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Ever wondered about flying on Qatar Airways? Wonder no more! Here's a first-hand account from Eleanor Hughes who recently travelled on Qatar to Norway & Finland return.

The plane:  A Qatar Airways Airbus A330-300.   It looks brand new.

The seat:  4E, which is in Business Class.  An aisle seat with nobody on the other side of the purple screen blocking my view of anybody who might’ve been there.  And an empty seat on the other side of the aisle.  So much leg room, so much seat, so much space.  I fly just after 10a.m. so don’t find the need to try out the bed.  There are a lot of buttons to fiddle with to position the seat.

Class:  Upgraded to Business.  Wow, wow, wow… it’s incomparable to Economy.  I’m so thankful.  With a hacking cough, I wasn’t looking forward to being in close confines with other people, whom I’m sure would have been giving me filthy looks.  People are so far away/hidden from me in Business, they don’t seem to be disturbed by my coughing.

On time:  We’re half an hour late leaving with no explanation.  However in my luxury, I’m not bothered.  I spend the time reading the a la carte menu and trying to decide what to have.

Price:  An upgrade from economy.

Flight time:  5 hours 40 minutes.

Service:  Greeted with a smile and offered a hot towel and drink as soon as I’m seated.  Classical music is playing, I’m given the menu to peruse and told I can choose when I would like to be served.  Once in the air I have a meal.  First comes spiced nuts, in a bowl, and the mango juice I’ve ordered.  Then, I have a white cloth put on my tray, a white serviette placed on my lap and bread rolls, butter, china salt and pepper shakers and silverware set in front of me.  I’m offered salmon to start with which is also offered to everyone else when they have their meal.  I haven’t ordered it and give it a miss.  I’ve chosen the mezze which is enough for two and delicious, although the muhammara is a little spicy.  The main, Arabic spiced chicken, could’ve done with more sauce and there’s way too much rice for me.  The accompanying raita is good.  I’m then left alone.  If I’d wanted more food or beverages, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a problem.  Someone across the aisle works his way through the beverages menu, others dine later, so the stewards and stewardesses of which there seems to be at least four for the 30 seats in business – 6 of which are empty – are kept busy.  The bottled water I find up behind my right shoulder comes in handy for my coughing.

Fellow passengers:  From 20’s to 70’s of different nationalities.

Luggage:  30kg

Toilets:  Two, which are clean and quite spacious.  Packets of toothbrush and toothpaste are on the benchtop.

Plus:  A salmon coloured leather travel bag has a pair of salmon coloured socks, eyeshade, lip balm, anti-aging moisturiser, hydrating facial mist and earplugs.  The earphones are also upmarket, large and padded.

Airport experience:  I’m early in Helsinki so only have a very short wait to check in.  Then I wait a few minutes while a supervisor come and actions the requested upgrade to Business.  I discover that my bag will be sent through to Auckland, although I have a 10 hour stopover and a hotel booked in Doha.  The check-in attendant says she could try requesting it to be picked up in Doha but it sounds like it’s going to be a hassle to do so.  I decide I can do without the suitcase and wave it goodbye.  There are a few duty free shops to wander.  Gate 32A has no views and is basic, just a couple of rows of seats.   Boarding starts ¾ hour before we are due to fly.

In Doha, I queue for around ½ an hour to get through immigration.  Once out, I’m directed to my complimentary hotel transfer departure point.  I have a wait of 15 minutes, then around a 20 minute drive to the Oryx Rotana Doha hotel and in my hotel room about an hour and a quarter after landing.  The room is free -  a minimum transiting time of 12 hours is required to be eligible for the offer.  I only had 10 hours, so I got lucky.

 

Would I fly again?  You bet.  A totally different experience to Economy… how will I ever go back there?

submitted by -- Tony Terrill

Saletoga Sands Resorts in Samoa has added fishing to the number of activities on offer to guests. The fishing vessel is owned by Saletoga and is flxible to fit around tides, weather and guest requests. Pricing for a half day is $600 and a full day is $1100 for up to four people. Each additional hour is $165. Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa is on the island of Upolu, Samoa and is just one hour’s drive from Faleolo International Airport.

Mondo Travel has 5 night packages available for $1149* per person - https://mondotravel.co.nz/article/5924.

Source: Travelinc (09Mar18). 

submitted by -- Tony Terrill

Dinner at Victoria Falls - Mondo, and our travel partner World Journeys, highly recommend the Wild Horizons Lookout Café at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe for its location, location, location!  Recently opened for dinner every night, this casual Café is perched 120m above the turbulent rapids of the Zambezi River, just down from the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge which forms part of its spectacular backdrop.  Particularly spectacular if timed in with a full moon, contact one of our Travel Specialists for more info. 

submitted by -- Tony Terrill