Category Archives: Qatar

Flight Review: Qatar Airways First Class A320 DOH to AUH

For remote gates (C20 to C29), you can take an elevator from the first class lounge directly to a premium bus transfer. But you do have to wait for all of the first class passengers before the bus will leave.

Elevator in the lounge

Premium bus transfer

Qatar A320

On the flight, most of the first class cabin was occupied by a woman, her four kids, and her two nannies. I guess that’s why there’s a nanny room in the first class lounge.

First class seat on A320

Menus were distributed along with cold towels and pre-departure beverages. There was also a round of Arabic coffee and dates.

Menu

Drink menu

I’m always impressed by how much service happens on short flights on non-American carriers. On this ~40 minute flight, there was a full meal service, while you might not even get a drink service on an American carrier. There were 2-3 flight attendants working furiously in a tight space to get everything done, and some of the passengers were very demanding.

I had pre-ordered a special meal (VGML), which was some cold chickpeas, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, and cauliflower puree with some fruit for dessert. It wasn’t great, but it’s pretty impressive for such a short flight.

Special meal VGML

Overall, first class on Qatar within the Middle East is pretty awesome. You get access to the Al Safwa lounge, and it’s an impressive amount of service for such a short flight.

Lounge Review: Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha Airport (DOH)

I’ve reviewed Qatar’s business class Al Mourjan airport lounge before at Doha, but this was my first visit to Qatar’s first class Al Safwa lounge.

As I stepped off my previous flight from Guangzhou, I was met by a person with my name on my sign. This person escorted me through transit security (and let me cut in front of everyone) and took me to the Al Safwa First Class lounge.

Escalator up to the lounge

The lounge is absolutely stunning. It’s an incredible space, and it feels like a museum. In fact, they even had pieces on loan from the Museum of Islamic Art on display!

Al Safwa first class lounge

The lounge is very large, and it has a lot of different seating areas. When I was there, almost everyone was sitting in the semi-private seats near the (very large) dining room, but there’s a lot more space to the lounge.

First class lounge seating

First class lounge seating

These seemed to be popular seats.

First class lounge seating

First class lounge fountain

Pieces on loan from Museum of Islamic Art

Art

First, there’s an outdoor terrace (by outdoor, I mean open to the rest of the terminal). It wasn’t as well air-conditioned out there, which is perhaps why no one was sitting there, but there’s a lot more seating out on this terrace.

Seating

Terrace space

Drinks

Seating

Seating

Seating

Within the lounge, they have private rooms similar to the ones they have in the business class lounge. These rooms have a sofa and seat and TV. This is perhaps somewhere to nap if all of the hotel-style private rooms are taken.

Private room

Private room

There are also rooms for children and nannies. I did not see anyone utilizing these rooms while I was in the lounge, but they are there.

Nanny room

Nanny room

Rooms for children

Rooms for children

It’s not obvious to me that any of these consoles actually worked…

Rooms for children

Rooms for children

In terms of dining, there are a couple of options. First, there’s a very large dining area that has some self-serve options as well as table service.

Bar

Dining table

Dining area

Baklava tower

Arabic coffee

Meat and cheese

Desserts

Fruit

Breakfast menu

I was there for breakfast and lunch. The breakfast options seemed pretty basic for a first class lounge.

Fruit plate and bread

After getting some food, I was able to check out one of the true private rooms. Essentially, these are like hotel rooms in the lounge available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Reception

The private rooms are pretty awesome. It’s like having a transit hotel in the middle of the lounge. One of the best perks to any lounge I’ve visited.

Private room

Private room

Bathroom

Hallway of private rooms

There’s also a business center, which was just as beautiful as the rest of the lounge.

Business area

Work station

A bit later, I grabbed some lunch in the dining room. I started off with some cream of pumpkin soup. This was just okay, as the pumpkin flavor wasn’t very strong.

Pumpkin soup

Next, I tried the spinach fattaya. This was probably the best thing I ate in the lounge!

Spinach fattaya

For an entree, I had some paneer makhni. I thought that this was also lacking flavor.

Paneer makhni

Finally, I had some dessert that the server recommended. This was essentially old pastry in a sweet cream. Not my favorite.

