Hello Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by this review, the fifth installment of my American AAdvantage miles purge. My apologies for the delay in posting this installment.
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.
Upon alighting the A380 from Paris I was met just inside the terminal by a smiling face with my name written on a sign. Well, this is nice, some proper first class ground service. The woman assigned to escort me was very friendly and was aware of my connecting flight time and gate info. She walked with me to security where there was no wait and then she rode up one floor in the elevator and stayed with me through the admittance to the Al Safwa lounge. We chatted about the lounge and she mentioned that she has had guests fly here just to visit the lounge. Imagine that ;)I was offered a tour but declined as I was keen to look around myself and not explain to a guide why I HAVE TO take 100 pictures!
I am overwhelmed with adjectives when describing this facility. Stunning, immense, immaculate, and absurd all come to mind. It's actually quite difficult to present in a flight report as it's difficult to appreciate the scale in pictures. The 15 meter high ceilings and 30 meter wide walls of water don't translate to 1000 pixel width photos. My time here was somewhat limited and I don't think that I even visited all of the various sections of the lounge.
The main hall with water feature.
More water falling from the sky. It's the desert after all.
The seating areas are all decentralized and diverse.
The signs specifying the various sections of the lounge.
I was very impressed by the "family wing" of the lounge.
The food in this section was all sweets, which was curious.
Room after room of play areas and games. With not a single child in sight.
The family area also had 5 or 6 "private" rooms with couches, chairs and television.
There's a media (cinema) room of course.
The main all that runs the length of the lounge. On one end a connecting passenger would enter the lounge and at the opposite end a local originating passenger would enter.
Prominently featured in the main "hub" of the lounge is the dining room. As a serious flight reporter I of course overcome my lack of hunger and sit down to sample a few dishes. I was greeted immediately, shown to a table, and presented a menu.
While the Krug wasn't displayed with the other champagne varieties on the bar I requested it and it was delivered.
From the menu I requested the Beef Sambusak and the Thai Red Seafood Curry. Neither dish was especially good. The Sambusak seemed like something you could get in the frozen section of your grocery.
I wandered around the dining facility to find a small buffet table.
A peek into the kitchen.
I also used the business center for a time.
I used the loo, of course.
Quite tired at this point, but wanting to stay awake a bit on the next flight I stopped at the bar for an espresso and water.
Finally it was time to go tot he gate. The Qatar ground services didn't include an escort (for me) at this point.
A final look at this most stunning facility.
The 10 minute (leisurely paced) journey to gate C13.
Boarding was well underway (last call) and I walked directly aboard a well appointed Dreamliner.
I was shown to seat 5K and immediately offered a beverage and a towel.
The seat is well designed with easy controls and nice storage options. An amenity kit of sorts was delivered as well.
The IFE screen is ample in size with great resolution.
The entry area was nice to have as a space to stretch your legs.
The lavs, located aft of all J seats except two oddly placed seats at the rear of the cabin, were standard.
A somewhat limited menu for this 3.5 hour flight leaving at 1:30. I neglected to photograph the entire wine list.
After take off I requested the rose and it was served with warm cashews and pistachios.
The table was set from a trolley for those who were dinging.
First I requested the wild mushroom soup. It was delicious, creamy, and well presented.
I ordered the classic Arabic mezze next. Wonderful fresh flavors as always.
I also requested the hammour tikka. It was a perfect small portion to taste. The fish was very tender and well spiced. I enjoyed it.
Finally the Laduree Tentation, sensational.
I managed a two hour power nap after the meal. It was sunrise on approach to DEL.
I asked the exceptional flight attendant if she had any playing cards or other promotional items with the airline name. She said they hadn't any but offered me the pen she was carrying. I thought that was very thoughtful.
Short final now and it becomes apparent that the air quality in the area is not pristine.
Bhutan Airlines, new one for me.
We parked next to a sister QR 787-8.
I was among the first to the immigration area and I proceeded tot he eVisa section. There was only one passenger being helped ahead of me. Despite this it was a long wait. The man processing the entry was gruff and very slow. Oh well.
Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge
Doha - DOH
New Delhi - DEL
That wraps up my first trip to the Al Safwa Lounge and my first ride in J with QR.
The Ground Service: I was surprised and pleased to be met plane side in DOH from the CDG flight. The is really style over function as the trip through security and to the lounge is logical and painless. None the less though, it's a nice touch. It makes me wonder why they don't continue it on your outbound.
The Lounge: I was blown away by the grandness of the space and the design. It is a beautiful lounge. The service in the dining area was efficient and attentive and the food was average or better. The wine was exceptional. On the whole it's a very good lounge.
The Cabin: The entry way feature on the 787 (and A350) is pretty cool looking. Boarding to a stylish space rather than a galley is unique. The seat was very comfortable in all positions. The IFE screen is ample and the interface works well with good selection. The bed is firm but a nice pillow and blanket are provided for this 3.5 hour red eye flight.
The Crew: The main Flight Attendant taking care of my side was quite competent and professional. Personality and warmth were also present in contrast to the previous QR flight. She was Indian but must have done some schooling in the UK as she had a distinct British accent.
The Food and Beverage: I enjoyed the soup and two appetizers. The cake was divine. The wine was J class appropriate.
Overall: It's really good J product. 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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