Qatar Airways, Business Class – Airbus A 350-900: Doha to Frankfurt

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Date: 17. February 2017
Departure: 08:00
Arrival: 12:10
Flight time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Seat: 4A

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Introduction

I have just enough time to upload and post my review of the Melbourne to Doha leg, and then it is already time to head to the departure gate for my flight to Frankfurt. I suppose you could say I am literally on my last leg…!

Boarding

The flight is departing from gate B8, which is the end gate on the B pier. As such, the position of the gate in relation to how the aircraft is actually parked is awkward and does not allow for any reasonable photos. Add to that the fact that the windows on the B pier have these opaque dots on them and it becomes near impossible to take any decent pictures of your awaiting chariot.

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The Cabin

The Airbus A 350 features Qatar Airways’ new Business Class configuration in a 1 + 2 + 1 layout that gives every passenger direct access to the aisle. The additional width of the A 350 really comes into its own in this cabin layout, giving a spacious and airy feel to the cabin.

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The only thing I do not like about this aircraft is the fact that it has those electronically controlled window blinds. And while these are obviously a lot of fun to play with if, like me, you spend way too much time around engineers than is really good for you, they have the disadvantage of being remote controllable by the crew.

No sooner has the fasten seatbelt sign turned off after take-off the blinds come down and can no longer be opened individually until about ninety minutes out of Frankfurt.

The Crew

The crew on this flight are a chirpy bunch. Their service is efficient but unrushed and they are obviously determined not to waste any time so passengers can maximise the amount of rest they can get before we reach our destination. This is yet another thing that Qatar Airways does really well in my opinion. One of the things I really cannot stand on Singapore Airlines or SWISS is that for some reason their main meal service always seems to take for ever. On a flight across the Atlantic you are usually already half way there by the time they finally finish and clear everything up.

Amenities

The vanity kit is another one of the senselessly oversized tube of aftershave balm variety. Come to think of it, it would be interesting to know what is in the ladies’ vanity kit and if that has any more sensible contents.

The Meal

I know it has not been that long since my breakfast on the inbound from Melbourne, but I am feeling peckish nonetheless. I blame it on the jet lag.

I start with a tasty strawberry and banana smoothie with is rich and creamy.

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Next I have the Bircher Müsli with berries and nuts, which is served nicely decorated with a sprig of mint that gives it a refreshing twist.

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And then for the main course I have the Indian dish, in this case something called Aloo paneer tikki with jeera potatoes, green pea upma, makhani sauce and sambhar. And what an excellent dish it is too, even though I am really not quite sure what it is I am eating. Luckily, Qatar Airways always seem to have at least one Indian dish on their menu, usually the vegetarian option.

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For dessert I have a combination of lychee éclair and a coffee and chocolate mousse cake, which is also very good.

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Once the meal is over, I figure I may as well make another trip to Noddy land to pass the time before the next feeding.

The Second Service

Ninety minutes out of Frankfurt the cabin crew pass through the cabin asking passengers if there is anything they would like to eat before we arrive in Frankfurt. There is a section with light options on the menu for passengers to choose from. I decide to go with the shredded beef salad with Thai noodles. The dish is good and tastes authentic, but I am kind of disappointed because I had been hoping for something with a bit of ‘umpf’ in it, which this dish does not have.

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Arrival

Twenty-three hours after departing from Melbourne I arrive back in Frankfurt. We approach the airport from the East and land on the new runway that lies north of the apron. As I step off the plane I finally get a chance to take a proper look at her and take a few pictures. This is a really very cool plane!

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Conclusion

This flight brings to a close my journey to the land of Oz with the fabulous Qatar Airways. Their performance on the four flights I took has been truly stellar. What’s more, they are consistent in the service level they provide, even in comparison to my experience on previous trips with them. In comparison to the other Middle Eastern carriers I have tried, I think Qatar Airways definitely takes the biscuit. They are certainly more professional than Oman Air and their service feels a lot more sophisticated than Emirates. I also think their cabins are a lot classier than Emirates, which tends to be a bit flashy, bordering on gaudy. Of course Qatar Airways also has the advantage that with Hamad airport, they have a very spacious and nicely designed hub.

