Sunday, June 11, 2017

London Dubai 2017 - 1

17 May, 2017, a fine Thursday evening, we boarded Emirates EK355 from Singapore to Dubai, on our way to London.

The aircraft was an Airbus A380-800.  I traveled in an A380 for quite a number of times, other than the lower noise level, I never found anything fancy about it, especially the claimed bigger legroom was never a reality to me.  So you can imagine how surprised I was when I sat down.

The new A380-800, which is a variant of the legendary A380, actually provides bigger legroom.  Usually when I sit down, my knees will hit the back of the seat in front of me.  This time, there is still quite some comfortable room in between.

The personal screen for the in-flight entertainment is as big as those that I saw on Singapore Airline's business class.  The response is fast on its touch-screen.  Power socket, USB charge point are both available.  I was like WOWWWW..... I want to travel with Emirates, man!

Comparing with the solid hardware, software (in-flight service) was less impressive.  During the night, nobody came around to serve drinks.  No ready drinks or snacks available at the galley.  You have to go and ask for it if you need anything.

About 7 hours later, we landed at Dubai airport safely around midnight, transited to our connection flight EK011 to London smoothly.

This time, Dubai airport was not as crowded as my visit last May.  Last May, the entire airport was flooded with passengers, rarely a vacant seat was available for you to rest your tired bones.  This time, enough vacant seats for you to make a choice.

7am, 18 May 2017, we landed at London's Gatwick Airport.  Immigration and luggage claim was a breeze.  There are two terminals at Gatwick, North and South.  Train station with links to downtown London is only at the South Terminal, which is linked with the Norther Terminal with a free shuttle.

The train station at the South Terminal is small, can be quite crowded when there is a flux of passengers.  Be patient and make sure you know what you want.  There are three ways by train to get to downtown London:

     1. Gatwick Express:  It costs 35 British pounds, journey is ~45 minutes.
     2. Southern Train service:  15.8 pounds, ~55 minutes.  This is a local train service so can be crowded during rush hours.
     3. Thames Links:  I am not very sure about this, but should be similar to Southern Train service.

Gatwick Train Station

You can purchase your train ticket at the South Terminal train station.  London's Oyster card is available too, but they don't have the 7-day travel pass, and they don't have the Oyster card top-up service at the manned counters.  Probably the best you can do is buy the Oyster card, then go to a machine top-up terminal to top-up your card.

So much for today.  Until next post, bye...

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