This is my first report so I appreciate any and all tips and feedback. Apologies for the photos, I just use my phone camera so some are a bit crapBooking:
I was playing around with flights one day at work and noticed that the new PEN-DOH flight with QR matched up with the DOH-EDI on the return which it didn’t do previously (EDI-DOH is operated on a split schedule with am departures some days and pm departures other days to match up with different banks at DOH). On noticing this I checked my annual leave and tracked back from that date to settle on a 8 Nov departure to Kuala Lumpur (KL) to see some friends and then a short domestic hop up to PEN to see my family.
I had originally looked at this fare in Y which was coming in around £550 return. Just for fun I checked what flying back in business would be and it was a very reasonable £990 which was too good to pass up so I booked that, now giving myself my first business class flight in 2 years and my first on QR. For the short domestic hop from KUL-PEN I looked at Malindo and MH and settled on a business class fare with Malindo for just £40 (Y was £28 so an additional £12 for a better seat seemed a no-brainer) they were also much lower than MH which was wanting upwards of £80 for the short flight in C. This would give me 4 different types of aircraft, a first for the A350-900 for me, a first (and probably only) for the A340-600, first for the A330-200, and a first for the B737-900 (for Malindo). With that all booked I had a look at my accommodation for 2 nights in KL. Hotel:
For my stay in KL I looked at a couple of hotels around the Bukit Bintang/KLCC area. I had stayed in the Hotel Istana previously and while it was a fantastic location, the hotel was starting to look a bit tired and in need of a renovation. The Shangri-La were offering a fantastic room only rate and so I decided to book that to have a little change of scenery, plus my friends said the breakfast buffet was not to be missed! Pleasant surprise:
Originally, the PEN-DOH flight was supposed to be operated by an A330-200 (I assume for the off-season) with the older angle-flat seat in C (probably why it was so cheap!). Just a month before departure I noticed that the aircraft type had changed to a B787-8 (another first for me, have only done the 787-9 previously with KLM) which also meant lie-flat beds which was excellent news. The Trip:Airport and Check-in:
With a departure time of 14:05 I didn't have to wake up too early which was nice. I got up at 9:30 and had a leisurely morning finishing up my packing and having a shower before leaving my flat at 10:30. Because my bags were quite heavy (right on the limit of 30kg because of all the gifts and supplies I was bringing my parents) I decided to take an Uber from my flat to the tram stop. The Edinburgh Trams are quite a nice way to head to the airport, they're very smooth and have some great views through the city centre. I arrived at the airport at 11:45 and, after buying my travel staple (percy pigs from M&S) I went to baggage drop off. There was a small queue but it didn't take more than 15 minutes and I was on my way to security. Security:
Fast and efficient, didn't take me more than 5 minutes and I love Edinburgh airport for this (it can get very busy with the early morning sun destination departures during the summertime but in November it wasn't crowded at all).
Post security airside
More of EDI departure terminalAirside and Lounge:
little exhibit post-security.
I have access to the Aspire lounge through work so went there for a little food and to type up the first part of this report. It has some nice views over the landside part of the airport but unfortunately no lounges at Edinburgh have any tarmac views.
A little brunch
My flight was scheduled to depart from gate 19 which is in the newer wing of the airport. I'm not a huge fan of the expansion because, like many UK airports, they decided on a very spartan “tin outhouse” look for the design with lots of corrugated metal and not many windows. I guess it was done on the cheap and for speed because of the pace of Edinburgh's expansion. Since moving to Edinburgh in 2010 there have been numerous additions to the route network including my Qatar flight, Etihad (withdrawn this October), Emirates, Hainan, DL to Boston, UA to Chicago and Washington DC, and many others. Unfortunately all this expansion means that the departure lounge can get horrendously crowded at peak times and isn't the nicest place to be before a flight, therefore I do recommend a lounge stay if you want to get a little food and somewhere quiet to relax before your flight.
Looks a bit cheap and low-costyBoarding and Departure:
Flight No: QR 030
Date: Thursday, 8 October 2018
Seat: 17C (later 21D then F)
Aircraft: A350-941, A7-ALD, SN10, 3.5yo
Unfortunately with the new expansion of Edinburgh airport, the bosses decided on some really ugly walkways that partially obscure views of the apron (see photos) from the extended departure lounge – it all has a very low-cost feel to it which isn't great. I'm assuming the expansion is so the EK 77W and QR A359 can park comfortably because I think the gates of the main terminal are only large enough for 767/788 sized aircraft (if anyone can correct me, please do).
My first view of the A359 came from the moving walkway. It looked good parked next to the EK 77W but it wasn't very busy at the gate area. I hoped this would mean quite a few empty seats because when I checked the seatmap on check-in, there were still quite a few rows that were completely empty. We were supposed to be departing at 14:05 but it was already 13:30 and boarding hadn't been called, there was a slight delay to the arriving aircraft so that was probably why.
Slightly better but still not great
Boarding was called at 13:47 so maybe we were going to leave on time after all.
From the jetbridge
It was a very quick boarding and before I knew it I was in the beautifully lit cabin of the A350 – my first time! I was impressed with the overhead bin space and really liked the track lighting on the bins themselves. I was originally in seat 17C which doesn't have a seat in front but due to the fixed armrest on the aisle side it felt very tight so I quickly moved to 21D (and eventually to 21F as there was no one behind it so I could recline without guilt) which was empty and had plenty of space to spread out. There was a pillow and blanket at each seat but no amenity kit, I assume because this wasn't an overnight or red-eye flight. The IFE screen was very responsive and very sharp.
Love the screens for the seatbelt signs etc...
Doors closed soon after and the Y cabin was maybe 70% full? Refreshing packaged towels were handed out (still, nice touch) as well as headsets for those who didn't have a two prong adaptor. We pushed back about 10 min late which was fine and with a quick taxi to the runway we were off about 10 minutes later. Flight:
breaking out into the sunshine
We took off like a rocket into the grey skies and service quickly commenced with the handing out of menus.
It was great to see three choices in economy, two meat (Chicken Tikka and Cottage Pie and one veggie(Mushroom Risotto). I went for the Chicken Tikka Masala and it was delicious. This was served with a 2 part bread roll (half white, half wholegrain), cheese, quinoa salad, kit kat, and something called a brownie delice (which was amazing).
After dinner the crew set about doing tea and coffee runs and regularly went through the cabin with drinks.
Mood lighting in full swing
And off for naps
I watched a few movies (Solo and Incredibles 2) and had a short nap then we were served the pre-arrival snack (Arabic chicken or vegetable lattice pie with coconut and vanilla cupcake, it was ok, bit dry) about 1.5 hours before landing.
I don't know if I've ever been this high before? Possibly but it was still pretty cool.
I watched a few episodes of a really funny series I hadn't seen before (Motherland) before landing. We went a very roundabout way around Doha, assuming we were put in some sort of holding pattern as it was very busy when we arrived and we had to park at a hard stand.
descent into Doha
just about to land
We waited for 26 minutes before a bus finally arrived to take us (business class had already departed on their private bus pretty much just after we parked) and we went on a tour of the airport before being dropped off at the ground floor arrivals area. Transit:
It was my first time at DOH and it's a pretty amazing airport, so clean and bright with screens everywhere. The staff were a bit surly though I guess anyone would be at 1:30 in the morning and they answered all queries with a monotone but they did their job I guess.
obligatory Doha lamp bear photo
stunning (and busy!) central hall!
C pier for my next flight
I wandered over to the gate because, due to a late arrival and the waiting for the bus, I ended up with a 1.5 hour transit rather than 2.5. Still I did take quite a leisurely pace and didn't have to wait long before boarding was called. Boarding and Departure:
Flight No: QR 848
Date: Friday, 9 October 2018
Aircraft: A340-600, A7-AGB, SN715, 13yo
The gate staff were great at enforcing the boarding zones and they checked everyone's ticket to make sure they were boarding only those who were called. I still never understand why people stand up as soon as any sort of announcement is made. For example, they made a pre-boarding announcement about zone boarding and told everyone to remain seated but still about 1/3 of the passengers around the gate immediately went to stand by the door and just had to stand there for ages as they boarded everyone by zones. Anyway, I digress.
