Last Thursday I had no idea when my visa may come through and now, the following Monday, I am sitting in the Emirates Business Lounge, Terminal 3 Heathrow, waiting for embarkation and the start of the first leg of my journey to Sydney, Australia.
The first leg is a 6 hour 45 minute flight to Dubai, followed by a 3 hour stop over and then a 13 hour 45 minute flight to Sydney. If all goes well we will be touching down at 07:00 local time Wednesday morning. What ever way you look it is a very long flight!
According to my ticket I will be travelling on the new super-jumbo; the Airbus A380-800, the largest passenger aircraft in the world. This monster double-decker aircraft has required many airports to upgrade their facilities in order to cope with its size and weight. The configuration inside the plane varies to suit the requirements of the airline so I’m looking forward to seeing what is on offer to the weary traveller.
The first leg of my journey is now complete and I am sitting in the lounge at Dubai International Airport waiting to board for the second much longer leg to Sydney.
It is safe to say the A380 is an awesome aircraft. The entire upper-deck is given over to business class with the exception of a small area at the front which is allocated to first class. There is even a lounge bar at the back so that you can stretch your legs while enjoying a drink. On this first part of my journey I took advantage of the full lay-flat bed which allows you to stretch out and sleep in comfort. Even the food, which I would normally ignore, was excellent.
The business lounges, which are generally available at all destinations, are a real bonus when travelling. They offer somewhere to sit in comfort, grab a coffee or even a full meal if you are hungry. At Heathrow there was even the added advantage of being able to board your plan directly from the lounge to save you having to walk too far. Here in Dubai everything is bigger. There are far more passengers and therefore the quality is perhaps not quite as good. But everything you need is available. Unfortunately as the airport is so much bigger it does mean that I have to walk just a little further to my plane.
A new section of the airport has recently been opened to cater for the A380 and so the walk was a lot further than expected and even involved a train ride! But no problem as there was plenty of time.
Time is now 04:00 (UK), 08:00 (Dubai), 15:00 (Sydney). Currently all in the same day!
Had lunch, although I have no idea what the time actually is; had a sleep and written some entries for my blog, both this and English History, and there is still 7 hours to Sydney! Sleep, films, sleep ….
One thing is for sure, going straight to work in the “morning” is going to be horrible.
It is now 12:00 (Sydney), 01:00 (UK), and I am in the office starting work!
Customs and immigration at the airport was far more straight forward than I was expecting. The slowest part was waiting for my luggage before going through Customs. Passport was stamped, landing card checked, straight through – no fuss, no bother. If only all airports were as good as that.
The Emirates driver was waiting for me and took me straight to the hotel so that I could have a shower and get changed before heading to work.
At the moment I feel fine, but just how much I get done today I don’t know. The guys here all travel regularly so know exactly what it is like.