Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dubai Travelogue (2) - The flight...

Airline staff greeted me at various points along the lengthy boarding passageway. I picked up the Saturday edition of the Hindu newspaper from a neatly arranged stack - not bad, they were quick; they must have got it straight from the printing press - it was just 3am Saturday!

In the plane, it was a little amusing to see a few people fight for overhead baggage space. If everyone couldn't find space the air hostess will figure out some other space for the luggage. But a couple of people, probably unaware of this fact, struggled to squeeze their hand baggage in the top and even though they couldn't close the loft they left it in the same place. The air-hostess finally arrived on the scene and whisked the extra baggage to another area. I was glad that we didn't have to worry like we do in buses about our baggage! The air hosts (I just found that they are called flight stewards) were smart and fresh - not even the faintest sign of sleep in their eyes; they were probably quite accustomed to this night routine by now. I didn't notice any Indian stewards on the flight.

I was on an aisle seat with a couple of English ladies sitting beside me. This was a Boeing 777 and even the economy class had a personalized inflight entertainment system with games and movies. The only problem was that I was feeling sleepy! So many movies to watch, so many games to try out... sometimes we want to do so many things but our body just doesn't permit us; the mind is willing but the flesh is weak!

There was a slight delay in departure with all the air hostess closing the lofts, attending to mothers carrying babies (giving provisions to secure the babies), giving an orange drink and blankets to passengers. None of the babies cried - maybe they were frequent travellers! The two ladies near me went off to sleep almost immediately after the blankets were given. The customary procedure of an air-hostess showing how to use the life jacket and position of exits was missing - instead it was all shown on the entertainment tv and the big screen common tv present in each section. They also provided us with a breakfast menu that listed what the vegetarian and non vegetarian plate contained. With the fancy names on the non-vegetarian plate I opted for that.

When in the air, there were a few thoughts that popped up, "What if it crashed, what if we were struck by lightning". We conjure different scenarios in the mind, in each of which we would be the hero - but I don't know how in a water landing scenario I could be a hero without knowing swimming!

There were plenty of movies available - English, Hindi and Arabic. I tried watching the animation movie "Up" but the dialogues were in Arabic and French; when I finally figured out how to get it in English, I felt sleepy and took a walk to the back of the flight. The design at the back was a little weird and appeared very congested. They had obviously tried to cram in as many seats as they could. Each row had 9 seats divided in sets of 3. As the design of the plane converged, the number of seats were less at the back, with the last row having just two seats. At the back, I couldn't find the restroom and none of the stewards were present. After walking through the stewards' cabin a couple of times I noticed a thin door behind the last seat. The toilet was very small with just enough space for one person to squeeze through the door - optimum design! Hefty people would find it a challenge to get into the toilet and use it.

Almost all passengers had dozed off. On returning to my seat, I dug into the booklets and pamphlets that were kept in the pouch attached at the back of each seat. There was one with a couple of stickers that could be put on the seat - one read "Wake me up only for the meal" and the other read "Do not wake me up". Nice little innovation – usually in flights it was the steward who would take a call on whether to disturb your dream or not based on gut feeling. But I don't think anyone really saw these stickers because no one used it and it was buried in the pamphlet pouch. The non veg breakfast was some form of continental and indian breakfast dish made with half scrambled semi solid egg. Hidden in a layer on the lid was a single poori, which though thick tasted good. After the meal, I played a few chess games out of which I won a couple and lost the rest while playing against a "harder" computer opponent. The last game was the best; after 5 moves I dozed away and woke up 15 minutes later to lose the game! I drifted into a nice nap.

8 comments:

B said...

I was never aware that there is "Do not Disturb" card inside the Cabin. It gives a feel that we are inside the cabin while reading through the article. Waiting for the next edition.

sstutor said...

We usually don't dig through all those booklets! Not sure if all airlines have it as well

Anonymous said...

Speaking of design, I have one question only!

The roof! Did it hit you?

Waiting for the next edition, too.

sstutor said...

Haha; Boeing 777 are designed for international passengers; so nps with height :-)

suresh said...

u still play chess????

sstutor said...

Yup Suresh; I still do - still remember the games in college? :-)

sujiganesh said...

Ah ur a master in chess!!!hope u had a grt trip!

sstutor said...

am a novice in chess! yup - had a great time