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Qatar Airways: Your Five Star Airline? (pics)  
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

The large increase in the number of airlines in the Middle East market has resulted in strong advertising campaigns emphasizing their uniqueness to set themselves apart from the competition. There have been various attempts at originality such as Emirates boasting a worldwide network easily connected via the gargantuan shopping mall that is Dubai International Airport. Close rival Etihad promises to “change the way you see the world” by offering full flat seats in business class along with a world class cabin crew. Then there is Gulf Air which has no time for marketing gimmicks as they can barely keep their head above water.

Finally we have Qatar Airways, an airline that has been on my “must fly” list for quite some time. Therefore, when the opportunity came this Christmas break to fly them at a price that was much lower than any of regular Skyteam carriers, I went for it. Qatar Airways has advertised themselves as “your five star airline” which can clearly be seen in these two TV commercials below. Having flown a large number of world class airlines, I am no stranger to five star service and was intrigued to see if Qatar Airways would be able to measure up to the likes of Cathay Pacific, Malaysian, Korean or even Etihad.




Qatar Airways 201
Mumbai – Doha
Airbus A330-233 (A7-AFN)
Seat: 2K
Scheduled Departure Time: 5:45
Actual Departure Time: 6:00 (Actual take off: 6:30)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 7:00
Actual Arrival Time: 7:30

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Photo © Gordon Zammit
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Photo © Stephan Rossouw - FZI Photography



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Photo © Airsnaps - WorldAirlineImages
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Check In: After sailing through the rather deserted streets of Mumbai in the wee hours of the morning, I was standing in front of the terminal wishing my parents farewell at 3:30. Upon entering the terminal, I was greeted by two security lines where each passenger had their check-in bags x-rayed. Once my bag was enveloped in large Air India tape, I proceeded towards the Qatar Airways check-in counters which was no easy task thanks to the large crowds that had gathered around the Cathay Pacific and Gulf Air counters. I proceeded straight towards an empty business class counter and was greeted by a friendly agent.

“Hello sir, where are you flying to today?”
“Newark.”
“Could you please fill this paper out with your latest information as it is required for all passengers traveling to the United States.”
“Yes, sure.”
“Sir we also have a question, it is not compulsory but a request. Today we are slightly over booked in business class, would you mind traveling in economy?”
“No thank you. I would like to stick to business class please.”
“Yes sir, not a problem.”
“Here are both your boarding passes to Doha and Newark along with your lounge invitation. Go down the escalator it should be right in front of you. Have a good flight.”
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With all the paperwork in hand, I proceeded towards immigration which was a relatively quick affair today thanks to the absence of a line. A glace at the invitation revealed it to be a “Clipper Lounge” invitation which had a map on the back showing instructions on how to reach the lounge in the Air India terminal which would be virtually impossible. Thankfully, I know my way around Mumbai’s airport and knew exactly where to go, but this could easily confuse many people who have limited experience with the airport.
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Lounge: After handing my invitation to one of the personnel, I found an empty seat in the overfilled lounge. A quick look through the offerings yielded no difference to my last visit in August when flying Etihad. With a simple glass of orange Fanta in hand, I returned to my quiet corner seat. With nothing else to do for over an hour, I watched some TV shows on my iPod.
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Boarding: The boarding pass stated that boarding would begin at 4:50, so I decided to make my way to the gate around 4:45 where there was utter chaos as usual. Boarding announcements were made to board by row numbers and the ground staff were enforcing it rigorously. Passengers whose rows were not called, in typical Indian fashion stood in front of the glass door preventing the rest of us from getting through. Seeing the mess that was going on, I placed myself on one of the plastic chairs on the side and passed the time watching a female passenger argue with the station manager.
“What do you mean you can not give me a boarding pass to Newark? At first I was offloaded from the flight and now you want me to fly to Doha and wait?”
“Yes ma’am, the flight was oversold but we have managed to secure you a seat.”
“Ok then give me a boarding pass for the next flight.”
“Ma’am our printers are down, we can not do that. You will get one in Doha.”
“No, I want you to give me something in writing saying I have a seat to Newark! This is ridiculous.”
“Ma’am I assure you that you do have a seat!”
“I need proof, what happens if Qatar Airways changes their mind again and says I do not have a seat. I am not boarding this flight until I have something in my hand saying I am confirmed to Newark. I paid for a seat to Newark and you are going to give me that!”
“Ma’am there is nothing I can do; you have to board the aircraft now.”
“No I will not! I will not board this aircraft unless you give me a boarding pass for Newark. In ten years of flying back and forth this is the first time I am having so much trouble.”
“This is the way things work at Qatar Airways.”
“Clearly I won’t be flying Qatar Airways again!”
“That’s your prerogative ma’am.”

Soon enough I heard the gentleman at the door scream at the top of his lungs, “Business Class passengers may board now, only business class.” A few pushes and shoves later we were all on the jetway getting ready to board this extremely full A330. At the door I was greeted by an Indian female flight attendant with a “welcome on board sir. 2K is down through the galley and up to your left.”

After settling into my red burgundy seat, a steward came around with a tray of water and orange juice.
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Menus were passed out just as the cabin door was closed at 5:45, our scheduled departure time.


