[Jun 24, 2011] Dubai Do - 24 June 2011 (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Discussion in 'Meetups' started by eightblack, Feb 15, 2011.  |  Print Topic

Dubai Do - 24 June 2011
Start Date: Jun 24, 2011 08:00 PM
End Date: Jun 26, 2011 09:00 PM
Time Zone: Asia/Dubai +04:00 GST

Location:
Grand Hyatt Dubai
Sheikh Rashid Rd
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Posted By: eightblack

Confirmed Attendees: 7
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  1. eightblack
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    eightblack Silver Member

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    The Inaugural DUBAI “DO” – June 24-27, 2011

    [​IMG]

    It’s officially on! The very first Dubai DO. What better way to spend a weekend in June than in the middle of the desert! With your closest friends from our frequent flyer community.

    This is your chance to stay in some wonderful hotels, to do a mid-year MR and to catch up with those folks who actually live in Dubai.

    While it’s too early to let you know of all the planned activities, we are in discussion with Emirates to see what might be able to be organized. The EK “heavies” all want to sit down and pow-wow with the folks from Skywards (but we will save the non EK guys the pain).

    One of our EK regulars (who is an EK staff member) has suggested that we try and sneak a peak into the EK training centre. This would involve a tour of the crew training facility, which is in use 6 days a week from Sat-Thu.

    It has full moving cabin simulators with smoke, turbulence, crash landings, ditchings on water and all kinds of things being re-enacted which might be fun. (his words, not mine!)

    And for the 'techies' there are also the cockpit simulators. There’s another area of cabin mock ups which are used for service training and if it’s a manageable number, we might able to be hosted as being passengers for a group of crew going through their training and receive a full meal service - minus alcohol though (count me out for this part then…)

    I will explore this option – and make no promises, so please no stalking me with “is it on, is it on, is it on?”. Which is nearly as bad as your kids saying “are we there yet, are we there yet?”

    Be patient. I will try.

    As most of you know, Dubai’s “weekend” is Fri and Sat. Sunday is a normal working day.

    The plan is to arrive into DXB on Thursday sometime and meet up at the Grand Hyatt in the evening. We’ll be organizing the mother of all “brunches” (ie the all you can eat and drink) types at one of the hotels.

    In addition, one very generous fellow (who is a local) has already offered to host a BBQ at his own Villa on the waterfront, and there are a whole range of other activities folks can do, from hot air ballooning, to dune buggy racing to visiting old markets, to shopping in huge malls to checking out the Burj Al Arab, the “King Of Bling” 7-star hotel (see below)

    [​IMG]

    I am happy to co-ordinate logistics until:
    a. My liver fails or
    b. My wife and kids leave me

    Whichever occurs first.

    And before you all bombard me with email, we chose June for a couple of reasons. Yes, we know it’s hot. But the last time I looked, Dubai was in the middle of the desert. It also fits the DO calendar and doesn’t conflict with any other event.

    July is when the “high season” fares kick in and right before the European Summer fiasco. Besides, after having seen first hand the general physical condition of the average attendee at the recent SIN Do, I’m guessing not a lot of you will be coming to Dubai to run a marathon or participate in a triathalon.

    What to do next?
    Contact me with either a "definite" or "maybe" and I will then consolidate and add to the master list.

    [​IMG]

    Useful Links

    Emirates
    Dubai Tourism
    Visa Requirements
    Dubai Tourist Attractions

    Video Intro to Dubai



    If you would like to help organise any/all/part of the Dubai Do, please contact me. I am looking for as many folks as possible and I will be conducting a recon trip to DXB in the next month or so.

    I hope to see many of you there for what promises to be a fun weekend in the sun!
     
  2. techgirl
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    techgirl Milepoint Guide

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    Hmmm... I've always wanted to go to Dubai. As long as I could shop instead of doing airplane/airport related stuff, I'd potentially be interested.

    I'm not a fan of "mass togetherness" at DOs anyhow... I only choose those where I can opt in/out of activities that interest me, mainly meals/happy hours, so I can tour/shop/spa on my own. If that works for this event, pencil me in as a maybe!
     
