Dubai Taxis – I Want To Run Them Off The Road

DubaiTaxi

Over the last two years I have been driving more and more in Dubai, following the speed limit is hard but at least traffic is moving. And because there are an insane amount of cameras I honestly don’t know the speed threshold of the cameras, like in Kuwait you can go to about 20 km over the speed limit and the camera won’t go off, I don’t know how it is in Dubai. I have had one speeding ticket in two years which isn’t too bad, it was for going 100 in a 60, when I thought the speed limit was 80, it was a 600 AED fine which isn’t too bad after all that time.

The taxis in Dubai are something else, they cut you off, lean on you and get aggressive on the roads especially at hotel and mall entrances. Especially just on my last trip these guys were acting like idiots trying to get into an entrance which is barely moving because there was so much traffic. At one point I just started pushing the car through without a second thought, in Kuwait they wouldn’t even come close to pulling something like that but in Dubai they act like crazy drivers and it keeps getting worse. Dubai is supposed to have the most organized taxi service, and I use them a lot but when they drive on the road they are maniacs.

56 Hours Of Traveling

This has been one very hectic week with a lot going on with work, family, and other activities. Recently I had to take a quick trip to Amsterdam which is the first time for me. There was an urgent meeting that I had to attend and so we took off a few days later after confirming our meeting. I didn’t know what to expect from Holland but I was looking forward to it.

Traveling for work doesn’t always gives you the chance to look around much. But for a frist time visit I am sure I am going to repeat it as I have found the Dutch to be very nice and always helpful when I open a map and have no clue where I am. I haven’t seen so many scooters and bicycles in my life, it was -1 outside and everyone was on a bicycle or scooter, and I was wrapped up in as much clothing as I had but I loved walking outside in the cold. This city just felt so cozy walking around, we literally walked around for over 5 hours in every direction getting lost and find our way, I have a lot of posts coming up but when I sort out the pictures since I took a lot of pictures.

My Emirates A380 Experience

You always hear about the A380 and the double decker plane from Airbus and how many Emirates Airlines ordered from them. Recently I had a chance to fly on one from New York City to Dubai. I heard some conflicting reviews about it so I wasn’t sure what to expect but my expectations were not high. Usually I like flying on the Boeing 777 LR as they are comfortable planes with a very good configuration and long range for for those DXB to US trips.

Now for the first time on the plane I was impressed, it felt like I was going into a building, the thing is huge, no joke, it fits a lot of people. The Average plane fits between 180 to 250 passengers on long haul flights but the Emirates A380 can handle 644 Passengers which is an insane amount 143 of those passengers were in business class which I was a part of. You walk in you can feel that it was a bit cramped but also cozy at the same time, the seats were comfortable and go completely flat. It was a 13 hour flight that got a bit interesting because of a technical delay but the staff managed to keep people happy and we made our connection at the end. Overall there were a lot of short comings that would make me not want to get on an A380 again, it was an experience that I would not like to repeat.

My Overall Opinion:

  • You are handling over 644 passengers and business class which is usually 40 seats increased to more then threefold to 143 passengers, and they didn’t increase the staff in the same capacity.
  • You don’t get that personal touch that you expect in business class, its still there in first but it feels like you are just part of the cargo in business.
  • Asking for a glass of water took 25 to 40 mins when usually it takes them 5 to 10 mins max.
  • Overall the experience wasn’t that good, the price for A380 is even a bit more expensive then a normal plane yet you don’t get that extra service.
  • Basically you are paying for Business Class seats with economy service, you really get lost with the crowd.
  • The Entertainment system in Emirates is excellent as usual, that isn’t even under question and I hope they keep it up.
  • The bathroom was another design disaster, usual business class is 2 to 3 bathrooms for 40 to 50 passengers, and in this case it was 4 bathrooms with two that the air staff closed so basically two bathrooms for 143 so initially it was 35 to 1 bathroom but in this case it ended up to be 71 to bathroom which you can imagine was a nightmare.
  • All of this was just one thing to take into consideration, when you land into any country with 643 passengers the lines at passport control and customs is a huge disaster, even when passengers from First & Business Disembark from the different walkway then Economy we all end up together outside which is a huge amount of people and the number of bags is a also humungous. Basically its as if you are dealing with three planes landing at the same time.

