Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 25,266
2014: 363,407
Total: 946,866

235 miles on an A340-600 – Qatar Airways Economy Class Flight Review

Qatar Airways A340-600 at LHR Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Qatar Airways’ A340-600 at LHR – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

QATAR AIRWAYS A340-600 ECONOMY CLASS FLIGHT REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Qatar Airways
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Departed: Dubai (DXB)
Arrived: Doha (DOH)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Economy Class
Seat: 38A
Length: About 1 hour

On a recent trip to the Middle East, I had to take a flight from Dubai (DXB) to Doha (DOH). While the flight distance is only around 235 miles, with flight times rarely more than one hour, there is a surprisingly large selection of flight options. These range from low-cost carriers such as Fly Dubai right through to the full service options of Emirates and Qatar Airways.

As I had never flown Qatar Airways before, I thought I would give them a go, especially given all the hype about them being a five-star airline. Qatar runs many flights per day between the two cities, and they pretty much utilize their entire fleet on the route from A319/A320s right through to Boeing 777-300ERs. The type that excited me the most, however, was the Airbus A340-600, a type normally used more for ultra-long-haul 14+ hour flights rather than hot hops across the Arabian Gulf.

Economy class on the A340-600, the colour takes some getting used to Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Economy class on the A340-600; the color takes some getting used to – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

I arrived at Dubai Airport Terminal One a little over two hours prior to departure. Having now experienced all three passenger terminals at Dubai Airport, I must say T1 is the worst by far. While the terminal is functional, the demand for the terminal far outweighs its capacity. It took me one hour, yes one hour, to get from the check-in desks to my departure gate. Most of this time was spent waiting in the line for outbound immigration. It was not that there were not enough desks open – in fact they were all open – but there were just too many passengers to process at the time.

Continue reading 235 miles on an A340-600 – Qatar Airways Economy Class Flight Review

Champagne, Caviar, and a Shower at 40,000FT – Emirates A380 First Class Review Part 1

Emirates A380 short final at Sydney Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Emirates A380 short final at Sydney – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

EMIRATES AIRLINE FIRST CLASS REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Emirates Airline
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Departed: Sydney (SYD)
Arrived: Dubai (DXB)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: First Class
Seat: 2A
Length: About 14 hours

Not many people I know get too excited at the prospect of a 14-hour flight that leaves at 6:00 AM.  But when travelling in first class, even the 4:00 AM wake-up call is cause for excitement. I was recently fortunate enough to experience the first class product on-board Emirates’ A380 from Sydney to Dubai.

Most Emirates’ departures from Australia to Dubai are timed to leave at night; this did not appeal very much to me as when traveling first class I like to make the most of the experience, rather than just sleep though it. Luckily, Emirates had recently introduced the A380 product on their EK415 service, which departs Sydney at 6:00 AM with a 1:20 PM arrival to Dubai. This service is primarily targeted at connecting traffic onto the afternoon European services, which allow for a same-day evening arrival into Europe.

Emirates A380 first class suite, not a bad place to spend 14 hours Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Emirates A380 first class suite; not a bad place to spend 14 hours – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

I was happy to be staying at an airport hotel, meaning that I could afford to sleep in a little longer. Check-in at Sydney was completed with minimal fuss, and I was on my way to security within five minutes of entering the terminal.

Given the Qantas Emirates partnership, first class passengers traveling on Emirates flights have access to the Qantas First Class Lounge at Sydney. Sadly, the lounge was still closed at this hour of the morning. I had to make do with the Emirates lounge – while it is still of a very high standard, it is not as good as the Qantas’ first lounge.

On board, I was welcomed by the purser and escorted to my seat. As this was my first time flying Emirates First Class, I was given a very comprehensive walk-through of all of the seat and cabin features. At this time, I also received my bvlgari amenity kit along with pajamas and slippers; all of this was very nicely presented in an Emirates-branded tote bag. This is probably the best and highest quality of in-flight amenities I have received on any carrier.

Continue reading Champagne, Caviar, and a Shower at 40,000FT – Emirates A380 First Class Review Part 1

Ultimate Airport Dubai Goes Behind The Scenes at DXB

Emirate Airline's Network Control at DXB. Image: Jason Rabinowitz.

Emirate Airline’s Network Control at DXB. Image: Jason Rabinowitz.

Dubai International Airport (DXB) is a hugely complex, massive, 24-hour machine. Airplanes land, passengers are exchanged, and airplanes takeoff. What goes on behind the scenes to make this seemingly simple task work, however, is anything but simple. Earlier this year, National Geographic UK took their cameras into the depths of Dubai’s airport, giving the public a rare look at operations at the home airport of Emirates.