I shall be flying with Etihad for the first time in two months, and I am curious to see how they will compare to Qatar Airways, but I think it is safe to say that Qatar Airways is a hard act to follow.

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Boeing B 777-300: Melbourne to Doha

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Date: 16. February 2017
Departure: 23:15
Arrival: 05:25
Flight time: 13 hours 55 minutes
Seat: 3B, aisle seat

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Introduction

Next Monday the new semester begins, which means it is high time for me to get a move on and head back home. Again, I shall be travelling in Qatar Airways’ formidable Business Class, which admittedly softens the blow of having reached the end of my vacation…

My flight to Doha will depart at 23h00 from Melbourne, which means I have all of Thursday at my disposal.

Getting to the Airport

In Melbourne I am staying at the Radisson on Flagstaff, which is just a short ten minutes walk away from the coach terminus at Southern Cross Rail Station. The journey from the city centre to the airport takes approximately 25 minutes and there is a Skybus coach leaving for the airport every 10 minutes. A one way ticket will set you back AUD19. There are no trains to the airport.

Check-in

All of row B in Terminal 2 is dedicated to Qatar Airways. You can check in online for this flight too. Even so, it is probably still worth it to make a stop at the check-in counter when you get to the airport because Business Class passengers are given a voucher for the security fast track that they can use in both Melbourne and Doha. You will also need to complete a customs form for departing passengers, which is also available at the check-in counter.

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The Lounge

Qatar Airways uses the lounge of its Oneworld partner Qantas in Melbourne. And thank God for that, because lounges are something Qantas does really well. It is a fairly large space with a variety of seating options. I like the design of the Qantas lounges. My only grippe with the lounge is that it is rather dark.

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Apart from that though, the food selection is rather good and there are salads, various pasta dishes, soup and a really delectable and sinful tasting chocolate cake.

Boarding

At around 22h10 I leave the lounge to stretch my legs one last time before the long flight. Boarding for the flight has already started, even though we still have another hour to go before departure. I wonder if perhaps the crew is hoping to get away earlier for some reason or other.

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Melbourne airport is quite busy at this time of night. To our left, Singapore’s A 380 is being readied for its flight back to Singapore, to our right the Thai Airways flight to Bangkok is also in the final stages of boarding, and as we taxi out, I also spot aircraft from Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Qantas and Emirates.

The Cabin

Tonight’s flight is being operated by one of my favourite aircraft, the mighty Boeing B 777-300ER – so please excuse my little fanboy outburst…

The last time I flew on Qatar Airways’ Boeing B 777-300ER was back in 2012 on a short flight from Hanoi to Bangkok. Admittedly, the cabin on the Boeing 777 is not near as nice as that of the Boeing 787 or the Airbus A 350. The seating configuration is in a 2 + 2 + 2 layout, which is rather old school and less private. But still, the seat is very comfortable, even when it is extended into a bed. The inflight entertainment is pretty much on a par with that of the other Qatar Airways aircraft I have flown with on this trip. The only major difference, from what I can tell, is that there is no wifi available on board this aircraft. But in the sum of all things, I do not really mind any of this. First of all, because it is the crew that makes the flight and secondly, no matter what the cabin may look or feel like, as far as I am concerned, the Boeing 777 is just one hell of a machine…oops, there goes the fanboy again.

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The Crew

Just when you think you have seen it all and done it all, along comes Qatar just to remind you that really, you are just so clueless. The crew on this flight are even better than those of the two previous flights. They are courteous and friendly, considerate and attentive and nothing seems to be too much for them. Throughout the flight they are constantly present in the cabin, making sure passengers are comfortable and properly hydrated. The toilets are kept in impeccable condition during the flight.

The service sequence follows the usual protocol, what else?

Amenities

While I think it is nice that airlines provide a vanity kit, I often wonder what on earth they were thinking when putting together the content. On the two previous flights with Qatar, the vanity kit included this really enormous tube of Armani aftershave cream, which somehow seems a bit of a waste. At least on this flight, the aftershave balm has been replaced with a large tube of Armani shower gel, which to me just makes more sense. There is also a small flacon of the perfume in the kit. Toothbrushes are available in the toilets.

