Thursday, April 21, 2011

Flight Report: To Abu Dhabi with Lufthansa for $130

Two nights ago I touched down in Abu Dhabi, so visit a friend who is working on the regional rail system that's being planned. The only reason I could afford to come out here on such short notice was that my round trip ticket was a grand total of $130 for taxes and fees.

I used my miles (earned from my trips back to the US last year) to come here, which is why it was so cheap. An award ticket between Europe and the Middle East is only 35,000 miles, which is a steal when you consider that a regular ticket at such short notice is $616 right now. That means a redemption value of 0.014 cents per mile, which is a above average. In short, it's a good deal thanks to the mileage game. If it wasn't for mileage programs I simply wouldn't be here. :)

But how were the actual flights? Well, read on!

The first flight from Arlanda was on an airbus A320 and left at 6:20am. If could have avoided it, I would have especially because getting to Arlanda that early from where I live means being on a bus at 3:20 am. All in all, I'm glad that I did catch this plan because there was a great surprise when I landed in Frankfurt (more on that later).

If you read my last report on my flight to Berlin, you'll notice that spring has come to Sweden! The snow has melted and the weather is starting to get warm. The country side is starting to turn green and all of the trees are starting to bud. It's a welcome change to winter!

Overall, the flight itself was pretty uneventful, except for one thing: Down by Denmark, the airspace seemed far more crowded than usual. Two planes past within what must have been one or two thousand feet of us. The first flew directly over us (the top plane), while the second past us flying in the other direction at the same altitude. It's amazing how fast these planes actually travel. From the point that I saw the first plane going over us to the time it past was less than 10 seconds. I barely had enough time to get my camera out and take a picture.

The real treat of the flight was when we about to deplane: As I was pulling down my backpack, a woman says hello. At first I don't believe my eyes, but it was my old professor returning to Seattle from Stockholm! We had enough time to grab a cup of coffee before she had to get to her flight.

Next stop was the A340 to Abu Dhabi, which happened to be the last plane on the tarmac. The bus ride out there was a good 15 minutes alone, but at least we got to "race" an A320 on the way over. Also, I never knew this, but there are a lot of Porsches at FRA driving around on the tarmac. I wonder why, exactly?

On board, I lucked out with a window seat with no one sitting beside me, but was stuck over the wing (I always seem to be over the wing). The flight less eventful than the first, with a red curry chicken dish and a little easter bunny for dessert.

As we started our approach though, there was an amazing sight that I couldn't get on camera for the live of me: The moon here turn bright orange because of all the sand and dust in the air and the city of Dubai is lit up at night. I caught the moon juxtaposed behind the Burj Khalifa. The sillohuette was just visible with a red dot marking the top leagues above any other building in Dubai. It was a great sight, but impossible to capture from a moving plane (especially with the cabin lights on). There was only enough light to get a couple shots of the ground.

Abu Dhabi Airport

Overall, a good flight! I was really happy to see my old professor and be able to treat her to a cup of coffee. Such a random encounter!

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