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Petra, Cairo, More Mileage Running

Petra, Cairo, More Mileage Running
via Lufthansa and Emirates First Class
February 2018

Off to Chicago, Frankfurt, Brussels, Dubai, Amman, Cairo, London and JFK!


With another hall pass from my sweetie, I'm off today for nearly four days of flying around the world.   The genesis of this trip was BA's ridiculously cheap CAI-HNL Business Class fare that lets me earn BA Executive Club Gold and second One World Emerald status in one roundtrip.  But how to get to Cairo.   Why not Emirates new 77W First Suites which Emirates operates once a day to both Brussels and Geneva?   Without the time to reposition to CMB, fellow Flyertalker batmandds and idea decided on the cheapest ex-BRU which was much cheaper than ex-GVA.  The cheapest fare we found was to Amman.    Close enough to Cairo and it gave us most of the day in Jordan with enough time to drive down to Petra and back for flights out that evening. 

Saturday morning just before 6am is a great time to drive to LAX.  And easy parking on the lower level of the T4 garage.

LAX-Chicago O'Hare
American 362
February 17, 2018
Seat 5A


I picked this flight as it was cheap ($18 after my free $100 AA Gift Card from Amex) and pretty much guaranteed that my EXP upgrade would clear.

AA's 738 still has excellent leg room although the slider seats that I detest.

Need prood that AA doesn't clean the blankets before they repackage?   No idea what was caused that to stick together, but I didn't really want to investigate too closely.  

It's been months since I've flown an AA midcon but today's flight was excellent, the blanket thingy notwithstanding.   Cabin crews can make or break a flight and today's crew and especially our First Class FA Nicolo was terrific, starting with PDBs.

Another gorgeous SoCal morning.  See you in three and a half days.

Today's choices were steel cut oatmeal or omelet.

Surprisingl, my omelet was very good. 

Heading out over a frigid Lake Michigan before turning back to land.

And into Gate H17 and the lovely Chicago decor.

Heading out for the long trek to the C concourse of Terminal 1.


Getting closer... the attractive connector from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1.

With some cool art on the benches and windows.

At the top of the escalator in the C concourse is United's new Polaris Lounge with lounge dragon posted well outside to police access.

Nice decor.

The lounge features a reasonable selection of serve yourself options. 

But the highlight is the full-service dining area with separate menu and respectable Business Class wine list, although I completely forgot to take pics.  My bad.

Ferrari-Carano Chard.

...to go with my delicious seared ahi starter.

We both had the fabulous rib-eye, with a glass of very nice Daou Cab.

At around T-50, we headed out for the tunnel and back to the B concourse.    Looks like a full flight today.

Chicago ORD to Frankfurt FRA
Lufthansa LH 431
4:20p-7:40a +1
February 17, 2018
Departed 6/8
Seat 1K


Fortunately, First and Business Class boarding had already started so we were able to board right away.

Back home again in one of my favorite First Class cabins.  We had 1A and 1K.

Pre departure Henriot and macadamia nuts.

Flurries continued and are now starting to stick to the ground. 

Ten minutes later, yikes!

Today's menu.

Today's singularly unimpressive wine list.  Seriously, this is First Class?  Even American gets it better than Lufthansa.

OK, this is starting to get serious.

Definitely a de-icing day.

This is one butt ugly day in Chicago.

Yay, we are outta here.

Once in the air, our wonderful crew sprung into action.   Another glass of Henriot with our amuse bouche.

Even though we had just eaten in the Polaris Lounge, we continued to drink and eat.  LOL.

More champagne and a glass of vodak with our caviar.

The starter trio with a glass of... I can't even remember which white I had.  Wasn't that memorable anyway,

Nothing on the menu was that exciting so we both went with the burger.  Ha.

And wine tasting of all the reds.  Whoa Nellie.   batmandds' impressive wine glass collection.  

The burger was quite good despite being well done.

Our cheese and dessert cart.  For the life of me, I can't remember what I had but pretty sure I did have some cheese.  Memo to self, time to stop drinking because the hangover will inevitably follow.

No mas, no mas.

Time for some shut-eye before we land in Frankfurt, a short 7 hours after departing O'Hare.

A long meandering taxi is not good news at FRA, as we headed to the far end of the airport and possibly the most remote remote stand.  I guess we know how LH feels about Chicago.

Our limo to the terminal, although I have no idea why we waited 5 minutes and shared it with a non-F pax.

Cool retro livery, but let's get a move on.

Unfortunately, our driver was in no hurry and seemed to believe that there was a 30 km/hr speed limit. 


