CONTINUED SERVICE TO HONG KONG
As the crew settled in, pre-departure services began as the Hong Kong-bound premium 5th Freedom traffic made their appearances in the upper deck.
First Class passengers began boarding at 1:55pm
Apart from Sam, myself, and a honeymooning couple that joined from Dubai, the newcomers in the cabin were mostly of Thai origins that seemed to be making their ways to Hong Kong for holidays. Perhaps they even were on this flight for its inaugural-esque intentions; who knows, but at least they seemed to be enjoying their respective First Class suites.
Meanwhile, Noelle from the Philippines -striking, beautiful, humble, and very attractive- made her appearance in the aisle to welcome us on board and introduce herself.
"Good afternoon Mr. Hawi, welcome on board. My name is Noelle and I will be serving you on this sector"
"Can I offer you something to drink before takeoff?"
"May I have a glass of champagne please?"
My glass of champagne
Perry -from African descent- was equally cheerful and professional, and also introduced herself to us as she offered a selection of newspapers.
"Gentlemen, my name is Perry, and I would like to welcome you on board"
"Along with my colleagues, I will be looking after you this afternoon. Would you care for a newspaper?"
"No. Thank you!"
"My pleasure, may I get offer you another glass of champagne?"
Vincenzo from Italy was summoned to second my glass of champagne
At 2:10pm, Captain Ian Chetcuti made an announcement to welcome us onboard and inform us that we were soon to be departing for Hong Kong with a flight time of 2 hours and 11 minutes. Following that, an English announcement was made by Zoleka, followed by Arabic, and then Thai.
"Would all ground staff kindly leave the aircraft, this flight is bound for Hong Kong"
Cabin after the boarding bustle
While the crew were readying the cabin for departure, Zoleka was in the cabin introducing herself to each new joiner and addressing each passenger by name. To my eyes, I am seeing this flight to be very Cathay! And we all know that this, to me, is a damn good thing!
"Gentlemen, once again I would like to welcome you on board, but please don't tell me you're gonna sleep again on this flight? It's just two hours!"
"Not to worry, we are not going to miss a thing on this flight"
"It is wonderful to see you two shining and cheerful, after the long flight from Dubai"
"It is also likewise, and your colleagues really took care of us!"
"So sorry about the delay earlier, but this flight is just two hours, so we will try our best to make it up to you"
Vincenzo & Perry conducted a service of Arabic coffee & dates
The doors were eventually closed, and we commenced pushback at 2:30pm. Quietly spooling -and you won't hear it, you'll just expect it- we began our 20 or so minute taxi to the active runway.
At 2:50pm, A6-EDM continued her journey to Hong Kong
Sam fell asleep during takeoff
At cruising altitude when the seatbelt sign was switched off, the crew was released to prepare for the quick service. Perry commenced the service by taking lunch orders.
"Mr. Hawi, can I offer some lunch ?"
"Yes please, I'd like to have the chicken salad to start, chicken tikka for the main course, and let's see later for dessert"
"Very well then. But today we are serving a white chocolate mille-feuille for dessert, and it's delicious!"
"Okay then, I will take you up on that!"
"Would you like anything to drink with your meal?"
"I'll have a Bloody Mary please"
As for Sam, he ordered the salmon for starters, the grilled beef tenderloin for the main course and the assortment of side dishes, in addition to the mille-feuille for dessert.
An excellent Bloody Mary was served with nuts and condiments
After my first glass of Bloody Mary was cleared, my table was set with linen, silverware, a water glass and a breadbasket. A tray was then placed in front of me which contained the side-salad, the starter, dressing, salt & pepper shakers, a bread plate, and a second glass of Bloody Mary. As it was a very short flight, I think it only made perfect sense to have a classy tray service for the meal.
My meal tray
Chicken Salad starter
Sam's starter (picture by Sam Chui)
Both our starters were excellent. Sam enjoyed his salmon, while I found my chicken salad flavorful and spicy. I especially enjoyed the bread -as always- which was soft and oven hot.
My chicken tikka arrived as soon as I was finished with my starter
Sam's beef tenderloin (picture by Sam Chui)
Picture by Sam Chui
Again, another pair of excellent meals!
"Mr. Hawi, how was everything?"
"Excellent, thank you"
"You're most welcome. May I clear your table?"
"Would you like any tea of coffee with dessert?"
