Emirates Lounge Dubai Concourse A

I wish I had been awake enough to take more photos of the lounges but I was a little tired after my 16-hour flight from LAX to Dubai and I just missed the opportunities presented to me for a better review.

Emirates has a number of lounges in the different terminals and I was lucky enough to visit two of them. For the life of me, I do not remember the what the other one looked like so I will share a video of the one I do remember.

Overall, I do REMEMER that the Emirates Lounges have been a great place to catch my breath before jump on my next adventure.

The Emirates lounge in concourse A is massive, to say the least. The lounge spans the whole terminal making it perfect for business class and first class to be able to board the plane without having to rush downstairs and try to fight your way through the crowd to get to your gate in time.

We had an early flight, so we got through security as quickly as we could so we could get to the lounge and have a light meal before out flight. The lounge was packed but we had no trouble finding a place to rest our bones and get a few tasty pastries and pineapple juice before our flight. 

As I learned that day, if you have a ticket with the letters “SS” this means that when you are getting ready to board, they will pull you aside and test you for bomb residue. This was funny to me because I would have figured in a land where my skin was the same color as everyone else I wouldn’t get the “random screening”.

I am not sure, but it seemed as if this was not common practice for a business class passenger to be pulled aside for the extra screening.  They seemed to have forgotten about me for about 3 minutes while I was trying to figure out how to get back to the top jet bridge (the elevator is key card activated). 

 

Business and First Class Lounge Series: Emirates LAX

First, I want to talk about why I am doing this new series. As you can see in past articles I traveled to India for a month with family and flew Emirates. It was my first time flying internationally in business class and lets just that that when you get a taste you never want to go back to economy class. I wasn’t set up to vlog at the time of my trip and wanted to focus on enjoying my trip as much as possible without needing to focus on cameras and editing 24/7. When I take my next long haul trip I do plan on bringing you along for the ride but until that day I would like to just share with you my thoughts on different lounges from around the world . Let’s get started shall we?

Business Class LAX

The lounge at LAX has a nice range of foods that range from hamburgers to more traditional Arabian and Emirati foods. The bar was quite packed with a wide selection of drinks to choose from. As you can see in the video the lounge is broken up into an “inside/outside” feel with the outside overlooking the international terminal (Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX) and the inside which is quieter and away from view of the gates. The lounge does have showers which I would have used had we had a few extra minutes to spare before boarding the incredible Airbus A380.  I enjoyed the quick snack we had before boarding the plane.  I was careful not to fill up in anticipation of  the tasty meals I heard were served by Emirates on the A380. We were fortunate enough to be there while it wasn’t crowded or noisy so I could give a quick tour with family on Facetime.

Overall, the service in the lounge was excellent. Next week I plan to talk about the lounge in Dubai as we had a chance to check out both of the lounges in the different terminals.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Video

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Check out the video below!! The Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliner is doing tests runs as they get ready for the 2016 Farnborough Airshow.

It fascinates me how far we have come from the Wright brothers laying on their stomachs to fly, to me being able to lay flat in my business class seat on the Airbus A380.

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Now Boarding: Pelican Carry-On Elite

Pelican Luggage First Look

 

After my recent month long trip, I knew I need to replace my cheap luggage. Pelican shipped out their 22” Elite Carry-on Luggage for me to review.

I will be publishing my review later on this year.  I want a chance to use it on a few of my upcoming trips to give you a good overall review. Stay tuned.

You can see the video here.

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Leatherman Tread: Now Boarding First Class and Business Class

As many of you know, I own two websites, a firearm review site GearsofGuns.com and “AtticusJames.com A guys Life In Review” site. I have written a few reviews about the Leatherman tools over the last few years. So when I heard about the Leatherman Tread, I jumped on getting one as quick as I could.

 

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Easy? Check

 

Complete? Not So Much

The Leatherman Tread is not the one and done tool you should carry. I doubt the designers had that in mind when they dreamt this tool up, I believe what they did want is a tool that was easy to travel with and that was something that went with any style. They came up with this:

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Around the World in 28 Days….Well the Miles Anyway

As you can read in my previous posts, I just spent a month in India. I just quickly did the numbers so you can see what the experience was.

