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Trip report: MAN-DXB-AKL

Discussion in 'Airline Reviews' started by Dobbo, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Dobbo

    Dobbo Platinum Member

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    Morning all

    While it's fresh in my head I'd like to share my thoughts on the above. The trip includes what is at the time of writing the second longest scheduled flight sector, DXB-AKL. I'll try and break up my comments between sector and airport.

    MAN
    I can see why the TP is so overdue. T1 is no longer fit for purpose, and pier B is obviously patched up for use by the A380 by default.

    The security checks were fine, and extremely thorough. I find this reassuring.
    The shops in the terminal are okay, but the critical mass and space in the new T2 should mean that a step change in offer/quality is possible moving forward.

    Restaurants were also disappointing. The selection is limited, the terminal is crowded and that which is there is Under staffed and poor service. I think this is another area where MAN can aim for a step change.

    As noted above, pier B and the loading of the aircraft was obviously designed as a temporary measure. The TP should improve this, but I'm yet to see a truly great way of loading an A380. That are so big!

    MAN-DXB (EK020)
    This was on a nigh on brand new A380, delivered in September 2017. The aircraft gets its knocks in avgeek land, but it is a superb aircraft. Very spacious, and almost completely silent on takeoff. Extraordinary.

    The flight was smoot, only issue being the long weekend crowd to Dubai who made the most of the booze. This aircraft has live sport broadcast, and BBC world service news (amongst others). I'd not seen this before, and it is very impressive.

    Food and drink is fine, nothing special, but in Economy I don't think you can expect miracles.

    I'd not flown emirates before, and I was impressed overall.

    DXB
    I don't like DXB! The aircraft was parked on a remote stand and we were bussed into the terminal after going on a tour of the perimiter of the airfield. For full disclosure, I'm used to SIN and quite frankly DXB is an unfair comparison. Architecturally DXB looks good, but the concourse is packed and doesn't really offer anything above and beyond MAN (which I think is average). It badly needs expansion and improvement.

    DXB-AKL (EK448)
    This is a long flight. The aircraft was slightly older, and the hard product (seat, screen etc) was noticeably worn. The IFE packed up just before AKL, which would have been frustrating earlier in the flight.

    As above, the A380 is a remarkable aircraft. It would be tough to imagine such a flight even on a 787 or 350. The space makes a huge difference. EK service generally good, the upside of such a long flight is less of the drinking crowd, this flight is long enough to get a hangover on.

    AKL
    Quick word on AKL, we got out of the airport in decent time and it went smoothly. They hace tight bio laws in NZ and this added 20-25 mins to the processing.

    The airport is being improved at the moment, mostly to cope with the 4x EK A380 that end up their each day (one direct from DXB, others via BNE, SYD and MEL) so I'd expect a better experience and more speed next time around.
     
  2. TheLocalYokel

    TheLocalYokel Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for that Dobbo. Most interesting.

    My wife and i have been going to Melbourne each year since 2010 to visit our daughter and family who live near Melbourne. We've always used Emirates for the trips via LGW except on one occasion when we used BHX.

    When we began the trips seven years ago the aircraft used were 777s between both LGW and DXB, and DXB and MEL. The last three return journeys or it might be four have been on 380s. Perhaps we are in a minority but both my wife and I prefer the 777. She doesn't like flying anyway but feels the 380 is just too big with too many people.

    We both agree with your assessment of DXB. It's a hellhole so far as we are concerned. Although there is a 380 concourse they have so many 380s that not all can use it. Without exception we have found that our 380 either parks for the old part of terminal 3 on arrival with the connecting flight departing from the 380 concourse or vice versa. This entails an unpleasant walk through crowds of people in the massive circulating areas of the terminal, or rather a grand shopping centre, and we liken it to trying to get into Wembley Stadium at the end of a game with the crowd leaving and pushing against you. Slight exaggeration perhaps but it's not pleasant in our opinion. After that there is a train transfer to/from the 380 concourse.

    In fact, this year we had decided to try Etihad from LHR but because of family commitments our next trip won't now be until 2018.
     
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  3. Dobbo

    Dobbo Platinum Member

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    Hi @TheLocalYokel id caution against Etihad for now, AUH is being rebuilt and is not much better than DXB (as of 2014 - the rebuild is certainly not yet compete).

    If I had the choice, ignoring how much they charge, I'd aim for a Far East connection.
     
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  4. TheLocalYokel

    TheLocalYokel Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for that Dobbo. We'll also have a look at Qatar from CWL or BHX. In the past the Qatar BHX timings didn't work for us and our long haul travel specialist (well-known high street firm) always managed to get us good deals out of LGW. We shan't be going again until towards the end of 2018.
     
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  5. Dobbo

    Dobbo Platinum Member

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    Fair enough, AUH should be good to go by that time.
     
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  6. Coathanger16

    Coathanger16 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't be so sure...

    http://gulfbusiness.com/abu-dhabis-new-midfield-terminal-opening-delayed-2019/

    As for Emirates/Dubai, I too passed that way recently and arrived onto a remote stand, had the grand bus tour of Dubai airport, and the train to the A380 concourse. For what was meant to be a 2 hour connection, I got to the gate 5 minutes before they started boarding. For what is meant to be one of the best airlines in the world, I wasn't that impressed. On board their service wasn't bad, but nothing to shout about. And to think they say BA cabin crew are surly! Emirates takes it to a whole new level.

    I too would advise a far east connection. I've not connected through Hong Kong, but have traveled from there and it was much better than Dubai. I've also stopped off at Singapore on the LHR-SYD flight and would be happy transiting through there again.

    As for the original review, I did pretty much the same route a few months ago but departed from BHX. Besides the different departure airport, I agree with pretty much everything @Dobbo said. I don't know if it was because I was able to sleep on the DXB-AKL flight, but I found it more bearable than the BHX-DXB flight (even though it was almost 2 and a half times as long).
     
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  7. Dobbo

    Dobbo Platinum Member

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    Great minds think alike!

    From my perspective, just need one of CX or SQ to offer a later departure time to link better with the bank of departures getting into Aus and NZ in the morning! Only reason I chose EK this time!
     
  8. Seasider

    Seasider Well-Known Member

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    For our trip to AKL last November, we transited HKG which was good in both directions. It splits the 2 flights into approx same duration.
     
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  9. Dobbo

    Dobbo Platinum Member

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    Addendum detailing a couple of observations from the return leg.

    AKL-DXB is long. Very long. Thankfully, the aircraft was lightly loaded - I'd say only 50% full give or take. I find it difficult to believe they need to block half of the seats so expect this flight was simply not that popular on this occasion. This was good for us as we had a row each to lie down on. I'd be struggling right now if that were not the case.

    Following a decent transit at DXB, the return EK017 was packed. When you have a longer leg ex DXB, it is frustrating that the relatively short Europe-DXB sector has a lot of boisterous weekenders. Not great when knackered and just want to chill.

    At MAN, there was a queue of 20-30 minutes for passport control. By the time we were through, bags we're ready for collection. Passport control and bag reclaim at MAN gets moaned at to death elsewhere so I won't repeat those here.

    Suffice to say the experience at MAN, arrivals and departures, while not terrible, clearly show T1 to be no longer fit for purpose.

    P.s. all the travellators from T1 to the station were in working order.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
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