The A320 short-haul jets that Qatar uses for its Africa and Middle East network are NOT my favorite. Last time, I had the ‘pleasure’ of spending 8 hours on my way to Uganda. This time, I would make the journey from Dar es Salaam to Doha.
Julius Nyerere International Airport is just about 7 miles from Dar es Salaam’s city but each of the intersections can take a good 20 minutes to clear. The Uber drama did not help either and it took me almost two full hours to get through on this rainy afternoon.
Check-in was quick and efficient and so were security and immigration (which always seem to be fast in Tanzania despite the crowds). The lounge every airline uses for premium passengers in Dar es Salaam looks more like a funeral home and I wasn’t happy with it any more than the last time, when I flew Swiss Business Class to Zurich.
Given my Uber delays, I had very little time and just made my way to the gate which seemed rather empty; only 48 passengers would fly on this A320.
Boarding started late but given the low passenger count, it was over quickly. Only a fourth of the business class cabin would be occupied.
Qatar has (now very old-looking) recliner seats installed on these planes.
There is no IFE but flight attendants handed out iPads that were loaded with a number of movies and TV shows.
I did not find anything new and instead used my laptop. There are power outlets between the two seats, which makes charging easier.
Just as we taxied from the gate, a major downpour started at the airport. We were on hold for about 10 minutes but then continued with take-off despite the heavy rain.
Service started quickly and I got another one of those glasses of the delicious Brut Rose champagne after take-off.
The menu looked tasty and as I was starving, I asked for two entrées and my request was happily approved.
The service continued to be joyful and chatty and I really liked the way the food was presented. However, it was overly salty and not very flavorful. The flight attendants mentioned several times that this was an issue with the catering company in Tanzania.
The flight continued with very little excitement until a sharp left turn; that would be our cue that we had just turned around UAE airspace and it was almost time to land in Qatar 45 minutes later.
All in all, this was a great routine flight and given a better flight timing, it would be even better.