My experience of flying Delhi To Dubai with flydubai Business Class
Dubai has indeed become a gateway to the Middle East and beyond. The world class infrastructure and excellent connectivity make Dubai first choice for point of entry to the Middle East and even Europe etc. I have passed from Dubai Airport en-route to the USA many times but never been inside the city. So when flydubai, the budget carrier from Dubai invited me to join them for Arabian Travel Market was looking forward to seeing Dubai on the sidelines of Arabian Travel Market. My flight to Dubai was from Indira Gandhi International Airport, T3 at 4 am that lands in Dubai around 6:15 am Dubai time.
Worried about the notorious NH 8 traffic I decided to reach the airport early and I was one of the first persons to check in for the flight. The flydubai staff at airport invited me to their business lounge. Now those of you who are not familiar with T3 of Delhi Airport, there are 2 lounge areas in T3, one called Lounges A and the other one lounges B. The lounge for flydubai is in lounges “A ” area and is operated by Plaza Premium Lounges. The lounge offers amenities like snacks, drinks etc. before your flight. But as it is a shared lounge and managed by a third party it had guests from other lounges also.
As I had dinner at home I was not very hungry and just had some cookies and orange juice. I walked towards my gate and observed what all is happening at the airport. A lot of Indian workers were going back to Dubai and many of them were with their families. One of the interesting things I noticed was that all the men had their hairs cropped very closely, probably to delay next haircut as much as possible in Dubai. I am sure haircuts are more expensive in Dubai compared to small towns in Uttar Pradesh from where many of these workers were returning to Dubai.
As I was flying business class thanks to flydubai, I boarded the plane almost in the end and settled in my window seat in row 1. The seats are comfortable and had a small compartment in the wide armrest for a water bottle and noise cancellation headsets. As I was checking the headsets and deciding on the movie to watch, the in-flight safety announcement started. As I had heard these in-flight safety announcements many times I now normally don’t pay much attention, but the flydubai announcement for in-flight safety was so interesting that I could not take my eyes off the screen. I liked the in-flight announcement so much that I watched in in both English and Arabic. I also recorded a part of it on my mobile though I am not sharing that in this post. I am sharing something better than what I recorded, just wait for some time.
The touch screen TV had a lot of options of movies, but I watched only one of them as I wanted to catch some sleep before we landed in Dubai.
But after about an hour or so in flight we were served breakfast that had pancakes, fruits, yogurt, and muesli. I decided to try to sleep immediately after the breakfast and got up only when the flight landing announcement was made.
In Dubai, my flydubai flight landed at Dubai International (DXB) Terminal 2, and as I was flying business class we were given a priority in immigration that took less than 5 minutes, as I already had my e-Visa for Dubai. Though later on, l realized I did not need a Visa for the United Arab Emirates, as I have a 10-year multiple entry US visa. This is one of the latest tourists and the business-friendly decision of the government of the United Arab Emirates and Indian passport holders are also covered in the scheme.
The first half of the day was mainly spent resting and the second half at Dubai Resorts and Parks but it was next day when I attended the Arabian Travel Market.
I was pleasantly surprised to know that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, himself came to inaugurate the ATM or Arabian Travel Market and spent time interacting with people there. He also spent some time at the flydubai stand and even checked the displayed luxurious business class seats.
As for me I really liked the coffee at flydubai stand and I was not the only one. Soon the aroma of the coffee from flydubai stand was spread around the ATM and it was the most popular coffee in the ATM.
The flydubai stand at ATM was one of the most fun stand in ATM and I enjoyed playing at the video game counter where you had to play a game as a pilot and visit various cities where flydubai has flights. Here only I learned that flydubai flies to 93 destinations in 44 countries across the Middle East, GCC, Africa, Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The airline operates a single fleet type of 58 modern narrow-bodied Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s that are fuel efficient and make less noise.
The basic principle of flydubai is to go for short to medium haul flights from Dubai that take up to around 6 hours from Dubai and they serve some of the cities that I had never even heard of in central Asia, Africa, and Europe. First time I learned about cities like – Dushanbe, Ahwaz, Erbil, Juba etc. Though some of the other names were quite familiar like our own Ahmedabad, Chennai & Hyderabad India, and Amman in Jordan. In total from India, itself flydubai connects 9 cities to Dubai and beyond.
Later on when I had a meeting with Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President Commercial for GCC, Subcontinent, and Africa I checked with him if flydubai has plans to fly to smaller cities in India besides the current ones they have. I was happy to learn that flydubai is open to flying to smaller cities in India like say Agra etc. and connect them to Dubai and then further subject to government policy. Though I am no expert in aviation policy but I think if there are direct flights from Dubai to our cities like say Agra, Bhopal, or say a Vizag etc. the amount of boost it will give to the tourism sector and job creation can be phenomenal. Just look at it this way now anybody who has to go to Agra first needs to come to Delhi and then take a road trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, but if there is a direct flight to Agra, then it can become a weekend destination for folks coming from the Middle East. Anyways that is for our government to decide but considering the new Udan scheme initiative that aims to connect the smaller towns in the country, I think the next logical step would be to connect these towns to the world and not just within the country.
At the ATM Dubai, flydubai also made a significant announcement about entering into holidays business. As part of the offering, a new online portal for Holidays by flydubai, will allow customers to browse, book and pay for flights, accommodation and services all within a single booking process. The portal will also allow travel agents, distributors and flydubai-authorised travel shops to design and book tailor-made packages. Around the clock sales support will be another feature available to customers.
The other significant learning for me at the ATM stand of flydubai was to know about their new rewards program “OPEN”. The program, launched six months ago, has been well received across the region and is gaining more popularity as it adds more partners and offers for its members.
The program, which is designed to make earning and spending reward points simple and straightforward, with no minimum balances or blackout dates, has attracted members from more than 200 nationalities to date. The highest number of members came from India with 12% of the overall membership. Check more >> OPEN
I will write a more detailed post about my experience at ATM Dubai, but let me take you through my experience on the return flight from Dubai to Delhi in business class of flydubai.
I must say my return flight from Dubai to Delhi was much more enjoyable for me, and I got to experience the business class lounge, and the flight services much better during the return journey.
As Dubai is the base city for flydubai they have a dedicated lounge at the Terminal 2 of Dubai airport.
The lounge is spread over 2 floors and offers a choice of drinks, dinner, and snacks. Not only they have a variety of snacks and dinner options there were enough choices for vegetarians like Pita Bread rolls, hummus, rice, vegetable curry etc. Needless to say, all the non-vegetarian dishes served are Halal. I had some snacks here and then enjoyed Arabian coffee with some dates.
When time to board the flight came I was informed that business class passengers have a dedicated gate to board the flight. So I sashayed through the gate and boarded the flight. I had the same seat 1F on the return journey also and most of the time I spent watching movies as I did not want to sleep on the return flight.
The dinner had 3 choices of the main course in the flight including a vegetarian option, so all I can say was I was happy and though not very hungry (remember all the snacks I had in the business class lounge of flydubai at the airport?) I still ordered vegetarian main course and finished it off.
Note to Wife jee >> I skipped the dessert though it looks very tempting.
Note to readers >> Wife jee is subscribed to the desi Traveler blog and also chairs the WJBBC or Wife Jee Board of Blog Certification.
Before I close this post about my business class flight with flydubai from Delhi to Dubai, as promised I am sharing with you the super cool in-flight safety announcement video of flydubai . For more information on the flights and offerings of flydubai visit their official website.
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