Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Emirates SIN-DXB-BCN in Y: Paella, Xuxo & FC Barcelona vs Sevilla@Camp Nou (Part I)

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Emirates SIN-DXB-BCN in Y: Paella, Xuxo & FC Barcelona vs Sevilla@Camp Nou (Part I)

    By now, regulars on SQTalk will know the essential elements of a yflyer TR: Photos of peanuts, pictures of economy class seats from at least three different angles, economy class meals recounted blow-by-blow with almost the same reverence accorded to degustation menus in Michelin-starred restaurants...a run around the city regardless of weather conditions...and the endless b*tching about 10-abreast 777’s and 9-abreast 787’s.

    But something unexpected happens when Mrs yflyer joins him on a trip. Unexciting salaryman suddenly transforms into amateur foodie and camera-toting tourist…yflyer suddenly remembers how to enjoy himself, and actually steps out of the hotel to look around and *gasp* do some sightseeing…

    I had a work trip planned for Barcelona in late February, and this time schedules worked out for Mrs yflyer to tag along. A few days of vacation time tacked on to either end of the business itinerary, and this became something resembling a holiday.

    We flew Emirates to Barcelona via Dubai in Economy. Mrs yflyer returned to Singapore on the same routing 9 days later, however I continued my trip for a few days longer, on Air Berlin (A Oneworld member) to Munich, via Dusseldorf, and returned to Singapore from Munich, again via Dubai on Emirates.

    In Barcelona, I brought Mrs yflyer to a few favourite eating outlets that I had raved about on previous trips there, but ended up eating at quite a few new places as well, with many new places either sniffed out by Mrs yflyer or recommended by friends and relatives.

    The highlight of this trip was watching FC Barcelona, one of the world's best known football teams, play at Camp Nou, the stadium which is their home ground, as they played Sevilla FC in an exciting La Liga football match on the evening of 28 February.

    Who won? Who among the triumvirate of Messi, Suarez and Neymar would score for Barca during the match? More on the outcome of that football match later in the TR…

    TR INDEX

    Flight: SIN-DXB-BCN on Emirates
    Emirates Business Class Lounge - DXB A380 Concourse
    Dining: El Xampanyet
    Boqueria Market & Pinotxo Bar
    Run: Beachfront Run to the W hotel
    Dining: Passadis Del Pep
    Hotel: Silken Barcelona Diagonal
    Gaudi’s Park Guell
    Las Ramblas and a Run to the Sagrada Familia and Port Olimpic
    Dining: La Fonda Del Port Olimpic
    Dining: Llamber
    Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia
    Dining: Suculent
    Placa Catalunya
    Dining: Paella at Xiringuito Escriba
    Gothic Quarter, Churros & Hot Chocolate
    New subway line to the airport
    Dining: Bar Celta Pulperia
    Football: FC Barcelona vs Sevilla FC @ Camp Nou

    Part II of the TR
    Last edited by yflyer; 27 March 2016, 06:51 AM.

  • #2
    Our trip began on, of all things, a 10-abreast Emirates 777 on the SIN-DXB leg – the only non-A380 sector that we flew on EK.

    Normally this would be a highly inauspicious start…but "...don't worry..." I told Mrs yflyer, I had a plan...

    On the day we were travelling, EK405, which originated in MEL, was only moderately loaded for the SIN-DXB continuation. The seats I selected towards the rear of the aircraft were aisle seats on both ends of the centre bank of 4 seats, with the middle 2 seats empty. (We were ticketed on different PNRs, although I believe this is also possible on a single PNR). If all went well, and the middle seats remained empty, we would have 4 for ourselves. If not, I would simply swop my aisle seat for a middle seat next to Mrs yflyer.

    EK405 is a 1.20am departure. By the time we arrived at Changi T1 in the late evening, the check-in area was fairly quiet.



