ETD/ATD: 21.40 / 22.50
ETA/ATA: 23.59 / 01.25
Delivered: 15 August 2004
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Photo © Konstantin von WedelstaedtWondering why the above layout? Stay tuned.
“Good evening, Mr. Akhmad,” Ahmed welcomed me after a glance at my boarding stub. “Your seat is located on the left behind the wall,”
“Hallo,” Czech FA Yirina greeted me from the galley.
Yirina got attracted by our DSLR and struck up a conversation, “Nice camera you have got there. Which one is it?”
“It is a Nikon D90,”
“It looks nice. I have bought my own recently. A Canon one,”
Chatty Yirina set the tone of our flight. From that moment, I knew it would be another pleasant experience with EK.
“Would you excuse me? I have to greet my guests,” Yirina slunk off.
‘And I have to capture our sanctuary for the next couple hours!’
Side view of the left section of row 7
Slanting backward view of 7A and 7B. Each with a large pillow and a wool blanket
‘Hey, again no dotted wood patterned window frames. Could they be typical 77W interior?’ I was wondering.
My seat 7A. Note the lovely embroidered head cover
The cocoon design intrigued me since I saw its photo online couple years ago. I was thrilled to sample it myself. And look who was smiling at me as I looked ahead.
Welcome back, Mr. Akhmad. How was your holiday in India?
Was it not a comforting welcome? Compare it to what our front neighbors would experience.
Hallo… where is she?
Cold comfort to our neighbors. The magazine rack was located within their arm reach.
Unlike the J seats we had earlier, there are no seatback pockets. Instead there are three in-between holders on the cocoon backside.
Largest holder in the middle. Just big enough for headset
Unfortunately, none of them could accommodate our DSLR. A slight drawback of the cocoon. What about somewhere in the middle console? Too bad, there was no place either!
Front part of the middle console
What could lay beneath?
Mini touch screen stowage
Evidently precursor of the one on our inbound flight from DXB
What was there under the back part?
Regular IFE control unit
And last but not least, located underneath.
It looked like everyone in the forward cabin got seated during my exploration. Rattling sound from the galley marked the start of pre-departure service.
Forward cabin view
Australian FA Matthew appeared on our side.
“Can I offer you anything to drink? I have got water, orange juice or apple juice,”
“No champagne?” Herman asked.
“After take-off, Sir,”
“Then, I will have the orange juice, please,”
“Certainly, Sir. And how about you?”’ Matthew turned to me.
“Apple juice, please,”
Our welcome drinks
Later on, I learned that serving alcohol on board while on the ground is prohibited by Indian law. Hence, no champagne as a welcome drink.
Jordanian FA Bashar dropped in with an array of newspapers. Even though I loved the presentation on the silver tray, I declined the offer. So did Herman.
At 22.45, Captain Meadows was on the microphone to explain the delay. The previously scheduled aircraft apparently had some technical problems. A6-ERF was a substitute equipment.
His intro was followed by a welcome announcement of Lebanese purser Charbel.
Hot towels were distributed while IFE screens broadcasted in-flight safety demonstration in both Arabic and English.
One of my favorite demonstration videos
Pushback commenced just before 22.55. ‘Hey, where did the memorable announcement ‘We kindly ask all ground staffs to leave the aircraft’ go?’
Nevertheless, what a thrilling moment as Rolls Royce Trent engines came to life.
At 23.00, as A6-ERF set out for 11-29 runway. After the recollection of the towels, the cabin lights were dimmed. Much to my pleasure, I can tell you!
Jet Airways VT-JWL
Druk Air A5-RGF
Blue Dart B732
At 23.10, Captain Meadows was on the microphone, “Cabin crew, prepared for take-off,”
Front camera view while lining up
I was expecting a laborious take-off roll as you told me in your reports, fellows.
But you know what? To my surprise, A6-ERF performed an equally powerful take off roll like her Triple Seven colleagues.
Take off roll through the front camera
A6-ERF rocketed into the air at 23.15.
At 23.20 as A6-ERF leveled off, flight attendants sprung into action.
Charbel got on the microphone, “We proudly present you languages spoken by our multinational cabin crews. Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Czech, Japanese and Serbian,”
Interestingly, though the cabin service preparation was started, fasten seat belt signs remained illuminated. It looked like we were expecting some turbulences ahead.
