Emirates EK 772
Dubai – Cape Town (DXB – CPT)
Departure : 3:50 Actual Departure : 3:49
Arrival : 11:35 Actual Arrival : 11:23
Duration : 9 hours 45 minutes Actual Duration : 9 hours 32 minutes
Aircraft : Boeing 777-300ER
Registration # : A6-EGF
Seat # : 42 A (Economy)
Friday, 12 August 2016
This was the longest flight in my life so far (as of August 2016)! Previously I never took a flight longer than 7.5 hours so this obviously beat that. How did I ‘survive’ this flight then? Let’s have a look.
After my arrival into Dubai from Hamburg, I had about 2 hours until the boarding could start for my flight to Cape Town. Upon entering the Emirates Terminal and clearing through security, I checked the flight information screens to find the gate for my next flight – which was at B21.
Apparently my gate was very near to from where I was standing at this moment – just 4 mins walk away. I was thankful for it because I was starting to feel a bit tired after my first flight.
It made no sense going straight to my boarding gate this early, so I just decided to hang around the airport a little bit and maybe take some pictures. Later on, I’d grab a flat white from Costa Coffee before I head for my boarding area. The coffee might help me to stay awake I guess 😉
After my coffee (which wasn’t too strong), I headed for the boarding gate around 2:30 AM. At B21, there were already other passengers bound for Cape Town at the waiting area but strangely, there was no information on the screen about my flight. Then I heard some passenger mentioning others about the gate being changed. I went to look for one of the flight information screens to confirm and indeed, the gate was changed to B11! Fortunately the distance between B21 and B11 wasn’t too far away. I arrived at B11 a few minutes later and there was finally written ‘EK 772 – Cape Town’ written on the information screens. But as most passengers were still unaware of the gate change, the waiting area at B11 was rather empty. But in the next few minutes they all realized it and came to the new boarding area.
Officially the boarding was supposed to begin at 3:05 AM, but it was not until 3:14 AM when passengers could start getting on the plane. It was a relief to board via the boarding bridges and not go down to have another bus ride! The aircraft was a 5 year old Boeing 777-300ER designated Echo Golf Foxtrot (A6-EGF), which meant it had the older ‘2nd generation’ interior unlike my previous flight from Hamburg.
I showed my boarding pass at the 2nd door (1st door is for first/business class passengers) and was directed towards the economy cabin. The seats in this cabin were older, so was the IFE (Inflight entertainment) system. I call this ‘2nd generation’ because it is the 2nd type of economy class cabin which Emirates’ 777s that are around 4-6 years old (on average – as of 2016) have.
My seat was an window seat located at 42A and it had the usual amenities – pillow, blanket, and headsets. I then settled myself down on my seat. On this older ICE, the screens are 11-inch large, which is still pretty good (as long as it’s working fine)! I looked out the window and we were parked next to a giant Emirates A380.
Boarding was done in just about 20 minutes. Although the flight was pretty full (85-90% occupancy), the seats next to me remained empty! 😀 I thought perhaps I can try to get some sleep for few hours during the flight at least. Among the passengers, over a 100 of them were Indian and surprisingly not many were South Africans.
We were then provided with – wait for it – Amenity Kits!! For the first time on an Emirates flight !! Emirates recently introduced Amenity Kits on Economy Class and I was kinda wondering why we didn’t get them in the previous flight. Then I thought maybe they provide them in flights which leave at night and arrive in the morning – also known as ‘redeye’ flights. As most people sleep during the night flight, it makes sense to provide Amenity Kits on such flights to make passengers more comfortable.
The Kit contained comfortable socks, earplugs, eye shade, toothbrush and toothpaste.
At 3:41 AM, the captain came on the announcement informing us of the flight time, altitude etc… which wasn’t too clear. Just before pushback, we got refreshing towels. At 3:49 AM exact, our plane started its pushback. The lights were then slightly dimmed for taxiing to the runway.
It took about 21 minutes until we reached the runway for takeoff as there were quite a bit of traffic waiting to takeoff before us. By 4:12 AM, we were finally airborne.
I tried to capture some great shots of Dubai Cityscape at night. Though I’m not a professional and neither my pictures are, I hope you guys will like the following shots 🙂
The seatbelt sign was turned off about 13 minutes into the flight and we were then handed out menus (Menus were not distributed on the ground earlier). There was no usual information like ‘our multinational cabin crew comes from this many countries and speak this many languages’ but from my observations, some of the crews were from Croatia, Serbia, South Africa, Lithuania, USA, Thailand, and Egypt.