Dessert

If there’s one thing I can fault this lounge on, it’s the food. The food was all very average.

Beyond the main dining area, there’s also more of a “deli” kind of area if you head straight past the luggage room. This area did not seem very frequently visited (the staff member in this area seemed really excited when I wandered over). This area had sushi, salads, and a sandwich bar. This isn’t any sushi bar like the one they have in the JAL first class lounges, but it’s there.

More dining

Sushi

Tea

Salads

Deli area

Bar seating

There’s also a dessert room if you head toward the family rooms. There are cakes, macarons, etc. I sampled a macaron, and it was honestly pretty bad, even for lounge food. The texture was wrong, it was quite irregular, and the filling wasn’t good.

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Desserts

Chocolate art

Movie theater

Overall, this is an incredible lounge for many reasons. The space is beautiful, there are tons of great amenities (including what are essentially private hotel rooms), and there’s lots of food. In terms of the space, it’s probably my favorite lounge I’ve ever visited. But the food seriously needs improvement.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways First Class A380 Guangzhou to Doha (CAN to DOH)

My flight from Guangzhou to Doha was delayed due to traffic at Guangzhou. There were some bad thunderstorms that day, which also delayed the incoming flight. At the gate, there was a large antsy crowd of passengers ready to board.

Crowd waiting to board


Qatar’s A380

Qatar puts their first class cabin on the upper deck, so I climbed the stairs at the front of the plane.

Up to the first class cabin on the upper deck

Apologies for the bad photos, but this flight took off in the middle of the night (and landed at ~4am), so the lighting was a bit hard. But the cabin itself was gorgeous. It’s a 1-2-1 seating configuration. There’s not a ton of privacy at each seat, but each seat has tons of space, and it’s beautiful. I was also the only first class passenger on this flight, so the privacy aspect didn’t matter much.

First class seat

View across the cabin

The in-flight entertainment was started on the ground. The selection was extensive (including ALL three high school musicals–what else do you really need??). Ads played before movies, but you can fast forward through them.

IFE screen and ottoman

In terms of storage, there aren’t any overhead bins in the cabin, which gives the cabin a more spacious feel. But that means that there’s a closet next to the lavatories at the front of the cabin to store bags. There are also small closets at each seat, as well as some other miscellaneous storage compartments.

Storage space at front of cabin


Seat closet


Storage space


Headphones and seat controls


Snacks at  front of cabin

The bathrooms are large, as they typically are on the upper decks of A380s. No showers though 🙁 But I thought the orchids were a nice touch.

Bathroom


Bathroom


Bathroom amenities

I was the only passenger in first class, and business class was also very sparse. Economy at the rear of the upper deck was full, as was the lower deck of economy. A flight attendant told me that the upper deck was very full on the way to Guangzhou.

The flight time from Guangzhou to Doha was only 7 hours and 25 minutes, which wasn’t really enough time to eat, sleep, and explore the plane, so I ended up sacrificing sleep.

Prior to departure, I was offered a wet towel, a lemon mint drink, and a snack, as well as the more typical Arabic coffee and date. One thing that I also appreciated was that a flight attendant asked if I wanted the cabin temperature lowered. I said yes, although I still overheated during the flight.

Lemon mint drink and snack prior to departure


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Arabic coffee and date

After takeoff, I started off with some rose and warm nuts, and then I had the caviar service. The caviar was served with two mother of pearl spoons, egg, sour cream, onion, blinis, toast, and lemon. I strongly prefer blinis to toast.

Warm nuts and rose


Caviar service

The dining table is nice and large, and it slides back and forth, which is super useful (you don’t have to contort yourself or put away the tray to get up from your seat).

The bread service was served with unsalted Beurre d’Isigny. The bread itself was too soft, but the butter was good.

Bread and butter

Next, I had the Arabic mezze, which was served with warm pita. Quite tasty.

Arabic mezze

For my entree, I had a pre-ordered special meal (AVML or Asian Vegetarian meal). This consisted of rice, kidney beans, green beans, and lotus root. Not the most attractive dish  to look at, but it was actually pretty good.

AVML

After dinner, I made my way to the bar/lounge area behind business class and chatted with a couple of flight attendants. I was the only one there for about an hour, until one other passenger joined. I imagine the lounge gets more use on busier flights.