    Our first stop was the Emirates Lounge (Covered here) where we sampled the food and champagne in the lounge before heading to our gate to board…

    Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 03:56 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      This was a moderately full flight, with many transit pax from the previous MEL-SIN sector.

      The J cabin was configured in 2-3-2, with sloping lie-flat seats.







      A fairly dated J product, but one which probably looked very comfortable to any pax walking through the cabin on the way to the economy cabin, myself included.

      The Y cabin was configured 3-4-3. 10 narrow seats per row! I may sometimes have to fly like this, but I will never get used to this.







      Fortunately, although the plane was fairly full, the middle seats in our block remained empty, and we had 4 seats between the two of us. Relief…later on in the flight, I encouraged Mrs yflyer to raise the armrests and lie down on 3 seats, an offer which she gratefully accepted. At least one of us would sleep flat on this flight...
      Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 03:56 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Apart from the narrowness of the seats. Seat pitch was actually fine.



        Powerful individual air vents were also installed, and this helped me remain cool during the flight.



        Some amount of obstruction from the IFE box under some of the seats, but it is not that large a box.



        Full AVOD, with Emirates award-winning ICE system. A great program selection and UI, however showing its age on this aircraft, with 4:3 format screens.







        A/C power outlet (US/Europe only, no UK socket) was provided, but no USB port.

        Boxy looking headphones. These sounded ok but not as good as a typical pair of “bring your own” headphones or earbuds.





        The headphone pack also comes with convenient stickers to indicate “Do Not Disturb”, “Wake me up for meals” or “Wake me for Duty Free”. If you want to sleep, it is very important to paste the “Do Not Disturb” sticker on your seat, because on recent EK flights, I have seen cabin crew try very hard, and persistently, to wake up pax who were sound asleep in order to offer them meals.

        Small pillows (Non-fabric/cotton)…



        Large blanket…



        Proper cloth hot towels given out before take-off.

        Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 03:57 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Today’s menu…



          Pax on this flight would get a snack after take-off, and a full breakfast prior to arrival…



          A flight time today of just under 7 hours.



          This evening’s late night snack…



          …and then a drink. I ordered a G&T…the first of many on this trip.



          The Spanish have had a long love affair with this drink they call “Gin Tonic” and I would see this almost everywhere in Barcelona…

          Cabin ambience during the night flight…





          In the bathroom, toiletries locked in place.

          Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 03:57 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Emirates' inflight wifi is very good value. You get 10MB wifi access free, which is perfect if you mainly want to exchange text messages using apps on your phone like WhatsApp. 10MB goes a long way in that context.



            And for $1, you get 500MB, which is sufficient for some limited web surfing and email. Internet access speed varies – often slow and sometimes it just cuts out completely for seconds or minutes at a time, but that is about what you would expect on long international sectors over water. But for this price, you can’t really complain.

            A couple of hours before landing, lights were switched on and another round of hot towels were distributed…a touch of premium airline service that jarred with the cramped 10-abreast cabin…

            Breakfast…



            …sort of an Asian hybrid dish that reminded me a little of mee goreng…



            The western breakfast main looked more conventional…



            We commenced descent landed in Dubai in the early hours of the morning, before sunrise…



            Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 03:58 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Our gate was at one of the non A380 concourses. We deplaned and cleared security.



              The security checkpoint for transit pax was fairly crowded, but the whole operation at DXB is geared for scale, so we got through fairly quickly. A security fast lane is available for First/Business class pax but not for frequent flyers in Y. The regular Y queues moved fairly quickly too.

              A stupendous number of destinations that you can connect to from DXB. Whether you were going to Bali or Kabul, Lagos or Copenhagen, EK had a flight for you...



              One of the side-effects of using a Windows-based system for your flight displays is that occasionally the above happens…



              After security, we rode the underground people mover to the A380 concourse for our connecting flight.
              Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 03:59 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                We spent our transit time in DXB in the Emirates Business Class Lounge in the A380 Concourse. This lounge is open to EK / QF Business Class flyers or gold frequent flyers in either EK or QF’s FF programmes.



