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Good Things Come in 3s - Emirates, Qatar, and Singapore First Class

Good Things Come in 3s - Emirates, Qatar, and Singapore First Class

Old Jul 3, 19, 9:14 am
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Good Things Come in 3s - Emirates, Qatar, and Singapore First Class

They say good things come in threes. Some might argue otherwise, but I needed something to name this report, so I'm sticking with what may be an oft-repeated lie. Nevertheless, we will be traveling for three weeks, in three A380s, and who knows what else may coincidentally align with that number. This trip was planned with destinations in mind to explore the new, and find comfort in the old. To start, getting away for a week to a tropical paradise is never a bad idea, and the Maldives is no exception (other than maybe the flight time). For someone like myself who frequently says no to afternoon naps because they summon unsubstantiated feelings of guilt afterwards in not using the time "productively," being in the middle of nowhere puts me in a different mindset where I am able to let go of such contrived thoughts. After just short of a week there, I had planned to trek to Europe via EY Apartments again, however an issue with ticketing led me to cancel and look for an alternative option. We've flown both Emirates and Etihad multiple times, but we were never able to sample Qatar's offering. With their flight from DOH-FRA recently changed to the A380, it was the perfect chance to finish off our comparison of the ME3. Similarly, we've seen Dubai and Abu Dhabi before, so we opted to spend a day or two in Doha to see what Qatar's hub can offer.

What follows afterwards was not always in the cards. You see, due to a series of unfortunate personal events for a friend of mine, we ended up reconnecting. Prior to this, we hadn't drifted apart drastically; we still talked every now and again. But it was obvious that over the years he dove head deep into his hobbies and I did the same. The difference was that rather than heading in the same, common direction that we used to, I ventured into new interests. We still talked, but the conversations become simpler, and subsequent contact becoming fewer over time. After he broke some news to me the day I returned from Prague/London, it took a while for me to process, but I eventually invited him on this trip to get away. He needed a significant change in scenery, something to look forward to, and friends to help him move forward. I had a lump of Skypesos, so I'd comp the trip, and we'd meet up in Italy. We are both car enthusiasts, so I had to think to myself, "What would be a good way to interject something that he would enjoy...something special that he wouldn't expect?" Before I "retired" from autocrosses and track days, he and I always dreamed about doing the international track day and drive some laps at the Nurburgring. I had checked this off the box years ago, but here was my chance to add a detour to the itinerary so we could experience it together. The stars aligned that we were flying into FRA, so we could hop in a rental car, drive to the track, and spend the night before taking a few laps in the morning. Then we'd head back to Frankfurt for the flight to Rome.

Having mentioned this to a third friend of mine, whose own trip to Europe a few months earlier didn't materialize as he had hoped, he also became interested in joining. He had more vacation time and would meet us in Frankfurt as well, but would continue on from Rome to spend a few days in Scotland with us. A visit to a distillery or two, a road trip with some beautiful scenery, and riding the Jacobite steam train would be the highlights before we parted ways. My family would continue on to London for 2 days before heading back to FRA for the flight back to the US.

24,156 miles left to fly and departing this afternoon...To be continued...

LAX-DXB on EK F (A380)
DXB-MLE on EK F (777 with new F)
St. Regis Maldives
MLE-DOH on QR J (A350)
St. Regis Doha
DOH-FRA on QR F (A380)
Dorint Hotel Am Nürburgring Hocheifel
FRA-FCO on LH Y (A32x)
St. Regis Rome
FCO-LHR on BA Y (A32x)
LHR-INV on BA Y (A319)
Holiday Inn Express Inverness
Premier Inn Fort William
Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport
GLA-LHR on BA J (A32x)
Intercontinental London Park Lane
LHR-FRA on BA J (A32x)
Sheraton Frankfurt Airport
FRA-JFK on SQ F (A380)
JFK-PHX on AA F (737-800)
PHX-ONT on AA F (CRJ900)

Night sky in the Maldives

If you enjoy this report, here are some of my previous trips that I've posted:

Czeching In and Jetting Out - LH F/J, FR Y, and BA F
Spring, Fall, and Hopefully Sakura in CX F, SQ NEW and Old Suites, CZ J, and OZ J/F
3 for the price of 2? RTW Babymoon to Japan, Maldives, UK (JL/EY/LH J/F/Apartment)
Slummin' it to Spain - BCN, PMI for some Park Hyatt, and MAD
The Journey is Half the Fun; RTW in SQ Suites/CX F/JL J/EK F/EY Apartment/AA F
Christmas in Vienna with a Splash of Porsche and FCT - LX/OS Y, OS J, LH F
Escaping to the Southern Hemisphere: A Bora Bora Getaway
Honeymoon In Europe (UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, etc.) - AA/LH/EK F

