Welcome to this new series of reports covering my latest trip to Sri Lanka and Maldives with Qatar Airways and Korean Air.
The whole trip plan looks like this:
01 FEB - WAW-DOH, QR 264 - A330-300 01 FEB - DOH-CMB, QR 662 - A350-900 10 FEB - CMB-MLE, KE 473 - A330-300 14 FEB - MLE-CMB, KE 474 - A330-300 16 FEB - CMB-DOH, QR 665 - A340-600 16 FEB - DOH - WAW, QR 261 - B787-800
As my last year's experience with trip to SE Asia in February happened to be one of the best trips of my life, I decided to do exactly the same this year. In October I chose Sri Lanka for my winter getaway and inspired by my parents, who have just come back from a package tour to Sri Lanka combined with a 5 day stay in Maldives, I decided to add a trip to Male to my trip plan instead of spending the last couple of days somewhere on the beach in Sri Lanka. There were several options for the whole trip, I considered seriously to fly EK this time and add a stopover in Dubai, but once more QR happened to have much better offer. It's not strange at all as the airline has introduced lately a 3rd daily flight from Warsaw to Doha with all the flights being already operated by wide body aircraft (the A320 on the evening rotation has been replaced by a much more comfortable B787). Having bought the tickets for the main trip I started to look for the Colombo-Male flights. To my surprise, I found out that many foreign airlines operate on this route thanks to the 5th freedom. I wanted to fly Emirates that fly CMB-MLE-DXB but this flight arrives to Male late at night and late transfers to the islands are usually very expensive, so I opted for Sri Lankan Airlines but eventually I found a Korean Air flight departing early in the morning in a very competitive price. That's how the whole plan was completed and I could do nothing but wait until the 1st of February.
After 3 months of waiting THE day has finally arrived. To my surprise and (as it has been explained by a very professional call center consultant) due to some changes made by QR itself in my trip plan (the initial hour of departure from WAW was 08:45, it was changed to 11:00 and as a result we couldn't catch anymore the earlier flight to CMB departing from Doha at 17:30 and were automatically rebooked for the flight departing at 19:30 - a good thing was that, instead of B777-300, we will fly the A350-900 on the second leg), it wasn't possible to check-in online for my trip. I wasn't worried as I have already chosen our seats during booking but, what happened to be a little bit frustrating, we spent 30 minutes in a long line to traditional check-in desks with people travelling to all possible destinations with tons of luggage.
There were not many people in security but as one stupid guy decided to show his ego to whole airport, we lost there another 15 minutes. It was quite funny because his main problem was he was touched by one of the security check agents who carried some stuff in the plastic tray where you put your things for inspection. I have no idea where he was from but he didn't stop shouting in English with avery tough accent: call your manager, call the police, you hit me with your basket, call the police. Everyone laughed as he was no doubt exagerating but the best reaction was of the senior female agent who said openly: sir, if you don't like the security control you can always go to your destination by bus!
After a quick passport control we were finally in the NON Schengen zone heading to our gate.
El Al 737-800 departing to TLV
and our A330-300 to Doha. I don't know how I managed to do that but despite flying almost 200 times this will be my first ride on A330, so I'm thrilled.
As always with QR, boarding is well organized and as we seat at the very back of the aircraft, we can board it first, just after the business class passengers.
I must say the first impression is ok, the aircraft interior seems neat and the welcome from the crew is as always very warm and polite.
Then I take my seat and discover this aircraft is a little bit old fashioned with low quality screens
and big IFE box that limits my legroom :(
But the general view of the cabin is fine, it doesn't seem old or used
Standard seat equipment: a blanket, a pillow and headphones
Safety card of this A333
Refreshing tissues are distributed before push-back
View from my seat
The small screen shows our current position when we are about to start taxiing for take off
First I thought it was a touch screen but I soon discovered that the only way to navigate is to use the remote control hidden in the armrest
Old style safety video is displayed in English and Arabic during push back
LOT 787-900 in special livery for the 100th anniversary of Poland's independence. I'm horrified to notice I've already started to get used to this terrible livery…
Air China A330-200 that will depart to PEK later this afternoon
We are ready to depart from runway 15
and leave snowy Poland for 2 weeks
Clouds were very low that day so soon we were above their layer with blue sky and sun that I missed so much during winter
We fly over snowy Poland, Ukraine and Romania with Carpathian mountains also fully covered with snow
Menus have already been distributed and my choice for the lunch is chicken biryani that I took on my last year's WAW-DOH flight and it was delicious.
The dish that finally arrives is not biryani but chicken tikka masala… ok, let's hope it's good
There is also a warm bread, butter, cream cheese, salad and black currant cheescake for dessert. The salad looks and tastes good.
The main is also ok
But the best is no doubt the dessert
In the meantime we slowly leave Romania and cross the Black Sea
According to the inflight map, this strait visible far away is Bosphorus with city of Istanbul situated on its banks. It actually looks like a short river.
Time for a cup of tea and inflight magazine
Current QR fleet
We fly over Turkish mountains that in this part of the year are also covered with snow. Funny, but the snow won't disappear until we are over Iraq.
"Movie snack" - a chocolate bar or crisps arrive one hour before landing. The crew is very proactive, offers water and juices all the time, collects empty glasses and replies immidiately to all passenger calls. Once more, I experience a very professional QR crew that really works very hard during the entire flight. I noticed that the young male flight attendant working in our row has a Greek name so when he came to offer us a cup of water, I asked him whether he was Greek. He was quite surprised to hear his language and came to us several times to chat a little bit. I noticed that QR crew members are usually very offcial, extremely polite but not very "warm" and rather avoiding any closer contact with passengers. It was the same in this case: even if greek language seemed to shorten the distance, he was all the time on duty and remained very typical.
We decided not to watch any movie on this screen as it could be quite harmful for the eyes regarding its low resolution. It's actually my first flight when one of my legs enjoys a very good legroom, while the other feels totally cramped, funny!
It's already sunset when we enter the Gulf
Cabin lights are dimmed for landing as the first lights of Doha appear
We fly along the city and pass the airport
Then after a deep turn right we are ready to land
No need to thank, it was a very pleasant flight and one more positive experience with QR
Welcome to Hamad International Airport, it's been a year since my last visit
The A380 that took me last year to and brought back from Bangkok. Time for the A350 and new destination this year.
The flight was shorter than planned, actually we landed almost 30 minutes ahead of schedule and it was a great news as we had only 50 minutes before the next flight (including security check and usually long distance walk between the gates).
Thanks for reading, the series will be continued soon :)
Warsaw - WAW
Doha - DOH
It was my fifth flight with Qatar Airways and I'm very satisfied as far as the onboard service and crew are concerned. A330-300 has a very comfortable configuration if you fly as a couple and are lucky enough to get a seat in one of the window rows. However this particular aircraft (I don't know if it is like this onboard all QR A330), had old fashioned low quality screens and big IFE box that limited my legroom. Boarding and deboarding were perfectly organized so I can't say a bad word. It was a pity that in case of our booking the online check-in didn't work and we lost almost half an hour waiting in the queue for traditional check-in at the airport.
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