Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Reload this Page >

Travelling the world for 6 months... My sabbatical leave experience

Travelling the world for 6 months... My sabbatical leave experience

Old Jan 6, 19, 5:31 am
  #76  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Programs: Flying Blue, Diamond Club
Posts: 717
JNB doesn't look like Africa's busiest airport but more like Gandor in the Langoliers movie.
You can always kindly ask for a glass of bubbly as a PDB, never got that refused from KQ even during a 3 am departure where breafkast is served!
The new snack box is a nice idea, It changes from the too formal and boring meal tray.
You did the right choice: early morning and from 7 pm, one should avoid the crowded Pride Lounge and instead go to the Simba lounge to unwind, and usually from 10.30 am the Pride lounge is quiet and very comfortable!
The Viognier wine is available at the lounges too!

I'm sorry for this schedule change which disturbed your plans but I like very much this new timing because now one can combine the same day KQ from africa with AF/KL to Europe by connecting at DXB as their flights depart at around 12:30 - 1 am.

Originally Posted by palmanfr View Post
after the first immigration agent found an issue with my passport (which was not the case 3 weeks before). I initially thought it was because he figured out I had two passports
How can he/they know this? Have you entered the U.A.E. using the other passport?
flying_blue_white_red is offline  
Old Jan 8, 19, 10:24 pm
  #77  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
Originally Posted by flying_blue_white_red View Post
JNB doesn't look like Africa's busiest airport but more like Gandor in the Langoliers movie.
You can always kindly ask for a glass of bubbly as a PDB, never got that refused from KQ even during a 3 am departure where breafkast is served!
The new snack box is a nice idea, It changes from the too formal and boring meal tray.
You did the right choice: early morning and from 7 pm, one should avoid the crowded Pride Lounge and instead go to the Simba lounge to unwind, and usually from 10.30 am the Pride lounge is quiet and very comfortable!
The Viognier wine is available at the lounges too!

I'm sorry for this schedule change which disturbed your plans but I like very much this new timing because now one can combine the same day KQ from africa with AF/KL to Europe by connecting at DXB as their flights depart at around 12:30 - 1 am.


How can he/they know this? Have you entered the U.A.E. using the other passport?
Well, at least this schedule change makes some people happy :-) I personally, was not so much !
Good to know for the Viognier available at the lounge, I actually did not pay attention to that...
For the passport issue at DXB, no I never showed my second passport in the U.A.E. Was just thinking that by reading the chip of the first passport, they would see some "gaps" between some check-ins and check-out for some countries. I am not sure if they could tell anyway, since this is the first time I travel with 2 passports and I get secondary screening, I was wondering if this could have been the reason. In this instance, I believe the reason for the secondary screening was due to the fact I had 2 Qatari stamps on my passport, the second officer asked me if I had permanent residence in Qatar, which I do not. The case was then closed.
palmanfr is offline  
Old Jan 30, 19, 2:40 am
  #78  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
Lufthansa lounge DXB

I haven't posted much for a while... And the reason is that I am enjoying quite a bit Australia and New Zealand ! Since I am still booking some accomodation and flights for the next destinations, my days are quite full already so I decided to put the blog and this FT thread as a second priority as I have the rest of my life to finish those reports :-) For the time being, I decided to enjoy the moment, and report whenever I can...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After a few days in the U.A.E, where we briefly visited Abu Dhabi, it was time for my best friend to fly back to France on the direct EK flight to Lyon, departing in the early afternoon.

Myself, on the other hand, was flying the short fifth-freedom flight to Muscat, in neighboring Oman operated by Swiss as a continuation of the Zurich to Dubai flight. This flight was by far the cheapest air option available, and I booked this seat for 74 euros one-way only, luggage included, while Fly Dubai was asking for at least double this amount and Emirates or Oman Air 3 times this price.

The timing also suited my needs as it could leave me a few extra hours in Dubai to visit the places my friend was not so interested in.

The summary of our few days in the U.A.E can be found on my website : Post12 ? Boarding:Now! ? My round the world experience !

I arrived at the airport after dropping the rental car around 19.40, for a flight departing at 22.10. By the way, the rental car facilities of terminal 1 are certainly not in par with the size of DXB airport. The parking they offer is like the size of one in a Burger King



Checking-in was not too time consuming, maybe 10 minutes in total. Surprisingly, there were several agents from data, the main handling operator in Terminal 1, to staff the few counters for this flight. I believe some were being trained as it took a good 5 minutes to issue the luggage tag and the agent was not really informed of which lounge facilities LX uses in DXB.

Since i still enjoy Star Alliance Gold benefits with Turkish airlines until the end of February (Star Alliance is not really my alliance of choice anymore), I was at the end invited to use the Lufthansa lounge.




LH lounge DXB T1

Exit immigration procedures could have been much faster if I would have used the smart gates, but since I wanted to get one more stamp on my passport, I decided to wait an extra 10 minutes in line to have the old-fashioned exit immigration check, which went without issues this time. Security control took only a few minutes to clear and I was then ready to take the sky train to the main terminal area and the Lufthansa lounge.