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  3. Tinkerer
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    Highly, highly recommend a dune drive. Highly, highly recommend you select Arabian Adventures to do it with.

    Note - I'm not associated with them in any way. Took a tour with them and loved it (cars were in excellent condition, planning was very well done, and dunes were spectacular). Then joined a tour with another company (I didn't plan this second one) and it was a meh experience.

    BTW, the DO sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I have a commitment for that weekend already :(
     
  4. Brit
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    Brit Gold Member

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    I'd love to do a Dubai do. Put me down as a maybe. Depends on what the years brings in terms of business. Being self-employed, and all that ....
     
  5. Scott Weinberg
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    I can't go to DXB and this is on the Middle Eastern restrictions. I cannot allow it at all. I'm sorry.
     
  6. IDGflygirl
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    This sounds sooo cool, but am unlikely to be available that weekend![​IMG]
     
  7. Chamonix
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    Chamonix Silver Member

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    I'm with tech girl....always wanted to go to Dubai.....would love some of the planned activities but she's sounded the siren call of the spa......Pencil me in as a maybe, especially if I can go to the spa with tech girl? :) just can't fathom the whole weekend trip with just the guys....
     
  8. dedehans
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    I am confirmed for the DXB DO....
     
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  9. Skye1
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    Just got back from Africa, and need to catch up on life/work a bit, but put me down as a "maybe". Dubai is def. on my list of "places I think I really want to visit", and I'll start having a look at flights this week.
    I assume Eightblack will be demonstrating the lav-simulators at the training centre. :)
     
  10. I might be able to come to DXB; however, the problem is timing. Anyways it looks like fine, but since I live just 5 hours away by car I will do the less noble thing and drive there :p
     
  11. Brit
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    I so badly want to do this DO. I am trying to see whether I can swing the dates. Last day of school for my 3rd grader is June 22, which makes it a bit difficult; but I'll see what I can do.
     
  12. techgirl
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    I really wanted to do this but looking at my calendar, I've got a conference AND two client quarterly meetings (their inflexible dates, I'm afraid) so no way to make this swing. :-(
     
  13. eightblack
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    Ok, my fellow EK Ambassador Ung1 and I (who live over on the other website) took a trip to the Sandpit this past week in order to prepare for the upcoming DO in just on 4 weeks time. Things are still a little fluid while we add the finishing touches - but we were very fortunate enough to talk with Emirates and planning is well underway for their official involvement.

    In terms of the agenda and timings: Here's the first cut. For all events, we are going to ask you to RVSP. Only ONE event requires a deposit, and we'll explain how and why a little bit further down. Down below, you'll see the dedicated posts to each event. Which I will populate with confirmed attendees only. Once you have digested everything - just let us know which events you want to sign up to. You can change your mind if you get a better offer! Please RSVP at the end of this post.

    THURSDAY 23 June
    Welcome drinks and kick-off, 6pm
    Venue: The Vista Bar (see above), InterContinental Hotel, Festival City Dubai
    http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/interc...hotel-features/dining/bars/dubai-festivalcity

    (When we say "kick-off", this is a loose term which means, let's all meet in the one place over the course of several hours. It won't matter if you are not arriving into Dubai until Friday. There will be plenty of time for you all to buy me a drink ;))

    [​IMG]

    FRIDAY 24 June
    The Big Brunch
    Time: 12.30pm until we fall off the chairs
    Venue: The Park Hyatt, Dubai
    Don't eat breakfast. And bring your Lipitor. You may want to wear pants with an elastic waist band! You're going to need to have a good lie down after you finish this. If you finish at all. It's a spectacular hotel and a wonderful setting. We have our own private dining area.
    http://www.restaurants.dubai.hyatt.com/rest_promdetails.php?restid=50&restaurant=Traiteur

    Costs:
    Option A - AED375 (US$107) No alcohol option. Just lunch + free flow soft drink
    Option B - AED450 (US$122) Wine and beer option. And lunch
    Option C - AED595 (US$160) (The "Prospero") This is the full monty. Free flow Veuve Clicquot, unlimited "mohitos", free flow beer and wine. And if can fit anything else in, lunch as well!

