Trip Report(s) – 2008 – Emirates DXB-BLR and back (Very Long)
Welcome back for another report!!!
Before I moved to Ottawa, I used to live in Dubai- with my parents. My parents made it a point to visit our relatives in Bangalore (BLR), India regularly and since my mother works at Emirates (EK), the airline we used to fly- by default- was (surprise surprise) Emirates . Now the good thing about Emirates is that their service is consistent and that makes it easy for me because I can write two detailed reports and summarize all those countless trips to BLR!
Part 1: June 2008
Living beside the HAL airport (back when it was Bangalore International Airport) had its benefits. we were never worried about being late for a flight ever, as the airport was only a 7-minute walk away (yes, walk) from where we lived. Another advantage living next to an airport is that, an aircraft taking off or landing was your alarm clock. Yes, it was heaven…until the authorities decided to move the airpor to its current location in Devanahalli. It was a big blow to me personally as all my childhood memories revolved around the airport. The reason I fell in love with aviation was because of living next to the airport. But sadly due to growing number of passengers travelling through BLR, the move was inevitable and the authorities had been clueing the construction of a new airport and the big move for quite a while. So in Part 1, I will be talking about the first time I fly to the new airport and my review of it.
Emirates Airbus A330-200
Summer of 2008, I had just finished my O-level exams in May and I thought it would be a good idea to take a trip to BLR to spend some time with my family and also to do some research on the engineering colleges in BLR (this is before I planned to study in Canada). My favorite civilian aircraft is the Boeing 777, and to my disappointment EK flies the 777 to BLR during the midnight flight (at least, this was the case back in 2008). So, this afternoon I would be flying in an Airbus A330-200. That didn’t stop me from being excited for this flight as I got a last minute upgrade to business class. All the formalities were done early and I had time to do some spotting.
Please accept my apologies as the windows in Terminal 1 were tinted and hence my pictures have a bluish tinge.
At this point, Terminal 3 at DXB was getting its final touches done and due to the lack of gates, our aircraft was parked in the remote bay. We took a bus to the aircraft and just as I reached the top of the stairs, I was greeted by a flight attendant who directed me to my seat. The seat was spacious and this was one of the few flights I could comfortably accommodate my long legs (I’m just 5’10” but I have long legs). My seat was located just before the engine, so I got a good view from the window. This is perfect for an aviation nutter with a camera!!!
Since we were in the remote bay, the taxi to the runway was a long one. I won’t complain though as I was treated to the views of terminal 1 and the nearly-finished Terminal 3 and sitting next to the engines, I was also treated to the sound of the engines during takeoff. After takeoff, we also flew over the World Islands and over some properties in Jebal Ali.
Well… Business Class… what more should I say, I was pampered like a king. Major differences I noticed between the Business Class and the Economy class on the A330-200 was that the PTV were larger. But being an older aircraft in the fleet, there was no ICE (the new in flight entertainment system). The head phones provided by EK had the noise cancelling feature and this saved me the trouble of cranking the volume up really high to overcome the engine noise. For Lunch, a three course meal was served. I didn’t take pictures of the meal (sorry) as I was enjoying being pampered.
The moment we reached the Indian coast, being the monsoon season, we were greeted by turbulence. (this also meant amazing views of the clouds off my window). Anyway as we were descending, all I could see was villages and fields. My first impression was “this airport is so remote”. The touchdown was smooth, and my eyes were peeled to get a glimpse of the new airport and its surroundings. Well… I was shocked to see the size of the terminal. BLR is considered as one of the busiest airports in India and based on this, I was expecting a huge terminal. It certainly was bigger than the old one but smaller than I expected.
Once I entered the terminal, I was impressed with the modern glass building. It was like entering an airport in a foreign country. However, they managed to get that peculiar smell they always have at Indian airports. I cleared the immigration fairly quickly and as usual my bags were one of the last ones in the baggage claim belt.
I exited the airport and I was asked by an employee whether I wanted to take the bus or the taxi to the city. I opted for the bus and I was asked to follow a couple of passengers to the bus stop. The bus stop had around 3 Volvo buses (all different routes), and the drivers were outside asking passengers where they were heading and directing them to the ‘right’ bus. If the ‘right’ bus wasn’t there, they would ask the passengers to wait for: for example Route no. ‘X’. Since I had to go to the Old airport I was asked to take route 4. The ticket was Rs.180, and the bus had a rack to place our baggage. The buses were well maintained and fully air conditioned.
This concludes my trip to BLR with EK.
The return flight
Well after a month, it was time to go back. This was a return leg of the afternoon flight, and the sun had gone down before we boarded the aircraft. So, I didn’t get to take many good pictures. I have just put best ones here. I flew economy class this time and the flight was uneventful. I was very sleepy and I slept most of the flight.
Now, I will let the pictures do the talking.
Part 2 – September 2008
The unique feature of the first part was that it was the first time I landed at the new Bengaluru International Airport after their move from the HAL airport. Now the unique feature in this part is that this will be the last time I will travel through Terminal 1 at Dubai, as Emirates moved all its operations to Terminal 3 the next month (October 2008). Plus, I got some interesting pictures of the First Class lounge, glimpses of Dubai after take-off, the monsoon clouds over India and aerial views of BLR during landing.
Now that I have given a detailed description of EK’s service and a description of BLR’s new airport in Part 1, I will not repeat myself and bore you guys this time. I will keep this as a photo essay and let the pictures do the talking…
I got a chance to relax at the first class lounge before the flight, so took a couple of pics and had breakfast before proceeding to the Gate.
Much to my annoyance and disappointment, the aircraft was (again) an Airbus A330-200, meaning no ICE. The boarding took a while so I managed to a couple of nice pictures at the aerobridge/jetway.
Pushback, Taxi and Take-off
Video of the Takeoff (opens in a new tab)
Climb and Cabin Services
The climb gave me a chance to get some rare glimpses of Dubai… but sadly the visibility was bad. Here are the best ones.
Descent and Landing
Video of the Landing (opens in a new tab)
This concludes my trips to BLR with EK. As usual, comments are welcome and until my next report – Happy Landings!!!