Report No: 2020-702E
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this very new post-COVID series and after 4 months, I am flying long-haul again and a new series is starting. As I would head to the USA, with the quarantine for passengers coming from and transiting at some countries I didn't have that many choices and my options were Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Emirates. When it comes to price, Emirates was the most expensive one so I directly eliminated that option.
When it came between Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways, at the time I bought the ticket, TK still hadn't adjusted their post-COVID schedule and the full pre-COVID schedule was available for sale and they were known for their last-minute ( T72-T108 ) cancellations and Qatar Airways was $500 cheaper than TK so I didn't hesitate and booked with QR. In addition, after I booked the ticket, QR started a status match challenge and I matched my Turkish Airlines Elite Plus status to Qatar Privilege Club Platinum.
The second report of this series would be a review of a transatlantic flight from Doha to Washington Dulles onboard the Qatar Airways A350-900. Besides, this report would contain a brief review of the Al Mourjan Lounge at Doha.
Here is the routing
The following parts of this series would be revealed later on;
Loads for this flight
Business Class: %35-40
Economy Class: %40-45
After arriving from my previous flight and entering the terminal, the Al Maha stewardess that was assigned to me has taken me to an empty private security lane which had only a 2-minute wait, and then I was at the airside. Then the stewardess took me to the Al Mourjan lounge as the Business and First Class Lounges ( respectively for Oneworld Sapphire/Privilege Club Silver & higher and for Oneworld Emerald/Privilege Club Platinum ) was closed.
By the way, if you haven't read my previous report, I would like to remind you that Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold and Platinum passengers could benefit from the Al Maha Gold package for free.
After coming to the lounge entrance, I was welcomed by a friendly agent that informed me that there are quiet rooms available at the lounge and one was reserved for me so I could get rested in my 9-hour layover in Doha.
Here's how a quiet room cubicle looks, a large sofa and a sleeper-chair with a table
And a TV
I spent most of the time at the lounge in my cubicle, however, I also wanted to explore the remainder of the lounge.
Before exploring the lounge, I had a look at the FIDS
Before exploring the lounge, I've decided to head downstairs to the duty free area to check what's going on over there.
The main duty free stores were going under renovation however some small duty free stores were open.
The small duty free stores mainly sold cosmetics and some chocolate & tobacco that was on sale. No alcohol was sold at the duty free stores during my layover.
The food court was open
The electronic store,
And most fashion boutiques were kept closed, however, the Samsung store that was not pictured in this report was open
Some of the WHSmith's were open, however, this one that I pictured was closed. WHSmith also had reasonable offers for food&beverage and books.
It was now time to return to the lounge. By the way, the lounge did not get crowded at any time and it was always empty around which means plenty of space to social distance.
Before having food, I visited one of the restrooms in the lounge which was kept clean.
Then I've decided to sit and have a snack at the dining resort.
The staff at the lounge was very kind to ask me to sit wherever I want. Here is the menu for the day.
The first thing I was asked was if I preferred still or sparkling water. Then I've ordered a glass of brut champagne. Rosé champagne was also available.
There is also a self serve counter which has cold snacks.
I've opted for the falafel sandwich which was extremely delicious.
Later on, I had the panna cotta which also tasted great. I was also offered drink refills by the staff during my time in the dining room.
Before getting to rest, I've wandered around the lounge and noticed the game room, it looks like a nice place to spend time playing table football if you're traveling with someone.
Later on, I went back to my quiet cubicle and ordered water and slept for 2-3 hours.
When I woke up, I've asked for a shower room and in 10 minutes a room was available. Also, a reminder that shower rooms for men and women are separate in Doha.
The shower agent welcomed me and asked if I need anything, I've asked for a dental kit as my travel size toothpaste was almost empty.
And here is the cosmetic products in the shower cabin.
After my shower, I've headed to the restaurant to have breakfast. Due to COVID-19, the full offerings were available, however, the food was placed to your plate by the chefs at the buffet.
Here is my selection for the day, I've also ordered a glass of mango juice and fresh mint tea.
Also one of the chefs proposed me to offer an omelette of my choice which tasted good.
Unfortunately, it was time to leave the lounge for my flight and at the lounge exit an Al Maha stewardess was waiting for me and that agent kindly escorted me to my gate.
After a document check and another security control, I was inside the gate lounge and both the gate staff and the Al Maha stewardess told me to be seated at the priority area and that I could board with priority boarding.
Despite priority boarding not being offered in IST for elites traveling in Economy, it was offered in Doha.