"I'll have a cup or coffee please"
My dessert was served with a small box of Godiva chocolates, and my cup of coffee came with the entire pot which I thought was a great touch!
My dessert & coffee
Heavenly mille feuille
Sam's dessert (picture by Sam Chui)
Our tables were cleared as soon as we were through with the meal service, and we each roamed around the cabin one more time before we were soon due to land in Hong Kong.
Late afternoon cruise (picture by Sam Chui)
Cabin after the meal service
First Class staircase
Me & Zoleka
Sam & Zoleka (picture taken using Sam's camera)
At 5:30pm local time in Hong Kong, our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had reached top of descent. As we were due to land within 30 minutes, the seatbelt sign was switched on and the crew made their final preparations for landing.
As saddening a feeling as it was that this flight was ending, I was equally excited -and admittedly for the worst of all reasons- to get the hell out of this aircraft and smoke a cigarette (I know! addiction is evil!).
During the final stages of the flight, Zoleka handed out inaugural flight certificates to all passengers that had joined in Bangkok, before catching up with us for one final time.
"So. Mr. Chui & Mr. Hawi, the stars of this flight! I really do hope you have enjoyed the flight with us today. See? I told you it wouldn’t take too long!"
"Thank you very much Zoleka, you were all great! Really!"
"It is my pleasure! I trust that you had both received your certificates on the earlier flight?"
"Yes we did"
"Thank you for flying with us, and I must see you again on board one of my flights!"
At exactly 6pm, A6-EDM touched down at Chek Lap Kok, inaugurating Emirates' A380 services to Hong Kong.
As we taxied closer to the gate, two fire trucks were in position on each side of the entryway to the Apron. However still from a significant distance, the fire trucks had already begun releasing water well before the aircraft had arrived at their position.
From my personal experience in such inaugural flight activities, activating the water at such an early stage during the sequence of events can yield the most embarrassing outcome. However, why was I to doubt the abilities and experience of my counterparts at HKIA? Everything was perfect, and the water canon salute we received was a gazillion times better than that during the A380's inaugural at JFK
Water canon salute at HKIA
Finally docked at the gate
We requested for a visit to the cockpit, and Zuleka instantly approved, but she asked that we wait for a while until most passengers had disembarked.
Cabin after all passengers disembarked
Sam & Noelle (picture taken using Sam Chui's camera)
Me & Noelle (picture by Sam Chui)
This TR was in these bags!
Picture by Sam Chui
We were finally let inside the cockpit, and Zuleka had introduced us to Captain Ian Chetcuti from Italy, and First Officer Mohamed Rahmani from the UAE. It felt like we were in their batchelor's pad as we were instantly invited to 'chill'. Furthermore, without any hesitation, Captain Ian was more than happy to take pictures of us sitting on his seat.
In the midst of our aviation-talk (The FO even knew the company I worked for!!), Mohamed had rolled open the window by his side to take a peek outside at some 50 or so HK
ground personnel that seemed like they were waiting for that moment. He waved his inaugural A380 flight to HKG
greeting, and he was met with pictures upon pictures by the Hong Kong ground staff. They were just so excited!
Sam in the cockpit (picture taken using Sam Chui's camera)
My turn! (picture by Sam Chui)
Picture by Sam Chui
A R R I V A L
Thanking the flight and cabin crew for their outstanding efforts, we proceeded to exit the aircraft and arrived at HKIA's terminal.
After my much needed cigarette, we proceeded towards immigration where Sam and I had split as I had to queue in line with the rest of the foreigners. One other thing I do not like about this airport -apart from its Terminal 2 concept- is the extremely slow immigration process. The counters never seem to be adequately staffed and there is always a very long queue.
Nevertheless, approximately an hour after we had arrived, I was through with immigration and at the arrivals hall where Sam was waiting, along with the ultra-intelligent and well-spoken Mr. Globetraveller who was anxiously waiting for a full briefing on the flight! He had spent the entire day within the premises of the airport for an all-day session of spotting (and we know exactly why he specifically chose today for this!).
Exterior view of the inaugural flight (picture by Globetraveller)
Picture by Globetraveller
Picture by Globetraveller
Picture by Globetraveller
And finally, our Emirates Chauffer Service! (picture by Sam Chui)
I had spent just under 24 hours in Hong Kong, where the majority of the time was spent with both Sam and Globetraveller. We 'plane-talked' the living daylights out of Hong Kong, and practically planned out Emirates' 20 year business plan, forecasted the airline's fleet configurations, announced the 90 A380 network, and discussed the many different ways one can take advantage of the Skywards program to its full potential.