The Meal

As a welcome drink I have another one of those tasty lime and mint affairs, which probably contains more sugar in one glass than an average, mid-sized country consumes in a whole month. But it is just so good.

When the cabin crew comes round to take my order – Susanna from Macedonia – I explain to her that I really just want to sleep right now. Of course, this being Qatar, she tells me that that will not be a problem. She will take my order and put it aside and then I can eat whenever I wake up.

And so, as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign is turned off after take-off, I convert my seat into a bed and head off to Noddy Land for six hours.

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First Course

For a starter I have the Arabic mezze, which is very tasty and includes hummus, something with red pepper and tabouleh. A few years ago I flew to Singapore with my colleague, the tall blond M., who struck up a conversation with one of the Arab cabin crew on that flight. At some point the guy told us that as an Arab he would only ever have the mezze on flights out of Doha, because the quality of the mezze is just so much more authentic. And I think I tend to agree. While this mezze platter is good, I think it kind of lacks a bit of zing. As far as the hummus is concerned, I think it could have done with a bit more tahina.

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The Main Course

For the main course I have the gnocchi with a spinach and blue cheese sauce that is served with walnuts and ruccola leaves. I notice that the food is piping hot, whereas the plate is not. I can only assume therefore, that the food is not plated in advanced and instead is assembled on the aircraft.

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Dessert

And then for dessert I have the ice cream – chocolate and vanilla, with mixed berries and a chocolate biscuit thing that tastes very good.

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The Valhorna chocolate after the meal has been replaced with a praliné by Godiva.

The Second Service

The second service already starts two hours and thirty minutes out of Doha because the crew is expecting heavy turbulence as we approach our destination. But in fact the bad weather starts much earlier, and the service has to be interrupted repeatedly.

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The breakfast service begins with a warm, rose scented hot towel to wake me up, followed by some Greek yoghurt with cherry compote and granola. The yoghurt is good, but the compote is just a bit too sweet, even for me.

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For the main course I have the Arabic breakfast, which is very tasty and quite extensive. There is a small plate with pita bread, another plate with cucumber, olives, tomatoes and feta cheese and a separate, hot dish of foul mudames, which is made with beans.

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The main is excellent, it is not spicy in the sense of being hot, but there are just a lot of different spices in the dish that make it very fragrant.

Transfer in Doha

Eventually we land after a flight time of 13 hours and 55 minutes. In the end it was not quite as bumpy after all on the approach. Much to my surprise though, the ground is wet and the captain informs us that there have been heavy rain showers in the area.

Security is already busy. It is quite apparent that this is the rush hour here in Doha. Even so, with the separate fast track for security, I am quickly processed and soon find myself airside again. Time to head for the lounge.

I had hoped to be able to take a shower, but they guy in charge tells me there is a waiting list that will take about an hour to clear.

Jetstar, Economy Class – Airbus A 320: Melbourne to Hobart

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Date: 11 February 2017
Departure: 11:05
Arrival: 12:05
Flight time: 54 minutes
Seat: 7F, starboard window

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Check-in

Terminal 4 is the low cost terminal in Melbourne and home to both Jetstar and Tiger Air. Interestingly enough, there are no manned check-in counters and instead, all passengers have to use one of the many self-service check-in kiosks instead. Even the baggage drop is unmanned. There are only two Jetstar employees available in case of problems.

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Boarding

The boarding process is interesting. Passengers have to stand in line at the gate. One of the gate agents then walks by with a mobile set of scales to check the weight of the hand luggage. At Jetstar only one piece with a maximum weight of 7kg is permitted in the cabin. If, as in my case, your bag exceeds the limit, you will have to have it checked in at the gate at a flat charge of AUSD50.-, which is pretty steep, I think, but probably intended as a deterrent to stop passengers arriving at the airport and simply trying their luck. Alternatively, you can purchase an allowance for luggage online for more reasonable prices.