The gate lounge also had a payphone and two internet kiosks.
Boarding had started 40-50 minutes before departure with passengers requiring extra assistance and then it was followed with Business Class & Privilege Club/oneworld Priority passengers.
I was one of the first ones in Economy Class to board the aircraft.
And the A350-900 that would take me to the USA.
A7-ALZ is one of QR aircraft which has the oneworld livery.
After being welcomed by the crew, I took my seat 16A which was in the first row of Economy Class.
Although the seat was narrow compared to other carriers it was super comfortable and the legroom at this row was perfect.
The overhead panel. By the way, this flight was my first A350 flight so I was also excited to fly on this aircraft.
Each seat in Economy Class had a Thales personal screen with the Oryx One entertainment system installed.
Also, the IFE system had a touch screen remote.
Our neighbor was another Qatar Airways A350
Boarding was completed on schedule and the crew started preparations for takeoff.
Starting by distributing the refreshing towels and headsets
And then, the safety video started to play.
And we were pushing back
Nothing except QR was on sight
Later on, a safety video for COVID-19 was played.
Shortly later, amenity kits were distributed.
And we're taxiing to gate 34R.
The Emiri terminal
And we're up in the air
The cargo terminal, which is quite popular these days
On the left some aircraft parked at Hamad Airport and on the right Qatar A380's parked at Doha International Airport.
Doha city center
And we're heading north
While we were taking of the child support project video was monitored from the personal screens.
Al Khor stadium
City of Al Khor
While reaching our cruising altitude, the cabin supervisor came and greeted me personally because of my QRPC Platinum status and gave me brief information about the flight.
Later on, the cabin crew handed the COVID-19 protective kit.
And a view of the route map for our 13h15min flight.
Shortly later after takeoff, brunch was served. The options were a frittata, an omelette or beef. I've opted for the beef stew option. It was served with mash potatoes and carrots. A fruit cup, bread, a bottle of water, a dessert, and a Godiva chocolate was also present at the tray. Due to COVID-19, butter was only available on request.
Beef Minced Stew, Mash Potato Marrow, Carrots Blch
The meal itself was delicious and I enjoyed it. Also, I would like to remind you that due to COVID-19, no menus were handed in Economy Class and the cabin crew explained the choices in detail to all passengers. After the meal service, there was a tea/coffee service and I've opted for a cup of tea.
The route map at that time
Before getting to sleep, I've visited the lavatories which were kept clean at all times. During multiple visits to lavatories at the flight, I realized that it was always clean which is a nice sign.
A view from the window before I slept
Wi-Fi was available on today's flight, every passenger had the opportunity to get a free hour of Wi-Fi or pay $10 for the entire flight. I also find the price for Wi-Fi generous as the speed was really good and cheap compared to their competitors.
Also, the IFE screen had a variety of movies and due to COVID-19, no onboard literature was available including the Oryx Magazine.
During the flight, every 30 minutes, the cabin crew made drink runs which were appreciated.
During mid-flight, a service was offered and the options were either a chicken sandwich or a vegetable sandwich. I've opted for the chicken sandwich which tasted good. I also had a cup of tea with the sandwich.
A view from the tail camera
I used my free Wi-Fi in the second half of the flight.
The speed was enough to read a Flight-Report on flight-report.com
Or tracking our flight on Flight-Radar 24.
Later on, I decided to watch some episodes of Friends.
At that time, we were over Greenland
Shortly later, I've started another movie
As Qatar Airways has a correct policy that the first meal service starts from the front to the rear, the second meal service starts from the rear to the front to be fair to each passenger.
Because of my Platinum membership, the crew came and ask my choice before the meal service started, I've opted for the vegetarian option and it was reserved for me until my turn has come.
The tray contained a starter, a dessert, a bottle of water, bread, and chocolate. Butter was available on request.
The main course was very delicious like the first meal.
Peas Rice With Dal Makhani
Green Peas Rice, Dal Makhani, Vegetable Jalfrezi
Later on, tea & coffee service was made and I've opted for a coffee with Bailey's.
A view from the window
Route map for the last time
The Hudson River
We would be landing shortly
Before landing, both of the cabin supervisors and the crew serving my area thanked me for flying Qatar Airways and I told them all that I really enjoyed the flight and they were perfect.
The metro construction to IAD
The United hangar
And we've touched down on time
A UPS freighter aircraft
Terminal A/B was empty. Only an American 737-800, a Copa 737-800, and a South African A340-600 were visible in the northern part of the terminal.
