Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
Hi there, and thanks for taking a look at the second installment from my trip down under in April. If you missed the first part, which saw me position to Barcelona on EasyJet, then it can be seen here:
The focus of this report will be on the following outbound flights:
Those eagle eyed readers will notice a bit of a difference in equipment from the original itinerary posted in part 1. One of the A330-300’s was subbed for an A330-200, which would be a new sub type, and the 777-300ER scheduled to operate the return from SIN had been swapped out for a 787. Again, this suited me, as it would be by first flight on a 787 that was longer than about 2.5 hours.
Check in was made 48 hours prior to departure.
Picking up from the last part then – I checked out of my hotel and headed towards the beach and the Olympic village – the plan was to spend the morning walking back to where the bus left in the city centre. Unfortunately it wasn’t as sunny as it was, but at least it was still warm enough.
After a pleasant walk, it was on to a bus to the airport, arriving around 25 minutes later.
I made my way to the Qatar business check in, which was pretty much right where the bus dropped me.
The agent was more interested in chatting to her colleague than acknowledging I was there. Black mark against Qatar straight away there, although if this is the worst thing that happens then it will have worked out well. When she did acknowledge me, it was only to inform me that the flight had been delayed by 20 to 30 minutes or so as the aircraft now wouldn’t arrive into BCN until 15:00 local. Somehow, I think it’s going to take some effort to turn an A330 around in an hour and fifteen… She was also so wrapped up in her chat, she forgot to put a burgundy bag tag on my cabin bag. Not a major issue, but still shows a lack of attention.
Due to the delay, rather than make a bolt through security, I found a bench outside and enjoyed some fresh air – especially as the sun had now put in an appearance.
Eventually, I submitted and made my way through security.
Instead of going straight through passport control, I took a wander through the Schengen area for a while.
Although not a huge amount was going on outside, so I made my way up to the lounge.
Upon reaching the lounge, there was a slight issue with my entry – which slightly confused me as I was both flying business and had OneWorld status – so either ways should have been granted entry without issue. Eventually I was let in and I grabbed a couple of snacks.
A few moments after I sat down, the lounge agent approached me and asked if I was flying with Qatar… Yes. She then asked if I’ve got a boarding pass… Yes, that’s what I just showed you. Do you have a proper boarding pass… I reached into my bag and grabbed the one I was given at check in. She was happy enough, and said that she just needed to see that I had a real one (as this had the lounge entry written on it) and not the home printed one. Strange. I wonder what would have happened if I was flying in Y and wanted entry from my OneWorld status? The lounge was comfortable enough, but it was a little dark and they didn’t seem to offer any Wi-Fi either – just the free airport one for 15 minutes… Which I used up my share of previously.
I amused myself in the lounge with a newspaper, until gate E70 was announced at 14:45.
Feeling like a change of scenery, I made my way down, only to find there wasn’t an aircraft on stand. At least I could amuse myself with some of the other movements.
By 15:30, when there still wasn’t any sign of an aircraft, and the crew were still firmly planted in the waiting area, I figured the 30 minute delay quoted by the check in agent was now looking a little optimistic. A few moments later, the familiar grey and burgundy jet appeared from around the corner and pulled on to stand – ten minutes before scheduled departure time.
Soon after, an announcement was made saying that boarding would begin at 16:10. Still a little optimistic in my view…
I had tried to work one of these into the schedule. Flight times weren’t on my side though.
The plane is here, so everybody seems to think we will be boarding in the next 2 minutes…
Boarding eventually began at 16:15, although it wasn’t actually announced. As it turned out, it was the same gate agent that checked me in, and she insisted that I used the boarding pass she had given me… So no souvenir boarding pass for me today. I made my way down the jet bridge, where it forked. Business passengers to the left, economy to the right. So no left turn for me today.
A330-200 / A7-BCJ
Seat: 2K / Business
Off Stand: 16:46
On Stand: 23:44
I was welcomed on board and shown to my seat. Ready and waiting was a seat of noise cancelling headphones, pillow and a quilt.
I always like seeing this sort of thing.
A few moments later the crew member serving my side of the aisle introduced herself and commented on the fact I was heading on to Singapore after this flight. She returned a few moments later with an amenity kit and probably one of the cheapest menus I’ve seen. Followed with some water.
Is this mine or the crews?
A few moments after this, both hot and cold towels were distributed.
Safety video shown whilst still on stand.
Pushback commenced an hour later than scheduled and we made a pretty quick taxi out to the runway.
Followed by a private A318
We made a quick takeoff roll before immediately banking to the right, over the sea. Therefore views were limited.
I took the opportunity to see what was in the amenity kit.
Once the crew was released, they came around taking meal orders – and apologised for the rather naff looking menus. Apparently, this was due to a last minute catering change.
I ordered the noodles and some champagne. A few moments later, the purser came and introduced herself and apologised for the delay. She said we were due to arrive into Doha at 23:40, so around 25 minutes behind schedule.
I noticed a magazine rack at the back of the cabin – I went and took a look and found the latest edition of T3 to keep me entertained until the meal service began a few minutes later.
