Widebody service to Dubai DXB

Old Nov 9, 18, 12:55 pm
  #1  
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Widebody service to Dubai DXB

Many are already aware of the fact that in the wake of FlyDubai starting HEL flights, AY now has two weekly frequencies on the HEL-DXB route that are operated with widebody aircraft and with a very pleasant daytime schedule (as the plane gets in from Asia before 6 am and needs to be ready again for a midnight departure). I flew HEL-DXB in J today and want to share my experiences.

Beware, however, that the majority of DXB flights are still operated by A321-Sharklets and AY sells J tickets for those flights, too, and at the same prices as for A350/A330. So check carefully before you book!

Itís worth noting that in the AY+ geography book, Dubai is in Europe. This makes it excellent value since awards cost 30k in Y (widely available) or 50k in J (not widely available, to put it mildly), with no YQ added. Taxes are Ä45. Upgrades are 10k/leg. (The downside is, of course, that if you book with money, you only earn 2000 base points (100%).

However, the AY+ definition doesnít extend to the soft product, which is sort of a mix between Euro-J and longhaul-J and, IME, a very nice medium-haul product.

On todayís AY1961, departing at 8:10 am, I got:
- LH-J pillow and blanket
- LH-J amenity kit
- no slippers
- socks available on request
- LH-J headphones
- 0.33 L water bottle

Meal service was pretty clever. Itís an early departure, but most J pax have probably eaten something at the lounge (which, surprisingly, had a relatively decent breakfast spread even if they offer mostly c**p later in the day). So as opposed to what you might expect, the main meal service is at the end of the flight!

There was no pre-departure drink.

30 min after take-off they served drinks and a tomato-mozzarella-chiabatta (think Makula-Alepa style). The FA was happy to heat mine up in the oven when I quietly suggested it, which made the baguette quite good. This tip came from an FA on an earlier flight, where I got the same baguette as a mid-flight snack. They also took lunch orders at this time. There is a menu that is the size of LH-J, and you also get the regular LH-J wine list.

The midflight snacks consisted of Fazer chocolates and minisize prezel bags.

3.5 hours into the flight (itís scheduled at two hours before landing; flight time was 5 hours 30 minutes today) they started the main meal service, aka lunch. Table cloths were provided. Lunch is a one-tray service including a simple side salad, an appetizer of two rather big pieces of cold smoked salmon & garnish, bread and butter, a main course, and two Godiva chocolate pralines.

The main course alternatives were Beef with bay leaf-cranberry sauce, potato gratin and vegetables; Chicken fillet with chanterelle sauce, creamy risotto and peas; and Torteliini filled with four cheese, pumpkin sauce and chestnut. The FA described the beef as palapaisti, ie small cubes, not a steak.

I had the chicken, which was a good choice and an excellent example of how you can create a tasty dish that doesnít look and feel cheap even if you are using cheap ingredients. Two very small chanterelles, some deep frozen peas, a fried breast piece of chicken and a cheese risotto, all very tasty. The only downside was that whereas they provided two knives, there was only one fork so you eat smoked salmon and then chicken with the same fork.

There was no dessert, which was a disappointment. Fazer chocolates were offered together with coffee and tea.

Drinks were offered proactively throughout the flight.

Canít say much about the Y service, but it looked to me as if there was no amenity kit in Y+. All Y pax got a blanket and pillow, though, which does not happen on day flights of the same length to the Canaries.

All in all a very pleasant flight with a great crew and a J service concept that I feel was completely adequate considering the time of day and length of the flight. I donít know how big a role FlyDubai plays in this, but if they do, then I sure hope theyíre here to stay. The only thing AY could and should do better is to market this flight and service. At roughly Ä1000 for a J return, itís decent value even as a paid ticket. All but 2 J seats were taken, but Y+ and Y had lots of empty seats, perhaps 70 % full.
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Old Nov 9, 18, 1:04 pm
  #2  
 
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After you fly it once in AY C you wont even think tiny 737 for 6 hrs flight .