Unfortunately, German efficiency was sorely lacking as passport control had only two agents.  An arrival from Delhi did not help the process.

Fifteen minutes later, we were out and heading for the First Class Terminal, with 45 minutes before our departure for Brussels.


With only 45 before our connecting flight, we quickly exited the terminal and turned left... 

... past the taxi stands...

... and towards the First Class Terminal.

After only about 25 minutes, we headed downstairs to our cool Panamera for the drive to our BRU flight.

Frankfurt FRA to Brussels BRU
Lufthansa LH 1008
February 18, 2018
Seat 4A

Not the best timing today as we got stuck with a timid driver and in the jet bridge behind half the plane.

Ah yes, the lovely Lufthansa Euro-fraud Business Class.   Although this one was much more acceptable than last month's 4 hours to Tel Aviv... and with a flight time of only 40 minutes. 

A quick 40 minutes later, we arrived at Brussels.

I had trouble with online checkin so I headed out to do the proper Emirates check-in.

Oh yeah, can't wait.

After check-in, back thru security and passport control.

Love it.

All the lounges are upstairs and apparently accessable only by staircase as I couldn't see any elevator.    

Emirates uses Brussels Airlines The Suite, a mediocre Business Class Lounge, but the best of a sorry lot.

We both wanted and needed showers but unfortunately, The Suite didn't have any.   Fortunately, the Diamond Lounge had showers and they are a Priority Pass Lounge... although decor was pretty weak.

The shower was great and we decided to stay in this lounge until we headed to our gate.

With the excited building, batmandds and I headed to our gate at T-50.

Brussels BRU to Dubai DXB
Emirates EK 184
2:35pm-12:30am +1
February 18, 2018
Departed 6/6
Suite 1E and then 2A

The wait seemed like an eternity, but 15 minutes after we arrived at the gate, boarding was announced.

OMG.  This is gorgeous.  Simply spectacular. 

Service was marvelous today, starting with a little Dom.

The two inside suites have simulated windows with a live HD feed of the outside of the plane as if you were actually in a window suite.  But incredibly, the view seems even better than the real view. 

The HDTV screen in each suite is bigger than anything I've seen on any other plane.   And with twin minibars flanking the screen. 

The suite is incredibly spacious and well designed, with a luggage closet...

... and wardrobe closet with pocket shelves for binoculars, headset and inflight magazines and entertainment guide.

Talk about legroom!

The view from my inside "window".

There are multiple contol panels in each suite.   The one controls lighting, color palette and temperature.  It even tells you if the lavs are vacant or occupied.   Each suite has multiple air vents with the ability to control the temperature in your suite.  

And an array of lights and lighting intensity options...

... ceiing lights...

... and floor lights.  Even the color of lights.   More on that later.

We had the First Class cabin to ourselves for 20 minutes before a family of 4 arrived.    While the novelty of the inside suite seemed cool when I selected 1E, I was happy to accomodate the family by moving to 2A so dad in 1A could communicate with his young daughter in 1E.

No old fashioned call button.  You can voice call or video call your flight attendants, even though they are less than 20 feet away. 

You can contol the color decor in your suite at the touch of a button.   This is more dramatic at night are you'll see later.

Still at the gate, the traditional pre-departure dates and Arabic coffee.

One of the three air vents in each suite.

The entertainment controller at your fingertips.

Today's menu...

... and amazing wine list.

And we're off, pushing back on time.

Our live very HD video feed on our short taxi out for take off. 

Getting ready for showtime, a huge pull out tray table.

Our FA delivered a snack basket.

... drinks and nuts.

Showtime, Emirates-style.

I started with the delicious Lamb Medallions with Balsamic Glaze, minted couscous and asparagus.

And the fabulous and huge fresh seasonal salad.

For my main, I chose the Poached Salmon with horseradish, sautéed vegetables and steamed potatoes with dill.

I was so full after dinner, I passed on dessert... although this doesn't count, right?

Another cool feature of the suite is complete privacy with ceiling to floor doors, with a small door so your flight attendant can serve food or drinks without opening the main door.

There are two lavs at the front of the cabin for 6 First Class Suites. 

Simply gorgeous.

With a serve yourself snack cart, just in case you're hungry on your way back to your suite.  Ha.

By the time I got back to my suite, my fully made bed.

Amazingly comfortable.

After a 90 minute nap, on descent to DXB.

Here are those suite color options, pretty cool at night.

More incredilbe live HD views as we land.

After a short taxi, we pulled into our arrival gate, or rather our arrival stand.

Although pretty convenient with a dedicated, luxurious bus for only First Class passengers.

