I may have skipped posting some of the trips I did after my return from the UAE with Gulf Air via Bahrain and London Heathrow. Since then I’ve done only short-haul trips which are usually not worth mentioning. In fact, I only just returned from another uninspired trip to Luxembourg yesterday evening.
This trip report sees me returning to the UAE for yet another course with the Emirates Flight Training Academy.
This is my fourth visit to the UAE this year, and despite the flying dutchman’s insistence, I’m pretty sure it probably won’t be the last time… still, I don’t mind. Especially given the fact that the A380 programme has been officially shut down and I don’t know how many more chances I’ll get to fly on this magnificent bird.
In any case, here in Switzerland it feels as though summer is only just around the corner. It’s already warm but not stifling, and the sky is a crystal clear blue, unblemished even by a single cloud.
Emirates checks-in on row 1 of check-in 2 and there are ten counters open for the flight.
Considering it’s such a lovely day, I figure I might as well go out onto the viewing gallery and while away the time until boarding begins there. And as my luck will have, I arrive on the terrace just as the lunchtime rush of outbounds gets underway.
By the time I can tear myself away from the long line of departing widebodies, it’s already 14h40. The flight leaves at 15h25 and I still have to make my way through security, immigration and then take the shuttle across to the E dock, from where my flight will be departing.
For some reason or other, the usual A 380 stand was still occupied when my aircraft arrived on the inbound from Dubai. And so, instead we’re parked at gate E19 today, which is a single level gate. At least, by the time I arrive at the gate boarding is nearly completed, so the queue is fairly short.
Ahead of me is some old guy in a suit. As he passes the gate, the scanner beeps. He turns to me and says ‘oh my, not another complimentary upgrade to First…’. He’s obviously going for unimpressed indifference with this one, trying hard not to sound gleeful and clearly failing miserably. I actually feel kind of sorry for the guy when the gate agent looks at him and simply say ‘ ah…no actually, they just hadn’t scanned your passport’. Aw…!
On today’s flight I’m sitting on 7A, which is the window on the bulkhead row and the first row by the window in the main Business Class cabin. I like the A seats because they’re removed from the aisle and thus offer quite some privacy.
The wine and food menus have already been placed at my seat and there is also a thick blanket, a pillow and a pair of earphones.
In short succession I’m handed a glass of the Veuve Cliquot, which gives me a headache before we even leave the ground, and then a warm, scented towel.
Ahead of the lunch service I order a virgin mojito, which is served with a small plate of warm mixed nuts.
The first course is served together with a salad, which are both delivery on a tray. I’ve ordered the mezze for the starter, which includes black olives, a stuffed vine leaf, muhammara, houmous, and baba ghanouj.
Next up, I’m having the beef with green beans, mash and leeks. To be honest, I’m not much of a meat eater at the best of times. But I’m a total sucker for mash…
And for dessert I have the chocolate cake with Earl Grey infused vanilla sauce.
One of the things I really like about Emirates, is that the meal service is always very efficient but never rushed. Two hours into the flight, the trays have been removed and it’s time for me to extend the seat into a bed and read.
Incidentally, on day flights Emirates does not provide amenity kits. However, a pair of eye shades with ear plugs is provided at every seat and dental sets are available in the toilets. The dental kits are Colgate branded and the tooth brush is of good quality.
Eventually, we arrive in Dubai on time without having to do a single circuit in a holding pattern. Judging by the sound of his voice, I think even the pilot is surprised.
Immigration is swift. The Emirates Business Class boarding pass entitles the holder to use the fast track for security. There’s still a queue, but it’s nowhere near as bad as that for Economy Class passengers.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the queue for the taxis, which is ridiculously long. It takes me thirty minutes just to reach the head of the queue. And then, once I get a taxi, it’s another forty minutes to my hotel, which is just down the road from the Emirates Flight Training Academy.
God it’s hot here…