My family and I were on our first big trip in a while. Having been very impressed with Emirates on Colombo - Dubai, it was almost time for my longest flight (back then). At 9hr45min, this was going to be a long one...
From the previous flight:
At the transit check in areas, there weren’t too many people, because obviously, everyone was through checked in. We went through the pretty silent security check area, entered the elevator and arrived at the departure level, aka, Dubai Duty Free............
THE DUBAI LAYOVER
.....It was full of people! They were everywhere, at all shops! Gadgets, jewelry, food, travel essentials, perfumes, alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates, chocolates, chocolates! A long walk lay ahead of us, as we slowly went towards Gate 210. I realized that DXB T3 was not as spotter friendly as HKG or SIN. The design looks impressive outside, but not quite for some one who likes to see planes. Although it was only Emirates aircraft, there was an array of them. A330s, A340s, B777s of all kinds, and some A380s. And today, its just the B777s and A380s.
We reached our gate and enquired an agent when boarding would start. Rudely, he said in three minutes. Okay...
Flight EK713 to Harare (Zimbabwe) via Lusaka (Zambia) would depart from gate 209.
Shopping mall for sure!
As the gate opened, I noticed the boarding passes of the previous flight: it was EK772, the A340-500 flight to Cape Town departing at 0350 hours (spoiler alert - its a B777-300ER today ). My mother's friend was onboard this flight, as she flew in to DXB from BOM.
Waiting in the holding area, I looked at the planes around, and realized, there wasn't a single Boeing 777 around! What could that possibly mean? Remote stand boarding? I was hoping so!
Spotter un-friendly DXB
A330-200s, A340-300s and an A340-500. Guess what that would be today....
That T7W was taxiing fast! Thanks to the tug pulling it
Spotter un-friendliness can't stop Dad and I from fooling around
Zone wise boarding started at around 0755, but since the line moved so slowly, everyone was waiting, so the zones separation wasn't going to make much of a difference. Stepped out of the terminal and in to one of many Cobus busses in the airport. Emirates had recently taken delivery of A6-EGO, the 1000th B777 built, with those stickers at the very back of the aircraft. These have since been taken off.
Sadly, A6-EGO had Digital Widescreen I.C.E, and according to Emirates' website my flight didn't have this. That however, was not an issue - I was about to board the Boeing 777-300ER: a reality for me at long last!!!
It was honestly quite surprising, because I expected DXB to have enough aero bridges for all aircraft! It took us a while before we actually started moving, and went towards Terminal 1, and for once, different airlines other than EK! So there were a couple of heavies, like a VS A346, BA B747, etc. The long drive went on, in front of the cargo terminal, then almost at the boundary of the airport (yes, I saw a few cars on the highway!), then a couple of turns, and finally, near the runway. Whew, glad we weren't being taken to Sharjah and then be shocked to board an A320. A couple of plans were parked here, which included a B773 being pushed back, an A380 (got very close to it, and I though that'd be the closest I'd ever get), and the usual EK 332s and B77Ws. Finally, after a 17 minute long bus ride, we arrived in front of our Boeing 777-300ER.
A6-EGD it was. I started to take a few pictures, but the ground staff stopped me from doing
so. I managed a few anyway:
OHHH MYYY GODDDD!!!! :O
That looks pretty clean, but how new was it? I'd have to wait till we reach CPT
Thanks for that one, Dad! (Yes, even he was stopped)
As you can see, boarding was from Door 2, so I couldn't see the impressive Private Suites in First Class. I entered, the Boeing 777-300ER. What a feeling! It was finally happening! This was topped with a friendly FA who welcomed me onboard, and showed my way to the seat. I looked at the Business Class, and it was the same as the B773, in the 2-3-2 configuration. Economy was nearly the same, except for one thing. The PTVs. The website said that there would not be Digital Widescreen, but that was wrong! Digital Widescreen for the 9.5 hours flight! Ohh yes, my day was made! Other than the 3-4-3 seating, I was overjoyed and excited for this flight! I took my seat 30K, and saw the contents around, which included the usual; pillow, blanket, headphones, and, surprisingly, an amenity kit! I had lots of legroom, as there wasn’t an IFE box in the way! Except for the extremely dirty wing, I felt this aircraft was pretty new, about 1 or 2 years old.