BONUS: Photo Tour of Emirates Airline Crew Training in Dubai

The show aired several months ago in various regions, but never made it to the Americas. What the channel guide hides from us, YouTube reveals – all ten episodes are now streaming in HD for anyone to watch. The first episode of the show starts off quite nicely, focusing on the difficulty of getting passengers with short connections across the gigantic terminal, routine mechanical difficulties, and a scramble to finish up construction of a new wing of the terminal.

Click here to learn more and to view the Ultimate Airport Dubai Video

Emirates Shows Off Lounges in New Airbus A380 Concourse

An Emirates Airbus A380 at the new concourse in Dubai.

An Emirates Airbus A380 at the new concourse in Dubai.

An excerpt from David Parker Brown’s story on APEX Editor’s Blog

DUBAI: How does one go about making the world’s largest airliner, the Airbus A380, look small? Park it at the new Concourse A at Dubai International Airport, which was designed to handle the giant aircraft and all the high-end passengers who will fly in its premium cabins.

Earlier this year Emirates and Dubai International Airport opened the new concourse. David Parker Brown, a contributor to the APEX editor’s blog was invited for a tour of the Emirates Airline first and business class lounges.

Concourse A opened on 2 January 2013 and is the world’s only dedicated and purpose built concourse for the Airbus A380. The rest of the airport is able to handle the aircraft, but the new concourse was purpose-built with the A380 in mind. A formidable undertaking for the airport and airline, US$3.3 billion terminal required 159,572,880 man-hours to build.

Continue reading Emirates Shows Off Lounges in New Airbus A380 Concourse on APEX

See more photos of the Concourse A in Dubai

We Aren’t In Kansas Anymore: Emirates First Class Lounge Review in Dubai

One of the many attractive views in-side Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai.

One of the many attractive views inside Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai

Dubai is known for having impressive and large things. It makes sense then that Emirates Airlines would have a huge, and impressive, First Class Lounge at their main hub in Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Getting access to any lounge is a nice benefit — but not all lounges are created equal. Most of the time, those paying $20,000 for their First Class international ticket do not want to mingle with those who paid a mere $7,000, and they do not have to. We aren’t in Kansas anymore folks.

The First Class Lounge seems to go on forever in Dubai.

The First Class Lounge seems to go on forever in Dubai

First of all, the lounge is frek’n huge. It took a good ten minutes for me to do a lap around the place and I am convinced I still did not see everything. There are some things you would hope to find in any lounge; comfortable seating, easy access to quick food and drink, high-end service, and even showers. But there was more at this lounge that you do not find often.

I almost wish there was a play are like this for adults.

I almost wish there was a play are like this for adults

If you have kids and want to have some time away from them before hopping on a plane for 14 hours, the lounge has its own kids play area. Not only does this allow you the chance to enjoy the rest of the lounge’s amenities with some peace, but it also allows your children to tire themselves out a bit before the flight.

There might not be a real play area for adults, but there is a free spa — called the Timeless Spa. Get a quick massage or facial and it is all complimentary. You just have to add you name to the list, wait your turn, and relax. I wanted to test these services for myself (you know, for the story), but I unfortunately ran out of time.

Take a seat at a table or one of the booths inside the restaurant, in the lounge, in the airport, in Dubai.

Take a seat at a table or one of the booths inside the restaurant, in the lounge, in the airport, in Dubai.

There are quite a few food options in the lounge — the most impressive being a sit-down restaurant. From snacks to full meals, you surely shouldn’t be leaving the lounge hungry. No matter what you order or get, leave your wallet in place, because there is no additional charge.

If you are more in the mood for some alcohol, no worries, you have lots to choose from. Want to take some wine home with you? No problem —  there is a shop in the lounge, where a wine connoisseur will help you pick out that perfect bottle.

One could easily visit the lounge and have a different seating experience each time. From comfy, large seats to a faux living room to working areas, whatever you are looking to do, there is a seat for you.

If you are hoping to plane spot from the lounge, or even from Terminal 3, you might be disapointed.

If you are hoping to plane spot from the lounge, or even from Terminal 3, you might be disappointed.

Overall, the lounge was outstanding. However, there were two things that I did not find appealing; one which most people will share in my pain and the other only AvGeeks will.

The biggest disappointment was the Wi-Fi — which was slow. When I say slow… I mean S L O W.  It was borderline useless to get any work done. Reading online, I found this was not an isolated experience and seems to be a constant problem.

The second issue I had was the view to the airplanes outside. There are large windows, but they all had markings on them to help keep the interior cool. I was told that the airport also designed the windows in this fashion so that passengers do not feel that they are in an airport. Of course, I like to feel that I am in an airport — oh well.

SEE ALL 13 PHOTOS FROM MY VISIT OF EMIRATES FIRST CLASS LOUNGE IN DUBAI