gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 2512 posts, RR: 13 Posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 13490 times:
Asia Trip, Pt 4: Qatar Airways Economy (HKG-DOH-LHR)
Parts one, two and three cover my long haul flights on Qatar Airways (outbound in Business, return in Economy), and my three flights with Chinese Airlines from Seoul down to Shenzhen via Dalian and Beijing.
Asia Trip, Pt 4: Qatar Airways Economy Class (HKG-DOH-LHR)
Alas my two and a half week trip to Asia had drawn to a close. These flights I’d originally been waitlisted for in Business Class, but they didn’t clear (the flight went out 100% full), so I was in back in economy. On the plus side, it was still Qatar Airways, whom are probably in the top 3 of the Worlds best economy classes.
A short bus journey from Hong Kong Island delivered me to the airport two hours before my flight.
I was pleased to see quite large queues for most check in desks, except for mine – obviously everyone else had checked in earlier.
I went to the MH ground handling desk to pick up my headphone I’d left on the previous day’s flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong.
Qatar Airways QR 817
Hong Kong (HKG) – Doha (DOH)
Airbus A330-200 (A7-AGJ)
Scheduled: 1930-2300 (8h30m)
Actual: 1941-2332 (8h51m)
Immigration wasn’t too busy, and I was soon walking around taking my last few photos before daylight disappeared. I’d booked a window seat for this flight, although as we started boarding I began to wish that I hadn’t, and gone for an aisle instead. I enquired about a seat change, but to no avail.
Luckily, when I reached my seat I saw a little Pilipino woman sitting in my window looking steadfastly out of it. Obviously she was hoping for a window, and got an aisle. I sat in her seat, and neither of us said a word – phew, that worked out well! Luckily she took up far less space than most other passengers, and she didn’t get up once – the perfect seat mate!
By the time we took off, it was dark outside, so the window wasn’t of much use. Once the cabin lights had come back on, the crew did a drinks run.
The crew on my side of the aisle were a very friendly Spanish lady, and I think a Moroccan man (they were speaking in French). Choices for dinner were grilled chicken or fried rice. I went with the fried rice, which was very tasty washed down with a bottle of white.
Once the trays had been collected, the lights were dimmed. For the next six or so hours the plane was an oasis of blue lights, and the glow of TV screens. I think this flight is perfectly timed, leaving HK in the late afternoon, having a long ‘daytime’ flight before landing at midnight local time. There isn’t a need for sleep, so the flight can be enjoyed.
I watched a few films, drank some more wine, and snoozed for a bit.
An hour or so before landing, the crew came around again with a second dinner (choice of fried rice or beef stew). I went with the rice again, and was again very satisfactory.
We touched down half an hour late, which was great as it reduced my agonisingly long transfer time in the less than comfortable economy terminal. We were bussed the long way around the airport perimeter to the terminal.
I sought out the sleeping room, which provided a busy room of snoring people in reclined leather chairs. I snoozed a bit, then heading over to my gate to find most of my fellow passengers already waiting in the pen for the bus.
The terminal was packed at this time of night – I wanted to have a lok at the duty free, but it was a nightmare.
Qatar Airways QR 7
Doha (DOH) – London Heathrow (LHR)
Airbus A330-300 (A7-AEB)
Scheduled: 0150-0715 (7h25m)
Actual: 0203-0702 (6h59m)
I was once again welcomed aboard the plane by a smiling crowd of multiethnic crew. I found my central aisle seat, and got ready for the next bus of people to come along and claim the other seats. Miraculously there was only one bus, so I had the central 4 seats to myself. Great!
Take off was a bit late. The crew came around with a lamb and mint pie thing, which was quite tasty.
Once we neared the Polish border the lights came one, and the crew came around with breakfast. No menus were handed out on this secotr, but the choices were shown on the PTVs. I was going to go with the hot ‘English’ breakfast, but at the last second changed to the pancakes – yum. Very tasty, although full of sugar no doubt.
As the flight was so empty, I was able to move over to the window for landing.
Welcome to BA land!
The temperate was a bit of a shock after Malaysia – 7am and its only just above freezing in May! Yikes!
Oryxs meet in London
So, quite a collection of various airlines and flights. Qatar Airways were brilliant on all four flights, but in front and behind the curtain. No qualms flying with them again. Malaysia Airlines was a bit strange given their very high Skytrax ratings. Crew were generally good, but could have been much better. Nice legroom, but their planes are very long in the tooth. China Southern was great on the first sector, not so much on the second, but getting better every time I fly with them. Hainan Airlines were pretty good. Nice new planes with fairly good IFE.
Thanks very much for reading – all your comment and questions are welcome!
flightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 849 posts, RR: 4 Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 13437 times:
Great set of trip reports all four! Interesting to see both the front and behind the curtain on Qatar, and they seem to be a very premium airline. Luckily you had your seat issue cleared out without any exchange of words lol. Looks like all aircraft at Doha use the stairs, which makes interesting photos of the aircraft you are travelling with. Did security hassle you at all to put your camera away? I'm getting an option to fly with QR and besides the great service, this photo opportunity makes it even worth going with them
I'm going to comment here on the Hainan Airlines trip report as well, and love the pics of the A346. How I love that aircraft. They are expected to come to YYZ next year or this year not sure, but using the Airbus A330-200 I'll comment on the MH in that thread. They are still the number one airline for me in Y, and I wonder what is causing them to slide down. Hmm
gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 2512 posts, RR: 13 Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 13360 times:
Thanks for the comments Flightsimboy
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 1): Did security hassle you at all to put your camera away? I'm getting an option to fly with QR and besides the great service, this photo opportunity makes it even worth going with them
Until the new airport come on line in the next few years, there'll still be 100% boarding by stairs in DOH. It's great in the evening, or in the winter, but in the summer, it's quite horrible in the 45C heat. I was always cautious when taking photos on the tarmac, but the staff spent a lot og time talking to each other, and paid me no attention. Not sure photography is condoned though.
toby25 From Hong Kong, joined May 2008, 68 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 11840 times:
wow ive read all your 4 trip reports, I loved it - very entertaining. I am very jealous I would love to visit Seoul. I watch a lot of korean drama and would love to see the city for myself. Although I don't think the Korean food will agree with me - it's quite different from Chinese food I think.
I was just wondering if you would answer these questions please:
1. my mum is flying with Qatar MAN - HKG - MAN (QR46 / 812) and there is a 1.5 hour transit time. Do you think this is enought time to leave the a/c, get bussed and passed through security at Doha? I am just concerned as she normally travels direct and has never been to the Middle East.
2. What is the security procedure when you arrive at Doha airport, is it extensive or is it pretty quick? what do you need to do?
3. Are you able to use American US dollars at the airport or their own currency? i assume British pounds are not accepted?
4. Does the airport have good signs to tell you where to go for transfers and gates etc?
5. Are you able to pre allocate seats on Qatar website? I have my mum's booking number but when I go to their website and access her flight there is no option to select her seat. Will this facility only happen during check in?
gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 2512 posts, RR: 13 Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 11002 times:
Gardermoen- not sure why there were no menus on the DOH-LHR flight. Perhaps a trial to go paperless?
Toby - I'm no expert, but 90 mins should be plenty of time. As everyone is bussed the terminal is small. Not sure about currencies - use a card maybe? Security is not too bad, and everyone speaks some sort of English.