Push back commenced at exactly 6:00 with no explanation as why we were delayed. Lights were dimmed and we began to taxi out towards the runway which was lined up with narrow bodied Airbus and Boeing aircraft operated by domestic carriers. We eventually took off at 6:30, 45 minutes late which was not good news for my already tight 90 minute connection.
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The Flight: Immediately after the seatbelt sign was turned off an Indian male flight attendant appeared beside me to take my breakfast order.
“Sir have you decided what you would like to eat?”
“The scrambled eggs please.”
“Yes sir, what would you like to drink?”
“Some tea please.”
“Yes sir, with milk and sugar?”
“Yes, both. Thank you.”

A short while later another India male flight attendant appeared beside me,
“Would you like a hot or cold towel sir?”
I was impressed with the fact that we got to choose between the two. Another flight attendant was following him with a tray of orange juice and strawberry juice.
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The PTV’s were switched on at this point in time and as this was a non AVOD equipped aircraft, I had to settle on watching “The Nanny Diaries” which was entertaining enough to keep me from falling asleep in my eggs.
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Linen was placed on our tray tables and a meal tray was presented about an hour into the flight. A breadbasket was displayed in front of me and I selected the croissant.
“You can take some more sir, we have plenty. How about some toast?”
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A hot cup of tea was delivered to me a minute later by an Asian female flight attendant with two sugar cubes on the side.
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While the presentation was not that good, the quality of the food was quite decent. The fruits were fresh and chilled which is about all you can ask for these days. The eggs were warm as was the spinach, however the roesti potatoes were a little on the “crispy” side. I did not touch the vegetable ratatouille which looked and smelled rather unappetizing. The croissant was warm and nice but the toast was rather dry and rock hard. While there was plenty of butter to go around, I would have liked some jam to go with it. Overall the meal was filling and of decent quality, but there is some room for improvement.

Once the tray had been collected I reclined my seat into a cradle position and promptly feel asleep.

I woke up about an hour later right before the flight attendants switched on the lights and hot towels were passed around to those who were awake. A flight attendant came by and asked if there was anything I needed before landing. A glass of water was promptly placed on my armrest within seconds of the request.
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Arrival & Transit: Touchdown was smooth and we began our taxi to the gate almost 30 minutes behind our scheduled arrival time.
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After disembarking a ground staff agent was checking boarding passes and pointed me onto a bus with all the other business class passengers. We got dropped off at the main terminal where passengers heading to Doha went straight to immigration while all connecting passengers had to go through security.

I checked with a ground staff agent how to get to the Premium terminal and was told to go through the security line. I waited for a solid 20 minutes to get through the line where everything from my belt and digital watch was removed so I could pass through without a beep. It was now 8am and with a scheduled departure time of 8:30 I headed straight to gate 14 only to be greeted by a huge line!

Part 2 Continued Below

52 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 1, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:


Qatar Airways 83
Doha – Geneva
Airbus A330-203 (A7-ACC)
Seat: 11K
Scheduled Departure Time: 8:30
Actual Departure Time: 8:45
Scheduled Arrival Time: 12:30
Actual Arrival Time: 12:45

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Photo © Giovanni Verbeeck
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Photo © Alejandro Pérez



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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt


Boarding: I got in line and the agents kept trying to separate the Geneva bound passengers from the Newark bound passengers, it was utter chaos. There were two Qatar Airways agents trying to check passenger visa’s and documents which kept everyone jammed in line.
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Once our passports were returned we proceeded in line for another check by security personnel. My passport was scanned while my visa was scrutinized at length. After they were satisfied that my papers were not forged I went through another x-ray, this time removing all liquids, lap tops, shoes, belts and almost anything else that was needed. After holding my pants up through the metal detector I repacked everything and proceeded down the escalator where I had just missed the latest bus. A Qatar Airways agent was standing by the door,
“We will put you on the next flight.”
A bewildered look on my face made the agent realize his mistake.
“No wait I mean bus!”

I sat down in one of the plastic chairs and tried to catch my breath while listening to the multitude of students chatting who were on their way back to the US after break as well.

At 8:35 another bus finally came to take the last of us to the aircraft which was ready to depart. The bus dropped us off by the door 2L and I was greeted at the door by a smiling Eastern European flight attendant,
“Hello and welcome onboard. 11K is through the galley and to your right.”

By the time I stowed my bag in the overhead bin and sat down in 11K, I was soaked in sweat and must have smelt equally bad. A female flight attendant placed a cold towel on my armrest and in her Eastern European accent,
“It looks like you need this, would you like something to drink?”
“A glass of water would be great please.”
“Certainly.”
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A pillow, blanket, amenity kit, and a menu had been placed on each seat in the business class cabin. The door was closed immediately thereafter and I was happy to notice that 11J was empty which meant I had no neighbor for the flight to Geneva.
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During pushback the cabin crew went around taking orders for breakfast.
“Sir, have you decided what you would like for breakfast?”
“Yes, can I start with the mango mint energizer.”
“Certainly, what would you like to eat?”
“Can I have the pannacotta and the hotcakes.”
“Absolutely. Anything to drink with the meal?”
“Some hot tea please.”
“With milk and sugar?”
“Yes both, thank you.”