The massive wing didn't allow me a picture of the 77W and the 388.
The captain came over the PA system, and gave us details about the flight, such as the route, expected turbulence near the equator, the 2000 feet change in the cruising height as we became lighter, and telling us about the wake turbulence created by other a/c taking off, which meant a slightly bumpy take off. And to top it all, he was an Indian! This was a real home like feeling for me. Boarding continued, but the passengers seated in the rows in front complained about being separately seated, and demanded to be put together, because the aircraft was empty. But, sadly for them, loads were 100%. All seats were taken. Beside, was a kid, 6 years old (he told me just before landing, 10 hours later), who seemed quite jumpy. Cold towels were distributed then.
Well, a pretty good flight lay ahead of me. I was expecting big things. Pushback was 17 minutes after than departure time. It was the moment I had been waiting for: the characteristic MOOOOOOO of the GE-90! It lived up to my expectations! It was so loud! The whole fuselage was vibrating! :bouncy:
As the safety video and IFE features played, we made our way towards the active, racing against different EK aircraft for departure! I followed the movements with the help of the nose camera.
Caught the lights!
We lined up behind A6-EMO for takeoff, but it was a FZ B738 which sneaked ahead of its larger counterparts to take off.
Welp, looks like I won't be flying on these bad boys anytime soon....
Who's going next?
33 minutes behind schedule, the GE90s roared as we thundered down the runway into the dusky skies of Dubai, and Golf Delta headed for Cape Town!
Another roar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esaBB2e-mHE
The announcements of languages began, and I was home. Seriously. Hindi was one of the languages spoken on board!
As we cut through the clouds, without a single massive bump (brilliant aircraft control!), I watched one of my all time favorites, Johnny English Reborn (its changed now, I swear ). Food service started about 15 minutes after we reached our cruising altitude. First the young ones got their meal. The kid next to me got his meal (can’t remember what) in a food box, which they could keep for later. He kept jumping in his seat and sometimes, putting stuff on my leg. Ummmmmm okay. As the regular food service started, the crew while trying to get the food carts through the cabin, let it loose, and it came rolling down 6 or 7 rows. Mistakes happen!
Once again, I took the second option for breakfast (for my second breakfast ), because the first one was again a mushroom omlette, like the one on EK349. Drink service followed. The crew were great. Especially the flight attendant serving us. The really kind steward referred to the kid beside me as ‘buddy’, ‘What drink for you, buddy?’, or ‘How are you doing, buddy?’ (He kept checking on him throughout the flight!) I had breakfast Pepsi because I was on holiday mode.
Every time I refer to Mozambique in a sarcastic answer, I remind my self
of this movie. Wait a minute, we will be flying over Mozambique!
Food trays were taken in. I followed the airshow, and listened to Sir Tim Clark’s interview on EK’s massive expansion, including the new terminal, dedicated for A380s, the 1000th 777, etc. That was followed by the interesting conversation between EK’s top 3 pilots, of the A380, the B777 and A330/A340 types, as they funnily argued which one was the best the (B777, of course! ). I spent some more time going through the IFE.
I went to the washroom, although it was quite turbulent. I strolled around for about 10 minutes, as the washroom in the rear was locked. Mum and
Dad were sitting right in front of the crew rest area! Oh, how I wanted to see what was behind that curtain! Finally, I entered a washroom, and was shocked to see the sad condition it was in. Although it had amenities stocked, toilet paper was all over and the sink was overflowing. Either it’s the passengers, or the EK crew just didn’t service the washrooms. I then remembered once being stopped by the crew of 9W, as she wanted to service the washroom. I went back to my seat, and tried to get some sleep, but the turbulence kept me awake.
