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Oz to Dubai via London and back thru LAX

Oz to Dubai via London and back thru LAX

Old Mar 12, 06, 2:05 pm
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Oz to Dubai via London and back thru LAX

Prologue: Thursday 9th March 2006

I started writing this over Ambon, sort of halfway between Denpasar and Port Moresby and a little North. I am 4272 km from Sydney and have 3 1/2 hours to HKG, at least that's what "Flightpath" is telling me.

This is the first leg of a rather long trip which will take me from my home port of MEL around the world; depositing me back there in a weeks time.

I am scheduled to fly over 31000 miles and spend 3875 minutes in aircraft. That's 64 hours and 35 minutes or 2 2/3 days. This journey is mainly constructed the 3rd part of an around the world trip I started in Columbo, Sri Lanka last October. The travel will take me from Melbourne to Sydney, Hong Kong, London, Dubai, back to London, then Los Angeles, Sydney and then home to Melbourne.

It is, in effect, a mileage run. I am travelling on an oneWORLD explorer fare. The first part I did back in October last year, which when coupled with travel I had already completed were enough to get me Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum Status, the top level in their frequent Flyer program. This is also oneWORLD Emerald.

Here I will be logging stuff about my experiences with this trip and anything else that I feel may be of interest. Feel free to post any comments or questions in this thread.

I have had an interesting day so far, not the least being due to my flight departing over 4 hours late; anyway the (b)log begins.
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Old Mar 12, 06, 2:06 pm
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Thursday 9th March 2006.

Getting to the Airport:

What a PITA the week has been. I have had to move house after 8 years; and this needed to be competed this morning. I managed only 41/2 hours sleep the previous evening; and by the time I had packed for this journey last night it was 1am.

5 1/2 hours later the clock radio fired up and I was up and running from my home in Patterson Lakes; after breakfast Jenny, my wife (AKA Mrs serfty) dropped me off at the local railway station. Peak time, a train came though in a few minutes and I was off. An hour later I was at my desk, attending to last minute work issues etc. Then it was off to the Airport. For self funded journeys I rarely take a cab; there's a reliable "Skybus" from Melbourne city to its main airport at Tullamarine which costs 1/3 price of a taxi albeit about 10 mins longer to the airport. It's normally AU$15 but as I use it so much I buy a 10xTrip for AU$110.
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Old Mar 12, 06, 2:07 pm
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Flight: QF26, MEL-SYD Thursday, 9th March 2006.
Seat 26H, Sequence 33.
Reg VH-OJJ, Scheduled 10:50-12:15
Gate 10
Board: 10:50
Pushback 11:03
Take Off Roll: 11:17
Touchdown: 12:13
At gate: 12:20.

Check in was a breeze, being Platinum, I can use the First Class counters and the very helpful agent checked my through to Sydney. I was on the last leg of QF26, an international flight LAX-AKL-MEL-SYD. She offered to check me the whole way to London and Dubai, but I declined, as I wanted to go landside in SYD and scoot over to the domestic terminal for an hour or two. So instead only my MEL-SYD BP was printed and attached to it was an Orange D sticker. This is a system to enable Australian passengers to take domestic sectors of international flights while still clearing customs. It works quite well. My only issue with this system is that I like to retain my BP's but you have to hand it over at your destination to immigration/customs officials.

There was a slight issue at immigration as there are special express lines Aircrew, APEC members and those with the Orange D stickers. However, there were only two lanes and the signage was ambiguous. Of course I unknowingly chose the Aircrew only lane and the guy was going to send me to the other until I pointed out the D sign above his head. He seemed surprised but sent me through. That sorted I was off to the Qantas First Class lounge. I had never been there before and it was quite nice.

I had 1/2 an hour before boarding was due to commence so I sat at one of the workstations with complimentary Internet. 10 minutes after boarding was due to commence there was still no call and the screen was showing "go to gate". I enquired at the front desk and was told cleaning was taking a little long due to a full flight from LAX and AKL. As I re-entered the lounge, an announcement about this was made.

