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Just want to comment on the requirement to list down all countries visited in the past 10 years. I recently visited the UK for the first time, and was asked the same question when filling up the visa application form (yes, also with the entry & exit dates!) I’m not as well travelled as the majority of you guys, but I’ve been travelling to at least 5 countries every year for the past maybe 4 years. I stopped once I reached the last blank space (number 10). I later came to know that the list is expandable, and was afraid my application would be declined. Received the visa nonetheless, but not sure if it would’ve still been the case had they decided to dig deeper into my profile. My mom (who was travelling with me but applied for her visa from back home) was asked to also include a verified translation of her national ID, family registration card, and her birth certificate (!) along with all the other documents.
So yeah, not ranting, but we’re used to such a treatment being a citizen of a third world country…in reply to: Business trip to Moscow23 Mar 2018
For me, the most frustrating airline rule would be not allowing passengers to change (read: correct) the booking name at all. I haven’t encountered this myself, but I’ve heard a few cases where passengers weren’t allowed on board because they (or the booker) misspelt one letter of their name, or by mistake chose the wrong gender.
Anyone has stories like this to share?in reply to: Most frustrating airline rules2 Mar 2018
I’ve flown with them several times over the past few years on J, mainly on the AUH-CGK route (the last was in the end of June this year). I love their hard products, especially in comparison with the price tag. I’ve tried both their old (1-2-1) and new (2-2-2) J seats, and I found both of them pleasant, in fact I liked them way more than EY’s (EY uses A330s on that route). While the new seats offer narrower space, it is also preferred by some because the window seats are very private while still affording direct aisle access.
Service-wise: consistently good, but not outstanding. EY has better onboard service (QR is still the best, for me). My only gripe with WY is the ground service at their hub (MCT), which ranges between indifferent (normal situation) to poor (when you have problems). Their Business Class Lounge isn’t bad, though, and it offers complimentary 15-minute massages.
If you have time, take a look at my review here (it’s not the latest, but my experience with them has been quite consistent):
Safe travels!in reply to: Oman Air29 Dec 2017
I agree that EY is losing its shine and sparkle. EY used to be my first choice, not only because I’m based in AUH, but because it never disappointed me. Th at’s until recently. I’m not talking just about the perks that they decided to remove from premium passengers, but even the onboard experience has noticeably gone downwards. In my last two experiences with them in short-haul J, the crew couldn’t even explain to me what snacks they were serving. Last month I flew in Y from FRA-AUH, and the entire F & G seats’ IFE didn’t work. Haven’t flown EK for years, so not in the position to judge, but I flew QR J for the first time in January this year, and in all four legs (including 2 short hauls), the service was just outstanding. I was addressed by name (and I had no status in their loyalty program or anything affiliated with it), the cabin manager took time to talk to all passengers, and even helped caring for a passenger’s crying baby, and all F&B were graciously served (not in a rushed manner like EY). I only stopped flying QR because of the political feud between Qatar and the UAE.
I’m also increasingly agitated by the slow response of their customer service. Been chasing them (through the dedicated EY Gold email address) to credit missing miles from a WY J flight I took in June, and weeks later, a response saying they don’t credit miles for WY flight arrived. I pointed out that their website says the opposite, and I’ve been receiving miles for all my previous WY flights. They promised to get back to me, but I’m still waiting for response until now.
I still fly EY purely for convenience and as long as the destination is within a direct flight, but I’m becoming more and more open with other alternative options.
Kind regards.in reply to: First trip with Etihad in J28 Oct 2017
Happens to me every time I fly out of SHJ Airport (which, fortunately, is not very often). The check-in agents are just so clueless, and a supervisor seems to always have to be involved every 5 passengers or so. Needless to say, the waiting time at that airport is considerably longer than anywhere else I’ve been.
That said, this thread reminds me of something similar I encountered in AUH. I was flying WY with a brief stopover in MCT en route to my home country. I gave a print out of my e-ticket to the staff, and a few minutes later, I was still waiting (I only had to drop my luggage and print my boarding pass, so shouldn’t have taken that long). I thought there was some issue with the system, until he phoned one of his colleagues and asked her if I needed a visa for Oman because he couldn’t find the information. I quickly jumped in and pointed out that my final destination is not Oman, and only then he realized it. My boarding pass was printed in less than a minute.in reply to: Have you got an ESTA?4 May 2017
I agree that letting you know prior to moving the passenger would be very courteous. However, I see nothing wrong with not doing it, considering the empty seat was not yours to start with (except if you have any belonging on the vacant seat).
Thanks.in reply to: Would you find this rude?2 Feb 2017
I had the chance to spend a bit of time at Al Safwa Lounge on the way back to Abu Dhabi and you can read about my experience here: http://middleclasstraveller.weebly.com/blog/al-safwa-first-class-lounge-doha-airport-qatar.
It is also worth noting that despite not having quite the same wow level on my flight back from Jakarta (e.g.: the food was not as great), I received consistently wonderful service from the crew. For example, although there was no pajama offered by default in this leg (CGK-DOH) due to the flight schedule, the CSD (Joan) went around to look for one and gave it to me with a big smile. Also, I overheard another passenger placing a rather complicated meal request (I want this appetizer at this time, and this dish at this time, and I’ll take this instead of that, etc.) and this was also catered for happily. The CS manager (?) in the DOH-AUH flight, however, was not of the same league. She wasn’t rude or anything, but seemed confused and disorganized (it’s a shame because the other crews were fantastic) – and the only CS-in charge not addressing her passengers by name.
Would be happy to fly with QR again.
