TRIP REPORT: Emirates, Zagreb - Bangkok via Dubai

TRIP REPORT | INDEX


Written by Sven Palac

Flight Zagreb (ZAG) – Dubai (DXB) data:

Flight number: EK130
Flight date: 18 July 2019
Operated by: Emirates
Aircraft type: Boeing B777-300ER
Aircraft registration: A6-EBQ
Departure time: 15:25
Arrival time: 23:00
Flight duration: 5h 35m

Flight Dubai (DXB) – Bangkok (BKK) data:

Flight number: EK376
Flight date: 19 July 2019
Operated by: Emirates
Aircraft type: Airbus A380-800 (2 class configuration)
Aircraft registration: A6-EUO
Departure time: 03:40
Arrival time: 13:15
Flight duration: 6h 35m
*all times are local

On 18th of August 2019, together with my group of six students and one teacher from one of Zagreb's high schools I flew from Zagreb Franjo Tuđman Airport to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport via Dubai International with Emirates.

We bought our tickets for a return trip a month prior for 510 euros which was the best option for my group. The cheaper option was Qatar Airways for 450 euros, but with a layover of 15 hours at Doha Hamad Airport on our way back from Bangkok, which wasn't ideal for my group. I also considered flying from other airports in region but flying out of Zagreb was the best and cheapest option without doubt.

Flight from Zagreb to Dubai

We had completed our check-in online and chosen our seats 48 hours before the scheduled departure time. After we arrived at the airport, we dropped our bags and got our boarding passes in no time, we had some two and a half hours until departure. Some of my friends had few kilos of overweight baggage, but the guy at the check-in counter said he would ignore it. I am always amazed by the fact that Emirates has six check-in counters for its sole daily flight from Zagreb, one each for first class, business class and online check-in passengers and three for economy class. We headed to the security check and passport control one and a half hours before departure. After 15 minutes we were in the departures area.

View from security check (level 3)

I personally really like Zagreb Airport. I never had any problems there. Check-in, security check and passport control on departure were always quick. I also love the architecture. Only thing that's bothering me are the announcements at the gate. Often, I can't understand them clearly. Boarding commenced 35 minutes before departure. Crew greeted us upon entering the aircraft in both English and Croatian. Around half of the flight attendants were Croats, Bosnians or Serbs. We were seated in the back of the aircraft where Emirates has twin seats on its Boeing triple sevens. Blankets, pillows and headphones were waiting for us at our seats. One of the flight attendants told me that the load factor was around 85%. My friend's in-flight entertainment system (IFE) wasn't working, so the flight attendant moved us one row back on seats reserved for crew and also made a funny comment that Emirates always sends “dinosaur“ airplanes to Zagreb which really was the case this time. This triple seven had a pretty old version of IFE. We pushed back on time, just after Korean Air’s Airbus A330 arrived from Seoul-Incheon and parked at the gate next to us.

Korean Air A330-200 parked at the gate just after landing from Seoul

Interior of the airplane (B777-300ER) upon boarding
We taxied for some 10 minutes and departed from runway 23 making a left turn just after takeoff. I tried watching a movie, but I found it very difficult because the quality of the screen was poor and the volume wasn't loud enough, so I eventually gave up. You could order a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the whole flight. Food service started after about 2 or 3 hours into the flight. We had a choice of chicken or salmon meal, but by the time the food came to us they didn't have any more salmon left. The food was very nice, I really enjoyed it.

Menu – Zagreb-Dubai

Dinner

We had great opportunity to see beautiful views of the Black Sea, Kuwait, Baghdad and Doha while flying and Dubai's remarkable sites such as Palm Jumeirah, World Islands and Burj Khalifa during the descent and landing.

Interior of the airplane (B777-300ER) over Kuwait

Layover at Dubai International Airport

We landed in Dubai at 10.45PM (15 minutes ahead of schedule) and parked on a remote stand. The flight crew greeted us in Arabic, English and Croatian, it's always great to hear: „Poštovani putnici dobrodošli na zračnu luku Dubai-International…“ upon landing so far from home. After we got out of the rather cold aircraft, a heat wave hit us. I was wet by the time we got to the bus. It was 40°C at 11PM :).

