Sunday, June 28, 2009
The A380 experience
The Emirates A380 that we flew from Toronto to Dubai.
The kids schools closed for Summer vacation, which means that it is time to pack our bags and go back to India!! (No, not for good...but for six glorious weeks with family and friends)
June 27th, we left for Pearson and after getting our boarding passes, made our way to the Gate where we would take our A380 Emirates flight to Chennai, India. (via a short halt at Dubai airport)
We were there an hour early, which gave us enough time to get some dinner. Our flight was at 9.40pm, but we knew from experience that by the time they served dinner it would be past mid-night. We ordered some burgers and cokes and sat down at the mini-foodcourt they have near the gates numbered in their 70's. While there we saw a basket ball team and the Black Eyed Peas. Fergie spoke to my eight year old daughter, after my very inquisitive offspring, decided to go and ask if she was indeed someone famous. With a story that I will be telling for years to come......with no picturs to prove it happened....and a very happy little girl....we made our way to our gate.
Remember that the A380 is huge.....so it holds more passengers, which means that boarding now takes longer.
After boarding, we noticed that the on board entertainment system was already on and working, with headphones on every seat. You don't have to wait an hour for the movies to start like most other airlines. Talking about movies, Emirates has an awesome array of movies, songs, t.v shows, games and documentaries running the entire flight time. You also have access to viewing the front and back cameras and the camera underneath the aircraft. Watching the approach to the runway is something just amazing to experience.
Some families who checked in late, were spread around the aircraft, but managed to swap seats with other passengers so that their families could be together. This created a problem of sorts, because Emirates take meal requests online at the time of booking for special meals like vegetarian, non-lactose, child, diabetic, nut free etc. Stickers are put on the back of the seats with the meal requests ahead of time to facilitate faster service. With the swapped seats, meals got interchanged and some people didn't get the vegetarian meal they ordered and some children didn't get their meals either. After some confusion, complaints and apologies, all was set straight and dinner was served.
The food was fantastic. We had a choice of lamb or chicken for dinner, and they served drinks and gave out snacks too. Once the dinner trays were collected, the lights were switched off and most of us decided to catch up on the latest movies instead of catching up on sleep! With each passenger able to control what they want to watch, and being able to pause, forward or rewind......the entertainment system on board Emirates has to be one of the best.
The twelve hour flight was more or less comfortable for being stuck in the sitting position and occasionally being told to put the seat belt back on because of turbulence. I am just 5.2, so the seats had decent space for me to stretch out my legs, but I'm sure a taller person would find it slightly cramped.
Bathrooms...........they need to put in more bathrooms! With a flight full of children and the elderly, there were lines of eight to nine people at any given time waiting for their turn to use the bathroom.
After landing at Dubai, all of us were made to walk in single file past a thermal scanner. Yes, they were checking for passengers travelling with any signs of the Swine Flu. They did the same thing in Chennai too.
During our stop at Dubai, we decided to use the lounge to send emails, have lunch and rest before our next flight out. The buffet was pretty good, and the kids got to eat something before our next flight. I also did some dutyfree shopping which is the best thing to do at Dubai airport. From perfumes to chocolates or liquor...Dubai dutyfree is one of the best in the world in terms of range and price.
We landed in Chennai at three in the morning and had to fill in two forms. One to be filled in with our immigration information and the other with our seat numbers, address and phone numbers. This was in case any passengers near us later experienced any symptoms of the swine flu, they would know how to contact us.
Once outside, we were greeted by my Brother and Mother......happy to be seeing us after our move to Canada.
Driving home felt the same...as if we never left. Some of the flyovers were new and the traffic felt a little heavier....even for four in the morning...but it was good to be back!