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!

511_stryke_pants_charcoal_C_1

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?

India – (Not) The Final Frontier

Stardate: 212016. Bags are like 99% packed…. I think. Just remember everyone, if we forget something on this trip, we are blaming Kevin. Sorry Kev.

I now have a will. I’m now “that guy”. While talking with a family friend he made a comment saying that after a week of India I will want to be home. I think since we aren’t staying in one location for more than 1 or 2 nights, I won’t be sitting still long enough to even think of home.

Tech Free? Not!

I am bringing my phone and laptop so I can keep in contact with family and blog/vlog. Part of me wishes I could just let everything go and just be there. No camera to take pictures, no phone to call family, no laptop to upload pictures and content.

It isn’t because I don’t want to be in touch with people. It’s that I want time that belongs solely to me and my grandfather. I know that the essence of this trip really is that, but it would be nice to just be tech free for a day or a trip.

Just Ready to Be There!

My family Is being awesome about my leaving. I am trying to tone down the true level of excitement I have so I don’t burn them talking about it. As the hours tick closer to takeoff, I am just ready to be there.

I have some goals for this trip

· Come home with a pet Himalayan Blue Sheep

· Do not come home half eaten by the tigers

· Do not get bitten by any snakes

· Take amazing vlogs

· Spend time with family I have never met

· EAT ALL THE FOODS (insert meme here)

· Do not come home with a bride

· Figure out how to make yearly work trips like this

The Food

I made a bad decision last night and decided to look up different foods in the regions we will be staying. I did this on an empty stomach and I was ready by the third page to go to the market and pick up all the ingredients to try everything I saw. Not smart to do at 3am.

Mango-Chutney-Chicken-1-finalMango Chutney Chicken

AJ’s Trip to India – Bringing Home a Bride?

Bringing Home a Bride?

This week has been filled with anticipation for the adventure ahead. My grandfather has been joking with his friends that the whole point of this trip is for me to bring home a bride… Thanks -_- Grandpa!

Trip Needs a Richter Scale?

I have been out of the country before(obviously), but never on a trip of this magnitude. I am packing light, so we will just do our laundry as need be, in India.

A380

We are flying on the A380. This is just one more part of this trip that makes it epic! My best friend and his father are plane nuts and sometimes I am just plain nuts myself… wait a minute… I digress. I told them that I was flying on the big bad boy and my best friend is a bit jealous. He has been a world traveler his whole life and still wants to take a trip in one.

Modes of Transportation

I have been looking over the itinerary and it reads something like this: plane, rickshaw, car, bus, plane, train, boat, plane car and bus ride. Needless to say, we will be busy traveling to many awesome locations. Hey, any production studios want to pay for me to scout awesome locations? I only charge $1.5 million per location per movie. Cheap, cheap, cheap!

What Did I forget?

I am sitting here just waiting for it to be time to leave thinking, sh*t did I pack everything?

119401137

AJ’s Trip of a Lifetime –

India: Introduction

My Paternal Grandfather is an Asian Indian born American; He traveled to the United States of America when he was 18. My grandmother is a typical American and so growing up my dad and aunts were raised, for the most part, as a regular American family. They had very little influence from the Indian culture. Needless to say, I am a born and raised Texan, and not all that much Indian.

A Long Distance Relationship

I lost my maternal Grandfather when I was 13. This opened my eyes to the fact that grandparent’s (at least in my case) are worth spending time with and getting to know. Since about the age of 17, I have been using video chat to keep in contact with my Grandfather who lives in California. Since we don’t get to visit often, this has let me get to know him and have him as a big part of my life. Most of our calls are about things like Apple products and talking about what is new here. What it really did, was show him that I was interested in getting to know him.

One Last Journey Home

I tell you my history so I can tell you about my upcoming trip. This past summer my Grandfather decided that he would like to take one last trip to India before he dies. He isn’t on his death bed or seemingly anywhere near it. He has decided that this is the best time to go, while he is still of sound body and mind.

A Priceless Trip

After he decided he wanted to go, he invited me on the trip. Forgetting the financial standpoint, this is truly a priceless trip. While it is true I would never be able to afford this trip on my own, it is even more priceless because I am going with him. I am going with someone who knows India and will introduce me to family I have never met. I will be able to see a country that is just incredible.

