Hello! This report describes my first ever QR flight and the second leg (BOS-DOH) of the 6-flight return journey from Toronto to Mumbai, through Boston and Doha. Earlier in the day, I had a perfect flight from YTZ to BOS with Porter Airlines. After I cleared immigration (it was a breeze, as I was one of the few people in the line, maybe due to off-peak time of the day), and claiming baggage (at about 4:00 PM), I went to QR counter in the arrivals baggage section. The staff advised me to check in the bags in the departure area QR counter, which would open at 7 PM. This gave me 3 hours to roam around, with burden of 2 large bags (they were on a trolley though).
With about 3 hours to kill, but a 2 bags to drag, there was no good way to explore the city. Therefore, I was wondering if I could explore the airport. Now, all the international flights depart from Terminal E, where the landside departures area (3rd floor) is not very large and there are not many vacant places to sit or relax. I then remembered that the elevator that took me from ground floor to the 3rd floor also went to 4th floor, which in turn, connects to terminal A. WIth nothing better to do, I decided to explore the airport and its terminals, whatever is accessible. As it turned, terminals E, A, B and C were interconnected, and sometimes provided good spotting opportunities.
^Departures area. It is not that small, but there is no space to relax.
^FID (pic taken around 4 PM) showing airlines that were open for check-in. There was no mention of Qatar.
Given the above, my little BOS exploration journey begins. The terminals E and A are interconnected through an enclosed, but transparent skywalk. It is equipped with PA system, which is mainly used for advertising Boston as a city, as well as providing directions for ridesharing services (Uber and Lyft) pick-up location. As we go near, terminal A there is a good spotting place for various Deltas waiting at the gate. Guessed terminal A serves mainly Delta (and some Westjets). Terminals B (American and a few AC) and C (Jetblue) are similarly connected, but somehow the pictures went missing from my phone.
Pics for terminal A:
After the journey from E-A-B-C, and enjoying some Dunkin' (the Tim Horton's of the USA) coffee, it was time to return to E again. There is a ground-level walkway that connects C with E, and the walk was fairly comfortable. Returned to the check-in counter at 6:50 PM, to find that the QR check-in had already begun. Before I could get into the line, a QR staff weighed my backback to see if I am not carrying any excess luggage, as there were a few passengers who carried about 10 kgs in their carry-ons.
Now, there was a slight hassle in the check-in. My wife was supposed to join with me, but she had to cancel her travel due to work. I had called Qatar customer service to cancel the ticket and got verbal confirmation from them, more than a week before the journey. However, at the check-in counter, somehow the QR system showed the ticket as still active, and it would be treated as a no-show. The QR ticketing agent did not offer any reassurance and said that only customer care team could help with the refund. I proceeded with my check-in anyway, as there was no alternative. I was a bit anxious for some time on whether the airline would honor the refund (spoiler: they did provide the refund later!), but then decided to deal with it later, as I did not want to spoil my travel experience, given that I was flying after two years (of course, barring the YTZ-BOS travel earlier that day).
Then, suddenly, I remembered another mistake from my end. My wife had a window seat allocation from DOH-BOM, and after cancelling her ticket, I forgot to assign that ticket to myself. This resulted into my DOH-BOM boarding pass showing a middle seat. The QR staff asked me to check with an agent at DOH and they might be able to give me a window seat (no matter how long the journey is, I always prefer window). Fortunately, BOS-DOH, the significant part of the journey, would be travelled in a window seat.
Anyway, after check in, it was time to clear security and go airside, to see some aircraft. Wasn't disappointed. I tried to look at the each aircraft and match the registration code with FR24. Sorry for the picture quality.
^FIDs at airside
^CX with registration B-KPT Boeing 777
LH A340 with registration D-AIHX
EK B-777 with registration A6-EGE
BA 777-200 with registration G-ZZZB
Aside from the spotting, there was also some time to explore the airside terminal. Here, E and C are connected on the airside. Thus, after security check, you can freely roam between domestic and international sections. terminal C artwork showcases and celebrates Boston as a innovation hub
Random pics, including my ride in the background (right of TK aircraft). There was no place from which a decent photograph could be taken for my QR A7-BAM.
Soon, it was time to board the aircraft. Boarding was zone-wise, with passengers at the rear end of the plane (including myself) would be boarded sooner than most others.
After making myself comfortable (to the limited extent possible), took the customary snapshot of legroom. Even for my average height, it felt a bit cramped. The economy section of this aircraft also had 3-4-3 configuration. Adding to that, a blanket and pillow, there wasn't much scope to move. It was a full flight, but (un)fortunately, the middle seat was empty. After the no-show issue (my wife's cancelled ticket), Qatar seemed to have not been able to sell this seat later.
My seat. IFE screens were not very sharp onboard this aircraft. The remote looked old style too. However, there was USB charger and free 1-hour wifi on board.
Cold towel, and amenities kit were provided prior to departure. Mood lighting was set.
Soon after the flight took off, menu card were provided and meal service was started. I had pre-booked Vegetarian Lacto Ovo Meal. My neighbour on this flight was a vegetarian, but did not get the vegetarian meal, as it got over quickly, and he did not pre-book it earlier. Lesson learnt from someone else's experience: No matter how "5-star" the airline is, economy will always have limited supplies, and it's better to prepare from our end as much as possible.
^meal: it tasted good. The salad was fresh, rice and vegetables were warm, the bun was soft. Metal cutlery gave a classy touch!
IFE and flight map. As I mentioned earlier, the screen resolution was poor, but still watchable. The content did not have a very wide selection in terms of movies and TV series. But I found a few random episodes of Futurama. Enjoyed it after long time! After meal at around 11:30 PM, I had a comfortable sleep. I had switched over to maps channel prior to sleeping.
Now, the maps were not interactive (nothing was in user's control). I just had to watch whichever view was displayed. Maybe my expectations were a bit higher. I was also expecting a camera view (not a tail camera like the A380 or A350, but a basic nose camera that some 777s have)
In the 12-hour long flight, the morning started quite soon after take-off. But the FAs restricted me from keeping the window panes open. I had to open them when no one was watching, grab a few shots and close them again. But I got to keep them open when it was about 2 hours to land at DOH.
^ Random shots from window. Being an eastbound flight, It didn't take too long from sunrise to sunset
Flight landed at DOH on time. While disembarking, I managed to get a few shots of the 3-4-3 configuration, as well as business class seat. J
Final shot after disembarking. Soon, I would take a similar, but a short onward flight to Mumbai.
Overall, it was an uneventful journey. IFE and flight map was a slight turn-off, but an hour-long free wifi kind of compensated it. Can't complain about food taste, but they should have managed the quantity better in terms of vegetarian meal. Cabin was cramped. Not a bad flight, but maybe I should have kept my expectations in control.