Emirates Airlines

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Good Trip To India

Aug 1, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:New planes, good food and wine, fine service

Cons:transit through London

The Bottom Line: Emirates Business Class a good option for travel to India

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This is a review of a trip from El Paso, Texas to Trivandrum, India. This reviews covers the following segments: El Paso to Houston (Continental Airlines - Business Class), Houston to Dubai (Emirates Airlines – Business Class) Dubai to Cochin (Emirates Airlines – Business Class), Cochin to Trivandrum (Indian Airlines – Economy Class), Trivandrum to Dubai (Emirates Airlines – Business Class), Dubai to London Gatwick (Emirates Airlines – Business Class) London Gatwick to Atlanta (Delta Airlines – Business Class), Atlanta to El Paso ( Delta Airlines – Business Class). This review provides details about my experiences on-board the planes and on-ground in the terminals.

Segment 1: El Paso to Houston (Continental Airlines - Business Class)

The El Paso International Airport is small and efficient. As always, it was very easy to check in, go through security, and get to the terminal. It took me about 20 minutes to finish this entire process at 8 am! The only minor inconvenience is that the Airport does not have a lounge, and so you have to pay for internet access.

The boarding process with Continental was uneventful. The business class seat is wide and quite comfortable. I was also surprised that we were given light meal with soup and salad. It was a very easy, quick flight to Houston.

Segment 2: Houston to Dubai (Emirates Airlines – Business Class)

Houston International Airport is large and sprawling. However, the Airport has many amenities and it is easy to spend time there. As a business class passenger, I had access to the President's Club in Terminal D. This is quite wonderful space. The club has space comfortable seating, a TV room with stadium seating, and lots of workstations, It also had large restrooms. The second floor was nearly full by the time I arrived at 11, but the third floor was quite empty. The Club also has free WiFi, light snacks, drinks. and decent coffee.

The boarding for Emirates was uneventful; as expected, First and Business Class passengers entered first. The 777-300 cabin had 2 3 2 seating in business class. I was a bit disappointed to find that I had a middle seat in the middle row. However, I was soon appeased by the lie-flat seats. They were very comfortable and I was able to sleep for six hours without any problems. Emirates is known for its entertainment system. Each seat has a large display on the back of the seat with touch screen. It took a while to figure out the system. The surprising fact was that the flight crew didn't seem to know how to work the system. The system also has a separate touch screen remote; the remote was very difficult to manage. The entertainment package was extraordinary, and kept me busy for the entire trip – lots of TV shows and movies, and other features. The food on flight was also quite good; wines were exceptional. This fourteen hour flight went by quickly. The small criticism is that the flight crew, although courteous and attentive, never seemed to connect with the passengers.

This was my first trip in transit through Dubai. I had read about the airport and was looking forward to the experience. Overall, it is a new, clean, modern and efficient airport. However, it doesn't reach the level of Singapore, in terms of amenities and aesthetics. It is an acceptable place for a long layover. However, the business class lounge is best design that I have seen so far. The entire third floor of the terminal 3 seems to be converted into business lounge, with special direct access to terminals. The lounge is divided into many different type of sub-lounges with different types of seating and food areas. Each area had lots of different types of hot meals, sandwiches, snacks, drinks and pastries. They also had copies of about 20 international newspapers, game areas, shower areas and very comfortable bath rooms. The entire lounge is so large that I am not sure that I have seen all of the areas. The lounge also has free WiFi. Overall, it was a wonderful place to spend 5 hours.

Dubai to Cochin (Emirates Airlines – Business Class)

The overall boarding experience was fine. I was given the wrong gate and it took about 15 minutes to find it, but the boarding was not a major issue. The plane has 2 2 2 configuration in business class. The seats did not recline was about 160 to 170, but it was sufficient and comfortable, and food and drinks were very good, and the service was also better. It was a very easy ride to Cochin.

