Welcome to another of trip report. This time im off with my brother and are going to present youseveral reports about our summertrip around the Middle East. In this report I will show you around the first leg, Gulfair from Frankfurt to Bahrain on an A320ER,and on to Dubai on a normal GF A320 .
( written by Emek96)
In january of the year, Gulfair had a big statusmatch promotion, where they would match ANY Goldstatus to Falconflyer Gold, so I applied and got my card not 3 weeks later. That was the point I started thinking about Gulfair, because I didn't want to waste my free goldstatus, and I had a look what prices they had, I finally found the combi FRA-BAH-DXB with an overnightstop in BAH for I think 230 € which is rather cheap in my opinion, also it would be very interesting to fly on an A320ER on a longhaul flight (6,5 hrs). After finding that price, my brother and I looked for other flights around the middle east and found out that it is quite cheap to fly around there. We found out that UA flies DOH-DXB for 40 € one way, also SWISS flight from DXB to MCT was on the agenda to try their long haul business class for one hour. All in all, this trip will be rather good for my log, I logged 5 new airports as well as 5 new airlines.
So all in all the routing would be as follow:
FRA-BAH GULFAIR A320ER
BAH-DXB GULFAIR A320
DXB-DOH QATAR AIRWAYS A320
DOH-DXB UNITED AIRLINES B777-200ER
DXB-MCT SWISS A330-300
MCT-IST via BAH TURKISH AIRLINES A321
IST-ATH AEGEAN AIRLINES A320
ATH-FRA AEGEAN AIRLINES A321
Thanks to gcmap.com
In this part im going to write about the flights on GF from Frankfurt to Dubai via Bahrain with a stop over there.
The day startd very early, like always when we fly from FRA because our hombase SCN is about 170 Kms away from FRA. This time we left relatively ''late“ and not at Markus o'clock, at half past 5. We took the EuroCity train which has his final destination in Austria, but we would connect in Mannheim to an ICE to FRA long distance station.
Our train in SCN Main Station
And the luggage for this trip
Recently refitted compartments in the carriages
Interior of the ICE high speed train
Our ICE train in Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof
All in all, the rides were very comfy and no delays (!) this time. We arrived at FRA at around 8 am. We directely made our way to T2 where all the non-LH-partners are departing from.
The infamous Frankfurt Terminal One Check In area
We walked threw the tunnel and threw T1, which was very crowded that day, and finally took the Skyline from T1 to T2. Arrived there we had a look for the Gulfair desks, but more than 3 hours before depature we thought we had to wait some time, but the desks were already open, so we made our way for the Falcon Gold desks. A friendly male agent checked us in, took aabout 7 mins because he had some problems in sending our bags only to BAH insted of sending them all the way to DXB. He also handed a golden and very nice lounge invitation to me. The lounge GF uses in FRA is the Cathay Pacific lounge.
By the way, it was the first time I have seen that T2 is crowded that day, very long lines at the (of course) Emirates desks, also the line at the AF/KLM check in was rather long. We than made our way for passport controle and airside. Passport control took about 10 secounds with nobody in front at the EU desk.
Terminal 2 landside, rather crowded that day
As expected, T2 non-Schengen airside is as boring as Schengen airside, there is absolutely nothing exept one big duty-free store and many lounges (CX, EK, JAL and some contract lounges).
The usual Frankfurt traffic
Luckily we were allowed to go into the CX Business and First lounge who is the contract lounge for GF in Frankfurt.
After a simple breakfast consisting of some sandwiches and a drink or two, we slowly made our way to the gate where already a few people were waiting.
Outside CX lounge
The total load of todays flight was just about 50-60 persons so it promised to be a decent flight.
Boarding was soon called and we were allowed to get onto the bus which brought us to the beautiful GF Airbus. IMO GF has one of the best looking liveries around.
BA 767 on the way to LHR
Always great to see an old Airbus of KU
Something for the german holidaymakers
Under the wing, you know
Boarding our A320
Boarding was soon finished with the handful people and as we were boarding late and the bulkhead row was still empty we settled down there.
GULF AIR A320ER
After the safety demonstration and a quick welcome from the cockpit we started our taxi to the „Startbahn West“, which is only there for departing aircraft. Just as side information, so far only one commercial plane landed there, but that was a VO Dash in an emergency.
AB on the way to some sunny destination
And off we go
After a quite long take off roll, we made our way into the sunny german sky.
Quickly after the seatbelt sign was switched off, the crew started with there service in form of nuts and a drink.
As we were in holiday mood we ordered Gabriels signature drink, which tasted more like fuel&tonic, but still was a good way to start the holidays.
Still over Middle Europe
Not long after the cabin filled with the smell of heated food and seconds later the crew started serving lunch. Quite impressive to get the selection of Chicken, Beef and pasta.
Emek96 chose the beef whereas i went with the chicken which was well cooked and one of the best inflight economy meals i had so far.
The beef lunch option
And the chicken version of lunch
Tasty cake for dessert
And a nice pasta salad as appetizer
After lunch it was time to check out the IFE, which was decent, but didnt have as many options as EK or SQ has, but still nice to see the PTV on a narrowbody.
The remaining 5 or so hours of the flight stayed uneventful.
The flight map remained my favorite IFE option
As my brother is Goldmember with GF, he had this vouchers to gave away for F/As and after we did that, the service was even better with top ups of the drinks as soon as we finished one.
