Review of Qatar Airways flight Doha Istanbul in Economy

Airline Qatar Airways
Flight QR239
Class Economy
Seat 16A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 04:35
Take-off 31 Jul 20, 07:35
Arrival at 31 Jul 20, 12:10
QR   #2 out of 121 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 534 reviews
ISTFlyer
By GOLD 797
Published on 18th August 2020

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


DOHA HAMAD AIRPORT - DOH


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


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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


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However, most of the specialty boutiques have re-opened.


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The food court was open like always


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And more stores including the travel store and the electronic store was open.


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Such as the main cosmetics duty free store as well


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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.


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AL MOURJAN LOUNGE - Doha Hamad AIRPORT


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.


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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.


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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.


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The lavatories were kept clean throughout my visit and the staff was disinfecting and cleaning the cabins after every use.


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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.


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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.


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Here are the stairs that lead to the dining room.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Shortly later, I've rested for another hour and then I've asked for a shower room. I was assigned one without no wait.


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At the shower rooms, Rituals branded amenities are offered. Also personal needs like a dental kit, shave kit, etc… are being served upon request.


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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.


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While I entered the dining room, it was still empty and the service was really fast.


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I've ordered for a mint tea which was promptly served.


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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.


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GATE AREA & BOARDING


After my breakfast, the Al Maha stewardess assigned to me to escort me to the gate was waiting at the lounge entrance.


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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 ).


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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.


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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.


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QR 239 DOHA HAMAD AIRPORT TO ISTANBUL AIRPORT


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.


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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.


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The interface is always the same


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During boarding, the aircraft windows were wet.


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Headsets were available at the seat pocket of each seat.


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No inflight literature was offered on today's flight.


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The overhead panel which had personal AC adjusters which is a nice touch. Most airlines do not have these on their 777 aircraft.


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Later on, refreshing towels were distributed before the flight.


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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 ).


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And we have pushed back on time. Here is a Qatar Airways A350 which was next door.


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And another Qatar Airways A350 parked at gate D3.


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As you could see, there isn't anything other than Qatar Airways in this premises.


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The 16R/34L runway is in maintenance so we were taxiing to the other set of runway.


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The center of Doha is visible.


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Qatar Airways Dreamliner parked at a remote stand.


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The tower of DOH


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While taxiing to runway 16L, more Qatar Airways aircraft was visible


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Even more


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More


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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.


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Even more QR aircraft at the remote stands


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Doha and the first non-QR aircraft that I spotted that morning. I don't remember which airline that aircraft was


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And, it was time for us to take-off.


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After a turn, we were heading northwards.


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Southern suburbs of Doha


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The Khalifa and the Al Sadd stadium, I hope that I'll visit one of these stadiums in World Cup 2022.


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At that time the seatbelt signs were turned off and Travel with Confidence protective kits were distributed by the cabin crew.


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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.


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And we're leaving Qatar airspace.


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Bahrain


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Route map at that time, as the new Istanbul Airport was not installed to the system, destination information was not available.


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On today's flight, I've decided to watch this movie which was quite interesting.


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City of Al Khiran, Kuwait


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BREAKFAST - QR 239 DOHA HAMAD AIRPORT TO ISTANBUL AIRPORT


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.


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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
Vanilla Sauce 


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A photo over in Iraq.


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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.


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Tigris river


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And we're in Turkish airspace


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The magnificent landscape


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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.


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Guess the airport #1


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Cruising in the Southeastern Anatolia region


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Guess the airport #2


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At that time, I visited one of the lavatories which were clean at that time


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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.


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At that moment, chocolate boxes were distributed because of the Eid Al Adha holidays.


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At that time, we were over the Central Anatolian region.


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Guess the airport #3


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Cruising over Sakarya


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Osmangazi bridge on the top and the new Northern Marmara highway at the bottom


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Dilovası area


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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.


