Excitement and anxiety brewing from the last couple of months was at its peak. Excitement for the upcoming trip and anxiety of travelling by Air India Express.
Air India Express does not have web check-in facility. You must do counter check-in. You can pre-select seat by paying odd Rs. 150/- extra per seat.
Anticipating a long queue, we left a little early at around 8:30 AM and reached there in an hour. To my surprise, there was no queue at all and the check-in was yet to start. I was the first one at the counter and after around 15 mins they started the check-in process.
A dedicated ‘Passengers with child’ counter helped complete the immigration formalities faster. It took us about an hour to complete the check-in, security check and immigration.
We grabbed some overpriced and not so worthy South Indian food at Vaango. By the time our food arrived, my son enjoyed the children play area behind Vaango.
Avoid currency exchange at airport. The rate was Rs. 22 + 6% taxes for an AED while I paid Rs. 17.75/- for the same from www.bookmyforex.com
In all these, I almost forgot to activate international roaming which I managed to do after boarding the aircraft.
The flight departed on time and was about 60-70% occupied giving us more freedom of movement.
We were served snack box containing a Samosa, bread and cheese, a muffin, mini Lays pack and tea/coffee. The meal was hot and tasted well. Quantity was adequate to qualify for a light meal.
The only let down was worn and torn cabin owing to the ageing aircraft. Worn and torn upholstery, old and hazy window glasses, torn open window casing and torn out wallpapers carried signs of an economy carrier.
The flight was on time and approached the airport from desert side. Almost everyone on the left seats of the aisle was eager to get the first glimpse of Burj Khalifa which anyways was not so appealing because of the bright afternoon sun.
Post landing, it took almost an hour to complete the formalities of immigration, cash withdrawal from ATM and baggage claim. We grabbed some chocolates from Dubai Duty Free and a pre-paid Du SIM at AED 55 from Du outlet located near the exit.
The Du SIM with travellers plan had a validity of 7 days with 20 minutes of free local and international talk time and 200 MB of 4G data.
It was bundled with some other offers like 20% off on 4 Uber rides.
The airport taxi, which are usually Toyota Innova, are a little cheaper with base fare starting from AED 25 and AED 1.96/KM compared to Black Lexus which starts at the same fare but charges AED 3.25/KM.
It took us around half an hour and AED 58 to reach our hotel, Savoy Park Hotel Apartment in Bur Dubai.
More about our experience at the hotel in a dedicated post.
After getting fresh and taking rest for a while we decided to take a walk to Meena Bazaar which was around 20 mins walking distance from the hotel. This also helped us get acquainted with the neighbourhood.
Meena Bazaar is famous for ready-made as well as tailor-made clothes, groceries, spices, dry fruits, first copy and fake watches, bags and belts.
While walking on the bylanes, we discovered an Indian restaurant called Bombay Times, had a quick dinner and walked back to the hotel appreciating the pedestrian-friendly infrastructure that we lack here in India.
Day 2 – Atlantis the Palm and Dubai Marina
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