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?

My Drug of Choice

Non-hygienic SugarCane juice can be found everywhere. They have engine-powered and hand-powered machines to make it. Like the one shown below, but these machines do not get cleaned, so we stayed away from them.

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My Grandfather told me about SugarCane juice while we were in Delhi, he said that my family knew of a place that had hygienic and clean juice. The photo is grainy because I took this through a mesh used to keep bugs out.

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The health benefits of SugarCane juice are listed in the photo below. Since clearly there is ‘no sugar added’ in sugarcane juice, it must be super healthy and good for you!

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Clearly, since the juice is soooo healthy, we had to visit this shop 2-3 times a day. After arriving in Mumbai we missed our new addiction, so much we tried to track down some more. Several restaurants carried it, but it just wasn’t the same.

We figured Mumbai was going to be the last place we would find it but lo and behold! We found it in Dubai!!!!

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Talk about awesome! We had to have two glasses.

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I miss my drug.

Song of the Day

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

I wish I was there…

I’m Home!

I’m Home!

So before I give my wrap up of India I still have a few days I didn’t write about while I was in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

A Geography Lesson

First and foremost, we heard repeated from people visiting while we were, that they thought they were in Saudi Arabia. Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in The United Arab Emirates (UAE). They are their own country.

Thank you, now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Reality In Dubai

We left Mumbai for a second time on the 23rd to head back to the UAE to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Contrary to what the young lads at Taco Bell seem to think, not everyone drives fancy cars. I did not see a single pet tiger, and while I didn’t visit every bathroom, I can say, I never found gold toilet paper anywhere.

Burj Khalifa

We stayed at the Sheraton, at the Mall of the Emirates. The night we got in, our first stop was to visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. This was AMAZING! I have only been up there at night and I can tell you for fact that the view changes from day to night. If you get a chance to go up during the night and the day it is worth seeing. The fountains were cool in front of the Burj but I wouldn’t call them better than Vegas… just different.

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Side note: I noticed I have a few days missing from my travels, so I will be re-uploading them shortly.

On the 24th we visited Abu Dhabi and took a bus tour around the city. There wasn’t any one spot we wanted to get off the bus and visit. I am not Muslim but we did see the grand mosque. Honestly it is a mosque to me, so it wasn’t something I really care about. The carpet is one single piece and that was cool. The chandlers are like 9 tons. Otherwise it was just another mosque to me.

We stopped at one of the malls and grabbed lunch which was very tasty. We wanted to have the leftovers for dinner but there was not a way to get it home and still have it safe to eat. Tis’ a shame.

The Gardens

On the 25th We stayed in Dubai and visited the Butterfly Gardens and the Miracle Gardens. Why are they a miracle? Because we are in the desert! It is beautiful and green and flowering and how they are able to have this is the desert is amazing! They desalinate the ocean water to keep the UAE green and beautiful. Truly incredible.

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The Butterfly Gardens were AWESOME!!!! Why? Because they let us pick them up! Grandpa needed a pet so I gave them to him!

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We met some people from Colorado who are now living Kuwait teaching. I ended up giving them a few butterflies as well. If you are in Dubai these places are sooooooooo worth the cost to visit.

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The next morning we work up at 4am and headed to the airport. I am ending my trip to Dubai and India here because Emirates Airline will have a review coming shortly and that is where I will pick up from.

India is Calling my Name

This trip to India was amazing and I honestly wish I was there right now. It has been great being home but India is calling and I am ready to pick up the phone.

I am so thankful to my grandfather for planning and inviting me on this trip of a lifetime. I cannot wait to finish telling you all the stories.

Song of the Day

Rob Thomas – Ever the same

I just like the song

The Mystery of Mr. Mistry

As I sit here and question my life choices.

Yesterday we were given the total VIP treatment. We went to visit not one, but two diamond factories.

My uncle went to school with a gentleman who owns Lexus SoftMac. If you picked up this card off the street you’d have no clue who he is and what they do unless you googled it.

I knew we were going to see a diamond factory but I didn’t know anything more than that when we left the hotel. We drove across the river and into a Gem and Jewelry park in Surat, India.