The Lufthansa lounge is located between the SkyTeam lounge and the BA lounge. It does not have any outside views but is separated in two different lounges, the first one on the left side, accessible to Business class and LH FTL status holders, and the second one, on the right side, reserved to First class, LH Senators and Star Alliance Gold card holders. I was invited to the second one.

The lounge has a typical Lufthansa design, and I thought I was in Frankfurt for a minute ! (besides the fact this lounge was less crowded than in FRA). Wifi codes were provided upon entering the lounge.

The catering was pretty good, with a selection of cold and hot offerings. I was certainly happy to have some good cheese !

Well maintained restrooms and shower facilities are available within the lounge.


LH DXB Senator Lounge












That guy seems to be enjoying those lounge chairs !


That's going to be my dinner for that day !

At that time of the day, around 20.30, the lounge was mostly used by a few passengers on the TG flight to BKK and some early passengers on the later LH flight to FRA. Boarding announcements were done for those Star Alliance flights.




Departure hall DXB T1


The bird has arrived...


... from ZRH



I arrived at the boarding gate for my flight to MCT around 21:40, as I saw on flight radar that the flight from Zurich did land only 15 minutes before.

Boarding started quite late, at 22.05, but was a prompt operation to complete as we were only 20 passengers to board in DXB. The other (several) passengers from Zurich remained inside the aircraft during the stopover and some were discussing with the crews when I boarded the aircraft.



Swiss International Airlines LX242, November 16th 2018
DXB Dubai 22:10
MCT Muscat - 23:10
Airbus A330-300 HB-JHF Seat 29A, Economy class, Emergency exit, window.



Sneak peek into the business class cabin...


First section of the Economy class


Seat 29A

The seat was selected during online check-in as Swiss charges, even Star Gold cardholders, for seat reservation in Economy class.

As the cabin was very lightly loaded that evening, we were only 2 passengers on the entire emergency exit / bulkhead row 29 consisting of 8 seats.

The captain, who sounded like Swiss German, informed us of the very short flight duration of 40 minutes, and we pushed back next to a Saudia aircraft, at 22:20 for a take off at 22:40 with some great night views over Dubai.




Seat 29A




The cabin was pretty empty that evening...









Service started shortly after and consisted of a choice of juice or cola, served from a tray, with a back of crackers.

Note that the seat had some USB ports available and as usually the case on emergency exit rows, the IFE screen was located on the armrest.








Flying over Muscat

The approach to Muscat was colorful as most of the buildings were lit in red, green and white to celebrate the National day of Oman a couple days later.

We landed at the recently opened Muscat airport at 23:25 and I was out of the aircraft 10 minutes later.


The new airport is very nice !




As I did an online visa to enter the country, I headed straight to the immigration counters where I waited about 20 minutes to get my passport stamped and then waited another 5 minutes to get my luggage.




A bit of a line at the immigration counters...

I was outside the terminal at midnight.

I have to say that the new airport looks very nice ! This feeling was confirmed several days later when I left the country.

Overall, the flight was uneventful but pleasant and convenient, especially considering the price paid. The FA seated in front of me, a Swiss german young lady who spoke some French, was also friendly and told me it was her first time in Oman (The crew stays overnight in MCT. A different crew takes the MCT-DXB-ZRH flight.
palmanfr is offline  
Old Jan 31, 19, 2:40 pm
  #79  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Programs: BA Bronze, Emirates Silver, Virgin Silver, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 1,314
Good to see you posting an update and glad to hear though you are actually having some holiday time!
palmanfr likes this.
nequine is offline  
Old Feb 1, 19, 4:56 am
  #80  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
Originally Posted by nequine View Post
Good to see you posting an update and glad to hear though you are actually having some holiday time!
Yeah... The days are long... But I will have 9 days on board a cruise ship between Ushuaia and Easter Island next month, so I am planning to do quite some updates during this trip - and also get some rest ! (Le Ponant emailed me that there will be unlimited and free Wifi onboard... Let's see how that's going to work in the middle of the South Pacific !)
nequine likes this.
palmanfr is offline  
Old Feb 1, 19, 5:34 am
  #81  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Programs: BA Bronze, Emirates Silver, Virgin Silver, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 1,314
Enjoy the cruise!
palmanfr likes this.
nequine is offline  
Old Feb 6, 19, 5:25 am
  #82  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
MCT airport PrimeClass lounge

My 5 days in Oman were fantastic and I wish I would have stayed some more time But the world is big and my (vacation) time is relatively short so after 5 days, I was back in Muscat airport to go to the Asian continent

A summary of my adventures in Oman can be seen on my blog : www.boardingnow.net/post14 (to be available soon !)