The A380 may have been a success for Airbus with Airlines but it isn’t an experience I would want to repeat to anyone or one that I think is a success for individuals. As a business case its fantastic for airlines, basically packing more people in and the whole plane was full so they will be making more money, for now I’m going to stay away from any flights on that plane and I will try my luck with the Boeing Dreamliner. Boeing may have been very late with the 787 Dreamliner but that is one plane that I am looking forward to flying on. They designed it so it would be more spacious for the person riding and bigger room, more headspace, overall more spacious and more effecient way of flying. So they improved the flight experience of the travel unlike the A380.


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Emirates Twists Canadas Arm

Usually when landing into the UAE any European, American, and Canadian can get Visa upon arrival, but the case has changed in regards to Canadians. The UAE government will be announcing that all Canadians need to apply for a Visa at their Embassy for pre-approval and they may not necessarily get it.

The story behind this is that Emirates Airlines requested to open to new routes to Canada, landing in Montreal and Otawa which the Canadian Government refused. They said that they already land in Toronto which is enough. The Canadians said they have enough traffic and they don’t want anymore.

I don’t understand why they wouldn’t want more direct routes to the Middle East on an excellent airlines. But the UAE Government wasn’t taking this laying down.

Qantas & The A380

There is a lot going on about the safety of the A380 and the reason for the failure of the engine on the Qantas A380 is still unknown but whats shocking is that the blades went through the wings and so the passengers and crew were lucky. Some airlines aren’t grounding their planes like Emirates and Singapore, but Qantas grounded their planes until this investigation is completed. They have a problem with the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine, they still don’t know the main reason for the failure, the second is that parts fly out the back end and punctured the wings. Usually the front end of the engine can contain the blades if something goes wrong, but it seems part flew out the back end which didn’t contain the parts and damaged the wings, in principle if an engine is damaged its supposed to be designed in a way to contain the damage and not damage the rest of the plane.

When purchasing the A380s from Airbus you get two choices of engines, either a Rolls Royce Trent 900 or a GE and Pratt & Whitney GP7200. There are three airplane engine manufacturers in the world; GE, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls Royce. Pratt & Whitney and GE decided on a joint venture to develop the engine for the Airbus 380. So in this case the GP7200 has no issues and all the A380s ordered by Emirates have the GE and Pratt & Whitney GP7200 so there is no reason to ground those planes. So the A380s from Emirates are safe to fly but I heard business class service in the planes isn’t too good and its understaffed, too many passengers and too few crew.

Link: Gizmodo

20 Day Hiatus

Trip0910

Its been a little while since I have been online or at my computer to make any posts. I took a very nice vacation in California for the last 21 days, and during that time I barely sat at a desk or had a laptop to work on any posts. I tried to have as much fun as possible and go out as much as I could, I tried seeing as many movies as I could as well. Just got back from a 16 hour and 35 minute flight from San Francisco to Dubai, not including the short trip from Dubai to Kuwait which feels like a short trip to the supermarket in comparison. I will be back to posting normally, I have a lot to post about, thank you for everyone that emailed and asked if I just disappeared off the face of the planet but I think I was having too much fun for my own good. Still it wasn’t enough, it has been the first long vacation I have taken in almost two years and it has been much needed. I literally purged my brain of all work and any other responsibility as soon as I walked through immigrations & customs at San Francisco when I landed in the beginning of September. I didn’t even read anything from GoogleReader, and I’m looking at it right now and its the most I have ever seen, I wish the GoogleReader went above the “1000+” mark so I can know that I am denting it since its probably around 5000 to 6000, and I will go through them when I have a chance. Having the iPad 3G with AT&T service in the US basically made the laptop useless, I almost never was on a computer during my stay since the iPad 3G provided for all my internet needs, searches, email, and any type of connectivity, I basically lived off the iPad and I would recommend anyone traveling to the US to get the 3G version with them since their is 3G coverage in most major cities and locations.

