Saturday, 26 May 2012

First time on a Boeing 777-200LR and GP7200 powered A380, thanks to Emirates

Welcome to my trip report on Emirates!

*Aircraft photos are credited to the respective photographers from Airliners.net

Introduction




Do check out my return trip report!


Initially, my plan was to go to Japan in June to catch JAL's 787 dreamliner. However the delivery of the 787 to JAL was delayed, hence the flight to Singapore was postponed to September. I decided to look elsewhere for good offers. When I came across Emirates's offer of S$1162 return trip to London, it didn't take long for me to decide. Furthermore, I get to earn at least 50% miles and also get to visit my sister and her husband as well. My flight initially was operated by Boeing 777-300ER on EK355 to DXB and a few months later, it was changed to Boeing 777-200LR and I was over the moon as this type was still missing from my flight log. Once the dates were decided, I did the booking on the website. The last time I flew on Emirates was in 2001 to LHR on the older Boeing 777-300s; A6-EMM, A6-EMN and A6-EMT. The service back then was impressive, I wonder whether I would be impressed once again.

Emirates's website is easy to use, no bugs to frustrate you. I must say I am quite pleased with the revised version which took place somewhere in April. 'Managing your booking' option has everything you need. You get to choose your seats, request for special meals, change your flights, upgrade your class, editing the passenger details and adding frequent number to your flight, very convenient indeed. I give a rating of 9/10 for Emirates's user-friendly website.





A couple of weeks before my flight, I called up the main office to make changes to my skyward membership which I decided to use since I can only earn 50% miles using this card. Initially I wanted to use my JAL card, however I realized that I won't earn any miles if I used it since this is a discounted airfare from Emirates. Nevertheless, the office was quick to solve my problem, thumbs up for the good service!

Just the day before, I checked my flights. I wasn't too happy when I saw my return flight EK354 was changed to a Boeing 777-300ER. Pretty worried that my outbound would be changed, got up a few times in the morning to check, it was only around 830 am, then I managed to get comfirmation that A6-EWA was taking me to DXB. Another website confused me by giving me the wrong aircraft A6-EWE.

I decided to an online check-in so that I would get my preferred seat. All the window and aisle seats were taken up, leaving a few middle seats empty. Even though it was 3-4-3, I decided to choose the window seat for this flight as I wanted to take some photos of the landing in Dubai, but I did a last minute change to an aisle seat so that I could move around when I feel like.




Leg 1

Carrier: Emirates
Flight number: 355
Date: 24th May 2012
Routing: SIN-DXB (1st leg)
Seat number: 24K
Aircraft type: Boeing 777-21HLR
Engine type: 2X GE-90-110B
My 1st ride on this aircraft type and the 1st airline to have flown on.
1st time on A6-EWA
Line number: 654
Plane delivered: 31st August 2007
Configuration: F8C42Y216
Registration: A6-EWA
Flight duration: 6 hrs 51 mins
Schedule departure time: 0200
Actual departure time: 0217
Schedule arrival time: 0515
Actual arrival time: 0515
FL: 380
Load factor for Y class:
Departure gate: C1
Arrival gate: Remote gate
Departure runway: 20R
Arrival runway: 30L

After finishing work in the afternoon, I headed to White Sands Shopping Mall at Pasir Ris to change some money. After that was done,I went back home and finished off my packing. Time passed by quickly, I was at the airport around 9pm. Had a good meal with my mum before checking in for my flights to London. I had asked for the aisle seat instead of the window seat, since this was a night flight and I don't see much most of the time. It was also better for me as I could move around and snap some photos without disturbing my seatmate.


Gotten the seat 28G eventually and soon it was time for boarding.




                               Check-in counter of my flight EK355.








3 Emirates flights to Dubai, EK349 however stop overs at CMB and is operated by B777-300.



My ride to DXB, A6-EWA.

