This TR features the final sectors from our trip to Vietnam in early 2010, it’s much delay in posting, so apologies to those who were following the earlier stories.
777-3DZER A7-BAF 2A Business Class
1st Flight on this aircraft, 2nd on the -300ER
Sch Dep 08:35 Sch Arr 12:00
Act Dep 08:40 Act Arr 11:50
Photo © Werner Horvath
I like to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure, mainly for spotting purposes, but also due to the reason I don't like to feel rushed during the whole check-in and security clearance process, you can never tell how long things may take.
Since todays flight was at 08:35 this called for an early start, thankfully we were not far from the airport as we had stayed at the airport Novotel, very convenient and quite a nice property too, do recommend it when using BKK.
A couple of room views for those interested.
Check-out was easy, I took advantage of the room key card drop box, the invoice would be e-mailed, the regular check-in and out lines were busy.
Outside 2 minibuses were filling up with passengers for the airport, seems lots of other people had early morning starts - we managed to find space in the second vehicle, a few minutes in the van and we were dropped off outside the terminal, it was now 06:10 local time.
Here are a couple of shots from the outside the terminal
The Qatar check-in area was located just inside from where the van dropped us off, just a minute later we stook at the desk being checked in, or not as the case would be.
The friendly agent advised us the check-in system the airlines use was down, as a result she could not check us in at that time, this not only effected Qatar but every airline in the terminal - I has a walk around, some of the queues were pretty horrendous.
Back at the desk we just waited and the economy queue just continued to grow, there were no announcements as to the delay, I think something should have been said over the public address system, at least people would know what was causing for the delay.
Eventually the system went back on line and we were able to check-in, we got our boarding passes at 06:42.
Given time was moving along we proceeded to security & passport control, First & Business passengers have a priority lane, thank goodness for that! - the queue for economy was just a huge snaking line around the terminal!
We got through security & passport control just before 7am, though finding the lounge proved to be an effort. Qatar use the Thai Royal Orchid lounges, the one we used or stumbled across seemed pretty hard to find, directional signage was quite poor, if fact it took some 15 odd minutes to find the place, ok I stopped to look at a plane or 2 but that was about it.
I though the lounge was a bit poor, far from the windows so little apron/runway visibility, food and beverage offerings were a bit on the weak site too from what I saw, that said, I was not feeling to great, guess something I ate the day before had upset my system a little so that might have helped influence my opinions.
A few views from the lounge
Limited apron views
Not sure what time we left the lounge but by the time we arrived at the gate boarding was showing final call though boarding had yet to start, it was now 08:05.
Once through the airbridge we were welcomed aboard, warm smiles from the crew.
Amenity kits and menus were already at the seat as per the norm on Qatar.
Whilst getting settled in drinks were offered by the crew, I took OJ rather than champers given I was feeling crummy still.
The front office came on and give a quick, if almost inaudible, announcement about the flight and duration.
Hot or cold towels were offered along with drink top ups if required.
A few seat/cabin pictures
Push took place a few minutes behind schedule
a bit of a taxi around the terminal
before heading to the active
wheels up at 08:55 local time
I must admit BKK seems much quieter than the old BKK in terms of traffic, there was almost northing much around.
The seat belt sign went off 9 minutes after take off, the crew started preparations for breakfast service.
I skipped breakfast, just taking a glass of ginger ale, the wife had breakfast, here are a couple of pictures.
The table set up was the usual affair of crisp white linens etc.
Shortly after breakfast was finished turbulence really kicked in over the the Bay of Bengal, by this time I had my seat in the bed position, it was so rough my legs were jumping a foot or so off the bed, amazing turbulence, never felt anything like this before, as you can imagine, the crew were assigned to their seats by the boys up front.
A few random inflight pictures during my on/off sleeping, note the blinds were closed and the mood lighting on.
Smoking is banned, so why bother with these?
At some stage I decided I felt better and needed food and drink, a passing FA stopped and took an order, nuts and Champers pls!
The champers went down well as did the nuts, I must have been feeling much better now.
Not long later the pre-arrival snack service began, tables were set up in the usual manor, which I do like, it's most elegant and has the feel of a top quality restaurant.
I took the warm rueben corned beef sandwich with more champagne, the sandwich was excellent though I guess as was pretty hungry having missed breakfast.
