The longest day

Dubai Travel Blog

 › entry 44 of 53 › view all entries


Today is a big day for we depart Kiwengwa for Male in Maldives, taking three flights in succession.  At 0900 we got picked up by the driver who had dropped us of at Kiwengwa. His name is Said Abdullah (Happy Servant/Slave of God). This was our big day of flying, starting with Zanzibar to Dar then Dubai, then connecting (after midnight) to Male.

The ride to the airport took about an hour which meant we had about 1h40 before our short flight from Zanibar to Dar es Salaam. The check-in queue was long and vey slow moving but we got to the front eventually.

We managed to get lounge access upstairs before our flight. Also onboard was a former President of Zanzibar and his entourage. I was surprised the flight wasn’t held back and we hadn’t been bumped due to them. We were only airborne for 15 mins and cruised at a maximum altitude of 4000 ft.

After collecting our luggage in Dar, we went out. Kim and I had disagreed about the taxi rate chart which I said had a conversion rate of TZS10,000 to USD10 when it should be USD5. He didn’t believe me but I was right, as usual and of course!

We went into the check-in area for our Emirates flight to Dubai. We had more than 4 hours till departure but there was some activity with ground staff setting up the desks so we queued up. In anticipation of all the sitting down later, we didn’t mind standing around till the counters opened 3h15 prior to the 1645 flight.

We were more or less first in the queue. The trainee told us that they couldn’t accept standby passengers yet and to come back in two hours. That’s quite normal for a fullish flight, but the supervisor happened to hear that and said “Didn’t you hear me at the briefing? Check them in!”. That was such a welcome command and it meant that we had 1h45 downstairs lunching in the lounge.

To our surprise, our luggage was checked all the way to Male. But they couldn’t issue the proper boarding pass from Dubai to Male; only a Standby boarding pass. We were happy with that as we had expected to face grumpy immigration staff, collect our luggage, re-checkin and then face immigration queues. This is far better than anything we have experienced before on our own airline.

We departed on time with a spare seat between us. The chicken briyani was excellent and I followed it up with a Bailey’s coffee. What a difference from the other days’ flight simply because the noise level and temperature control was better.

We had managed to be a few rows further forward of Door 4 (compared to our outbound leg) and that made quite a difference. I walked up and down the cabin and there is quite a variation in noise level that peaks around Door 4. Overall, it was a bit quieter than our outbound flight, perhaps the galley chillers (another contributor to high pitch noise) weren’t on because there weren’t any meals to chill on the way back to Dubai.

While disembarking, I noticed the crew at the front was Malay I said “Dari mana?” and she said Melaka. Based on just that she thought I was Indonesian because of the way my accent had developed over the years.

We had a remote gate; Dubai airport keeps growing but it is never big enough to accommodate the traffic. At the terminal, security was swift. Strangely they do security before the transfer desk (to get a boarding pass) which means people can be airside without a boarding pass! Once airside we missed the correct lift to the transfer desk and went to the shopping/gate level. We had to descend to the transfer desk only to be told that they couldn’t accept us in this instance until close-off at the gate. We had to clear security another time to get to back to shopping/gate level.

We managed to get our third lounge entry in less than 24h, this time at the Marhaba Lounge which is nicer than the ones I’ve used back in Terminal 1. The food veg curry and the tomato-eggplant-lentil stew were both divine.


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photo by: vances