This is a group of four; Yirina, Roni, Derek and me travelling from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2011 onboard the famous Biman Bangladesh DC-10.
Biman flies from Terminal 2 of Abu Dhabi, the hidden terminal which serves flight mainly to South Asian destination and used by airlines such as Biman, PIA, Air Blue, Shaheen, Air Arabia Egypt and Sudan Airways etc.
We arrived 2 hours prior to the flight and met with Roni, who travelled from Bahrain to join us. The spirit was very high!
It’s Christmas and our present is to fly Biman!
The scenes outside Terminal 2 of Abu Dhabi. Very lively indeed, we could not help but noticed we are the only non-South Asian origins and being closely watched on all our actions. I personally really enjoyed the attention from them and they’re all very nice and harmless people, just with a curious mindset
Check- in area at Terminal 2 of Abu Dhabi
The departure screen of AUH Terminal 2. Can you spot the unusualness?
I was the tour leader and my duties include getting my members of the tour the best seats onboard and looking after their well beings!
After received our boarding pass, a photo shoot is compulsory.
Close up look on the boarding pass and Biman ticket jacket.
Terminal 2, airside view. Getting very crowded at night.
We somehow managed all getting lounge access. The kind lady allowed all of us into the lounge, although technically we can only have 2 persons. We took some food and rest, quietly prepare for our DC-10 journey ahead.
The flight information display shows our flight BG028 remains on-time. In fact it is early, must be a first for Biman?
Due to the National day of Bangladesh on 16 Dec, Dhaka airport will be closed for some air show exercises, our Biman flight have to operate strictly on-time to avoid late arrival penalty into Dhaka. Our schedule is to arrive Dhaka at 10am with curfew starts at 10:30am. Despite the notorious reputation on delays, I am pleasantly surprised on Biman’s performance that night and did not worry a thing.
Boarding was done via bus taking us to the plane on the remote apron. “The only way to board”
A nice way to board the DC-10 at 2am
We were joined by another group of 3 aviation enthusiasts (1 Australian and 2 UK expat working in Abu Dhabi) at boarding. So the group expanded to a total of 7 of us!
Welcome onboard BG028, Abu Dhabi to Dhaka via Chittagong
Flight schedule: does not mean much on Biman since they are so flexible, but we will be in Bangladesh ASAP!
Once onboard, You’re already inside Bangladesh without even flying there! You couldn’t help but notice the 1970s décor. Indeed a very big cultural change. Although we were allocated row 4, we managed to occupy row 1 and tonight it was our territory and the onboard lounge!
The leg room from the centre row 1!
Adoring the old school crew jump seat.
Derek enjoys his window seat in Row 4. Look at the wall decoration!
OMG, where are we at now ?
Views overhead without center bin. The DC-10 wideness is undisputable.
We remained onboard for over 1.5 hours, due to the lack of ATC clearance from Muscat, Oman ATC. The flight path towards South Asia was very busy. The ground GPU did not work. All doors were opened to let fresh air into the cabin.
We were moving around for more photos when the DC-10 remains on the ground.
Clearly, we have missed the curfew imposed because of the flying display on National Day in Dhaka. Some water were offered to the hot and thirsty passengers
At 03:50am, our DC-10-30 finally airborne out of Rwy13R from Abu Dhabi, heading to Chittagong first then Dhaka. The purser working on this morning’s flight face a nightmare. He had to put up with not only 1 or 2, but all seven aviation enthusiasts’ madness!
Biman’s crew did not rush to begin the in-flight service. Rather, they let the passenger to have some sleep and serve the supper/breakfast towards mid-flight after the sunrise. We took some much needed rest at this early stage of the flight.
We were all granted access to cockpit after our plane reached cruising level. We took turns to visit the cockpit and each of us spent 10-15 minutes inside. The pilots were very co-operative and used to entertain visitors.
Capt Abdul Majed was in charge. He has over 30 years of flying experience, flying the B707, Fk27, Fk28 and the DC-10.
The view to die for, as we fly Eastbound chasing the rising sun. We were over middle of India at this point.
Sun is rising higher in the cockpit by this time. It was clear all the way through India.
During our cockpit visit, the meal and drinks service have begun. My body clock was at around 5-6am Abu Dhabi time but getting hungry.
It is either Chicken curry or spicy lamb with fried rice. They both were very tasty.
Even with a proper dessert cake to eat at 6am!
RC Cola. They still exist! What a surprise!
After the cockpit visit, the party continues in the early morning, with lot of conversation and aviation chats.
The front Economy cabin overview.
Old school analog dials. Not sure there is still music for the ear.
As the rest of the cabin awake, we went down to the back of the plane for some quick sightseeing. The unique window shade of DC-10 at its doors. Turn to dim.
Four lavatories block at the back. Note the broom.
Yirina enjoyed her cabin visit. Our group is the only foreigner onboard this plane, apart from 1 Japanese.
Self- service in the DC-10 middle galley.
View of middle Economy Class section. The fabric is green.
We landed 1 hr 30mins behind schedule around 10:05am after the brief delay on the ground in Abu Dhabi. Weather was quite foggy but clearing up in Chittagong. We were told another DC-10 inbound had bypassed Chittagong due to the fog and went straight to Dhaka! All passengers were asked to deplane and the one continue to Dhaka to go to Transit Lounge. We took some more photos of our Big 10 parked at the gate.
City of Shah Makhdum (R.A.)
Frontal view of the plane.
Chittagong terminal. Quite airy and comfortable.
Swissair is still flying and from Chittagong to Dubai?
Boarding re-commenced about 2 hours later at 12pm. Due to another DC-10 bypassed Chittagong and flew to Dhaka direct, we have over 170 passengers joining. Our continuation flight operated to maximum capacity of 319 out of 314 on the short hop to Dhaka. (perhaps 5 infant or they were seated on crew jumpseat?)
Fruit juice were handed out prior to takeoffHappy passengers smiling for the camera! Several foreigners joined from Chittagong include a few Russians.
I brought this Russian tourist to meet with Yirina, who have a soft heart for Russian and Iranian (or both).
The peaceful passengers in the dense 2-5-2 configuration.
At 13:15 local time, Capt Abdul Majed confidently landed the plane on Rwy 14 of Dhaka Shahjalal International Airport . The weather was foggy in Dhaka and I am not sure it was a visual or ILS landing, as I know sometimes the ILS is out of service in Dhaka. It was a great high nose, high pitch and fast but smooth landing. I have full confidence in Biman pilots.
At parking bay, the view of DC-10 cockpit. Farewell and many thanks Capt Abdul Majed.
The grand form of arrival. Posing for photos!
Very busy ramp activity in Dhaka. Thai, Kuwait, Saudia, Gulf Air, Emirates all landed around the same time due to the airspace closure earlier.
We were taken back to the terminal by Biman bus (non Cobus standard)
Due to several large passenger airliners arrived at the same time, there are at least 1,000 passengers at immigration. I managed to push in front of the line and we pass through within 20 minutes. Most nationalities can obtain Visa on Arrival in Dhaka. Visa fee range from 10 USD to 130 USD various.