I would have to keep myself occupied in the meantime. My conscious spoke to me,
‘How about exploring some reading materials?’
‘Oh, just unfold your table to make it easy!’
Dining table. A bit on the small size, but it came with a handy foldable edge
The reading materials were wrapped in a plastic cover as usual. The content did not look special at the first glance, similar to the ones on earlier flights like in-flight magazine, duty free catalogue, IFE guide... ‘Hey, what is this?’
Portfolio magazine exclusively for F and J passengers
The idea of Portfolio reminded me of Swiss Universe magazine. Funny I did not notice it on earlier flights. But something was still missing, ‘Ah, there you are! I was about to miss you, safety card!’
Menu’s were distributed just as I finished my literature search.
Menu and wine list
Matthew appeared soon after with a drink trolley. It was time for pre-dinner beverage service.
Matthew was in charge of our side, while Yirina took care of the other side
While Matthew was attending our front neighbors, I flipped through the menu. I wished to order another cocktail than Bloody Mary. Well, my friend Roni, I hope you do not take offence at it.
Herman was determined to have champagne as a compensation for his welcome drink.
“Can I offer you anything to drink?” Matthew asked as he reached our row.
“Can I have a glass of Champagne, please?” Herman replied. Well, what a surprise!
“What about you, Sir?” Matthew turned to me after serving Herman’s champagne.
“Can I have Fantasy Island, please?” I replied which triggered a doubtful expression on Matthew’s face for a second.
Matthew then proceeded to search the drawers of his trolley.
He revealed a cocktail recipe book from the lowest drawer, a jigger from the third drawer and a mini bottle of Bacardi from the second drawer.
Gazing at the recipe book, he prepared a whisky glass and poured a dash of Bacardi upon measuring it in the fluid cone. Generous amount of orange juice followed along with ice cubes and Champagne as the finishing touch. All carried out in my amazement.
“Here you are, Sir. Do you want some nuts to go with it?”
“Yes, please,” Both Herman and I replied.
“Oh, one bowl is enough,” Herman said as Matthew took a second bowl of nuts.
My Fantasy Island and Herman’s Champagne along with a bowl of nuts
“Can I take your dinner order, please?” Matthew asked Herman.
‘Oh, I was undecided yet!’ I quickly looked at the menu.
Dinner menu on the right page
“Can I have the lobster as starter and the grill as main meal, please?” Herman made up his mind.
“Certainly, Sir. How about you?”
“Can I have Appam chat as starter and paneer makhani as main meal, please?” I replied.
“Certainly, Sir,” Matthew quickly scribbled our order and carried on.
As one battery of our compact camera, we needed to use the charger. Usually, I had no problem with plugging into the power point. But for some reason, our plug would not fit this time.
Bashar appeared to set the tables as I flagged him down, “Could you please help me? I tried to push the plug, but no charging,”
Bashar subsequently made couple attempts himself but to no avail.
As it was dinner time, I expected to hear from Bashar, ‘I will get back to you after setting the table,’ or something of the sort. But no!
To Bashar, it was something that needed to be addressed immediately. “Please wait. I will see what I can do for you,”
Bashar really left me impressed as he slunk off to the galley and returned not long after with an EK adaptor, “Please try this,”
Abracadabra! what did you know? It worked! Thumbs up for Bashar!
“Thank you so much,” I thanked Bashar as he draped the table cloth.
Matthew soon appeared with the meal trolley.
As usual, everything was prepared on the tray before serving. The basic setting consisted of a water glass, a butter dish, a pair of pepper and saltcellar, a side plate, cutlery set and a bowl of Badam Kheer.
Herman’s tray setting
Followed by bread basket offering.
Indian breads, fresh baked rolls, pappads
Close up of our starters. What do you think?
Herman’s lobster and avocado
My appam chat
Herman was rather disappointed as the lobster did not taste as expected. On the contrary, I was enjoying my starter very much.
The chewy cubes were full of flavor. I did not know whether it was supposed to be that way, but I liked it. Though, I was too enthusiastic with that piece of pepper which benumbed my taste bud for a while.