A6-EBQ – our ride to Dubai

Display in the bus showing Zagreb and Dubai time

We got to the terminal building around 11.30PM. It took us another 5-10 minutes to pass security check for transfer passengers. Our onward flight to Bangkok was scheduled to depart at 3:40AM so we had some two and half hours before we need to be at gate C11 which was assigned for our flight.

There's really a lot to do at Dubai International Airport during your transit time. Howeverm as all airports, it wasn’t cheap for the most part, so we spent our time eating at McDonald’s, looking at airplanes landing and taking off, exploring Dubai Airport and buying something here and there. The souvenirs at Dubai-International were, to my surprise, rather cheap when compared to the prices of the souvenirs in the city of Dubai. If you're traveling through Dubai Airport you can pay in US dollars, British Pounds, euros or UAE dirhams, but in most cases you'll get change in dirhams (United Arab Emirates currency). What is funny to me is that for a bottle of water I paid 20 kunas (around €2.7) in Zagreb, but in Dubai I paid 2 dirhams (around 0.5€) for it.

I like the interior of Dubai International, very modern design reflecting the Arabic culture. Indoor palms are really cool, especially the golden palm :). I prefer the area around C gates, I find it quieter and nicer.

On my way to the gate

Flight from Dubai to Bangkok

Boarding started on time, 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time. The gate area was really packed. Flight was 100% full with two-class configuration on an Airbus A380-800. I was seated at the back of the aircraft at seat 82B. Again, blankets, pillows and headphones were waiting for us at our seats. We departed at 4:20AM, 40 minutes late, in a northernly direction, taking a sharp right turn shortly after takeoff and continuing over the Gulf of Oman. We were able to see beautiful views of Dubai and Burj Khalifa at night.

A6-EUO – our ride to Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi

Staircase to upper deck

Golden Emirates amblem

Shortly after take-off, the cabin crew passed through the cabin with drinks and some small snacks. We could order instant cup noodles at any point during the flight. The sun started rising some 40 minutes after take-off, so the cabin crew made sure that all window blinds were closed so people could sleep in the dark. I personally didn’t want to sleep on this flight, because I wanted to enjoy the aircraft, so I started watching a movie. The IFE was great: big screen, great resolution, very responsive screen and a great remote control which also had a mini screen on in so you could watch two different pictures at the same time. Eventually, I realised that I am too tired to watch the movie, so somewhere over India I tried to fall asleep, which wasn’t very easy for me. I also tried asking the flight attendant if he can show me around the upper deck because that was my huge wish. He said that he would do that any other day, but not today because they had a VIP guest in business class upstairs. Two hours before landing the breakfast was served. The first breakfast choice was a classic omelet and the second one was chicken yakisoba which was a meal inspired by Asian cuisine. I decided to take the second option, it was very tasty and a bit spicy. I really enjoyed it.

Cabin over India

IFE system showing information about the flight and direction of Mecca

Menu – Dubai-Bangkok

Breakfast

Following the food service, the flight crew gave us Thai immigration forms, which individuals from certain countries must have while entering Thailand. We started our descent upon entering Thai airspace, during which we could see beautiful views of Thailand. We landed at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport 5 minutes after schedule. The landing was very smooth as was the whole flight. The flight crew greeted us in Thai, English and Arabic. We parked near another Emirates Airbus A380. I really enjoyed this flight with the A380. It is a magnificent aircraft.

View during the descent into Bangkok

Another Emirates A380 near us

While we were exiting the aircraft, one flight attendant greeted us in Serbian, which was a pleasant surprise. He also apologized that he didn’t realize earlier that there was someone from ex-Yugoslav countries. We had a decent walk to immigration and customs. The immigration took us over an hour. Immigration officers were very strict and impolite, they also took our photos and all fingerprints. It was very crowded all over the arrival and pick-up area. After immigration we met with our hosts shortly. I was amazed by the amount of people at the airport.

Interior of the aircraft (Airbus A380) upon landing

Interior of Suvarnabhumi airport ahead

Queue at immigration

When I arrived at my host’s house, I realized that it was located near Bangkok’s second airport - Bangkok Don Mueang Airport. This airport is Bangkok’s secondary airport and is primarily used for domestic and LCC flights. I had great views of aircraft departing from this airport. I shot the photos below from a window in my room.