Descent started at 11:19, so a quick trip to the bathroom was in order, even after some 6+ hours of flight the bathroom was in an excellent condition, top marks to the crew for keeping these so clean throughout the flight.
During descent hot towels were offered, again I do love the quality of the towels, much better than the ones BA provide in Club.
Views on final approach to DOH.
BAF's wheels touched down at 11:50 local time, some 10 minutes ahead of schedule, short taxi onto a remote stand, flight 1 of 2 today was complete.
Last look at BAF
Another nice set of crew on this flight, can't complain.
As usual the good old bus transfer to the Premium Terminal with the hope of grabbing the odd reg or 2 during the drive.
I have to admit I was not looking forward to this 5 hours layover, the original plan was to have plenty of spotting time, however as we saw from our brief visit on the outbound journey, the Premium Terminal is pretty pants for spotting, it looked like it would be a long few hours.
After a quick walk through duty free to see what was worth buying we headed to the lounge, stopped en-route again to have our status checked to ensure we were entitles to use the facility,seriously, we made it through security before which our boarding passes were checked, where do you think we sprung from??
Anyway, we arrived in an almost deserted lounge at 12:20.
I found a seat that offered me the best possible chance of seeing some passing traffic and set up camp there.
Here are a few pictures from the lounge and our stay there.
Having set up base camp MrsBA319131 decided to get some food and bring it back to our camp, however she was told food had to be eaten in the dining area, so despite the lounge being empty we packed away the cameras, laptops etc and made our way to the dining area for a late lunch.
In my opinion Qatar should be a bit more flexible and relaxed about the lounge and food etc, the BA Galleries lounges at T5 show how it should be done.
The area actually has better view of the ramp, still very limited but better for sure, shame the lounge had not been designed in a different way.
Just a taster of the food offerings
After lunch we headed back to our camp and set up again. The remaining time was taken up with internet, reading, a few drinks, a shower, and wandering around to relieve the boredom.
This is the view outside the lounge
I also took a trip down to duty free to pick up a coupled of bottles of scotch, it was very cheap! Upon my return I was again asked for my boarding pass to ensure I was entitled to be there, surely they saw me walk down there 5 minutes before??!!
At one point the blinds all started to lift offering decent views of the outside, not the ramp though, I guess when it starts to cool down they lift them to show the outside world.
The long layover gave me some 13 new planes, most QR as you might imagine, though I also picked up an Oman Air 738, Saudia MD-90, Gulf Air 320, Bahrain Air 319 & Kuwait 320. Had the view been better I'm sure there would have been a few more to be made.
I got these shots prior to boarding the bus to the plane
A330-202 A7-ACE 12K Business Class
1st Flight on this aircraft, 11th A330 flight, 4th on the -200.
Sch Dep 17:10 Sch Arr 22:00
Act Dep 17:25 Act Arr 21:46
Photo © Toshi Aoki - JP Spotters
Boarding started at 17:04, later than expected, this we were advised was due to the late arrival of the operating aircraft, no matter really, though after so much down time in the lounge I was keen to get on the plane and go home.
Whilst sat on the bus awaiting the last Business passengers a lady of perhaps Indian descent? got on board, it was obvious she was quite furious about something, it appears the guy who checks your boarding pass and passport asked her how she could afford to travel in business class, as one can imagine, she was quite upset and created quite a fuss, got off the bus and tried to walk back to the terminal to demand the guys name etc, the staff were stopping her saying she needed to get back on the bus etc etc - in the end what I assume to be a senior staff member came to the bus and provided the details the lady had asked for, this ended the matter for now, though In have no doubt the lady was going to follow this up with Qatar customer services.
A short bus ride out to the plane
we were onboard by 17:20, not quite such a warm welcome though hot towels and drinks were distributed in a rather rushed fashion during push back off stand - the safety demo was also played at the same time. It seems the crew felt under pressure to get the service out and plane off the ground, the pressure showed in the service delivery.
Legroom and other views
A short taxi out
and off to a rolling departure, wheels up at 17:37 and straight into a low cloud base.
During climb I leafed through the IFE magazine, District 9 was a film I quite fancied so I decided to watch it, however for some reason it was not loaded into this planes IFE, must admit I was quite disappointed, especially as I rarely used the IFE for anything other than the moving map facility.
Service on this leg did not seem to improve, newspapers were not offered so I had to ask for one. Meal and drinks orders were taken but the drink took ages to arrive.
