DXB-IKA on Emirates
It’s been a couple of years since this trip but I was perusing through some old photos and decided to share my experience on this trip to Iran on Emirates. I will have a follow-up report on my domestic sectors within Iran.
The purpose of my trip was primarily to take a mobility challenged family member for an important pilgrimage to Mashhad, Iran.
Friday February 20, 2009
Since Emirates leaves late in the evening from Toronto I did a half day of work before heading off… such a dedicated employee I am!
We arrived at Pearson International Terminal 1 at approximately 6:00PM. The Emirates ticket counters were pretty empty which was a blessing as we had a wheelchair passenger with us. The service was pleasant and very efficient until I requested the use of the on-board wheelchair. This lead to a pretty intense interrogation of what the situation was and dire warnings if a medical diversion were to occur. Thankfully one of the senior agents was within earshot and quickly calmed the excited agent.
Our bags were priority checked only to DXB as we were spending a day in Dubai before joining a “pilgrimage group” in Dubai for the Iran portion.
Security was not as quiet as the check-in unfortunately but we were able to make it through without any incident by 7:00PM. We made the long trek down to the end of Pier F the international pier at Pearson T1. Our departure was from far end of Pier F at gate 179.
Once we had everyone settled into the seats up front near the gate I spent a few minutes checking out the art installations.
At approximately 21:05 ET boarding commenced on this full flight. We headed down the Jetway, as we boarded I asked one of the flight attendants if she could deliver my flight logbook to the flight deck. She said sure, but after everyone was seated. I made my way to seat and found that the amenity kits and blankets were neatly placed on the cushions.
Cabin Crew: 16
Pax Load: 358
Sector Distance: 6899 nm
ETD: 21:40 L
ATD: 22:20 L
Departure Rwy: 23
ETA: 19:20+1 L
ATA: 19:19+1 L
Arrival Rwy: 12L
Block Time: 12:40
Actual Airborne Time: 11:59
Meal Service: Dinner, Breakfast
IFE: AVOD ICE
Photo © Gerhard Vysocan
My seat was 35A but was changed unfortunately to 26G, so no window on this sector. This sortof killed my incentive to take pictures so the pictures are further down.
Pushback commenced at 21:45 L and we made out to the CDF for deicing we pulled in to the deicing bay at 22:00 L and after a quick spray down we were off to Rwy. 23 at 22:05 L. Departure on a cold February night, temperature at -12C.
We lined up and thundered down Rwy. 23 with the GE90s spinning wildly. After a 35 second take off roll we rotated at 22:20 L made a hard 180 degree right turn and then continued to climb out on our way to DXB. Our initial cruise of FL310 and groundspeed of 550mph was attained as we passed over the Capital of Ottawa.
Shortly after the ‘fasten seatbelts’ sign was extinguished the F/As sprang into action preparing for the beverage service and subsequent Dinner. During the beverage service Menus were distributed, immediately followed by Dinner was served at midnight ET.
I chose the Lamb, my wife had the chicken. The meal service was quite nice and tasty. The F/A’s seemed to be hit and miss, with some being very friendly, engaging and others the complete opposite. Shortly after the Dinner service a follow-up beverage service was performed.
After Dinner most of the passengers settled in for the long haul to Dubai by either sleeping or exploring EK’s extensive AVOD ICE system. I can’t really sleep on an airplane so I decided to watch some movies.
Somewhere in the middle of my movie, I had dozed off… but I was woken by a gentle tap on my shoulder from a very lovely F/A who brought back my completed logbook. She and I chatted for a while sharing travel stories, but sadly she was working up at the front of the cabin so I didn’t see her again until after we landed.
The first light on the horizon occurred about halfway across the North Atlantic Ocean
We passed over Copenhagen at 4:50 ET.
Groundspeed of 543mph
Flight Level 350
During the remainder of the flight there were several rounds of water service.
With a couple hours to go before our arrival into Dubai the cabin lights were brightened and hot towels were distributed to the passengers. The F/As began preparation for the second meal service. The breakfast was served at approx. 8:30 ET as we cruised near the Turkey/Iraq border. The selected the omelette but they had run out, so I was forced to settle for a vegetarian breakfast. It was fine, nothing special but I am not one to have high expectations for airline food in Y class.
The flight to DXB was smooth but most of Europe was under cloud cover as Winter was firmly ensconced in the Northern Hemisphere. It was the first time after 1990 that I flew directly over Iraq. Most routings from Europe after the Gulf War were East over Turkey and south through Iran. We began our descent North East of Bahrain at 9:55 ET or 18:55 UAE time. We made a straight approach and landed on 12L at 19:19 L. It was already dark but the glittering lights of Dubai greeted us, plus some warmth too as the arrival temperature was 15C.
We parked at gate 218 in the new T3. After deplaning we headed to the immigration as we admired the wonderful sights and sounds of this new terminal. Immigration was pretty uneventful and then on to the very large and airy baggage claim section. I was very impressed by the sheer size of the place, impressive indeed. The bags came out pretty quick as most passengers on our flight were only transiting DXB and headed to South Asia.
DXB T3_002 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
We met our family that lives in Sharjah for the short drive home. After a nice hot shower and a proper meal my cousin was anxious to take me for a ride in his new car… a Ferrari F430! We had a wild ride around Corniche and Al Mamzar.
Since we only had a day before leaving for Iran, we relaxed on Sunday with family before the early flight to Tehran Monday morning.
Friday March 11, 2011
We had an early flight to Tehran so we had to get up extra early to fit everything into the car and meet the group at DXB. With my cousin driving the car like it was his Ferrari we reached DXB in record time… 7minutes!
