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United's IAD-DXB flights [Experiences, Questions, Etc.]

United's IAD-DXB flights [Experiences, Questions, Etc.]

Old Dec 3, 08, 8:07 am
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United's IAD-DXB flights [Experiences, Questions, Etc.]

Just did a quick trip to DXB and thought some might like to hear about my experiences on this new route.

Boarded at IAD at C2, which is pretty typical for any TATL. Tailwinds over ATL and Europe were light and we had a delayed arrival. I was in C, which was fully booked, although I cannot speculate how many were UG's like me. Dinner (obviously served late on a 10:02 flight) was quite good. Menu had lamb and beef choices, and indicates that all food is Halal and the kitchen is pork free. I had the salad and then the lamb - quite tasty. The ady next to me had the filet, which was the first proper medium rare filet I have ever seen in C. Cheese for dessert. Routing basically ran thru Holland, Northern Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Black Sea, Turkey, Iraq and the Gulf. I was on the right hand window and our approach took us over the newly parked QE2.

Immigration and customs were simple. FA's distributed fast track cards to all "premium passengers". Natually, all of these folks got off the airplane first, and those who, like me, has no checked bags went straight to the fast track lane, not wanting to be forced to mingle with the hoi palloi. Joke was on us - we created a bubble at the fast track so big that any of us would have been served faster in the slow lane. Anyway, the checkin agent at IAD had told me I (US citizen) would need to obtain a visa at the airport, which conflicted with all other information that I had previously received. At immigration, there was no need for a visa. BUT, I did note scrutiny of my passport stamps - don't know exactly why, but I was glad not to have any Israeli stamps in the passport, as I have heard stories (urban myths???) about folks having trouble in Arab countries if their passport has an Israeli stamp. Customs was informal - the only anomoly is that they inspect your bags by running them thru an X-Ray machine, but the visitor need not go through a metal detector.

Return was interesting in some respects. My UG cleared 24 hours prior to depart and I was able to print out a BP and check in online. Arrived at DXB at 8:30 for the 12:30 departure. At DXB, you go to Terminal 1, Entry B, where you and your bag go thru a security check prior to checkin. THereafter, you check in. At 8:30, people were already lined up for checkin, which apparently does not open until 9:30. I went to passport control, showed them my passport and BP. First guard instructed me that I would need to check in at the gate and have my BP "stamped". I was quickly called back, however, and permitted to pass without this step. Never figures out what happened there. I enjoyed the DXB fast tracks for Passport Control and Security, as the other lines were quite long (and I really had to go to the bathroom).

After security, the series of moving sidewalks to the departure area seemed longer than at most airports (or maybe I just really, really, needed a bathroom). Finally arrived at the
departure area and made my way to the *A lounge. Other posts had alreted me to the fact that the *A lounge was small, but I was still surprised at how very small and cramped (seats all quite close to one another) it was. I arrived as an SQ flight began boarding, so that alleviated a bit of the problem. Catering was good by RCC standards, but it was not up to SEN lounge standards. And I am certain that later in the evening, as the other *A wide bodies depart, that lounge must get quite crowded. The F side of the lounge was no better. I suggest that if *A wants its members to compete with Emirates in this market that they do something.

At the gate, my printed out BP was no good - they needed one on card stock, and the amount of time it took the GA's to print one out on card stock was excessive, in my mind. Had I been paying for C, I would have been displeased. At the gate there is one last inspection of carry ons.

The return flight was packed to the gills. Interestingly, just a couple of days before, the seat map showed E+ to be pretty empty (15% full or so). I infer that it got filled up with non-elites who were ultimately accomodated in E+, suggesting that this route so far has few elites. Dinner was similar to the outbound, but I literally had to be woken up for each course and declined the dessert in favor of sleep. Prior to landing, we were served breakfast - I have eggs, potatoes and mushrooms, which were quite good.

Immigration at IAD was typical. Unfortuneately, we arrived just after a GRU flight did, so the lines were pretty long. CBP could stand to engage another agent now that the DXB flight is being run.

Feel free to post questions or PM them to me.
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Old Dec 3, 08, 8:30 am
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Thanks for the info! Hope you had a good trip.
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Old Dec 3, 08, 8:39 am
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You actually do receive a visa upon arrival, it is done by the immigration person that inspects your passport and is pretty transparent. If you notice, there are 2 stamps for entry, one of them is the visa.
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Old Dec 3, 08, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by worldtrav View Post
You actually do receive a visa upon arrival, it is done by the immigration person that inspects your passport and is pretty transparent. If you notice, there are 2 stamps for entry, one of them is the visa.
Aha! Now I see. the "Visa" is just a stamp in my passport. The process was so informal (no forms, fees, or anything of the like) that I did not particularly notice it.

