melissa a hug when I left the aircraft and she wished me a pleasant onward journey. Now Dubai is the home of EK
and was very surprised that we had to be bussed to the airport. Upon disembarking the bus all arriving passengers turn left and connecting passengers turn right. From the looks of things most passengers were connecting. T3
is absolutely gigantic, this is only a terminal but from the size of it is an airport in its entirety. Having not eaten anything really I was really hungry and decided to eat at Burger King. I wasn’t too sure if they would accept UK pounds as I did not have any Dubai money on me. They did accept it but obviously at a rate favourable to them. No coins allowed and change is given in Dubai money only. Great! But as I was so hungry I gave in – I think this is the 3rd time I’ve eaten fast food this year!
Now I like big modern airports with lots of glass but Dubai airport just doesn’t tick it for me. It is too big and confusing with an inadequate number of seats and toilets. The layout is confusing with signs everywhere and people heading in all sorts of directions. It was like a circus and the number of duty free shops just overwhelmed me. Big, confusing, impractical and impersonal was like a cold steel enclosure and the hours seemed to slowly tick by! I need to get outta here!!