The configuration on this A330 has 18 passengers in a 2-2-2 layout, so that's 3 rows in this small J cabin. Quite a few of the passengers knew each other and were busy chatting, so it was quite a noisy cabin, not to my liking.
I had mez to start, it was pretty good, I took a curry to follow which was excellent as was the desert.
MrsBA319131 was quite tired, I think all the travelling had finally got the better of her as she decided not to eat and just get her head down for some sleep, in fact she slept from pretty much the entire flight.
All in all an very enjoyable meal and the service started to improve too, my glass of champagne never got below half full.
Regular readers will know I'm a great sleeper on flights as a general rule, however try as I might I could not sleep on this flight, a combination of noisy passengers and the angled lie flat bed worked against me so I stuck to champagne, reading and a few shows of 2 and a half men to keep me going.
The pre-arrival snack was pretty decent, a nice little mix of 'stuff'
Descent started at around 21:00 with ACE's main gear touching down on 09L at 21:46, almost 15 minutes early despite our slight delay out of DOH.
Taxi to the gate was pretty quick and we were off the plane in no time at all, our journey was over, all that was left was immigration, luggage and our driver to take us home.
To sum it up:-
Qatar are an excellent airline who I'd happily fly with again.
The planes are all pretty new, our oldest plane was 6 years old though you would never know as it was immaculate inside and out, the newest was 4 months old when we flew it.
The 777 fleet has a better J seat than the Airbus fleet and more legroom, it would be nice to think the Airbus fleet would get the upgraded J seat & space, though with 787's due soon I doubt that is likley.The 777's are too noisy, even in front of the engines, it's a plane I'm keen to avoid to be honest, despite the better layout.
Food on QR is excellent and the service is generally excellent, most of the smiles seem genuine though there are a few forced ones, cabin crew are much better than the ground staff who seem to lack certain customer service skills.
All in all I have no hesitation in booking with QR again, and the fact you can earn mileage with some Star Alliance carriers is a bonus not to be ignored - I know, BA is my usual carrier but I do collect bmi mileage too, though not enough to have any status with them.
So, thinking of a flight and QR is a potential, book it, I'm sure you will enjoy the ride.
Final note, Vietnam, loved it, I'd happily pack up and move there tomorrow if it was possible.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, feel free to drop a reply or question if one pops to mind.
BA319131 - Mark
The previous threads can be found below:-
Asia 2010 Part IV - Vietnam Airlines
Asia 2010 Part III - Vietnam Airlines - Domestic
Asia 2010 Part II - Vietnam Airlines
Asia 2010 Part I - QR - Your 5 Star Airline?
And some older trips:-
2010 Starts:- 2 New Aircraft Types
Now 4 , In Search Of My Next A380 Operator
Viva Las Vegas With BA & US
Spotting In Orly C/o BA Via CDG
LHR-EDI-LHR With BA & BD
Asia 2009 - Part 6 - BA HKG-LHR - The Final Leg
Asia 2009 - Part 5 - NH NRT-PEK & CA PEK-HKG
Asia 2009 - Part 4 - NH HND-ITM-HND
Asia 2009 - Part 3 - JL HND-KIX-HND
Asia 2009 - Part 2 - NH SIN-NRT
Asia 2009 - Part 1 - QF LHR-SIN
Swiss To IST For A Few Hours
BA268 LAX-LHR,the Final Journey Home
AA270 HNL-LAX,the Journey Home Begins
Day Trip To The Big Island With Hawaiian
Off To Hawaii On CO From EWR
To Hawaii Via NYC With BA
BA EDI - LCY Operated By Flightine
Returning Home Via ZRH On Swiss
Emirates A380 First Flight DXB-JFK
VS To DXB Looking For The EK 380
Long Weekend In Palma Via BA
Spotting In DUS C/o BA
BD052 LHR-EDI - Something Different
QF Domestic - 4 Flights, 3 Aircraft Types
EY:SYD-AUH-LHR - Any Better This Time?
A380: The First Ever Commercial Flight
EY:LHR-AUH-SIN - Is It Hype Or Are They That Good?
BD121 LHR-DUB BA8083 DUB-LGW
BA902 LHR-FRA & BA913 FRA-LHR
BA WTP: LHR-JFK, EWR-LHR
Air Nostrum & Iberia : MAH-BCN-LHR
Air Nostrum PMI-MAH