Boarding commenced 1/2 an hour later the advertised, but being such a light load to SYD, push back from the gate was on 13 minutes late.

When I got to my seat in the front row of economy I was quite impressed. I had not sat in Economy class in any of Qantas' Skybed refurbished 2 class 744s before and there was quite a large indentation at the bottom of the partition. It allowed my 6' frame to stretch right out; I could hardly touch the wall with my toes. In June, I'm flying to LAX in the same type of aircraft and already have a front row seat pre-allocated, so I'm going to make sure of it. The flight was uneventful. They served a breakfast of Sultana Bran, a warmed fruit bun, juice, banana and coffee or tea. I've plied the airways between MEL & SYD literally 100's of times, so I tend to phase out.

Getting through customs in SYD I had to hand over my BP, but at least was able to keep the stub. This is not always possible as when boarding some BP readers cut this off and retain it.

I had intended to get to the domestic terminal by using the long-term car parking bus; something I did last year. To do this you rode the free bus to the long-term car park, hop off and get on another 'long term' bus for the domestic terminals. However, I found you can't do this any more as there no longer is a bus from the international to the long term car park. There is now something called the "T Bus" which for $4.50 will take you to the domestic terminal. Feeling disgruntled, I scrapped my plans to go to the domestic terminal altogether and went upstairs to check in.
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Old Mar 12, 06, 8:53 pm
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Nice report so far serfty Belated happy birthday.
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Old Mar 13, 06, 2:59 am
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Qantas First Class Lounge SYD T1

The Qantas First Class check in queue was empty and I was called straight up. Check in for QF29 had not yet "opened", but as I had only carry on baggage the agent was kind enough to fix this temporarily so she could check me in. She also gave me my BP for LHR-DXB on Friday, Sequence No 1.

I walked around the terminal for 3/4 hour checking out the landside shops etc. Really nothing much of interest for me there, I so I went to the observation deck which is accessed by way of the "Esky Bar" where Saturday lunch was served at last year's OzFest before the tarmac tour. I watched a few aircraft take off to the north and filled out my emigration documents.

I then went down and through immigration; and was straight through. The only other PAX around X-Ray was getting the 'dustbuster' treatment in the search for explosives.

Now only this week, Qantas relocated their First class lounge to a temporary one at the site of the Business lounge a of couple of years ago. This is while a new one is being constructed. When checking in, I was given a card with details and a map of how to get there. I still wanted to have a look at the old one to see what was happening so I went up a special staircase just past x-ray that takes you right up there coming out beside the Qantas J lounge entrance, avoiding the duty free zoo. The now closed F lounge entrance is about 50 metres further up so I wandered along and took a simple pix or two of the closed door and then proceeded to the temporary First Lounge near gate 24 taking a few more pix on the way.

It was very quiet there and I took some images for a lounge review, which I eventually created and posted that evening while waiting for my flight. This can be found here: Has the new temporary SYD T1 F QP opened yet?.

After posting a question on the FT Qantas Board about what to do during a 15 hour transit in LHR, I went for a wander around the Terminal. I checked the duty free out, but really in OZ I feel this is a rort, as you can get the same stuff at less cost in many other places in Asia and New Zealand.

Around 3:15pm, some 23/4 hours before my scheduled flight time I received an SMS on my mobile telephone from Qantas warning my flight was to be delayed by 205 minutes, departing at 21:15. About 15 minutes later a Qantas Agent also called on my mobile as well to advise of the same. A short time later a lounge announcement was made of the delay and that this was due to a "Late Release from Maintenance". I noted the monitors were showing boarding for my flight at 20:45. There have been some issues brewing between Qantas and its maintenance staff with 'work to rule' industrial action. I guess this was part of the cause. Ironically, it was only that morning that had Qantas announced it was closing its Sydney 747 maintenance facilities and reassigning the work to Brisbane and Melbourne facilities.

