Tag Archives: trip report

The Milelion’s RTW Trip 2017: W Doha Review

Introduction: It’s the most wonderful time of the year
A Tale of Two Lounges: SATS Premier T2 and the Qantas SIN Lounge
Malaysia Airlines B737 Business Class SIN-KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines A330  Business Class KUL-NRT
Japan Airlines Business Class Sakura Lounge NRT
Japan Airlines B77W Business Class NRT-LAX
The Westin LAX
The Westin Westminster
Aloft Boston Seaport
The Consolidated AA Domestic First Class Experience
American Airlines Flagship Lounge JFK
American Airlines B772 Business Class JFK-LHR
American Airlines Arrivals Lounge LHR
The Great Northern Hotel, London
Sheraton Grand Park Lane, London
Westin Paris Vendome
Courtyard by Marriott Madrid Princesa
Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal
The Consolidated Intra-Europe Business Class Experience
Sheraton Casablanca
Royal Air Maroc Business Class Lounge CMN
Royal Air Maroc B737 Business Class CMN-ACC
Ethiopian Airlines B787 Business Class ACC-ADD
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud 9 Business Class Lounge ADD
Ethiopian Airlines Q400 Business Class ADD-DAR
Protea Hotel by Marriott Dar Es Salaam Courtyard
Qatar Airways A320 Business Class DAR-DOH
Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways A330 “First” Class DOH-MCT
Oman Air Business Class Lounge, MCT
Oman Air E175 Business Class MCT-DXB
The Grosvenor House Dubai
W Doha
Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways B772 Business Class DOH-BLR
The Ritz Carlton Bangalore
Vistara A320 Business Class BLR-DEL
Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class DEL-HKG
W Hong Kong
Touring Cathay Pacific’s HKG Lounges
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class HKG-SIN


Contrary to what you might be reading on the news, everything in Qatar is pretty much business as usual. There was an initial mad rush for supermarkets when the blockade was first announced, but when the country is rich enough to airlift cows to provide milk, you don’t really worry about outright famine. Since then, things have calmed down quite a bit as the region lapses into a kind of a “see-who-blinks-first” stalemate. It kind of makes you wonder how long the parties involved will let this continue. But as I’ve said before, I’m going to leave the politics for the politicians and focus on the travel implications of the blockade.

After a weekend gallivanting in Dubai, it was time to continue the work portion of my trip in Doha. And that meant having to fly through Muscat again, though thankfully this time not with Oman Air.

map

I took a pretty unremarkable FlyDubai flight from Dubai to Muscat before connecting to an economy class Qatar Airways flight from Muscat to Doha. Qatar has an awesome set up for arriving business and first class passengers with special immigration facilities at DOH, but its offerings for economy class passengers are just abject. I waited in line for nearly an hour with many counters opening and closing for no apparent reason.  They say Ramadan makes the situation at immigration worse as employees take more frequent breaks. Plus, if you haven’t had blood sugar for a whole day you’re not exactly going to be in the best of moods.

At long last, I cleared immigration, got my bag and headed off to the W Doha, about 20 minutes from the airport.

Believe it or not, the W Doha was the first W property to open in the Middle East back in 2009 (well, second if you count Turkey as part of the Middle East- the W Istanbul debuted in 2008). A grand total of 442 rooms await, plus restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs like Jean Georges.

The first thing you need to know about W Hotels is that they’re built for Instagram. It’s probably the only hotel chain where I don’t feel awkward for taking pictures of everything because everyone else around me is doing the same thing.

As you enter the lobby you’re greeted by quite an impressive sight- W Hotels really strut themselves in the evening, and the blue ceiling-hung lights together with the mood music make for a very distinctive atmosphere. There’s no way you’d walk into a W and not know it.

I’d arrived in the evening, well into the breaking fast time and the lobby was quite lively. Many hotels in the Middle East run special Iftar buffets in the evening, where there’s lots of food and special entertainment (I was under the impression all entertainment was not allowed during this period- maybe it just follows the same rules as eating in public).

The lobby decor was what you’d expect from a W, with plenty of seating areas that look cool but are probably uncomfortable to sit in for prolonged periods of time.

There was no line at check-in, and I was served by a very cheerful associate. He poked around in his computer a bit and said he thought I’d like the upgrade they had prepared for me.

(Later I realised that you could also check in at these sit down booths on the right hand side of the foyer)

There are 51 suites in the property, and I was given room 1214, a W Suite (16 available, 109 sqm). How do I know it was a W Suite? It says so on the door, silly.

Nothing quite like having your room specially labelled.

You know your room is going to be awesome when you open the door and can’t actually see your room yet. There’s a small corridor at the entrance

With a guest bathroom just adjacent to it.

But it’s what lies in the main room that’s even more exciting. The lighting during the day was much better so there’s going to be a mixture of shots, sorry for the confusion. Day/night cycles work the same in the Middle East as they do elsewhere in the world, for the record. I’m pretty sure my photos are not doing the room justice, but dammit, I’m not Ansel Adams (although I will soon have a flashy new camera which will obviously improve my skillz because it’s all about the equipment).

The living room area is massive. You have a full couch, working desk, TV, many chairs and this huge chandelier in the middle of the room.

One of the perks mentioned on the hotel website about W Suites are “board games”. I’m guessing the tic-tac-toe on the coffee table counts… (clearly these guys have never played Settlers before)

Here’s the reverse angle showing you the TV and rest of the room.

And a close up of the work desk.

The work desk had a stationery kit of its own, with highlighters, sticky pads, binder clips, rubber bands and paper clips. Don’t underestimate the importance of paper clips, people- they’re invaluable for swapping out your sim card.

The minibar wasn’t as extensive as the one I had at the W Seoul, but still had a good assortment of nuts, sweets and souvenirs. I noted that there were no condoms or alcohol (a potent combination), probably more on account of where we were than time of the year.

You can find a separate dining/working table in a corner of the room too, which is useful for hosting meetings and/or dumping your spare junk.

And a fun to swing in eggshell chair suspended from the ceiling.

The bedroom is equally wow worthy. I don’t know what it is about these drapes that aren’t quite drapes- these dangly things that make the room feel really nice. Yeah they get in the way, but they’re on a rail attached to the ceiling and can be extended or retracted as you please.

There were two notes on the bed- one was from the manager explaining the sensitive nature of Ramadan, and the second a notice explaining how the operating hours of the pool and F&B outlets would be affected. In general, you can’t be seen eating in public during Ramadan so restaurants with outdoor seating areas will be shut, but those which are well concealed from outside can continue operations as per normal. This is most noticeable in malls, where open concept coffee joints shut down, but restaurants can put up “modesty boardings” and continue operations.

It is a W Hotel, so the bathroom is of course a thing of beauty. Lots of frosted glass, flattering lighting and I’m pretty sure the weighing scale lies to you too.

If you feel like soaking, there is a free standing bath tub.

The shower had a rain head. The design of the shower wasn’t like what I’d seen in other hotels with a peek a boo glass window overlooking the bedroom that some other W properties have.

What was awesome is that in addition to the rain shower there were a series of wall-mounted jets that could give you a good back massage.

The amenities are, of course, full-sized Bliss branded ones and were replenished daily.

For washing up, there are dual sinks with mineral water (from bottles, not flowing out of the tap unfortunately. What? It’s the Middle East) and an abundance of towels.

On the wash counter top you also had Bliss facial wash and body butter. The staff were more than happy to replenish the supply as and when you wanted.

It’s a shame that it was Ramadan when I visited because it meant the executive lounge (called the WIP lounge here) was closed (why closed? It’s exposed to the public concourse so it counts as eating in public).

So I spent whatever time I had exploring the rest of the food options at the hotel that were still operating.

The W Cafe has cupcakes and other baked treats

I tried some of their creations like banana nutella cupcakes (is there a more heavenly creation?) and found them to be awesome.

The cafe has seating too so you can have your deserts in-house or to go.

The highlight of the dining optios was the Italian restaurant, called La Spiga by Paper Moon. For the uninitiated, Paper Moon is a chain of eateries started in Via Bagutta, Milan that has since expanded to several other locations around the world.

People who know me will tell you that I’m particular about pasta like no one’s business. I have shouted at people for not salting the water before cooking pasta, for breaking the pasta, for using teflon cut supermarket brands and cooking the pasta and sauce separately. I have met Italians who have told me I am more particular about pasta than they are. So when I say this pasta was good, you know I mean it.

I had a very enjoyable chat with the chef about cooking Italian food, and he told me he was so relieved I asked for the pasta al dente, because in the Middle East “they like their pasta cooked until soft.” We both shook our heads silently at this, shocked at how barbaric the world could be.

Breakfast was at Market by Jean Georges

Image result for market by jean-georges doha

A very large spread of items was available, and I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

I never saw the restaurant too full despite coming for breakfast at peak period. I think a lot of business travelers were avoiding the country on account of the blockade.

The W Doha definitely provided me one of the nicest rooms I stayed in all journey long (a close fight with the Grosvenor House). The decor was fantastic, the service was always friendly and the F&B options were solid. It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to try out the lounge or pool, but Ramadan is rarely the best time to be in the Middle East anyway.

The Milelion’s RTW Trip 2017: Oman Air Business Class E175 MCT-DXB

Introduction: It’s the most wonderful time of the year
A Tale of Two Lounges: SATS Premier T2 and the Qantas SIN Lounge
Malaysia Airlines B737 Business Class SIN-KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines A330  Business Class KUL-NRT
Japan Airlines Business Class Sakura Lounge NRT
Japan Airlines B77W Business Class NRT-LAX
The Westin LAX
The Westin Westminster
Aloft Boston Seaport
The Consolidated AA Domestic First Class Experience
American Airlines Flagship Lounge JFK
American Airlines B772 Business Class JFK-LHR
American Airlines Arrivals Lounge LHR
The Great Northern Hotel, London
Sheraton Grand Park Lane, London
Westin Paris Vendome
Courtyard by Marriott Madrid Princesa
Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal
The Consolidated Intra-Europe Business Class Experience
Sheraton Casablanca
Royal Air Maroc Business Class Lounge CMN
Royal Air Maroc B737 Business Class CMN-ACC
Ethiopian Airlines B787 Business Class ACC-ADD
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud 9 Business Class Lounge ADD
Ethiopian Airlines Q400 Business Class ADD-DAR
Protea Hotel by Marriott Dar Es Salaam Courtyard
Qatar Airways A320 Business Class DAR-DOH
Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways A330 “First” Class DOH-MCT
Oman Air Business Class Lounge, MCT
Oman Air E175 Business Class MCT-DXB
The Grosvenor House Dubai
W Doha
Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways B772 Business Class DOH-BLR
The Ritz Carlton Bangalore
Vistara A320 Business Class BLR-DEL
Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class DEL-HKG
W Hong Kong
Touring Cathay Pacific’s HKG Lounges
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class HKG-SIN


I realise the phrase “Worst. Airline. Ever” is thrown around with reckless abandon these days. Everyone will have their own opinion about what constitutes “worst”, and even good airlines have bad days.

So when I say Oman Air is the “worst airline ever”, I simply mean to say that based on my experience I’d never fly with them again. I’m sure other people will have great experiences with the carrier. I don’t doubt that some people have come off a flight and said “wow, best flight ever.” But that’s not me. And if you gave me a choice between Oman Air and Air India…well I’d have to think about it and get back to you.

After a long layover in Muscat, I was finally ready to board my onward flight to Dubai. The Oman Air lounge had been a complete non-event, but at least I was finally off to Dubai to enjoy all the best that man-made attractions had to offer. Or so I thought.

The initial boarding went smoothly- Muscat Airport does not have aerobridges (but the new and improved one will), so all passengers need to be bused to the plane. Priority boarding was announced and observed (although all passengers were taken on the same bus, which kind of defeats the purpose of priority boarding), and eventually the bus pulled to a stop infront of an Embraer E175 that was being refuelled and loaded. I didn’t know it at the time but my bag was one of those which, despite a 5 hour layover, would not “arrive in time” to make this flight. But more on that anon.

Oman Air’s E175s are configured 1-2 in business class and 2-2 in economy, much like the Q400 I flew on with Ethiopian Airlines. The aircraft seats 71 passengers and was completely full today.

What’s interesting is that Oman Air has 4 such aircraft up for sale, and they’ve posted some interesting technical documents about each of the aircraft right down to the brand of IFE system, ADC, Inertial Reference Unit and all other technical details that make AVGeeks have big boy feelings in their pants.

The 11 business class seats are comfortable enough for a flight that’s blocked at just over one hour. They’re standard recliner stuff, although there’s no footrest.

If you’re travelling by yourself you’ll obviously prefer the solo seat at the side, but otherwise the couple seats on the port side of the aircraft will do. Seats are manufactured by C&D Zodiac. The spec sheet I referred to earlier claims that they have in seat power but I wasn’t able to find the plug.

I was also surprised to see that Oman Air had bothered installing an IFE system on these aircraft. The Thales I4500 IFE system is used (really getting a lot of mileage off these technical docs!), with AVOD.

Each seat had a pair of headphones in plastic wrap waiting. The headphones had an on/off switch which led me to think they were noise cancelling, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t.

As we sat on the tarmac waiting for boarding to complete, the crew came around to serve drinks and cold towels. Oman doesn’t serve alcohol in the air during Ramadan, so lemonade was the next best option.

So we sat. And we waited. And waited. It was now 10 minutes past the scheduled departure time and there was no discernible progress. Finally the doors closed, and the captain came on the PA to apologise for the delay. He mentioned there was a problem with the A/C but it had been resolved.

But as we sat there waiting to taxi, the A/C unit started blowing hot desert air into the cabin. It soon got insufferably hot. The captain came on the PA again to say that they’d need more time to fix the A/C and the doors opened again. Maintenance crew came on board, paperwork was exchanged, still nothing happened.

After 30 minutes they finally made the decision to switch aircraft. But the procedure for doing this was so botched it wasn’t even funny. First, everyone had to disembark and head back to the terminal. We got dropped off at the arrivals/transit area. The problem was, there was no Oman Air rep present at the terminal to receive us, so no one had any idea where to go or what gate to wait at.

Everyone sort of adopted the herd mentality and followed the guy in front, and we all had to reclear security. Just around there is the transit counters, so we went to speak to the Oman Air staff there who had no idea what was going on. It was becoming very clear that there was no SOP for incidents like this, which you think should be foreseeable enough for an SOP to be developed. Finally one of them got on a radio and told us to go to a particular gate.

And yes, you guessed it, when we tried to get there we found the only access point was closed off. That led one particularly agitated South African man to storm to the lounge and demand that someone from Oman Air deal with this properly. More calls were made, and finally someone escorted us downstairs to the new gate where…the gate staff told us that we had the wrong gate.

Things were positively Kafkaesque by now, and many people had split off from the main group and were now wandering around the terminal aimlessly. Through some sheer force of will the flight eventually got relisted on the departure screen, and after another hour boarding started again from a different gate with an aircraft swap. I’m fairly sympathetic towards aircraft technical problems, but not so much to general incompetence which was on full display by the ground staff.

The flight eventually took off more than 2 hours behind schedule. The crew were pleasant enough and apologetic, but the fact of the matter remains that they were let down by an airline with extremely inadequate SOPs.

Once airborne, a meal was served on this very short flight. There were no menu cards, just a question of whether I wanted the Western or Non-Western option. I guess that hamburger meat with rice counts as Non- Western.

And to show that they were not entirely without a sense of humour, the crew distributed Fast Track immigration cards for Dubai.

We landed in Dubai but little did I realise my ordeal was far from over. I count myself fortunate that I have never had a bag misplaced in my many years of flying. I still think, given the systems and technology we have in place, it actually takes more effort to misplace a bag than to handle it properly.

Of course, Oman Air is especially gifted at doing the impossible, and after a 30 minute wait at the carousel it became increasingly clear that I would now have to quickly educate myself on lost luggage procedure. This is why you always keep this tag handy, kids.

Most airlines will normally station a ground services representative at the belt to deal with any luggage issues that arise. Most airlines are not Oman Air. I had to find the dnata luggage handling office and file a “property irregularity report”. The process was fairly quick, and I had the all-important PIR, a document I hope none of you will ever need to see.

Most airlines will normally disburse immediately a certain amount of compensation for passengers with misplaced luggage to buy clothes, toiletries, that sort of thing. Again, most airlines are not Oman Air. The dnata staff said that I’d have to contact the airline separately about this, and surprise surprise, no Oman Air staff were to be found in the airport.

My bag was eventually returned to me, in Dubai, about 30 hours after it was first reported missing. During this time, I spent about US$300 on clothes, shoes and toiletries. Now opinions will differ, but this was to me a reasonable amount given the high retail prices in Dubai. I mean, I bought Giordano underwear and Colgate toothpaste. I bought shoes from Payless. The most expensive item was probably a Banana Republic polo T at $50.

