Report No: 2020-706E
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the last report of this series which would contain a brief overview of the Qatar Airways flight that I took from Doha to Istanbul after my flight from LAX to DOH, during my long layover, I also visited the Al Mourjan Lounge and the duty-free area of DOH that would be covered in this report.
Here is the routing
Loads for this flight
Business Class: %50-55
Economy Class: %70-75
After one of the Al Maha stewardesses greeted me at the gate and escorted through an empty lane of security, I was in the Al Mourjan Lounge. At the desk, I've asked for a bulkhead seat for my DOH-IST flight and it was promptly been assigned to me after a phone call to the operations center. Also, I've asked for a quiet room cubicle which one was reserved for me at that time
My new boarding pass
Before starting to cover the lounge, I would cover the duty-free area, which was more crowded than my last visit and more products were available for sale.
One of the main duty-free stores were still under construction
However, most of the specialty boutiques have re-opened.
The food court was open like always
And more stores including the travel store and the electronic store was open.
Such as the main cosmetics duty free store as well
However, there was something strange. Due to a regulation newly implemented, passengers flying to Turkey was not allowed to purchase any duty-free items from any of the stores. There was a quite good sale going on so I missed the chance of shopping at DOH during my layover. However, passengers bound to Turkey could still purchase stuff from the pharmacy, WHSmith store and the food court.
Now, it's time to come back to the lounge. Due to COVID-19, the Business Class Lounge ( Sapphire ), the First Class Lounge ( Emerald ) and the Al Safwa First Class lounge is closed so all QR lounge eligible passengers are invited to use the Al Mourjan Lounge.
Actually, it's really nice to use the Al Mourjan as in normal times, being QRPC Platinum, I would have been directed to the First Class Lounge which is designated for oneworld Emerald and Privilege Club Platinum passengers traveling in Economy. The Al Mourjan Lounge is a great upgrade, at least for now.
After returning to the lounge, I put my stuff at the sleeping room cubicle assigned to me and had a rest over there. Even though there is no flatbed or any furniture like a bed, the sofas are really comfortable and ideal to sleep. Also, I would like to remind you that Qatar is currently closed for foreign nationalities so the stopover program is currently not running, that's why the airport hotel is very expensive at the moment was fully booked. For those who wonder the nightly rate for the airport hotel is around $250-300.
After a while, I have decided to enjoy the empty lounge and have tea in the central area. Until the next morning, there were no more than 15-20 passengers in the lounge at the same time.
The lavatories were kept clean throughout my visit and the staff was disinfecting and cleaning the cabins after every use.
After returning to my sleeping room cubicle to stuff on my computer, I ordered a bottle of water, which was served with chocolate as it was the eve day of the Eid Al Adha holidays in Muslim countries.
Around 20:30, I've headed to the dining room, to have dinner. The lounge was still empty and it was super hard to see another passenger. There were more staff working in the lounge compared to the number of passengers.
Here are the stairs that lead to the dining room.
In the dining room, there are two buffets available, one is for non-vegetarian dishes, and the other one for vegetarian dishes. Normally these buffets are self-service, however, due to COVID-19, chefs are serving the food into your plate.
Here is my selection for the day
With my dinner, I've opted for a glass of champagne. In addition, I was asked if I prefer still or sparkling water.
I would also like to mention that the personnel were constantly offering refills during my stay.
When it came to select desserts, it was hard as there was a wide variety of them available in the buffet. One of the chefs were also there to help me selecting a dessert.
After thinking briefly, I've opted for the creme brûlée option and some small strawberry and chocolate cakes. With my desserts, I enjoyed a cup of tea.
Later on, it was time to sleep, while I woke up for a small need break, it was already 03:28 and the FIDS at that time. It seemed that there was going to be a morning rush in Doha as during the evening and the night, there were only handsome of flights.
Shortly later, I've rested for another hour and then I've asked for a shower room. I was assigned one without no wait.
