Report No: 2020-805
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this brand new post-COVID series that I would fly transatlantic again. As I was satisfied with Qatar Airways the last time and their prices were reasonable, I decided to fly Qatar Airways again. In this series, you would realize that the experience is pretty similar to my last transatlantic series, however, I always find it useful to share FR's on repetitive routes for reference.
The second flight of this journey would be a flight from Doha to Chicago onboard the Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000. Similar to my journey in the previous month, I was lucky to be able to visit the Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha when flying in Economy Class.
Here is the routing
Loads for this flight
Business Class: 60-65%
Economy Class: 45-50%
After arriving from my previous flight, I have stopped by the transfer counter as the agent at SAW was not able to assign myself a bulkhead seat as it was under DOH airport control. The agent at the transfer counter unblocked and assigned me seat 16K immediately after he realized that I was Platinum and he handed my new boarding pass.
Later on, I headed towards security. The priority lane was a bit crowded so the agent over there has redirected me to an empty lane in the regular security lane. Shortly later, I was in the airside. For those who don't know from the West Security Checkpoint, you could take the elevators upstairs to the Al Mourjan Lounge without going down to the duty-free hall.
After arriving at level 3 at the elevator an agent scanned my boarding pass and welcomed me to the Al Mourjan Lounge. At the front desk, I asked about a quiet room cubicle; the agent told me that I would need to wait 30 minutes for a one with a couch, so he offered me another one with only a chair and TV for the first 30 minutes; I agreed for that. However, when I arrived at the quiet area, my cubicle with a sofa was already ready.
Usually, during long layovers, I spend most of my time here in the quiet room cubicles. By the way, the sofas are really comfortable to sleep.
By the way, here is my boarding pass.
Shortly later, I've headed to the dining resort to have a sandwich. When I seated at a table, the lounge attendants asked me if I would like still or sparkling water. I've opted for the still option which was served with a bottle and I was asked if I wanted water to be put into my glass. I assume that this is because of COVID. Last time in July, they served water from 1,5L bottles to glasses.
I've opted for a champagne and the falafel sandwich which I really enjoyed last time. The sandwich was delicious.
As a dessert, I've opted for a panna cotta.
During the night, the lounge was kind of empty, but it was not as emptier compared to my visits in July.
As always, I have gone to the duty-free area to do some shopping as I find Qatar Duty Free cheap, especially compared to the duty-frees in North America and Turkey. However, duty-free's in European hubs like Frankfurt and London are a bit cheaper than Doha. With some good deals, I've bought some gifts for friends that I would visit in the USA, plus some clothing items for myself as there were 60-75% sale in clothing boutiques.
Also, the chocolate, sweet and alcohol store that was closed during my last visit was open at this time.
The famous teddy-bear located in the center of the duty-free area.
A shot of the northern part of the duty-free area.
And, it's time to head back to the lounge. The cleaning staff in the toilets were disinfecting toilet cabins before each use which is a nice touch during COVID.
After a nap, I have headed to the showers in the quiet room area, to refreshen a bit. Here are the FIDS at that time.
There was no wait for a shower that morning, while entering my shower cabin, the attendant offered me if I would like a dental kit, a shave kit, or a hair-dryer.
As you could see, the shower cabin was clean before my use.
After showering, I've headed to the restaurant to have breakfast. While I visited the restaurant, it was empty; however, it got crowded while I was enjoying my breakfast over there.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at the buffet, the chefs are the ones that put the food into your plate.
Here is my selection for today. I've also asked for a glass of water and some fresh mint tea which was promptly served by one of the servers.
About 1 hour before scheduled departure time, I have left the lounge and headed to my gate which was C4 for today.
Before entering the gate, an aviation security agent checks documents of passengers, which is followed by a security check where liquids and larger electronic devices are thoroughly checked with swab detectors.
Later on, the process follows with the regular boarding pass scan by one of the ground staff. After scanning my boarding pass, the ground staff asked me to seat at the priority seating area at the seating area.
After seating for 5-10 minutes at the gate seating area, boarding started with passengers requiring assistance which was followed by Business Class and status eligible passengers.
A photo of A7-AND, it would be my first time on this specific airframe.
After being welcomed by the crew, I've headed to my seat 16K which is located in the first row of the Economy cabin.
Here is the legroom for the seat which is quite generous.