The next day, the three of us parted ways, and I was onboard a Cathay Pacific A330 flight back to Dubai.
C O N C L U S I O N
This was another one of my favorite experiences of all time. It was not an 'all-out' inaugural flight per se, but it was Sam and me that made it happen. Without any judgment, no finicky critiques, no inconsistency pinpointing, and no whining! In the end, we had the BEST time!
On top of all this, the excellent crew, the professional manner in which they treated their customers, and the truly superb in-flight service was simply an added bonus that made things even better!
I have flown Emirates quite a number of times this year, and from my own experience I can say that they have come quite a long way in comparison with 2005/2006. Long are the days when I consistently had bad flights with Emirates, and I hope that this will remain to be the case!
Finally, I would like to thank Sam Chui and Globetraveller for making this happen! The entire experience on and off the ground wouldn't have been this great without them!
This concludes my Trip Report. I hope that you have enjoyed it; your comments are always welcome!
will soon be made available on www.samchuiphotos.com)
One final picture taken using Sam Chui's camera
And some goodies from the flight
E Q U I P M E N T
- Canon 50D
- Nikon D300
- Canon IXUS 110
- Sigma 10-20mm Wide Angle
- Sigma 10mm Fisheye
- Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye
- Canon 17-85mm
This Suite Has Sliding Doors: Emirates F DXB-JNB (by ronerone Sep 5 2010 in Trip Reports)
Transito!: A Connection On TAAG-Angola (B743/B772) (by ronerone Jul 31 2010 in Trip Reports)
Keeping Up With The JETs: 9W Première HKG-DEL-DXB (by ronerone Jul 18 2010 in Trip Reports)
Petra Express!: On Royal Jordanian's A330-200 (by ronerone Jun 11 2010 in Trip Reports)
Suite Redemptions: Cathay Pacific BKK-HKG In F (by ronerone May 14 2010 in Trip Reports)
Uniquely Boutique: Oman Air Business Class To BKK (by ronerone Apr 3 2010 in Trip Reports)
In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH (by ronerone Feb 20 2010 in Trip Reports)
SriLankan Airlines: The Treasure Of Serendib! (by Ronerone Jan 9 2010 in Trip Reports)
Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK (by Ronerone Dec 11 2009 in Trip Reports)
OpenSkies From British Airways: A New Era's End? (by Ronerone Oct 14 2009 in Trip Reports)
Revealing An Underdog: Royal Brunei Business Class (by Ronerone Sep 3 2009 in Trip Reports)
The Singapore Airlines Cliché (by Ronerone Jul 27 2009 in Trip Reports)
A380: Qantas Proper To SIN City (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
Welcome To Terminal 3: Etihad Airways AUH-SYD (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
5th Freedom Of The Air: Kenya Airways HKG-BKK-HKG (by Ronerone Mar 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Pacific: First Class On The Legacy Milk-Run (by Ronerone Jan 26 2009 in Trip Reports)
Inspirations On A Narrowbody: Etihad To Amman (by Ronerone Nov 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Malaysia Boleh!: On The Malaysian Airline System (by Ronerone Oct 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Pearls & Diamonds: Inspired By Etihad Airways (by Ronerone Sep 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
The Future Has Arrived: EK A380 Inaugural Flights (by Ronerone Aug 4 2008 in Trip Reports)
Syrian Special Performance, Featuring Sam Chui (by Ronerone May 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
This Is Royal Jordanian! (by Ronerone Apr 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
Ultra-Competitive, Ultra-Long Haul: EY Vs EK (by Ronerone Mar 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
Suvarnabhumi, The Etihad Way! (by Ronerone Jan 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Delight: A Trip To Asia's World City (by Ronerone Oct 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 2 PixVidz (by Ronerone Jul 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 1 PixVids (by Ronerone Jul 4 2007 in Trip Reports)
CX: JFK-HKG-DXB In Y A346/772 (Lots Of Pics/Vids) (by Ronerone Aug 28 2006 in Trip Reports)
F L I C K R
F A C E B O O K
R. Wadei Hawi
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I have a range of taxi, takeoff, landing, announcement, and safety videos posted. Feel free to view them!
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