Departure curbside at T3
DXB T3_000 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
We arrived around 5:30 L, before most of the group had assembled so it allowed me a chance to explore a little of Terminal 3. A few empty terminal... for now
DXB T3_001 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
Once the group was assembled we proceeded to the check-in which was a long section with agents seated on each side, flights and destinations were designated to certain blocks, a very unique setup from what I had seen in almost every other airport. Nevertheless the checking in process was again smooth and this time uneventful. I again requested the on-board wheelchair for my father, and the agent asked us to remind the gate agent during boarding. Emirates have these very nice, substantial baggage tags available at the counters. I wish AC had something like this!
After check-in, we passed through passport control and security very quickly as there was many lines from which to choose. Upon clearing the security we made our way through the impressive Duty-Free mall. I have noticed that Dubai has become much more expensive over the years to a point now that there isn’t much (if any) savings for North American passengers. However, I am sure the Brits find it cheaper due to their stronger currency.
Our gate was 210 which is located at the end of T3 that connects to T2 concourse. There was a lovely garden and spacious open areas to accommodate all the passengers that use this very busy airport.
DXB T3_005 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
DXB T3_004 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
The gate opened at 7:15 L, immediately there was a huge rush of people. I never understood this as unlike in Canada where the gate opens and boarding commences. International airports open the gate, get everyone in the “secure” area then proceed with boarding.
Anyway, we went to the gate and I advised the agent about the wheelchair request. I was met with an odd look, followed by rapid fire back and forth exchange in Arabic to the aircraft. Then with some hesitation she let us through.
Once in the gate area I realized there was no Jetway connection at this gate but an elevator and escalators leading down to ground level. It seems our aircraft was at a remote stand… “oh great, this should be fun with a wheelchair pax” I couldn’t help but think to myself.
Actual boarding call was made and boarding commenced, our group lead stayed with us while the rest of our group and the remaining passengers proceeded down the escalators and boarded buses to take them the aircraft.
We went down the elevator and waited… and waited… and waited. About 15minutes later a large truck pulled up and lowered a ramp. I rolled the wheelchair onto the ramp and into the back of this truck along with my family. We strapped in the chair and held on for dear life as the truck made its way north along the terminal concourses to our remote stand.
DXB EKA332_005 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
DXB EKA345_006 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
During this I saw close up visitors such as TK, SK, along with lots of EK birds getting prepped for the morning departure bank. As we arrived at Remote stand C26 I noticed that we were to fly on A6-EAA. I flew her once before on Dec 28 2002 from Dubai to Hyderabad and therefore knew the interior and IFE would be the older versions and probably pretty worn out. The truck pulled up to the R1 door and began lifting to align the ramp with the door.
Once inside we noticed that all the other passengers had taken their seats and wondering what this commotion was at the front. We were seated by the extremely helpful and understanding cabin crew, the doors shut and engines spooled up.
Cabin Crew: 11
Sector Distance: 744 nm
ETD: 7:55 L
ATD: 8:15 L
Departure Rwy: 12R
ETA: 9:35 L
ATA: 9:37 L
Arrival Rwy: 29R
Block Time: 2:10
Actual Airborne Time: 1:52
Meal Service: Breakfast
Photo © Stewart Andrew
As we settled back into our seats I noticed that the flight was not completely full on this leg so we had a little room to stretch out.
Pushback from the stand was at 8:00 local time. On the taxi out to 12R for departure I saw two A380s one was getting prepped for the LHR run the other had pushed back and ready to perform the JFK sector. We were number two for departure behind an EK77W and just before the big bird A380 to JFK.
EK A380 holding short as we power up on 12R
DXB EKA388_007 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
We lined up 12R, the captain spooled up those Trents to full throttle and we began our take-off roll and rotated away from Emirati soil at 8:15 local time. Despite the perpetual haziness in this part of the world, I was able to take some shots of the departure and view of Dubai and Burj Dubai (now known as Burj Khalifa).
DXB EK971_008 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
Shortly after take off we made a sweeping 180 degree right hand turn to the North and quickly headed out over the Persian Gulf towards the Iranian coast.
Once the fasten seat belt sign was quickly extinguished and the F/As began the Breakfast service by bringing out beverages. There was no menu card on this flight but the choices were conveyed by the F/As. I selected the omelette and luckily this time it was still available. Breakfast was served at 8:45 L.
Omelette with Spinach/mushroom filling
From the bakery:
After breakfast, I flipped through the movie choices on this older AVOD system and couldn’t find anything I really like so I settled on snapping photos out my window.
At approximately 9:00 Iran local time we began our descent for Imam Khomeini International Airport outside of Tehran.
As we made a long final into IKA, I caught a view of Mount Damavand which is the tallest mountain in the Middle East.
DXB EK971_009 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
We were lined up on final for 29R, and made a very nice graceful landing on Iranian soil. We touched down at 9:37 local time, a couple of minutes late. Once exiting the runway we made a u-turn and taxied down to the terminal on the taxiway I saw several Iran Air and Mahan Air aircraft: B300s, B747s but the one bird I really wanted to see wasn’t there the Iran Air B747SP.
IKA Term_013 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
We turned off the taxiway and pulled into gate at an empty terminal.
IKA Term_012 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
I was tired but excited about being in Iran. We deplaned and made a right turn toward the immigration desks. At immigration they took an inordinate amount of time to process my mother and wife. We were the only arrival at the time. Once through I took the wheelchair down to baggage claim via the tiniest cramped elevator imaginable. The bags arrived quickly and the customs gentleman just waved us through when we told him we were “zawars” (pilgrims).
We met the bus driver who loaded us up under a brilliant sun and we headed off to Qom.
QOM Road_014 by Kazim R Alikhan, on Flickr
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