Emirates Flight Report Photo Gallery

 Hong Kong - Dubai - St. Petersburg

With no direct flights from Hong Kong to St. Petersburg, many tour operators use Cathay Pacific and Aeroflot with either a domestic flight or a train connection. I wasn't planning to try my luck with Aeroflot while Cathay doesn't fly frequent enough to support a longer tour, so Emirates it was, with a long transit in Dubai to make the journey ever more painful.

Emirates' 777 is a cramped jet with 1 additional seat per row than other airlines. The 3-4-3 configuration is quite intense but at least the televisions were huge. Legroom was decent but the seat did feel a bit narrow.

Considering it is a red-eye flight, I wasn't too hungry to feast on dinner. A 2nd meal came before landing to stuff me beyond full.

Breakfast is served. Presentation looked a lot better than other airlines through simple things like an angled plate that looked more Business Class style.

Welcome back to Dubai. I quite like displaying the aircraft ID on their flight map - a great feature for enthusiasts!

With a 5-hour transit that I wasn't looking forward to, security was exceptionally quick and I soon emerged at the customer service desk to get my meal voucher. Emirates provides meal vouchers for long transits that are valid at several restaurants in the terminal. They are quite attentive on the details, with a whole rack of strollers on display.

Still full from my 2 meals during the overnight hour, I opted for a salad instead. I would think vegetables are costly in this desert oasis.

Luckily, many planes were taxiing out to keep me company.

Electronic maps are placed throughout the terminal. These machines will show the passenger's gate number after scanning the boarding pass. However, the passenger's name is also displayed, so remember to log out immediately after use!

Boarding commenced on-time and it was an orderly process. The flight was nowhere near full today so I found a pair of empty seats by the window and made myself comfortable.

After a short taxi, we took off towards the northwest.

Having scored a left window seat today, I got to enjoy the Dubai skyline and Burj Khalifa. Too bad it was a bit hazy.

Clear skies over the Persian Gulf today.

We soon crossed into an arid part of Iran.

After 2 meals on the overnight and the free meal voucher due to the long transit, I was stuffed once again with another meal on this flight.

After crossing the western part of Iran, the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains came into view. Given it is June, I assume they are snow-capped year-round.

Today's flight is operated by an older aircraft with antiquated television screens that do not feature AVOD.

With no on-demand entertainment, I had to flip through the magazine to find out what would be on.

They use a mathematical route map to illustrate their huge number of destinations. Looks more like a science experiment, doesn't it?

The flight was uneventful and the clouds came and went on the descent into St. Petersburg.

After landing, we were held up on the taxiway for quite a long time as planes need to cross the runway to get to the terminal building. I saw a number of landings, which meant the taxiway would have been quite badly backed up by the time we started moving.

I expected a lot of unique local airliners and I was not disappointed. Too bad a torrential downpour started soon after landing.

The guide warned about long queues at immigration, which could take some 3 hours to clear. It didn't look too bad at first when I stepped into the antiquated terminal building. But the horror emerged as I headed downstairs into the immigration waiting area. The entire waiting hall was full of people waiting to be processed. It was impossible to see where the lines were from the mass of humanity. While the queue didn't seem very long, I was only able to cross 90 minutes and the inspection went at a snail's pace. Guess the officials weren't interested in efficiency at all. By the time I got through, the luggage belt had stopped and my bag was already on the floor beside it.

Finally, we made it with still a lot of daylight to spare! What an annoying experience and welcome to Russia!

Service Summary

The Good

The Bad

  • crew were attentive and served with a real smile
  • 777 PTVs are large with ample AVOD entertainment choices
  • complimentary meal voucher is given for transits of over 4 hours
  • too many shops at DXB!

  • 777 is very cramped with narrow seats
  • too much food for an overnight flight
  • DXB is very overcrowded and there are not enough seats and toilets available
  • old A330 aircraft with antiquated PTVs and no AVOD
  • mismanagement at immigration in St. Petersburg, leading to unreasonable waiting times

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