· 3 Countries

· 9 Airport security check points

· 9 Flights

· 10 Security checks from hotels, tourist attractions, etc

· 10 Airports departing and arriving from

· 29,656 Miles Flown

· Circumference of the earth at the equator = 24,901 miles

Why do those numbers matter? Because that means that in all three countries and in all 10 security checks I went thru, never once was my Leatherman Tread questioned. It was never looked at as anything more than a bracelet. I never once had to check it in my bag. In fact, in two airports I didn’t even have to take it off my wrist.

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Looking at diamonds in Surat, India.

TSA Approved

The Leatherman Tread doesn’t have a knife on it, so it is TSA approved. Most people who see it look passed it, as it just looks like I am wearing an unusual watch band or a metal bracelet.

Crazy Person Here

I am right handed, but I normally wear my watches or bracelets on my right hand. Most people think that I am a crazy person doing that. Honestly I am not really sure why it matters. If I am right handed wearing my watch on my right hand, so what? I like it on my dominant hand.

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All The Tools

The Leatherman Tread has a bunch of tools on it. Hex keys, wrenches, screwdrivers and even a SIM pick. I found it to be really handy for me on the trip because I used a camera holster. It is a spider holster, which has a metal plate with an hex key to attach the plate to the camera.

The problem was, that is blocks the battery compartment. Every time I needed to change the battery, which was often, I had to loosen the plate to get to the battery. I didn’t carry the Hex key (Allen Key) with me since I had the hex key on the Leatherman Tread to change the batteries.

A Conversation Starter

This was fun for me. People would watch me take off what they thought was a watch, fold it and use it to remove a plate. It gave me something else to use to connect with complete strangers, other than just trying to start a conversation about nothing.

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The Price

The Leatherman Tread starts at $160 for the Stainless Steel model. It isn’t a cheap tool and to be honest it isn’t my go to tool in most cases. But it is a tool that has it place. It was perfect to travel with. It is great for those times when you don’t need a heavy duty Leatherman or a full tool bag. It comes in really handy. And let’s admit, it looks great.

The Weight

At first it felt heavy on my wrist. That is mainly because I hadn’t worn a watch in over 10 years. Now that I wear it whenever I leave the house, I don’t really notice it.

I have learned not to swim laps with it on because it feels like a weight dragging my arm down. If you wear a big watch or a smart watch, you probably won’t even notice the weight.

Final thoughts

I still carry my Leatherman MUT at the range and my wave when I know I’ll need a tool. For daily operations, The Tread does just what it is suppose to. Be an awesome bracelet and backup tool.

I really want the black Leatherman Tread too. I would like to see if I scratch up the bracelet as much as I have this one. The scratches really aren’t noticeable unless you are really playing with the bracelet. I believe that is just normal wear and tear that seems to happen on things I own. That’s just the kinda guy I am.

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Emirates: Airbus A380-800 & Boeing 777-200 Review

These Business Class tickets were purchased through a travel agent and I received no compensation in any form for this review.

I have reviewed Southwest Airlines as a domestic airline and since I flew Emirates to India and Dubai I thought it was time to review an International Airline.

We flew business class, since my grandfather, who has flown all over the world, prefers to be comfortable on long flights. Since I have back problems this made for a very pleasant flight.

Emirates A380

The Car Service

We were picked up in a Lincoln MKT Town car and taken from my grandfather’s home in California to LAX and home again at the end.

It is a nice added feature to be picked up and dropped off when you travel with Emirates. They also took us to the hotel in Dubai and back again. Just one more detail that we didn’t have to worry about.

Limo from Emirates

Lounges

There is something peaceful about going through airport security and then heading straight for the business class lounge. Sitting there for an hour eating and drinking before a long flight really helps melt the stress. It is nice not having to deal with the crowds when in the international terminals. Emirates Lounge

You have to admit having comfortable chairs, great food, alcohol and free WiFi makes the wait for your flight more enjoyable.

The A380-800

The Airbus A380-800 was something I had been really looking forward to before this trip. Knowing that this plane is a double decker plane is just awesome to me. I love watching shows about planes and I have wanted to fly in one since they first came out!