How about the main meal? In one word, heaven!
Herman’s tandoori grill
My paneer makhani
Paneer, the richest flavored cottage cheese I have ever tasted which come with many delicious preparations and the EK one was no exception.
With sweet, silky textured Badam Kheer as dessert, I would convert myself into a vegetarian.
It was not really to Herman’s taste, but definitely to my pleasure as I got the honor to finish his portion as well.
In the meantime, Bashar kept checking on everyone. I assume he also noticed me savoring Herman’s meal as he asked me at one point, “Sir, do you want more of the meal? We have plenty of it,”
I just finished off everything and got myself really stuffed, “No, thank you,”
“Shall I clear your table?”
Not long after, it was time for coffee and tea run. Somehow, Herman and I barely finished our drinks, so we declined the coffee, but the Godiva chocolates.
Chocolates at your choice
It was 00.30 as the dinner service came to an end. A6-ERF was flying above Pakistan.
The cabin lights were dimmed to allow everyone to rest. Just look at the ceiling!
But no rest for me, it was time to explore the cabin, though I did not make it even to the aft J cabin. At least, I managed to visit one of the well maintained lavatory.
Clean lavatory bowl
Yirina just finished her meal as I met her at the galley. Matthew and Bashar were still eating.
“How was your meal?” Yirina asked.
“It was wonderful,”
“Can I help you with anything else?”
I took the opportunity to ask Yirina more details of our flight. I must say, she was very helpful with it!
At one point, Yirina said, “Please wait for me, here,”
She then disappeared towards the aft cabin.
While waiting for her to return, Bashar approached me with a mini box of Godiva chocolates. “Here, I have got a present for you,”
“Thank you,” I was somewhat perplex.
Yirina returned with a Polaroid camera, a booklet and a cap. The cap of Captain Meadows!
“Here, put this on,” she said while handing me the cap.
Yirina made herself up with her EK red hat and white scarf.
“Can you take a picture of us?” She asked while handing Bashar the Polaroid camera.
After the session, Yirina went on framing our photo in the booklet, writing a comment and gave it to me. I was speechless!
I could not help asking Yirina for another photo. This time with our DSLR.
Yirina and me. Courtesy of Bashar
“Do you want Captain Meadows to put some comments in your book?” Yirina suggested as I was yet to overcome my amazement.
“Oh, yes, please,”
“I will ask him to check and to write anything in your book,” Yirina took my notebook and left the galley.
“You can return to your seat if you want to,” Bashar said.
“Oh, yes, thank you,” I was still mesmerized while returning to my seat. The booklet? I left it in the galley.
Yirina appeared not long after I got seated, “He did not know what to write. But he did!”
Fellows, do you remember the flight status earlier on my report? The details are a courtesy of Captain Meadows!
“You are welcome,” Yirina slunk off, but returning some minutes later.
“You forgot this,” She smiled while handing my booklet.
“Oh, yes, I did forget it. Thank you so much!”
I was in cloud nine.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we will start out descent and expect to land in Dubai in thirty minutes. Please, put your seat in the upright position and fasten your seatbelts,” Charbel’s announcement sadly brought me down to earth, again!
Matthew passed scented hot towels. Yirina went on collecting the blankets, while Bashar took charge of distribution of fast track cards.
Fasten seatbelt signs were soon illuminated.
Landing (UAE time)
Cabin lights were gradually dimmed as A6-ERF got positioned in a landing pattern.
“Cabin crew, prepared for landing,” At Captain Meadows announcement, I turned to the front camera.
12L-30R in sight
Like our previous flight from Amsterdam full brakes were applied as soon as the wheels hit the runway.
As A6-ERF vacated 12L-30R at 01.20, I was expecting another ten minute trek to T3 with EK headquarter as my point of reference. But this distinctive building never came in sight. In fact, A6-ERF came to a completely stop five minutes later. Docked at a bus gate!
As the cabin was brightened, I got the feeling that our journey to an incredible country already came to an end, even we were yet halfway to our final destination.
‘Cheer up, Suryo!’ My conscious suddenly spoke to me. ‘The magnificent DXB T3 is waiting for you. Do not forget, you are at a bus gate now!’
[Edited 2011-04-30 09:33:33]