At the shower rooms, Rituals branded amenities are offered. Also personal needs like a dental kit, shave kit, etc… are being served upon request.
Shortly later, I've headed to the dining room for breakfast. From the buffet, I've opted for mushrooms, a bread pudding, chicken meatballs and potatoes. I've also took a coconut yoghurt and pita bread with butter from the buffet.
While I entered the dining room, it was still empty and the service was really fast.
I've ordered for a mint tea which was promptly served.
However, when it came to enjoy fruits and another set of tea, it took 10-15 minutes for new cutlery and the a refill to arrive as the dining room was at capacity. The servers were doing a really hard work to ensure everyone had enjoyed their stay, however, with almost 50-100 new people coming into the lounge, it should have been difficult for them.
After my breakfast, the Al Maha stewardess assigned to me to escort me to the gate was waiting at the lounge entrance.
After a 5-10 minute walk to gate C12, I was welcomed by the gate agent and my boarding pass was scanned. A red light beeped, I was seeking for an upgrade, however, it was a technical glitch which was fixed in a minute.
Also an interesting statistic that I have never utilized one of the A or B gates on departure. This was my 6th departure since Hamad Airport opened and the gate distribution for my departures were ( C5, C12, C13 ( x2 ), D20, E3 ).
After that I took a seat in the Priority seating area of the gate. The ground staff was distributing face shields for those who haven't got one and gate checking carry-ons as for flights to Turkey, due to the Turkish Civil Aviation Directorate regulations, items that can't fit under the seat are not allowed to the cabin due to COVID-19 precautions.
A photo of A7-BEG that would be taking me to Istanbul. This bird had arrived from Göteborg as a freight-only flight a couple of hours ago.
About 40-45 minutes before scheduled departure time, boarding was called with starting with passengers requiring assistance followed by Business Class passengers. I tried to board with Business Class passengers, however, the ground staff asked me to take a seat as status passengers would be invited after Business Class passengers. Shortly after Business Class passengers have boarded, the ground crew approached me and invited me to board the aircraft, shortly later, boarding for Economy Class passengers were invited to board.
At the aircraft door, I was welcomed by one of the cabin supervisors and then I took my seat and another cabin crew was waiting for me over there to greet me. After I took my seat, I've enjoyed the great legroom in row 16 which is even better than the legroom in the bulkhead rows of the A350.
Comparing this aircraft to a QR A350, this aircraft was equipped with the Panasonic ex3 IFE system rather than the Thales IFE system. I prefer the Thales IFE system compared to Panasonic, however, this one was not that bad.
The interface is always the same
During boarding, the aircraft windows were wet.
Headsets were available at the seat pocket of each seat.
No inflight literature was offered on today's flight.
The overhead panel which had personal AC adjusters which is a nice touch. Most airlines do not have these on their 777 aircraft.
Later on, refreshing towels were distributed before the flight.
At that time, the safety video was played and one of the cabin supervisors came to greet me and ask if I needed something which is the Qatar Airways protocol for Platinum passengers ( maybe Gold as well ).
And we have pushed back on time. Here is a Qatar Airways A350 which was next door.
And another Qatar Airways A350 parked at gate D3.
As you could see, there isn't anything other than Qatar Airways in this premises.
The 16R/34L runway is in maintenance so we were taxiing to the other set of runway.
The center of Doha is visible.
Qatar Airways Dreamliner parked at a remote stand.
The tower of DOH
While taxiing to runway 16L, more Qatar Airways aircraft was visible
The older A320's of QR were grounded for long-term storage. In the past, I had the occasion to try one of them and you could find that trip report here.
Even more QR aircraft at the remote stands
Doha and the first non-QR aircraft that I spotted that morning. I don't remember which airline that aircraft was
And, it was time for us to take-off.
After a turn, we were heading northwards.
Southern suburbs of Doha
The Khalifa and the Al Sadd stadium, I hope that I'll visit one of these stadiums in World Cup 2022.