There was not much to do but wait; I made a few posts on FT & AFF regarding the delay. The time I made use of by finally setting my 'phone up for Internet, so I could e-mail the images I had taken to incorporate them into the lounge review. I posted the review on the AFF site and another post on FT link to it the AFF thread (I can't put images in an FT post at the moment).

After doing this it noticed the monitors were now showing a 21:30 boarding with a 22:00 departure. I hoped this was the last change as there is a 22:30 curfew at SYD and any further delay would certainly play extreme havoc with my schedule.

There was a bit of a show that evening to divert my attention from the delay. Gate 31 is right outside the window if this temporary lounge; we're at engine level. A Qantas B763, VH-OGA, was waiting there ready to take passengers to AKL as flight QF49. They had boarded shortly after 6pm, but an hour later they were still there. I've been through this myself and hoped they were being served or something. Around 8pm one/or both engines were fired up while the aircraft was still at the gate. Again, I have been in this situation and knew there was probably some testing going on for a Technical issue. It was quite noisy in the lounge with the aircraft being so close. This went on for 5 minutes or so, then stopped.

I decided to have a shower and at 8:30pm I ducked into one and prepared myself for the journey. Just as I came out at around 8:50pm, QF49's passengers were disembarked and the lounge again became host to many of them, over 2 hours after baording. The aircraft was going nowhere that evening and Qantas were arranging for a substitute. Boarding for them was eventually called at 9:45pm via Gate 20.

The food at the First Lounge had been quite good, but I guess catering had not planned for so many delayed passengers because the hot food ran out. Still, there was plenty of liquid refreshment available in the lounge and this was flowing. I did not wish to over imbibe, so I went upstairs to the concourse a couple of times. It was a zoo, many QF29 PAX as well as those waiting for a fully booked QF31 next door at gate 25 filled the halls.

After the QF49 boarding call had been made I went to the desk and asked about my flight and was told it was imminent and I could go to the gate if I desired. I picked up my bags and went up; gate 24 was almost directly across from the lounge entrance. Picking my way through the mass of humanity towards the gate boarding was called. I arrived at the First/Business boarding gate, there was no Queue and a quick check of my Passport and Boarding card and I was through.
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Old Mar 14, 06, 5:21 pm
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Flight: QF29, SYD-HKG Thursday 9th March 2006.
Seat 23D, Sequence 83
Gate 24
Reg VH-OJN, Scheduled 18:00 – 23:50
Board: 21:50
Pushback 22:18
Take Off Roll: 22:37
Touchdown: 03:36
At gate: 03:45
Miles Travelled: 4,581, Accum: 5,020
Qantas FF Points Earned: 23,819 (SYD-[HKG-]LHR), Accum 24,819

Entering the aircraft and turning left down the first aisle, my allocated seat was the very first one on the left. I quickly stowed my bags in the above lockers and sat down. I accepted the proffered champagne and sipped away.

Only the one door was being used and I observed the passing parade of people as they wended there way down the aircraft to their seats.

Boarding took nearly 30 minutes and I accepted another glass of bubbles. Finally the doors were closed and the captain come on the PA and apologised for the delay. He alluded to industrial actions as being these cause without actually saying so; “Slight other problems in the news”.

Push back followed shortly after, but we then had to taxi down to the end of the main North-South runway. At least it was not to the third runway. Take off was straight forward, albeit after the curfew time. I have seen some debate on whether this curfew is for push back or take off; I myself was simply glad to be under way.

The first officer announced we would be tracking over Wagga Wagga, to the east of Darwin and above Manilla with an estimated touch down at 03:30 at HKIA.

I will post the menus elsewhere, but I chose the Snapper Dish for my Main Course. In regard to the starter/entrée, after getting the soup and having a taste I found I really did not like it at all and had decided giving it a miss would be appropriate. As it happened, the elder gentleman in 23B was served after me and he passed on the soup full stop. To my surprise he was offered a prawn salad as an alternative which he assented to. This was not on the menu, so I enquired about one for myself and with a “certainly Sir”, my soup morphed with a flourish into a salad of two reasonably large peeled prawns in a bed of rocket leaves dressed with a tarte mayonnaise. Quite nice, as was the remainder of the food service with the snapper dish, the cheese and the chocolates all washed down with champagne and later the very nice Muscat. Skipped coffee as I planned to sleep.

