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United Arab Emirates

Bali Goes to Double Daily!

From July 2nd, Emirates will be adding a second daily rotation to Denpasar/ Bali.

After launching the service in 2015, Emirates will now add a second daily flight in Denpasar/ Bali, Indonesia. By this addition, Emirates will operate a total of five daily flights into Indonesia, three to Jakarta and two to Denpasar.

P50A6640.jpgThis service will also see a 2-class configured B777-300ER with 42 business class seats and 386 economy class seats.

The New Emirates Denpasar/ Bali Schedule:

EK360 DXB 1:25AM – 2:30PM DPS
EK398 DXB 8:30AM – 9:40PM DPS

EK399 DPS 12:05AM – 5:00AM DXB
EK361 DPS 4:30PM – 9:30PM DXB

How Many Flights!

In this post, I’ll be discussing which destinations are served the most by Emirates.

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With seven flights a day, both Doha and Bangkok are on the top of the list.

Bangkok – served with six daily A380’s and one daily B777-300ER. Five 2-class A380’s, 1 3-class A380, and 1 3-class B777-300ER.

Doha – served with seven daily B777-300ER’s, all configured in the 3-class configuration.

With six flights a day, both Kuwait City and London Heathrow.

London Heathrow – served with six daily A380’s, all configured in the 3-class configuration.

Kuwait City – served with one daily 3-class A380, four daily 3-class configured B777-300ER’s, and a daily B777-200LR.

With five flights a day, Mumbai and Karachi. 

Mumbai – served with a daily 3-class A380, three daily 3-class B777-300ER’s, and a daily B777-200LR.

Karachi – served with four daily 2-class B777-300ER’s, and a daily B777-300.

Heathrow Plane Spotting!

My Heathrow Plane Spotting Experience

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I’ve been to London a couple of times now, and Heathrow was one of the airports that I wanted to spot at. My trips to London were in April 2016 and January 2017. In this post I’ll be sharing my all three experiences.

My first time spotting at Heathrow was in April 2016, on my way back to Dubai. Since Emirates operates out of Terminal 3, I figured it’ll be great for terminal spotting. I tried a few different places by simply walking around the terminal.

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Here are the shots from this exact location, a lens with the focal length of 250mm would be great for departures out of runway 27R. This spot also has great views of the control tower.

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Here is another spot, right beside the Emirates First and Business Class Lounge.

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A lens with the focal length of 300mm is perfect for this location, as you get to see all the taxiway action.

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The spot that has been on my list since my April 2016 visit was Myrtle Avenue. I took a taxi to the avenue itself. You can also get off at Hatton Cross Station and walk for a few minutes to Myrtle Avenue.

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This spot is good for the 27L arrivals or 9R departures. A lens with the focal length of 100mm should be enough for the arrivals.

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For my flight back, I was flying on Etihad Airways that operates out of Terminal 4.  Terminal 4 features a view deck at the right end side of the terminal. You’ll find both an elevator or you can take the stairs to it.

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This spot is ideal for runway 27L departures or arrivals. A lens with the focal length of 400mm is perfect to catch all the action.

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Etihad A380 Business Class, London to Abu Dhabi UAE!

Etihad A380-800 Business Class!

I will not talk much about the airline since I already did that previously on reviewing the B787-9 flight from Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf. After about four weeks in Germany, France, and the UK; it was time for me to head back home. For the return I was booked on an Etihad Airways flight from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi operated by their flagship A380-800 Superjumbo.

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With nine examples in the feet, the Etihad A380 presently flies three times a day to London Heathrow, twice a day (2nd daily from June 1st) to New York JFK, and daily flights to Mumbai, Melbourne, Sydney, and Paris; between June 1st and October 28th.

Etihad operates from Heathrow’s terminal 4 which is fairly nice. Etihad’s check-in counters are located on the left side of the terminal. There was one counter for first class passengers and another two for business class passengers. The guy working the counter we checked in at was rude and it was almost 15 minutes before we got boarding passes. After checking in, all I wanted to do is go to the view deck and spot since Heathrow is just a plane spotter’s heaven. I’ll try to post them on the blog soon, but I managed to catch the A380 taking me to Abu Dhabi arriving from Abu Dhabi.

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A6-APF, with New York Fashion Week logos on the engines.

Etihad Airways 20.
London Heathrow (LHR) – Abu Dhabi (AUH).
Departing at 2:05PM and Arriving at 1:20AM.
Duration: Seven hours and fifteen minutes.
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800

Boarding was scheduled at 1:25PM, forty minutes before the 2:05PM scheduled departure time.  Economy Class passengers board through the two jetways leading to the main deck; however, business class, first class, and the residence passengers board through the jetway leading to the upper deck.