Emirates – The Upgrade

EmiratesFirstClass

Going off on a long trip you always wonder what you have forgotten, I don’t think I have forgotten anything yet. Packed up all my cloths and my carry on for a long trip, headed to the airport with plenty of time. My flight take off time was at 6:05 pm so its before futoor and I have been up since 8 am and hungry as hell. After check-in I wondered why I don’t get a starbucks since I’m hungry but then I remembered I’m fasting. Got to the lounge and I was one of the few non-foreigner sitting in the lounge, I’m assuming most people prefer to travel after sunset. The plane was a little delayed but not too bad, as soon as I got to the gate they took my ticket and slashed the seat number from 9J to 2J, I wasn’t sure why but I didn’t bother. When I got to the plane I found out that they upgraded me from Business to First Class which is great, that hasn’t happened to me in years and I was surprised. When I asked why they said its because of my Skyward Card, I was happy and got comfortable. I was just waiting for the prayer time to break my fast, and as soon as it did I asked for a date and water, then prayed in my seat. As soon as the plane took off the steward brought my food right away since he saw I was hungry as hell, I ate like a starved man, and the food hit the spot before settling down to watch a movie.

Abu Dhabi – Rebranded

It seems that all you hear about these days is Abu Dhabi, Dubai has reached the peak of its fame even though it is still developing. I think AbuDhabi has learned from the mistakes of Dubai and other cities, they have taken the best of all different cities and countries and applying it to themselves. You see more and more advertising for Abu Dhabi through out the world but it is being done smoothly and with class. Dubai being the loud guy in the room, and Abu Dhabi is the suave and cool guy in the corner.

They have enticed F1 to come to Abu Dhabi, and the opening Ferrari Park soon. They are even developing the airport to be another central long haul hub in the region and aggressively promoting Etihad as the elite airlines of the region. Several major projects taking place in different areas such as the Arts in the form of the Ferrari Museum, as well as talk of an Abu Dhabi Louvre. They are taking their time and picking the best of the crop of all that they want, they have been quiet for a decade and now they are coming out

From rebranding to choosing the different color pallete to go with the Abu Dhabi brand, and then the font to match the new design. Its amazing work and I like how they have incorporated it all together and complements each other.

I enjoyed the quote below especially the “lunacy” part

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However you may be more familiar with the world’s-tallest-tower-building, 7-star-hotel-opening, artificial-islands-in-the shape-of-a-world-map-making, or palm-creating lunacy of Dubai, the more famous of the two UAE cities.

Link: UnderConsideration


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Singapore and Back

OrchardRd

Singapore has to be one of my favorite cities, my first visit was last year and this time we went for work and I enjoyed every moment there. We took Emirates airlines since it fits our schedule, and I slept on both flights to Singapore and from Singapore, the flights to Kuwait is a short 50 minutes duration so not enough time to sleep. And on the route to Singapore they use the new Boeing 777s which have very comfortable chairs, I basically slept for 7 hours straight, from the plane taking off until it landed which is perfect in both cases and kept me going the first day there and when I got back to Kuwait. We were only there for about 2 and half days, some work got finished and we still had a lot of fun, Singapore is one of my favorite cities to visit. A very diverse culture made up of Indians, Chinese and Malaysians, the main language of the country being English and everyone is extremely nice. I think they have the best public transportation I have seen period, and when you get in a taxi cab they always have a story to tell and some of them are insane which makes the ride that much more fun.

Emirates Orders 32 More Airbus 380s

Airbus380Emirates

Emirates stating a profit increase of 248% for this year, so I’m not sure why they got money loaned to them from Abu Dhabi if they are making this much of a profit. Now they have just ordered 32 more of the Airbus 380s at the Berlin Air Show, which are the double decker planes. From previous information they currently have 10 of the Airbus A380s in service to 8 destinations. Now that is adding to the 58 A380s that they have already ordered, so they are going to have a massive fleet of A380s at this rate, so what destinations they have in mind I’m not sure. They are going to outgrow there current airport Terminal 3 that they have recently built at alarming rate.

Link: Luxist