Tchao.29 Jan 2017
Agree with miningguy. It is very important not to take anything for granted as AirBNB does not impose specific standard on what facilities to offer, etc. I tend to take all the listings with a pinch of salt, and would go ahead only if I am really convinced. Read a lot of reviews and don’t hesitate to ask the hosts even the silliest questions. I have only used this service in Japan, but if you’re interested, check my blog post here: http://middleclasstraveller.weebly.com/blog/my-first-airbnb-experience.
Also agree with Bath_VIP and would recommend going through the reviews in case anyone ever felt unwelcome in the neighbourhood. At the end of the day, not everyone feels comfortable seeing unfamiliar faces getting in and out of their building every day.
All the best!in reply to: AIRBNB (new user)28 Jan 2017
I know that you’ve got plenty of things to do in Tokyo on your plate. However, if you do have the time, I would heartily recommend you to have lunch at Ukai Restaurant (the full name is Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai), not far from the Tokyo Tower. I was invited by a family friend recently and was extremely wowed. As the name suggests, they specialize in tofu dishes (“tofuya” means “tofu house/shop”) and have several set menu options to choose from. Some people may not be prepared to pay premium for tofu dishes, but I would argue that it’s not just about the food (which was invariably very good and beautifully presented with Japanese precision). The restaurant occupies an old-style traditional building and has its own (gorgeous) Japanese garden. We had a traditional tatami room for the four of us with views over the aforementioned garden, and the service was just magnificent. Not sure if they cater for foreigners equally well, though, as all of us spoke Japanese.
More details here: http://www.ukai.co.jp/english/shiba/
I can also recommend a side day trip to either Kamakura, Ashi Lake & onsen/hot spring experience in Hakone, or Nikko. The Asakusa/Sensoji Temple would also be a good place for a more typical Japanese must-see experience.
Wishing you a wonderful trip ahead!in reply to: Weekend in Tokyo – suggestions28 Jan 2017
@HighlandTraveller: Upscale hotels in the GCC would normally allow guests to check in early if you let them know well in advance and they have plenty of available rooms upon your arrival. And even if they can’t, they will allow you to use their leisure facilities (e.g.: health club, pools, steam/sauna, relaxation lounge, etc.) while waiting. That said, 5 AM arrival would be way too early to ask for an early check-in, so I suggest you spend a few hours in the Business/First Class lounge and have a light breakfast and leave the airport by around 8 or 9 AM to have a bigger chance for an early check-in. I found Al Mourjan Lounge’s quiet area’s cubicles to be reasonably comfortable for a quick nap (remove the cushions and the sofa will be almost as big as a roll away bed).
@Iceman2013: AFAIK, QR does offer free accommodation (with flexible check-in/out timings) if you’re on a long transit (>8 hours?) and there are no shorter connections available. Pretty sure it would be a hotel in the city, and not the one at the airport, though. Stand to be corrected.
PS: I recently wrote about my 11-hour stopover in DOH (did it by choice as I had never been to Qatar before). Would definitely recommend taking a peek at the Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA) and Souq Waqif. You can read my post here: http://middleclasstraveller.weebly.com/blog/my-11-hours-in-doha-qatarin reply to: DOHA stopover27 Jan 2017
Great idea to generate ancillary revenue, but I’m not sure if EK premium passengers would be okay with it. I’m afraid the lounges would end up being a tourism attraction with tourists snapping loads of pictures and selfies and perhaps also gulping down as much as they can, having paid a considerable amount of money for access. Not trying to sound like a snob here, but it’s natural that anyone would want to make the best of what they have paid for.in reply to: EK starts paid Lounge Access at DXB16 Jan 2017
Thanks for the reminder. I don’t know how I could miss it. A lot of fancy safety videos out there seem to have been made more to entertain than to inform. QR’s does both very well.
Thanks.6 Jan 2017
QR’s premium hard products are indeed superb, especially when you take into account the entire experience (i.e.: not just what are in the aircraft). And thanks for the clarification. The absence of IFE didn’t matter to me due to the flight duration. Everything else in the plane was actually of a very good quality and more than made up for it.
Ditto, especially since EY’s J at that time was priced almost double what I paid for a superb trip with QR (plus I’m not a big fan of their J cabin in A330 – the aircraft used for AUH-CGK flights). I just hope my return trip to AUH with QR would be as seamless and pleasant now that the bar has been set very high.
PS: I have also finished my new post about my 11-hour stopover in Doha. If you’re interested (or if you know anyone who would), you can read it here: http://middleclasstraveller.weebly.com/blog/my-11-hours-in-doha-qatar4 Jan 2017
I’m based in AUH so normally fly with EY for convenience, or, when I fly to Jakarta, WY. They drop their prices like crazy, their hard products in J are great and I can earn EY miles there too. But QR as an option has moved a few notches up on my list following this trip.
I can understand your point of view on Al Mourjan (especially considering your travel pattern). I too normally prefer smaller lounges where I can get coffee or a round of drinks and small bites without feeling cramped or rushed (my favourite lounge for this purpose at the moment is BOM’s GVK Lounge). Al Mourjan, in my opinion, is ideal only for longer connections. Ironically, its biggest advantage (size, zoning & location) becomes a disadvantage in short connections.
Thanks!4 Jan 2017
Yes, the prawn dish was very good indeed. Regarding the city tour, would be quite interesting to see Doha skyline at night, although my cheap pocket camera wouldn’t work as well, I suppose.
I will try Al Safwa on my way back to Abu Dhabi in two weeks’ time and shall write about my experience. My stopover will be only 2 hours this time, though. Hope it’s long enough to experience it properly.
Thanks!3 Jan 2017