I managed to book using some BA Avios a one-way ticket to Singapore on Qatar airways, via Doha, with the feeder flight to DOH in Economy and the long-haul flight to SIN in Business class. Considering this was a multi-class itinerary, I had to phone BAEC to have it booked, and I paid 64500 Avios + 192 Euros of taxes , which are for most of it, hefty fuel surcharges asked by QR. A one-way ticket on this itinerary, or other destinations in the region, would have costed about 800 to 1000 Euros more, so this was a relatively good use of Avios in my opinion. When I booked this, all the 3 daily flights between Doha and Singapore were operated on an Airbus A350-900, which is, together with the upper deck of the 747 and, to some lower extent maybe the A380, my favorite aircraft to fly on. About a month later, I noticed that one of the daily departures had an equipment change to their brand new Airbus 350-1000, with the particularity all those birds feature their signature Q-Suites business class product, which I never flown before. However, the timing of this departure was inconvenient as it was departing Doha in the Morning to land in the evening in Singapore, which would mean an entire day wasted . So I decided to stick with my original idea to fly overnight with a morning landing in Singapore, which was still onboard Qatars very comfortable business class

Checking-in Muscat new airport was a breeze, and I used the regular Qatar airways counters to do so. I discovered later that a business class check-in area was available for all the airlines at the other side of the terminal. The check-in agent was very friendly and we chatted a bit about my trip as he asked me for details of my onward journey after Singapore (some airlines typically ask you this when having a one-way ticket).


MCT new airport arrivals curbside




New MCT terminal building - Arrivals




New MCT terminal building - Departures



Clearing security and immigration was done in no time and I then headed to the Primeclass lounge that most airlines, besides Oman Air is using. This lounge is operated by the Turkish company T.A.V and you can see advertisements inside the lounge for Turkish Airlines and the new Istanbul airport. Note that Priority Pass cardholders are eligible to enter this lounge.


Departures area MCT airport




Transit hotel is located in front of the Oman Air and Primeclass lounges




Primeclass lounge entrance - MCT

The lounge is very nice and designed all-in-length .

From one end to another, you will find hotel-type bedrooms at one end of the lounge (I did not enquire the conditions to have one booked), located next to a small buffet section and a relaxation area, some restrooms, lots of seating, and then the staffed-bar counter with the main buffet, which was very well catered. The main lounge entrance lobby and some more seating are available at the center of the lounge. Prayer rooms, a kids buffet (but the adults can also use it :-)), and an entertainment area, with a mini movie-theater, a pool table and some video games are available at the other end of the lounge. WiFi was indeed complimentary and was working very well.
I took plenty of pictures, see below. I think this is a very nice lounge, and found the catering to be very good.


From one end of the lounge... Here one of the "hotel-style" rooms (did not enquire about eligibility conditions)


Relaxing area with massage chairs




Small buffet next to the hotel rooms


The bar


The lounge is designed "in length"






Central buffet area




Salad bar


Cold cuts


Hot buffet 1


Hot buffet 2




Dessert buffet


Lounge entrance, located at the middle of it


Views from the lounge


Mini cinema


Playstation area


Kids section




Pool table at the other end of the lounge !


Looks like everyone wants to visit it !


I decided to settle for lunch next to the pool table !


And ended my lunch with some sweets...
palmanfr is offline  
Old Feb 7, 19, 5:41 am
  #83  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
Qatar MCT-DOH Economy class

Just like MCT airport, I found this brand-new lounge to be a very pleasant place to spend some time before getting on a plane. But eventually, about an hour after I arrived, I had to leave to catch my flight to Doha…

The boarding gate was about 5 minutes away from the lounge and boarding started shortly after I arrived, around 13.00. The large outside views allowed me to take some nice pictures...


Boarding gate in MCT




My ride to Doha : A7-AHW Airbus A320


Oman air is at home here...


Oman Air dreamliner

Qatar Airways QR1139, November 21st 2018
MCT Muscat - 13:45
DOH Doha Hamad Intl - 14:35
Airbus A320 – A7-AHW – Seat 12D, Economy class, Emergency exit, aisle.


This A320 was equipped with lie flat seats, in 2-2 configuration in business class (called First class when flying within the middle east). The seats looked similar to the ones used by AA in Business class on their transcontinental service between JFK and SFO or LAX. But this time, that was not for me… I was booked in cattle class… Well, at least I managed to get an emergency exit seat, with some nice legroom.



Business class (called First on regional flights)


But for me this time, I was at the back of the bus... (or at the middle actually :-))


Emergency exit seats


Lots of legroom on this emergency exit row


The flight was pretty full in economy, some spare seats available in First.

All seats, including in economy class have in-flight entertainment and towelettes were distributed before departure by the crew, together with some headsets. We took off at 13.50, and we were given a snack (vegetarian or chicken pastry with a chocolate brownie) about 25 minutes later with a choice of drinks.

Because of the embargo on U.A.E and Saudi airspace for Qatari-registered aircrafts, we took the scenic route to go to Doha and basically flew along the Omani coast, but still above the persian sea and took a sharp left turn once we got above Musandan peninsula, towards Doha.


Snack offered on this MCT-DOH flight. Not much a choice of beverages...


The scenic route to DOH due to the U.A.E embargo


Our gate neighbour in DOH. Airbus 350-900 "OneWorld" livery

We landed in Doha Hamad Intl at 1425 and arrived at the gate slightly ahead of schedule at 1430

Last edited by palmanfr; Feb 7, 19 at 3:22 pm
palmanfr is offline  
Old Feb 9, 19, 2:38 am
  #84  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
Qatar Al-Mourjan business class lounge - DOH

Security clearance in Doha was a breeze as there was no line and I went afterwards to Qatars Al Mourjan Business class lounge. The lounge was almost empty of passengers at this time of the day.

The lounge is massive and was reviewed many times on FlyerTalk, including on my 2 last trip reports. However, every time I visit it, I notice a downgrade of the catering options. This time was no different, as the baklavas, this Arabic sweets which go nicely with some tea or coffee were not available anymore ! Come on Qatar !


Al Mourjan lounge entrance




The lounge is just for me !




I like those bamboos...


Business center entrance





The lounge is otherwise quite impressive, with the dining areas located at each end of the lounge. I went to the business center as i wanted to work a bit and this was the only place in the lounge, besides the restaurants where you would have a real table to work on. Also, only a conference table, located at the center of the business center had some power plugs available. All other computer stations or tables have no power plugs in the immediate vicinity.

Anyway, since the lounge, and the business center were completely empty at this particular time, I could enjoy a big conference table, just for me !


Business center entrance


A big conference table just for me ! That's the only spot where I noticed a table and a power plug at the same place !

I stayed in the business center for a good 3 hours and did not feel the time passing by... until I started to feel hungry and decided to check out the two dining areas...

The dinner options were alright, not as wide and good as the first time as I flew QR a few years ago. Call me picky, but this lounge used to be exceptional, not its just good :-)


Sweets selection next to the business center... Where are my Bakhlavas !?


One of the two restaurants in this lounge






Menu that day...


The second restaurant, upstairs, with a hot buffet (did not take pictures this time, but it was consisting into 3-4 hot dishes)






Dessert buffet


I like to finish my meal with a sweet touch :-)

As a side note, the social media team of Qatar airways seems to be on top , as they commented a post I made on Instagram about the lack of Baklavas in the lounge 24 hours after publishing and requested some additional information, which I provided. I later received an email from QR customer service apologizing for this catering enhancement .

Finally, I used one of the lounge shower suites about 60 minutes before leaving towards my gate and did not have to wait for long before getting one (unlike during my previous visits - the embargo is clearly impacting the number of premium passengers flying QR !)


Departure board. Time to leave for my gate to Singapore !

I left the lounge at 1915 and this was followed by a 10 minute walk towards the bus gate C27, for my flight to Singapore.
aeroman380 and roadwarrier like this.
palmanfr is offline  
Old Feb 10, 19, 6:44 am
  #85  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons 5+ BadgeSPG 5+ Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Germany
Programs: Some
Posts: 10,466
Glad you found some sweets in the end, even if it wasnt Baklava
palmanfr likes this.
offerendum is offline  
Old Mar 21, 19, 12:28 pm
  #86  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
Qatar Airways DOH to SIN - Business class - Airbus A350-900

Boarding began a few minutes before I arrived and the agent decided to direct me to the regular bus until I mentioned to him I was eligible to use the business class shuttle, which after checking my boarding pass a second time, confirmed.

Qatar uses a small minibus to bring business class passengers to the aircraft when the plane is not connected to the terminal. After a few minutes of drive, we arrived at the door of the A350-900, registered A7-ALC


Bus gate to SIN






Business class transfer bus


QR Airbus A350-900 (A7-ALC)




Boarding using door 2L

Qatar Airways QR942, November 21st 2018
DOH Doha Hamad Intl - 20:15
SIN Singapore Changi - 09:15 (+1)
Airbus A350-900 – A7-ALC – Seat 07A, Business class, Bulkhead seat, window.


The boarding was done using stairs connected to the door #2 Left and the cabin service manager together with one flight attendant were greeting each passengers coming in. My seat, 7A, was the first one of the business class mini-cabin and located right next to the entrance.

Qatar Airways has configured its business class cabin on board the Airbus 350-900 in a 1-2-1 configuration, ensuring that every business class passenger has direct access to the aisle (this is also called herringbone configuration). The seats in row 1, just like the ones in row 7, have slightly better legroom and extra storage space as those are the first rows of the two business class sections.

Finally, there is no real divider between the two business class sections and the galley #2 (which is not really a galley per se actually, more the location where some snacks and drinks are available during the flight). I thought this would be a big disadvantage of being seated in row 7, but I have to say this was not, as I still had a bit of privacy towards the galley, and this particular flight was very quiet as most of the passengers slept, not really many people ever visited this snacking area.


Seat 7A


Little cabinet to stow personal items


This cabinet is large enough to accomodate my laptop for example (Macbook 12)


Additional stowage for the noise cancelling headphone and water bottle


Legroom


I love the fact air ducts are available, as this is not always the case on wide body aircrafts in premium cabins...