Arrival at Cochin was a bit jarring. The airport is old, and while they have made an effort to keep it clean it is still not acceptable for an international airport. It didn't take very long to get the bags and pass immigration. I arrived at 3:30 am in the morning, and my next flight was at 8 am. I didn't know that once we pass immigration, we would have to go outside and walk to the domestic terminal. However, once I was outside, I found that the domestic terminal was closed and would have to stay in the dark until the terminal opened. The entire experience was terrible and unacceptable. Fortunately, I had my world phone and was able to spend time by emailing my colleagues who were in the middle of the work day in El Paso. The security guard finally felt sorry for me and allowed me to enter the dark terminal at 5:30 am, and the entire airport was up and running by 6:30 am.

The check in and 30 minute flight to Trivandrum was uneventful. The Indian Airlines plane was old, and would have been uncomfortable for anything longer than 30 minutes. At least, the plane left on time and arrived a few minutes early in Trivandrum Aiport. The Airport is clean, but not very modern or updated. It only took me about 10 minutes to pick up baggage and exit the airport.

Trivandrum to Dubai

The Check in process at Trivandrum Airport is reasonable, and fairly efficient. As you enter, you scan your bags that you are checking in and take it to the counter, and in a few minutes I was checked in. The airport has a small business class lounge. There were comfortable chairs and hot and cold beverages, and sandwiches were available on request. It was nothing exciting, but marginally acceptable. Unfortunately, no one alerts you to the boarding process, and is a bit chaotic. Interestingly, First and Business Class passengers board last, which allows you longer time in the lounge.

The plane for this segment was a new aircraft, with 2 2 2 seating. The seats were very comfortable and it was a very quick flight. The arrival at Dubai was also efficient and, given that I had been there a week ago, it was quite easy to navigate. The Business Lounge was very busy, but still there was lots of room, and lots of food and drinks. It was an easy transit, and boarding for the next segment was uneventful.

The trip from Dubai to London Gatwick was also pleasant. The crew was attentive and the food and drinks, especially the wine was quite good. The only problem was the pitch of the chairs. When the front seat is in full recline, it hits the top of the toes when my seat is also in full recline. To adjust, I had to lower my footrest, which wasn't too bad. However, this is the first time I experienced this. The ten hour flight went by quickly. Again, the entertainment system made the difference.

London Gatwick airport was clean, but the walk from the gateway to passport clearance site is long.; it would be problematic for elderly, infirmed or those with kids. Once you finally arrive, the signs weren't very clear. One peculiar think about the London airport are the the informal stations that are near the ticket counters and gateways. Although the people who man these stations they friendly, their behavior didn't always seem appropriate. In one case, the man at the gate pulled over someone and patted him down before everyone sitting in gateway area. This type of behavior would never happen in the US, and seemed very inappropriate. These “friendly” officials' behavior seemed arbitrary and capricious. I have been to many different parts of the world, and never seen this type of behavior from airport personnel.

The boarding process in London was uneventful. I was pleased to get on the Delta flight with a 2 2 2 configuration. The first impression was that business class seemed worn. The blue leather seats seems worn, and the cabin didn't seem very clean. The blanket was brown and also seemed a bit worn. However, they had upgraded the entertainment system. The small screen was clear and touchscreen. But, the selections were much less than Emrites. The most disappointing element of the flight was the service. Again, the crew seemed a bit tired, and at times, it seems as though they were throwing the food on the table. At one point the crew chief mentioned that she had worked for thirty years – well, it felt like she and her crew should have retired 20 years ago. The food was also barely edible. The seats were comfortable enough for a few hours of sleep, but clearly inferior to the Emirates planes. Overall, this seemed like a very long flight, and kept wishing that it would end very soon.

The process of going through Houston's immigration was not very difficult. However, it took quite a while to get the bags. It took 25 minutes to find the conveyor belt; no one seemed to know where to go. The next step of clearing customs was easy, The last leg from Houston to El Paso was uneventful. The fight and business class seats were acceptable. I arrived in friendly El Paso International without any problem and was home within 30 minutes.

Overall, Emirates Business class was quite good and I would take this airline again. However, I would not fly through London.

Recommend this product? Yes

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