As we flew over the equator, most passengers were asleep, but the crew gave a few drinks to the ones awake. I took a rather chilled tomato juice,
and it was refreshing!
Loved the interface!
I watched a bit of Harry Potter, followed the air show, played a few games, and the first flaw of the Digital Widescreen showed up
I think I broke it
It stopped working, and reloaded, which took 7 minutes.
Later, I just decided to fall asleep and take rest, as it had been over 24 hours since I was awake. Half an hour later, I woke up to see the sun set
mood lighting effect, as we were entering the final stages of our flight.
Another drink service and this time, I took a Coke, with Savory Biscuits. I asked for two packets of those; Dad's trips meant he could get me some of the awesome biscuits when I was small...
I went for the meatball curry option in lunch, and home was emphasized. Such were the Indian factors onboard, it really felt like I was on an Indian airline. What a good feeling it was!! As we flew over the boundary of South Africa, the services were concluded. The flight seemed to get, a
bit longer after this. Probably, I was just over tired. There weren't any signs of approach until 30 minutes before landing, where the captain informed us that there wasn’t any clearance given (yet) to descend. A few minutes later, descent started.
That's one of the capital's of South Africa..
Ahhhh how much longer!
DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
After a quick descent, we were on final approach for Cape Town, made a smooth landing (and everyone clapped...), and quickly taxied towards the International gates, with a SAA A332 and BA B747.
The whole thing, and the clapping: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd8UXx6kU7U
There were quite a few BA, SA and other budget airline narrow bodies in the domestic bay of the airport. Engines shut, door disarmed, it was time
to get off EGD and enter South Africa! CPT is a pretty small airport, and all formalities were completed in a jiffy.
Oh that is EPIC!
Great view of the GE90!
Emirates, you've won my heart. Thank you for the wonderful experience!
The view is getting better!
It would be a sin if I flew the A388 before I fly on the Queen of the Skies. I shall wait.
Just like the B744, even she was on her way to LHR.
After a total flying time of about 15 hours for me, the holiday had begun in a chilly South Africa. Just as I reached the hotel, I was extremely curious to find out the data of Golf Delta. So, a quick check on the internet: a pretty new 0.8 years old bird and it is the 946th Boeing 777 built. We were so close to getting on the 1000th 777! So close!!
What a start to an epic trip. Emirates was indeed a fantastic choice for us for our long journey. The 9hr30min flight went by a little slowly, but there was great crew members to take of us, amazing IFE and very tasty food. The washroom was a bit unkempt, but that didn't change the fact that it was perhaps one of my best flights.
My other trip reports:
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 6: Big delays, cracked windshield, angry passengers (SG CCU-BOM B73J) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 5: Air India's domestic Dream)liner (DEL-CCU May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)
The pencil jet(s) for spring break! (+ Iron Maiden bonus): Delta MSP-FLL-MSP, March '16 (DL1608 video trip report, DL2027 video trip report)
De-iced & Delayed, cold onboard a CRJ! (ORD-MSP-GFK on Delta, Jan '16) (ORD-MSP video report) (MSP-GFK video report)
Delta's aged B767-300ER across the Atlantic! (CDG-ORD in Y, Jan '16) (video report)
Air France's NEW Economy (B777-200ER, Bengaluru to Paris, Jan '16) (video report)
Delays and despair: stressed out in the middle seat! (Jet Airways B737 Mumbai - Bengaluru, Jan '16)
Air India's hybrid babybus from Kolkata to Mumbai (Jan '16, Y) (video report)
South Africa 1: My first flight on Emirates, my first flight on the 777 (CMB-DXB, Apr '12)
International transit with Jet Airways (BOM-MAA-CMB, Oct. '11)
Konnecting to Bhubaneswar (9W BOM-BBI-BOM, Jul '11)
Three trips between India and Sri Lanka (9W BOM-CMB-BOM: Jun '11, Jul '11, Oct. 11)
To India's Orange City: Mumbai - Nagpur - Mumbai on Jetlite & Tadoba National Park (May 2011)
My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines (and 2 other Jet flights, May '11)