Tea and chocolates


Alcohol selection


Bar snacks


Bar snacks


Bar snacks


Bar


Champagnes at the bar


Snack basket

I then went back to my seat to sleep for a couple of hours. Perfectly standard and comfortable. A small thing is that the bed did not seem to be flat relative to the plane floor, but rather was flat relative to the ground, so I didn’t have that backwards tilting feeling that I sometimes get on planes.

Pillows


Bed

For my pre-arrival meal service, I started with some bread and the apple and rocket energizer. I then had the bircher muesli and some fruit. All pretty tasty.

Bread and apple and rocket (arugula) energizer


Muesli


Fruit

The service on the flight wasn’t as meticulous as I’ve experienced on other airlines, but it was gracious, well-intentioned, and full of personality. The first class cabin is gorgeous, and the hard product is great. It’s not as blingy as Emirates or Etihad (and there’s no shower), but it’s a fun product to fly, and the lounge at the back of the plane is a great place to hang out.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Business Class Boeing 77W Doha (DOH) to Bangkok (BKK)

My flight from Doha to Bangkok was on a Boeing 77W on Qatar Airways. Qatar now flies an A380 on this route, but it can be hit or miss on whether your flight is actually operated by an A380 (Qatar likes to swap aircraft). On the plus side, in business class, the seats are fully flat, unlike on the A330.

Plane to take me to BKK

Plane to take me to BKK

This was a 2-class plane. The business class cabin was very similar to the A330–still a 2x2x2 configuration–but this time, the seats are fully flat. In general, the plane felt a bit newer than the A330 that I had flown to get to Doha.

Business class cabin

Business class cabin

Business class seat

Business class seat

IFE screen

IFE screen

Business class cabin

Business class cabin

Hidden beverage compartment

Hidden beverage compartment

Reclined seat

Reclined seat

Waiting at my seat were an amenity kit and noise-canceling headphones. There was also a water bottle hidden in the armrest. I was then offered a choice of pre-departure beverage, a cold or hot towel, and a newspaper. From this first interaction, I could tell that the flight attendant was on her game.

Male amenity kit contents

Male amenity kit contents

Female amenity kit contents

Female amenity kit contents

Beyond the seats and the in-flight entertainment, the bathrooms also felt nicer than they did on the A330. They had an automatic sensor faucet, which is a small but helpful amenity.

Menu

Menu

On this flight, for some reason, they had catered two special meals for me. Perhaps because I had changed my meal preferences relatively close to departure. But they had both an AVML (usually an Indian meal that’s vegetarian and includes dairy) and a JVML (Jain vegetarian meal which is vegan and doesn’t include items like garlic or onions). The AVML features rice with a curry sauce, carrots, asparagus, and paneer. The sauce reminded me of tikka masala, and it was pretty delicious.

AVML of rice, curry sauce, carrots, asparagus, and paneer

AVML of rice, curry sauce, carrots, asparagus, and paneer

The Jain vegetarian meal was peas and cauliflower served with rice and a potato curry. Also delicious.

Jain vegetarian meal of peas and cauliflower, rice, and potato sauce

Jain vegetarian meal of peas and cauliflower, rice, and potato sauce

Below is a picture of how the seats go lie flat. It’s not the best business class seat out there, but it’s fully flat, and I slept pretty well on the flight.

Seat fully reclined

Seat fully reclined

Prior to landing, they handed out immigration cards, but they did not hand out fast track cards.

Overall, it was a good flight. The seat was comfortable, I had plenty of space (partly because the cabin was again only half full), the food was great, and the service was on point.

Lounge Review: Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge Doha Airport (DOH)

At the time I visited the Al Mourjan lounge in Doha, the first class Al Safwa lounge had not yet opened (I have since visited the Al Safwa lounge, but at the rate I’m posting trip reports, it’ll probably take me another… let’s say 6 months to write about it).

The Al Mourjan lounge is quite massive. To the point where maps are genuinely needed to navigate the lounge. There are lots of different spaces (e.g. multiple dining areas, showers, quiet rooms, business center, family spaces) which you might want to check out.