Last edited by chongl; Jul 6, 19 at 3:50 am
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Old Jul 3, 19, 9:56 am
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Another great journey Chongl. Looking forward to it.
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Old Jul 4, 19, 3:37 am
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Looking forward to the comparisons between the St. Regis Maldives & Premier Inn Fort William and EK F & LH Y.
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Old Jul 4, 19, 4:36 am
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What a great plan it is! Subscribing in a heartbeat
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Old Jul 5, 19, 12:54 am
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Excellent timing. We are on EK new 777 F to MLE in a couple of months (as well as EK 380 F & old SQ Suites) so will be following this one with interest.
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Old Jul 5, 19, 4:01 am
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This looks great and hope that things work out well for your friend.
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Old Jul 5, 19, 8:37 am
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Can't wait for this, sounds awesome...
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Old Jul 5, 19, 11:05 pm
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The day started with me working from home for a few hours. Since the flight was in the afternoon, I was able to get a little bit down before having to leave for the airport. Being that it was the day before the July 4th holiday, some of the roads were getting congested even at just past noon. Luckily we ran into no issues and were promptly dropped off at Tom Bradley International Terminal after 1PM.

Check-in was a breeze with only a small wait

With TSA precheck running security was fairly painless as well. Once through the corridor, we made a left turn and took the elevators to the 6th floor, where Emirates has their business lounge

Pretty spacious area with hardly anybody around since we arrived relatively early


We decided to situate ourselves on the open terrace so that we could do some people watching. It allowed us to have some higher ambient noise just in case the little one wanted to make himself heard. But the first order of business was getting some food since I had skipped lunch and was ready to soothe my growling stomach

Entertaining while we waited for boarding


We had planned to leave the lounge 15 minutes prior to boarding so that I could do some plane spotting. However, my son decided he wanted more to eat, and we figured if we could load him up to hold him over, that would be best for all of us. Spoonfuls of rice and mashed potatoes later, we headed towards gate 154

The gate was a zoo with multiple boarding zones and the gate agents didn't have a good grasp of what was going on. Some rude people tried to push past us, only to get denied and sent back into the proper line. Luckily all those problems were out of mind once we stepped on board. Emirates, it's been too long!

The minibar and IFE tablet

Seat controls

PJs and amenity kits distributed

My son seemed pretty excited. He's finally old enough to understand what's going on and doesn't seem to be "just along for the ride"

Dates and Arabic coffee were served per the usual

Today's menu

Wine list

Taking to the air

The cheap stuff was served on the ground, so once the Dom was ready, I opted for a glass

For dinner, I opted to go with the crab timbale, which was served first

Caviar was up next

Then the cream of spinach soup...absolutely delicious

The beef tenderloin was decent, but we all know how steaks end up in the air

A glass of Chateau Montrose 2005

My wife opted to have the chicken madras, which she said was pretty good

Chocolate marquise for dessert

Cruising away

Part of the cabin still awake

I head to the front to take a picture of the smaller bar area, as well as the bathrooms

One of my favorite lavs in the air

Floor heater controls


At this point I got some photo editing done, and relaxed a bit since it was still a bit early for Pacific time. After exhausting my free allocation of 20MB of WiFi data chatting with some friends, I shut my laptop off and asked for the bed to be made

I got a few good hours of sleep in, and so did my son. We kept him up without his normal nap long enough that he slept for close to 11 hours straight on the plane without a peep. With some time to burn, I decided to sneak to the bar at the back of the plane

Closing in on Dubai

At this time I was ready for my scheduled shower. After a good 5 minutes of water and juggling my kid between my arms (yes I took him in for his first shower in the air), I was feeling very refreshed. The novelty of the shower never wears off and does wonders for refreshing one's senses after a long flight. I came back to my seat to find a fruit plate

Followed up by breakfast

French toast

Omelette and smoothie for the wife

Getting closer

On final

All in all, this was probably the best ultra long haul EK flight I've had to date. The hard product was comfortable and the crew both personable and attentive. Considering that I was able to step off the plane after 16 hours rested enough to stay up another 24 hours, it was everything I needed. This was also my son's best flight to date, with the previous best being another ultra long haul on Cathay Pacific. One crew member in particular loved interacting with him, and when he wasn't getting attention, he was able to stay entertained with the IFE (for the short time he was actually awake). Also, as we were disembarking, one passenger in F even looked surprised to see a baby in the front cabin. There was an issue with the jet bridge and we had to get off on the lower level, but once we finally got off the plane and went through security, we proceeded over to the A concourse...