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The captain welcomed us onboard and informed us that our flying time would be just shy of 6 hours to Geneva today where the weather was a chilly 2 degrees Celsius. There was no movement at this hour at the airport and before I knew it we were rolling down the runway for take off.
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The Flight: Once the seatbelt sign was turned off, the flight attendants sprung into action.
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First my mango energizer was placed on my armrest and it was absolutely delightful. I have always been a fan of any mango but this drink really hit the spot. It was a very nice change from the mundane orange juice. I played around with the PTV only to discover that the options loaded were from December which was rather lackluster when compared to the January list on the previous flight. Nonetheless I selected “Transformers” as my movie for the meal service.

A few minutes later the Eastern European flight attendant came around and set my tray table with white linens while at the same time placing a napkin on my lap.
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She returned a minute later with some cutlery and a breadbasket. I was also offered a choice of honey, marmalade, and strawberry jam to accompany the basket. The breadbasket contained a croissant, a chocolate croissant, a hard wheat roll and some toast. The basket was incredible; the bread was hot, fresh and filling.
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The fruit pannacotta arrived and it looked like it had been made in some five star restaurant rather than an aircraft galley, it tasted equally great. The fruits were fresh and ripe and the pannacotta was excellent, light on the stomach while full in flavor. My dirty crockery was removed and a hot cup of tea was brought over to me followed by my main course.
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The flight attendant placed the plate down and proceeded to pour the maple syrup on top of the hotcakes like some sort of celebrity chef, followed by a “bon appetite.” The hotcakes were no different than the rest of the meal, they were excellent. The berries on the side were just the perfect compliment to the hotcakes.

Once everything had been cleared, I decided to check out the facilities which had a nice selection of additional amenities. The “X Limited” cologne in the bathroom smelt absolutely great, I used it liberally throughout the flight.
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By the time I had returned to my seat, a bottle of water and a packet of “Smint” has been placed on my armrest. I finished off “Transformers” and spent a good ten minutes trying to get the seat into a comfortable cradle position before putting the pillow behind my head and falling asleep out of sheer exhaustion.
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I woke up about two hours later and switched on my PTV to see what comedies I could pick. I watched both episodes of “Rules of Engagement” that were on offer. During the second episode, the Eastern European flight attendant came around to take everyone’s lunch order.
“Sir, have you decided what you would like for lunch?”
“Yes, can I get the chicken sandwich and the ice cream please.”
“Yes sir, what about to drink?”
“Some Diet Coke would be nice.”
As I did not want to watch something taxing, I selected “Ratatouuille” which I found mildly entertaining.
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A Diet Coke with a wedge of lemon appeared a short while later on my armrest followed by the omnipresent white linen placements.
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The open faced chicken sandwich was just mouth watering. The dressing was great and the chicken was soft and tender, absolutely the best snack I have had onboard an aircraft in a long time.
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My empty plate was cleaned and the ice cream was brought over which looked absolutely amazing. The ice cream was not rock solid like it tends to be on US carriers and the berries complimented it well. The Eastern European flight attendant came by to collect my empty plates,
“Is there anything else I can get you?”
“Could I possibly get a cappuccino?”
“Certainly sir.”
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The cappuccino was piping hot and a perfect ending to the meal. Another hot towel was handed out right before descent started with some breath taking views of the Alps outside my window.
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Arrival & Transit: We touched down and taxied to our gate. An announcement was made stating that all passengers transiting to Newark had to disembark the aircraft with all their personal belongings.
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I wished farewell to the cabin crew on the way out and entered the rather chilly jetway where a Swissport employee was directing transit passengers to form a line on the left. Once in line, I waited a few minutes till it was my turn with the Swissport employee. My boarding pass was taken by the agent and I was handed a transit card. I proceeded down the stairs and took a long walk to the main terminal where I proceeded up the stairs to the departure area. The departure area was full of shops with a variety of items for sale. However, I decided to try my luck at possibly entering a lounge.
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Geneva Swissport Lounge: After a quick escalator ride to the third floor, I entered the Swissport lounge which had a Qatar Airways sign in front of it. I was greeted by a very friendly elderly agent at the counter.
“I was wondering if I am allowed to use this lounge?”
“Are you flying First or Business Class?”
“Yes, business class.”
“Absolutely, can I see your passport?”
Once all the formalities were done, I was waved through. The lounge was on the small side but rather cozy and well laid out. There were a few drinks and couple of light snacks on offer.
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At 14:20 I proceeded downstairs towards security which was not overly crowded but it did take close to 15 minutes to clear due to security procedures in place. Thus I emptied out my lap top, liquids, shoes, belt and whatever else I am suppose to surrender these days. I got a nice view of some European airlines and their aircrafts on my walk to the corner gate.