Lounge map

Lounge map

First impressions were very positive. It’s a massive space that’s well decorated. There are a variety of different seating options, although in spite of the size of the space, I can see how crowding can be an issue.

Seating

Seating

More seating

More seating

More seating

More seating

View of apron

View of apron

The lounge has most amenities you can think of. There’s a pretty massive business center with computers and workstations, and there was even a game room with video games, foosball, and arcade machines.

Business center

Business center

Game room

Game room

Games

Games

Games

Games

Pinball

Pinball

Foosball

Foosball

There’s also a family area, which I can imagine is helpful if you have small children.

Family area

Family area

Family area

Family area

iPads everywhere

iPads everywhere

I took a shower in the lounge on my layover. The shower rooms are less grand than the rest of the lounge, but it was perfectly functional. The shower amenities were from Rituals.

Shower

Shower

Shower amenities

Shower amenities

Staircase up to the dining room

Staircase up to the dining room

At 6am when I first arrived at the lounge, most of the lounge wasn’t too busy, except the dining room was packed. I had to sit at the bar (which I didn’t mind). At the bar, they were still serving Krug upon request (I believe this has changed), although they were very hush hush about it.

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu

Wines

Wines

The breakfast buffet had two sides for food, plus a small made-to-order menu (I am not sure if they still have the made-to-order menu). One side was mostly sweet (e.g., crepes, waffles, porridge, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt), while the other side was mostly savory (meats, cheeses, foul medames, omelettes, frittatas, hashbrowns).

Breakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet

Dining room

Dining room

Cold foods

Cold foods

The food was decidedly mediocre. I ordered some shakshuka off the menu imagining poached eggs in tomato sauce, but instead received scrambled eggs with some diced tomatoes and peppers. I’ve since tried a number of food items at the Al Safwa lounge as well, and the food ranges from bad to meh. This is one area where the Qatar Airways ground experience is a huge letdown in my opinion.

Shakshuka?

Shakshuka?

If you don’t want to deal with the main dining room, there’s a separate food area that has things like sandwiches and antipasti (i.e. cold foods).

Non-dining room buffet

Non-dining room buffet

Other food room

Other food room

Finally, the lounge does offer some quiet rooms, which are a nice idea. I found the quiet rooms to be not particularly effective in practice because they were quite loud. Lots of talking, alarms going off, snoring, and people watching TV too loudly. But you might be able to sleep for a bit if you wear ear plugs.

Private resting room

Private resting room

Screen in private resting room

Screen in private resting room

Overall, it’s a large, well-appointed, attractive lounge. The service can be a bit strange at times (e.g., there were three attendants in the bathroom, but only two bartenders in the much busier dining room), and the food is generally a letdown. But there are lots of objectively nice amenities, and it’s an impressive space that’s worth checking out. Of note, you only get access to this lounge if you’re flying in business class on Qatar Airways–oneworld status will NOT get you in the door if you’re flying economy.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Business Class A330-200 Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Doha (DOH)

To get from Central Europe to Thailand, I ended up flying on Qatar Airways. This was also partially to visit the relatively new (at the time) Al Mourjan lounge in Doha (the Al Safwa lounge had not yet opened at the time of this trip).

At Berlin Tegel airport, there was passport control and security at each gate. And then we took a bus to the plane (an A330-200).

Walking up to the plane

Walking up to the plane

Business class on these planes is not great. It’s a 2x2x2 configuration, and the seats aren’t lie flat. They’re angled-flat with 165 degrees of recline. On the upside for this flight, the business class cabin was only about half full, so I had two seats to myself on this segment.

Business class cabin

Business class cabin

Business class seat

Business class seat

The in-flight entertainment system (Oryx) had a pretty good selection of movies, but as might be apparent from the picture, it’s a somewhat older hard product, and it had an inelegant user interface. This is mostly just a function of the age of the plane, though, as I’ve flown Qatar’s A350, which has a much nicer interface.

IFE screen

IFE screen

Side storage

Side storage

Seat + IFE controls

Seat + IFE controls

Waiting at each seat was an amenity kit by Armani. Each kit had a giant bottle of aftershave, a small bit of eau de cologne, some lip balm, ear plugs, an eye shade, and socks. I was a bit surprised to not find a toothbrush and toothpaste in the bag, or at least some mouthwash. In the bathrooms, there were Ritual products, which are also featured in the lounge at Doha.