I cannot talk about any other A380s from other airlines, but I can say this was the most comfortable plane I have even been on. I will be discussing the Boeing 777 in a minute. Emirates Business Class

We had the one, two, one seating configuration meaning one window, two middle and one window seat when you look across the plane from window to window. The four flights we had with Emirates we always had window seats.

The A380 had Wi-Fi 10mb for free which was enough to send a few tweets, FB posts, snapchats or texts from iMessage or WhatsApp.

They also offered 500mb for $1 USD, so you could watch YouTube or stream from your device. I just watched movies on the in-flight entertainment system.

Emirates Seat System

As you can see in the photo above, these are a few of the items that come with the business class seat

· Two USB ports

· One tablet that lets you control the [KB1] TV on the seat in front

· One remote that also acts as the game controller if you play any games on the TV

· Lay flat chair

· Two sodas and two different waters

· (Under the window) extra storage for takeoff and landing

· Free toiletry kit

· 2 meals with an offer of light snacks during the flight

· Alcoholic drinks and access to the in-flight bar

Emirates Tablet

Emirates out the window

Loading the A380, they have to use three jet ways. Two on the lower level and one for the top. As to how they are so efficient at loading a plane that can hold upwards over 600+ people in such a short amount of time baffles me!

I am not sure which version of the Emirates A380 we were on, but they have 3 sets of plane configurations. The first two planes offer the same number of business class and first class with 14 First class seats and 76 Business class. The Economy seats change from 399 seats to 472 seats all on the lower deck. The third plane offers 58 Business class seats and 557 economy seats with no first class. Part of the economy class seats are on the top deck. We never flew on this plane, so I don’t have any experience with this plane. I know our two flights had 27+ crew members working the flight, flight attendants as well as those in the cockpit.

The Lay Flat Beds

The lay flat beds were really nice. When the A380 goes into “night” time, the flight attendants bring out foam mattress and make your bed for you so you can sleep. I ended up staying awake most of my flights. I slept when I landed to help with jet lag. The beds were very comfortable and easy to fall asleep on, even for someone with back problems.

A380 Bar

Emirates Bar

Flying out to Dubai, no one used the bar. I was sitting in the seat just in front of the bar. I walked by the bar a few times to go to the bathrooms or to see what snacks they had laid out and no one was using the bar.

It was a different story on the flight from Dubai back to LAX. This bar always had at least a few people hanging out. The bar isn’t all that big and I had my back against a wall to take this photo. You can get quite a few people hanging and drinking together and have a nice little party.

Emirates Bar with party

Now I will say, Emirates, if you are going to call yourself a “bar” you should at least be able to make a whiskey sour! Since I couldn’t have a whiskey sour (and everyone in the bar agreed that it is a staple cocktail) I had to sip on my pretentious Glenfiddich Scotch, 18 Year.

On a side note: they do ask you, before takeoff, what drink you would like, then bring it to you shortly after takeoff.

The Emirates 777-200

We flew the 777 from Dubai to India and from India to Dubai. I have told this joke to a number of people but we rode in 4 Rolls Royce’s.

Emirates 777 engine

Okay so maybe we didn’t fly “in” a Rolls Royce, but they were the engines that flew us back and forth from India and Dubai.

The configurations for the two Boeing 777s seats were a Two, Three, Two set up. My grandfather and I sat next to each other. It wasn’t a bad set up, except when the flight attendant had to lean over to fix the stuck TV. It fixed itself and she almost got nailed in the chin as it popped up at the most inopportune time. SORRY!

The meals were the same as they were on the A380 since they are prepared in the same place. Delicious and tasty. They do offer bar service on the 777, but they do not have a lounge or bar in the plane. Boo hoo! This was only a four hour flight for us so, not really a “long” flight.

Emirates 777 seating

ICE: Information, Communication, Entertainment

On your TV, Emirates has access to their ICE: this is your access to your TV and gadgets. The selections you have are three on board cameras to watch while flying. You can see cameras from the tail, from under the cockpit and one under the plane aimed straight down. They also have world news and sports as well as info on the flight and location of the plane. Pretty cool to be able to track yourself across the globe.  We flew over the North Pole.