Part 3 Continued Below


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 2, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:


Qatar Airways 83
Geneva – Newark
Airbus A330-203 (A7-ACC)
Seat: 11K
Scheduled Departure Time: 15:00
Actual Departure Time: 15:22
Scheduled Arrival Time: 18:15
Actual Arrival Time: 17:45

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Photo © Giovanni Verbeeck
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Photo © Alejandro Pérez



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Photo © Airsnaps - WorldAirlineImages
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Photo © Konstantin von Wedelstaedt


Boarding: I was still standing in the gate area at 14:45, which meant there was no way we were leaving on-time. However what surprised me was the total lack of information by the ground staff who were just sitting on their circular podium talking loudly amongst themselves.

To pass the time, a couple of us started chatting and the guy next to me was complaining about how on his way to Doha two weeks ago they endured a domino delay. Him and another passenger who just happen to be on that exact flight were just trash talking Qatar Airways handling of the situation, “every hour they kept saying it will be just another hour. We ended up here for nine hours and we all missed our connections in Doha.” I can sympathize with them having endured the same myself many times during my frequent domestic trips in the US. The gentleman commented how he would like to try Etihad instead next time and I casually mentioned my experience with them from August. He seemed genuinely surprised that I had rather lack luster comments about Etihad’s ground handling as well. I guess the only airline that has its act together on the ground is Emirates, but sadly they do not share the same consistency when it comes to in-flight service as their two biggest competitors.

A fold-away podium was brought over where a single security agent yelled
“transit passengers who are not US citizen please approach me.”
Thankfully I was pretty much in front of the entire line that had formed at this point. Nonetheless some Indian gentleman decided he was not going to wait his turned and literally shoved and pushed his way to the front of the line where he was told sternly by the agent to go to the back of the line. Once my passport and U.S. documents were checked once more, my boarding pass was handed back by one of the Qatar ground agents who smiled and wished me a pleasant flight.

I was greeted at the door by two Asian female flight attendants who smiled and pointed me towards my seat through the galley. Once again there was a new amenity kit on each seat along with a fresh new pillow and blanket. A male steward brought around a tray of drinks and I had a glass of water. Menu’s and headsets were handed out followed by a hot towel.
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The cabin door was closed at 15:15, which meant we were not delayed too much. I looked around the cabin and saw a mere 11 out 18 seats occupied in the business class cabin, I had another flight with an empty seat next to me! The flight attendants appeared in the aisle once again to hand out pajama tops. My first reaction was, why just a top? Regardless it was a nice touch that many airlines fail to even offer in First Class let alone Business.
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The flight attendant came around to take lunch orders,
“Sir have you decided what you would like to drink for lunch?”
“Could I please have the Australian Shiraz.”
“Yes sir, what about to eat?”
“Can I start with the crab and coconut soup?”
“Certainly sir, what about your main dish?”
“Can I have the prawns please followed by the granny smith crumble please.”
“Certainly sir, if there anything else you need please let me know.”




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The standard safety feature was played and we began out pushback. The East European captain welcomed us onboard and informed us our flying time today would be just over nine hours.
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The Flight: We took off with some additional breath taking views of the Alps as we climbed to our cruising altitude. The seatbelt sign was turned off around 20,000 ft and the cabin crew immediately started their duties in the galley. The first duty for the cabin crew was to distribute landing cards for the United States which was a breeze in our mini cabin. As the IFE had already been turned on, I flicked through and decided “”Hairspray” would be my movie for lunch.
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An Indian male flight attendant appeared beside me with a newly opened bottle of red wine,
“Would you care for a taste first sir?”
Like any good wine connoisseur, I twirled and smelled the glass, eventually taking a sip and nodded my head like I actually knew what I was doing. Maybe this is a good excuse to visit Napa Valley for some lessons. A warm potato and cheese tartlet was delivered immediately by an Asian flight attendant while my wine was still being poured.
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The tartlets was excellent, I kind of wish it had been larger in size. A female flight attendant came around and collected our empty dishes individually with a gracious smile on her face. The male flight attendant appeared by my side and proceeded to set up my tray table followed by another scrumptious bread basket.