While this was happening I watched a movie “History of Violence”. About 1am MEL time, the movie finished and I went down to the washroom to change into a First Class “Oversuit” I had retained from previous travel. Went to the self-serve bar and grabbed a cleansing VB as a nightcap, then back to my seat and sleep, managing a good three hours before waking up.

I got my laptop out and started on this report. I was quite tired and was finding it difficult to concentrate so packed it up and went to sleep for another two hours.

The FA’s woke the cabin about 35 minutes before landing at HKG, offering juice, coffee and tea. I planned on sleeping some more so I had some Orange Juice. Quite nice it was as well.

Touching down at Hong Kong the limited views I had outside were of many buildings clouded by a typically ‘thick’ HKG atmosphere and/or condensation on the windows. It took nearly 10 minutes to taxi to our assigned gate.
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Old Mar 16, 06, 7:38 pm
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Hong Kong Lounge 10th March 2006.

The plane stopped at gate N26, this is actually quite a distance from the QP and to make matters worse, the only transit gate in use was on the opposite side of the terminal, nearer the CX lounge “The Wing” than the QP.

As we exited the aerobridge, we were given transit passes and had red triangular Qantas Tail logo stickers placed on our chests. The transit card was sealed in a clear flexible envelope. Those looking for the QP were then directed to walk the considerable distance to transfer gate E2, through an x-ray post, up the lifts to L7 and then along another lengthy walk to the QP.

Inside the F section, I really only had the urge to sample some of the Haagen-Dazs ice cream. I made a quick call home as it was 7:00am on Friday morning there.

It was 4:35am before boarding was called for the lounge. Off I headed on the long march back to N26. When I arrived, boarding had not actually commenced. Obviously they were giving the QP guests some time to get back to the gate.

However, it was a short wait and it was not long afterwards that I had boarder. I surrendered my transit card as I did so and soon enough was ensconced in my 23D Skybed; wondering what to do with my red triangular transit sticker.
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Old Mar 20, 06, 8:58 pm
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Flight: QF29, HKG-LHR Friday 10th March 2006.
Seat 23D, Sequence 83
Gate N26
Reg VH-OJN, Scheduled 01:20 – 06:20
Board: 04:30
Pushback 05:03
Take Off Roll: 05:30
Touchdown: 10:30
At gate: 10:47 (T4 - 07)

The load was slightly lighter in the cabin out of Hong Kong. There were a few more empty seats. Luckily for me (and the guy on the other side) the seat between us continued to remain unoccupied. That extra bit of space etc. to place small items, reading material and paperwork is quite useful. The bulkhead skybeds on the 744’s do not have the document storage area in the armrests as it’s used to store the IFE screen.

The aircraft was pushed back off the gate and then it simply stood stationary with no engine firing up for at least 15 minutes. No reason was given for this at all. Eventually the engines were started and we commenced another lengthy taxi. Take-off was quite normal and we were on our way to London.

There was a slight difference in the CSM’s announcement after take-off; something I had not heard for a while: “Consumption of personal Alcohol, duty free or otherwise is prohibited. This is to comply with Australian Law …”. Maybe he had a bad experince with boozy tourists recently.

The Menus were handed out along with a question about whether supper was desired or not. I was in the mood for supper and chose the Marinated Beef fillet as a contrast to the earlier Snapper. Very nice and tender it was, if slightly overcooked.

Watching SkyShow showed a convoluted routing out of Hong Kong. Started out tracking almost due North, then North-West, back North, then a little North West, then West for quite some time, then North West, before finally a more direct heading. I guess there are some pretty large mountains in the region; certainly SkyShow’s forward view graphic with its exaggerated land profiles indicated some high ranges as immense ‘walls’, which the aircraft seemingly would need to navigate “around”.

