Report No: 2020-1104
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I needed to head back to the USA due to multiple events in December, I decided to fly Qatar Airways again on this route as they were both offering competitive prices and an ongoing x5 Qmiles promotion ( 4 times more miles than usual ) so I booked my ticket with Qatar Airways. Although this mini-series would be different as I used my Qcredits ( free upgrade vouchers ) on this trip as there were availability and the outbound leg of this trip would be in Business Class and for the first time, I was able to experience the Qsuites. However, the return leg to Turkey is planned to be in Economy Class unless things change.
The second report of the series would be my first flight on the QSuites and my longest Business Class flight ever in history. This report would feature the Qatar Airways A350-900 onboard a 14h25min flight from Doha Hamad Airport to Washington Dulles Airport, including a brief review of the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge in Doha.
Here is the routing for this series;
Load for this flight
Business Class: 60-65%
Economy Class: 30-35%
There were a total of 100 passengers and 2 infants onboard this flight.
After arriving from my previous flight, I've headed to transfer security where there was no wait. After that I took the elevator short-cut to the Al Mourjan Lounge.
At the entrance, one of the agents recognized me as a Platinum member and welcomed me as"Merhaba sir" and escorted me to a closed desk at the entry-podium where his colleague checked me in and informed me about the gate number without any wait as there were people waiting at the line.
Just after I entered the lounge, the first thing I did was to take a shower.
The shower room amenities are from Rituals.
Toilet at the shower room
I also requested an hairdryer which was promptly served by the shower attendant.
Shortly after the shower, I decided to tour the duty-free area
The duty free area was not crowded but not empty as well.
The food court
Shortly later, I returned to the lounge, put my duty free shopping bags to the lockers downstairs and headed upstairs to the restaurant
There is an a la carte menu which mainly has egg options, although today, as I also want to enjoy the Business Class dining on the flight, I sticked with the buffet and lighter options.
My breakfast selection for the day
As a drink, I opted for the mango smoothie and some tea as well.
After finishing my breakfast, I've headed downstairs to a quiet corner until my flight and spent time on my computer.
The lounge wasn't crowded that morning and there were less passengers compared to the same time ( Sunday morning ) the previous week.
FIDS before leaving the lounge
About 1h-1h5mins before scheduled departure time, I left the lounge and started heading to my boarding gate.
At the gate, there was no wait for the document check and the additional security control for USA flights.
Later on, my boarding pass was scanned and I was asked to take a seat until boarding was announced.
About 30-35 minutes before scheduled boarding time, boarding started with passengers requiring assistance followed by Business Class passengers and status passengers.
A7-ALY would be the aircraft operating this flight. It would be my first time on this specific airframe.
After being welcomed by the cabin supervisor at the aircraft door, I headed to my suite 3A for this flight.
Here is the seat of the suite
The screen and the legroom area
The seat functions, including a USB port, power outlet, touchscreen remote, NFC reader and an headphone socket.
This aircraft was equipped with the Thales IFE system. By the way, there is another USB port and an HDMI socket under the monitor.
Amenities for todays flight.
Bric's amenity kit, "Travel with Confidence" protective kit and an hand sanitizer
A photo from the window while waiting for boarding to be completed
The overhead panel
The touchscreen remote
The IFE menu. By the way, the 9h51min is a glitch as the flight duration was announced as 14h25mins.
Our route today
About a few minutes later, I was welcomed by one of the crew members and was asked for my choice for a pre-departure beverage. I opted for the signature lemon-mint juice.
At that time, a video regarding the amenities of the QSuite was monitored.
Shortly later, pajamas were distributed; there were multiple sizes available
As well as the menus
A few minutes later, the cabin supervisor came to me and introduced herself, gave information about the flight and offered me a refill for my pre-departure beverage.
At that time, the captain has introduced himself and announced that we would be waiting an additional 10 minutes due to ATC restrictions.
And, the safety video featuring Cafu and some other celebrities was played
About a few minutes later than our scheduled departure time, we've started to push back.