Now that's a bus.

A few minutes later, our bus dropped us off at the tarmac entrance to the B gates.

What an amazing day.  Emirates has raised the bar for luxury travel with what they call a Game Changer.  It is all that and more.  This is the absolute best First Class cabin in the sky.  Unfortunately, Emirates only flies this on two routes at the moment and have firm plans for a limited conversion of its 77W fleet.  Hopefully, they will change their strategy and implement a more aggressive expansion. 

Once inside the terminal, you quickly realize that just after midnight is prime time at DXB as thousands of pax arrive and move to their connecting flights.

Our DXB-AMM was still more that 7 hours away and did not have a posted gate.  We decided to take the train to the A concourse and the massive First Class Lounge.

I'd forgotten how massive the lounge is spanning the entire length of the concourse, perhaps a mile long with multiple lounge areas, restaurants, bars, work areas and retails outlets.

My office for the night.

Around 2am, we decided that it was time for dinner or lunch or whatever meal our body tells us it is, and headed for the nearest fine dining restaurant.

Loads of serve yourself options.

But we opted for proper sit down order from the menu service.

batmandds started with the Tuna Carpaccio.

I had the excellent Oriental Wrap.

We both had the Chicken Pahadi Kebab which was fabulous.

For dessert, my Sticky Date Pudding was delicious.

And even better with the creme anglaise.

Just over the railing by our table, a creative way to spend the night...

Back to the office at 3:30am or so and good news, our gate is posted and it is an A gate... although a bus gate, but still in the same concourse we're in.

At around T-50, we headed out for Gate A18.

And then it dawned on us... oh yeah, A18.  Bus Gate.

Dubai DXB to Amman AMM
Emirates EK 901
February 19, 2018
Departed 3/8
Suite 2A


Downstairs, a pleasant EK agent check our boarding passes and passports.

And the Bus Gate holding pen where we were asked to wait for the First Class bus.

Yeah, if you have to bus it to your plane, this will work. 

We boarded thru 2L.

Passing thru the mini-J cabin on our way to First.

Very nice, but it's no New First.  OK, how quickly do we get spoiled.

Nevertheless, service today was flawless, as I settled in for our 3 hour flight.

And decided to watch Indiana Jones and the The Crusade, mostly for the Petra scenes at the end of the movie.

Nice pics of Dubai with the usual haze.

Since it was morning in Dubai, I started with a Bloody Mary.

And showtime, Emirates style.

My Koussa mfarakeh was very good.

Our descent and approach to AMM.

The old plane graveyard right at the airport.

We  paid $30 for VIP Arrival services and it was well worth it as first timers here.  Our amiable Meet & Greeter guided us thru visa purchase and passport control. 

And then handed us off to our funny and borderline crazy driver for the day, Maher.


We headed off for the 3 hour drive to Petra just after 10am.  This is one boring and bumpy ride.   But Maher had reasonably good wifi on board.

Maher stopped at a little food stand along the way and bought us lunch... very tasty pesto and sesame flatbread.

Two hours later, we're at the Petra exit.  Also for the Montreal Hotel.  LOL.

Another hour later, we arrive in Petra.

Where Maher handed us of to our local Petra guide Ali, for our three hours six mile walk thru specrtacular old Petra.

And finally, the iconic Treasury.  

We left Petra just after 4pm for the drive back to Amman.  Sheep have the right of way here.  LOL.

An exhausting but exhilarating day in one of the most fascinating places on the planet.

Amman Queen Alia International Airport


We arrived at Amman airport just before 7pm, some 3+ hours before my Amman-Cairo flight. 

While batmandds went to the Emirates counter, I headed to Door 1 and check in for Royal Jordanian Crown Class.  

Wow, this is pretty cool... civilized sit down check in like SQ or EY First.  

I was offered private security and passport control but opted to head for the main part of the terminal to check on batmandds who had been unable to OLCI and had to try to find someone to issue his boarding pass... nearly 7 hours before his 1:45am departure.

Despite the sign, no luck checking in.

So we bid adieu and I headed for passport and security, while he headed for Starbucks on the arrivals level.

Not a lot of signage but miraculously I finally found the entrance to the Crown Lounge... although only after asking an RJ staffer.  

The lounge is very attractive and huge... spanning both sides of the mezzanine level of the departures concourse. 

With great views of the retails stores on the lower level.

I had planned to shower before grabbing a bite to eat... but that wasn;'t going to happen.

After setting up shop in a quiet area of the lounge, I headed over to the dining area.

Pretty weak selection of food offerings.

Although my selections were quite tasty.