I watched the movie “Rumor has It” to pass the time. When that finished I changed into the aforementioned oversuit. I went to the J bar for some water. I surprised to note there was no beer put out; not that I wanted any. I guess I could simply have asked if I’d been after some. Water bottle in hand, I went back to my seat and proceeded to sleep for about 5 hours.

Waking up, I was unable to get back to sleep. I guess 10 hours of broken sleep is still sleep so I needed no more. And there were still 5 hours to go.

Some more typing of this report helped pass the time as well as watching the movie “Chicken Little”; certainly no brain strain there.

Breakfast was distributed around 80 minutes before the estimated landing time, then immigration cards were handed out along with “Fastrack:” cards.

At 9:53am the cockpit announcement was that the aircraft would be landing at 10:10. Around 10am it was announced we would need to go into a holding pattern due to congestion with a landing at 10:20. At 10:18 we were advised that we were out of the hold and landing would be at 10:30. At which time we duly touched down. As we approached terminal 4 we taxied past quite a few hard stands. I have seen these before but never so many in use.

Then another delay of about 10 minutes as there were no ground staff available to guide the ‘plane in. Finally at 10:47am we nosed into the gate, which was externally labelled as 407.

Looking outside showed a wet tarmac and other signs rain. Earlier, the captain had advised it was 6º with passing showers. Brrr.. Welcome to London.
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Old Mar 24, 06, 10:40 pm
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London Heathrow 10th March 2006.

I originally had a 15 hour scheduled transit at LHR and intended to do some non Central London Exploring. I had posted some questions about what to do on FT and had received some good answers with some interesting options. However, arriving nearly 4½ hours late cut my realistic available time in two and I wanted to avail myself of the Arrivals lounge and also to fully experience the delights of the “Pavilion” lounges. This coupled with the rain dictated my decision to remain at LHR.

Shortly before descent, the FA’s had handed out UK immigration forms to those who needed them along with “Fastrack” invitations. Filling out my form I noted how brief and simple they are when compared to an OZ or NZ equivalent; basically all that was required is your DOB, Name, PP number and information about your UK address/reason for visiting, the latter being the only information not available directly from one’s passport. I simply wrote “In Transit”. Coming through immigration, the Fastrack really helped, my wait was about 20 seconds and I went straight through, no questions were asked.

I made my way to the arrivals hall, and proceeded to the right down to where the arrivals lounge entry is. While not exactly hidden, if you were not looking for it would be easy to miss. No worries for me as I had been there before. Entry was simple and being so late in the morning I was able to go straight through to have a shower. It had been several years since I used this facility and I was surprised to find it a little worn. While most things worked fine there were little issues like the false door latch not closing properly and scratch marks in the panelling. I had no complaints however, and I was very grateful for the facilities. Certainly the shower was terrific with enough spray jets to ensure one’s torso be completely scrubbed clean and my clothing was efficiently and properly pressed using the valet service. I have since found that BA will be moving from T4 when the new T5 opens and I guess that repairing aesthetic problems are not a high priority.

Feeling refreshed with clean wrinkle free clothes; I made my way upstairs to the breakfast area. Here they serve hot English breakfast food until 2pm, with eggs cooked to order. I was not super hungry as it had been only three hours since breakfast had been served on the aircraft. I treated myself to a light brunch with a cup of coffee from the espresso machine, followed by a few glasses of the excellent mineral water they had. This filled any spare corners I may have had. While doing this I considered what I could do until my Dubai flight commenced boarding that evening. All bodily functions thus revitalised I repaired to the deserted business centre where I noted the Spa was located. I checked the booking sheet and a slot was available; however not really being one for massages I went on and sat down at one of the two PC’s there and did some surfing. I also did some more on this trip report. It was very quiet there with the only people those moving through to have spas or heading to the relaxation room. Fifteen minutes before 2pm an announcement was made the Arrivals lounge was soon to close. I packed up and headed down the lift and out to the T4 throngs.

