There are a number of reasons for me flying this itinerary : experiencing Qatar Q-Suites, flying my 1st 787s, adding 2 new airlines (Oman Air and Bangkok Airways) to my list, and adding another country, Cambodia, to my list.
I last left you arriving in Dallas DFW, from Boston off American Airlines flight AA132.
After spending an efficient and comfortable time at a nearby hotel, I came back to DFW terminal D around 2pm.
The Qatar check-in counters were not going to open until 2:45pm. Although I would have loved a QR stock (Business class) boarding pass, I wanted to get air side, so I did not wait. You can see passengers lining up for check-in, which later looked like quite the line. Going through security only took a few minutes. I am always grateful when it goes quickly and no one manifests any power trips or general absent mindedness.
As an American Express (US) platinum card holder, I went to the American Express Centurion Lounge which is just to the left once after security. It was pretty busy so there were not any quality photography opportunities.
I will note that there was chile braised chicken carnitas, "truck stop enchilada casserole", poblano rice, fresh vegetables such as patty pan, sunburst, zucchini and squash. There were salad options as well. And for the sweet tooth in me : coconut rice pudding and cookies.
I did not stop by the common-lounge shared by Lufthansa, JAL, Emirates, and Icelandair. I even could have visited the American Airlines Premium lounge.
Scenes of the terminal, airside, bright, spacious, airy.
Where the QF A380 is at gate D15 is where my aircraft would be parked, so boooo for no views of the plane. I'm not sure what was going on with the black smoke. Please forgive the light reflections.
QR730 / 08APR
DFW - DOH, Boeing 777-3DZER, A7-BEI, seat 5A
DFW departure gate D15
Actual vs. scheduled departure : 1854 / 1810
Actual vs. scheduled arrival : 1754 / 1640
Flight time per Flightradar24 : 14:37
I ultimately stopped at the podium to declare myself as an inbound connecting passenger and my boarding pass was re-printed. It was not important to me that it was on "economy" stock. The gate team was asking for connecting passengers to do this anyway and it is always a good idea to do so. This confirms you are in fact checked in on their own flight (I have seen weird things happen even though a passenger has a boarding pass) and that your baggage tag is taken in to account, so that it can be loaded. The ground staff will also re-verify documentation requirements, if any. There were 4 agents working quickly and professionally all while even more staff were trying to get things organized for the boarding process. The staff were courteous and efficient. One staff was combing through the line at the podium to see who did and did not need assistance. He was anticipatory in helping the passenger in front of me who was rerouted from British Airways and confirmed to the passenger his bag was transferred successfully without the passenger even having to ask. This is a sign of things to come on my QR flights.
There was a lot going on, so additional gate area photos were not appropriate. I did see the cabin crew doing their briefing at the adjacent gate, standing up.
General boarding was from the left and priority boarding from the right.
After a good number of wheelchair passengers, priority boarding was given the thumbs up only around 5:50pm for a 6:10pm departure.
I have a photo of the boarding door, however, I'm not so sure you want to see someone in a bright orange sweatshirt and his sweatpants from behind.
Yep, the port-side 'A' seat faces to the left, backwards !
My suite, as I arrived to it.
Note the open "arm rest" in the foreground, where the headphones, reading material, and water bottle are. It offers some nice storage space as well, notably for the amenity kit and a little nitch for eye glasses.
Boarding during daylight proved to be helpful for cabin photos which is not easy on QR at night. I will spare you all the details but let's just say I couldn't really think of anything else that I needed. Everything was intuitive and there was plenty of space for me and my stuff.
As soon as I turned left at door 2L, I started photographing away. I was immediately approached by the female crew member who would be looking after me. I extended my apologies to her in advance asking her to forgive my excessive photography. She replied that it was absolutely welcome that I take all the photos I want, so that really made me feel welcome. As a non-alcoholic drinker, I requested the signature "So Jennie" when asked what I might like to drink, although I understood I could have asked for anything. And this would be the overall theme of my 2 flights with Qatar this time. I opted for a cold towel as well.
The amenity kit blanket and small pillow are already at the seat when one arrives.
The pajamas are brought separately (on a tray).
During the boarding process, the Cabin Service Director would come by and introduce himself as well, already noting my photography. His welcome was sincere and definitely not robotic.
Boarding would continue without any fusses and the door was closed (for the first time) at 1825, a 15 minute delay due to a no-show passenger. The Captain (I learned he was Belgian) did keep us informed accordingly.