The Saarinen Terminal and the tower
An Air Canada regional jet parked at Terminal Z
A Copa 737-800 that would head to Panama.
And we would park at gate A23/A25 today.
A view of the aircraft from the terminal
In IAD, passengers are transported to the Customs & Border Protection hall by moon buggies, to leave the buggy first, and to skip people at the line, it's essential to stay in the front of the moon buggy.
A last shot of our aircraft from the moon buggy.
And after a moon buggy ride, I was in the CBP hall. Over there was a dedicated medical commission of people for arriving from countries that were on the CBP travel restriction list. Otherwise, normal immigration procedures applied and the wait wasn't surprising and the experience was like a regular IAD experience.
Shortly later, I claimed my baggage from carousel 21, and then I've headed to the bus stop to go to Washington DC from the airport.
Due to COVID, buses were operating on a Sunday schedule every-day so I waited 45-50 minutes for the next bus which was also free due to COVID-19.
Also, it's bad news that the bus would be eliminated when the metro opens, with the metro in Washington DC being slow, the IAD bus is efficient to go from/to the airport from/to the city.
The bus was empty with 7 passengers onboard to the city so social distancing was observed during the bus ride.
This report has now came to an end.
The journey would continue in the next report.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you on another report.
This flight was my first flight on an A350 and it was a perfect flight experience with Qatar Airways. The experience in DOH was great including the Al Mourjan Lounge which is a different world and one of the best airport lounges that I've seen. The food, the staff, the quiet room cubicle in the lounge, etc... everything was perfect in the lounge. The airport experience was also pleasant with the checkpoint wait times, with the gate area being organized and with QR assigning me a free Al Maha stewardess because of my status. The only negative thing in the airport was most stores and boutiques were closed and duty-free had limited options: mostly perfumes, cosmetics, and some chocolate, toys, and tobacco. The boarding process was smooth as everyone respected their zone numbers and priorities were also respected. The flight experience itself was amazing as the crew made it better as they could with their great service. The seats were comfortable and the legroom was superb in the bulkhead row, however, it's noticeable that the seat width is not perfect for people who are fat. The inflight entertainment offerings were also great with many films and TV shows available, also the free 1 hour Wi-Fi is a nice feature. I also find $10 reasonable for the all flight Wi-Fi package and it's a great option if you need to work on the flight. The meal service standard was really nice, instead of serving a nut/pretzel service, it's understandable that Qatar Airways focuses on maximizing sleep onboard as well so the brunch service was served 30 minutes after we took off, which allowed passengers to sleep when it was night in the USA. It's also appreciable that there was a hot mid-flight snack onboard. Also, I would like to add that all meals were tasting super good and drink runs were made almost every 30-45 minutes by the crew. In addition, I would like to mention that the lavatories were kept clean through all my visits and I have never seen a dirty lavatory in the entire flight which was a good sign. The experience in IAD was a standard IAD immigration experience with bags being there when you arrived at the carousel and a wait at the CBP customs control. I would also like to mention that due to COVID-19 the moon buggies at IAD were transporting a limited amount of passengers. And, from IAD to Washington DC, Uber and Lyft services had higher prices than usual so I preferred to use the bus service but it wasn't nice that they've decreased the number of buses due to COVID-19; although, the buses were free of charge and everyone in the bus enjoyed a wide space for themselves.
To conclude this report, QR did a really great job on both flights and it was nice that they didn't do any cost-cutting due to COVID-19 while most of the carriers did. If they continue to maintain their service like this, I always look forward to fly them again.
(+) Al Maha stewardess service offered by QR
(+) Reasonable transfer security wait time
(+) Priorities respected throughout boarding
(-) Most of the stores were kept closed and the duty-free sold limited items
Al Mourjan Lounge
(+) A quiet room cubicle was reserved for me as I had a long layover
(+) Comfortable seating throughout the lounge
(+) The availability of lockers
(+) The toilets were kept clean at the lounge
(+) The space in the shower rooms
(+) Delicious food in all areas of the lounge
(+) Wonderful staff that really wanted to assist you at all times
(+) Comfortable seat and great legroom at the bulkhead row
(+) Delicious meals at all services
(+) Drink runs were made throughout the flight
(+) The number of meals served throughout the flight
(+) Free Wi-Fi for an hour and the price if you would like to continue browsing the web
(+) Toilets were kept clean at all times
(+) IFE options
(+) Fantastic crew
(+) Free public transportation available
(-) Fewer public transportation options than usual