All Etihad Airways A380s are configured with 415 economy smart seats, 70 business studios, nine first apartments, and the residence which two passengers can fly in.

At the door, I was greeted by the Cabin Manager Edward and one of the business class attendants. On the left is the gorgeous first class cabin and the residence.

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Then on the right are the business class cabins and the lobby. The seventy business studios are spread across three cabins. First there is a massive cabin with 42 seats.

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Then there is a smaller cabin with 22 seats.

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And finally a mini cabin with only six seats.

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For the flight, I selected seat 12K which is window seat closer to the window. I’ll explain the seating arrangement because almost everyone was unhappy with their reverse facing seat. So, even numbered seats ending in either “A” or “K” are forward facing window seats with great privacy. Odd numbered window seats ending in either “C” or “H” are rear facing window seats closer to the aisle which lack privacy.  Into the center seats, even numbered center seats ending in either “E” or “F” are extremely close to each other and are perfect for people traveling together. Now, the seats to avoid are odd numbered ones ending in either “D” or “G” since they are in the center, far apart from each other, closer to the aisle, and lack privacy.

After settling in one of the business class flight attendants came by to my seat to introduce himself and offered me a drink, either lemon or orange juice, I went with the latter.

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At 1:55PM, Captain Robert came on the PA to welcome us onboard the six hour thirty minute journey to Abu Dhabi, he also informed us that we will be departing from runway 27L and that we would be cruising at the altitude of 39,000 feet. Etihad offers an amenity kit in business class which is fairly nice.

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At 2:00PM sharp, the doors were closed and five minutes later we pushed back. The Residence was unoccupied, the first class cabin had five passengers, and both the business and economy class cabins were full. I enjoyed the views of the Kuwait Airways B777-300ER that just arrived from Kuwait City.

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We started our short taxi to runway 27L, during which the crew came around to take the meal orders. It was only a 10 minute taxi, but we had to wait for a few minutes before taxiing into the runway. Finally at 2:25PM, we began our 50 second roll down the runway.

During the climb, there were some nice views of Heathrow’s terminal 5.

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We had a bit of a chop on the climb out, and the seatbelt sign was turned off 10 minutes later. About 50 minutes after departure, the crew finally began the service starting with tablecloths, the bread basket, olive oil, and butter. Annoyingly, the appetizers and drinks were served 45 minutes later.

To start, I had the Arabic Mezze, which was okay. I still think that Emirates serves the best Arabic Mezze. The mezze consisted of a small portion of tabouleh, hummus, vine leaves, and a cheese pastry.

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For the main course, I had the Authentic Gulf Chicken Biryani. It was spectacular.

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After the main course, the trays were cleared and it was time for dessert, I asked for chocolate ice cream. Unfortunately, a strawberry ice cream was served instead.

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After the meal service,I connected to the inflight wifi that Etihad offers. The flight pass costs only 21$, and the wifi was fast.

I tried to nap for a bit, but I woke up only 45 minutes later. I decided to check the lavatory located between the business class cabins, it was pretty basic.

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Ninety minutes before arrival, I decided to order a snack. I went for the Piri Piri Chicken Sandwich and the Arabic Baklava on the side. The sandwich was flavorful and tasty.

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About 45 minutes before arrival, the first officer came on the PA updating us that we’ll be landing at 12:50AM and that the weather in Abu Dhabi is 23 degrees celsius, he also thanked us for flying Etihad.

15 minutes before arrival, the cabin manager distributed fast track cards for passengers having Abu Dhabi as their final destination.

At 12:50AM, we had a smooth touch down on Abu Dhabi’s runway 31L, from there it was a five minute taxi to the gate.

Botton Line

Aircraft Information: Etihad Airways A6-APF, 1.5 years old.

Flight Information: EY20, London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi.

Load: 98% full.

I finally got to try the Etihad A380 business class. In my opinion, is it better than the Emirates A380 business class? No, the seats are literally identical with the exception of the finishes and having reverse seats. Emirates has a much better meal service, a nicer bar with more seats (Etihad has only 4 seats).

Hello Zagreb!

From the 1st of June, Emirates will start flying to Zagreb, Croatia.

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Presently, the only middle eastern carrier that flies into Zagreb is Qatar Airways with 10 weekly A320 flights to Doha. Fly Dubai also used to fly into Zagreb twice a week with the B737 but the flights are cancelled due to poor loads.