View from the seat...


Although the seat 7A is at the first row of the mini cabin, facing the bar area, I was not disturbed by any noise or passenger movements.

The seat, just like most of the business class seats in the market those days had a USB port, a 110V power plug, diverse seated positions with lumbar support and can transform in a full flat bed of almost 2 meters. It did not have an electric massage function though. Wifi was available on board, with the first 15 minutes for free. A reasonable amount os storage was available, next to the seat, and in front of it. More in depth review of this product is available on my previous flyer talk trip report, as the seat used on this Airbus 350-900 was similar to the one used on their Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner and the Airbus 380-800.

Shortly before departure, a welcome drink was offered together with a choice of cold or hot towels. The pajamas and sleepers were also provided, with the menus for the food and wines.

At the seat upon boarding were already placed the Bric’s amenity kit, the pillow and blanket.


Brics amenity kit with the cold towel and welcome beverage (just water this time)


Never had this color before...


Pyjama, sleepers and the menus






Pommery is a safe bet, but I am going to try the other one...










And more booze !

Finally, just like on every QR long haul flight in Business class, the purser, an Italian man in his late 30s came to every passenger to introduce himself and inform us that the flight time to Singapore will be around 8 hours, as scheduled.

He also informed us that another flight attendant, a friendly Korean lady in her early 30s would be servicing this section of the cabin during the flight.

I never really saw again the purser during almost the entire flight, but the Korean FA remained very available and came frequently at the rear section of the cabin to check if everything was alright. We eventually talked a bot about my travels and also the places she got the opportunity to visit at mid-flight.

Together with bringing the pajamas, my welcome drink and the cold towel I ordered, the FA asked me if I wanted to drink anything after take off, and I opted for some ros champagne.

We took off around 20:30 as I recall and service started shortly after, with my champagne order coming with some nuts.


Take off from DOH watching an episode of "New Girl"


Post-departure drink - Going to try the Atar ros champagne


It came with warm nuts. The champagne was ok, but I had better ross on other flights and airlines...

The champagne, an Atar ros, was ok, but I had some better ones on board other airlines, including QR…

One thing I absolutely love about flying Qatar business class in long haul is that you can pretty much order any food on the menu at anytime ( Dine on demand concept). I felt a bit hungry after take off so I decided to have my dinner at this stage. 20 minutes after my order, the flight attendant came to dress the table (I love this fake candle they placed !) and brought at the same time a very good shrimp amuse bouche.


Amuse-bouche...

Excellent !

The starter later arrived (Salmon gravlax) and it was excellent.


Salmon Gravlax

I opted for the sea bass main course and it was also pretty good !


Sea bass.



Finally, I choose a healthy option for the dessert and opted for the fresh berries in rose water syrup… It was very good !

It came with a chamomile tea and some Godiva chocolates. I felt pretty tired after the dinner and just had the time to watch a 20-minute episode of a TV series and visit the lavatory to put the pajama on before falling asleep, for a couple hours…


Red fruit salad, in a mint "soup"


Camomille tea with Godiva chocolates


Bathroom stop before going to bed !


Soon off to bed!


View on the front business class cabin


Snacking area next to door 2

About 3 hours later I woke up and an hour later the crew started to ask the ones awake if they wanted to have some breakfast. I was not very hungry so I opted for the fresh fruits with the granola yogurt.





All the lights were switched on about an hour before landing and the immigration forms were given about 40 minutes before arrival, which I think is a bit late. I like when the crew gives the forms just after departure so passengers have plenty of time to complete those. Especially considering there were a few turbulences during the descent into Singapore.



The approach into Singapore was very scenic and this was one of those days I was happy to have a window seat !










Scenic approach in Singapore Changi








Total route DOH-SIN

We landed around 09.05 local time and arrived at our gate 5 minutes later, so a few minutes before scheduled arrival time

Disembarking was smooth and as usual in Singapore, the immigration was painless (you can even get free candies there !). Luggage arrived quite promptly, with my bag being one of the first ones on the belt.

Singapore customs were pretty active that morning and my belongings, were requested to be X-ray screened. This was also the case for maybe a third of the other passengers on this flight.




Singapore immigration clearance was very fast...


... Such as the luggage delivery !

Overall, I think Qatar airways has a very solid business class product, probably one of the best around. Being a OneWorld member airline, it makes the redemptions using miles, but also the miles credit very easy and potentially lucrative for a lot of frequent flyer programs. I personally credited my previous flights to my British Airways account, although this time, I used some BA Avios to purchase those business class tickets from Muscat and paid in total 64500 Miles + 192 Euros of taxes and fees. The same ticket would have easily cost 1000 Euros or more. I just wished I could have tried their new Q Suites business class product… Maybe next time !
palmanfr is offline  
Old Mar 21, 19, 1:01 pm
  #87  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
MH SIN-KUL-PNH Business class, with Sama-Sama Express Transit hotel in KUL

After spending 36 hours in the garden city, with my hotel being in the district of Katong (Holiday Inn Express Katong which I can certainly recommend), I was ready to visit a new country I havent been yet to : Cambodia. But before this, I had to fly to Kuala Lumpur and with my flight to Phnom Penh being the following morning, I decided to spend the night at the Sama-Sama Express Transit hotel within the satellite terminal.