Communication wasn’t something I used or looked at. In hindsight that is something I should have looked at for the sake of the review. I know you can call from the plane and I see they have seat-to-seat messaging. Since my grandfather was next to me,behind me or in front of me by one seat I never messaged him.

Entertainment was something I enjoyed immensely! I got caught up on a few movies I had wanted to see and one movie I won’t admit to wanting to see. They have a few YouTube videos from Casey Neistat and a number of others who I didn’t know or care about. They also had some non-name-brand video games to play and TV shows.

Final Thoughts

Having car service to and from the hotel in LA and Dubai was very nice, the business class seats were comfortable, entertaining, offered great food and drinks. I loved it! I will not go as far to say they are my airline of choice just yet, as I would like to travel more on other airlines A380s.

Emirates is located out of Dubai, UAE. When you look down the line of terminals that Emirates uses, you will just see a long line of A380s and it is a beautiful sight to see.

The 777s we flew on didn’t have Wi-Fi and the TV screens and remotes weren’t clear or quick to respond.  It would have been nice to have seen an updated 777.

The flight attendants for both types of aircraft were AMAZING and always on top of everything. I am looking at you Lynn.

Emirates! You guys are awesome and I am looking forward to flying with you again soon. I plan to head back to India and plan on using Emirates to get there again!

 


From 5 to 11: The skinny on the 5.11 STRYKE™ PANTS

After spending a month traveling through India and Dubai I have found my all time favorite pants!

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The Military Travels, Right?

I know these pants were designed with LE and Military in mind but honestly they are perfect for travel. I was given a pair in Vegas just before leaving for India. I traded a pair of jeans out of my suitcase for these. Result? I would love to trade all of my pants for different colors and style of 5.11 pants and shorts.

In a Mall Near Me??? Soon???

I have been around 5.11 tactical clothes and gear for most of my adult life. When you are part of the gun community it is impossible not to know the name 5.11. I am not sure how popular they are outside of the industry. This needs to change. As to why 5.11 isn’t in every mall in the states is beyond me. Okay I have gushed enough about them. Let’s get down to the review.

Every Day Carry

I was offered a free pair of the 5.11 pants of my choosing. I visited the 5.11 store in Vegas and found the Stryke pants to be what I wanted to try for my trip. My brain was in India travel mode so everything I looked at there was “how could I make this trip the most comfortable for me”? I thought about what I might carry on a daily bases.

· iPhone 6 in Magpul case

· AA battery powered flashlight

· 2 Canon T4i batteries for my camera

· Passports

· Money

Pockets Full of Goodies

While that doesn’t seem like a lot to keep in my pockets, it had to be kept in my front pockets. I wanted to avoid pickpockets as best as possible. I kept my phone in my left front mag pocket which kept my normal pockets free for batteries and other junk I might pick up during the day. My right mag pocket I kept my flashlight. I used my right main pocket for my passport because it is deep.

Mag Pocket

SPECIFICATIONS

· 6.76 oz. Flex-Tac® ripstop fabric

· Self-adjusting tunnel waistband

· Fully gusseted crotch

· Articulated knees (kneepad ready)

· Bartacking at major seams and stress points

· TEFLON® finish

· 12 pockets, including double-deep cargo pockets

· Rinse washed

· YKK® zippers

· Prym® snaps

Be Comfortable Above All Else

My goal is to get the full line of pants for my travels because they are comfortable. I lost about 20 pounds in India. So the other advantage of the pants were that they have stretch in them, so they were always fitting correctly.

They have a button and a snap for the top of the pants so you can secure your pants if the snap starts to give out on you.

My only problem is that they require them to be washed inside out. While I do my own laundry at home, I had to send out for laundry in India. I requested that they wash the correct way but I cannot be sure of that.

Water Repellent

While sitting on the Double Decker bus in Abu Dhabi I spilled a little water from my water bottle and it just beaded up and rolled off my pants without them getting wet.

Reviewing pants is a little harder than I imagined, but all I can tell you from my experience is this:

· They look nice,

· they are comfortable enough to wear for 16 hours on a flight,

· they are decked out with pockets for all of your pockety goodness and needs.

Comfortable, stylish, pockety (full of function)

What more do you really need?