9 minutes later at 1836, I saw the jetbridge coming back to door 2L. The cabin door was closed again at 1849 and our official departure time showed 1854 per the QR flight status. We were not informed as to why the further delay. I'm wondering if they cancelled the bag search and ultimately boarded the no-show passenger.
We could have been delayed several hours, I would not have minded !
Today's passenger load would be 24 out of 42 seats. 8 cabin crew out of 16 are dedicated to Business.
The view from backwards facing seat 5A with some nice early evening light.
Of course, the start up of the GE-90 was music to my ears and you can bet I filmed that.
The 3rd photo is of Qantas A380 VH-OQD which arrived as QF7 from SYD around 1300. It goes back to SYD at 2225.
Wheels up from runway 36R at 1915, so about a 20 minute taxi time. If that's not impressive wing flex, have you experienced that of the 787 yet !? (I had not up until this trip !)
A panoramic photo showing the door closed. The door is not able to be opened or closed on the ground, for obvious safety reasons. The cabin crew "unlock" it once they are released from their seats, so around 10,000 feet.
Ok, let's talk about food !
The departure time is perfect for the American stomach and Eastern/Central time zone, dinner in the 19-20 hour is nice.
This is where Qatar shines. You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, as you want. The menu presents things in one way but that doesn't mean you have to follow it. So, in seeing the menu, you could decide that you want the cheese omelette after take off and then maybe the beef fillet, and then maybe some cereal haha.
As I read the menu, I thought I would have a proper dinner given the time. However, scheduled arrival to Doha is at the end of the afternoon, so technically, I would be skipping breakfast and should probably aim for something a little more "savory" prior to arrival. Let's see what I ended up doing. What would you do ?
My order for dinner was taken just after take off. It most likely could have been taken before take off but I sense that I was left alone to take all the photos I wanted.
I apologize I have not taken photos of the alcoholic beverages menu (but I do have it).
Aperitif with the Apple Cooler and nuts (not warmed, but I don't have a preference for that).
Table set up.
Still and / or flat water accompanied the rest of my meal.
The bread was warm, and good !
Amuse bouche of shrimp and thousand island sauce – fresh and light.
Soup : roasted red pepper and tomato, saffron cream
Funny point to this course is that I had included the soup in my initial order, but then ended up cancelling it, for fear it was too much food and this was acknowledged by my f/a.
Well, the soup was brought to me, however, I did not refuse it, wanting at least to taste it since it was there. However, it was way too salty. I let my f/a know and she was unnecessarily apologetic. Even the Cabin Service Director came around to apologize !
It wasn't until after the main course that my f/a realized I had indeed wanted to cancel the soup ! No big deal !
Appetizer : Signature Tapas : charred aubergine, green onion ranch and sweet peppers with pita chips.
This was DIVINE ! The pita chips had cinnamon on them, making for a sweet and savory bite.
Just look at the presentation !
Main course : chicken biryani : fried onions and cashew nuts with mint raita.
Dessert : warm chocolate lava cake, vanilla sauce
While not as divine as the previous 2 courses, it still hit the spot !
I was not up to any tea or coffee, but the meal finished off with the box of chocolates and hot towel.
QR protocol determines that a hot towel is to be provided every time a passenger finishes eating.
Overall dining time was about 2 hours and at this point we're passing Nova Scotia. This may seem long for some, but it certainly was not for me given the flight time. Everything was at my rhythm and perfectly paced.
My f/a turned down my "bed". The padding is well thought out, like a mattress pad, so it hugs the "bed" perfectly and does not move. The white pillow case was placed over the (purple) pillow that is on the seat when you board.
After some sound sleep, I woke up around the beginning of the English Channel, so after 8 hours of flying time. I thought this is what would happen if it was just a transatlantic crossing from an East Coast city but there is still 6h30 remaining, wonderful !
You can see our ETA is 1746 for a scheduled arrival of 1640, so a tad over 1h late at this point.
I spent a little bit of time chatting with some of the crew in the galley. They really strived to make sure I had anything I needed or wanted.
The f/a responsible for the galley asked if I had made my choices for when I wanted to eat next and I had said no. She suggested taking my choices so she could "reserve them" for me in case any of the choices ran out. Yet another demonstration of anticipatory thoughtfulness.
I made my selections based on the fact that I would flying through breakfast and that our flight is now arriving at the end of the afternoon, early evening. We agreed that I would eat again about 2 hours before arrival.
A little bit more light allows me to show off the "bed" better.
A little insight as to the mess I have made and one of my movie selections.
"Starting the day" with a double espresso and hot towel.
