Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: American Double 2014

Flight Log 5: QR701

Doha (DOH) - New York Kennedy (JFK)

LEFT: Business Class cabin
LEFT: 3K seat area
RIGHT: Welcome drink

First impressions on boarding this aircraft were that the front cabin section, with just four rows of 2+2+2 seating, was more spacious than on the previous A330. Furthermore, these seats were the genuine article: 'lie flat and horizontal', as opposed to 'lie flat on a slope'. As we once again settled into 3J/K, the offer of welcome drinks on this flagship route was a little more varied than previously, featuring champagne, water, orange juice or 'signature' lemonade. A further minor difference was that we were given the choice of a hot or cold towel. I tried the lemonade, finding it very pleasant and refreshing, and stuck with the more conventional hot towel. The usual convenience items were in place in the seat area and additionally, cabin crew offered a set of pyjamas - again, a feature normally associated with a First Class cabin. We pushed back just a little behind schedule and took a further 21 minutes to become airborne.

Tempt your taste buds with our on-demand menu designed to your desire, in any order and at any time during your flight.
Freshly squeezed orange juice   Artichoke-filled pasta with cherry tomato and basil sauce,
Strawberry and banana smoothie   rocket salad, crumbled feta cheese and saffron oil
Apple, fennel and rocket health drink    
    Cheese selection served with crackers, grapes and
Choice of breakfast cereals    
    Selection of indulgent individual desserts
Bircher muesli: rolled oats bound with yoghurt, fruit and    
    Tomato chicken tikka with mint riata
Greek yoghurt with raspberry compote and toasted    
granola   APPETISERS
    Classic Arabic mezze: hummus, tabouleh and baba
Smoked salmon with celeriac remoulade, pickled red   ghanoush, served with Arabic bread
onion, quail eggs and cherry tomatoes    
    Salmon rillettes with capers, tomato confit and a sea salt
Arabic breakfast plate: Emmental cheese with labneh,   crostini
served with foul medames, za'atar manakish and Arabic    
bread   Roasted bell pepper and tomato soup, served with saffron,
    mint yoghurt and garlic croutons
Mushroom parantha, egg bhurji, aubergine chutney and    
sambar   MAINS
    Sesame seed and herb tikkis with tadka madhani, served
Grilled chicken sausage with tomato and herb omelette,   with crushed peas and potatoes with tempered asparagus
Lyonnais potatoes, roasted vine tomatoes and sautéed    
mushrooms   Lamb loin with rosemary jus, served with kalamata olive
    mashed potato and grilled Mediterranean vegetables
The above dishes are accompanied by your choice of    
condiments and warm baked morning breads   Chicken machboos with rice, golden fried onions and
    toasted nuts
Summer green vegetable and mozzarella salad with lemon   The above dishes are accompanied by your choice of
and rapeseed oil dressing   condiments and assorted bakery selections
Hot Arabic mezze: cheese sambousak, spinach fatayer   DESSERTS
and lamb kibbeh   Selection of seasonal fruits
Grilled rib eye steak in rosemary panini sandwich, with Soyeux: coconut dacquoise biscuit, white chocolate
horseradish mayonnaise and caramelized red onion   mousse, exotic fruits compote, raspberries and diced
(continued in next column)   mango

ABOVE: Light breakfast, with views of the Iranian mountains

The à la carte menu concept really came into its own on this very long flight, allowing passengers to tailor their eating pattern to personal preference, shape of overall journey and jet-lag avoidance strategy. My own intention at this stage was to eat a very light breakfast as though it were a supper, and then get to sleep as quickly as possible. Accordingly, I had some granola-topped yoghurt and a light serving of smoked salmon, accompanied by a croissant and a glass of apple juice, after which I changed into my Qatar Airways pyjamas and settled down for a much needed sleep.

*     *     *     *     *

ABOVE: Midday / mid-flight meal

Six hours later, I woke up to find that we had crossed both Sweden and Norway and were currently well to the north of the UK, heading towards Iceland. Or to put it another way, we were back in the same time zone that this Qatar Airways adventure had started in! Again using the à la carte menu to its full advantage, I had a light meal - which I considered to be 'lunch' - consisting of tomato and red pepper soup, a steak sandwich and a white chocolate mousse, washed down with apple juice and then a cappuccino. Having browsed through the huge selection of available movies, I noticed the possibility of an interesting double-bill, and began by firing up Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011).

LEFT: Greenland was looking spectacular

On my various transatlantic crossings over the years, I have always found Greenland to be one of the most inhospitable-looking, and yet wildly beautiful, landscapes on earth. Today was no exception. Not for first time, though, I thought that this particular part of the world was probably best viewed from 40,000ft. As soon as I felt able to tear my eyes away from the views, I started the second part of my movie double-bill, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Just released in 2014, this one was new to me.

RIGHT: My selection of pre-arrival food

With less than two hours' worth of flying remaining, I felt that it was a good time to request my third and final meal. Again choosing from the à la carte options, I had a salmon rillettes starter and a lamb main course, accompanied by a glass of Pinot Noir and a cup of Early Grey tea. In what struck me as being an unusual approach to New York City, we flew via Montreal and upstate New York, followed the Hudson river past Newark Airport and then turned over the ocean for a standard final approach into JFK. We touched down at 1414 local time and, with a surprisingly short taxi, were on-stand within four minutes.

Bruce and I both agreed that, as far as Business Class flights were concerned, this had been one of the very best. Every part of the service had been delivered to an exceptionally high standard. In many ways, it had felt more like a First Class experience, particularly when it came to the 'anything, anytime' catering proposition. And travelling on a full revenue fare, albeit one that had been pitched for the Moroccan market, one could not help but think of all those lovely Avios points and British Airways Executive Club tier points that would soon be popping into our respective accounts.  

Date: Sun 02 Nov 2014 
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Scheduled dep: 0805
Actual departure: 0810
Scheduled arrival: 1415
Actual arrival: 1418
Cabin: Business
Seat: 3K

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