Our neighbor was A7-BEQ which was going to head to London Heathrow that morning.
At that time, a video about COVID-19 precautions were shown.
During our taxi, there wasn't anything special other than Qatar Airways aircraft. The A320 that took me from Istanbul to Doha was still at the same remote stand.
More Qatar Airways aircraft
During our taxi, one of the cabin crew members approached me and asked me about my meal and drink choices. He also offered me to reserve meals for the pre-arrival meal and asked about when to be waken up for the lunch service before arrival.
The ATC tower
At that time, I checked the seat console which had a bottle of water and a pair of headphones.
Qatar Airways 787-8 waiting for his flight to Manchester that afternoon
More Qatar Airways wide-bodies at remote stands
Qatar Airways hangar
The city of Doha
And after a taxi for 10 minutes, it was our time to take off from runway 16L.
A freight ship at the Gulf
Hamad Airport was visible after we made a sharp turn after take-off.
Some flight information
At that time, the video about the charity program was monitored
Followed by the video promoting the Free onboard Super Wi-Fi. I really appreciate Qatar Airways offering free high speed Wi-Fi to their customers.
At that time, my suite door was closed for privacy reasons.
Shortly after the seatbelt signs have been turned off, I visited the lavatory.
Like the previous flight, Rituals amenities were present
The lavatory also had a view
And I was able to spot the Al Khor stadium which is one of the host stadiums of the 2022 World Cup.
Shortly later, my drink order had arrived.
I have opted for a strawberry banana smoothie.
Here is the menu for today's flight
Non alcoholic beverage options
Three different red and white wines were being served on this flight
Dessert and port wine options
Other alcoholic options
After departure I was able to connect to the free Super Wi-Fi service. The Wi-Fi worked brilliantly for the majority of the flight.
About 25-30 minutes later I wondered where my breakfast was and hit the call button. The friendly cabin supervisor responded me that it would come within 5 minutes as it's still being heated and I was offered a refill for my smoothie at that time.
5 minutes later, as promised, my breakfast had arrived.
The tray contained my main course selection, appetizer selection, fruits, a croissant, butter, jam and a glass of still water.
Shish tabuk and lamb kofta
Sumac bread, grilled tomato and herb roasted potatoes
A more deeper look to my starter selections
Seasonal Fresh Fruit
Greek yoghurt with pineapple compote, berries, and toasted pistachio granola
At the moment I finished my breakfast, the crew served a cup of hot chocolate as I ordered before takeoff.
After a few minutes, the cabin supervisor came one more time to offer to prepare my bed. At that time, I headed to the lavatory to wear my White Company pajamas and a refreshing towel and two Smint's were placed to the seat console by the cabin crew.
For the majority of the flight, I slept and I only woke up once for lavatory needs. At that time, one of the cabin crew insisted to offer me something so I didn't reject her and asked for an orange juice. Then I slept one more time.
And I woke up with a surprise, it was already 2 hours before landing and I slept for almost 10 hours on this flight. Shortly after I woke up, I prepared myself for the lunch service and shortly later my appetizer was served alongside with the tray.
This time I chose the scallop option as I already had the Arabic mezze on my previous SAW-DOH flight and previously multiple times in the Al Mourjan Lounge.
The tray also had the dessert, a glass of still water, bread and butter.
Pan seared scallops
Green tomatoes, compressed watermelon, pickled beetroot and feta cheese
For the service, I also ordered the tomato chili olive oil and a glass of the Leyda Lot 8 Syrah red wine which was also served with my condiments of choice.
After I finished enjoying my appetizer, my main course was served. At that time, drink refills were offered.
Braised lamb shank
Baby Mediterranean vegetables, grilled polenta and raspberry vital jus
After enjoying my main course, I headed to enjoy my dessert which was delicious like the rest of the meals
A photo at that time
When the crew came to clear my table, I opted for a café latte which was promptly served.