                This is an amazing J lounge that spans the entire length of the lounge terminal, two levels above the main departure level. The entrance to the lounge is in the middle of the concourse, with the two sides of the lounge basically being mirror images of each other. At departure time, you board your aircraft directly from gates and elevators within the lounge.

                I much prefer this EK lounge in the A380 concourse to the equivalent J lounge in the other DXB concourse(s).

                Lounge seating…







                One of several dining areas in the lounge…



                Long shared tables, as well as individual dining tables.





                Liquor selection…



                Wine and champagne…



                …including Moet & Chandon Rose-Imperial champagne…



                Premium dates from Bateel…these are ridiculously expensive compared to regular dates if you buy them from duty-free downstairs…



                Appetizers…

                Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 04:00 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Some of the breakfast selections that day…





                  No pork served in this lounge. That bacon was a simulated…



                  Foul medames…one of my favourite local breakfast dishes…apparently originally an Egyptian dish though widely available in the Middle East, made of fava beans, olive oil and garnished to taste with lemon, parsley, onions, cumin and chilli pepper…



                  Bakery items…I believe these are baked onsite somewhere in DXB…



                  Dim sum was also available, although it did not look especially authentic…



                  Another dining area, focusing on snacks, coffee and tea…





                  One of my favourite areas is at the far end of the lounge, towards the eastern end of the concourse.



                  There is a large open area, with resting / quiet areas. Perfect if you need to lie down and close your eyes for a few minutes before your connection.



                  Mrs yflyer and I rested there for a few minutes, watching the sun rise over the desert landscape…



                  …before boarding our flight to Barcelona directly from the lounge…

                  Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 04:01 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    EK185 DXB-BCN is an A380 service.





                    Today’s flight was chock full. Pax appeared to come from all over the world, and so did the international cabin crew.



                    The EK A380 hard product is very comfortable. Seats are in conventional 3-4-3 layout, 10-abreast, but in the context of the A380’s enormous main deck, the seat and cabin felt spacious.

                    Emirates has several different configs and generations of seating and IFE on the A380. Which you get appears to depend on luck. That said, even the “early” generation A380 seats and IFE are very modern and comfortable.



                    Seat pitch and recline were good. A far more comfortable cabin than the EK 777.

                    In-seat USB power…



                    And A/C power, with a universal plug…



                    Hot towels at the start of the flight...



                    On this flight, you would get a continental breakfast after take-off, then a full lunch prior to arrival in Barcelona.



                    The continental breakfast came with a small selection of cheese and salad, which I thought was a nice touch.



                    IFE was an excellent, new version of the Emirates ICE system. This had a very wide selection of movie, TV and music options.

                    The UI was very intuitive as well, although on this A380 the touch screen was the old style resistive type, with soft plastic outer screen layer, which requires some pressure on the screen to register a touch, and may not be that accurate in terms of which spot in the screen you pressed. The screen is ok, but cannot compare to the smooth and responsive capacitive multi-touch screen panels that EK (and SQ) have on their very latest planes.



                    Very good classical CD selection.



                    Mrs yflyer watched quite a number of movies on this flight, including this Japanese movie…

                    Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 04:01 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The IFE was excellent, but as is often the case on daytime flights (And even some night time flights), I found the best entertainment to be out of the windows.

                      Not long after take-off, our flight path took us over Egypt, and the Suez Canal…



                      The 193km long Suez canal took 10 years to construct, and first opened in 1869. It allows ships to travel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and on to the Far East, drastically shortening sea routes between Europe and the Far East. Prior to the opening of the Suez, ships had to sail round the horn of Africa, through the treacherous waters around the Cape of Good Hope.

