Hello Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by this review, the fourth installment of my American AAdvantage miles purge.
It has been clear for several years that the American Airlines Advantage frequent flyer program was out of sync with the other major US carriers. It has remained very generous on the redemption side while the others have had significant devaluations. Smart money was on a correction coming sooner before later. It was with this in mind that I decided to structure a grand adventure and cut deeply into my AAdvantage miles inventory.
The final tally was SNA-PHX-LHR-CDG for 62,500 AA miles, CDG-DOH-DEL for 40,000 AA miles, and DEL-AUH-JFK-LAX for 90,000 AA miles.So 192,500 AA miles lighter, I was off.
I had a very busy morning walking/metro-riding around this jaw-dropping, beautiful city. We've only just met but I am already scheming our next encounter.
Alas this trip was about the flying and not the destination so with a heavy heart I again boarded the Roissy Bus back to de Gaulle/Roissy. It was nice to make the ride in the daylight today to enjoy the sites as we picked our way through the city. Much credit to the bus drivers who pilot the long bendy-bus through the narrow and crowded streets.
The first stop was Terminal 1. I really like the looks of this building. I know it is oft criticized but as a casual observer it is far more interesting than the generic rectangular rows of terminal most airports feature. It is especially lovely at night when it is lit in the colors of the flag. I don't have to use the facility on a regular basis so any operational deficiencies are not taken into account.
Initially there was some confusion in htat the sign posted outside indicated and incorrect check-in position for Qatar Airways but I just continued around the circle until I located the correct counter. There was no wait for First Class.
I was so tickled to finally see this for myself.
The priority gates that the premium class boarding pass allow saved a lot of time. Unfortunately that meant more time here:
This has to be one of the most odd airport lounges I have ever visited. My understanding is that it is managed by Air France, who run what some call the best airport lounge in the world. How this hovel is acceptable to anyone, on any level, is quite baffling.
Entry corridor leading to the "buffet".
Some medicine to help you forget where you are.
Don't fill up before the flight. ;)
I did enjoy the Perrier.
Thankfully I was not at the airport excessively early so soon it was time to move along to the gate.
This also makes me smile.
The gate area was very crowded and this was the best look I could get at the aircraft.
Some confusion as the First Class passengers tried to access the jet bridge to the upper deck we were turned away by the contract agent checking docs. He sent us to the other door that was just jam packed with Economy passengers. I asked the agent at that door form some assistance as this did not seem like the right method for First Class boarding. She apologized and led our group back to the original door and explained to the gentleman that we were to board here. Now we were seen as cutting the long Business Class like that had formed. Oops.
Views of the beast from the jet bridge.
Minor confusion resolved I was very delighted to be here.
I was shown to my seat and asked about a beverage request and a preference for a hot or cold towel. I requested sparkling water with ice and lemon and a cold towel.
My seat, 2K.
The center seats.
We can debate the open cabin v. enclosed suite all day and there are merits to both. I don't see much debate in the fact that this is a very tasteful (not a word I would think to associate with an Akbar Al Baker run airline) and elegant cabin.
Snack and drink stations flank each side of the cabin.
Spacious and well appointed lavatories.
I took a peek down the stairs at the front of the cabin.
I returned to 2K after my self guided tour to find my water but no towel was delivered.
Also waiting for my review were the a la carte dining menu and extensive wine list.
The view from 2K.
Complimentary wifi cards were distributed along with arabic coffee and a date.
Orders were taken by the pinch-yourself-and-try-not-to-stare stunningly beautiful Indian Flight Attendant.
Some window views on taxi and takeoff.
Shortly after 10,000'…err…3048 meters the games begin. A luxurious beverage and nuts to start.
Wouldn't you know it.
I am a big fan of the dining concepts the ME carriers have brought forward. Many choices to be taken in any order at any time.
My table is set.
I request to take the caviar first.
Two mother of pearl spoons such that your garnish shall never soil you egg stash.
I'm not sure if there is a correct way to eat caviar but this is my favorite way: spoon to mouth.
It's fine with the goodies as well.
I stay with the appetizers and opt for the lobster, fennel and potato salad. Thankfully BA didn't put me off of lobster as this plate was fantastic.
I requested a glass of the rose champagne for comparison purposes. You know my dedication to science.
A bread basket was set with the table and some nice butter too.
Staying with the small plates theme I had a go at the duck spring rolls. This was not as successful as the first two courses as the texture was off and the meat was too salty. Can't win 'em all.
None of the mains caught my fancy so I went to the cheese.
With the Gewurztraminer to accompany.
My neighbor got tired of watching me eat.
Because it's a Chef Nobu creation I asked for the "Sub Zero". Oddly, it was offered with chocolates and a hot towel. I think they were trying to tell me the party is over.
Sunset over the Mediterranean.
Well the party may be over in the front of the airplane but perhaps there is life in the aft.
The design and finishes in the bar area echo the elegance of the First Class cabin. It's really something to behold. The drinks menu wasn't that exciting to me and when I requested Krug I was told no.
I ordered the Bombay Collins but it was sweet and I could not manage more than a taste.
Some snacks on the bar.
The vibe here was less than stellar as well. A group of French associates were conversing but I was not privy to their conversation. The other two patrons were speaking Mandarin so I was unable to interject there either. I tried to chat with the bar tender but he wasn't into it. OK, back to my movie.
A walk through the J cabin. Look straight ahead and don't break stride. ;)
I finished A Walk In The Woods (what a letdown for a devoted Bryson fan). We were about 5 hours into this 7 hour affair and I decided a snack before arrival was in order.
I was hoping for the soup next but there was none to be found so I was offered the Mezze. Sure, why not.
Beautiful presentation and lovely flavors to taste.
I took the dry Gewurztraminer this time.
I finished with an espresso just as we were beginning our descent.
New LAX service being promoted on the IFE. On this airplane, yes please! On the 777 with the old J class and no F, no thanks.
We approached and touched down in the Doha darkness and this most delightful flight was concluded.
Galaxy Lounge - 1
Paris - CDG
Doha - DOH
The Ground Service: The check in, after I found it, was fast and efficient. The Accèss no.1 (Fast Track) was very valuable moving through immigration and security.
The Lounge: I was not impressed. Confused yes, but not impressed.
The Cabin: It exudes elegance and restraint. The seat was very comfortable in all positions. The IFE screen is huge and the interface works well with good selection. I didn't try the bed. I'm sorry I didn't get pictures of the amenity kit and IFE.
The Crew: Very good crew. The main Flight Attendant taking care of my side was quite competent and professional. Personality and warmth were not her forte. She forgot a couple of minor things and when she remembered she was very apologetic.
The Food and Beverage: I was very impressed with the items I selected. I know it's hard to mess up caviar tins and Krug.
Overall: It's a very compelling product. I now understand the reviews of Qatar crews being reserved. I would expect the shadow of their dictator, I mean CEO, hangs over every action. By and large I was very pleased with all aspects of my time on board.
Thanks for reading and happy flying.
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