I had decided to gave T4 landside a good going over so I went from one end to the other and back. Up the escalators was a mezzanine level with a couple of restaurants. I went up there and it seemed a bit of a dead end, unless you were after some food. It is tucked up in the east corner of the main hall and gave me the impression of nothing so much that it was built there as an afterthought. My overall impression was of efficiency without beauty; while there was nothing striking about the place, it was getting its job done.

Having had enough of that, my next aim was to reconnoitre T1. I was scheduled to go do a T4 to T1 transit there in a couple of days with somewhat less time than I had then. I followed the signs and took the lift to the Heathrow Express station. As I arrived a train was just pulling out; the next one to take me to the T1/T2/T3 platforms was due in 10 minutes. Relaxing, I found a seat to the middle of the platform and waited. Just before the next train arrived an announcement was made “ … please stay behind the white line … Do not board this train until routine security checks have been completed …”. I had not noticed the white line, but there was one running the length of the platform some 2 metres from the edge. When the train pulled in, quite a few people alighted, many with suitcases and the like, large and small. These they lugged through to the centre tunnel where there were plenty of luggage carts awaiting. Meanwhile, officials scoured the train looking for anything that may have been left behind. This whole process took several minutes. Than came the announcement we could board, so I did. I found a seat near a luggage rack where I placed my bags and waited watching a Video screen promoting the Xpress service along with safety information.

The train pulled out and very shortly afterwards arrived at the other Airport station. I noted it took a long time to completely stop with a deliberately slow deceleration, can’t have peoples’ bags falling over I guess.

Off the train and through to the linking tunnel, noting the T1 signs showing a couple of hundred metres would need to be traversed. I found one of the plentiful luggage trolleys, placed my two bags on it and joined the cavalcade of people walking, pushing trolleys and otherwise proceeding down the long tunnel in the indicated direction of T1.

Getting to the end and up the lift I entered a world of airport shops, check in counters, automated check in machines and general frenetic activity. The hordes of people made T4 appear a virtual tranquil oasis. Pressing on I surveyed the area, noting BA’s premium check in area and the arrivals lounge were accessible from outside (it had stopped raining). These are at the far end of the departures floor from the lifts to the Heathrow Express where I had surfaced. My knowledge thus enriched I headed back down these lifts to the station and took a train back to T4.

Back at T4 I was straight through immigration. I took my time airside, having a close look at Duty/Tax free prices for a couple of items I was after. I would be heading back through LHR and was looking for the most cost effective place(s) to buy things.

I went to the BA pavilion and was directed down the stairs to the F lounge. This is quite a nice place and I made myself comfortable. After a while I went looking for some PC’s but could not see any. A quick ask at reception gave me both the location of these and the code to use to enter the room.
Upstairs to a room with about 20 workstations, occupied at the time be about 10 people. It also had a small self serve bar. I found a convenient spot and did some more of this report as well as catching up with some emails. I had a mini crisis as I was using a floppy disc for my TR document and these workstations did not appear to have any. In the end I typed into a document on the workstation and emailed it to myself.

Later on I went back down to the lounge. I was happy to find they have small menus where you simply ask one of the staff in the dining area for a menu item and they will bring it out to you. I had a light pasta washed down with a couple of ales and some bubbly. The lounge began to get quite crowded and at 9pm I headed off to gate 9. Boarding for my flight to Dubai was called just as I arrived, so with my passport and a boarding pass that had been printed some 41 hours earlier in Sydney in hand, off I went.
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Old Mar 24, 06, 10:51 pm
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Depending on the email you use, no need to send TR to yourself - many web-based ones allow drafts to be saved including attachments.