At that time the seatbelt signs were turned off and Travel with Confidence protective kits were distributed by the cabin crew.
Like my previous flight, Super Wi-Fi was offered today, however, I didn't purchase internet on this flight. Although, I used the free 1 hour Wi-Fi in the upcoming hours of the flight.
And we're leaving Qatar airspace.
Route map at that time, as the new Istanbul Airport was not installed to the system, destination information was not available.
On today's flight, I've decided to watch this movie which was quite interesting.
City of Al Khiran, Kuwait
Shortly after departure, one of the cabin crew came to me and asked my choice of breakfast, the options were an omelette, honey&oats pudding, and vegetarian. I've opted for the honey&oats pudding which was promptly served after service has begun. Also, I've requested butter which was also served.
The tray contained a the main course, a fruit plate, yoghurt, a croissant, a strawberry jam and a bottle of water. As a drink, I've opted for a glass of mango juice and a cup of tea.
Like always on Qatar Airways, the main course was delicious. During this trip, I was surprised to realize that Qatar Airways offers a really good variety of food that tastes really good.
Honey and Oats Pudding
A photo over in Iraq.
After everyone enjoyed their meal, the cabin crew collected trays and served tea or coffee for those who wanted. I've opted for another cup of tea.
And we're in Turkish airspace
The magnificent landscape
At that time, passenger information cards for Turkey were distributed by the cabin crew, there was an English version of the form available as well. All passengers seeking to enter Turkey should fill out this form which would be collected by the border police upon entry.
Guess the airport #1
Cruising in the Southeastern Anatolia region
Guess the airport #2
At that time, I visited one of the lavatories which were clean at that time
After my visit to the lavatory, I tried to connect to the Wi-Fi but it was unavailable at that moment. Shortly later, I was able to connect to the Wi-Fi and use my 1h free allowance for the flight.
At that moment, chocolate boxes were distributed because of the Eid Al Adha holidays.
At that time, we were over the Central Anatolian region.
Guess the airport #3
Cruising over Sakarya
Osmangazi bridge on the top and the new Northern Marmara highway at the bottom
Guess the airport #4
As we have started our descend towards Istanbul Airport, the cabin crew once again came to me and asked me if I would like anything from the bar before they close it and I was greeted both by the cabin crew serving my area and the cabin supervisor before our arrival.
Burgazada at the top, Cevizli area at the bottom
Maltepe Orhangazi city park
An İDO ferry heading from Bursa or Bandırma to Yenikapı.
Approaching the airport
Metro construction for the new airport is still going on
The Turkish Airlines operations center
The Do&Co catering center
And we've landed 25-30 minutes early at runway 35R.
The Turkish Cargo terminal that is under construction
The magnificent tower of IST
One of the Turkish Technic hangars
It's time to start spotting, this time it's TK aircraft dominating the airport.
Some TK wide-body aircraft parked at remote stands.
A TK 787-9 Dreamliner
TC-JNZ that was going to head to Nouakchott and Dakar as TK595.
Another TK A330, this time parked at gate B13.
Turkish Airlines A321neo which was going to head to Bremen that afternoon.
Turkish Airlines A321ceo
TC-JJT, one of the TK 77W which I have flown before; which was going to operate TK9 to LAX that day.
Another TK 777-300ER, this one would head to Chicago.
And TC-LLA, the first 787-9 Dreamliner of TK, which was going to head to San Fransisco.
A TK A330-300 parked at gate A2 which is one of the 3-jetbridge gates at IST
Another TK 787-9 Dreamliner, this time heading to Houston-IAH.
TC-LJB which was going to head to New York as TK1.
TC-JJY, which would operate TK 7 to Washington Dulles that day.
And, we were going to park at gate A7
Our other neighbor was this TK A321neo that would head to Geneva.
Another shot of TC-JJT, in IST it's really hard to see an airline other than TK.
