Australia, July 2015 Doha, got you all in check

Regular security in Stockholm has massive queues but fast track is almost deserted, just one person ahead of me. I get through quickly, wander through the shops and then through passport control where the woman on the desk gets confused by my boarding pass. I can't blame her: it doesn't mention ether Stockholm or Doha on it, but at least the barcode scans and flight number matches. Through to the high numbered gates I ignore the sign to the lounge because I just want to find the gate first.

The gate is at the opposite end of the pier to the lounge. It's not boarding, so I go to the loo, by which time it is. No lounge at Stockholm for me! This isn't a great loss, it's a shared thing and by all accounts below average. i did have to spend £13 on beer landside though, bloody Scandinavia...

Fast track is again working well. I cause a slight delay because my boarding pass beeps and I am issued with not one but three: all the way to Australia. This eases my fear of having to deal with transfer desks on a short connection in an unfamiliar airport later on.

The fear is eased even more by this wallet. I am expecting someone to grab me and lead me through like I'm important.

And, lo and behold, I'm here, on my debut Qatar Airways flight and debut trip in a Boeing 787. Boeing's 100 year anniversary is next year, I learnt earlier today. This plane is the "Dreamliner" and meant to be all fancy and stuff, as well as just being great inside because it's new. Qatar have a great reputation and I like what I see of the seat which, I realise, I have reached a mere 20 minutes after being landside. Wow.

i got a personal welcome from about 4 different members of cabin crew, only one of whom calls me Mr Darren while the rest call me Mr Foreman. The seat is spacious and comfortable and I'm offered a pre-departure beverage which turns out to be a fuck-off glass of champagne. Rose or Brut? Fuck it, I'll have the Brut please.

I take a shitload of photos. The seat controls, the legroom, the window controls, the inflight entertainment screen, the amenity kit, the menu. The kit is actually pretty ropey - it's Giorgio Armani which sounds good, but all it has is shaving cream and after shave and some socks and eye mask. I want none of these things. Where's the toothbrush?

The page about the port stole a finger.

We're taking a long time to board so another champagne arrives, and a hot towel (I could have chosen cold). The food and drinks menus are already in the magazine pocket and I browse them all, and suddenly get really hungry. Being a tiny bit pissed is helping that feeling along.

We push back a little late and the cabin is heaving. I forget, because I'm a spoilt bastard, that you don't get true privacy in business class but that is probably the most churlish thing I've ever felt. The seat is fantastic. I haven't yet figured out how to bring up the arm rest but it can wait.

THIS IS MARVELLOUS

Time comes to put everything in airplane mode and I realise I have a stupid amount of things to do this wth: iPhone, iPad, Microsoft band, Pebble watch, and .. me! Now that all the panic is over and I have boarding passes for the whole journey, not to mention champagne, I am properly relaxed.

I choose my food and tell them I'd like champagne once we're in the air. Disappointingly I have to settle for the rose because the Brut has run out already. Goddamn these thirsty Swedes. The IFE handset is clearly an android thing and i spend ages playing with it and adding stuff I want to watch to my playlist. I've no idea where the headphones are but want to use my own anyway (later I discover they are in my armrest).

I figure I'll watch Birdman, and some documentaries about Bletchley Park and that The Jinx. Food arrives and is fantastic, in particular the vegetarian main made of beetroot and rice and stuff. A trip to the loo reveals the location of the toothbrushes and also that row 6 is fucking awesome for a couple possibly the best seats I've yet to see. Helen, we need to sit in row 6 on a QR 787! Take note!

The Bletchley Park documentary about Tutte and Flowers is great. The Jinx is better. I fall asleep during the second episode having finished all my courses. Upon waking I request a glass of port and watch it again, plus the third. And now I really want to watch more episodes, but that's it on Oryx so I need to get on Netflix, stat.

ALL THE COURSES

I play with the windows a bit. There are no physical blinds, but electronic ones which turn the windows into a toy. I also get a bit confused by watching the flight map on the handset - it says we are currently in a timezone 1hr later than Doha. How does that work? We're flying south and east, never west. Huh? Stupid timezones. (Timezones are awesome)

Moving photos from phone to "e-tablet", as the safety demo called these things, is traumatic. Airdrop is still a piece of shit and I have to turn both things off and on again to get it to work. I want to start blogging, so fire up Adobe Slate but discover you need to login just to write something locally. Fuck you, Adobe! The plane does have wifi, but it's $10 for some small amount of data and basically that can fuck off. So i write a bunch of stuff in a text notes app and wonder whether this will come out well and y'know what, screw you, meta-blogging.

Beer arrives and I watch Brooklyn Nine-NIne. There's not long to go and I'm still a bit nervous about changing in Doha. All modern airports are the same and it's not like I've not done this before, so I'm sure it'll be fine. I've also read they are masters of the 1hr connection and I've got a leisurely 1h45m, although we do seem to be taking a rather odd route to reach the airport.

Created By
Darren Foreman
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