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The Cabin

Configuration: 3 + 3
Seat Layout: Single class configuration with a total of 180 seats.
Pitch: 29 inches
Width: 17.5 inches
AC Power:
Not available
Audio and Video: Not available on this flight. However, on longer flights you can rent a portable device.
Connectivity: Not available.
Comment:
The seat is very uncomfortable. Because the pitch is so tight, you are obliged to sit upright. However, the curvature of the seat requires you to sit very straight, which is quite a strain on the lower back. At least the seats have good padding.

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The Crew

The crew seem friendly enough. More importantly, I am impressed by the quality of the announcements made by the lead flight attendant. She is very clear and precise in the way she speaks.

The Non-Meal

There is a menu with a large selection of hot and cold dishes and beverages. However, with a flight time of under one hour, I do not bother.

Arrival

Our descent into Hobart is rather fun. First of all, there is a strong gusting wind, which makes the approach rather bumpy. Secondly, the pilot in command obviously does not want to waste any time, so our final turns onto the approach are fairly tight. Once we hit the ground, the reversers are immediately opened at full throttle, given the fact that the runway here is very short.

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Conclusion

All in all, flying with Jetstar was an interesting experience. The lack of comfort is enough to take the fun out of flying, which is kind of what I was expecting. What impressed me though, is the efficiency of their operation on the ground, particularly with the self-service check-in process.

Virgin Australia, Business Class – Boeing B 737-800: Adelaide to Melbourne

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Date: 09. February 2017
Departure: 19:20
Arrival: 20:20
Flight time: 1 hour
Seat: 2F, window on the starboard of the aircraft

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Introduction

I step off Qatar’s Airbus A 350 and make my way to immigration, which is deserted. From what I can tell, ours is the only international flight to arrive around this time. The guy at customs seems a bit surprised to see me travelling such a long way with only a small carry-on suitcase, but eventually he lets me pass anyway.

If you are catching a domestic connection, simply exit customs and then turn left. There is an escalator that takes you one floor up to the departures level.

Check-in

Virgin Australia have their own dedicated check-in area and there is a separate counter for Business Class passengers.

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It had not been possible to check me in for this flight already in Frankfurt or in Doha.

The Virgin Australia Lounge

Location: Opposite immigration for international departures.
Name of Lounge:
Virgin Airlines lounge.
Access:
As you exit the security checkpoint, turn left.
Toilets & showers:
Available in the lounge.
Food & Beverages: The food selection in the lounge is limited to junk food and toast. Drinks are ordered at the counter.
Connectivity:
Complimentary wifi is available. The password is given to you at check-in.

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Boarding

Business Class passengers and frequent flyers are invited to board first.

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The Cabin

Configuration: 2 + 2.
Seat Layout: There are two rows of seats, making a total of eight seats in Business Class. The aircraft has a dedicated, proper Business Class cabin and seat.
Pitch: 38 inches.
Width: 19.5 inches.
AC Power:
Not available.
Audio and Video: Virgin offers wireless inflight entertainment that you can watch on your own handheld device. But you need to download their app for that first.

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The Crew

The crew seem friendly enough. They work efficiently to get the service through in just one hour, but without making it feel rushed.

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Taking off over Glenelg.

The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Sparkling water.

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Choice: There is a choice of either chicken or a salad with beetroot.
Delivery:
Individual tray service.
Type of meal:
Dinner.
Main course:
Chicken breast with creamed corn and tomatoes.

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Dessert: A really very tasty carrot cake.

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Cheese: A plate of camembert with fig chutney and rice crackers.

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Beverages: Coke Zero.

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Bread: One bun, served with butter.

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Coming from Europe, it is quite amazing to be offered a hot meal on a flight of only one hour and to have a proper Business Class seat at your disposal. I am certainly impressed!

Arrival

We arrive in Melbourne more or less on time. Virgin Australia have their own terminal in Melbourne.

From arrivals it takes me about five minutes to walk the short distance to the Holiday Inn hotel, where I will be staying for just the one night.