As we pulled into a parking lot, Uncle mentioned he did the landscaping for the company. I figured he just knew the company based on that fact.  NO!  It turns out Mr. Utpal Mistry grew up with my Uncle and they are very good friends. Mr.Mistry owns a company that makes diamond cutting machinery and they cut large diamonds.

How large? The one he handed me was the size of a large marble and was valued around $4.5 Million.

4.5 Million Dollar Diamond

Stones, Rocks, Diamonds!

He handed us these stones like they were worth nothing! I will admit I was incredibly shocked that I was holding stones like that. We are walking through the factories with the owners of the companies and the employees are looking at us . We are assuming the thought that was going through their heads were who are these people?

My neighbor back home works for Zale’s so she visits Surat on a fairly regular bases. She said she might be able to try and pull some strings and get us a small tour as this isn’t something the public is just allowed to visit. She is sweet and thoughtful like that.

I think my uncle had more pull and got us the tour of a lifetime. Mr. Mistry was amazing. He was so nice and willing to take us on a tour to see the gems and even let us handle them. I cannot even describe how amazing it was to even be there and see the process.

Uncle, YOU ROCK! You are truly a diamond of a man. You sir shine bright like a diamond. Lucy in the sky with diamonds, diamonds are forever. Every kiss begins with Kay… wait that doesn’t work.

Something around 80% of the worlds diamond are cut in India.  The fact we were on the tour and that Mr Mistry took time from his busy day to share this with us was so incredible.

On a side note:

I have been noticing a weird trend in India. Some men, in really nice suits, wearing sandals. I understand it is because they remove their shoes a lot.  It is just funny for me to see.

When I get home I will have to upload photos solely about the diamond factory because I was allowed to take pictures everywhere! I am not going show some things, but I will show you things like the gems and other pictures I doubt would be a security threat. I wasn’t told I couldn’t post any of the pictures, I just believe it is better to be on the safe side.  Also out of respect to our most gracious host.

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.

Gillette Mach3 Turbo Razor Review

I had a GLORIOUS full mustache at 13 and I have been shaving my beard since I was 14. Yes, I was one of those kids.  I am a quarter Indian and I was given the gift of hair… the gift that just keeps growing. 

I swam competitively all through high school but only shaved my whole body once for a swim competition (swim meet). That was to “get the girl”. The girl in question was in a relationship and is now married and has mothered his children. Look at what you missed “Linda”! You missed all this manliness and hair! I digress.

Gillette Mach3 Turbo Razor Review

Gillette Mach3 Turbo Razor

A few nights back I was watching TV and an ad for Gillette Mach3 Turbo Razors came on. I was shocked because this razor was introduced in the late ‘90s. I have tried a bunch of different razors and electric shavers. I have gone cheap all the way to the most expensive 5 blade systems. I always return back to my Gillette Mach3 Turbo. My problem with electric shavers is my hair is so coarse and thick that is just doesn’t give a good shave. The 5 blade systems pack all those blades into almost the same size package as my 3 blades and the hair just clogs the blades before I finish the first stroke. Cheaper blades have dulled after the first shave so much, they cut me on the second shave.

Shaving

I have to shave my neck, chest, and back at least a few times a month to look presentable. I have to shave my face every day if I don’t want that stubble look.  My shower at home has a mirror I have mounted in the shower. I like easy.

I was talking with a friend of mine about a year or so back and we were talking about shaving and the topic of what brand of shave gel I use is and I told him since I shower shave I just use a bar of soap. There was a slight disbelief because of how close of shave I get. I told him to try it at home and from what I have heard that is all he uses now. I like to use the moisturizing bars because it helps keep my skin from drying out and it also keeps my face clean.

Final Thoughts

I wrote this review because of that commercial. I thought if they still stand behind this razor maybe it was worth talking about.

They make three different types (from left to right in the picture above) the Mach3, M3 Power and the Mach3 Turbo. All of the handles use the same style cartridges so if you have any of the three handles you can use any of the cartridge heads. The Gillette Mach3 products are still some of the more expensive razors on the market but for the shave I get I am okay with paying for it. I have yet to test an online shaving service so I do not know how they stand up against this razor.