Thank you
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Old Dec 3, 08, 9:16 am
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It is good to see just after a month the flight is already packed and full.

I am curious to see how many of the pax in C and F are paid pax and how many are upgraders.

Was there a mid flight snack on the way back as it is a 14 hour flight?
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Old Dec 3, 08, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by Benny8444 View Post
It is good to see just after a month the flight is already packed and full.

I am curious to see how many of the pax in C and F are paid pax and how many are upgraders.

Was there a mid flight snack on the way back as it is a 14 hour flight?
I think many were UG's, as 24 hours prior to each flight, the C cabin had many open seats but ended up full.

The return had dinner at the beginning, and breakfast at the end. And there were the standard provisions that looked like they had been cuffed from a RCC (Kit Kats, pepperidge farm cookies, etc.) I think there were even small sandwiches available. But the whole plane was asleep, and a proper snack service would have been disuptive.

I forgot to note that just prior to landing in DXB, they serve lunch - a pastrami and cheese sandwich on a roll with chips and fruit. One of the tastier snacks I have ever had on a plane.
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Old Dec 3, 08, 10:03 am
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A lot of upgrades were likely buy-ups.

At KWI, at least, the SOP is to pack C with $650 buy-ups. I would think that DXB would be similar.
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Old Dec 3, 08, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by jfhscott View Post
I forgot to note that just prior to landing in DXB, they serve lunch - a pastrami and cheese sandwich on a roll with chips and fruit. One of the tastier snacks I have ever had on a plane.
Now that's funny... for a country that disallows you to enter if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport, UA serves a food that was brought to America by Jewish immigrants
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Old Dec 3, 08, 2:57 pm
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Israeli Stamp

From what I've heard, Dubai doesn't mind if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport--they're not like Syria/Libya/Saudi Arabia etc. who won't let you in.

Don't know what they'd do if you have an Israeli passport, however...
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Old Dec 3, 08, 5:27 pm
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Originally Posted by jfhscott View Post
The return flight was packed to the gills. Interestingly, just a couple of days before, the seat map showed E+ to be pretty empty (15% full or so). I infer that it got filled up with non-elites who were ultimately accomodated in E+, suggesting that this route so far has few elites.
KWI-IAD is similar in late bookings and reservations without seat assignments, in that it attracts South Asians with paper tickets and contractors from the Gulf booking at the last minute.
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Old Dec 3, 08, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by MVFlyer View Post
Don't know what they'd do if you have an Israeli passport, however...
From http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/99471 (a couple of year old, but still current AFAIK):

Dubai Reaffirms Policy of Refusing Entry to Israelis

by Michael Freund, INN International Affairs Correspondent

(IsraelNN.com)
“We don’t give a permit for Israeli passport holders to enter the country,” Mohammed Ali al-Mohari of the Entry Permits Section of Dubai’s Interior Ministry said in a telephone interview. “It’s a rule.”

Asked to explain the reason behind the policy, Al-Mohari laughed and said that he thinks this is the case for most Arab countries. “This is how it is in most of the Arabic lands, I am sure,” he said.

He added, though, that the holder of a foreign passport bearing stamps which indicated that he or she had once visited the Jewish state would not encounter any problems entering the country.
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Old Dec 14, 08, 8:34 am
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thanks for the detailed info^
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Old Dec 14, 08, 8:56 am
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So on the IAD-DXB flight they serve dinner after take off and then another meal 9 hours later?

There has to be a snack service in between.
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Old Jan 9, 09, 11:21 am
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Originally Posted by Benny8444 View Post
So on the IAD-DXB flight they serve dinner after take off and then another meal 9 hours later?

There has to be a snack service in between.
If there was, I slept through it.

But do note that "dinner" got served at about 11 or 11:30 p.m., and then everyone slept for a long time. Given the status of my body clock, the "lunch" was effectively a suitable breakfast.

As always, they had the cart with various goodies, although I suggest these goodies could be improved.
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Old Jan 9, 09, 11:31 am
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Usually on long flights such as that there are self service snacks (chips, candy, and the like) available mid-flight..the FA sets them out on a cart or tray near the galley and you can help yourself. I have not flown IAD-DXB but I suspect that flight is long enough to where they also have hot sandwiches available mid-flight if you request it from the FA. They would not do an "official" mid flight snack service where they come down the aisle with a cart.
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