Date: 06 March 2016
Flight time: 55 minutes.
Seat: 3A, window on the port side.
Transfer in Doha
Behind security I head one floor down to the central airside area. I am always a bit disoriented in Doha. But eventually I do find the escalators leading up to the First Class lounge. Unfortunately though, by this time the departure time for my flight to Riyadh is already quickly approaching and I still have another 15 minutes walk to make it to my departure gate. So I decide to skip the lounge this time. Something to do on the way back, when I have a longer layover in Doha.
Boarding already starts about 45 minutes before departure. By now it is already nearly one in the morning, so I am not complaining.
Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1.
Seat: 3A, window seat on the port side of the aircraft.
Pitch: 80 inches.
Width: 22 inches.
Capacity: 22 seats.
The seat and cabin configuration is the same as on the Airbus A 380. The only difference is that the hull of the aircraft has a narrower diameter, so the cabin feels less cavernous. A pillow and blanket has been placed at every seat before boarding.
Service begins -as usual – with the distribution of welcome drinks and towels. I go with the lime and mint juice and a cold towel to wake me up. Next come the newspapers. With a flight time of only 55 minutes, no vanity kit or slippers are distributed. Once boarding is completed, the crew will pass through the cabin offering passengers dates and a cup of Arabic coffee.
Type of meal: Midnight snack.
Service: À la carte service.
Delivery: Individual tray service.
- Once more, I forget to take the menu, so I cannot remember the exact name of the dishes I had. All I know is that it was an Indian meal and that the piece of chicken that was served with the dish was warm.
- Selection of breads.
- Chocolate dessert.
- Tea and coffee.
- Valrhona chocolates.
Qatar Airways’ offering on such a short flight is really quite impressive. What is more, it is quite amazing that they manage to serve all passengers with enough time to spare for them to be able to enjoy the meal.
Eventually the aircraft dips its nose and we start our descent into Riyadh. I am about to arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time. Much to my surprise, and contrary to all the reports and reviews I had read prior to this trip, immigration is a swift and easy process. There are two channels for foreigners. One is for first time entries into the Kingdom, while the other is for repeated entry passengers. In any case, fifteen minutes after exiting the aircraft I find myself standing outside the terminal looking for a taxi to take my into town.
Oh yes, about that. Sometimes in life it is easiest to just surrender to your faith. The only means of transport to and from the airport is by taxi, and the driver will rip you off.