The lights remained dimmed so I thought maybe I should try to take a nap already. I made my ‘bed’, taking up all three seats and using all the three pillows and two of the blankets to make myself comfortable 😛 But somehow it didn’t feel so comfy!
I tried to have a nap 30 mins after takeoff. But after about an hour they started serving snacks. I was hungry so I got up to eat. Oh btw, we were served snacks and later breakfast on this flight. Let’s have a look at the menu first.
The Egg Sandwich was okayish but the Chocolate Brownie was fantastic! I love brownies anyway, so I really enjoyed it. Then I wanted to go back to sleep so I put my earplugs on, but that didn’t really help. The noise of the engine was still kinda strong enough to penetrate the earplugs’ capacity.
I ‘rested’ for about 3 hours. ‘Rested’ because I couldn’t really sleep comfortably much, though at times I felt I could sleep. During this time there were some moderate turbulence so it felt like I was sleeping on a ‘vibrating’ bed! After my nap I woke up when we were flying over Dar er Salaam (Tanzania) and headed for the lavatory to freshen up. It was already morning and sun was shining outside brightly. I made use of the toothbrush and paste given with the Amenity Kit. Then I requested a juice to drink.
After my nap, I got pretty hungry at this point and I was wondering when would they start serving breakfast. I went to the galley and fortunately found a tray of drinks and a tray of snacks up for grabs. So I took another juice and a brownie – cuz I loved it! Although it was pretty bright and daylight outside, inside the plane there was still a ‘sleepy’ feeling.
There was still 3 hours 45 mins left for the flight. So I decided to watch a movie and I opted for one of the films which I have been so looking forward to – London Has Fallen.
As most passengers started waking up slowly, the flight attendants passed by distributing hot towels for us to freshen up. This was about 2 hours 50 mins before arrival.
The breakfast service began 2 hours before our arrival, when we were over South African airspace. The service was a bit slow, mainly because of many of the Indian passengers having chosen a ‘Special Meal’ (Special Meals are served earlier than Regular Meal). From the two choices of breakfast, I opted for the Scrambled Eggs.
While the spinach and sausage was actually tastier than it looks, the scrambled eggs was weird. I’ve had much better scrambled eggs on a journey before. The Baked Beans was just fine. It took me just about 20 minutes to finish breakfast (I skipped the fruits).
I finished the movie around an hour before our arrival. It was not bad, though I think I prefer the first one ‘Olympus Has Fallen’. 40 minutes before arrival, there was once again some light to moderate turbulence and the seat belt sign had to be turned on for the second time.
36 minutes to land. The Captain came on the announcement once again to give us landing and weather information, nothing more. About 25 minutes before landing, the plane started its descend. Throughout the descend and until the arrival, there were really some beautiful views of South African countryside and Cape Town’s landscape. We flew over some suburbs/township areas too. Let’s have a look at them through photos!
We touched down exactly at 11:23 AM local time on a rainy day. It took just 5 minutes to taxi and arrive at our gate. I was quite exhausted, perhaps even jetlagged at this point, but that’s not going to stop me from starting to explore this beautiful city! I am looking more forward to start my ‘adventures’ in Cape Town than ever. I just hope the immigration is quick enough so I can go out of the airport asap!
To Sum Up
Phew! That was one long flight but definitely not a bad one. I mean, at least I ‘survived’ and still had some energy left to not go straight to sleep 😉
I loved two things on this flight : the free seats next to me and the Amenity Kit! Though it didn’t help much sleeping comfortably despite having three seats to myself, I think I know what can be done better next time. For example, I forgot to recline the two other seats and tried to sleep exactly like in a bed… but now I figured out the better sleeping ‘position’ for sleeping in economy class 😉
The Breakfast/Meal service was a bit bad. Bad I mean that it was kinda slow. I know that many passengers sleep on overnight flights but there are those who don’t and they have to stay hungry… Plus I think it would be better if they served two proper meals instead of one breakfast meal and a snack, especially in such a long flight. I hope that Emirates can review their meal plans on this flight and make it better in the future.
Btw, it took about 30-40 mins to clear through immigration and get your luggage at Cape Town Airport. This was due to long queue, plus the process of taking your biometrics (picture + finger prints) at the passport control areas.