    Reservations are required for this event and this is the only item on the Dubai Do agenda where you will need to provide a deposit, as the organizers (ie me) are financially responsible for the final numbers and any no-shows.

    I know its expensive and yes, we looked at multiple "brunch" options during our recent trip, but we felt this catered to everyone. And we were recommended this hotel by several locals. So we made an executive decision.

    Meet in the bar for either a coffee or a warm up Bloody Mary from 11.30am. More to come on booking conditions later.

    FRIDAY Evening:
    Own plans. Social networking. Or buy eightblack a drink.

    SATURDAY 25th
    Activity Day
    We're going to list a range of activities - which members are free to sign up to. Some of these events may have a minimum booking condition, so we will need to see how we go getting the numbers. These events are not mandatory and you are completely free to go off an explore Dubai on your own or with a group of others.

    One of our forum regulars, and EK Ambassador, mrtdxb, has kindly offered us the services of his company's internal travel department. They have all the local contacts, and the best rates. Scroll down for details.

    [​IMG]

    Indoor Skiing
    Ok, this was my idea. I'm a mad skier and thought the idea of indoor skiing with an outdoor temperature of 100 degrees was super cool. Cost is US$50 approx for 2-hours and includes all equipment hire, lift pass, etc etc. More details here. No minimum numbers. Meet at Dubai Ski at reception at 9.30am
    http://www.skidxb.com/
    Start: 10am
    Duration: 2-hours

    [​IMG]

    Desert Safari
    Yes, it will be warm. Bloody hot in fact. But these desert safaris are an amazing experience. Were working with mrtdxb's office to work out what packages we can offer - and to ask which company is the best around. My suggestion is that this will be a half day event. For those of you who don't want to do the Safari - but want more action, we'll also provide a Dune Buggy option. Most people are suggesting that any desert event is done from within the confines of an air-conditioned vehicle (which sounds quite sensible to me)
    Start: 9am
    Duration: half-day
    Logistics: Probably pick up all participants from the one central hotel. More details to come...

    At The Top at the Burj Khalifa
    Is it the world's tallest? I forget. For those fascinated with tall buildings, this will be something for you. I will be staying put. Cost AED100 (or US$28, but you will need to book) because if you simply rock up, the charge is AED400 (US$110). Anyone who wants to volunteer to host this event, please contact me

    Official EK Board Cocktail Party/BBQ
    One of our forum Ambassadors, mrtdxb, has generously donated the use of his magnificent Villa, which is located here.

    [​IMG]

    We're going to kick off from 4.30pm and it will most likely run into the wee hours of the morning. mrtdxb has kindly arranged the catering but I would like to make a request that everyone bring whatever it is they drink to the event. It's a good excuse for you to pick up some duty free on the way in. You will need to RSVP for this. The address will be on the back of your name tags, which will be handed out on Thurs night and/or Friday. Best thing to do is share a cab from your hotel with others to this gig.

    SUNDAY 26th
    Emirates hosted event - all day
    Assume 9am to 5pm
    Details to be posted shortly. For those non EK people - do not worry. This is not a day where we will be locked into a room talking about the pros and cons of EK's Skywards program. Because Dubai is EK's training, pilot and crew base, the resources at their disposal are immense. From crew training to catering to everything in between. I'm dealing with EK almost daily now on putting the finishing touches on this. Standby for details. It will be great.

    SUNDAY 26th
    Dinner 6.30pm onwards
    Traditional Arabian Dinner
    Venue to be advised (any locals, suggestions welcome)

    Planning & Logistics & Hotels
    Remember, whenever you arrive into Dubai is fine. Don't stress if you don't fly in until Fri. Or you have to leave sometime Sunday. And above all, you don't have to attend ANY of the events. Everything is optional. All we ask is that you have a good time, get to meet as many other FT'ers as possible (even try and be nice to people from the BA Board).