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Burgazada at the top, Cevizli area at the bottom


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Maltepe Orhangazi city park


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Kınalıada


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An İDO ferry heading from Bursa or Bandırma to Yenikapı.


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Avcılar area


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Ispartakule area


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Approaching the airport


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Metro construction for the new airport is still going on


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The Turkish Airlines operations center


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The Do&Co catering center


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And we've landed 25-30 minutes early at runway 35R.


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The Turkish Cargo terminal that is under construction


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The magnificent tower of IST


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One of the Turkish Technic hangars


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It's time to start spotting, this time it's TK aircraft dominating the airport.


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Some TK wide-body aircraft parked at remote stands.


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A TK 787-9 Dreamliner


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TC-JNZ that was going to head to Nouakchott and Dakar as TK595.


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Another TK A330, this time parked at gate B13.


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Turkish Airlines A321neo which was going to head to Bremen that afternoon.


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Turkish Airlines A321ceo


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TC-JJT, one of the TK 77W which I have flown before; which was going to operate TK9 to LAX that day.


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Another TK 777-300ER, this one would head to Chicago.


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And TC-LLA, the first 787-9 Dreamliner of TK, which was going to head to San Fransisco.


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A TK A330-300 parked at gate A2 which is one of the 3-jetbridge gates at IST


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Another TK 787-9 Dreamliner, this time heading to Houston-IAH.


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TC-LJB which was going to head to New York as TK1.


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TC-JJY, which would operate TK 7 to Washington Dulles that day.


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And, we were going to park at gate A7


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Our other neighbor was this TK A321neo that would head to Geneva.


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Gate A7


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Another shot of TC-JJT, in IST it's really hard to see an airline other than TK.


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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.


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ISTANBUL AIRPORT - IST


Heading towards the arrival level


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A last view of A7-BEG from the terminal


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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.


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The arrivals duty free store was open during my visit.


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FIDS, traffic in IST started to recover, however, the airport was not busy like old days.


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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.


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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.


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The western part of the arrivals level was closed to the public.


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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.


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After leaving the terminal, I have realized something: AtlasGlobal still existed on the signs :)


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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.


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After meeting my relative at the departures level, I have left the airport with his car.


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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. 


Next 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.


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Verdict

Qatar Airways

9.2/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering10.0

Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge

9.4/10
Comfort9.5
Meal/catering10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Services9.5

Doha - DOH

9.4/10
Efficiency9.5
Access9.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness9.0

Istanbul - IST

9.4/10
Efficiency9.0
Access10.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.5

Conclusion

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.

DOH
(+) 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
QR 239
(+) 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
IST
(+) Acceptable passport control wait time and baggage wait time

Related

8 Comments

  • Comment 561207 by
    lagentsecret GOLD 12417 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR and all this great routing

    The lounge spread is rather wide but the quality doesn't seem very good

    Quiet room is nice to have a nap time during night

    The seat at the first row has a large legroom for a great comfort

    As for the other flights you enjoyed your breakfast which seems to me a bit light for a 4h35 flight time

    A very good crew, very attentive for the platinum pax you are

    Gorgeous aerial pictures especially before landing

    All in all very good experiences with QR, the status allows more attention by the crew

    See you soon

    • Comment 561261 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 260 Comments

      Hi lagentsecret,

      Thanks for sharing this FR and all this great routing

      - You're very welcome
      The lounge spread is rather wide but the quality doesn't seem very good

      - If I'm not wrong the lounge is already 6 years old so the overall quality may not seem good, however, it is better than most airlines' flagship lounges. Also, I enjoyed the fact that the food menu rotates and it's not always the same meals that are served.
      Quiet room is nice to have a nap time during night

      - Indeed yes, however, without a pillow, it's not that easy to sleep but it's alright for a nap.
      The seat at the first row has a large legroom for a great comfort

      - Yes, the legroom was definitely perfect and made the journey more enjoyable.
      As for the other flights you enjoyed your breakfast which seems to me a bit light for a 4h35 flight time