Always good to have a chilled can of beer
And our wing
As we were taking quite a lot pictures we were asked to fill out a questionnaire
Some weeks later i got back the following answer email:
Dear Mr Luxair747sp,
thank you for taking the time to fill-up our Suggestions/Comments form and may we say, it is a pleasure to hear from satisfied customers, like yourself.
On behalf of Gulf Air, we appreciate you taking the time to bring your feedback to our attention. It was heart-warming to note of your positive comments toward the level of service that was rendered to you by our cabin crew as well as the quality of meal and our in-flight product during your recent journey with us on the 25th July 2013.
Certainly, our Management will be delighted to receive your compliments. Hence, we have taken the liberty of sharing your kind words with Mr Mohammed Hassan, Senior Manager, Cabin Services, who we are sure will convey the same to the concerned staff.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your constructive comments and suggestions. As a customer focused organization, we consider your feedback an instrumental tool to enhance and improve our services. Rest assured, your comments have been forwarded to the relevant departments, for their perusal and consideration.
Once again, thank you for your warm words of appreciation. We look forward to welcoming you on-board our flights again soon and we would like to assure you of our continued efforts to serve you well
Customer Care and Service Quality Control
In my opinion quite a nice answer.
Sun slowly going down
Unfortunately the flight went over way too quick and soon enough we started our decent into Manama Airport where we landed after a flight time of about 6h10.
Nice to see some old 727 there
Terminal showing up
Great looking tower
So far my longest flight in a narrowbody, but it was a very pleasent one as the GF A320ER planes have 34“ legroom in Y and even more at the bulkhead.
After disembaring we quickly made our way to immigration where we had to fill out landing cards and pay a fee to obtain the visa on arrival but the the guy at immigration looked weird at us when we said we come to the Kingdom of Bahrain as tourists but nevertheless stamped us in.
After getting our luggage, went went out where fellow a-net member Eric was already waiting for us.
He was so kind to take us from the airport to the hotel , the Kempinski Grand Manama, where he was also staying.
Fancy bathroom with highly inovative glass
View from the room at night
After a bit of refreshing in the hotel, we went ot a fancy restaurant called Bushido and it was one of the best ones in Bahrain and the food and service there was just outstanding.
Some pictures from Bushido ( thanks to Eric ) :
The next morning we started the day with a great breakfast.
Mind that we had the whole breakfast room to ourselves and with a great waiter from Spain, this was probably the best breakfast i ever had.
The food spread was so large and just so tasty.
After breakfast we went to the shopping mall, which was conveniently attached to the hotel, before leaving for a tour around Bahrain by car.
Bahrain City Centre Shopping Mall
We also went over the Causeway to the border of Saudi Arabia, which was an interesting side, as it was in the middle of the ocean, just connected to either Saudi Arabia and Bahrain via a bridge.
When do you get to see these destinations on a road sign?
Sandstorm over the causeway
Saudi Arabian Border
Unfortuantely the tour went over way too fast and as our flight was leaving in the afternoon, Eric brought us again to the airport around two hours ahead of departure.
Thanks a lot again Eric for your kindness and company and we really had a blast in Bahrain.
Outside of Bahrain airport
The premium check in at Bahrain airport was empty when we arrived there, so the check in was done within seconds and we went to security which was a breeze again.
I never had such easygoing security checks in either Europe, Asia or US so far.
Premium check in area
Bon voyage and goodbye from Bahrain
Stairway to heaven
Airside we did a bit of shopping as the duty free articles were dirt cheap there and then went to the Gulfair Lounge, which was quite a nice one with hot food options as well as a good non alcoholic drink selection.
Alcoholic drinks were not served during Ramadan.
Bahrain Airport airside
Inside the lounge
Some light lunch
Food offerings in the lounge
Tablet computers available at every table
Oman Air Embrear over to Mascat
And a Kalitta cargo Jumbo Jet
After some proper lounging time, we went off to our gate, where the A320 was already waiting and boarding soon commenced.
Boarding was again very quick due to a light load of around 40%
After the safety demonstration we pushed back and taxied to the runway where we took off soon after.
Again a beautiful winglet
The seatbelt sign was fastly switched off on this short flight and the service started with a drink run followed by a snack box which was a decent meal for the short flight.
The snack box
Mr FlyingFinn, do you still know this?
Soon after the captain already announced the decent into Dubai International Airport and after a bit more than an hour in the air we touched down on the sandy runway.
After leaving the plane we collected our luggage and went to the immigration hall which was deserted luckily so we were through in less than five minutes.
To get to our hotel we took the metro as the Dubai World Trade Centre Station is conveniently just next to the hotel. This time we went for the Radisson Royal Hotel, as they had a good weekend deal for Club Carlson Gold Members.
Check in was done efficiantly and we were upgraded to a Deluxe room on the 38th floor with great views of the other skyscrapers in Dubai.
After some relaxing in the hotel we went off to Dubai Mall for dinner.
Great Ford Freakout burger by BurgerFuel
One of the best burger joints out there
Dubai Mall take 2
View from the hotel room at night
So lets leave it here until now and stay tuned for the next part of this series, meaning the daytrip over to Qatar on Qatar Airways and United Airlines.
The conclusion about all flights will be at the end of this trip report series.
Thanks a lot for reading and i hope you enjoyed the report so far.
Luxair747sp in coproduction with Emek96
[Edited 2013-08-22 10:05:04]