However, there are several airlines which I had my heart set on trying, one of them being Emirates. They don't have any direct flights to Ukraine, but Aerosvit and UIA do operate flights from Kiev to Dubai, wh ere it's then possible to transfer to Emirates flights heading elsewhere. Thus, while exploring flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka, for my vacation, I found that the cheapest one was offered by Emirates, for $650.
Dubai at night. The conical building in the middle of the photo is Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper at 2722 feet (829m).
Dubai's airport is a sight to behold. It services over 6000 flights weekly, headed to over 220 different destinations all over the world. In all, there are 3 terminals. Emirates has its own: Terminal 3, which can simultaneously board 52 planes.
Terminal 1 (Sheikh Rashid Terminal):
Terminal 3 (the Emirates terminal):
During the long layover, all passengers, including those in economy class, are offered free meals. The cafe wh ere this takes place is located in Terminal 3, one floor up from the Burger King. In addition, for layovers lasting longer than 6-8 hours, Emirates offers a free overnight hotel stay for certain classes of passengers.
On top of that, Emirates offers free strollers for passengers traveling with children:
The fleet of the company is comprised of more than 150 planes, all of them large, long-distance airliners. Their flight network covers over 300 fdestinations.
This photo was taken in the middle of the night, the number of departures is astounding!
A view of Terminal 3 from the outside:
Emirates Airbus А380:
My flight to Colombo was aboard an Airbus A330:
Bright red lipstick is part of the strict dress code for female Emirates flight attendants! Using lipstick that isn't bright enough will get you in trouble, up to and including a formal reprimand.
The cabin crew was pretty diverse. About half the ones on this flight were British.
The Flight Entertainment system deserves a separate mention. There was a very large selection of movies, music and games. Mobile phones had service courtesy of Aeromobile, at the same rates as regular roaming in Asia. Aeromobile is a special mobile service provider for airliners.
Another detail that I loved: The cabin lighting was adjusted during the overnight flight to create a warm and cozy atmosphere. The lights on the ceiling were laid out to look like a starlit sky. It was quite spectacular.
Meals were frequent, delicious and wholesome:
On the return flight from Colombo to Dubai, the plane was an hour behind schedule. We arrived at the Terminal at 7:00 AM, the departure for Kiev was scheduled for 7:40 AM, but once we got to the Emirates registration stand we were informed that check-in for Aerosvit flights was already closed, even though the plane was still waiting at the ramp. I think 40 minutes was plenty of time for a transfer.
They were very apologetic, gave us tickets for a 10:30 PM flight and booked us a hotel in Dubai, as well as issuing us a 1-day visa for Dubai (!):
Meals at the hotel were complementary and generous:
Thus we had an unexpected and pleasant stay in Dubai.
The Emirates headquarters in Dubai: