Qatar Airways to South Africa

It has been a while since I have written here. You will forgive me if you knew that I just returned from Japan where I spent an unforgettable two weeks. But more of that later. In my last entry I mentioned that I would write about my trip to South Africa. Hopefully the old grey matter has not deteriorated too badly and I can still share the essential aspects of the trip.

It was a 6am departure from Abu Dhabi to Doha and then on to Johannesburg. It meant waking up at the difficult hour of around 3.00am to be at the airport by 4. I am a stickler when it comes to the 2 hour suggested time before an international flight. Why Doha? Qatar Airways of course. Despite the inconvenience of their airport at the moment  (bus rides to terminals while they prepare to move to the new airport later this year), I like them. Young fleet,  staff that are big on safety procedures, experienced and well paid pilots, good safety record, attention paid to young travellers...I think you get the picture.

We used the Al Reem  lounge which is ok, except at 4am in the morning during Ramadan. They had just cleared away everything they had for Sohoor, so it meant waiting for breakfast to be laid out. Thankfully, they provided some sandwiches for Mitsuki who felt a bit hungry. The service in the lounge is quite good with the staff eager to please. But tell me, why is it that people take up so many seats in a lounge when they can see their are other people looking for  a seat? I find it rude and unacceptable. And furthermore, it is nota  hotel. Lounges are not places where, having stolen a blanket from your flight, you stretch out on multiple seats and treat the lounge like your own living room. I will never understand people. Fortunately, the staff at al Reem lounge were very proactive in dealing with this! Well done.

I wish I could say the same about the staff in Oryx Lounge in Doha. The Oryx Lounge (paying lounge) means it attracts a wide range of travellers including those with as much class as a hobo at a free donut convention. I need to work harder so I can avoid these paying lounges and use a lounge where people really respect other travellers, although having used business class lounges in many airports, I think this is just humanity. People again!

Abu Dhabi-Doha is the kind of flight that irritates. All that trouble for a 40 minute flight. It is the kind of slight you just want to be over so you can enjoy the real flight: an 8 hour flight to Johannesburg.

I love the Boeing 777, and on this route they use the 777-300. These planes are comfortable and spacious. Even in Economy. Service was slick. Professional. Meals service great. Sadly my entertainment did not work, so I read for most of the 8 hours. What was refreshing was the fact that three different flight attendants came to see if they could fix it, apologising on every occasion. My attitude was simple: it is not their fault, and I let them know it. I can never understand how passengers can write in to travel magazines asking if they are entitled to compensation because their TV sets did not work, or they blame the flight attendants. Anyway, I appreciated their efforts.

We arrived at Johannesburg International as scheduled, eager to enjoy our 2 week sojourn!