Today I am going to file another flight report. It has been 9 months since I published my report on my overseas trip to Adelaide, Australia.
INTRODUCTION My sister successfully completes her Master’s degree in the UK. So, our family attended her graduation ceremony which concluded in late January this year. The trip to the UK itself was planned well in advance, more so since I never been to that country (or Europe for that matter). So, I was excited albeit anxious on the things to expect since this would be my first experience in real European (or should I say English weather) winter. We visited at least couple of cities including London and Manchester.
We started our journey from our little hometown of Kota Kinabalu. Actually, I was on a separate flight from the rest of my family. I took Emirates while the rest was onboard Malaysia Airlines. Why was that so? Well, me being me. I am adventurous and eager to try something a bit more off the beaten track. I had been scouting for cheap tickets to London for months prior to travelling there. When my sister announced that her convocation date fell on late January, we immediately searched for airfares. Many airlines, many airfares, many options to London – Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Royal Brunei, Cathay Pacific and even China Southern Airlines. In September while scouting for cheaper tickets, I found that Emirates had very good offer to London (LHR) ex Kuala Lumpur (KUL) at RM2,819. But, I was not rushing. I looked at other airlines. Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Royal Brunei maintained their fares at over RM3,500 – so, no go.
Malaysia Airlines also was yet to reduce their airfare. Fearing that the cheaper than usual offer might be gone as I waited longer, I proceeded to book my flight with Emirates. I did have a brief discussion with my parents about booking my flight first. They were fine with it. Since EK do not fly to BKI (I hope BKI is in their list of upcoming future destinations!), I book a separate return domestic flight with MH. I chose MH over AK since the former operates at the same terminal (KLIA1) as EK. If I chose AK then I have to take either a bus or a train from KLIA2 to KLIA1. The last thing I need is a train breakdown. A few days later after I booked my ticket with EK, MH reduced their airfare to even lower than EK’s. Oh well, I already booked my ticket on EK. Just go ahead with it. In this report, I am going to skip the return domestic flight to KUL ex BKI. The reason is that the service level on MH domestic flight, at least on the BKI-KUL sector has not improved since my last trip with MH back in April, 2014 (You can see the flight report here). MH did offer me an upgrade to Business Class, but I failed to top-up my debit card (to pay the extra amount needed to get the upgrade) which rendered the upgrade unsuccessful. With the upgrade offer, I was already looking forward to write a flight report on my supposed experience with MH Business Class on domestic sector - Probably next time.
I will keep this flight report short because I want to focus on my pre-ordered meal. Prior to my flight, I purposely change meal types on 2 out of 4 sectors of my flight to LHR. I want to try out the special meals onboard the aircraft. The readers probably know how EK economy class cabin on Boeing 777 feels like. So I am less incline to show that in this report.
THE FLIGHT Flight Number: EK347 Aircraft type: Boeing 777-300ER Aircraft registration: A6-EBD Seat: 46J
The view from Satellite building while eating at Nööödles.
Two planes registered in the same country (UAE)
Our plane, A6-EBD while waiting at Gate C26
The flight was lightly loaded, which meant passengers were free to sit anywhere they like. Sitting next to me was a German whose journey originated from Kuching, Sarawak. We introduced each other and chatted a bit on current issues and other stuffs. I was thinking of speaking German to him since I learned that language while I was at university. He said his knowledge of German is rusty because he was out of the country for so long already. He continued his journey to Switzerland and I continued mine to UK – all via Dubai – a city which is now become the centre of cultural meeting place from all over the world!
Hot towels were distributed to all passengers while the plane was still at the gate. Fast forward one hour after takeoff, dinner was served. Since I pre-ordered my special meal, I was given a priority serve before the main meal service was done. In this sector, I chose seafood meal.
1) Appetiser – Fresh steamed (raw?) salmon slice with vegetables salad and a lemon 2) Main meal – some sort of steamed fish (sea perch?) mixed with tomato squash accompanied with steamed potatoes, carrots and capsicum. 3) Dessert – a white pudding with caramel. A bun is served with a packet of butter.
Being a seafood meal, it didn’t come along with Light Bites. As I was in a mood for high protein, low carb diet (I don’t want my tummy to get bloated in-flight), the seafood meal was a perfect dinner. The appetizer was served cold, and as I rarely eat appetizer during my normal eating habit, this is a fresh and healthy change with fresh salmon and its accompanying green salads. The main meal tasted a bit plain, but I have no complains. The potatoes were a good alternative to rice which can be a bit heavier sometimes for me. As for the dessert, it was not as sweet as I expected, especially with caramel. But, I do prefer that because too much sweet can actually dehydrates my mouth. Overall, the portion was sufficient to satisfy my hunger for the entire duration of the flight.
The aircraft I was onboard is older than the one I took during my last trip with EK back in April 2014. So the in-flight entertainment system (called ICE) is of previous generation. The screen is a bit smaller – not really an issue for me. However, I found the on-screen touch function was not as receptive compared with the latest system onboard their newer aircrafts (which has iPad like on-touch screen fluidity). I even had to triple-click the icon on the screen before it reacted. My German neighbor also found it difficult to navigate through the channels via on-screen touch. Good thing the console provides directional scroll. I find that using the console to navigate between channels is so much faster than on-screen touch.
Since the flight was more than half empty, everyone took the opportunity to find extra seats to stretch their legs or went to empty window seats to see the world below. My German neighbor went a bit upfront to get some nap. I went sitting at 49K to get my first glimpse of India, though it was already past sunset.
Mumbai, the financial capital of India.
Stars adorned the cabin ceiling.
Supper was served about two hours before landing, though I can’t remember the kind of food we were served (oh, wait I think it was a slice of cake – I don’t really remember ?). After exiting India, we spent about another two hours crossing the Arabian Sea. I could see the urban lights of Pakistan and then Iran from afar, but only tiny bits. Descent commenced once we reach Arabian Peninsula, around Fujairah. As we neared Dubai, our plane was on a brief holding pattern. I could see other planes hovering above the outskirts of Dubai. Soon, we would land at one of the world’s busiest international airports.
Approaching the runway.
The touch down was as smooth as silk, typical of Boeing 777 (in my opinion). The temperature was 16 degrees Celcius when we arrived at Dubai International Airport (DXB) around 10.00PM local time. I saw rows of EK birds parked at Terminal 3. I can’t remember which gate our plane was parked, but we disembarked at B-Gates as my next connecting flight required me to take a train to A-Gates. We went straight to security clearance before departing on to the next connecting flight. The security clearance was quick. The staffs manning the security clearance were ever ready to assist you to put your belongings in the X-ray machines. Since I purposely didn’t wear belt, I went through the metal detector without triggering the BEEP sound. The security officer then just let me go without body checks in no time. So, I got back my belongings and now on my way to my next connecting flight to London!
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
Dubai - DXB
This time around, Emirates has done a better job regarding its cabin crew. The special (seafood) meal was tastefully good. The fish was properly cooked to the right temperature and mixture. For those of you who prefer seafood, I do think Emirates offer a very good option. The portion is enough for me to sustain the entire 7 hour flight.
I forget to mention about KUL. Though not as busy and crowded as DXB, I think the management should reduce the temperature inside the building by maybe 2-3 degrees Celsius as it gets pretty warm. The security clearance at DXB was very quick and if you being like me (not wearing a belt and only bring onboard light hand luggage) the entire process can be completed in less than 2 minutes. But, of course the flight that day was lightly loaded, so it helped to make security clearance so much faster.
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