Thai Lion Air Boeing B737-800 takeoff from Don Mueang Airport

Thai Lion Air Airbus A330-300 takeoff from Don Mueang Airport

Thai Lion Air Airbus A330-300 takeoff from Don Mueang Airport

All in all, this trip from Zagreb to Bangkok via Dubai was very pleasant and everything went smoothly, I would recommend Emirates to everyone and I will surely fly with them again. Thailand and Bangkok are truly amazing, great people, great cuisine and cheap prices. I am certain that I’ll go back there. Hope you enjoyed this trip report! If you have any questions about Thailand, the trip or would like to read the trip report about the trip back to Zagreb, please let me know down in the comments.


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Comments

  1. Great trip report. Hope you write one about the return flight too :)

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    1. Thank you! I will write it as soon as possible.

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  2. Thank you Sven. U went with your school, what was the reason for going there?

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    1. My school has a student exchange program with one school from Bangkok. Thai students are also coming to Croatia in April.

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    2. Thanks for yr reply, sounds good. I hope u enjoyed BKK and I am sure that the students fm Thailand will fall in love with yr beautiful country. Happy New Year fm ZRH

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    3. I really enjoyed Bangkok and Thailand, our hosts were really great. Thai students who come to Croatia always enjoy it very much, I am sure that it will be the same this year. Thank you very much, happy New Year to you too from ZAG!

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  3. Bravo Hrvatska!

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  4. Nice report. Anyone know why they would send older planes to ZAG? Maybe costs are lower?

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    1. Different companies have different ways of differentiating and presenting themselves. Emirates always wants your check in process to be as smooth as possible (as noted by the writer of the trip report) wherever you fly from, and ZAG is not a high yield market so something has to give. They do not want to cut the number of airport staff and services, so they make cuts elsewhere.

      Another good example is American Airlines which I think is the only OW member other than BA that has its own baggage assistance counters at Heathrow.

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    2. The 777 that fly to Zagreb have regularly been sent to Sydney too so.... I wouldn't pay too much attention to what flight attendants say as a lot of that would just be hearsay.

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  5. Awesome trip report. I still find it fascinating that we need a visa for Thailand with Croatian passports obtained before departure - when Russia and a lot of Central Asian countries can get it on arrival... One of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, and an EU member state needs a visa so many years after joining the EU... Does anyone know the reason for this?

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    1. I can't tell you much about the Central Asian countries (not knowing much what agreement my country signed with them) but for Russia, Thailand and Russia have had diplomatic relationship date back to the time of Tsar Nicolas II. Several years ago Thailand and Russia signed an agreement to waive the need for visa for the 100th years anniversary of this diplomatic connection. Hence Russian citizens can just come to Thailand and stay up to 30 days without needing visa. The same goes for Thais visiting Russia - we don't need a visa, just Thai passport and a printed document (available on internet from Thai embassy to Moscow) explaining this policy since some immigation officers in Russian airports aren't aware of it.

      Meanwhile for Croatia... well, either Thais use multi-entries Shengen visa received from another EU country to enter Croatia or we grumble how there is no Croatian embassy in Thailand and to obtain a direct Croatian visa we need to mail our passport to Indonesia where the closest Croatian embassy to Thailand is located. Same goes with Serbian visa (also in Indonesia) or Bosnian (in Malaysia).

      Considered how in recent years Thais are flocking to Croatia in an increasing number, yeah, a closer cooperation in diplomatic level would be great.

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    2. One of the magnificent results of Kokosinda's presidency and the proof how good job she did and why she deserves one more mandate for singing to mafiosos and touching soccer players

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    3. anon: Thank you very much for nice comments! It would ofcourse be better if we didn't need visas for Thailand, but it really wasn't a problem to get it. You can get in in Thai General Consulate in Zagreb, it usually takes a day, but I got it in literally 5 minutes.

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  6. As a Thai stalking this blog since 2013 to plan my future ex-Yugo trip, this report hits a bit close to home. XD

    Thank you for a thorough detail, Sven! I'm happy to hear you enjoy your time in Thailand. (minus the grumpy immigation officers - these guys are often overworked because the dang government here runs a policy to stuff as many tourists into the country as possible without taking the capability of actual number of personnel into consideration >:/ )

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for a great comment! I really fell in love with your country and don't worry immigration officers didn't ruin anything. :)
      Hope you visit Croatia soon.

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