                      These days of course, both cargo and passengers can easily fly anywhere in the world, and I also read that with fuel prices so low, some ships are now taking that longer route around Africa rather than the Suez Canal. (Reference: This article)

                      But none of that diminishes the scale of engineering achievement that the Suez Canal represents, and it remains heavily used to this day.

                      From the air, the Suez Canal is an impressive sight.



                      From cruising altitude, ships could clearly be seen traversing the narrow canal...



                      Because of narrowness of the canal, there are limitations on two-way traffic. Ships traversing the canal do so in very regulated fashion, as convoys…one such convey was visible that day…



                      The canal so narrow that ships can only pass each other at specific parts of the canal, where it broadens into a lake.





                      This is the northern part of the canal leading to the Mediterranean sea, which has a section of the canal with two lanes, one in each direction…

                      Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 04:02 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Beyond that, we flew over Cairo and Alexandria before flying over the Mediterranean sea.



                        As we flew over Cairo, I tried hard to spot pyramids in the area, but did not manage to do so, as it was fairly cloudy and hazy, with bright sun shine, making anything on the ground quite difficult to spot.

                        There would be more to see out the window later in the flight, but now it was time to rest…



                        More pictures of the spacious A380 Y cabin in daytime…an exceptionally large and airy space. No sense of claustrophobia whatsoever. There was a very relaxed vibe in the cabin. If this was a 777 flight, the ambience would have been quite different, and not in a good way.



                        Shades were spontaneously drawn down as people began to watch movies and TV, or take naps…

                        The cabin took on a surreal orange glow…



                        Not everyone rested, though. While the inflight bar on the upper deck was restricted to business class passengers, the rear of the main deck became an informal lounge area on this flight too.

                        I have no idea who moved the beverage carts to the rear of the cabin, although it must have been the cabin crew, as I can’t imagine pax commandeering a fully loaded beverage cart on their own…



                        Pax took full advantage of this free flow of beverages (both hard and soft…). No rules about not congregating in groups on this flight!

                        Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 04:02 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I ordered a coffee in between meal times and this was brought to my seat with a big smile a few moments later…



                          It was soon time for lunch…



                          As a petit, bespectacled cabin crew member came by the cabin with the meal cart, the thought crossed my mind that I had never seen an SQ girl wearing spectacles…

                          White and red wine by the bottle…





                          I chose the lamb with rosemary sauce as my main…



                          Starter and dessert…



                          The lamb and rice was quite delicious…



                          …and came with a fairly large portion of tender lamb…



                          The other choice of main was roast chicken with thyme…



                          Each main also came with a snack pack, comprising crackers and dip…



                          Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 04:03 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As the A380 flew towards Spain, we passed in between the Italian island of Sicily, and the small island nation of Malta…



                            There were great views of Sicily out the starboard windows, with the immense landscape dominated by Mount Etna, the tallest volcano in Europe…



                            A better view of Mount Etna -- still an active volcano...



                            And on the port side, the small republic of Malta, comprising 2 large islands, a small one, and many other unhabited islands…just under 316 square kilometres in land area – just under half the size of Singapore in terms of land area, with a population of just under 500,000.



                            Looking at the islands of Malta, I thought, as I looked out the window, that this is how Singapore would look from cruising altitude, if you took the extreme ends of the islands in the picture to be Changi and Jurong respectively, filled in the empty space between the islands with an imaginary central Singapore….

                            The international airport in Malta…



                            Gozo, the 2nd largest island in the Maltese archipelago, after the island of Malta itself.

                            Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 04:03 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We landed on time in Barcelona, just after noon….



                              …and took a taxi to our hotel, the Four Points Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal (Where I stayed on my previous visit to Barcelona as well, covered in this TR), along Avinguda Diagonal, just a few kilometres away from the Sagrada Familia, and a short subway ride from Las Ramblas, Plaša de Catalunya, and other attractions in Barcelona.

                              To be continued!
                              Last edited by yflyer; 21 July 2020, 04:04 PM.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X