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Old November 21st, 2013, 05:45 PM   #1
hkskyline
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REPORT | EK : HKG-DXB-LED - Emirates : Hong Kong - Dubai - St. Petersburg



With no direct flights from Hong Kong to St. Petersburg, many tour operators use Cathay Pacific and Aeroflot to Moscow 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!



To be continued. If you cannot wait, the full report is on my website : http://www.globalphotos.org/ek-hkgled.htm
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Old November 23rd, 2013, 06:33 AM   #2
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lOVE THE UPDATES...!
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Old November 23rd, 2013, 08:49 PM   #3
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Good trip report! I went to your website to finish it off. Unfortunately you got the A330 which probably ruined your impression of EK. Try to avoid that aircraft as well the A340s when travelling EK. The B777s are uncomfortable in Y but at least the entertainment is good. Also EK sends the A380 to Hong Kong so you should chose that aircraft next time .

The airport in Saint Petersburg looks awful!
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Old November 23rd, 2013, 09:35 PM   #4
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That is why the new International Terminal in St. Petersburg is being built. It should be opened in 11 days.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 03:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolony View Post
That is why the new International Terminal in St. Petersburg is being built. It should be opened in 11 days.
Great! What will happen to this terminal?
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Old November 25th, 2013, 04:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmiratesAirline380 View Post
Good trip report! I went to your website to finish it off. Unfortunately you got the A330 which probably ruined your impression of EK. Try to avoid that aircraft as well the A340s when travelling EK. The B777s are uncomfortable in Y but at least the entertainment is good. Also EK sends the A380 to Hong Kong so you should chose that aircraft next time .

The airport in Saint Petersburg looks awful!
Thanks. The A330 is indeed a nasty old plane but I liked the 2-4-2 configuration. It did not feel claustrophobic like the 777 and I got an empty seat next to me so I enjoyed the flight a lot more.


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!



The Good
- 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!

The Bad
- 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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Old November 25th, 2013, 04:37 AM   #7
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That's a very interesting way to display the destinations map.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 05:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmiratesAirline380 View Post
Great! What will happen to this terminal?

The terminal will replace the current International Terminal (Pulkovo-2). Later, Pulkovo-2 will be renovated and become the VIP Terminal. Sometime after 2015, construction will begin on the new replacement of the Domestic Terminal (Pulkovo-1). It will open around 2025-2030.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 08:11 AM   #9
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awesome report!! thanks for sharing
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Old November 25th, 2013, 09:19 AM   #10
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GREAT UPDATES...!
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Old November 25th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #11
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Nice report.

St. Petersburg is definitely the worst airport of any major European city (yes, even worse than CDG which is saying something), so hopefully things will improve considerably once the new terminal is open.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
I wasn't planning to try my luck with Aeroflot while Cathay doesn't fly frequent enough to support a longer tour
Actually Aeroflot has improved a lot in recent years and has nothing in common with the airline they were during Soviet times. I've used them 3 times last year and would even consider them one of the better European carrier these days.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 05:47 PM   #12
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This is the largest preliminary detention complex in Europe - Kresty-2 (Crosses-2) (for 4000 people), under construction since 2007 and to be launched in 2014, to replace more than a century-old detention complex - Kresty (Crosses) in the central part of the city of St. Petersburg. The cost is $400 mln. It is located in St. Petersburg's suburb of Kolpino (most other pics here are of Kolpino, not central St. Petersburg).

P.S. Anticipating remarks / jokes about the police state in Russia etc., I still should say that this new complex is a step forward for the city, because the old one was known for being way to cramped and for rather intolerable conditions.

Last edited by ledeled; November 26th, 2013 at 05:54 PM.
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