    Hotels - there is an abundance of them. We visited 10 this week before I lost the will to live and needed a drink. So we have a good idea of range and quality. If you need any questions answered, feel free to PM Ung1, mrtdxb or me. Or trawl over TripAdvisor. Because it is summer, loads are light at most hotels and you should be able to get decent deals/rates - especially at the larger chains.

    mrtdxb's travel department found these rates:
    • Novotel Hotel – World Trade Centre – 4 star - @ USD$85 per night inclusive of taxes and breakfast
    • Pullman Mall of the Emirates – 4 star *NEW- @ USD$145 per night inclusive of taxes and breakfast
    • Dubai Marine beach resort – 5 star - @ USD$170 per night inclusive of taxes and breakfast
    • Emirates Grand Hotel (Sheikh Zayed Road) – 4 star - @ USD$110 per night inclusive of breakfast and taxes
    • Park Regis Hotel – (nearby Burjuman shopping mall, Bur Dubai) - 4 star * NEW - @ USD 87 per night inclusive of breakfast and taxes
    If you want to book one of these hotels above, please contact Katarina at The First Group Travel Department at travel@thefirstgroup.com

    We visited:
    • Intercontinental, Festival City (the Crowne Plaza is attached to the same complex, is close to airport, good atmosphere, club lounge)
    • Grand Hyatt - (enormous, doesn't have a great feel but relatively good location)
    • Four Points by Sheraton, Shk Zayed Road (I reckon hotels located on this strip are a pain to get to. Doesn't look a great hotel, lounge is average and for a little more money, you can stay somewhere much much better)
    • Rotana, Shk Zayed Road (same as above)
    • Shangri-La, Shk Zayed Road (same as above)
    • Le Meridien, Airport Road (older style hotel and one of the alternative brunch venues. Go here apparently if you want to meet single female airline crew. Or something like that) Kidding.
    • Park Hyatt, Dubai Creek (great location, good summer special, and where we are having brunch)
    • Atlantis, The Palm (Basically Vegas in Dubai. Its enormous. But a fair hike. Not even the Klump family could make a dent in their buffet. Room rates not that great and no specials. Not as far as we could tell)
    • Westin, Mina Seyahi (the problem with the Hilton, the Westin and the Sheraton (below) is that they are all located down the end of the waterway where there is massive roadworks and construction going on. The traffic snarls make Heathrow on a Friday afternoon look calm. I wouldn't stay at any of these hotels - just because you are hell and gone from most places and a good hour from the airport (traffic pending)
    • Sheraton Jumeirah (see above) Older and smaller.
    There are some good deals around. For example, the Park Hyatt has a summer deal, which includes a 3-night stay and is approx US$160 per night. You also receive a discount of 20% on all F&B, which means the full monty Brunch is AED475 (or US$130)

    I will be on the ground from Thursday - around 2pm and will have a local cell number which I will PM to all confirmed attendees.

    Getting around Dubai - taxis are relatively cheap - especially if you share. And all are air-conditioned and regulated, which means it is highly unlikely you will robbed at gunpoint and taken out into the middle of the desert. But if you did, it would make for a good story at the bar later that night.

    Come back to the board often now - as we post updated details around the Emirates portion of the DO, as well as update re all the activities. And don't forget, if you plan on attending one of the events - please let us know by posting your intent in this thread. Close off date for the brunch is Wednesday 22nd June.

    See you soon. BYDB* ;)

    *(Bring Your Drinking Boots...)
     
  14. G_G
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    G_G Gold Member

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    From eightblack's FT post

    Registration for the Dubai Do!

    All the details are here
    http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1734845971

    We need every participant to register - even though its "free". Except for the lunch of course.

    Please note:
    When you click thru to the booking page, you will see two options:

    1. Brunch at US$70
    2. The Dubai Do (the actual event) at ZERO dollars

    Choose both (if you're coming to both) or just the event (if you're not attending the lunch). Leave the brunch box at zero. Then follow the steps (ie click book) and it will either take you to a confirmation page and/or a payment page.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. From NYC
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    Now that my flights and hotels are booked, heading to website for official registration. See you all there.
     
  16. G_G
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  17. Wow eightblack this looks fantastic! only recently signed up here and am in dubai around the end of june - sounds fantastic. I am ok for the weekened - saturday and sunday - days, not sure i can make all the thursday/friday events though. Looking forward to it :)
     
  18. G_G
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    G_G Gold Member

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    From eightblack's FT post

    Folks,

    We're just under 2-weeks to go. The suspense is nearly killing me.