Amenity kit

Amenity kit

One perk of Qatar Airways business class that you don’t often find in business class is pajamas. They were unwrapped as they were handed to me. I liked these pajamas better than some of the pajamas I’ve received in first class. The bottoms have pockets (very useful), and the material is relatively soft and lightweight. It’s not my beloved PYE pajamas from Cathay Pacific, but I thought these were solid.

Pajamas

Pajamas

Next are pictures of the menu. I had pre-ordered a VGML, so I ate that for my main meal, and then I had some breakfast off of the normal menu prior to arrival.

A la carte menu

A la carte menu

Pre-arrival menu

Pre-arrival menu

Beverage menu

Beverage menu

Champagne menu

Champagne menu

Up first was an amuse bouche of what seemed like make-your-own bruschetta. The topping in the cup was pretty tasty, but the bread could have been a bit better. I am non-ashamedly drinking non-alcoholic champagne in this picture.

Non-alcoholic champagne and make-your-own bruschetta

Non-alcoholic champagne and make-your-own bruschetta

For an appetizer, I had the arabic mezze off of the normal menu. I enjoyed the hummus, and the tabouleh was decent. This was served with two kinds of pita.

Arabic mezze platter

Arabic mezze platter

My pre-ordered VGML was something resembling falafel served on top of rice with a vegetable tomato sauce. On the side (upper right), there was a cup of curried cauliflower and chickpeas which were the best part of the meal.

VGML–something like falafel on top of rice with a tomato vegetable sauce and a side of curried cauliflower and chickpeas

VGML–something like falafel on top of rice with a tomato vegetable sauce and a side of curried cauliflower and chickpeas

After the meal service, I got some sleep. My strategy for sleeping in angled-flat seats is to not actually recline the seat the entire way. I find that if I recline all the way, I slide down the seat, so I recline partway between “flat” and recline, and then I can sleep on my side and not slide down the seat. I will say that if you’re on this configuration, you should aim for a bulkhead seat, as that way your feet don’t have to go underneath a seat in front of you, so it feels a lot more spacious. This isn’t true for Qatar’s Boeing 77Ws, as all of the seats in business class are “lie flat”.

Prior to arrival, I wasn’t super hungry, but I had some bircher muesli with a smoothie. The bircher muesli was very creamy and pretty tasty. And immediately prior to landing, they handed out Valrhona chocolate bars.

Bircher museli

Bircher museli

My Current Solution to Qatar’s Aircraft Swaps on BKK-DOH

A couple of days ago I wrote about how I was a bit annoyed that Qatar Airways had yet again swapped their aircraft on the BKK-DOH flight that I was planning to take. I specifically booked a flight to fly the A380 in first class, then switched to a more inconvenient flight to stay on the A380 after they did an aircraft swap on the original flight I had booked, and then found out that they’re not flying the A380 on any of their BKK-DOH flights  on the day that I’m traveling.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to do, but I realized that 1) Qatar said they’re going to start flying their A380 to Guangzhou starting on July 1, 2016; and 2) China is still part of Asia 2 for American Airlines’ award chart. This means that I can fly BKK-CAN-DOH on one award and still get the chance to fly Qatar’s A380 in first class.

Space in first class on this new Guangzhou route appears plentiful, and I was also able to find space on a fifth-freedom route from BKK to CAN operated by Royal Jordanian to position for the flight. This does mean that my total routing from BKK to SEA is now pushing close to 3 full days, but I’m excited to try out three new airline products and two new first class lounges. Transiting Guangzhou probably won’t be tons of fun, but I’ll also get to check out the lounge offerings there.

Fingers crossed that Qatar won’t swap aircraft on me any more…

How Much Trouble Should I Endure to Fly a Specific Product?

I’ve got a trip to Southeast Asia planned for later this summer, and I was planning on flying Qatar’s and Etihad’s A380s in first class on the way back. I’d fly BKK-DOH-AUH-JFK, giving me a chance to hit up Qatar’s and Etihad’s new first class lounges as well.