And a couple of minutes later, the crew appeared one more time for the thank you gift: Godiva chocolate
Shortly later, the cabin supervisor came to say goodbye and thank me for choosing Qatar Airways.
Route map at that time
Entering Virginia airspace
And we've landed a few minutes later than our scheduled arrival time
Tower of IAD
United aircraft at Terminal C
United 787-10 which had arrived from Frankfurt about an hour ago
SAS A330, British Airways A350 at the background
The Saarinen building
United Express aircraft and a Saudia 777
A United Express Mitsubshi CRJ200 which would head to Greensboro that evening
Another one, this time heading to Rochester,NY
And we would be parking at gate A23/25
A final shot from the window
After saying goodbye to the crew, I've headed towards the moon buggy which would take us to immigration. Although it is an unique experience to ride a moon buggy, I don't like the moon buggy arrival concept as it wastes 15-20 minutes including the wait to be occupied at a certain level, plus passengers from other flights are able to skip you at immigration depending on the deboarding pace of the other passengers onboard this flight.
Final two shots of A7-ALY from the moon buggy.
20-25 minutes after the aircraft doors opened, we were at the immigration hall. The wait at immigration was not that bad as they were prepared for the numerous arrivals at that time. After clearing immigration, my bag was already at carousel 21 so I picked it up and headed towards the exit.
I don't know the reason but at the exit of the immigration hall, there were about 75-100 people trying to greet people which was an interesting view to see without any social distancing among them.
Also I spotted this Turkish Airlines advertisement at IAD while heading to the bus stop.
After a short walk, I was at the bus stop for bus line 5A which goes to Washington, DC.
A photo of the terminal
While waiting for the bus, I spotted a metro car which was performing a test drive. The metro to the airport was scheduled to open in 2020 but was postponed to 2021 so the only option from the city to the airport remains the 5A bus.
The bus wasn't full and within 50-55 minutes, I was in Washington, DC.
Also a reminder that the bus was free of charge at that time due to COVID precautions but after 3 January 2021, the transportation authority has announced that buses in the DC area would not be free of charge anymore so the $7.50 fare would be collected after this date.
The journey has now come to an end.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.
My first experience with the QSuites was absolutely great. The airport experience in DOH wasn't that different compared to my past trips in Y as I am a QRPC Platinum member and I also get the same perks as a Business Class passenger with my status. However, onboard was a different level of service. The seats were really comfortable and I was able to get a solid sleep on this flight without interruption. The meals and the service on this flight were great and delicious, the crew was perfect as most of my previous QR flights, and they were really attentive, asked me constantly if I would like anything, woke me up at the time-frame I requested, and promptly delivered everything which I've ordered before the flight. One of the perks of flying QR is definitely the free Super Wi-Fi service as it's fast and a lifesaver on longer flights. The IFE system content is generous but still, it could be improved to match what other carriers are offering. Throughout the flight, I would also admit that the lavatories were clean on every occasion that I visited. The arrival experience in IAD was not that perfect as usual but the immigration wait times and the baggage pick-up time were reasonable compared to US standards.
To conclude this mini-series, I could tell that I really enjoyed the QSuites and Qatar Airways Business Class and I am eagerly awaiting the day which I'll fly their premium product again in the future. I am really happy that I switched part of my loyalty to Qatar Airways and most likely, I would also fly QR on several occasions in 2021.
(+) Wait for transit security
(+) Boarding was made with priorities being respected
Al Mourjan Lounge
(+) Comfortable seating at the lounge
(+) Friendly lounge staff
(+) Breakfast options at the main restaurant
(+) Showers and shower amenities
(+) Comfortable seats
(+) Bedding amenities ( mattress, blanket, White Company pajamas )
(+) Delicious meals
(+) Fantastic cabin crew
(+) Free high-speed Wi-Fi onboard
(+) Lavatories were kept clean throughout the flight
(+) The amenity kit content
(-) Content in the IFE screen could be improved
(+) Bags were already there when I arrived