Both jet bridges were connected to the aircraft and after Business Class passengers left the aircraft it was our turn to leave. After saying goodbye to the crew, I was inside the terminal and I removed my face shield at the jet bridge as in Turkey, wearing a mask is sufficient by law.
Heading towards the arrival level
A last view of A7-BEG from the terminal
After a 5-10 minute walk to immigration, I have realized that the e-gates were closed and there was a queue both for Turkish citizens and visitors. As most people did not have their health form ready, the queue was moving lightly. However, after a 5 minute wait, my passport was stamped and I was back home.
The arrivals duty free store was open during my visit.
FIDS, traffic in IST started to recover, however, the airport was not busy like old days.
Bags were promptly delivered, 3-4 minutes after I arrived at the carousel with priority tags being respected. Although my bag was one of the last priority bags to arrive at the carousel.
After claiming my bags, I have left the baggage claim hall and as greeters are not allowed into the terminal, the arrivals level was empty.
The western part of the arrivals level was closed to the public.
As one of my relatives was going to pick me up at the departures level, I've headed upstairs from the escalators. At IST, it's easier to meet upstairs at the departures level rather than meeting point downstairs at the public transportation level.
After leaving the terminal, I have realized something: AtlasGlobal still existed on the signs :)
And as it was the first day of Eid Al Adha holiday is Turkey as well, the departures level was crowded, mostly with passengers traveling on domestic flights.
After meeting my relative at the departures level, I have left the airport with his car.
And, this report and series have come to an end.
I hope you enjoyed this series. I am also waiting for your answers for the Guess the Airport game integrated into this report.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
The next report would be onboard the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 and it would be the first time that I would report a flight departing from SAW after the pandemic started. Stay tuned with Flight-Report for more upcoming reports.
For this flight, I could tell that the long-layover at DOH was enjoyable with a visit to Al Mourjan, the lounge was empty until my last hour over there and it was also nice to enjoy a quiet room over there. Showers were available without a wait and the servers were really attentive until the lounge got crowded. The food at the lounge was amazing, however, the service during breakfast was not perfect as the servers were trying to do their best as all tables in the dining room got filled within 10 minutes. At DOH, it was also strange that I wasn't allowed to do any duty-free shopping, and I was planning to do some as there was a pretty nice sale going on. Boarding was made with respect to priorities. Onboard, the seat and legroom were really good. The bulkhead rows in 77W's have much more legroom than A359's. Onboard the flight, the breakfast was delicious and it was nice that the cabin crew was constantly offering me refills as I was a Platinum member. Also, lavatories were kept clean throughout the flight. The Panasonic ex3 IFE system equipped onboard was slightly worse than the Thales version, however, it was alright. It was also a nice touch that QR offered chocolate for the holidays and free Wi-Fi for an hour in general. After arriving at IST, the passport control wait for Turkish citizens was acceptable and the baggage arrived at a reasonable time with priority tags being respected.
To conclude this series, I could tell that I had a really enjoyable trip with Qatar Airways and they were above my expectations and I know that I would not be able to get a service level similar to this on another airline in Economy Class and during COVID. They were amazing at all points and they didn't disappoint me at all. So, during my next long haul trip, I already bought my ticket from Qatar Airways.
(+) No wait for transfer security
(+) Priorities respected during boarding
(+) Sale prices at the duty-free
(-) No duty-free shopping allowed for Turkey passengers
Al Mourjan Lounge
(+) The availability and the comfort of the quiet room cubicles
(+) Food and drink options throughout the lounge
(+) Very friendly staff at the lounge
(-) Crowded breakfast area so service was slow at that time
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom at the bulkhead row
(+) Very delicious breakfast service
(+) Drink refills have been offered in Economy
(+) Wi-Fi speed onboard and the free Wi-Fi option
(+) Excellent crew onboard
(+) Lavatories were kept clean throughout the flight
(+-) IFE had a decent amount of content but was not better like the Thales version
(+) Acceptable passport control wait time and baggage wait time