But Qatar keeps changing the aircraft for my BKK-DOH leg. They fly the A380 on the route, but not for all flights, and the other aircraft they use on this route (a Boeing 777-300ER) doesn’t have a first class cabin. I already switched flights once to chase the A380 (and now have a ridiculously long layover in DOH scheduled), but today I noticed that they’re not flying an A380 on that flight that day either. I’ve already flown Qatar in business class on the 777-300ER from DOH to BKK, so that wouldn’t be a new product for me.

So now I’m contemplating what to do. I’ve got some date flexibility, so I can potentially move things around and try to get back onto the A380 (flying from Southeast Asia to the US via the Middle East is two award for American, so I can potentially have an actual layover for a couple of days in Doha), but there are also no guarantees that Qatar won’t continue to switch aircraft. These awards were also booked pre-devaluation, so I imagine that I’m limited on how many changes I can make at the old rates. And of course, there’s not currently award space on either Etihad or Qatar for the dates that would be ideal…

How much trouble should I go to to fly Qatar’s A380 in first class? Should I just wait to see if they swap aircraft again? Should I start swapping things now, even though Qatar might change aircraft again? Should I just suck it up and fly business on a product I’ve already flown?

Around the World in 100 Hours: Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai

Introduction
United Club San Francisco, International Terminal
United Business Class San Francisco to Seoul
Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge Seoul
Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul
Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore
Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore
Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour
Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Transiting Colombo
Lotus and Araliya Lounges Colombo
Qatar Airways Business Class Colombo to Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries First Lounge and Club World Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to San Francisco


Qatar 106
Doha (DOH) to Dubai (DXB)
Monday, May 27th, 2013
Depart: 8:20am
Arrive: 10:30am
Duration: 1h 10m
Aircraft: Boeing 787
Seat: 4K

I was super excited for this flight, being that it was my first time on a Boeing 787.

Dreamliner!

Dreamliner!

The 787 is a two-cabin plane for Qatar, but they sell the premium cabin as First Class instead of Business. I’m not entirely sure what this will mean for redemptions once Qatar joins OneWorld, but it does mean that you get access to the First Class Lounge in the Premium Terminal, and the service (although maybe not the hard product) was what I would expect from a First Class product.

My first impression of the cabin was that it was quite spacious. There are no overhead bins over the center seats, and the other overhead bins close up at a steep angle, so it just felt like there was a lot of space.

Business/First Class cabin

First Class cabin

My seat, 4K

My seat, 4K

Lots of legroom, but the table seemed immovable

Lots of legroom, but the table was immovable

The seats are arranged in a reverse herringbone position, similar to the US Airways Envoy cabin or Cathay Pacific’s new business class. While they’re not incredibly private seats, everyone gets direct aisle access, and all seats recline fully flat, so it’s a pretty darn comfortable way to travel.

Seat in fully reclined position

Seat in fully reclined position

Dimmed window vs not

Dimmed window vs not

If there’s one flaw that I saw, it’s that the entertainment screen and part of the tray table were immobile, which meant that it felt slightly constrained for my legs when fully reclined.

As part of the cabin, there are also two seats in the very back by themselves. I could see it as being somewhat novel if you’re traveling with someone else to get those two seats, as it does feel like a little bit like your own mini-cabin.

There's a pair of honeymoon-ish seats at the back of the cabin

Pair of honeymoon-ish seats at the back of the cabin

The service on the flight was amazing, and I’m amazed by how much they did on such a short flight. The flight was only booked for a little over an hour, which meant that the actual flight time was more like 40 minutes.

Prior to departure, the main flight attendant serving my aisle went around and introduced herself to each passenger in her section. She noticed that I was taking so many pictures, so we had a nice chat about our excitement at flying the 787 (it was only her second time).

We started off with dates and coffee. Although I don’t drink coffee, I felt obliged to take some, which made me feel a little guilty when the flight attendant looked a little sad that I didn’t finish my small cup prior to takeoff.

Turkish coffee and dates prior to departure

Turkish coffee and dates prior to departure

After takeoff, the flight attendants went into high gear, as there was a full breakfast service during our very short flight.

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu

Breakfast

Arabic breakfast plate

Krug! On a 40 minute morning flight!