The bread was warm and absolutely amazing; I only wish I could have finished it all as there was just so much of it. Soon the cabin started to smell like Asian spices and my bowl of soup arrived.
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One word: excellent! Words can not describe how wonderful this soup was, full of flavor with plenty of plump crab meat. This soup could easily have outdone some of my favorite restaurants back on the ground. My empty bowl was cleared and my main course was placed in front of me with a “bon appetite.”
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At first glance, the dish looked like it had been created in some fancy restaurant in New York with kebab skewers made out of lemon grass sticks. The aroma was absolutely mouth watering and I am happy to say it tasted equally scrumptious. The shrimp and scallops were perfectly seasoned with the pesto. The rice was perfectly cooked, soft and full of flavor thanks to the fried onions that had been placed on top.
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The granny smith crumble was equally decadent as the rest of the meal. The crumble was warm and the crème blended extremely well with it. Once my empty plate had been collected, I reclined my seat and dozed off for a bit with an orange and pink sky outside my window.
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Somewhere between Greenland and Canada I woke up and played some trivia questions on the PTV. One of my friends had requested I buy a Qatar Airways model for him. Having not noticed the Duty Free cart, I got up and headed to the galley where a male flight attendant promptly asked if I needed something.
“I was wondering if I could get something from duty free?”
“Certainly sir, do you know which item you would like?”
“Yes, can I get the model of the Airbus A340-600?”
“Let me call my colleague in the back to find out if that model is still available.”
He proceeded to pick up the phone and give the person on the other end all the information regarding what I wanted to purchase.
“My colleague is on her way here, but I am afraid the A340 is very popular as she said we have run out of it. Is there any other model you would like? Let me get the catalogue for you to see all of them.”
He proceeded to open up the duty free catalogue and show me each page with the model.
“I guess the red A330 looks good.”
The lead Asian flight attendant that had welcomed me onboard at the door in Geneva appeared by my side almost instantly,
“Sorry sir, but we are out of the model you requested. Is there anything else I can get for you?”
“How about this red Asian Games A330?”
“Yes sir, let me get it for it.”
As she rummaged through the carts various drawers she happened to stumble upon a big grey box marked ‘Airbus A340-600.’ She had a puzzled look on her face; she picked the box up and opened it to find an A340 inside. She turned beet red within a second and said,
“Oh sir, I am so sorry! We do have an A340 model, I am so sorry! Do you still want this or the red A330?”
“Its quite all right, the A340 would be great, thank you.”
The poor girl could not stop apologizing for her error while she processed my credit card. Not just her, but the male flight attendant that had called her also apologized on her behalf. I had to re-assure them that it not a big deal and these things happen all the time. Besides the model was not even for me, you see all the trouble you caused 744BFA!
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I returned to my seat and went through the list of comedies that were on offer and settled on an episode of the classic “Friends.”
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“Sir, have you decided what you would like to eat?”
“Oh yes. Can I have the soup to start with followed by the chicken pesto and the ice cream for dessert please?”
“Yes sir, would you like anything to drink?
“A diet coke please.”

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A few minutes followed and the Indian flight attendant was by my side with some white linens. The standard set followed and I was offered a choice of bread from a basket. As usual, the bread was warm and very tasty. My soup bowl followed shortly.
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The soup was once again excellent, simple yet full of flavor.
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The main course was amazing as well, the chicken was soft and moist while the pasta was perfectly cooked and not dried out. The pesto created the perfect balance between the two and I virtually licked my plate clean!
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The macadamia nut ice cream with the berry compote was exquisite. The ice cream was not rock solid and the compote added the perfect touch to an already flavorful ice cream.

Once everything had been cleared up, I proceeded to the lavatory to freshen up so I could look somewhat decent for my arrival. Traveling for close to 30 hours can take the wind out of anyone, even frequent travelers. When I got back to my seat, another hot towel was served right before the planes nose pitched down indicating that we had began our descent into Newark.
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The captain came on the P/A shortly before touchdown to inform us that the weather was a chilly 45 degrees on this clear evening. He also informed us that passengers on the left side of the aircraft would be getting perfect view of New York City tonight. While I have seen that view numerous times on my multitude of Continental flights into Newark, it is still an amazing sight to see New York from an aircraft on approach to Newark.

Arrival: We smoothly touchdown onto runway 22L after which we proceeded to taxi towards the side of the runway and stop on a corner taxiway. Passengers immediately started getting up and retrieving their bags from the overhead bin despite the fact that we were no where near a gate. It took nearly two minutes before the captain came on and stated the obvious,
“Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. We are not at our gate; in fact our gate is still occupied as we have come in quite early today. Once the current aircraft in our assigned gate departs, we shall park and turn the seatbelt sign off then. So please take your seats once again until we reach out gate.”
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Around 18:10, almost 25 minutes after landing, we started taxing towards our assigned gate which was now vacated by a Lufthansa A340 heading to Frankfurt.
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We docked at the gate and business class passengers were let off first. After thanking the crew for a great flight I began my long trek towards immigration passing a number of parked Silverjet, L’Avion and Privatair aircraft. Immigration was not overly busy at this point in time as most flight had already arrived earlier in the day. I was directed towards a counter and low and behold, who should it be in front of me but the female passenger that was yelling at the Qatar Airways station manager in Mumbai, I guess she made it after all. After my fingerprint and photo was taken, I was pointed towards the baggage claim escalator by a Qatar Airways agent who was waiting directly behind the immigration counters.

Down the escalator I was greeted by a small room with about four baggage carousels. I tried to read the signs but there were so many people around, I could barely get past them all to the lone empty carousel that was being utilized by Qatar. I stood by and started chatting with the same passengers as in Geneva. One of them was connecting on an 8pm Air Canada to Toronto. As the current time was 7pm, it looked like she would not be making the connection as anyone familiar with Newark knows changing terminals can be time consuming. However a Qatar Airways agent came up to her to inform her that she had called Air Canada to tell them of her arrival.

At exactly 19:05, the carousel started and, a miracle happened. My bag was the second one out! Things like this never happen to me, not even with priority tags. With my lone bag in hand I headed towards customs which was full of Lufthansa and British Airways passengers but the line still moved relatively quickly. Within minutes I was on the AirTrain heading to station P4 to catch my courtesy shuttle to the Marriott EWR.