In summary, I rather like Virgin Australia and I am very glad to say that their service is still as good as I remember it from when I travelled with them last back in 2013.

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Airbus A 350-900: Doha to Adelaide

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Date: 09. February 2017
Departure: 21:15
Arrival: 17:40
Flight time: 12 hours 30 minutes
Seat: 3K, starboard window seat

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Introduction

I have just enough time to post the report of my flight from Frankfurt to Doha before it is time for me to leave the comfort of the al-Mourjan lounge and head for gate C5 from where the flight to Adelaide will be boarding.

Since my last visit to Doha airport they have changed the security regime. Where previously you used to go through a centralised security checkpoint, which tended to get slightly hectic and chaotic during peak periods, you now only have to go through security before you enter the respective gate for your flight, which makes the whole process far more efficient and much less of a hassle for passengers.

The Lounge

Location: Just off the central plaza that links concourses A, B and C.
Name of Lounge:
Al-Mourjan.
Type of Lounge:
Qatar Airways Business Class lounge.
Access:
There is a long escalator that leads up to the lounge.
Toilets & Showers:
Both are available in the lounge and there is an attendant who obviously keeps the place spotlessly clean.
Food & Beverages: There is a huge selection of hot and cold dishes. In fact the food offerings are more comparable to what many airlines provide in their First Class lounges. One floor up from the central lounge area there is also a restaurant with buffet and à la carte dining.
Connectivity:
Complimentary wifi is provided by Doha airport.
Newspapers & Magazines:
There is a large selection of magazines and newspapers in English and Arabic.

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Boarding

There is a separate lane for security for Business Class passengers. Business Class passengers are invited to board the aircraft first and there is a separate airbridge attached to the L1 door.

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The Cabin

The seat on the Airbus A 350 is very similar to that on the Boeing B 787 on my previous flight. There are however, a few differences. First of all, due to the fact that there are no overhead bins for the middle row of seats, the cabin has a very spacious and cavernous feel, which is very pleasant actually. There is a shoe compartment large enough to store a pair of shoes properly (I wear a size 46 and managed to stow my shoes easily). And finally, the inflight entertainment system is slightly updated. Is has a larger selection of films and can be operated either via the handset or using the touch screen.

The Business Class cabin is also larger on this aircraft. There is one toilet behind the forward galley on the left and two toilets by the L2/R2 doors.

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Amenities

The service sequence is identical to that on the previous flight – welcome drink, menu, vanity kit. However, because of the longer flight time of twelve hours and fifty minutes, a few additions have been made to the service:

  1. Slippers are provided and they are rather comfortable.
  2. Pyjamas are also provided.
  3. There is a turndown service to convert the seat into a bed.
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The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Lemon and mint juice.
Pre-meal drink:
Coke Zero, served with a ramekin of warm nuts.
Choice: There are three choices for the first and main course and dessert.
Delivery:
À la carte service.
Type of meal:
Late dinner.
Hot towel after the meal: Rose scented hot towel.

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Amuse Bouche

Salmon tartar with mango salsa.
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First Course

Spicy lentil soup.
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Mezze

Arabic mezze with hummus, moutabel and tabouleh, served with Arabic bread.

The Main Course

Red snapper with a saffron cream sauce and asparagus. Served with crushed new potatoes and spring onions and a confit of cherry tomatoes.
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Dessert

Ice cream.
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The Second Service

Choice: The breakfast menu can be put together individually and includes a wide selection of hot and cold dishes.
Delivery:
À la carte service.
Type of meal:
Breakfast.

Strawberry and banana smoothie.
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Scrambled eggs with chives, served on toast with ruccola and grilled tomatoes.
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A selection of breads, served with butter and marmalade.
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Arrival

We land in Adelaide after a flight time of twelve hours and thirty minutes. The approach brings us in right over the city and offers some great views of the hills in Adelaide’s hinterland.

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Once we land I have ninety minutes to make my domestic connection and then I’ll be done. For today.

