Qatar Airways – Five Star Steerage

Currently ranked the best airline in the world, for the second year in a row, all I can wonder is why. I am not saying it is the worst of the worst, I’ve flown on old soviet planes and questionable budget flights of all kinds, but I guess my expectation for the best would be better than it is.

I’ve only flown Qatar Airways several times, but I have been left with the same question each time. Really? I presume it is the world’s five star airline if you are indeed in first class, but steerage is nothing less.

In economy you’d be hard pressed to pick out anyone who might hail from the Middle East. It appears most of the plane I was on was headed to Indian, last time it was the Philippines. The food, movies, and cramped seats are pretty standard of any international airline. 

The flight attendants clearly from all over, but not particularly selected for their hospitality. When I got up, a bit bleary eyed, to wander back to the snack area, I got a sharp “what do you want?” They made Lufthansa look friendly.

The 14 hr flight is the first thing to get over, but the layover is much harder. Can you imagine a seven hour layover with not a single restaurant in the airport? Even Fiji’s itty bitty airport has a nice restaurant to pass the time and get a last piece of fish. Here we have A&W, Costa (a popular coffee shop in the Middle East) and a cafeteria where they give you a voucher for excessive layovers – 7 doesn’t qualify.

I decide to hold out and nibble on my power bar for the seven hour layover, but then am sorely disappointed by the meal offered.  First they have one choice, to which my response is, then why are you presenting it as if it is a choice?  The food on Kenya Airways is better.  This is inedible, and on my standards after 8 hours without a meal, is pretty bad.

The saving grace is one small quiet room, in the upper corner near the men’s mosque, where I have been hunkered in for the last six hours. Thank goodness I had one emergency bar in my purse to tide me over and prevent me from the limited unhealthy options that are available.

There is a tiny shopping area where you can marvel at the cost. That sums up the airport.

According to the announcement at landing, they are thankfully building a new airport. It is about time. Portland’s airport would be like an oasis here. Did I mention there is no wifi, even paid, outside of lounges? A small room with computers for access, but frankly it isn’t worth it.

I’ll be happy to be flying through Switzerland on my return!


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