As the aircraft is pushed back, the music that is playing isn’t the expected Emirates theme but “Take it to the limit, one more time.” I noticed that the Tiger Air flight has already departed and now alongside is an Airbus A340-313, a type regularly sent by South African. This particular model, ZS-SXF, was once leased out to Jet Airways, where it flew as VT-JWC.
The aircraft pauses while the push gear is detached, final checks are made and the safety video is played. To remind myself of the safety features, I consult the in-pocket safety card.
Taxi continues along taxiways Sierra and Charlie into Whiskey and we reach the threshold of Runway 21. “Cabin crew prepare for take off.”
Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49266774
The four engines produce the thrust needed to propel the Airbus A380 along the runaway, produce lift and raise the aircraft into the air. In the darkness, the lights of the city below look like a million jewels. Very soon we are crossing the coast and the lights fade.
Once airborne and on course for Dubai, an announcement informs us that the crew come from seventeen countries and speak fifteen languages. Kurt comes by and asks whether I’d like to have the bed made up.
“Not just yet,” I say and mention that I will be having something to eat first.
“Sure. I’ll bring the wine list and a menu in just a tick.”
Kurt reappears and sets a glass on the counter in front of me. He presents the bottle of the requested La Clarte before pouring a small amount to taste. I like it, so he fills the glass.
A few minutes later Samiya the purser comes around to introduce herself and apologizes for not coming to see on the ground before departure. I chuckle and say, “I had noticed.”
Seeing my camera, she asks if I’m into photography and was I hoping for a beautiful sunrise. The flight would be arriving in Dubai well before sun-up but I mention my interest in aviation.
“Feel free to walk around the cabin and take photos. You also have access to the Business bar down the back.”
Meanwhile Kurt sets about laying the table.
For an appetizer The Cha Soba salad with prawns sounds tempting. When it arrives it certainly looks appealing and the taste is perfect.
For the main, Roast Chicken with Arabic spices and freekeh. When the plate appears the aroma of the spices excites the senses, the taste tickles the tongue.
Kurt offers to top up the wine glass but I decline as I have something else in mind. As a nightcap a sniff of cognac always goes down well. In this case it is a hint of paradise - Hennessy Paradis
Once the table is cleared I go to clean my teeth and freshen up before changing into PJs. Kurt has made up the bed with a mattress and duvet when I return to the suite. I close the doors, put out the lights and lie back. But I don’t sleep very well. For one, it feels quite warm. The noise of the ventilation is disturbing and from time to time there is lateral turbulence. It is not much but sufficient to be noticeable when lying down.
I am mildly surprised when Kurt leans over the wall of the suite and touches my shoulder. Perhaps I had drifted off after all. He tells me that the shower spa is ready so I collect my bits and make my way through. I must say that having a shower at flight level 400 is invigorating. Lathering up and rinsing seems to wash away that sense of fatigue associated with being confined in the cabin on a long haul flight.
As I exit the spa one of the assistants asked whether I would like some of their signature tea. "Why not?" I think and she brings the pot and a cup to the suite. The tea is anaemic in appearance but the combination of tea and spices belie its looks. On the counter is the traditional salver with assorted fruit and orange sauce.
Another of the crew, Soon, comes along to ask if I’d like any breakfast. How about a watermelon, lime, celery and ginger drink? By now we are approaching the coast of Oman, still at flight level 400 and with a tail wind making good time. It looks as if we will be arriving almost an hour ahead of time.
For the meal, a bread basket and some twice-baked soufflés with mushroom and asparagus should fill the gap. I decide against the offered coffee or tea. Once more the table is laid and it all looks very smart. The cabin is coming to life as other passengers either have a shower or decide on breakfast.
The Captain announces that we are just passing Muscat, 43 minutes out of Dubai and will commence descent in three minutes (Swiss time of course.) I try to raise the window blinds only to find that neither the buttons on the remote docking station, nor the ones on the individual windows respond. Presumably they have been centrally set to remain down. Tidak apa
A little later the purser announces, “Cabin crew commence preparation for landing in two minutes."
Suddenly the window blinds rise and I am able to enjoy the view of small towns puncturing the darkness. On the screen the arrivals and transfers in Dubai video is being shown. The altitude indicator on Sky Show is changing as the aircraft descends. The lights of the city spread out beneath us, reaching up, getting closer. Aircraft by the engineering shops are now visible, in a moment a bit of a thud and a bump as the A380 touches down.Marhaban bikum fi Dubayy …
where the time is four thirty in the morning and the temperature is 32 degrees. On screen I have switched to the on board camera and am following the green. Eventually the aircraft comes to a stop at stand F22. This is quite convenient as my connecting flight will be departing from gate B1. No need to take the train.
The seat belt has been extinguished, we have been told that we can now use our phones and Kurt has come along to give me my jacket. Making sure that I have everything, I make my way to the door where I observe how the door is actually released. Meanwhile I am able to personally thank Kurt and his colleagues for making the journey so pleasant. The door is open and I can onto the jetbridge and make my way to security and the Lounge ...
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