Tech-know-crat

Your Dose of obsession from Formula 1, Flying, Travel, Football, Watches, Collectibles and everything inspirational everywhere in daily life

Posts for Tag: Belgium

The Flying Diaries : BOM - BRU - BOM ( Emirates First )

The Belgian GP is my favourite race on the F1 Calendar and I have attended 4 of the last 5 Grand Prix held at Spa-Francorchamps; also one of my closest friends shifted base to Brussels in 2017 and what better time to meet him than after the Belgian GP weekend. 

Emirates introduced their new Boeing 777-300ER Game Changer Suites ( in First Class ) on the Dubai-Brussels route ( Geneva being the other ) and I was fortunate enough to try it for the first time in 2018. The new fleet of 777-300ER sport not just a fully private First Class suite but also a revamped Business Class and Economy Class! ( more on the First Class Cabin later ).


I opted for EK 501, the solo Airbus A380 service from Mumbai to Dubai ( 430 am departure ) and EK 183 from Dubai to Brussels. The return was on EK 182 ( a red-eye flight ) to Dubai and then EK 506 to Mumbai. The outbound journey was on 29th August 2019 and the inbound on 9th September.


Mumbai - Brussels ( Emirates First ) ( 29th August 2019 ) :

All set to head for Europe!


Emirates Chauffeur drop at the airport, efficient and courteous as ever :


The First Class Lounge at Mumbai Terminal 2, one of the finest lounges in the world :


Food, food and more food! Business Class passengers enjoy an amazing spread in the Buffet and are offered a 15 minute complimentary Foot or Back Massage. First Class travellers are offered an A-la-carte menu besides a complimentary 30 minute massage!


The First Class Suite onboard Airbus A380, the newer fleet of the A380s have also gone through a revamp ( not plying on this route though )


Arabian Coffee & Dates!


Taxiing to the Runway :


Video Link for Takeoff from Mumbai :



Breakfast service to Dubai :


Fruits, Yogurt, Paneer and Pea Toasties for Breakfast :


The descent into Dubai International Airport :


Touchdown on a beautiful morning :


Landing Video :



It was quite a journey from one terminal to another besides getting to a lounge closest to the departure gate for my flight. 

Unwinding in the lounge, was here for a very brief period though :


It was soon time to board the flight for Brussels and I was excited to enjoy the Refreshed First Class Experience all over again!

My abode for 7 hours..opulence!


Commencing departure procedures :


Arabian Coffee & Dates anyone?


Taxiing to the Runway :


Enroute to Brussels and some stunning views of the Dubai Skyline :


Video Link for Takeoff :



Breakfast and Lunch on the Dubai - Brussels leg :


Ginger Ale with some crisps, Chicken & Lemongrass Consomme, Prawn Brisque and Milk Chocolate Cake..an amazing Lunch onboard!


Post lunch I decided on doing a feature on the Game Changer Suite. 

Emirates have done a stellar job on making premium travel even more comfortable. First Class now is a totally enclosed cabin with full height closing doors, a zero gravity seat designed by Mercedes Benz, Bowers & Wilkins E1 Headsets & a huge Screen to enjoy the entertainment onboard, a pair of Binoculars to enjoy the views from your window, Video Calling facility which enables guests to interact with the flight stewards for their culinary needs, even aisle seats now have Virtual Windows where HD Cameras relay live images onto these window screens so everyone can enjoy a view, mood lighting, mini bar and some essentials like a vanity kit, diary and pen etc. ( Apologies on missing out any other major feature, the list runs long!! )

A Quick walkthrough of the Game Changer Suite ( Video Link ) :



Flying over Europe, Love the Interactive Flight Map, a newer edition as well :


Brussels and its suburbs from above :


Hello Belgium!


Landing at Brussels International Airport ( Video Link ) :



I opted to stay in Hasselt over the weekend since it was only 60 minutes away from the race track. The commute to Hasselt from the airport takes about 75 minutes.

Enroute to Hasselt :


Brussels - Mumbai ( Emirates First ) ( 9th September 2019 ) :

A BMW to ferry me to the airport, this time from the Central part of Brussels :


Driving through the streets of Brussels..so much history around us!


Brussels airport, looks more like a mall :


The Brussels Airlines Lounge which doubles up as an Emirates Lounge. This lounge is in need of a serious makeover.. a mediocre spread, non-existent service, dull atmosphere..quite a disappointment.


Back in the Boeing 777-300ER Game Changer Suite! One of the best seats to fly in!


Dates and Coffee, you just cant get enough of this..the Arabian way of welcoming their guests!


Time to say goodbye to Belgium!


Takeoff Video :



Dinner and Breakfast was offered onboard :


Virgin Cucumber Gimlet with Chips, Spring Pea Soup, Porcini Mushroom Risotto & Chocolate Silk Cake for Dinner..stuffed! 


Enjoying Avengers Endgame in HD on a humongous screen coupled with amazing sound quality from the Bowers and Wilkins E1!


The Voyager App, the interactive Flight Map onboard ICE, Emirates' inflight entertainment system - features 3d Maps, flight paths and 3D views from a virtual cockpit!