This aircraft was fitted the newer version of the Thales IFE system which I think is the best IFE equipment within the Qatar Airways fleet.
There is also a USB port under the monitor, plus a power port under the seat.
The IFE system also features a touchscreen remote.
Here is the main menu of the IFE system.
While I was exploring the IFE system, boarding was completed, and at that time I spotted our neighbor which was another QR A350-1000 but heading to Los Angeles.
Shortly later, aircraft doors were closed and the cabin crew distributed refreshing towels
Travel with Confidence protective kits
And amenity kits for this flight
And we had started our push back
At that time the safety video started to play from the personal screens.
To start our taxi, we have waited this A350 to finish its pushback process
This aircraft was going to head to Amsterdam.
Shortly later, I have realized that a Boeing 777-300ER was being pushed back as well. At this time in the morning, there are lot of QR flights to Europe and North America departing at closer times.
Some QR aircraft at remote stands
The western set of runway was still under construction
The terminal would be expanded with new gates. The construction is planned to be finished by the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Passing through QR aircraft
And some more, it's really hard to spot a non-QR aircraft here in Doha.
Some construction was going on at some remote stands.
And some more in the southeastern part of the airport
The Emiri terminal
After a taxi of 10 minutes, we took off from runway 34R towards the north.
We were over the Gulf straight after our takeoff.
And a shot of Doha and Hamad Airport from the air
After takeoff, a video about the charity program was monitored from personal screens.
At that time, the Wi-Fi was turned on for the flight. This aircraft was equipped with Super Wifi which meant that the internet speed is fast.
All passengers could benefit from the internet service for free for 1 hour.
Or purchase a full-flight package for $10 which I did.
Unlike my previous LAX-DOH flight, this time, I was not targeted for the $8 pre-purchase promo; however, $10 is also a good price for a 14h flight.
At that time, the cabin crew serving my area came to me and introduced himself and asked my choice for the brunch service. From the options, I've understood that the catering was the same as my DOH-IAD flight the previous month. As I've enjoyed the beef stew last time, I've opted for that option. The other options were a vegetable frittata or an omelette.
By the way, I generally do not like repetitive options but as I know that QR changes their menus every 60 days ( for this case all flights from July 1 to August 31 have the same menu ), so I wouldn't mind having the same options for this case.
Route map at that time
The tray had the main course, a fruit plate, yoghurt with honey, milk, bread, a bottle of water, and a Godiva chocolate. I've asked butter which was promptly served.
As a drink, I've opted for a cup of mango juice and a cup of tea.
Here is the main course, which tasted delicious.
Beef Minced Stew, Mash Potato Marrow, Carrots Blch
After I finished my meal, the crew offered another set of tea/coffee. I've opted for another cup of tea.
And after I finished my cup of tea, I've slept until the mid-flight snack service.
Interestingly, this service wasn't repetitive and the sandwiches were different compared to my previous DOH-IAD flight. The options were still chicken or vegetarian, however, today's chicken option was a "Fajita Chicken Pastry" rather than the barbecue chicken sandwich.
The pastry itself was delicious.
At the same time, the crew offered drinks and pretzels as well.
As I mentioned before, this aircraft had the Thales IFE system and Super-Wifi equipped. I haven't taken screenshots of internet websites this time, however, the internet was fast ( speed about 15mbps ); however, the signal got lost few times during the flight, which was not a big deal but it was a bit annoying when seeing the "Service is not available at the moment" error.
Here is the route map at that time
For today's flight, I've only watched one movie as I spend most of my time on the internet. My choice today was the movie Gemini Man, which was a nice movie to watch.
The cabin crew was kind to do drink runs and serve movie snacks while I was enjoying my movie.
About 2h-2h30 before landing, lunch was offered. This time the cabin crew did not ask my preference in advance, however, he had reserved me all the 3 choices when my turn has come. As you might know from my previous reports, in second meal services onboard QR flights, to be fair to the passengers seated in the rear of the cabin; the trolley starts the service from the back and goes towards the front.
Today's tray had a salad, a caramel pudding, milk, a Godiva chocolate, bread, and a bottle of water. I've requested butter and for a drink, I've opted for a mango juice.
This time as the main course, I've decided to take the beef option; the other options were chicken and vegetarian. I'm glad that I took the beef option as both the meatballs and the spinach was delicious and I really enjoyed it.