Boarding started not long after, business and first class passengers were allowed to board first, follow by passengers in different zones. I think this was a good idea as boarding was in an orderly manner and it was completed within 20 minutes. This was also the day,I completed riding on all Boeing 777 types apart from the freighter version. Anyway, our plane was delayed for about 15 minutes without any reasons, but the Captain did update us on the flight route and the weather throughout the trip. Plane pushed back around 0210 hrs and we were at the runway around 0215. The GE90 engines as usual impressed me with its power and we took off just around the half-way mark of 20C and headed towards Dubai, my first stop of the journey. Initially, the flight was smooth, but when reaching Colombo, the flight got pretty bumpy and it stayed like this for a good hour or so. The jolts certainly kept me awake!










I was quite shocked to see this!









The seat was quite uncomfortable but bearable. Luckily I was sitting beside a caucausian lady, and it turned out not to be too bad. Legroom space was ok, but if you ask me to sit throughout the flight, I would definitely won't feel comfortable. Comparing the 3-4-3 configuration with KLM's, this is better. I can't imagine doing ultra long haul flights with this cramp row of seats!













Business class seats look quite comfortable. I couldn't take any more shots as the aircraft was parking at the remote parking lot and also this female flight crew whom I should have noted of her name, wasn't too friendly about it.

Service on board

The service on board was great, except for a couple of crews whom I am not happy with. One was an Indian FA and the other was probably an European crew. Other than that, the rest were alright. Not the best service I had, but it was more to the positive side and certainly no robotic service from this batch of crews. I had a good chat with this junior crew at the back for the aircraft. I cannot remember his name (Sorry about that if you are reading this.) I appreciate your help and definitely enjoyed our conversation.


My seat





Reasonable leg-room space.


The 'Ice' entertainment system




Very impressed with this system. Its a clear winner for me.







Very detailed information on your flight, even the registration of the aircraft is shown. Great for plane enthusiasts like myself.









What can I say about this entertainment system. I fell in love with it the moment I played around with it. The screen size is big and clear and it has everything that one would need. Its definitely very different to the old PTV system in 2001. There are a variety of programs for you to choose and the best part of it is you can save them into a playlist, I find this to be very useful especially on long flights. If one feels sleepy, You can pause it and save it in your list and continue watching it later without restarting. I doubt anyone feels bored with it. For plane enthusiast like myself, there are 3 camera views from the aircraft, showing you what's going on outside and the lovely map with information that is accurate. For movie lovers, you are spoilt for choices, not just the current movies, you also have the older ones and many other languages too. The entertainment system has certainly kept me occupied throughout the flight, during times when I could not sleep.


My in-flight meals



At this point, I was quite hungry. I remembered gobbling it up quite fast! Tasted quite aright. (Rating: 7/10)



This meal wasn't very nice and I had some issues with my stomach later on. (Rating: 3/10)

Arrival in Dubai

Landing at Dubai was smooth and uneventful. We landed on runway 30L and parked at a remote parking lot. My guess was the aircraft would probably fly on one of the ultra long haul routes much later that day. I had to leave fast as there were passengers waiting at the buses, so didn't catch any first class seats.









Impressive sight of the GE90-110B engine.

My flight experience

The Boeing 777-200LR is one impressive machine! The noise level of the GE90 is acceptable to my ears, it wasn't as loud as the 77W. I like the interior of the aircraft and the mood lighting! I think it blends in very well. At least to me, I felt more comfortable right away. Anyway, the 7-hours flight went passed very fast. I managed to catch some sleep just before the turbulence kicked in. I always have this problem! My seat mates probably were wondering why was I taking so many photos. :P Its always good to explain to them as they would probably understand and not giving you that kind of look. The 3-4-3 configuration of the 777 is best to be avoided if possible unless you get the emergency row or the 2 seater near the rear of the aircraft. The narrow aisle can be hard to walk through without banging into passengers seating at the aisle seat. Quite a number of passengers and crews hit my arm a few times. Overall, the seat comfort was not to my liking, but at least the seat pitch was reasonable. Service in my rating was between average and excellent. Comparing with the Etihad crews that I had, this set was better. More good ones than bad on this flight.

