An airline built on a reputation of impeccable service and timely performance, Emirates has grown to become one of the largest players in the aviation industry. A tall feat considering its from Dubai, a city-state smaller than most global cities older than it. Using this small emirate as its hub, Emirates makes the most of its location to grab a lot of passengers from South Asia, Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa to fly passengers across those same regions and beyond — especially to Europe and the US. [Full route map here]
And India is one of Emirates‘ biggest markets. For example, say if you are flying from any of the 10 Indian cities Emirates flies from: Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kozhikode (Calicut), Kochi (Cochin) and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). And you would like to go to a North American city like New York, Boston, Orlando (yay, Disneyland!) or even Toronto in Canada. Emirates would be your best choice! You board your flight in India, switch planes upon arrival at the massive Dubai International Airport and you are on your way for a much longer flight to your destination across the Atlantic.
Don’t wish to cross the Atlantic? Emirates has impressive connectivity to every major European city. United Kingdom? How about flights to five UK airports — London, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle — and Glasgow in Scotland.
I myself have flown Emirates twice, even though it was just to Dubai and back. The flights were always on time and the food served was some of the better airplane grub I have tasted. The service was good and the entertainment options are more than enough to keep you entertained. I mean, they have movies in regional languages like Malayalam and Tamil besides Hindi, English and other international languages. Oh, and they all have subtitles!
That said, I didn’t particularly enjoy the service on the flight from Dubai to Mumbai once. The air hostesses weren’t particularly the nicest in their manner of speech and come meal time, by the time they got to my row, they ran out of non-vegetarian meals. Which was surprising — and disappointing.
Regardless, I still dream about experiencing the best of what Emirates has to offer some time in the future. You know, when I am wealthy enough to splurge on their Business class or First class suites, especially in their Airbus A380s.
Although Emirates face some heady competition from their neighbours, especially in offering the ultimate in flight luxury, the extensive flight network of Emirates ensures when it comes to connectivity, Emirates still has the advantage over its competition. With an impeccable safety record since its inception, Emirates is your safe bet in the sky, especially for Indian passengers heading Westwards.
Dubai is a land of richness and larger than life living that has many tourist destinations and incredible architecture. This region of United Arab Emirates is also famous for its merchandise and other shopping elements. More than one third of the tourists visiting Dubai have a sole purpose of shopping and this notion gave birth to “Dubai Shopping Festival”.
There are many Dubai Shopping Festivalpackages available in the market today, with which you can easily travel and save a lot of money. After its launch on 16 February 1995, this massive retail event is than considered and promoted as a tourist destination. Considering these facts in my mind, I decided to visit this one of its kind carnival and I instantly booked my package. Continue reading “THE BEST OF DUBAI SHOPPING FESTIVAL” »
On Monday the 8th of November, 2010, I got a bunch of missed calls as I was preparing to head to office. When I finally did speak to the person, it turned out it was someone from VH1 India informing me that I had been shortlisted as finalist in their Linkin Park Ticket to Ride Contest!
But before that, she had a bunch of questions to ask: “Do you have a valid passport?,” “Can you fly at short notice?” and then asked around 9 questions about the band itself. After answering most of the questions, said she had to speak to the others and that she would call back in some time.
After the call, the only thought that came to my mind was: “HO-LY SHiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the 60-plus times I took part in the contest on Vh1 India’s Facebook page paid off!” I eagerly awaited the return call and 5 minutes later, it came.
She told me I was selected as the final winner because I answered the most questions!
She told me I could take a guest too and so I chose my elder brother Nithin, who had never been to UAE. She also told me she would send me details on tickets, where we would be staying and how we would be going to the venue. First, we weren’t going to staying in Abu Dhabi, where the Yas Marina Circuit is located. Instead, we would be in Dubai.
Hey, I wasn’t going to complain. From there, on the day of the race, we would get picked and dropped via taxi. Cool, works for us!
After we hung up, I couldn’t hold my excitement and fist-pumped “Yes!”. This was the first time in life I actually won something big! Anyway, I headed to office and also prepared to get our visa arranged (we still had to do that ourselves).
For our Dubai visa, we approached DVPC by VFS Global, the exclusive service for all Emirates flights. We rushed all our documents to their office on Cunningham road on Tuesday afternoon and hoped we could get our visas by Thursday, since our flight was on Friday early morning.
Long story short, we managed to get our 96-hour/4 day visit visa (costs Rs. 3000 per person) processed by then.
On the dawn of Friday 12th, December 2010, we were in our Emirates flight from Bangalore to Dubai.
We landed in Dubai at 7am.
We descended into one of those airport buses to get to the terminal. That ride took another 5 minutes — and my god was it cold inside that bus! It was mobile freezing chamber!
We finally got into Terminal 3 and made our way to immigration.
I was a bit worried about visa because we didn’t get any official copy prior to our departure since everything was so ‘last minute’. But it was in our ticket and we faced no issues at immigration.
Once out, we hailed a taxi and headed to Deira where our hotel was located.
We were put up at Fortune Hotel. We had breakfast and checked into one of our rooms (we got two individual rooms). First thing I did after stepping out was call up my parents and then inform my friends in Dubai that I had arrived. We didn’t rest for much because we only had one day to roam around Dubai.
We briefly caught up with my good friend Azhad, walked around Deira a bit and then made our way to the creek.
The abra ride costs just AED1 is one of the must-dos when in Dubai, be it in daytime or at night.
Once in Bur Dubai, I showed my brother the souq.
I’ve covered the souq a lot more in my trip from April. We went around a bit, bought some chocolates and made our way towards the Bur Dubai bus station.
We were in Bur Dubai to meet my friend Jassim, who had invited me and my brother over to his house for lunch.
He picked us up in his Mitsubishi Pajero.
Once at home, we were treated some fantastic mutton biriyani Jassim’s mother-in-law prepared. It was brilliant! Oh, there was chicken too. Equally delicious.
After an extremely satisfying (and heavy) lunch, Jassim offered to drive us to our next destination.
We took the shuttle bus from Dubai Mall to the metro station. Even though we were tired and sleepy, we still decided to quickly check out Mall of the Emirates — four stops from Dubai Mall.
We were here mostly to check out the Virgin Megastore. Last time I was here, I spent quite a bit on video games. This time, we just picked up some blu-rays, a music CD… and then some more video games.
By the time we were done with everything, it was 10:30pm. We had to get back, have dinner and then figure out how we were going to pack all our IKEA goods.
Dinner was shawarmas, which though better than the stuff you get in India, wasn’t as good as the ones I grew up eating in Bahrain. The Egyptian joint we picked it up stuffed it with french fries and wrapped it in kuboos instead of Lebanese bread. These were the kind of shawarmas pretty much everywhere. I don’t know, they were inferior in my opinion.
After dinner, I roamed around a bit in search of empty carton boxes big enough to hold our IKEA purchases but despite asking just about every cold store in our vicinity, the best I got were water bottle boxes. I came back with one but realized it was grossly insufficient.
Next morning, I had to call up my friend Azhad for help.