I had a 4 hour transit in Dubai International Airport after coming off flight EK 347 from Kuala Lumpur. This was to be my first time experiencing the much vaunted DXB transit experience.
First posted 4 February 2020. Updated 4 March 2020.
- Transit experience in Dubai International Airport Concourse A
- Boarding the Emirates Airbus A380
- Cabin & Onboard Amenities
- Onboard Catering
- Arrival at London Gatwick
- Final Thoughts
Transit experience in Dubai International Airport Concourse A
I was struck immediately by the sheer size of DXB’s Concourse A, itself built specially to accommodate Emirates’ A380 flights. As compared to London Heathrow’s Terminal 5, itself a massive building, Concourse A felt more spacious and less cramped thanks to a better use of internal space. This does mean DXB is well built to accommodate transiting travellers.
I picked out a spot near the gate for my upcoming flight and settled by the power points. With my book and the free WiFi, the 4 hours transit time passed rather quickly, and I proceeded to join the growing queue at Gate A20.
Boarding the Emirates Airbus A380
The Gate holding area was spacious. As Gate A20 is located on one end of the Concourse, it gave a good idea of just how big the terminal was. Where a full A380 gate at Heathrow or KUL might feel cramped, DXB in comparison makes it acceptable by having a very high roof/ceiling. In hindsight though, Concourse A does seem almost comically large.
Boarding was called and the passengers duly lined up. My seat was on the lower deck so off through the lower level airbridges I went.
Our flight EK 011 to London Gatwick was to be operated by A6-EOB. Delivered in November 2014, this Airbus A380 was 5 years old at the time of the flight and was one of the many in the fleet that sported the special Dubai 2020 World Expo livery on the fuselage.
With the boarding process completed, the doors were closed and we headed out to the runway for an on-time departure.
Cabin & Onboard Amenities
The cabin onboard A6-EOB was virtually identical to A6-EDL that I had just flown on 4 hours before. Economy Class was configured in the standard 3-4-3 layout with 32 inches of seat pitch. The key difference was the Economy seats installed onboard this aircraft.
Emirates Airbus A380 2nd generation Economy Class seats
This aircraft was fitted with the 2nd generation economy seats. While the padding of the seats felt comfortably the same, the difference lay in the angular headrest design as compared to the 1st generation seats’ rounded design.
The IFE unit entertainment unit that featured a more responsive, 12.1 inch capacitive touch screen as opposed to the resistive screen on the 1st generation seats Also included was a handheld controller unit that featured a capacitive touch screen, having ditched the previous gen’s tiny buttons.
Inflight Amenities – Emirates ICE inflight entertainment
Emirates’ inflight entertainment system is branded “ICE“, and is well known for its huge selection of content. ICE also feature views through cameras installed on the exterior of the aircraft, which were pretty cool during take-off and landing. The ones on the A380 are unfortunately older cameras, and aren’t very sharp.
Headsets were distributed by the cabin crew after takeoff. These are the standard pair distributed across Emirates’ Economy Class cabins, work decently, but they aren’t really that fantastic either. I had some trouble hearing the audio coming through the headsets, and had to turn the volume up higher.
It was 4 in the morning, and so I elected to ignore the inflight entertainment and went to sleep instead.
Like the outbound flight from KUL, flight attendants handed the meal menus as the boarding process wound down. This flight would see the crew serve a post take-off supper, followed by a full breakfast meal prior to landing.
While I did try the supper service, I opted to focus instead on the more substantial breakfast service, and went to sleep right after the supper service.
Emirates DXB-LGW Breakfast service
I woke up to the sound of breakfast being served, which is always a nice thing to wake up to. I opted for the Cheese Omelette as I didn’t quite feel like having baked beans with scrambled eggs.
I quite liked the flavours in the potato hash, and while the cheese omelette was nice, it wasn’t really spectacular either. On the other hand I’m not quite sure if I’m fond of “sauteed mushrooms with tomato concasse“. I can be quite picky about my mushrooms and this one didn’t taste that great.
Oddly enough, it tasted like this mushroom-in-pasta sauce concoction I made during my student years.
Arrival at London Gatwick
Soon after the breakfast service concluded, the tray tables were cleared and the cabin was prepped for landing. Early morning approaches into London airports are fairly straightforward with little traffic and this was no different. Before I knew it, we were already on finals and landed on Gatwick’s single runway.
It was nice to see (rainy) Gatwick again, given that the last time I was here it was for a Ryanair flight back to Belfast International following a Norwegian flight from Madrid. Fun times.
A final look at the cabin, and I was off into wintery England.
It had been a great second flight with Emirates with consistent service levels, and I felt there was nothing to complain about. If I had to be petty, I’d single out the tomato concasse sauce in my Breakfast service, although that really is a matter of taste.