Conclusion

I am very grateful to the airline for the change of equipment even though this was a full flight, well almost! Another new aircraft type to my list, I would certainly recommend to fly with this airline. The entertainment system is top notch. As for the service, it all depends on your luck. I have met good ones and also nasty ones as well. I won't say that those 2 are nasty, but they could have been a lot more understanding.

Here are my ratings:

Service: 7/10
Punctuality: 9/10
Inflight entertainment: 9/10
Seat comfort: 6/10
Condition of aircraft: 7/10
Meals: 6/10

Overall: B

Leg 2

Carrier: Emirates
Flight number: 001
Date: 24th May 2012
Routing: DXB-LHR
Seat number: 50K
Aircraft type: Airbus A380-861
Engine type: 4X GP7200
1st time on A6-EDT
Line number: 90
Plane delivered: 2nd December 2011
Registration: A6-EDT
Flight duration: 6hr 55mins
Schedule departure time: 0745
Actual departure time: 0800
Schedule arrival time: 1215
Actual arrival time: 1222
FL: 400
Load factor for Y class: 90%
Departure gate: 230
Arrival gate: 307
Departure runway: 30R
Arrival runway: 9R




Dubai Airport

I have been to this airport before in 2001, but somehow it looked quite different now. The terminal was crowded with lots of travellers all around the world. It wasn't really a pleasant place to hang out in.











When I reached the gate, hundreds of passengers were already at the gate waiting for boarding, it looked like a full flight and I was right!








A6-EDT took me to London Heathrow.



Passengers waited patiently for boarding.

              
When it was boarding time, first and business class passengers were being called up first, followed by parents with kids and disabled passengers before the rest boarded by zones. It was organised and in no time, everyone was seated. There were 2 ladies, one young and the other elderly were already there, I thought they were related but end up they were not. Got into my 50K, and I must say I love the legroom space and it was much more comfortable then being on the 777.

First impression on the seats was positive. I was surprised to have ample legroom space for my leg to stretch and the seats seem to be wider than the ones on the Boeing 777. The other difference is the size of the PTV and the software of this ICE is probably a newer version. Anyway, the plane was slightly delayed due to the late clearance from the ATC (Airport Traffic Control),kudos to the Captain for keeping us well updated throughout the flight. Plane pushed back about 10 minutes after schedule departure time. The engines were started up and it was pretty quiet in the front cabin. Once the checks were done, the plane taxied to runway 30L for departure.




Love the size of the ptv and the I.C.E system.









                              




The take-off from the GP7270 engines of Emirates is powerful and very quiet from the front. From this point, I have nothing but admiration for this aircraft. Definitely, a passenger's friendly aircraft. Its quite different from the other aircraft, like the A330 or B777. I wonder how the Boeing 747-8I be like, can't wait to find out.





For this flight, I didn't sleep much. I spent most of the time watching movies. While watching the first movie, I had a bit of problem with my stomach, eventually I was ok after drinking some warm water and did some 'dumping' in the toilet.











I like Emirates's cabin colours, its light colour is very pleasing for my eyes, especially with the mood lighting.



A small compartment where the crew does his or her paperwork.




The door leading to the cockpit.




There are 2 toilets in the front cabin.



That is how it looks like, both cockpit and toilets are in the front cabin.














Online wifi

Emirates currently has wifi installed on all the A380s, the airline has plans to install them on Boeing 777s.

I decided to give the OnAir inflight wifi a try.

There are 3 prices to it: US $2.75 for 5MB, US$10 for 10MB laptops and US$20 for 100MB.

I chose the first as I just wanted to try it out for fun.

Payment was made by credit card and I was asked to sign in with my details and connection started immediately once payment was done.

You have an option to connect and disconnect any time you want, so you won't have to worry about exceeding your data.

Initially, the speed was fast and I had no problem catching up with my friends on Wadsapp. Later on, when I turned it connect online, the connection seems slower.I expect this to be improved after some fine-tuning.

Would I recommend it?

If you need to use it for sending emails or chatting with your loved ones, I think its useful.However, I wouldn't spend so much for the small amount of data, as I feel its too expensive for my liking. I hope more airlines will install wifi on board, and it can be an additional income for the airline.



This is the Arabic breakfast which I didn't eat much, not to my liking to be honest. My seat-mates didn't touch theirs either. I ate only fruit and bread and that was about it.



This is the spicy chicken and it was a risk! At that point of time, my stomach felt normal once again and I was a bit afraid that the spice might hurt my tummy. Fortunately nothing happened, the meal tasted quite good and surprisingly I managed to finish it off.


The flight itself was generally smooth, just a little bumps which was nothing bad. There was once the Captain activated the seat belt sign and warned us about the bumps coming up, but it was smooth all the way.

After the 1st meal, I went for a little walk and took some pictures of the cabin. I got to talk to Lucas, a cabin crew and after a little conversation with him, he offered to take photos for me of the cabin in Business and First class. I accepted his offer instantly. My plan is to seek permission to visit both classes on my inbound trip (London Heathrow to Dubai) as there is probably more time for me to explore the business and first class products.


Here are some of the photos he took.



The lounge! 




I wish I was with them!





J class: Looks similar to Thai's. Very cramp looking cabin. 




I think neither the business class nor first class was full.










First class













Shower anyone? Not kidding. Emirates has showers only for 1st class passengers. Of course there is a time limit for passenger, but I am not sure how much waster is one allowed to use, does anyone knows?













I think the business class and first class are worth trying especially the latter. You have two ways to do it, either accumulate a lot of miles and use them on either upgrades or new flight paying just the taxes. Trying Emirates on Bangkok-Hong Kong for the premium classes may be the best choice as its cheaper than flying on long haul. This goes out to anyone out there who is interested.

Personally, I like to try taking a shower at 36000 feet, it is something I want to do one day in the near future.

Landing

Flight went passed by quickly, soon we started our descend. Our aircraft circled around London at 7000 feet for about 20 mins due to heavy traffic, but it was very smooth and spending more time on the A380 was definitely a bonus for me. We touched down on runway 09R and taxied to Terminal 3 for our arrival.









Inflight service

This set of crews was slightly better than the previous. A couple of them could do more by smiling, as for the rest of the crews, they were good. It was nice to joke with a couple of them and speaking to them about the airline and aircraft type. It seems most of the crews prefer working on the A380 than any other types as they said that this plane was more spacious and user-friendly than the others.

Conclusion:

Flying the A380 is my preferred choice, the aircraft has demonstrated how passenger-friendly it is not just to me, but to everyone else. The configuration of the aircraft maybe a tight 3-4-3, but its much better than the 777. I would recommend you to give Emirates's A380 a try.

Comparison between Emirates and Singapore Airlines's A380

Emirates's configuration is Y class at lower deck and premium classes, J and F classes are at the upper deck. Unlike SQ, Emirates's lower deck is filled with only Y class but also using the 3-4-3 seating configuration. Comparing the inflight products between both airline, I prefer Emirates as its more dated and the seats to me is more comfortable with better legroom space at least where I was sitting. I would recommend the row 50, which is the last row of the first cabin.


Rating:

Service: 8/10
Punctuality: 8/10 (Slightly late but it doesn't matter to me.)
Inflight entertainment: 9/10
Seat comfort: 8/10
Condition of aircraft: 10/10
Meals: 5/10 (1st meal was disappointing)
Wifi connecetion: 6/10


Positives about Emirates

-Great in-flight product (ICE system)
-Comfort level is good especially on A380
-Wifi on board A380
-Good ambience on board the aircraft
-Clean and in tip-top condition
-flight details well updated

Negatives about Emirates

-Inconsistent service
-Average meals
-Expensive wifi
-Connection of wifi is not very strong at least from where I was sitting.


Overall: A-

Thank you for reading my trip report.

My return trip report

Cheers,
Charles 

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