Flight Report : Hong Kong - Dubai - Casablanca

It's a long way to Morocco from Hong Kong. Against the wind, start with an 8-hour flight to Dubai, then a short transit, followed by another 8-hour flight to Casablanca. The overnight departure on the A380 helped reduce the total travel time a bit, with a light meal first service as most people were ready to doze off. Compared to my last long-haul flights on Emirates to Russia a few years back (the NZ-Australia hop I did last year was short-haul), service seems to have gone downhill. Gone were eye-shades - those are for ultra-long hauls, and not tonight's red-eye. How much can you save from unloading a few eye-shades anyway?

At least the A380 takes off and lands quite smoothly and quietly.

I absolutely hate transiting in Dubai. Go downstairs, grab a train, and head back upstairs into the crowds. 2 hours isn't really enough to go from gate to gate.

We all know which airline dominates this airport.

There aren't enough seats in this terminal, but behind this gate and downstairs, there is a bigger holding pen, albeit you lose access to the shops and restaurants. Being stuck in that pen is a bit boring, so I waited a bit while "Final Call" kept going up here. The sign is actually a bit misleading.

The Casablanca route was upgraded to the A380 just very recently, which is quite a sight with 2 levels of boarding.

I settled into my window seat. The Economy cabin was, as expected, not full. The A380 has good legroom and a large TV screen.

The flight map and cameras were impressive. You get a choice of 3 cameras installed at various parts of the plane.

Emirates has placed quite an extensive array of IFE choices to keep passengers entertained on long flights.

I sat on the left side for my flight to St. Petersburg a few years back, capturing Burj Khalifa as we took off. This time, I got a right side seat to see Sharjah. The weather seemed quite decent for a few aerial shots this morning.

Breakfast is served! Counting the light snacks, I would be fed 4 times for my 2 flights into Casablanca. It is indeed a long journey. This sandwich tastes better than it looks actually.

Tired from the previous red-eye, I took a doze over Saudi Arabia and woke up as we entered Egypt.

The other reason why I picked the right window was to spot Cairo, Alexandria, and Malta along the way.

I couldn't see Cairo, but the Mediterranean coast was easy to spot.

The mountains in the distance belong to Crete.

As I examined the flight map, I was quite happy the IFE included PIP so I won't miss my selected entertainment along the way.

I haven't gone crazy from the long journey yet. With 3 more hours to go, the extensive IFE and aerial views kept me fairly entertained. The time passed by magically. Soon, it was time for lunch.

The size was decent and it tasted good.

We flew high above Malta and I scrambled to get a few decent shots of the islands. The A380's curvature makes taking photos quite difficult, but at least the windows were clean.

After Malta, it didn't take long before we reached the African coast again. Welcome to Tunisia. Due to its perceived insecurity from past incidents, tours to this country have dropped to rock bottom prices.

As we crossed into Algeria, I kept a lookout for Algiers, which should be as sunny as pretty much all the areas we passed through so far.

Good morning, Algiers!

The muddy Sebkha d'Oran is near the Algerian border with Morocco.

Tired from all the photo-taking, I went for a bathroom break and scanned around the cabin.

I like the wood panels and automatic water dispenser.

Emirates' IFE is definitely an industry winner. With so many destinations, they have stocked up quite a diverse selection of programming to keep these long flights bearable. I typically don't scan these entertainment guides but this time, it was worth a look at the diversity.

You can bring 1000 cigarettes into Guinea duty-free. Compare that to the 19 you can bring into Hong Kong - less than 1 pack.

A few months earlier, I redeemed my orphaned Skywards miles for a duty-free item. Their catalogue is quite extensive.

The headsets have improved and look a bit like noise-canceling.

By now, we are over Morocco and arrival is in sight!!!

By now, after so many hours in the air, I have lost track of time. It is the next morning, but still several hours behind as we flew west, chasing the sun.

While the Sahara stretches into the country, Morocco actually looked fairly lush and green from the air.

Our gigantic plane landed safely on a sunny day. The cockpit crew announced we were going to be towed to the parking spot and told everyone to stay seated even when the plane stops. Apparently, we are too large to have a gate so the final journey into the terminal would be by bus.

So how long does it take to empty an A380 onto buses? Surprisingly, it didn't take too long, but it was quite annoying to be held up like this after such a long journey. While we trickled downstairs, the Qatar flight arrived and snuggled into their gate quite quickly.

Service Summary

The Good

The Bad

  • A380 is really quiet and smooth so it's easy to catch some sleep
  • PTVs are large with ample IFE choices
  • Skywards (Saver) mileage even for a group tour ticket

  • no eye-shades for a long red-eye
  • crew quality has dropped and they are not as attentive and responsive
  • DXB is overcrowded and there are not enough seats
  • bathrooms are filthy and there aren't enough of them even for men

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