Travelling amid a pandemic from Doha to Belgrade

TRIP REPORT | INDEX


Flight: QR232
Date: 7.10.2020

Last Wednesday I flew from Doha to Belgrade with Qatar Airways. The airline is currently operating three weekly flights with the A320. The plane departs Doha at 7.20 AM. Doha Airport wasn’t as empty as I thought it would be. The majority of the duty-free shops were working although entry to some parts of the terminal are restricted only to passengers who have their flights departing from gates located in that part of the airport. 




I headed to the Qatar Airways business class lounge, which Is currently the only lounge working at Doha Airport. Despite this, there was more than enough space since this lounge is huge and on two floors. At one point I believe the number of staff outnumbered the number of people in the lounge. The upper floor is used for dining. You are seated at a table, like in a restaurant, and are asked for your drink order and if you would like to eat. There is an a la carte menu available by scanning a QR code and there is also a buffet. Due to Covid, you can view the buffet and then tell the waiter what you want and they bring it to you. There is also a sushi station where a chef is making fresh sushi and you can tell him your preference. Service levels are quite high. Lounge staff constantly comes around to ask whether you want drinks. As I said, the lounge is huge, so in addition to dining, there are quiet areas, work areas, bathrooms with showers, a smoking room inside the lounge and so on. 







After a coffee it was time to head to the gate. One would think the load would be light, but it was the opposite. Out of 132 seats, only 1 was empty. You would be forgiven to think you were headed to Beijing as over 90% of the passengers were Chinese. At the boarding gate you are given a face shield, which you have to wear during boarding and when leaving the plane. Business class passengers can take them off as soon as they take their seat, while I’m not sure whether economy class passengers are allowed to take them off other than for meal and beverage service. 







Boarding started a bit late, but business class passengers were invited first. The cabin on this A320 is probably one of the best hard products you will find on this type of aircraft. They are fully flat seats with a shell back, so you don’t obstruct the passengers behind. We were greeted by two Filipino crew members. As soon as the passengers took their seats, they offered welcome drinks to everyone, for which you could order anything you wanted. They highlighted their new signature drink which is made of guava, so I chose that and it was quite refreshing. The crew then personally welcomed each passenger by their last name, introduced themselves and gave out the flight information. They were very polite and attentive. 






At each seat there was a menu, a wine list, amenity kit, a safety kit (with mask and gloves) a 75ml hand sanitiser, bottle of water, blanket, pillow and noise cancelling headphones. 




The following was the breakfast menu for the morning. The meal choices were taken before departure and the crew also asked when each passenger wanted to eat. 




After the pre-departure formalities were completed, which included a short video on washing your hands and wearing your mask properly, we took off for Belgrade. 



The meal service started shortly after. Due to covid, the crew brought out the meals on trays with the appetiser and later brought out your main meal of choice. The food was covered when served. It tasted great. The crew was very proactive in quickly bringing out main meals as soon passengers were done with their appetisers and offered drink top ups throughout the meal. After that, passengers were handed mints. The crew also shut the blinds so people could sleep if they wanted. 




The entertainment system is great. It has lots of movies, shows, documentaries, games… The aircraft is equipped with Wifi but even though it was turned on, no internet connection was available. I asked the crew and they apologised and said it was not working. It was the same case on the flight from Belgrade so I’m not sure if it is disabled on purpose, as it used to be available on their A320s in the past. 


I fell asleep after the meal and woke up just as we were entering Serbian airspace. Interestingly the moving map was also showing “Titograd” in near proximity 😉



Before landing, the cabin crew came to each passenger to thank them for flying with Qatar and they had information from where each passenger originally started their journey, seeing as most were transfers, and asked them about their trip. 

It was a very enjoyable flight. Although the service is slightly modified compared to before it has not been downgraded in any way. Compared to other airlines, I think they are miles ahead. Also, special mention should go to the crew, which really worked hard on this flight and did a great job.  Interestingly, quite a few passengers went to the transfer desk in Belgrade, easily identified by wearing the Qatar face shield.


I won’t write an entire report on my flight from Belgrade to Doha but will just share some photos below. Again, the food and service were great. The business class cabin wasn’t as full and there were 5 passengers. Before landing, the crew chatted again with each passenger and I could hear to where they were heading off to. One was going to Hong Kong, three to the Maldives and one was staying in Doha. Oh, and in case you are wondering, you get to keep the face shields. If you are transferring through Doha Airport, you are told by the airport staff to take them off when you leave the plane.















Share your travel experience by submitting a trip report to exyu@exyuaviation.com


Comments

  1. Anonymous09:24

    Quick question, I can see you visited Al Mourjan business lounge, do you know if silver/gold members which are travelling economy can enter the Al Mourjan business lounge since you mentioned that is the only lounge available at the airport currently?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:32

      I'm not the author of the report but regarding the lounge at Doha, all status holders who have lounge access as part of status can use the Al Mourjan lounge irrespective of the class they are currently flying as long as all other lounges remain closed.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:00

      Not sure if anything changed since last year when I transited via Doha - I flew economy (I have silver status) and was given access to some other QR business lounge in Doha, definitely not as nice and spacious as this one. :)

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:07

      Yep, you use this one until the other lounges open.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:24

    Interesting how QR manages to fill an A320 (and soon widebodies) while Etihad can't. Even FZ is boosting BEG in about ten days with additional departures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:29

      EY offers far fewer destinations than QR. Also don't forget EY requires PCR test just to board their plane (to/from any destination).

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:48

      Yes but EY has access to the UAE market which is massive from BEG!

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:35

    Great report. Got to say the load is quite impressive.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous09:40

    wow well done QR for keeping standards up

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous09:49

    Looks amazing

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would like to know if its Belgrade already open for travellers to all countries? I really need your information

    ReplyDelete
  7. After reading this report and the LF for the flight, it's pretty clear that JU needs to start direct flights to China asap.

    ReplyDelete
  8. possibly the best meals in the sky

    ReplyDelete

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