Checking-in at the MH counter in Singapore was reasonably fast as I used the priority desk. Since my first leg to Singapore was booked using BA Avios and the second flight was booked cash (Business class promotional fares), I had to ask the agent to combine both reservations on my checked-in bag so I wont have to retrieve it in KUL, and this was done swiftly.


Singapore Changi Terminal 2




Very well organized airport !


I like those old-fashioned departure boards !




MH check-in area

After a first quick bag security screening, and immigration clearance, I was into the international terminal and as I was quite early, I decided to use for the first time a Priority Pass partner restaurant to have dinner, compliments of Priority Pass. TGM is the partner restaurant and is located inside the upper floor food court of Terminal 2. A special business menu is available for Priority Pass cardholders and consists into a bento and one drink. I opted for the Salmon teriyaki bento with Takoyakis and an iced green ted. The food was very good !


After "mini-security"


Food court SIN T2


TGM restaurant, Priority pass eligible


Very good bento box !


Even Oppossum liked it !

Singapore airport terminal 2 is a pleasant place to be, with some indoor gardens and nice rest areas available all across the terminal. One thing I liked there is that besides the usual luxury brands outlets, you can also find regular shops , like convenience stores, pharmacies, or affordable clothing and souvenir shops. This is something most of the European airports have forgotten to include nowadays


SIN T2




Indoor garden

About an hour before departure I decided to visit the SATS lounge MH uses in SIN. This lounge is used by many airlines other than Singapore airlines and its Star Alliance partners. The lounge was pretty busy, although I managed to find a nice spot in a small room on the side. the catering at the lounge was pretty basic, and I was glad I ate at the TGM restaurant before !


SATS T2 Lounge entrance


Inside SATS T2 lounge


Quite busy...




Buffet options













On a side note, I took the opportunity to purchase a StarHub prepaid SIM card which works in several Asian countries, the USA, Australia and New Zealand (full list of covered countries is available on the StarHub website), and I will recommend it for any traveller in Asia, together with the excellent AIS Sim2fly sim card from Thailand (also available on Amazon). For one having a bank account in France, I can also recommend the no-contract SIM card from Free mobile covers an impressive number of destinations for only 20 Euros / month. I used the monthly 25 GB (not a typo) data allowance in EU, Russia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, USA and Argentina without serious issues, and the list of countries covered is increasing on a regular basis.


StarHub prepaid SIM card, works in most of Asia + US, Canada, Australia, and NZ


Found a nice spot far from the crowd !



My flight was supposed to leave at 21:20 but was re-timed (Malaysia Airlines nomenclature for delayed) to 21:50. If there is one and only one thing I hate about Singapore Changi airport is that you need to clear security at the gate, with zero priority handling of premium or status passengers. I eventually arrived at the gate 21:10 and it was still showing the previous flight on the screen leading to lots of confusion for the passengers (there was also zero staff available around). By 21:25, people started to gather around the gate entrance without much information until the first few security staff arrived and the screen got updated to MH610 to Kuala Lumpur. The security screening was quite chaotic at start as 2 lanes got opened, but later on, the security staff figured out there were not enough and they decided to close one of the lanes, creating even more mess. I eventually got through security and waited for another 20 minutes or so in the waiting zone next to the gate.

The inbound flight for KUL arrived at 21.50, so there was no way we could leave at the re-timed schedule. not that I cared anyway as my connecting flight out of KUL was the following day

By 22:10 priority boarding was called and I took my seat 2A.


Departure board. Just put "delayed" instead of "retimed"


My gate to... Kuala Lumpur ?


And all those passengers had the same comment as me !


Ok, seems like it's the right one !


Before...


... During ...


... After !


Finally boarding !

Malaysia Airlines MH610, November 23st 2018
SIN Singapore Changi - 21:20 (departed 22:40)
KUL Kuala Lumpur Intl - 22:10 (arrived 23:40)
Boeing 737-800 9M-MXW Seat 02A, Business class, window.


We left the gate at 22:40 and there was a 20 min wait before taking off from Changi airport. The business class cabin was quite full that evening and was configured American-style in a 2-2 layout. The seats were comfortable, especially considering the short duration of this flight and was equipped with a USB port and a power outlet. An individual IFE screen was also available.


My seat 2A




Reclining controls


Plenty of legroom


View from my seat...

