In case you’re just joining us, here’s what I’ve covered so far on my trip to Djibouti for a UNICEF relief delivery:
- Getting Started On An 18,000 Mile 5-Day Journey
- Turkish Airlines Lounge At Washington Dulles
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines From IAD to CPH (Washington Dulles to Copenhagen)
- Touring UNICEF In Copenhagen: Getting Ready For Delivery
- Riding The Metro In Copenhagen: An Easy Way To Get To and From The Airport
- A Day In Copenhagen
- Norwegian Premium From CPH to JIB (Copenhagen to Djibouti)
- The Cockpit Experience! Taking Off From Athens to Djibouti
- Getting The Right Medicine For A Trip To Africa
- Great Fish, Bribes, Souvenirs And Men With Guns, Part 1
- Great Fish, Bribes, Souvenirs And Men With Guns, Part 2
- Qatar Airways JIB-DOH
- Al Mourjan Business Class Qatar Airways Lounge Review, Doha Airport
- Qatar Airways Business Class Review DOH-DFW
Hamad International Airport in Doha is a big airport with a small feel. Or, maybe it’s a small airport with a big feel? At any rate, it didn’t seem terribly crowded when I was there, but there sure were a lot of planes hanging around. The walk from the Al Mourjan lounge to my gate was a long one. That was significantly shortened with a quick train ride to my concourse. After some secondary screening at the gate, I was onboard for my 15+ hour flight to DFW in a comfy business class seat. Can I tell you I was a bit excited to be flying a new airline and on a bit of a cool route? I’m such a nerd.
Business Class Cabin And Seat
The business class cabin felt space when I entered. Divided up into two sections, the Boeing 777 had plenty of headroom. My window seat ended up having an empty aisle seat next to it. Even though it was empty, there’s plenty of room in and around the seat. The seats are laid out in a manner that you can get out of the window seat without asking your seat-mate to get up (and without performing a circus act).
I quickly changed into the supplied pajamas and settled in. The bottled water holder in the armrest was one of the first things I noticed. I usually drink 3 or 4 bottles of water a day and having them handy on planes is great for me.
The seat itself is pretty typical of long-haul business class seats. It’s not the newest generation of seats out there, but it’s perfectly comfortable with all the normal amenities you’d expect. For sleeping, there’s a thin mattress pad to go with the comforter and pillow. I found all of them to be perfectly comfortable. Let’s be honest, though. Most nights one of my kids is jumping into our bed at home hogging the covers. So, I don’t tend to obsess about the differences in an airline’s comfortable seat, blanket and pillow. The bottom line here is that I’d have a comfy bed for a 15-hour flight.
The amenity kits themselves are great. They’re a hard leather case that’s definitely reusable. My wife and daughter absconded mine when I got home. I’m pretty sure they put the included items to good use as well.
The headphones and in-flight entertainment screen worked just fine. Power outlets and light fixtures were where I needed them. My plan was to sleep initially and dine later. I ended up watching a movie when I woke up and found the system to be what I’d expect.
Regardless of which cabin you’re flying in, I definitely recommend a window seat when departing Doha. As you can imagine, there’s some pretty awesome construction in Qatar. The views on departure are pretty stunning. I love the one shot of the airplane over the skyline to put into perspective how big some of these buildings are.
Meals & Service
As I mentioned, my first plan of attack when we took off was to go back to sleep. When I awoke I had a card beside my seat indicating that the service staff was ready to serve me whenever I was ready. It was a nice touch.
As soon as I was ready to eat, the crew was very responsive. The same member served my meals for the majority of the flight. She started me off with some water and a glass of sparkling wine. Not a bad start!
The crew was very flexible with the dining order, bringing me plates when I wanted in any order. I started with a small plate of smoked salmon. I’d say it’s a 50/50 proposition that smoked salmon onboard planes will be any good. This was excellent. It was served on a nicer plate than my Norwegian Air premium salmon meal. Other than that, it was just as good. One of the best pieces of fish I’ve had on an airplane. It paired well with the Huntaway Sauvignon Blanc they offered me. After that I decided to sample the cheese platter. This was a great light meal, just what I needed.
On a 15-hour daytime flight you’ve got quite a bit of time to kill. My nap wasn’t that long. And, after finishing up my light meal and watching a movie, I was hungry again. The second meal consisted of 3 courses. I couldn’t pass up a plate of humus, especially since I expected it wouldn’t be run-of-the-mill US humus. It didn’t disappoint.
Admittedly, I’m not a baba ghanoush fan. So, after finishing the humus, I was still hungry. I decided to stick with smaller plates and try the prawns with mango salsa and soba noodles. It was incredible, probably the best meal of the trip. 15 hours is a long time to be in the air, so I decided to try chicken with machboos sauce. It was good, but the prawns were still the winner. I paired it with a glass of The Stump, Shiraz from McLaren Vale, which definitely improved the situation.
Of course, any meal with me wouldn’t be complete without dessert. And, while there were no donuts, there was a pretty darn good chocolate mousse cake. Double bonus, it came with a pretty tasty and sizable macaron!
The route took us over Greenland and Northern Canada. That made for some pretty stunning views. The sun was shining pretty brightly, making truly great pictures a challenge. But, hopefully you can get the drift.
The Final Two Pennies
The absolute toughest part of this flight was the lack of Wi-Fi. That’s still fairly common for long-haul international flights. But, I don’t generally go 15 hours without talking to my wife. When you add in the time difference and the
2-hour 5-hour flight from Djibouti it was pretty much a full 24 hours we went without being able to talk.
This flight was a perfect example of how miles and points can get you pretty much anywhere. I used 70,000 AAdvantage miles to fly nonstop from Doha to DFW in business class. That was exactly the route I needed to fly to attend American Airlines Media Day. I landed a couple of hours prior to the meeting, grabbed a quick shower and headed right to my meeting.
The seat was great, the food was excellent, the service superior. I wouldn’t hesitate to jump on another Qatar flight.
My 18,000 mile journey over 5 days ended quietly, but there were plenty of crazy moments throughout. Heck, we even ended up clocking more than 18,000 miles when you figure in our diversion to Athens. I’m very thankful t0 have had this experience. Well, minus the guns.
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