Next up: 9 hours in DXB lounge hopping and the new Emirates 777 fully enclosed suite
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Old Jul 5, 19, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by tennislover9 View Post
Another great journey Chongl. Looking forward to it.
Thank you tennislover9. I've been counting down the days and it's finally time to go!

Originally Posted by DanielW View Post
Looking forward to the comparisons between the St. Regis Maldives & Premier Inn Fort William and EK F & LH Y.
Touché, DanielW. Flying Y level sets me to always appreciate when flying J/F and it reminds me to stay humble. I am constantly surprised with how rude some of the people are up front, notably lacking the words "please" or "thank you" from their vocabulary. But luckily, the Y flights are extremely short

Originally Posted by AhogZ View Post
What a great plan it is! Subscribing in a heartbeat
Thank you for following AhogZ

Originally Posted by SponsorSFC View Post
Excellent timing. We are on EK new 777 F to MLE in a couple of months (as well as EK 380 F & old SQ Suites) so will be following this one with interest.
Excellent, SponsorSFC. Would be curious to see your experiences when the time comes

Originally Posted by wtcmor View Post
This looks great and hope that things work out well for your friend.
Thank you wtcmor. Things are starting to be on the up for my friend, and I'll be meeting him in Frankfurt in exactly a week. We'll see how the adventures turn out

Originally Posted by JohnRain View Post
Can't wait for this, sounds awesome...
It won't quite match your travels JohnRain, but glad to have you following as always!
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Old Jul 7, 19, 12:46 pm
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Your son is precious!
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Old Jul 8, 19, 1:37 am
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Originally Posted by wrp96 View Post
Your son is precious!
Thank you wrp96
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Old Jul 8, 19, 1:39 am
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Once we were off the plane, we had to decide what we were going to do to burn 9 hours. In a very good lounge, most people would think 3-4 hours would be more than sufficient, but this was more than double that amount of time. Pondering our course of action, we walked towards the elevators so we could take the shuttle to the other concourse

Our target was Concourse A, which in our past experience had the smallest number of passengers and good food to boot. Just one stop led us to the promised land. And no, I don't mean the duty free store

We scheduled our complimentary massages with the spa before stepping foot in the grand entrance of the first class lounge. I don't see how this is remotely necessary for a lounge entrance, but everything is over the top in Dubai, so why the hell not?

Once we had our boarding passes scanned, we decided to head left. The expanse of the lounge is almost beyond comprehension, as a whole floor is dedicated to a sparse number of passengers. As one can see, hardly a soul in site

We sat down at one of the dining areas and helped ourselves to the buffet selection, in addition to ordering a la carte

We ordered the Italian burrata and foie gras terrine to start; both were exceptional

I decided on the filet for my entree while Mrs. ChongL had the fish and chips. Both mains delivered beautifully. In fact, someone ended up liking the filet with the mushroom sauce more than her own fried food of choice

Can't leave without having some Balik salmon, although I didn't plan a trip just around eating Balik as one person on here did

With some more time to burn before our massages, we walked further down the lounge and found a small room with loungers. Our son was due for another nap and we took the chance to just lay around. I hopped online to upload some photos, and I must admit the internet speeds were pretty impressive when I tested

The wife and I staggered our massages so one of us could watch the sleeping baby, The therapist did an outstanding job this time around. I could tell that she noticed my knots and then concentrated on those tight areas to help loosen me up. Most of the other airport massages I've had were usually spent doing some gentle rubs or light pressure here and there to pass the time

Heading back towards the lounge entrance, and still hardly a person in sight

We decided to head to concourse C to experience the smaller lounge next, so back to the shuttle we went to get back where we started

Walking past our gate, which would end up being changed to B25 later meaning we couldn't board on the lounge level

And through some more duty free

After what seemed like an endless walk, I had no desire to snap any pictures. We stepped into the first class lounge entrance and as the lounge dragon checked our boarding pass, she noted we were departing from B gates, which were a good walk away (yes we know...we just came from that direction), but we were still welcome to use the facilities. She made it a point to tell us the B lounges were much better as well. After browsing the EK wine thread for the latest spotting, I went straight to the refrigerator for a glass of Penfolds Bin 28. Once consumed, we left to head back to concourse B where we could have another good meal before boarding

Cream of white asparagus soup

Garlic prawns

We also ordered some repeat dishes from A lounge, so I didn't bother to take more pictures. From there, we backtracked towards an area near the entrance to await boarding.