Beef Meat Balls/Tomato Sauce, Spinach Spaetzle
After the trays were collected, a run of coffee/tea service was made. I've opted for a coffee with Bailey's which was served with a small Godiva chocolate.
Before landing, I've visited the lavatories, which was clean at that time. Also during my visits throughout the flight, toilets were regularly being cleaned by the cabin crew and they were usually clean.
A shot just after I opened my window blind.
At that time, the cabin crew prepared the cabin for landing and the cabin service director came to me and asked me how was the flight and thanked me for my loyalty with Qatar Airways.
While landing, the city of Chicago was visible
At the same time, I have opened the tail camera.
Suburbs of Chicago
We're continuing our descent
O'Hare airport is visible
Terminal 5 which hosts most international carriers, Sun Country Airlines and Frontier Airlines. Qatar Airways also utilizes Terminal 5 in Chicago.
A photo from the tail cam
And we've landed ahead of schedule
While taxiing to the gate, this United Express jet was visible
And another Aeromexico 737-800
That day, we were going to park at gate M10.
After a short wait, one of the jet bridges were connected to door 1L and after saying goodbye to the crew, I have left the aircraft.
After arriving at the immigration hall, I needed to fill out the immigration forms as in ORD it's required to fill one. The cabin crew did not distribute immigration forms onboard the flight so I've headed to the form filling desk, filled it and without wait I was sent to one of the available officers. As we were the only arrival at that time, the immigration hall was empty so I was in the baggage hall within 5 minutes. In addition, priority tagged bags were already waiting in a designated area so I quickly got my bags and head to the AA transfer counter for my next flight. I have dropped my bags over there, however, there was a small issue. My frequent flyer number was not marked on my boarding pass so I asked the agent to put it in; interestingly he saw my Emerald status in the system as well as my FFP number, however, the machine still printed a boarding pass with Group 7 and without my FFP number. He told me that there would be no issues at the club as they would be able to see the same thing on their screens.
Later on, I've headed to door 5E to take the shuttle bus to Terminal 3.
The journey would continue in the next report.
This report has come to an end.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
It was another enjoyable QR transatlantic flight where I had the bulkhead seat and the meals were perfect and delicious ( especially the main dishes in the first and last service + the sandwich ), the service by the crew, and the attention was satisfactory. When flying long-haul, it's also a nice touch to see lavatories clean during all my visits. The IFE system was also satisfactory with a decent amount of content; in addition to that QR's Super Wi-Fi was really useful to make the flight enjoyable and I find $10 very reasonable for a flight in this length, however, this time there were signal problems, although Wi-Fi worked perfectly for 80% of the flight. I would also like to mention that the power outlets were charging my computer really fast whereas, on some other airlines, I experienced that the power outlets could not efficiently charge a MacBook Pro with a 61W charger when the computer is in use. If I talk about Chicago, this time my experience was perfect which I was surprised about as my previous experience in ORD T5 was horrible. This time, I cleared immigration within 5 minutes and my bags were already there waiting for me. When I return to Doha, I could tell that the whole experience was perfect, security was efficient, the lounge staff was really nice and helpful, the quiet room offering allowed me to have rest and the lounge offerings were great. Having no wait for a shower room and the sale going downstairs at duty-free stores was also great. Also during boarding at DOH, priorities were respected and there was almost no wait for the extra security check at the gate which was efficiently done with respect to the social distance.
To conclude this report, I could tell that QR had done an amazing job as usual with an enjoyable product both on the ground and the air. With their reasonable prices throughout the year and with the fact that QR offers a great product post-COVID, it's definitely one of my top choices for future travel.
(+) Efficient transfer security process
(+) Priorities respected throughout boarding
(+) Duty-free shopping options and the sales that were going on
QR Al Mourjan Lounge
(+) Very spacious lounge
(+) The attitude and the hospitality of the lounge staff
(+) Food and beverage options at the lounge
(+) The availability of quiet rooms
(+) Shower wait time and amenities
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom in exit-row seats
(+) Delicious meals throughout the flight
(+) Movie snacks and drink runs were made by the crew
(+) IFE system content
(+) Availability of Super Wi-Fi and the price
(+) Toilets were kept clean throughout the flight
(-) Super Wi-Fi had issues at some points during the flight
(+) Very efficient immigration process
(+) Priority bags arrived first and they were separated for the convenience of passengers
(+) Bags were already there when passengers arrived at the baggage claim hall