February 3rd – February 26th

My Grandfather is funny; when he invited me to go, he told me that it would be a surprise as to where in India we are going and what we are going to be doing. As we have gotten closer to our departure he still wants to keep it a surprise, but like someone who is bad at keeping a secret he keeps sharing pieces about the trip. He wants me to look up the places we are going and I have to say WOW!

Vlogging and Updating

I want to vlog while I am in India but I do not know what my upload ability will be. I am also planning on keeping up with a daily journal of what is happening on our amazing adventure! When I get home I will upload whatever footage I have that I wasn’t able to upload over there.

The Compass Points Southwest

The Southwest Airlines Review

As someone who travels enough to have a go to Airline but doesn’t fly enough to rack up the 25,000 miles needed per year for the “elite status” American Airlines offers I can tell you this, if you fly less than 25,000 flying miles per year Southwest is the place to start!

Southwest AirlinesSouthwest Logo

I live 20 minutes either way from DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field so I have all the options of airlines open to me without having to drive forever to get to the airport. Nothing to me is more stressful before a flight than having to drive two hours to get to the airport and still have to deal with TSA. 

Southwest is awesome for a lot of reasons

  • · No assigned seating
    · No first class
    · Two Free checked bags
    · $72 Flights
    · Peanuts!?!

I have flown first class a number of times and honestly it has always been on short flights. So the biggest upgrade was the bigger seats and warm cookies. If you fly a lot, yes this is a nice perk to have but if you aren’t willing to cough up the upgrade fee why be reminded of the warm cookies?

Southwest doesn’t fly everywhere as you can see from the map below. However they do fly to a lot of airports.

Southwest Airports

The bulk of my travels are to LA, Las Vegas and on the rare occasions Phoenix. When I make my way out west I have two options with LAX or John Wayne (Orange County). This is really helpful for me as I have business near both and family within 30 minutes of either. Southwest fly’s out of both always making my trips less stressful.

I avoid Sky Harbor Phoenix at all cost, just due to how many bad experiences I have had with layovers, TSA and the general overall lay out of the airport. I have family located there and so sometimes I have to man up and just go. It is comforting knowing once I deal with all of that, it is Southwest I am flying with in case I have I have to stay longer than expected or you have flat on the way to the airport or TSA holds you up etc…. Southwest allows you to call and cancel your flight. You can then rebook your flight and reuse the fare that you paid on your flight. You just have to do it before your flight leaves. This is a huge bonus and one that I keep in my back pocket in case of emergencies. I just don’t know of any other airline that offers this.

Rewards Programs and Casey Neistat

As I said I don’t fly enough to reach the base level rewards program with someone like American Airlines or any of the others who offer big perks to frequent flyers but I do want to talk about them for a minute. (Southwest does have a rewards programs where you can earn free flights)

I have been a follower of Casey Neistat for years and I have always enjoyed his work. He filmed this a few years back in regards to AAdvantage and how he has his Executive Platinum status. As of late in his daily vlogs he has been sharing a few more perks such as golf carts to take him from one terminal to the next, the airport lounges and some of the other benefits.

Emirates

I am excited to share that I will be visiting for the first time, my grandfathers’ homeland of India. The trip is coming up in February 2016 with a six day layover in Dubai. I will be going with my grandfather for three weeks. I will be joining up with him in LA for our flight to Dubai with Emirates on their A380. I am very excited about experiencing a plane this size and an airline that offers the amenities that they do.

My flight to LA will of course be with Southwest as they offer two free checked bags and I intend on flying out with some camera gear and my luggage.

Final Thoughts

If you know you are going to be flying enough to rack up the miles, loyalty to someone like American Airlines does put you into the elite status and give you awesome benefits. It seems to me that most airlines have just never returned to being about the passenger. They want to charge you an arm and a leg for a checked bag and they can’t even muster up the cost to give free peanuts with your drink. 

Southwest is one that truly stands above. They aren’t someone who is catering to just the elite and frequent flyers. They have a funny business model that people like Frontier Airlines just doesn’t get. Southwest makes money by making sure people want to fly with them again! WHAT?!?

Are they crazy?! They want you to come back by offering free checked bags every time, cutting out the ELITE and offering no bullsh*t $72 flights?! So they don’t fly everywhere and they don’t offer flights to overseas but they aren’t that type of airline. They want you to fly with them again by making your flight as easy as possible from what they can control.