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 :
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!