With 3 hours to land, I decided to get some sleep!


A foggy morning while descending into Dubai :


Dubai International Airport :


Landing at Dubai International Airport ( Video Link ) :



Shots of the Lounge in Dubai :


Making our way to the Aircraft from the terminal, a 25 minute bus ride :


Seats onboard the Boeing 777-300ER, I decided to not upgrade myself from Business to First for this leg ( preserving miles for a long haul flight next year ).


Pushback and takeoff!


Beautiful views of the Dubai Skyline :


Video Link of the Takeoff, bound for Mumbai :



Breakfast service on the final leg :


Aloo Methi with Sabudana Wada, a proper Indian fare for Breakfast :


Nearing touchdown at Mumbai :


Touchdown Mumbai :


Video Link :



The ride home :


I am a big fan of the Emirates Game Changer Suite! I really hope more routes are added featuring the new fleet. The Food onboard was amazing, the service impeccable, the lounge in Brussels was the only disappointment. 

The Flying Diaries will feature a new airline in the next post..an unexpected journey to the Far East! We take a brief pause in the series to first Review the 2019 F1 Season. 


Watch this space!

The Paddock Weekends - 2019 Belgian GP - Day 3

Sunday at the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix was an emotional one, a day of tributes. It was a day when the entire Motorsport community, teams and fans alike stood together as one to honour the racer that Anthoine Hubert was. It was a day when the Community reaffirmed, we stand together in the face of this loss and tragedy..we mourn today yet one day we shall rise again..

The Formula 2 Sprint Race was cancelled as a mark of respect. All the teams from both the Support Race and F1 Race Paddock congregated on the Pit Straight to pay tribute to the memory of Anthoine Hubert. The fans had decided to rise in standing ovation on Lap 19 ( the number on Hubert's car ) during the F1 race as a mark of the respect for the racer. The schedule for the rest of the day was unchanged. 


Making our way to Spa Francorchamps :


The Paddock on Sunday Morning, a busy day ahead for everyone but the atmosphere was sober and grim after the incident on Saturday.


Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren Racing F1 Team :


Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


I made it into the Motorhome and Breakfast was waiting for us :


Post breakfast I went for a stroll through the Paddock and some more heroes from this profession.

The fighter Robert Kubica, Rokit Williams F1 Racing Team :


Esteban Ocon, Reserve Driver for Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team :


Double World Champion in Formula E, ex F1 racer Jean-Eric Vergne :


Sebastian Vettel! Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team!


Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


Time for a quick bite before heading out for the Pit Lane Walk of the day :


Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :


We took our spots outside the Paddock to watch the race start and the Belgian Air Force obliged us with an amazing Fly-Past :


Video Link :



The Grid Kids making their way back from the Starting Grid :


The Race got underway shortly after.


Formation Lap ( Video Link ) :



Race Start ( Video Link ) :



Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen had a coming together at La Source hairpin in the opening lap. The Finn was left with a badly damaged floor and had to go through 2 pit stops before coming out at the back of the pack. Max wasn't as lucky and ended up in the barriers before Kemmel Straight. There was a collective groan from all the Dutch Fans who had made their way to the race to see their hero race. Credit to them, they stayed back to honour Hubert ( lap 19 tribute ). The Safety Car was deployed on the Opening Lap. 

It was a difficult race for Kimi thereafter. 


Race Restart after Safety Car Period ( Video Link ) :



Shots from the Race :


Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team fighting hard in the Race :


I was in the Team Garage for the Latter Part of the Race and was able to watch a Pit Stop from the Garage!

Video Link :



Kimi came home in P16. Antonio Giovinazzi was doing a fine job in P9 until a mistake on the penultimate lap made him crash out of the race. It was a wretched weekend and zero points for the team :( Antonio also suffered from an impact ( whiplash ) injury and had to be attended to post race.


The cars making their way to Parc Ferme after the Race :


Charles Leclerc took victory from Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Sebastian Vettel ended up P4 after some poor strategic calls by Ferrari. Ferrari were relieved to finally win a race in 2019. It was the start of a 3 race winning streak for the team, an indication that one should never write off the Prancing Horse.


Parc Ferme and Interviews for the Top 3 finishers.


Video Link :



The podium ready to welcome the Top 3 :


Presenting the Top 3 finishers of the 2019 Belgian GP :


Podium Presentation Video Link :



National Anthems time :


Trophy Presentation :


Video Link :



The cars sent to FIA Scrutineering :


I made my way back to the Motorhome and the team were distributing some Magnums. Helps cool everything down.


Packup time for the teams. The next race ( Italy ) takes place on the next weekend, so the turnaround time is very less for the teams.


Taking some more shots outside the Motorhome before its dismantled and shipped out :


I got to meet some more technical personnel!


Kimi Raikkonen's Race Engineer in Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team, Mr. Julien Simon-Chautemps :


Masahi Yamamoto, Managing Director for Honda Racing in F1 :


The Paddock being wrapped up :

After a certain time, it becomes quite unsafe to loiter around and its advisable for guests to leave the Paddock Area.