So began the long and arduous process of contacting Oman Air to get compensation. The first order of business was to file a claim with DirectAsia, who I always use for travel insurance. That would require a letter from the airline certifying the mishandling. After many unanswered calls and emails and the awesome intervention of the Ritz Carlton concierge in Bangalore, I finally got this-

With the wrong name and wrong flight number. I’m not quite sure how that can happen, given that they had all my details in front of them.  They also wrongly stated the return time about 6 hours before the bag actually reached me. My first instinct was that it was deliberate in order to avoid having to pay out additional compensation, but after their refusal to pay out any compensation at all (see below) I concluded that I should not ascribe to malice that which could be explained by incompetence.

It took much more back and forth and talking with an Oman Air rep I swear had difficulty understanding basic English (at one point she sent me the Word doc version of the letter and asked me to make the changes myself, which I gladly obliged) but it got done.

Now, you’d imagine that for a 30 hour bag delay some compensation would be in order. But Oman Air kept insisting that since I had been issued a travel insurance letter they had no need to compensate me. I tried to explain to them the fact that a passenger having travel insurance was completely independent from the fact that the airline mishandled a bag for 30 hours, but they simply would not budge. “We are unable to do anything for you”, was the response. I told them that all other airlines would have positioned someone at the luggage claim ready to issue some emergency funds to cover clothes and toiletries should a bag not arrive. “We are unable to do anything for you” was the response.

Where it got strange, though, is that although customer service refused to pay for the clothes and toiletries, they offered to pay for one night’s hotel stay because of the flight delay. I can’t wrap my mind around why the airline thought a couple of hour’s flight delay deserved a hotel stay whereas a 30 hour bag delay deserved nothing, but in any case the hotel came up to about US$150, or half of what I’d actually spent.

Many more unanswered emails and calls failed to resolve the situation, so in the end I took what they were offering and told them they’d never see another cent of business from me.

The situation reminded me a bit of what I encountered with Air India last year, where management claimed that the hotel offered for an 11 hour flight delay counted as “compensation”. I had to explain to them that there was a difference between taking care of delayed passengers versus compensating them for the time wasted. Oman Air is much worse in this respect, because I cannot understand how they think the airline can get off scot-free for the mess they created.

So that’s my two cents on Oman Air, a carrier that I will hopefully never have to set foot on again.

The Milelion’s RTW Trip 2017: Qatar Airways A330 “First Class” DOH-MCT

Introduction: It’s the most wonderful time of the year
A Tale of Two Lounges: SATS Premier T2 and the Qantas SIN Lounge
Malaysia Airlines B737 Business Class SIN-KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines A330  Business Class KUL-NRT
Japan Airlines Business Class Sakura Lounge NRT
Japan Airlines B77W Business Class NRT-LAX
The Westin LAX
The Westin Westminster
Aloft Boston Seaport
The Consolidated AA Domestic First Class Experience
American Airlines Flagship Lounge JFK
American Airlines B772 Business Class JFK-LHR
American Airlines Arrivals Lounge LHR
The Great Northern Hotel, London
Sheraton Grand Park Lane, London
Westin Paris Vendome
Courtyard by Marriott Madrid Princesa
Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal
The Consolidated Intra-Europe Business Class Experience
Sheraton Casablanca
Royal Air Maroc Business Class Lounge CMN
Royal Air Maroc B737 Business Class CMN-ACC
Ethiopian Airlines B787 Business Class ACC-ADD
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud 9 Business Class Lounge ADD
Ethiopian Airlines Q400 Business Class ADD-DAR
Protea Hotel by Marriott Dar Es Salaam Courtyard
Qatar Airways A320 Business Class DAR-DOH
Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways A330 “First” Class DOH-MCT
Oman Air B737 Business Class MCT-DXB
The Grosvenor House Dubai
W Doha
Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways B772 Business Class DOH-BLR
The Ritz Carlton Bangalore
Vistara A320 Business Class BLR-DEL
Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class DEL-HKG
W Hong Kong
Touring Cathay Pacific’s HKG Lounges
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class HKG-SIN


The Al Safwa lounge experienced gave me mixed feelings, but I was hoping that the “First Class” experience from DOH-MCT would be a bit better. I’m calling this “First Class” because Qatar markets inter-Gulf business class as First Class, despite the fact that the hard product is the same as what you’ll find on long haul business. The only true First Class hard product that QR has to offer is on its A380, and that’s another review for another time.