      - After eating at the lounge before the flight it seemed alright to me, however, if the lounges were closed, it would be a bit light; however, it's still better than some other airlines' offerings.
      A very good crew, very attentive for the platinum pax you are

      - Yes, one of the crew members was fantastic on this flight. I would be honest to tell that, that crew member made the flight more enjoyable.
      Gorgeous aerial pictures especially before landing

      - Thank you
      All in all very good experiences with QR, the status allows more attention by the crew

      - Yes, it was a really great experience with QR and I agree that status with QR means more attention by the crew.
      See you soon

      - Thank you for your comment and hope to see you in another report.
      Take care.

      • Comment 561303 by
        lagentsecret GOLD 12417 Comments

        By the way please could you tell me in which booking classes were your flights and how many Qpoints did you earn ?
        Thank You

        • Comment 561317 by
          ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 260 Comments

          If I'm not wrong one direction was in 'N' fare class and the other one was in 'S' fare class.
          For this specific flight, I have earned 10 Qpoints and 2529 Qmiles for this flight.

          To check for other flights, you could use the calculator below.
          https://www.qatarairways.com/en/Privilege-Club/qcalculator.html

  • Comment 561256 by
    ThomasDutch GOLD 500 Comments

    It is a good thing to see that QR is consistent and still offers a decent service during these times and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your trip back to Turkey, so I guess you should now be confined to your room for fourteen days, isn't it?

    • Comment 561264 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 260 Comments

      Hi ThomasDutch,

      It is a good thing to see that QR is consistent and still offers a decent service during these times

      - Yes, it was actually good to see that QR maintained the same level of service so I already booked my next long-haul trip with them and probably book another one next month. I can't speak for others but I actually would not prefer an airline who has adjusted ( in other words cost-cutted ) their service, lounges, etc... because of COVID.
      I thoroughly enjoyed reading your trip back to Turkey, so I guess you should now be confined to your room for fourteen days, isn't it?

      - Thank you very much, I'm glad that you enjoyed this series. Luckily, Turkey has no mandatory quarantine or COVID test requirement at entry. We are one of the rare countries that are open to everyone without any restrictions.

      Once again thanks for your comments, and hope to see you around.
      Take care,

  • Comment 561447 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5305 Comments

    Hi ISTFlyer! Thanks very much for sharing this interesting series on Qatar that shows that an airline can maintain good levels of service while taking sanitary precautions--the two are not mutually exclusive, as we've seen so many other carriers completely cut services. At the same time, I recognise that QR may have deeper pockets than many other carriers and can perhaps afford to take of the extra costs that may be involved in maintaining high levels of service. In the end, it's good for paying passengers to have options. And those who opt for full service, can still get it with QR.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 561454 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 260 Comments

      Hi Kévin and thanks for stopping by,

      Thanks very much for sharing this interesting series on Qatar that shows that an airline can maintain good levels of service while taking sanitary precautions--the two are not mutually exclusive, as we've seen so many other carriers completely cut services.

      - I completely agree that maintaining hygiene and a decent level of service are not mutually exclusive things, and I have really enjoyed Qatar Airways Economy Class on this trip as they currently have better service compared to some others' Business Class product.
      I recognise that QR may have deeper pockets than many other carriers and can perhaps afford to take of the extra costs that may be involved in maintaining high levels of service.

      - If I'm not wrong, I heard al-Baker ( CEO of QR ) mentioning in an interview that they lost a significant amount of money; they might have the Qatari government backing the up, so that may be the reason why QR is still providing their high level of service. Another fact is that QR relies on transfer passengers while some other airlines mostly carry O -> D pax. If people like me are choosing Qatar these days it's because of both the service and the price.
      In the end, it's good for paying passengers to have options. And those who opt for full service, can still get it with QR.

      - Completely agree, especially during the pandemic it's really nice to have options.

      Thanks for your comment and hope to see you in another report.

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