Conclusion

This flight and the previous one from Frankfurt to Doha have firmly established Qatar Airways as one of my favourite airlines, together with the legendary Cathay Pacific. As I already mentioned in a previous post on Qatar Airways, it never seizes to amaze me just how reliable and consistent their crews are in their service delivery. And they are all so nice about it.

But it is not just the crews that make flying with Qatar Airways such a brilliant experience. The quality and quantity of the food is really something else and puts many of the First Class products I have had the pleasure of sampling to shame.

And then there is also the aircraft. This was my second flight on the Airbus A 350 and I must say, she’s really something else. The feeling of space and comfort that the cabin provides makes even a twelve hours journey pleasurable. The only problem you have with this aircraft is that it is so quiet in the cabin that you can hear the dude snoring five rows further back!

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Boeing B 787-8: Frankfurt to Doha

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Date: 09. February 2017
Departure: 10:45
Arrival: 18:30
Flight time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Seat: 2 K, starboard

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Check-in

Terminal 1, hall C. Qatar Airways has its own dedicated check-in counters. There are two counters for Business Class passengers.

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The Lounge

Location: Terminal 1.
Name of Lounge:
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.
Access:
There is a set of stairs and an escalator adjacent to gate B42 which take you one floor up. You see the lounge entrance as soon as you get off the escalator.
Toilets:
Available in the lounge. The toilets are clean and look rather nice.
Showers:
Available in the lounge. Contact reception for a slot.
Food & Beverages: There is a fairly large bar area but the selection of food and beverages is fairly limited. There are no hot dishes. But at least they have Lavazza coffee.
Connectivity:
Complimentary wifi is available, no password required.
Newspapers & Magazines:
There is also a good selection of English and French language magazines and newspapers.

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Boarding

Business Class passengers are invited to board the aircraft first and have their own, dedicated gate. Boarding is through the L2 door.

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The Cabin

Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1.
Cabin Layout:
Business Class – 22 seats.
Economy Class – 232 seats.
Pitch: 80 inches.
Width: 22 inches.
Length as a Bed: 80 inches.
AC Power:
AC power plugs are available at all seats in Business and Economy Class.
Audio and Video: Audio and video on demand, handset controlled.
Earphones: No-name noise-cancelling earphones.
Connectivity: Onair wifi available.
Comment: A pillow and a blanket are already on the seat.

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The Crew

The crew on today’s flight are all either from Thailand or the Indian subcontinent and they are all very friendly.

The service begins with a welcome drink and a choice of either a hot or cold towel. I choose a cold towel and have a lemon juice with mint with that.

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Shortly after that the vanity kit and the menus are distributed.

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Once the doors close, the crew pass through offering Arabic, English and German language newspapers.

Amenities

Armani branded vanity kit. There are obviously different kits for men and women. The kit contains earplugs, lip balm, perfume, after shave cream, socks and eye shades. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are available in the toilets.

The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Lemon juice with lime.
Pre-meal drink:
Apple cooler – Apple juice, soda water, lemon juice, mint leaves and a slice of lemon. Served with a bowl of nuts served with the drink.
Menu: There are three choices for the starter, main course and dessert.
Delivery: À la carte service.
Type of meal:
Lunch.
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Amuse Bouche

Balik salmon with a horseradish sauce.

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The Soup

Soup of roasted butternut squash with a lemon and herb crème fraîche.
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First Course

Smoked salmon with pea and potato salad with confit tomatoes and a lemon dressing.
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The Main Course

Paneer tikka masala with makhini sauce, servied with coriander and mint basmati rice, spiced asparagus and black-eyed beans.
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The Cheese

A selection of cheese with crackers, red onion chutney and condiments.
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Dessert

Chocolate ice cream with berries.
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The meal concludes with a hot, rose scented towel and a mug of Karak Chai with cardamom. Before the lights go out, the crew pass through the cabin with small boxes of Godiva pralines.

Arrival

We arrive in Doha at 18:30, just slightly ahead of schedule, after a flight time of five hours and thirty minutes. I know have a bit more than two hours to make my onward connection.