Verdict: So is Qatar Airways a five star airline? In my opinion, no! While their in flight service may be top notch, their ground handling leaves a lot to be desired. The caption should be “Qatar Airways your five star in flight experience with one star ground handling.” I suspect had I actually ended up at the premium terminal in Doha my outlook on the ground experience could possibly have done a complete 180 degree turn.

I was unfortunate enough to experience the older seat versions on both my flights. The seat was relatively comfortable but it left me wanting more, especially after seeing the new seats on the 346 and 77W. A7-ACC, the A330-200 assigned to my Doha-Newark flight looked especially worn inside. While duct tape may be acceptable on some carriers such as Delta and Northwest, it is not acceptable for an alleged “five star airline” to have its premium product in such tattered condition.

Catering was certainly one of the highlights of flying Qatar Airways; all meals were excellent and surpassed all my expectations. I rank Qatar’s in flight catering right up there with Air France who I consider to be the leader in this category. The individual bread basket was excellent and a very nice touch, something that I did not even experience on my last flight in First Class on Etihad. I also appreciate the individual tray table set up which adds a touch of class to an already excellent in flight product. At times I felt like I was flying First Class rather than Business Class thanks to all these small touches.

In terms of in flight service, Qatar Airlines easily ranks as the best Middle Eastern airline I have flown. They are light years ahead of the likes of Kuwait, Gulf Air and Emirates while marginally better than my other favorite, Etihad. Service on the last two legs was absolutely flawless, the flight attendants tried hard to please their passengers and it showed. Service never once looked robotic or rehearsed; the cabin crews really are the stars of Qatar Airways.

On the whole I was pleased with Qatar Airways and would not mind flying them again for the right price. However if I have to fly them in the future, I would chose to fly them via Washington Dulles rather than Newark. This will allow me more time in Doha which would lead to a relaxed transfer, hopefully in the premium terminal. Qatar Airways certainly has all the makings of a five star airline, but in my opinion they fall short of the mark.

Score:
Qatar 201
Check In: 8 (Friendly and efficient with no wait)
Lounge: 8 (Not bad, definitely beats the main terminal)
Boarding: 5 (Too chaotic with no order)
Seat: 9 (Not bad at all, but maybe a bit more legroom is needed)
Aircraft: 9 (Very clean and well maintained)
Crew: 9 (Friendly and efficient but very by the book, no special touches)
Meal: 8 (Very filling for the hour but not overly great in quality)
Entertainment: 5 (Non AVOD with patchy quality)

Doha Lounge: N/A

Qatar 83 (DOH-GVA)
Boarding: 4 (A utter complete mess which was slow due to lack of personnel and coordination)
Seat: 9 (Not bad at all, but maybe a bit more legroom is needed)
Aircraft: 8 (Showing some wear and tear but relatively clean)
Crew: 10 (Perfect service from this set of cabin crew)
Meal: 10 (Excellent catering, quantity and quality were fantastic)
Entertainment: 9 (AVOD but lacking in choice. PTV could be bigger as well)

Geneva Lounge: 8

Qatar 83 (GVA-EWR)
Boarding: 8 (A little disorganized but decent enough)
Seat: 9 (Not bad at all, but maybe a bit more legroom is needed)
Aircraft: 8 (Same as above)
Crew: 10 (Once again, an amazing set of friendly cabin crew)
Meal: 10 (Once again the quality and quantity were amazing)
Entertainment: 9 (AVOD but lacking in choice. PTV could be bigger as well)
Arrival: 10 (Very nice, one of the first bags off the carousel)

Total: 183/220 = .83
Qatar Airways scored a 83%
(NOTE: My last trip report which featured Etihad’s First Class also scored an 83%)



SR 103


User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

What was the load like from GVA to New York?

User currently offlineDavidkunzVIE From Austria, joined Mar 2007, 431 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

I absolutely LOVE your TRs!

Thank you so much, you really make flying sound and look like the experience it is supposed to be.



DH3 DH4 CR1 CR2 CR7 CR9 F70 732 733 734 73G 738 752 762 763 772 742 743 319 320 321 333 343
User currently offlineATLFlyer323 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 617 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

I have to agree with the post above!!

AMAZING REPORT!!! I am so glad that I read it.

I do have one question, have you flown Gulf Air? I inferred that you have flown Emirates and Ethiad so I was just wondering about Gulf.

Thanks,
Brandon



Everyday, the fluffy temptation of wheat!
User currently offlineKLM685 From Mexico, joined May 2005, 1577 posts, RR: 19
Reply 6, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

What a superb Trip Report! I Enjoyed reading every line of it. The pictures are excellent.

Service at QR didn't look bad at at all! I would love to fly them one day in whatever class they offer me Big grin lol

Congratulations on your TR! Hope to read you soon!

Cheers

Alonso



KLM- The Best Airline in the World!
User currently offlineRogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hola SR 103!

Thanks for another great TR.

And I was happy when I flew to BOM about LX service and food.... but after seeing Qatar my jaw dropped an realised how poor the quality of European airlines is that even one of the best considered, LX, is nowhere near to what you can experience at Qatar, Emirates or Etihad.

