Saturday, December 10, 2011

Flying High

At 8:00 pm, we went up to the Emirates ticket counter and 'camped out' for tickets. Unfortunately for us, wave after wave of travelers approached the Emirates desk to check baggage leaving us uncertain of our chances. Each of the passengers were accompanied by family, friends, other well wishers and mounds of luggage, rendering any determination of passenger numbers impossible. Luckily 20 folks with tickets for flight EK 202 JFK-DXB did not claim their tickets 1 hour prior to the flight, allowing us to grab them on standby. As it turned out, receiving tickets was only half the battle.

We received our tickets 40 minutes before departure and believed we were home free with ample time to reach our gate before departure. Unfortunately for us, JFK security gridlocked due to a combination of piles of carry on luggage accompanying kids with non English/Spanish speaking parents. Bag after bag set off the x-ray scanner due to laptops, DVD players, DVD's, juice, illegal toiletries and fruit. Additionally the full body scanners were set off by jewelry and piercings. At one point, one of the TSA agents reading the x-ray machine simply stood up and walk over to a corner by himself for five minutes and then returned. The mix of English, Arabic, Farasi, South East Asian languages, Kenyan, and crying baby created the most hectic scene I have ever witnessed at a security screening. The final boarding call came while we were still in security and with out mad sprint from security to the boarding gate, we just made it on time.

The A-380 is easily the biggest airplane I have ever flown on, with two decks and three boarding ramps connecting it to the terminal. The flight was wonderful, Emirates has amazing flight staff with lots of little extras that set it apart. For example, just before takeoff they bring everyone a wet steaming hot rag that just instantly improves your day. They also bring around hot tea multiple times during the flight. Even though these comforts are small, they greatly improve one's disposition, especially if one has just spent the last 11 hours sitting on cold hard JFK concrete. In addition to the little extras, Dubai airlines has amazing inflight entertainment options with live print and broadcast news, podcasts, TV shows, 176 movies, thousands of songs, and inflight games. Between napping and the flight service, I really felt like the world was looking by the time we arrived in Dubai.

After much persistence and droopy-eyed begging, Emirates agreed to put us up in one of their hotels free for the night along with an excellent free dinner and breakfast buffet. Morale was high in the morning and remained so through out the flight from Dubai to Bangladesh. During our flight I managed to catch glimpses of the Indus River, Mount Everest, and the Brahmaputra River all which were pretty neat. We arrived at Dhaka on Dec 7th at 4:30 pm local time tired but in high spirits and reading to get to work.

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