From ancient villages to poutine: Things that made me fall in love with Montreal after taking Emirates flight from Dubai

Passengers are relieved as the new route cuts travel time to the destination by nearly 12 hours

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Wed 12 Jul 2023, 12:11 PM

Last updated: Wed 12 Jul 2023, 3:21 PM

At midnight on July 5, a chauffeur was at my doorstep to pick me up for the longest flight of my life - Emirates Airline's inaugural flight to Montreal. A chauffeur and car is provided for Business and First Class passengers travelling with the airline. Many journalists based in the GCC were invited to experience the inaugural flight and the rich historical city. I set off, full of excitement and enthusiasm.

Before planning the journey, I had read a lot about Montreal and how it transformed into one of the biggest and most loved tourist destinations in the country. I was eager to visit the Notre Dame Basilica, Jean-Talon Market, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Mont-Royal, Le Vieux Montreal, and many more attractions the melting pot of Canada has to offer.

Cutting down travel time

On reaching the Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, I met co-passengers who were flying on the inaugural flight. They were happy and relieved as the direct route shortened their journey to Montreal by nearly 12 hours, and helped them save about 30 to 40 per cent on airfare.

Maxim Soly, operational manager at a pharmaceutical firm in Dubai was among hundreds of travellers on the inaugural flight, who travels to his hometown of Montreal at least three times a year. “It’s a blessing now that I can fly directly to my home,” said Soly.

Maxim Soly
Maxim Soly

“I used to fly via Paris, New York, or other cities which was very time-consuming and expensive. Montrealers and residents of Quebec province are very happy with this new route,” added Soly.

Flawless flight

The cutting-edge technology and comforts of the Emirates aircraft ensured a flawless journey in the sky. Stepping on board the plane, I was immediately impressed by the warm and welcoming ambiance. The friendly crew greeted passengers with genuine smiles, ensuring their comfort and satisfaction throughout the journey.

The spacious cabin with modern amenities, plush seating, and ample legroom, guarantees a pleasant and relaxing flight. With a wide selection of movies and delicacies in the luxurious business class, the 13-hour flight seemed like just a mere five-hour journey. After a smooth and enjoyable flight, we touched down at Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

Stay in Montreal

We were escorted to the hotel in the old town dotted with ancient architecture, where many buildings were built by the French and English who arrived and made the city their home in the 1700s. After resting for six hours, Mohammed, a journalist working at an Arabic daily in Dubai, asked me to explore the city with him on foot.

We walked for over 20,000 steps that day. The city is steeped in history and culture, with streets constructed with river rocks, quaint shops, and stunning architecture. Strolling along the waterfront promenade, I marvelled at the views of the St Lawrence River and the iconic Notre-Dame Basilica, and was captivated by the old-world charm of the city.

The Montreal Tourism Department had arranged our itinerary for five days. We were taken to The Montreal International Jazz Festival, one of the largest in the world, on the second day. The city was alive and on every street musicians entranced visitors with their magical tunes.

On the third day, we found ourselves immersed in an academic environment - we explored the architectural marvels and lush greenery of McGill University.

McGill University
McGill University

The fourth day was extraordinary. We got the opportunity to see a blend of modern and ancient architecture from afar. We were taken to the majestic Mont-Royal, a prominent natural landmark that graces the cityscape of Montreal. We were rewarded with an awe-inspiring panoramic view that unveiled the entire city from a distance.

Exploring the city's restaurants was a true delight. Montreal is famous for its gastronomy, and I relished its iconic dishes, from the mouthwatering Italian and French cuisines to the classic Canadian poutine. The flavour and fragrance still lingers on my tongue.

Additionally, the warmth and hospitality of the residents of Montreal added a different charm to the experience. Locals shared their favourite spots and provided tips to ensure every visitor felt welcomed.

As I bid farewell to Montreal on July 11, I was thankful to Emirates for the opportunity to embark on this extraordinary journey. The airline’s exceptional service and Montreal's vibrant energy made for an unforgettable experience. Undoubtedly, this new Emirates route will open doors for travellers to explore the cultural and architectural marvels of this captivating Canadian city.

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