This is my first trip report- so be kind! I have enjoyed, for a while, the ones in this forum already and decided to jump in. I was a bit click-happy, and hence, there are as many pics.
EK 212, 49K, Y
IAH-DXB (14hr 40min)
Dec 24, 2012
EK 570, 35K, Y
DXB-CCU (4hr 10 min)
Jan 07, 2013
EK 573, 37A, Y
CCU-DXB (5hr 30 min)
A332 (forgot to note)
Jan 08, 2013
EK 211, 48A, Y
DXB-IAH (16hr 35min)
I was quite excited about the ultra longhaul parts (IAH-DXB-IAH) and the Emirates product. I have done this same route (IAH-CCU) with BA, SQ, and EK before, but for me each flight is a new experience.
The check-in at IAH was easy. I quickly checked in on-line using my cell phone because the online check-in queue was much shorter. First time that I forgot online early check-in. The agent at the counter offered an upgrade to business at $990 for IAH-DXB. I was tempted but politely declined. Last year, it was a different story and I did take up the upgrade offer and flew J. It was fantastic. Security was easy- IAH does a good job I think- and soon I was airside and ready to spot. The IAH late afternoon usual suspects were there- LH, QR, BA, SQ, AF, EK. I didn’t see KLM.
My flight was full and boarded on time. I chose my seat in one of last rows with a two-person row. The plane is my favorite- the 77W, EK's workhorse. The first thing I noticed is the cool lounge music that you would expect in a coffee shop. That was a nice change from airlines playing their jingle over and over. The plane looked nice and clean and soon we boarded and were off.
The inflight service started once we were cleared 10,000ft. Nothing remarkable. I usually watch the airshow and get my gadgets to charge. Love the power and USB outlets. EK's ICE is obviously great with too many selections for even an ultralong haul. You will have something to watch for sure.
The dinner was OK- they ran out of my choice. I got baked cod. However, I was not that hungry and could not finish the dinner. The dessert was delicious.
We had a strong jetstream that day, and once we caught it as we headed up the Canadian seaboard the flight got very choppy and seatbelt sign was on for a long time. By this time the cabin was quiet, the ceiling was starlit, and I fell asleep.
Few hours later, I woke up to a beautiful mood lighting dawn. I remember the days when the lights would come on suddenly like you had power outage. This transition is sensible. We were then served breakfast, which was delicious, and I had worked up an appetite by then.
After few hours eastbound, it started to become dark out again. What a short day it was! I experienced two sunsets in less than 15 hours. We landed in DXB a little ahead of time. DXB at about 7pm was not super busy. I had almost 7 hours layover that I spent in Dubai International Airport Hotel in the terminal itself. Very convenient, and they will charge you for it too! I was greeted by the hotel staff with a sign at the gate. I didn't even expect that. So, that was cool! I caught some z’s and was out for a few hours. I must have been very tired. I showered and got ready in time for my next leg.
Descent into DXB
Room in Dubai Int'l Hotel
My next leg, DXB-CCU, was at 3 am and it seemed like a short hop compared to the first one. At this time, 2am, the terminal was just packed. I bought a Bose noise cancelling headset. I love it! By the time I got to my gate, boarding had already begun- meaning loading buses to take you to the aircraft. This happened last year as well, when they simply run out of gates. Our bus went past the A388. The A332 was older than the B77W- probably 10-12 yrs old. Not bad at all. It was nice and clean with a great crew. The captain mentioned that we had very strong tailwinds, which was great to know.
We landed in CCU on time, at about 8:40 in the morning. The plane was hooked with a jetway in the front and stairs at the back for fast unboarding. I have never seen anything like that, but CCU always surprises you! The A332 is quieter than the B77W as others have observed as well. I still used my new noise cancelling headset- gee, it makes flying even better!
Going past the beast
Had a great time in CCU, especially at my HS reunion. Oh, how we have changed! Now time to head back. Also, bye bye old terminal at CCU. Next time, I will see you at the new integrated terminal. Can't wait!
Again boarded the A332 on time. Great friendly crew for the most part. After we hit about 10,000 feet, the captain mentioned that we will use up all 5hr 30 min of the duration because of very strong headwinds. We also ran into mild turbulence right off the bat, but nothing to interrupt the great service. Close to DXB past midnight, we were kept holding for a bit probably due to traffic at rush hour. I had a 9 hour layover and was offered a hotel room in the city. In hindsight, although it is a nice gesture by EK to give complimentary hotel rooms for over 8 hour layovers, by the time you get to the hotel and checkout, you really get about 3-4 hours. Not worth it for me. Next time, I will spend it at the airport.
Obligatory knee shot- enough legroom for me (5'-11")
Getting on the active runway in CCU
Some snacks and chardonnay
I have questions about the routing of DXB-CCU-DXB. For DXB-CCU, the duration is 4hr and 10 min- actually it takes about 3 hr and 40 mins usually. However, CCU-DXB is a 5hr 30 min flight and it takes that long. I know for CCU-DXB we encounter headwinds, but the routing is weird. The plane goes southwest and then goes north west, like a flattened V. Not sure why a more direct route is not taken. Any takers?
This is one of the longest flights right now in the world in duration 16 hrs and 35 mins. It will probably move up few notches once SQ terminates EWR-SIN and LAX-SIN later this year. I chose my seat in the second to the last row, and had no seat mate and got the row to myself! It was awesome. Soon hot towel service ensued, but my towel was cold. The restroom initially didn't have cologne or moisturizer- but they were stocked later in the flight. We pushed back right on time.
Dubai Int'l Airport
Queued up for takeoff. What airline is this?
The take off roll was fun because of the crosswinds, you could feel the plane accelerate and swerve just a bit. Once we were airborne, you could see the desert dust stirred up below from the strong winds. After take off, we were immediately routed north and even a bit northeast towards the pole. The captain mentioned about two sets of crew in this flight. I noticed that even after over an hour we still hadn't reached cruising altitude- 29,000. These are some heavy birds!
Landscapes below (Iran, Russia or former Soviet states)
Lunch- Indian vege option (Chick peas and vermicelli upma), OK tasting
Getting work done- nice not to have a neighbor.
Dinner Service (Moroccan lamb with merlot chosen by FA)
I also had expected it to be a day flight, but we had a couple of hours of night in the polar region. The crew was really friendly. I chatted with them for a bit. They are from all over the world. That's something I enjoy about EK, and the way they work seamlessly is quite remarkable, given their various backgrounds. Closer to IAH, near Waco, we ran into quite a bit of turbulence and the cabin crew had to be seated. But then, we also started descending into IAH soon after. Once in IAH, customs were quick.
Making the turn to the south...not!
Weather in Texas
Overall, I enjoy(ed) the EK product a lot. I didn’t feel the seat width in the 77Ws too much of an issue for me given the 3x4x3 configuration. I appreciate the power and USB outlets in the 77Ws as well. This allowed me to get work done and also watch a couple of movies that I only watch when I am flying- it is a tradition! I have also flown this same route with SQ and it is hard for me not to compare the two products. While EK’s product is fantastic, there is something additional about the SQ product that is hard to pin point. If I fly SQ next time, I sure will miss EK’s front and bottom cameras, the starlit ceiling, and the excellent use of mood lighting.
I am ready for my next trip- probably domestic. Stay tuned!