Thats way I®ll second that trip on Sunday and not even getting points/segments.
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Old Nov 9, 18, 2:16 pm
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Problem here is that AY using 359 -karjavankkuri-funny pack config on DXB route. Only 32 J seats on sale.
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Old Nov 9, 18, 2:57 pm
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Yeah, and they don't even want to fill that cabin. I made my award reservation 6 days before the trip. It showed J5. It went down to J3 4 days before. 3 days before, I called during office hours. "Other department" wouldn't confirm my seat and I was told there's a waitlist with golds and silvers, but no platsku (or that's how I read between the lines). 2 days before, I called again and made a point in doing so after office hours. I was told "other department" closes at 6 pm but there's an "other other department" that usually doesn't handle these unless there's an emergency. In the end, this other-other was contacted and my seat cleared. I wonder if it was more or less by mistake and if the "other department" would have left it uncleared. In the end, the flight took off today with J2, so those golds and silvers on the waitlist were in Y. Why? Did AY really believe that someone would show up at the airport at boarding time to buy those two seats? Or do they have a principle of not filling the very last seats with anything but revenue ticket holders?
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Old Nov 10, 18, 1:39 am
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I have been denied once. And they had one business seat left, they said. They left with that J seat empty and did not grant me (my brother actually) that, so it can happen
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Old Nov 10, 18, 2:51 am
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Originally Posted by OH-LGG View Post
Problem here is that AY using 359 -karjavankkuri-funny pack config on DXB route. Only 32 J seats on sale.
Only a minority of the fleet has the Asian sardines configuration, and they may be used on the regular Big Wave rotations. Can Finnair really ensure that there will always be one such plane coming from HKG or SIN? Is that the reason for the peculiar semi-weekly scheduling?
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Old Nov 11, 18, 9:57 am
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DXB Marhaba lounge has a separate and restricted huge lounge for ?. ffay005 was invited and guided in there as a Platinum but Lumo was left hang in a basic crowded salon.
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Old Nov 11, 18, 10:29 am
  #8  
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According to the lounge agent, who personally escorted me to this area when checking in at the lounge, it's for AY Platskus only. No lowly Lumos. (Why doesn't AY print PLAT LUMO on the BP? How will outstation contract lounge agents know what the h**l LUMO is?)

Definitely a step up from the deserted check-in area where the guy manning the J desk wanted to send me to the Y desk. Apparently I don't look like a J pax.
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Old Nov 11, 18, 10:48 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by ffay005 View Post
[...] Apparently I don't look like a J pax.
This happens to us quite a few times. Young, wearing a hoodie and they all think we're down back with the rafts.
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Old Nov 11, 18, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by florens View Post
This happens to us quite a few times. Young, wearing a hoodie and they all think we're down back with the rafts.
It is something that should never happen. Our discussion went like this:
– Check-in is that way.
– Oh, are you closed?
– This is for business class.
– Great (handing passport).
After maybe three seconds I decided to say out loud what I was thinking and told the guy that he should never judge his customers by appearance. He actually looked a little ashamed and started babbling something about how J pax usually check in early and other BS.
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Old Nov 11, 18, 5:51 pm
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I, in my mandatory hoodie, once had the "talk to the hand" gesture made to me, when I tried to board a flight at DMO via the business class line - "only business class boarding!"
The change of color on the gentleman's face was pretty fast though, when I showed my J BP.
I must admit, I quite enjoy these kinds of double takes - I don't even own a suit, yet parade through F lounges like nobody's business.
As the saying goes - the men in suits work for the men in hoodies these days.
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Old Nov 12, 18, 1:30 am
  #12  
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Going off topic here, but when agents actually guards the J check-in/boarding I think we should not give them a hard time. I'd rather be mistaken for not having a J ticket than seeing hoards of Y pax in front of me. Just saying.
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Old Nov 12, 18, 2:18 am
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I wear a hoodie and carry a soft toy when flying J. FAs do a double take and gate agents a triple take, but eventually they err on the side of caution and assume I'm crazy...rich.
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Old Nov 12, 18, 2:54 am
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Originally Posted by intuition View Post
Going off topic here, but when agents actually guards the J check-in/boarding I think we should not give them a hard time. I'd rather be mistaken for not having a J ticket than seeing hoards of Y pax in front of me. Just saying.
I totally agree that a caring agent is a good agent from long-term perspective. However, what's in my eyes the main point here, is that some of them care only if appearance doesn't suit their biases. In fact, being older and wearing suit gives anybody check-free way just because they look like business pax. It's absolutely fine when everyone is checked upon entering priority area. And it's totally unacceptable when somebody is turned away without even having a look at their BP / ticket.
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Old Nov 12, 18, 3:21 am
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Originally Posted by intuition View Post
Going off topic here, but when agents actually guards the J check-in/boarding I think we should not give them a hard time. I'd rather be mistaken for not having a J ticket than seeing hoards of Y pax in front of me. Just saying.
It's just that there are so many ways to do it... Like at BA J check-in at JFK, when the agent guarding the J line asked, Flying business class today, sir?, in a friendly tone.
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