A choice of water or fruit juice was offered before departure and shortly after take-off, the flight attendant came to offer a small chicken sandwich or a fruit salad and was addressing to the passengers using their last name. The chicken sandwich was ok, especially considering this was a 40-minute flight


Welcome drink




Safety video


Prayer before departure... MH always broadcast this on individual screens


Departing SIN

Malaysia Airlines is quite strict concerning the use of electronic devices during taxi, take off and landing, and I was reminded that I was not allowed to take pictures during the taxi to our departing runway (Although I was in flight mode, I find this to be quite ridiculous rule, and they call for the usual, one reason fits all, safety reason ).


Chicken sandwich

We arrived at our gate at 23:40 and disembarked into the main terminal, where most of the outlets were starting to close.


Short route to KUL


Arriving at the main terminal of KUL



I used 9000 Avios for this flight, and paid 38 Euros of taxes.

I have been to KUL airport only a couple times and this was several years ago, but got quickly familiarized with the airport configuration. The Same-Same transit hotel being located in the satellite terminal, I took the aerotrain for a few minutes to get there.


Aerotrain linking the main and satellite terminal


Inside the Satellite terminal

The satellite terminal handles most of the long-haul flights and wide-body aircrafts, while the main terminal mostly deals with the smaller jets, the domestic and regional flights (although there could be some exceptions once in a while). MH operated 3 lounges in total in KUL, the domestic lounge, located at the ground floor of the main terminal, which serves, as the name indicates, domestic flights only; the regional lounge for international flights is located on the upper floor of the main terminal; and the Satellite lounge, which is actually their main flagship lounge is available inside the satellite terminal !

This lounge (or should I say those two lounges, as there is a distinction between the business class and the first class lounge) has been renovated recently and I was looking forward to trying it. Since I was not feeling very tired yet and wanted to get a drink and a small snack before going to the transit hotel, I decided to give a try and ask if I could visit the lounge (it was about midnight - this lounge is open 24/7). The lady at the front desk said this was not an issue, although the first class lounge was closed at that time, she invited me to visit the business lounge, on the left side of the counter.






MH Golden lounge "Satellite" terminal

The lounge was pretty desert at those late hours and was, I think, only open to accommodate passengers flying on the QR flight to Doha which departed at 2.15am.

The lounge is pretty big and has one bar at the entrance of it, featuring some outside views, two buffet areas, a family section, and plenty of seating. A nap area is also available (mens and womens are separated) and showers are available in the restrooms. Finally, complimentary wifi is available and its speed was good.


Business lounge entrance


First, you see the bar area (not staffed at the time of my visit)


Business lounge entrance






Lots of seating available tonight !




Kids / Family area


Nap rooms


Inside the male nap room

Considering this was clearly not the peak hours, the buffet was a bit more restricted in terms of choice, although it was enough to accommodate my late night hunger.


Buffet options at midnight







I stayed about 20 minutes in there, before deciding to go to the transit hotel, where my room was granted to 7 hours (I booked the 6-hour package on hotels.com - The cheap trick there consists in checking-in a few minutes after the hour or the half-hour mark so the attendant grants you 30 or 60 minutes extra sleeping time depending on his/her mood :-) Call me cheap, but I prefer spending the additional 40 MYR / hour for something else :-D)

The room was ok for one night, the bed was comfortable, and every time I stayed at this transit hotel during this round the world trip, I got outside views. I understand from the floor map that not all rooms have outside windows though and the first rooms when entering the hallway are much bigger, but noiser, than the ones located towards the end.


Hotel entrance, next to gate C5


Hotel lobby. Also acts as a lounge with some snacks


Sama-sama express KUL Satellite terminal






Good night !

And Good morning!
palmanfr is offline  
Old Mar 22, 19, 2:50 am
  #88  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Programs: BA Bronze, Emirates Silver, Virgin Silver, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 1,314
How much were you for the hotel?

I remember feeling very ripped off for staying in the one in Dubai airport given how late we arrived, the fact I couldn't sleep (body was still on UK time) and given how early we left to get to the lounge for breakfast before boarding our flight. Out of that trip we did, that hotel was the most expensive one of the lot!
nequine is offline  
Old Mar 22, 19, 9:56 am
  #89  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
Originally Posted by nequine View Post
How much were you for the hotel?

I remember feeling very ripped off for staying in the one in Dubai airport given how late we arrived, the fact I couldn't sleep (body was still on UK time) and given how early we left to get to the lounge for breakfast before boarding our flight. Out of that trip we did, that hotel was the most expensive one of the lot!
It was quite reasonable compared to some middle east airports, or even BKK. The 6-hour package on hotels.com was 55 Euros the 3 times I stayed at this hotel in december, (plus a few % cashback and the 10% Hotels.com rewards credits). I got the room for 6h30 minutes one time and almost 7 hours twice. Any extra hour will cost 40 MYR IIRC, which is roughly about 10 Euros, but I did not need this. So for the price paid, this was a no brainer. It it would have been like 100 Euros for the same thing, I would have slept in the MH First lounge, in the Nap Area I would say.
The same thing in BKK was more than 100 Euros every time I checked, DOH is even more expensive.
nequine likes this.
palmanfr is offline  
Old Mar 27, 19, 11:45 pm
  #90  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In between BRU, AMS, DUS and LUX...
Programs: AF/KL Plat, BA Gold, TK Silver, IHG Platinum, MR Gold, HH Gold, A-Club Silver, Hertz PC
Posts: 956
MH First class lounge + MH Business class KUL-PNH

After a good 5 hours of sleep, I was ready to check out and head to the MH First class lounge to have breakfast, and finally get to visit it.