It is a risk for Emirates to start flying to Zagreb as Fly Dubai failed to continue with 2 weekly B737 flights. Well Emirates will fly a daily B777-300 configured with 12 first class seats, 42 seats in business class, and another 310 economy class seats.

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With the addition of Zagreb, Emirates will now fly to two east european cities which are Budapest and Zagreb. Kiev, Ukraine was also once served by Emirates but that was cancelled after a short period of time because of the problems in Ukraine.

The Schedule:

EK 129 Departs Dubai at 8:15AM arrives in Zagreb at 12:20PM.
EK130 Departs Zagreb at 3:35PM and arrives in Dubai at 11:05PM.

The flight is blocked at 6 hours and 5 minutes west bound, and at 5 hours and 30 minutes east bound.

Ola Sao Paulo!

Emirates announces A380 services to Sao Paulo effective March 26th.

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From the 27th of March, Emirates will deploy the A380-800 on the Dubai – Sao Paulo route. It is actually the same day where Etihad will stop flying into Sao Paulo. Emirates first started flying the B777-200LR into Sao Paulo, and after a short period of time the service was upgraded to the B777-300ER.

The flight is blocked at 14 hours and 55 minutes westbound, and at 14 hours and 30 minutes east bound. This will be the first ever scheduled daily A380 flight into South America.

On the same day, Emirates will downgrade EK217/218, the Los Angles afternoon flight, to the B777-200LR. And on the same day as well, the Dubai – Rio de Janeiro Galeao – Buenos Aires Ezeiza will be upgraded to the B777-300ER from the B777-200LR.

Two Class A380!

Emirates is the only airline that operates the A380 in the two class configuration.

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In 2015, Emirates received their first two class configured A380 and was put to service on the Dubai – Copenhagen route. As of January 2017, the airline operates a total of 8 two class A380s. These A380s are configured with 58 business class seats and 557 economy class seats. So the question is, where do they fly to?

Dubai – Bangkok: EK370/371, EK372/373, and EK374/375.

Dubai – Bangkok – Hong Kong: EK384/385.

Dubai – Kuala Lumpur: EK342/343.

Dubai – Copenhagen: EK151/152.

Dubai – Manchester: EK19/20.

Dubai – Mauritius: EK703/704.

Dubai – Birmingham: EK37/38.

New B777 Configuration!

Emirates is the largest B777 Operator, with over 150  B777 aircraft in fleet.

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On December 19th of 2016, Emirates took delivery of the first B777-300ER with the new business class product and there has been a slight change in the configuration. Perviously, the airline operates the three class B777-300ER with either 360 seats or 354 seats.

The B777-300ER’s with the new business class feature 8 first class suites, 42 business class seats, and 306 economy class seats. That makes a total of 356 seats.

Etihad B787-9 Business Class, Abu Dhabi UAE to Dusseldorf!

Etihad B787-9 Business Class!

Etihad Airways is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and is surely a fast growing airline. The airline is based at Abu Dhabi and operates a fleet from the A320 family, the A330/A340 family, the A380, the B777, and the B787.

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The airline operates to numerous destinations across six continents. In 2014, the airline took delivery of the A380 Super Jumbo and the B787-9 Dreamliner. As of 2017, the airline operates the A380 to New York JFK, London Heathrow, Mumbai, Sydney, and Melbourne. Whereas the B787-9 currently flies to Washington, Dusseldorf, Zurich, Riyadh, Johannesburg, Singapore, Tokyo Narita, Perth, and Brisbane.

In mid December 2016, I got to experience the new business class on the B787-9 from Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf. The airline currently operates five daily flights into Germany, two to Munich, another two to Frankfurt, and a single daily flight to Dusseldorf.

I arrived at the airport at 11:00PM for my 2:10AM flight to Dusseldorf. Etihad first and business class passengers have a dedicated check in area which is fairly nice. Check in took about ten minutes and within a few minutes we were in the departures area. I headed to the business class lounge towards the center of Terminal 3.

The airlines that operate out of Terminal 3 include Etihad Airways, Air Berlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, and Virgin Australia. After spending about an hour in the lounge, we decided to head to the gate as we figured it will be busy. Numerous Etihad flights depart at that time including flights to New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Paris, Munich, and much more. As you might expect, the flight was in fact departing from a remote stand, works for me as there is nothing like seeing the aircraft you’re flying up close!

Boarding was scheduled at 1:10AM, a full hour before departure. Thankfully, there was a dedicated business class bus though about four economy class passengers managed to hop in. The bus ride took about five minutes, as we pulled next to the aircraft, I noticed how beautiful the B787-9 actually is.

Etihad operates the B787-9 in both the 3-Class and 2-Class Configurations. The 3-Class Version has eight first class suites, 28 business class studios, and 235 economy class seats. The 3-Class B787-9 presently flies to Washington, Zurich, Riyadh, Singapore, Tokyo Narita, and Brisbane. However, the 2-Class B787-9 is configured with only 28 business class studios and 272 economy class seats and flies to Dusseldorf,  Johannesburg, and Perth.

At the aircraft door, we were welcomed onboard by the cabin manager Brigitta and Monica, one of the business class flight attendants. The business class cabin is exclusively located between doors L1 and L2, so the cabin felt really private. The business class studios are configured in the 1-2-1 configuration with forward and rear facing seats of which all feature direct aisle access. Odd numbered window seats and even numbered center seats are rear facing. However, even numbered window seats and odd numbered center seats are forward facing. If you’re traveling with someone, I’d recommend selecting seats 5E/5F, 7E/7F, 9E/9F, or 11E/11F. If you’re traveling alone and needed privacy, I’d recommend choosing seats numbers ending with either A or K.

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For this flight, I selected seat 11H, a window seat closer to the aisle on the last row business class. Your can already guess how stylish the cabin looks.

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Here are the center seats as well, which I think will be great if you have a travel companion  but if a stranger is seated next to you, you can easily rise the privacy shield between seats to maximize privacy.

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Moments after settling in, the cabin manager, Brigitta welcomed me onboard with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and presented me the menu of today’s flight. A few minutes later the Food and Beverage Manager, Fu explained to me that I could have my meal whenever I wanted and also gave me a hot towel. I requested to have the snack right after take off, and my breakfast almost an hour before landing.

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At 2:00AM, Captain Ashtrul came on the PA and added his announcement, he explained that today’s flight will take six hours and forty minutes and that we’ll be initially cruising to 34,000 feet and to 39,000 later in the flight.

There were four crew members serving business class. Cabin Manager Brigitta, the Food and Beverage Manager Fu, Monica, and another crew member working in the galley.

At 2:05AM, boarding was complete and we started our pushback. Five minutes later we started our ten minute taxi to RWY 31L. As we made it to the runway, we were immediately cleared for take off, and after a sixty second take off roll, we were airborne and on our way to Dusseldorf. Five minutes after takeoff, the seatbelt sign was turned off the curtains between the cabins were closed. Since this was an overnight flight, everyone onboard seemed to sleep right after take off.

Ten minutes later, Monica came to my seat with my snack. For the snack service I had the Steak Sandwich and the Potato Crisps on the side. The Steak Sandwich was extremely delicious and flavorful.

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After having my snack, I decided to sleep as much as I can since it was already a long day. The pillows on Etihad are pretty plush, I also appreciated how comfortable and soft the blanket was. It was actually one of my best overnight flights as I slept for almost five hours.

About 90 minutes before our scheduled arrival, everyone in the business class cabin started to wake up in preparation for the breakfast service. Breakfast was served 75 minutes before landing, I had the selection of bread and pastries on the side which included a plain croissant, a chocolate croissant, and a Cinnabon roll. Everything was delicious.

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For the main course, I had the chive omelette with beef sausage, tomato, and hash brow. For my drink, I had a hot chocolate. Again, the meal was top notch.

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Forty five minutes before arrival, the Captain came back on the PA announcing that the weather at Dusseldorf is five degrees celsius and that we’ll be touching down at 6:00AM sharp.

The seat belt sign was turned on 10 minutes before arrival, and at exactly at 6:00AM the B787-9 made an extremely hard touchdown on Dusseldorf’s RWY 23L, exactly 30 minutes ahead of schedule. From there it was a five minute taxi to gate C1 in Terminal C.  As the doors opened, I was the first passenger to disembark the aircraft ready for a much needed vacation.

The crew on the flight were engaging, the one that stood up the most for me was Monica, she was extremely professional in what she’s doing.

Bottom Line

Aircraft Information: Etihad Airways Two Class B787-9, A6-BLF, nine months old.

Flight Information: EY 23, Abu Dhabi to Dusseldorf.

Load: 100% full.

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In conclusion, this was an extremely pleasant flight with Etihad Airways. I got to experience their new business class hard product. Unfortunately, I have noticed that their soft product is not as it used to be.

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