Now that Doha is cut off from Dubai, the “easiest” way of getting to Dubai is to…fly past Dubai to Oman, and then double back via Oman Air. Yeah, try to wrap your head around that. This made what should be a 1 hour flight last about 6 hours, including transit.

map

The boarding gate was a good distance away from the lounge, maybe about a 10 minute walk through an increasingly busy Doha airport.

It was now well past sunrise and the blazing summer desert heat and light was flooding through the windows.

Apparently the crew needed to rebalance the aircraft, because at the gate my boarding pass caused the computer to beep angrily. A new boarding pass was issued that put me on the other side of the aircraft, but it was printed out on economy class cardstock.

That meant that as I exited the terminal to board the bus to the remote stand, the ground staff glanced at my pass and started to direct me towards the economy class bus, but fortunately a second look at the seat number got me on the smaller, more private first class one.

I don’t know if Qatar usually operates a widebody aircraft to Muscat, but with the reroutings that are happening it’s not surprising there was a surge in demand for that route, and maybe that’s why I ended up on a A330 this morning.

This aircraft had Qatar’s newer business class seat. I say “newer” because it’s by no means industry leading, in a 2-2-2 full flat configuration.

Here’s what the old seat used to look like, for comparison’s sake. I believe the old seat was also lie flat, but less private because the smaller privacy divider.

Image result for qatar airways a330 business class
photo credit: airreview.com

I much prefer the darker tones of the newer business class seat, which has noticeably more storage space around the head too.

The downside of the newer seat is that your feet go into a cramped nook infront. It’s equally bad if you have the aisle…

Or the window

Not all the seats are the same, though. You can see that seats in row 1 don’t have any footspace restrictions, and I’d highly recommend these seats if you have big feet.

Where privacy is concerned, each seat has a retractable privacy divider. Here’s the view when it’s pulled back

And when it’s extended.

The seat controls are found in your armrest and are simple enough to figure out.

Also in your armrest is the IFE controller, a USB charging outlet and your headphone jack.

The crew came around with much-needed cold towels and water

And then the safety video was screened. Qatar sponsors Barcelona FC, and they’ve produced a special safety video with the team. Which is more than a little self-indulgent (what, Barcelona, self-indulgent? No way!)

I mean, it is hardly believable that women would need oxygen upon seeing Pique. It is Pique, right?

The menus for the flight were distributed before takeoff. Given that the flight is slightly under 2 hours, as much as possible needs to be done on the ground.

The beverage list was pretty much the same as on my other Qatar flights. The main difference was that they didn’t distribute the menu that had pictures of the wine labels.

For this short flight, a quick breakfast platter would be served.

The platter was delivered shortly after takeoff. It wasn’t fancy by any means, but was still a pretty economical way of serving all the courses at once. You had fruit, bread, some canapes and some cheese with grapes.

The food quality was average (although the warmed Arabic bread, with some liberally applied butter, was always going to be a crowd pleaser) and I’m starting to wonder if it’s just me or whether Qatar’s catering isn’t all that.

For drinks I went with both  champagne and a So Jennie. So Jennie is an interesting one- it’s a non-alcoholic sparkling wine, and no it’s not like that $3.95 Dom Remy crap you buy at NTUC. This is real, proper sparkling grape juice made from good quality grapes and retailing at about $40 a bottle.

I mean it’s even got a fancy website with a hipster photo of the creator infront of the Eiffel Tower. What more could you want?

Well, I wanted orange juice and water, so that’s how I ended up with 4 glasses on my tray table and lots of trips to the loo.

The loos on the A330 are decidedly last gen, with no automatic hand sensor. It was also interesting that Qatar didn’t stock the loo with any fancy amenities as you might expect for First Class.

As I mentioned, the flight is really short so there isn’t much time to explore the IFE or anything. But the selection is the same as what you’d find on any long-haul flight, with a mix of recent movies and classics.

A final word about the service- the flight is marketed as first class, but I think no one in the right mind expects that level of service in a business class cabin which seats many more passengers than what you’d have in regular first class. The crew were completely pleasant, but there was no addressing of passengers by name or any particularly outstanding moments of service. Again, it’s hard to do too much on a short flight, but the level of service is definitely more in line with business than first class.

Before I knew it we were descending into Muscat. I now  along time to kill before heading on to Dubai, so it was off to the Oman Air lounge to see what their flagship lounge had to offer.

And this is where my delightful adventure with Oman Air began.