As I mentioned earlier, we ended up having a gate change to B25. By the time we got there, the gate was open but boarding hadn't commenced, contrary to what the sign read

Once the announcement was made, there was a zoo of activity and no order whatsoever. People were just squeezing up to the gate agent, with no priority for first or business. I'm not sure what happened but it was hardly controlled by any means. In fact, one clown just blatantly cut in front of us while we were standing in line on the jet bridge waiting to get on board. I guess that made him feel better about having to sit in the back? Anyhow, I was just ecstatic to not have had an equipment swap as we had the luck of getting the new Emirates F cabin with the fully enclosed suites. I had originally selected a middle seat for the virtual window, but since 1A wasn't taken, I was able to move there to have the same aisle as my wife in case she needed any help

Virtual windows

Real windows

Tablet controller

Since we were in Dubai, they were pouring Dom on the ground

The cabin controls by the seat allows you to set temperature, lighting brightness and color, and more

On the left armrest is an IFE controller

On the right armrest are the controls for seating position, which includes the zero gravity position. There is also a small storage cubby


Storage next to the seat


Wine list, but that doesn't seem to match up with the in-flight one I received

Pushed back and ready to go

In the air

There is a sliding tray that pulls out that was perfect for dining, working on my laptop, or filling out immigration forms

Charging ports to the left

I'm not sure many people noticed this, but there is even a USB-C port located in the area next to the left armrest

Newer flight status display on the tablet

Mirror, writing kit, and other products are under a flip cover

Some Hennessy Paradis

Ghaf tree, which is the national tree of the UAE is a common theme in the cabin. There is a large one at the front of the plane when boarding through door 1L, and a smaller one on the upper panels of the suite

Cruising along above the clouds

A smaller tray slides out for holding small items like a phone

One of the bathrooms that you'll see are much smaller than the A380. There is once again the ghaf tree

Apparently, I was the only one awake in the F cabin according to the FAs. They asked if I wanted to order anything, so I opted for the fish ambul thiyal. There was a good kick to it with an abundance of aromatic spices that I enjoyed quite a bit

Since there is a video calling feature, I decided to try it out. When asked, the crew said it was more of a novelty and that most passengers still use the classic call method

Almost there

Just before touchdown

It doesn't seem like the new runway is done yet as I saw construction going on as we landed. Once the plane reached the end of the runway, it made a u-turn to head towards the terminal

Arriving 18, taxiing back 36

We had to wait a few minutes for the stairs to arrive, and then were held for a few more minutes as a Qatar bird parked next to us. Once the engines were shutdown, we were given the OK to proceed. I noted to my wife that would be our ride to Doha in a week, but of course she didn't care too much at this point

Although short, this was an excellent flight due to a very personable and attentive crew. From the moment we stepped on board, they asked us how we were with a genuine interest, not the fleeting formality that crews normally greet you with. Once we noted we had just gotten off a long leg from LAX, they immediately responded with a don't worry, we'll take care of you, so please just relax and enjoy yourselves. Our son was provided drawing materials and a stuffed animal for entertainment, but by this point he just wanted to sleep. The crew also proactively asked if we wanted a kids meal prepared for him. For myself, they constantly checked on me without being overly intrusive, and always with an endearing smile. After these last 2 legs, I have to say Emirates is back at the top of my list. In the past, I've come across mediocre crews, but today really showed how much the experience can shine when paired with an enthusiastic crew that puts full effort into providing a memorable flight

Next up: The St. Regis ground experience and taking the seaplane to the resort

Last edited by chongl; Jul 29, 19 at 4:25 pm
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Old Jul 8, 19, 2:57 am
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I like your reporting style, chongl. Nice quality pictures without wasting our time with silly stuff such as pictures of things like crowded gate lounges, chopsticks presentation, hot towels or seat controls. Your son looks like a bright eyed little traveler, too - I look forward to reading his trip reports someday. Until then, I look forward to the rest of your report and your future reports ^^
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Old Jul 8, 19, 3:51 am
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Originally Posted by chongl View Post
So you are the first who knows of an upcomming crash
Without joking pretty cool
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Old Jul 9, 19, 7:15 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
So you are the first who knows of an upcomming crash
Without joking pretty cool
Saudia 787s have this dashboard too!
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