I am also surprised how low customer's demand level has gone that rank LX as the bet European airline; not that they do not deserve it.... but after reading your TR and seeing the images of the food offered I think some measures should be taken.

Time to experience them has come and start asking our European companies for a service like that.

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlinePhileet92 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 303 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS TRIP REPORT!!! one of my favorites. =D

User currently offlineAntskip From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 932 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
the gargantuan shopping mall that is Dubai International Airport

A mediocre shopping mall, moreover. A typical Melbourne shopping mall is far superior: more eating options, with better food, great coffee, and better toilet facilities...Maybe the same in the U.S.?

SR 103, you are very hard to please! Despite the obviously sumptuous meals, amazing seats, entertainment and extras, backed up by perfect customer service, you come down on QR quite hard - mostly on what seemed to happen to others, not to you. But fair enough - others do appear to have had a different experience on QR, especially on the ground. Nice to see you were treated like a King! - which is what everyone wants to be, apparently, on business class these days. The only possibly better condition being unconscious - asleep in a lovely "bed", just like being home...


User currently offlineMH017 From Netherlands, joined Apr 2005, 1692 posts, RR: 31
Reply 10, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Anosh,

What an excellent trip-report !!!
Pictures are excellent (although some double-posting), and your descriptions of your flights are top-notch.

Had the pleasure of flying QR myself last December between MUC and SGN (via DOH) in Economy-class though, and have the same feeling about their service: while on-board, QR renders excellent service and catering, however, the ground-service at DOH is quite low (maybe because of the current airport ?): I was parked both times at the other side of the airport (close to the maintenance hangars opposite the runway) and had to be bused back and forth to the main Terminal.
Anyhow, I was so pleased with QR, I'll be flying with them again between MAN and SGN this time in March (via DOH), as you cannot beat their fares  Smile

Looking forward to your next TR. If you rate AF and QR, which one is better ? Unfortunately, you cannot earn FlyingBlue miles on QR, so did you use their Privilege Club instead ?

Thanks, once again, for sharing your excellent TR: well done !!!



don't throw away tomorrow !
User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17067 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

What a TR!!!

One of the better one on a long time!!

The pics are really good.

Hopefully I will get the opportunity to try QR.


Thank you for sharing

B747forever



Work Hard, Fly Right
User currently offlineMilesDependent From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 856 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Quite simply one of the best TRs I've read here for a long time. Well done.

User currently offlineLandingshortly From Austria, joined Jan 2008, 83 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

absolutely splendid report. i hope you have a great time in NY!


Singapore Airlines - you're a great way to fly.
User currently offlineSASDC8 From Norway, joined Mar 2006, 758 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Absolutely fantastic TR  Smile

QR catering looks fantastic! Would love it very much if QR decides to join Star so that I too can experience their superb meal service  Smile

Stein



2-3-2 is NOT a premium configuration
User currently offlineSQ325 From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 1451 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Excellent and very detailled TR thx for sharing!
I can just back up your expierence!
QRs inflight service is fantastic but i found DOH airport is a huge mess and miles away from being 5star.


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8552 posts, RR: 55
Reply 16, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Excellent TR, super detail and great pictures, though I have come to expect that from your TR's.

Whilst the meal on flight 201 did not appear too special, I must say the other 2 flights seemed to have superb presentation and the quailty looks very good too.

I would be interested to see how 'Y' compared on these flights, both in service and food.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineStefanPAD From Germany, joined Dec 2005, 282 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great report and excellent pics. The detailed information make me feel being in your place. The food looks delicious. Reading this kind of reports make me hungry  Wink

Hope to read more reports from you soon!

Regards,

Stefan


User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4271 posts, RR: 51
Reply 18, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Supurb report, great pics ! Food looks delicious indeed, with a perfect presentation!
Hope to try out QR some day myself  Smile

Cheers,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineHKGKaiTak From Australia, joined Jun 2005, 1050 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Brilliant, brilliant TR, thanks for sharing. It does seem like their ground staff needs to go to charm school.

The food looks absolutely stunning.



4 Engines 4 LongHaul
User currently offlineKaran69 From India, joined Oct 2004, 2891 posts, RR: 18
Reply 20, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hey Anoosh,

Awesome report as usual, the food presentation is was really amazing, its a pity the use the outdated product on such important sectors, but perhaps they cant fill the 332s.

BTW, it seems the 332 will soon become your most flown WB aircraft, considering the amount of TRs you have written with them on it.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
oday we are slightly over booked in business class, would you mind traveling in economy?%u201D
%u201CNo thank you. I would like to stick to business class please.%u201D

Was he actually expecting you to say YES, any idea what the compensation was nevertheless.

The 340-600 model seems to have the old colourscheme of QR, which IMO should be considered another flaw --given QRs 5 star status even their Duty free items should be upto the mark since no 346 came out in the old scheme

Great work keep it up we love reading them

Karan


User currently offlineMk777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Hey Anoosh,

Great TR!!

I always salivate when you show pictures of the food, that too, very detailed. I think food is the only one thing that will make me want to spend money to fly business and/or first class (some day!!!).

