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    pinstripes&airmiles
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    I was contacted by BA on the evening of my departure from Doha, to make arrangements for a meet and greet, to take me directly to the departure gate.

    As I’d already booked a transfer to the airport I advised them of my anticipated arrival time and was told that my boarding pass would be waiting for me there and a member of staff would escort me to the lounge.

    I know some people love this kind of service and I think there are times an places for it, but on a relatively quiet evening in Doha I didn’t think there was a need for it, despite the fact the member of staff insisted that I should take advantage of this service.

    I arrived at Doha Airport terminal B at about 9pm for my 11.20pm departure. At the first class counter the boarding pass had not yet been printed, but this was very quickly done and the agent again insisted on escorting me to the lounge. There was quite a queue at immigration, here the escort came in handy – pushing me to the front, despite this there was a wait, but once through here there was no queue for security and I was air-side before 9.15.

    BA uses the Oryx lounge in Doha, as with most 3rd party lounges, it is over-crowded and not particularly luxurious in any way (it makes you very grateful for the Concord Room in T5). The young lady who had escorted me to the lounge asked me to present myself at the gate no later than 10.20 – which I did, and after a brief security check, I found a seat and waited for boarding to be called.

    First and Club passengers had a dedicated bus, but this left after the World Traveller bus, which resulted on us waiting on the tarmac to board, this didn’t bother me but some of the other passengers seemed a bit narked by this.

    Crew welcomed us onboard and I was escorted to my seat – I had to direct the young lady however as she headed for the wrong aisle initially. It was a nice surprise to get the “new” First cabin (not usually prevalent on the middle eastern routes yet), it really is a massive improvement in terms of privacy vs the previous cabin (to the point where I would rather have a Club World window seat for privacy vs a middle seat in the old First cabin).

    The seats are on a par in-terms of comfort and space, some minor differentiators that I notice are: new first has more space at the guest-seat/ottoman end of the bed; the foot rest in new First isn’t as big as the one in old First and can’t be moved independently; the amount of personal stowage space is vastly improved with the slim-line wardrobes, the window blinds make a nice gimmick and the new TVs are a significant improvement over the old product.

    Before take-off amenity kits, including pyjamas were offered. It was a quiet flight for the hop across to Bahrain – just two of us in First. Canapes were offered prior to take off (which I refused), only to be offered them again once airborne (which is unusual on these short hops, usually there’s no service).

    There was a lot of hanging about in Bahrain, because we landed early. During the flight crew change, the Captain came and personally introduced himself to me and the other passenger in First, before the remaining (3 passengers) joined us.

    We left Bahrain on-time, once airborne drinks were offered along with nuts, before dinner orders were taken. I opted for the light option (a salad of oriental duck) which I was a bit disappointed with, the duck was quite tough. I enjoyed a lovely with Burgundy with it, as dinner was tidied away I was offered a turn-down service.

    I’d noticed that on the right-hand side of the cabin, the crew had turned down separate seats to those occupied by the passengers, while on my-side of the plane, it was my own seat which was turned down. I changed into pyjamas, hung my clothes in the wardrobe and settled down for some rest.

    I slept almost continuously for about 4 hours before waking, it took a few minutes for the crew to offer me breakfast, but this was done courteously.

    I got-up, washed and changed in the bathroom before I enjoyed my Espresso and a plate a of properly ripe fruit (hate it when I get under ripe fruit) and read a copy of the previous day’s Financial Times until landing.

    We arrived at a B-gate and disembarked swiftly before taking the shuttle train back to the main terminal building. Where I proceeded to flight connections before popping into the Concord Room for a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich where I waited until my onward connecting flight.

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