    Here's the agenda as it stands today. If you scroll back to the first page of this thread (post 2) - you will see confirmed attendees in "gold" on the master list. There is still room for both the event and the brunch, but you must register via the Eventbrite booking page. Which is here.
    http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1734845971

    AGENDA
    Thursday 23rd June
    Welcome Drinks - InterContinental Hotel, Festival City
    Ground floor bar (see photo). You can be sure the barman won't be smiling after he's had a bunch of FlyerTalkers for the evening.
    6pm till late (or we fall over)
    *Everyone pays their own way. But you can buy me as many drinks as you want ;)

    [​IMG]

    Friday 24 June
    Brunch 12.30pm to 4pm
    The Park Hyatt

    [​IMG]

    We have a dedicated area for us - and you will need to pre-pay the balance of your meal prior to sitting down. I know it sounds a little rude - but its the only way the hotel will be able to keep track of things (as there are 3 options). I know from personal experience how hard it is to try and settle a tab at 4pm, after eating and drinking like Roman Kings and Queens. Someone always ends up getting the short end of the straw so to speak. Everyone who has registered for the brunch via the Eventbrite page, will have paid a deposit of US$73. The balance payable to the hotel will be able to be paid via cash or card and will be charged in AED.

    Dress: Smart Casual

    Lunch Options.
    1. Just the meal AED375
    2. The meal plus free-flow wine and beer AED450
    3. The "Prospero". This is the fully monty. Free flow wine, beer, Mohitos and french champagne. AED595

    Prospero by the way is one of the legendary BA Mods who will be joining us. We'll probably have to call him "Sir", or "Lord". Or something equally as pompous. You can be sure he doesn't drink orange-juice...(unless it's laced with Vodka)

    Back to lunch logistics. Each person will be given a coloured wristband which will correspond to your choice.

    The cut-off for the brunch is the 19th June - as we have to advise the hotel of final numbers on Monday the 20th and prepay the holding deposit. So if you haven't decided, you have a week to eat steamed vegetables, drink a lot of tea and hit the treadmill. Or something like that.

    Here's a great write up of what to expect by a serious foodie.
    http://www.whatihadfordinnertonight.com/?p=11520

    Meet in the lobby from 11.30am for a coffee and a chat...it really does appear to be a cracker of a hotel. I crawled all over TripAdvisor today and the plethora of positive reviews (all 208 of them) are encouraging. The staff have also been very professional and attentive. Ung1 and I visited the Park Hyatt on our recon mission, and it was by far the best place we visited.

    Directions: http://dubai.park.hyatt.com/hyatt/ho...pMapDirections

    [​IMG]

    Afternoon activities (for those of you who think you will be able to move)
    4.30pm - To the top of the Burj.

    Saturday 25 June

    Morning activities (optional)

    1. Skiing with eightblack. 2 hrs probably. We'll meet at 10am at the front entrance to SkiDubai. http://www.skidxb.com/ Or whenever time I wake up and recover from the brunch from the day prior. Don't call me. I'll call you. If you don't hear from me after emailing and texting me, start delivering double espresso's to my room every 15-mins.

    What you need to bring:
    - Gloves and a hat (as they don't rent these due to health reasons. But they will sell them to you - probably at a cost which would make brunch at the Park Hyatt look cheap).
    - Cost is AED180 for the 2-hours. Or approx US$50. Covers all equipment rental (jacket, pants, disposable socks, boots, skis and poles). Check the website for more details.

    [​IMG]

    2. Dune Bashing (co-ordinator Ung1)
    3. Burj (for those who didn't end up going the day before). If anyone wants to volunteer to lead this, then let me know. I think there are already 7-8 of you signed up for this.

    Afternoon:

    The Big Barbie
    Can you imagine - a group of frequent flier nerds all hanging out, enjoying a soothing drink, in a private villa on the waterfront. As a courtesy to mrtdxb, we would like to know how many are going to show up - so that he can cater accordingly. Please RSVP to me (or to mrtdxb) by the 23rd.

    BBQ and Drinks at mrtdxb's Villa.
    (address to be supplied on Friday)
    Dress: Very Casual
    What to bring: Something to drink (ie wine, beer, champagne).
    How to get there? Share a cab with others. It's about 25km from the InterContinental, Festival City (as a rough guide). See Google Map. A = InterContinental Festival City, B =mrtdxb's place.

    [​IMG]

    Sunday 26th June
    EK event. Details to be supplied, but suffice to say this will appeal to the even the most die-hard of airline nerds. We've been in constant contact with EK in Dubai and while we cant elaborate much more re the agenda, I can assure you it will be terrific. Assume a full-day event. More to come...

    Dinner
    We're going to go local and head to something very casual. SMART51 has made a terrific recommendation, so for those of you still in DXB and wanting a farewell dinner with friends, we're going here.
    http://www.labnehwazaatar.ae/

    Sadly, they don't serve alcohol, so I will be staying at home. Kidding ;)

    Do Etiquette:
    1. Sense of humor is compulsory
    2. Be adventurous. Have fun. There is no official "start" or "end". You come and go as you please.
    3. No one will laugh at you if all you want to talk about is miles and status and elite levels. Think of it as speed dating, but without the complications in the morning
    4. No means no. As in, if you don't want to participate in anything, and you want to sit in your room in your underwear and chant, then go right ahead.
    5. It's perfectly fine if you don't drink alcohol. Apparently there are some FlyerTalkers who don't drink. I've never met one mind you.
    6. You will be given name-tags. They are trendy. Wear them with pride.
    7. Check the Dubai Do thread daily for agenda updates, compromising photos and a general recap of what's going on. Or went on. You know what I mean.
    8. If you complain about the heat - the first round of drinks is on you. Remember, we are in the middle of the desert. It's summer in Dubai. Even the locals aren't happy about the weather. Taxi drivers are even less impressed. It's because of this weather that they invented beer.
    9. Do not post photos of fellow FT'ers on FaceSpace, FT, or whatever the hell other social media thingy you belong to without their permission. Seriously.
    10. Yes of course you may buy me a drink. You can buy me many. I am built for events such as these.
    11. Any questions, please PM or ask. I will have my BlackBerry with me the whole time, so you can either text me or email me. All complaints, please refer to Ung1, between the hours of 0200 and 0210 on the 28th June, 2035.
     
  19. G_G
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    G_G Gold Member

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    Newsflash...June 14
    We're moving the EK Event to Saturday from 9am to approx 3pm
    More to come. But it will be fantastic. We're going to be taken through the A380 training complex, sample every seating class (including F and the Shower Spa), meet the team from Skywards and be exposed to things that normally are restricted to staff.

    Leave Saturday open now. We'll still have plenty of time to get to mrtdxb's place for the BBQ...that timing remains as is.

    As soon as I have clearance from EK to post the details of their visit, I will do so.
     
  20. G_G
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    G_G Gold Member

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    Newsflash...June 15

    eightblack has received this email from EK :

    "Emirates is pleased to welcome the Flyer Talk group to sunny Dubai and invites members for a special sneak peak behind the scenes look at our airline.

    On Saturday 25th June from 0900-1330, Emirates will lead the team through our training facility, including the A380 simulators, the cabin crew / service delivery training centre, and the unique 'Nujoum' programme which explores the Emirates "personality". Attendees are asked to wear comfortable, informal attire, with sports/running shoes."
     
  21. From NYC
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    Too much fun stuff to go into it all now, especially as I'm getting ready for the flight home, but this was a terrific Do with some great activities, food and companions. EK put on a great show and tell for us on Saturday, with many of its people coming in on what would otherwise have been a day off to greet us and explain and show how they prepare their cabin crews to fly the EK way.

    My 1st time in Dubai and, though not the kind of hot weather I enjoy, it's been a terrific trip and I would come back for another Do here in a hearbeat.

    Thanks, eightblack and ung1 and mrtdxb, for organizing and providing a great time in Dubai. Along with a wonderful final dinner organized by smart51.

    Thanks to all.
     
  22. G_G
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    Time to post pictures of Dubai DO and first from Friday Brunch

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  23. G_G
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  24. G_G
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  25. G_G
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