On the right side of the lounge, the First class entrance...

The lounge is organized in different sections. The hallway at the entrance dispatches into the dining room on the right, the restrooms and showers on the left, and the main lounge straight ahead. I found the lounge staff to be welcoming every time I met a staff member.
The lounge area is quite nice, and looks like the new BA lounges in my opinion. The lounge section has some outside views, but I did not stay long there as I thought the AC was set to a very low temperature (and I am the kind of guy who loves AC, so the temperature was very low !). Nap rooms are also located at the end of the lounge and a first class suite, which I believe is accessible only for true first class passengers on MH, is available. I did not have access to this room so could not comment on it.



First class lounge entrance


Dining area




Main First class lounge




Small buffet



The dining room offers an a la carte, waitered service; while the lounge just has a very limited selection of snacks in self service. The buffet is certainly better at the business class lounge next door, and would be a better alternative for one in a hurry to get some food before catching a flight.
I headed towards the dining room and was given a table with outside views within seconds.


Table with a view


Breakfast menu


Cereal / breakfast selection



I opted for some cereals located inside the dining room and some waffles. with an omelette with beans and mushrooms. It was good, besides the mushrooms which were not to my taste. The service was very good during this breakfast and the dining room eventually got almost to capacity by the time I was done.



Waffles and western breakfast



I decided to leave the lounge around 7.50 to reach the main terminal as my flight to Phnom Penh was not departing from the satellite terminal.

2 options are available to reach the main terminal : The Aerotrain, which most of the passengers is using, and the bus, which offers a more scenic view but takes more time. I am not really sure why the airport offers both possibilities I opted this time for the bus and I reached the main terminal around 8.05





I am going to take the bus this time...

KUL is organized like SIN when it comes to security clearance, in a sense that it is done at the gate rather then using a centralized screening area. This means that there is no priority for security screening and everyone has to queue the same way. It took about 15 minutes to clear security and reach the gate G10, with both flights for Phnom Penh and Singapore departing from that gate.


Queuing for security...


Two flights departing the same gate...


The flight to PNH will be the first aircraft, 9M-MLK


Waiting area after security






9M-MLK KUL-PNH

Malaysia Airlines MH754, November 24th 2018
KUL Kuala Lumpur Intl - 09:00
PNH Phnom Penh - 09:50
Boeing 737-800 9M-MLK Seat 01F, Business class, window.


The aircraft in use for that flight, an old Boeing 737-800, was featuring the old business class seat, without IFE. The cabin was quite full for this flight and the crew gave to each passenger the immigration form for Cambodia upon entering the aircraft.


My seat, 1F


Lots of legroom on the other side...


Ashtrays !?!



The legroom on my bulkhead seat 01F was ok, although seats 01A and C were having much more legroom.
A pre-departure beverage was offered, and we had the choice between water or guava juice. I opted for the latter.
As we were taxing to our departure runway, with views on the different aircrafts MH has in operation, including the Airbus A380, the paper menus were distributed, which is a nice touch considering this short flight.


Guava juice, one of my favourite !


Cambodia immigration forms were given during boarding




Menu for the flight to PNH


This page is the menu for the return flight to KUL




MH Airbus A380, mainly used for Hajj/Umrah flights and sometimes to ICN, NRT or LHR...

We took off around 09:15 and service began shortly after. I opted for the Chee Cheong Fun (the fish balls and tofu cakes) and it was alright, less spicy than I thought. Unfortunately, no hot drinks were available due to some (minor) turbulences during the flight. The service was otherwise ok.


Tasty, but a bit spicy...


Cambodian coast






Landing in PNH

The flight was otherwise pretty eventless, with some nice clear outside views. I paid 131 Euros for this flight during a Malaysia airlines sale and I earned 40 BA Tier Points.

We landed 10 minutes earlier in Phnom Penh and reached the gate 5 minutes later, parked next to a China Eastern flight coming from Nanning.




PNH airport (but I cannot read Khmer alphabet :-))


Our gate neighbour

Phnom Penh airport is managed by the French company Vinci Airports and looks modern. Visa on arrival counters were open before immigration but I did not have to use this service as I applied for an electronic visa online. Immigration clearance took only a few minutes, and my luggage was in my hands by 10:00, so considering we were supposed to land at 09.50, this was a pretty good performance !


Luggage arrived fast on the belt


Arrivals area of PNH airport



I used Grab to get to my hotel located at the center of the city and the traffic was pretty chaotic.


I don't want to drive in that city !






Seems like the water festival was a few days before my arrival...
palmanfr is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread