I had to travel to Dubai last week on a business trip but since I was going two days early I booked my tickets separately and at a time when there weren’t too many flights. I’d never flown on Fly Dubai before so decided to check it out.
Round trip to Dubai cost 80 KD and its ok considering I was going and coming back during weekends. Fly Dubai is a budget airline just like Jazeera but I found the service to be a little better than my experience with Jazeera.
For one, the legroom in the flight was marginally better and I didn’t keep bumping my knees into the seat in front of me. The inflight entertainment system offered movies, music and news but you had to pay for entertainment packages. I didn’t opt for that since I was watching some standup comedy on my mobile. Each seat has a USB input and 3.5mm headphone socket so you can connect your own headphones. I’m not sure what formats can be played via the USB port and I didn’t find any relevant information on the menus.
The inflight system also lets you buy items from the duty free catalog including food and beverages so I ordered a Jack Daniels and Pepsi with nuts combo for 25 AED (approx 2 KD).
Fly Dubai operates out of Terminal 2 in Dubai and its a rather small one compared to Terminal 3. I’ve heard many people complaining about how small it is and the lack of retail outlets. Also unlike the other terminal you don’t have to walk for miles to reach your gate or exit the airport.
As usual you have to get a visa application form from the visa office, fill it out and pay 185 AED (approx 14.25 KD) for your visa which has a validity of 30 days. Once you’ve done that you have to to the Iris scanner where a lady (whose #1 priority is texting and chatting) will put down her mobile phone long enough to scan your eye and update your record.
Once you’ve got that done, head over to the passport control counters and they’ll stamp your passport with the entry stamp and verify the passport details. As you can see from the photos, the airport was like a ghost town and there were just about a dozen of us going through the counters. I made a mental note to myself to use Fly Dubai on my next trip if this was how easy it was to land at Terminal 2. Unfortunately this was not the case on the way back to Kuwait.
Honestly I don’t care much about shopping at the duty free shops except for alcohol and in this regard they had a decent amount of liquor to cater to all booze lovers. There’s a scaled down version of Terminal 3 Dubai Duty Free selling a selection of chocolates, trinkets and alcohol. For those looking to grab a bite, there’s a Mc Donald’s, an Irish sandwich place, a Kabab joint and an ice cream shop. I didn’t see much else of interest while I was there.
Also if you’re thinking of getting a Du or Etisalat connection its better to buy it from a shop outside the airport since the activation time is 3o mins, while its 24 hours otherwise.
Back to Kuwait:
I knew my luck had run out when I approached the departure counters for my flight back to Kuwait. The scene inside the airport was pure chaos. Passengers trying to board the Bahrain flight were stuck in line with only less than an hour to take off and the ground crew were running in circles trying to round them up. Since I was in ‘good spirits’ I made way for them and moved further down the queue.
Once I had checked in my luggage, I headed off to the passport control counter and handed over my passport so that they could stamp my exit. The guy at the counter spent a few minutes looking over my passport and then asked to go to the visa section since there was ‘some problem’. I was not sure what the problem was since all my papers were in order. The nice gentleman at the visa section spent a few minutes furiously typing away on his keyboard in a effort to trace any evidence of my landing at Dubai the previous week and was just as confused as I was. Luckily since I had my visa papers and receipt and also a valid working permit for Kuwait he seemed convinced that I was not an illegal 🙂
Now back in possession of my passport and boarding pass I went to the assigned gate to find out that they has changed it since another flight was taking off with an even greater passenger list. As I stood in line I kept thinking of what to order on the flight back some since the humidity had taken a toll on my spirit and I needed a bloody cold beer to bring me back to life. To add to my misery there was a technical glitch on the flight and we had to sit on the runway for about 45 minutes. I had about 80 AED in my pocket and they had magically turned into a bevy of sweating cold beers that floated around my forehead in a happy circle, singing and dancing to a merry Irish tune.
Imagine the feeling when I strapped myself into the seat and heard the stewardess announce “welcome aboard Fly Dubai, flying from Dubai to Kuwait, this flight is non-smoking and no drinks will be served…” Fuck!