I feel your BOM-DOH flight seemed horrible, but i guess most flights originating from India tend to be like that...unorganized and people not following the rules.

the DOH-GVA-EWR leg of your journey seemed more comfortable inspite of shoddy work by the ground crew. I agree that QR really have to work on this aspect to establish themselves as a first class airline.

Lets see what TR you come up with next time. Cannot wait  Smile

Welcome back to the US of A.

MK.



come fly with me
User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great TR!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Today we are slightly over booked in business class, would you mind traveling in economy?”

I wonder who actually would say 'yes' to such an... irresistible offer.

I flew BKK-DOH-MAN-DOH-BKK with Qatar last July and was very impressed with their in-flight service, but the transit at Doha was a bit messy.


User currently offlineOmoo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Awesome report, great photos and videos

User currently offlineCytz_pilot From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 569 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great trip report, thank you for writing and for all those pictures. The food shots made my jaw drop - looks fantastic!!!

25 Post contains links SR 103 : Thank you all for your comments. I am glad to see you guys enjoyed this (long) report. F - 0% (Did not see anyone in F) C - 60% (11/18 seats taken) Y
26 Carfield : Thanks SR103 for the excellent report! Same as you, QR has been on my "must fly" list and I have actually saved up some $$$ for a HKG to Europe trip o
27 PZ707 : More than excellent report!!!! Congratulations!!! It remembers me my trip on last december on QR (C class) MXP/DOH/PVG/HKG/DOH/MXP. Their food and ser
28 SR 103 : Thank you, always appreciate feedback from a great trip report writer such as yourself. WOW! I can not wait for that trip report, I am sure Qatar Fir
29 BigTom : Hey Anosh Your report is top-notch as usual. Really enjoyed reading your reviews of both EY and QR, as these are airlines I use off and on. You're rig
30 Post contains images Sketty222 : Another fantastic report and one of the best I have read in a while It certainly helped pass the time at work today Great pics also Lee
31 Post contains images Ronerone : Anosh! Excellent Report my friend. EXCELLENT! As everyone stated, the meal presentations were outstanding, especially the ice cream! I was so surprise
32 Aleksandar : Hello Anoosh! Thank you for an excellent trip report. I really enjoyed it so much.
33 QatarA340 : Hiii there! That is one fantastic report! I am a huge fan of Qatar Airways and I absoloutely loved your trip report. Actually there are two kinds of A
34 KPWM : Wow! Amazing TR. Great pictures. Boy the food looked very good.
35 AntonovA330 : Wow, that was a hell of a TR! Amazing! The seat angle when in bed mode looks quite steep. Is it comfy enough not to slip down? BTW I'm also considerin
36 OA260 : Very good TR and great photos. Nice aerial view over the Sheraton Hotel in Doha !!! The food looked really good and the hot breakfast was a big plus .
37 Post contains images QatarA340 : Since you are going to traveling in J, you are going to enter the Premium Terminal, a private terminal dedicated to QR's First and Business class tra
38 AntonovA330 : Thanks you sir, most appreciated! BTW I wonder what is the exact difference between semi and full business class fares?
39 QatarA340 : Your most welcome buddy! As for the fares, there are a lot of types and kinds, but choose the lowest one! LOL! Full fares are usually much higher and
40 SR 103 : Thanks, glad you liked it. Who do you prefer between the two? I completely agree. The crew were certainly more professional on the Mumbai run when co
41 BigTom : Give me QR any day, EY is still battling inconsistencies just like their EK brothers out of DXB. Being based in Dubai though, I often end up flying E
42 Ronerone : Mr. Anosh, QR actually is planning a de-link of this city pairing. Once the airline recieves more 777's, they will be able to do EWR and GVA separatel
43 LACA773 : Hi Anoosh, Thankyou for another lovely report. I greatly enjoy reading about your air travels and how you so accurately critique them. I hope this fin
44 Stretch 8 : Most excellent report. I wonder what it's like in cattle class on a "five-star airline." Probably as miserable as any other lesser-star airline. I won
45 Allrite : Fantastic trip report with great photos. I love how central Doha looks like a giant construction site for skyscrapers with almost nothing but sand in
46 SR 103 : While I have limited experience with both EY and QR, I find your assessment to be true. However I have flown a good chunk of EK and you are absolutel
47 BigTom : I agree with you about MH and I would definitely like to add TG to the list. I've flown on both of them quite a bit when I was based in BKK. KE, thou
48 AeroMexico777 : Dear Anosh, As usual I´ve had almost an hour of the best reading and all thanks to you. Have you ever considered writing some kind of book about your
49 Sh0rtybr0wn : I loved your pictures of the food onboard. Excellent shots of Doha from above. Looking forward to your next TR!
50 Post contains images AznMadSci : Hey Anosh! WOW! Awesome report and that food looked good, a lot better than food displayed by QR at Central World in Bangkok during an exhibition they
51 SR 103 : I have not flown TG since the mid 90's back when I still lived in Asia. So my experience is pretty limited regarding TG but I do not remember much in
52 Ojas : If the route goes non stop , I'm pretty sure it will attract a lot of customers from the Indian Sub continent. DOH-EWR being one stop is primarily no
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