This FR picks up after a rather "bleh" AA flight between BOG and MIA, what was supposed to be a flawless 3 hour connection at the "Gateway to Latin America" ended up with me and my workmate losing our flight to Doha and stranded at MIA.
Long story short: we called the office, the office called someone in Qatar, that someone called QR and basically ordered the station manager that the next plane to Doha had to leave with us or else…
At Miami International Airport
The QR peeps told us to get to MIA a couple of hours before the SDT. We made it to the airport and were checked in. I noticed there was a large group of people queueing already, mostly from the Indian subcontinent.
While at it, the lady at the counter asked for a visa (oh no here we go again..) and then we told her to contact the manager, she asked some other guy, who had met with us the night before (and didn't let us board), the guy waived the visa issue. The manager showed up to meet us, he checked our BPs and said "oh so sorry these are not your seats", the AVGeek inside me squealed with emotion thinking that we were going to get an upgrade (the least they could do with yesternights snafu), he gave us other BPs (no upgrade sadly), the AVGeek inside me cried with disappointment, but we scored exit row seats (window seat for me yay!) He then told us to wait for him a couple of minutes, he would take us to the VIP Room and then he would look for us when boarding was due.
(irony mode:on) Now that's the fancy treatment I expected from QR (irony mode:off)
At the Premium Lounge
Like most of MIA's Central Terminal, the Premium Lounge at Concourse E had seen its better days come and go (possibly more than a decade ago), still it had an amazing food and bar offering and had awesome views of the field. I was weary about taking any booze, given that this was work trip, but my workmate eventually made the decision for me: "are you gonna have any whiskey?" Soon I knew this was going to be a fun trip.
The most discreet views I could take of the Lounge
The views from it, it made me remember how awesome MIA was for me when I was a kid with so many different airlines and planes (the variety in the fauna has watered down sadly).
A couple of drinks, and tons of pictures after, we were looked for and told to go for boarding. Before leaving I took a quick snap of the WC, it was okay if a bit too 90ish.
Concourse E has archeological value, in case you want to know what MIA looked like in the 90s this is your place.
As promised we were escorted to the plane, pretty much to the seat if I remember correctly.
[My camera takes crappy low light pictures so please bear with me]
My seat for the next 14 hours or so
Leg room was quite OK, even if the door's slide protruded into my space
Galley was just across…just in case I want to nibble something inflight.
And I had my own window
All in all it seemed like everything was gonna be great for my longest flight ever.
A pillow, a blanket and an amenity kit was waiting for me at the seat. The amenity kit contained eyeshades, earplugs, toothbrush and socks.
I don't recall any theme park music during boarding (like on EY), the blue mood lighting gave a modern ambiance, almost like at a nightclub, not like starting a ride at Universal Studios (like on EY). While boarding took place, and it was a long wait, I started to chit-chat about life with my travelmate: so I may have missed many of the traditional avgeek activities that one performs before takeoff.
IFE was provided through a PTV with top notch programming.
Pre-packaged moist towels were handed
Security video was done with FC Barcelona players and themed around football, I found it a bit distracting….I think you're too distracted by all the show and end up not paying real attention to the safety briefing.
We kept chatting while we taxied and then took off
Since I was chatting, I chose to check the nifty moving map app from the IFE, about an hour after take off we were offered pre dining drinks and the cabin was lit in this disco-blue hue.
Soon after food arrived, I don't recall any menus being handed out. I chose beef and my mate took chicken (?). We both agreed that food was good.
Our chat ended when we began to eat, so then it was time to check what to watch before falling asleep. I was weirded by the Indian comedy about Hitler, and appalled that they had that lame heresy that Top Gear had become, in the end I chose The Conjuring 2 for a good nights scare whilst on a plane
It dawned as we neared Europe….
The crew passed through with drinks, and possibly some snacks…I always try to keep myself hydrated in long hauls.
But the cabin was kept dark, I chose to pay a visit to the WC all the liquids I drank you know, it seemed the previous user had a little turbulence (or aiming) problem during pee pee proceedings, yuck!
We were offered breakfast over Turkey or Iran (I think), it consisted of beans and frittata (mine had a prevailing burnt taste). The food was greatly appreciated. My mate didn't want to eat, but the F/A insisted on him having some food in a motherly way, he couldn't decline hahaha.
Oddly enough it became dark again…
It is possible we were offered something to eat before landing, but I did not document it.
As the sun set, we were over Doha and had a nice and peaceful end to the flight.
As we left the plane there were two QR ground crew with our names (fun fact: they got them wrong as it usually happens with Spanish surnames) and we were escorted all the way to the immigration control. Then we were asked to take a seat in a lounge while they took our passports. Some 10 minutes later we were waived into Qatar. We withdrew some Riyals from the ATM and then caught a cab to the city, thus concluding my longest trip ever.
Premium Lounge (Concourse E)
Miami - MIA
Doha - DOH
My first flight with Qatar was very satisfactory, leaving the fact that they made me miss my flight aside. I am aware I didn't receive the Regular Joe treatment at the airports, so I'll try to be as objective as possible. Compared to EY, QR felt more western. Whether that's a plus or a minus is very subjective, but for me is a plus to have some local flavour in a world that is more and more generic. Still, I do think QR lived up to the expectation of a top-notch airline, I was too sleepy (and tipsy at the beginning of the flight) to engage the crew more than necessary but it was more than okay; food was very good and IFE as well... what else can you ask? I removed some points on cabin comfort on account of the dirty bathroom.
MIA's Concourse E is a dump. Had we not go to the Lounge it would have been a dreadful wait before boarding the plane. The Lounge was a bit outdated, but the very generous food and drink offering along with the unbeatable views made my time splendid.
DOH seemed to be very cool, don't know if getting into Qatar is faster than we spent, but so it seemed as the immigration zone was basically deserted. We spent as little time as possible at the airport, since we wanted to go to the hotel ASAP in order to get some good sleep before having to work.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the trip back to Colombia!
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