Boarding, wasn't really able to get a good photo of the plane because of the reflection in the terminal and frosted glass-walled jetbridge.
view from my seat
older IFE system
We boarded a little behind schedule but the captain said we would make time up in the air (plus the flight was scheduled for 8hr5min but none of the flights generally took more than 7ish...talk about schedule padding) I was quite excited because in addition to a new A350, I've never flown on an A340-600 and it would probably be my one and only time as they are retiring pretty quickly out of most of the world's fleets. It was a quick boarding through the long Y cabins (the A346 of QR is basically 90% economy when they refurbished them to remove first class and only have 4 rows of business). I took a window seat in the last cabin in the hopes I'd have an empty seat again and I lucked out! There was a pillow, blanket, and small amenity kit at the seat, the contents of which were pretty standard though I did appreciate the ear plugs and lip balm as I'd forgotten mine and my lips do tend to dry up in-flight.
can anyone ID the airline?
We pushed back after a short delay while some missing passengers baggage was offloaded and we pushed back and taxied to the runway. We had a fairly standard take-off run (at least in my eyes, neither long nor short) and soon were out into the inky black.
taxi and I caught the strobe!
About 30 min in we were served a late-night snack and I went for the veggie option which was much better than the dry chicken one from the previous flight. I was a bit peckish so I ended up having two.
The F/A working my section was amazing, she was super proactive and handled a girl in the row in front who hadn't ordered her vegetarian meal early enough so it wasn't loaded. She gave her extra lattice pies and then when the main meal service came by she offered a vegetarian meal that another passenger declined and was super apologetic even though it wasn't her (or the airlines) fault. It helped preclude a whinge from the passenger because she was making a bit of noise about it to her friend and the F/A. The whole crew of this flight were actually great, they were all friendly and chatty and really seemed to enjoy their jobs. The crew on the previous flight were fine and cordial but this set just seemed so much more genuinely friendly.
I was quite tired and the seats had some crazy amazing recline so I sort of curled up as best I could and pretty much immediately passed out until the lights came back on for brunch.
over bay of bengal for brunch
I went for the fish which I know some people find risky but I figured it was chinese/malay-style food which tends to be very sauce based so I assumed it would be alright. Luckily it was and the noodles and fish, while being a little oily, were really tasty. This brunch was served with apple slices, strawberry yoghurt, a roll, butter, and a Godiva chocolate square. The other options were either roast chicken with rice or vanilla waffles with apple compote.
Noodles and steamed dory!
We hit a bit of chop and the hot beverage service was suspended literally as I was about to order a tea and I thought nothing more of it but as soon as the turbulence ended I was served my tea, it appeared the F/A had noted all the passengers who ordered and couldn't be served and came back when it was safe, again, I though this was great. I just feel it's small gestures like this that differentiate a crew who are just going through the motions from a great crew who really care. Once meals were cleared I watched a little more of Motherland before having another nap.
descending over Malaysia
making some turns
When I woke up we had started our descent and the cabin was being prepped for arrival. There were numerous rubbish collections and inspections of everyone's seatbelts before we made our final descent into KUL through some choppy afternoon rain-clouds. It looked like we were sort of parallel landing with an Air Asia A320 which was cool but it was a bit too far away to get any good photos.
that tiny smudge over the pier is the Air Asia A320
as is that other tiny smudge to the far left of the photo!
final approach over the rubber plantations surrounding KULArrival:
We landed and taxied by some interesting traffic like a Mahan A300-600 (unfortunately I noticed it too late and didn't get a photo).
some Malindo and MAS 738s and 739s
MH A330 in the "Negaraku" livery
We parked near the end of the satellite pier next to an EK A380 and disembarked. I really like KUL, even at 20 years old it still looks modern and fresh.
KUL Satellite terminal pier
Landside pick up area
Immigration was pretty fast and I picked up my bags and took a Grab (basically like Uber, which no longer operates in SE Asia because Grab bought them up) to the hotel.
On Sunday I'll be back at KUL for a short hop up to PEN with Malindo in C!