Mountain on one of the Italian islands
It was finished off with a cappuccino, a hot towel, and some chocolates ‘courtesy of Qatar Airways’.
Following this, I decided to check out the IFE. To be honest it was pretty poor. There wasn’t any front end to it, so it was a case of flicking through the thirty odd channels, and waiting for the opening credits before you knew what you were watching. At least until I had a look in the IFE guide anyway. Then it all made sense – it was pre set to video mode, when it needed to be set to interactive instead. I went with the secret life of Walter Mitty.
As the film went on, the light was fast disappearing outside, and the mood lights came on for a little while.
Later in the flight, as I was one of the few people still awake, I was handed a survey to fill out. I was glad about this, so I could let the airline know about the poor showing of the contract workers back in BCN.
Darkness in the cabin
Just as I was filling out the survey, the ever attentive crew member approaches me and asks if I’d like something to drink and some cake before landing. Of course, I couldn’t turn down the cake! And feeling adventurous, I thought I’d try a Cointreau too. Yet another hot towel appeared too.
Descent started into pretty much darkness. It was out over the water before swinging around into DOH.
Arrivals video shown on descent
We touched down and made a short taxi on to stand. Upon arrival, there was a bit of a wait before making my way down the stairs on to a waiting bus.
It was then a tour of DOH – first stopping at the arrivals terminal before heading off in the opposite direction, past the plane that had brought us here to the standard terminal, as an economy passenger had slipped on. It was then on our way to the premium terminal, through a brief security check, and then upstairs into the lounge. I didn’t go too mad in the duty free area as I had more than enough time to explore on my return.
As I entered, I noticed the Singapore flight was boarding. Not being quite with it, I thought it was mine – it seemed a little early, so I checked with one of the staff members. As it turned out, it was the earlier flight. Oops.
The lounge was pretty busy, as it took me an awful lot of searching to find a seat. In the end, I sat in the restaurant area.
The food selections were decent enough, but I didn’t go too mad as I planned on eating on board.
Within just a short period, the lounge cleared out and I moved to a more comfortable seat.
Boarding was called at 01:40 and I made my way down to gate 2.
It was on to a bus and then over to A7-BAX.
Boeing 777-300ER / A7-BAX
Seat: 1A / Business
Off Stand: 02:50
On Stand: 15:18
Upon making my way up the stairs, it was immediately apparent that QR had put the extra space on this jet to much better use.
There was a lot more legroom.
Almost immediately, I was offered a welcome drink. A very refreshing lime and mint. A pair of PJ’s also showed up.
The menu on this flight was a lot more professional.
Boarding was completed and for the second time I didn’t have a seatmate – the only spare seat in this business class cabin! Although I hadn’t lucked out for long. Somebody who was sat further back wanted the bassinet. Oh well. Pushback was a little delayed, but it wasn’t really announced as to why. When we did get going, it was over to the active for a bumpy take off, followed by a pretty good view of downtown Doha. Much like the previous flight though, it was straight out over the water and that was it for the views.
Once the seatbelt sign was switched off, I made my way to the washroom and changed into my PJ’s. There was a stack of toothbrushes and razors as well as the slightly higher quality soaps and lotions.
When I returned to my seat, the crew took my food options. I took the salmon palette pleaser followed by the cookies for the moment, followed by the omelette a little later in the flight.
As the food turned up, there were some decent views of the UAE.
Dubai in the distance
Shortly after departure, the crew came and attached the babies bassinet to the bulkhead, which completely blocked my escape path. Despite the fact that both mother and baby were fully reclined in their seat and fast asleep. Surely common sense would say that if they both seemed fine, leave it as it was until requested? Ironic how I had so much space in front of me, yet I was still marooned in my seat.
Although it didn’t matter anyway. Soon afterwards, I decided to put the seat into bed mode and the next thing I knew the sun had come up, we had passed India and there were only a few hours until landing.
I drifted off for another hour or so until the cabin lights came up and breakfast was served.
Some nasty clouds over Kuala Lumpur.
Can I be dropped off here?!
Not long after I’d finished a very tasty breakfast, descent started. Luckily, the bassinet had vanished overnight, and I was able to escape to the washroom to freshen up unhindered – despite my seatmate still being fully reclined. Descent was a pretty cloudy affair.
Once we had cleared the quite turbulent clouds, there was a thud as the gear came down
we well and truly hit the deck at Singapore, along with some heavy braking action and full reverse. The 77W can be a noisy thing when it wants to be…
As I’d spotted the QR 787 on stand at the far end of the airport, I figured we would be going to join it. Instead though, we pulled on to stand just a short time after exiting the runway.
One of the locals
There was a bit of wait whilst the dual jet bridge was attached, and then it was off through T3.
Another stamp for the collection
Immigration was a bit slow, but by the time I had cleared it, my bag was ready and waiting for me – in fact it was one of the last going around the carousel. I’ve always wondered who that bag belongs to which comes out first and then you see doing lap after lap whilst you’re waiting hours for yours… turns out its me on this occasion!
Made it safe and sound all the way from BCN via DOH.
Following this, it was over to T2 to catch my connecting flight… But that story will have to wait for another day!