Krug! On a 40 minute morning flight!

While I loved the service and the fact that I could order Krug for breakfast, I didn’t actually like the food that much. The makdous was incredibly salty, and I’m not a huge dairy person, so I ended up mostly picking at my plate.

Before I knew it, we were making our descent into Dubai, and I had to bid adieu this awesome plane and crew. I would definitely like the chance to fly the 787 on one of Qatar’s longer routes, which are many of the routes to Europe.

Around the World in 100 Hours: Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha

Introduction
United Club San Francisco, International Terminal
United Business Class San Francisco to Seoul
Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge Seoul
Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul
Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore
Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore
Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour
Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Transiting Colombo
Lotus and Araliya Lounges Colombo
Qatar Airways Business Class Colombo to Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries First Lounge and Club World Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to San Francisco


At Doha, there are no gates: everything is a remote stand. So when you land, there’s a fleet of buses waiting for you to take you to the appropriate terminal.

Buses waiting to transport passengers

Buses waiting to transport passengers

They have a separate bus for premium class passengers, although in this case, it was nothing special. Once we started moving, we had a very scenic tour of the airport grounds, as it was an extremely long ride to get to the Premium Transfer Terminal. I don’t know if it was necessary for it to take so long, as we essentially drove the entire length of the airport in one direction, made a U turn, and drove the entire length of the airport back.

Entrance to the Premium Transfer Terminal

Nondescript entrance to the Premium Transfer Terminal

Much nicer inside

Much nicer inside

First Class Lounge entrance

First Class Lounge entrance

If there’s one thing that I regret about this trip, it’s that we didn’t have a very long layover in Doha. Our layover was scheduled for an hour and a half, but by the time we finally got to the First Class Lounge, we barely had 20 minutes to enjoy things, which numerous attendants in the lounge reminded us of constantly.

My first stop was the jacuzzi, since who wouldn’t want a dip in a jacuzzi in an airport lounge? But again, the attendants kept giving me stern warnings that I didn’t have much time left, which did not make me feel very welcome.

Jacuzzi!

Jacuzzi!

To use the jacuzzi, you can leave your boarding pass with a bathroom attendant who will give you a key to use a locker and a “wrap” to keep yourself covered. It was essentially a sheet with some velcro you can use to attach it to itself, but I found that it was much too large for me, so that if I wanted to wrap the sheet tightly around my body so it would stay up on its own, there wasn’t enough velcro to keep it fastened. And then once I got into the jacuzzi, given all of the bubbling and my inability to keep the sheet fastened securely, the wrap was essentially useless. Good thing there was no one else using the jacuzzi!

After approximately two minutes in the jacuzzi and me annoying the heck out of the men’s bathroom attendant with my inanity, I grabbed a very quick bite to eat in the dining room. Since I didn’t have much time, I just got food from the buffet, but the things that I did try were all very good.

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Although I didn’t spend much time in the lounge, service seemed like it would have been quite good if I had had a bit more time. At the very least, it seemed polished, as they even provided separate table-side hangers for jackets (which was done for me after I had haphazardly strewn my stuff all over a seat).

Hanger for my jacket

Hanger for my jacket

By the time I had gotten my plate of food, our flight said that it was already boarding, so I started eating quite quickly. One of the lounge attendants seemed distressed, and I’m not sure if it was because of my lack of table manners or if it was because she thought that I might miss my flight and I was ignoring her pleas to go downstairs to go to the bus to get to the gate.

Anyway, we made our way to the bus gate as our flight said final boarding, and we were treated to a nicer bus than the one that picked us up from our previous flight.

A more premium bus experience

A more premium bus experience

Yet again, however, we found that we ended up sitting on the bus for about 15 minutes before it actually left. And even once we got to the plane, it was quite a while before we actually took off. Alas, I could have spent more time eating/jacuzzing/saunaing. Next time, I’ll have to keep in mind that final boarding isn’t necessarily final boarding in other parts of the world.

Overall, I wish that I had had more time to spend in the Premium Transfer Terminal as it does seem to be a very high quality lounge. The limited food that I tried was good, and it’s pretty awesome that there’s a sauna and jacuzzi in the lounge.