Very handy if travelling without laptop.
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Old Mar 29, 06, 6:14 pm
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Flight: BA109, LHR-DXB Friday 10th March 2006.
Seat 15A, Sequence 001
Gate 9
Reg G-VIIL, Scheduled 21:40 08:25+1
Board: 21:05
Pushback 09:52
Take Off Roll: 10:08
Touchdown: 08:11+1
At gate: 08:25+1, B9

This flight was fully booked, but I was one of the first Club World passengers to board. I made my way down to my seat. I had never flown in any of these Club World seats before, forward or rear facing; so this was a new experience. This particular seat was in the last row and rear facing. I had contacted BA in December to request this seat; it’s not normally available via Manage my booking as it has a bassinet position. Seat map websites recommend these seats as being the best in Club World due to its privacy, also, it’s one of the few window seats that do not force you to climb over anyone sleeping to get to the aisle as it has it own egress against the rear bulkhead. With this particular 777 configuration however, I noted that there is actually a wall rather than a window beside your head when sitting; no real issue for me on this red-eye flight. Also, all the privacy ‘fans’ were extended.

The actual seat was a bit dilapidated with a surprisingly small screen. There is a ‘glove box’ under the seat with a hatch that kept coming open.

An FA appeared from behind the bulkhead and offered some bubbly which I accepted. He came back with some as well as an amenities pack. The cabin was now filling up and I noted a young family or two with some boisterous children heading down. They stopped at the last rows and proceeded to spread out across along to the other side of the cabin. Extremely excited and noisy they were and I hoped they would not spoil my chance of a few hours sleep as we flew across Europe. Indeed this did not happen, as the children almost immediately went to sleep after the supper service and I heard no more from them.

A mid 30ish couple came down, he in row 13, she beside me in the aisle seat; they were trying to negotiate sitting together. I was asked by her if I would swap seats with the guy, but I was very happy with my seat and I said so. She appeared surprised at my response and said they had booked three months beforehand and had not been able to get seats together. To me this was strange, as I had kept a very close eye on the seat map for this flight and from my perspective it was only in the last few weeks before the flight that the allocations had filled. Methinks she was coveting my seat and had grabbed the B seat, hoping to talk whoever was in the A seat out of it. No real problem however, as the guy was able to swap with the fellow across the aisle who, as it happened, had been nervously watching the young boy jumping around in the seat beside him.

Anyway, all settled down and I was offered another glass of bubbly. To my surprise another amenities pack was handed to me as well.

The pushback, taxi and takeoff all seemed pretty normal. The captain came on the PA and advised of an estimated arrival time of 8:30am. As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, I changed into my oversuit, then returned to my seat.

Supper was quite enjoyable; I had a “Marinated Beef Fillet” which was ok, and some cheese. No coffee. I watched the movie “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, by this time it was 2½ hours into the flight so I concentrated on getting some sleep; heeding the advice “… to keep my seatbelt outside the blanket so the FA’s could see I was belted in without waking … if turbulence was such that the seatbelt sign would need to be switched on”.

I awoke as the aircraft was nearing the Persian or Arabian Gulf and breakfast was being served. As I was eating this I noted the MAP was showing a “Tail Wind” of 170 km/h with a ground speed of 1100 km/h. That’s just about as fast as it gets these days.

Breakfast cleared, I changed out of my oversuit and prepared for landing. We came in over the water south of the airport, banked left and flew straight in. The taxi at DXB was quite long, past an enormous long terminal building under construction and around the current terminal of a similar if somewhat smaller design before finally arriving at our gate.

After disembarking we travelled along and through a maze of escalators and travelators, eventually passing under the tarmac area we had just taxied over an up to immigration on the ‘old’ terminal. Waited in a queue for about 5 minutes before being processed. At the luggage area I checked out the duty free prices and was amazed at how cheap they were; especially Alcohol and Tobacco. I later found had I made a mistake here; I could have purchased a 12 pack of Heineken there for ~USD9, but decided not to. I later found that within Dubai that would buy only 1½ drinks.

Anyway, I was able to go straight out to get a taxi, cost to The Creek Hilton was another AED27 (~USD8) with a flagfall of AED20, and at 10am I arrived at the Hotel.
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Old Mar 31, 06, 4:43 pm
  #12  
 
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Great, now that I have found it on FT, I can follow your TR on two BB's, serfty.
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Old May 8, 06, 5:57 pm
  #13  
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Any chance of an update serfty? I know you haven't been in Dubai all this time.
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