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Lufthansa, Economy Class – Airbus A 320: Zürich to Frankfurt

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Date: 08 February 2017
Departure: 18:45
Arrival: 19:25
Aircraft: Airbus A 320
Flight time: 40 minutes
Seat: 20 E on the starboard

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Introduction

After the snow the rain came. And then after the rain the cold returned. Only the grey remained – a mournful, dark and dreary, gloomy veil hanging over the landscape like a curse. And so I decide the time has come to move on to greener pastures and head south where the weather is not so cold, not so wet and hopefully a lot easier for me to deal with.

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Getting to the Airport

Transport: Train
Journey time:
13 minutes
Departs from:
Winterthur main station
Arrives:
Zürich Flughafen.
Cost:
CHF8.80 for a single one way ticket, 2nd class
Ticket purchase:
Online, via the SBB app or at the ticket machines at the station. There is also a ticket office, but the queues there tend to be rather long.

Check-in

Terminal: 1 or 3
Counters: Check-in 3 is the area right above the platforms of the railway station, Check-in 1 in the dedicated terminal of the Lufthansa group. As you enter the building, Economy Class is on your left, while Business and First Class and the SWISS ticketing office are on the right side of the hall.
Web check-in:
If you are flying with Lufthansa from Switzerland, you will automatically be redirected to the SWISS page for check-in.
You can also check in via the Lufthansa app, which is not very intuitive. If you want to add the boarding pass to your Passbook, you have to select ‘save pass to app’ first. The icon to upload it to Passbook will then appear, but you have to scroll to the bottom.
Self-service check-in:
Available in Check-in 1 and 3.

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There are separate entrances for the security screening area for First and Business Class passengers and Economy Class passengers.

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The SWISS Business Class Lounge

Location: Upper level of the Airside Centre
Type of Lounge:
SWISS Business Class and Frequent Traveller lounge
Toilets & Showers:
Available in the lounge
Food & Beverages: There is a selection of sandwiches (tuna or cheese), snacks like popcorn or gummibears and one hot dish, which is macaroni with a meat sauce that is served with a healthy dollop of apple sauce. It is a typically Swiss dish and goes by the name of ‘Älplermagrone’.
Connectivity:
A wifi code is issued at reception.
Newspapers & Magazines:
There is a selection of English and German language newspapers.
Comment:
For a change the lounge is not so busy. But judging by the amount of trash lying around, I think I might have just missed the mad rush. Bananas seem to have been very popular today… Other than that, the lounge is starting to show some serious signs of wear and tear.

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Not my rubbish…
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Boarding

Business Class, Senators and Hon Circles are invited to board first using the personalised gate. The riffraff can use the automated gates to board.

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The Cabin

Configuration: 3 + 3
Seat Layout: There are a total of 168 seats on the aircraft, although the maximum number of passengers varies on the size of the Business Class cabin, where the middle seat is kept empty.
Pitch: 30 inches
Width: 18 inches
Comment:
I think what strikes me the most about the aircraft as I enter is just how bland and boring the cabin looks. Everything is kept in murky shades of grey. Pretty much like the weather outside. The carpet is blue, but it is a very dark colour too that does not do anything to lighten the atmosphere in the cabin.

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Now that looks seriously uncomfortable.

The Crew

The crew are rather nondescript on this flight, pretty much like the cabin of the aircraft actually – dull and grey. The ‘service’ consists of a packet of greasy potato chips that you are handed at the entrance to the aircraft and that you are then expected to hold in your hand during take-off or demolish as soon as you take your seat. There is also a drinks service once we get airborne. All in all, the whole experience really is nothing to write home about. Admittedly, the flight time is announced as being only 45 minutes, so you can hardly expect Lufthansa’s catering to go all out in Economy Class.

Arrival

Eventually we land in Frankfurt after a flying time of only 40 minutes and for a change even the taxi to the apron is not too long.

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In summary, this was a rather unspectacular short intra-European hop. In a way, an airline like Lufthansa does not really stand a chance against the low cost carriers on such a short route because there simply are not enough possibilities for them to set themselves apart from the competition with their product. With that in mind, they might as well adapt their business model to that of the low cost carriers and at least save some money in the process.