Breakfast : greek yoghurt, orange compote and toasted granola with nuts
Normally the breakfast bakery basket has 3 items in it, however, I requested only 1 croissant, I did not want to not eat anything that was brought to me (although I know anything left over would be thrown away anyway).
So, ultimately, I decided on a "small" breakfast to start with.
A testament to 5-stars. I wonder how many people notice this ?
Branded salt & pepper shakers
Here is a look at the safety cards. One is specifically for the safety of the Q-Suite, notably with regards to the door and the rear facing seats.
At this point there is about 1h30 remaining and we finish the meal experience with Afternoon Tea : fresh finger sandwiches, warm scones, clotted cream and French pastries.
The scones and clotted cream were quite yummy. I added a dollop of strawberry jam with each bite haha. The finger sandwiches and the "french pastries" were pretty straight forward. I was still quite pleased with this selection.
Another double espresso hit the spot.
It's just so great !
Time for a quick refresh and a change from pajamas to something a little bit more presentable for arrival. This is the lav at door 2L, which I found to be a little more spacious than the one at 2R because it is wheelchair accessible. I should note there were also 2 smaller lavs at door 1L, as if you were heading to the cockpit. 4 lavs for 42 passengers is quite appropriate.
They also remained spotless the entire time. You can tell the crew are going in there after each passenger.
As preparations begin for landing, I took a wander around to the 2nd cabin, rows 7-11, not any different.
View from unoccupied (forward facing) seat 9B. Seat 9B is just slightly closer to the aisle, which would make one "lean" closer to the window for photos. Too bad it was so overcast. A view like this had me wondering if I should consider changing my return flight seat assignment 5K to the rear cabin. (I wanted to be port side flying eastbound and starboard side flying westbound.)
I can't get enough of this view flying downwind. We would then bank left to land on runway 34R, which is at the top of the airport.
The Cabin Service director and the crew members with whom I chatted in the galley all came to bid me farewell on my crazy itinerary. I have no status whatsoever, so clearly this kind of care is not reserved just for higher status passengers. I wonder what they would do for one of their own Elite !?
It's always reassuring to see the ground staff ready in the jetbridges.
Arrival bloc was officially 1754 for a scheduled arrival of 1640. This is inconsequential for me traveling in such comfortable conditions !
Marketing and branding ! This is also at door 2.
The crew rest access is in this area.
I did not get a clean shot of a cabin door on boarding, so here is door 1L on arrival.
In these photos, you have the walk towards the monorail station which brings you to the main terminal. The walking signs indicated an 18 minute walk (a thoughtful touch) ! In the last of the 3 photos, I am heading down to the arrivals hall level.
In immigration, there is a fantastic separate arrivals area for First and Business class passengers, however it is is only for passengers of Qatar Airways (as I would confirm on my return).
A member of the ground staff verifies eligibility just after the sliding glass door ahead.
And then you find this ! (Actual border control is just behind me to my right.)
I did not have a look but there are refreshments and light snacks … and there is definitely a lack of space (*eye roll).
The border patrol agent was surprisingly welcoming. Once I finished taking photos, he saw I was looking around and called me over in a friendly way.
Our bags were delivered on belt #7 and I saw my bag after not more than 1 minute. Who knows, the bag belts are so long it was probably already on the belt.
I made sure to connect to the airport wifi so I could secure an Uber. (The wifi is not easy to connect to, you need your QR PNR number and if you're not on QR, you need a phone number on which you can receive a text message, at least in the arrivals and non-secure public areas).
Thankfully even though losing my wifi connection curbside, I was able to locate my vehicle and be on my way.
Terminal D at Dallas DFW is another example of what an international terminal should be, in my opinion. Most US airports lack this infrastructure. As I mentioned in my BOS-DFW report, accessibility is not easy because of the sheer size of everything in Texas, requiring a vehicle and time. Departing DFW was overall smooth.
The last time I flew Qatar Airways was in December of 2016 before Q-Suites and even then, it was a great experience. This flight was simply amazing and 14h30 of flight was just not long enough for me.
One more thing I should point out : at no point do you hear any of the crew chit chatting or slamming catering equipment doors. When the crew do walk through the cabin, they are also walking with light feet. I have been on some flights where the galley noise is incessant and the crew walk through with such heavy feet. As such, this makes me think that even though rows 1, 6, 7EF and 8 are that close to galleys and passage ways, there would probably be no bothers at all.
While the Q-Suite hard product itself is beautiful, it is truly the attention of the cabin crew that elevates the whole "First in Business" experience.