Monday, April 29, 2019

That's (not) the business...

I have deliberately done something out of the ordinary, for me. It's an experiment, a bold step into the unknown. Actually, it's exactly the opposite: a well-prepared step into the completely known, thanks to research (by which I mean Google). What I am currently doing - brace yourself, regular 😃 reader - is finding out about my destination before I go there.  I KNOW!!! Crazy.

Tomorrow I flit off to Qatar for a couple of days. Literally, a couple of days. Auckland to Doha is 17 hours, which is currently the longest commercial flight-time available (equalling Singapore to Newark, Sydney to London), so my total time in the air will be not far behind my total time on the ground. Who would want to wreck the climate and kill polar bears for that, you ask? As well as inflicting jetlag on myself for what will probably be about ten times longer? 

Someone who's been offered Qatar Airways QSuite business class for free, that's who. QSuite? Otherwise known as First in Business - the nearest, I am confident, that I will ever get in my life to your actual, fabled First Class. Try to imagine the vast amount of personal space, the interesting configurations (backwards-facing! Foursomes!), plush duvets, privacy, DOORS! As well as all the fancy food and drinks that are standard with such luxury. All a bit thrilling, and in my view worth the ridiculousness of flying so far for such a short visit - because this time, it really is all about the journey.
Or was. Ten minutes ago I got an email from the PR lady organising it all to say, er, sorry, it turns out they haven't actually been able to organise a QSuite plane for this one flight after all, so we'll have to slum it in business class. But, she added brightly, when Qatar Airways it begins its regular QSuite service to NZ in June, I can always go out to the airport then and have a look at it while it's between flights. 

Pft. Of course I acknowledge here the first-worldness of being disappointed that my free flight will now be only in regular business class - but, heck! That was the whole point of the exercise, dammit. I mean, look at what I'm going to have to put up with tomorrow: big seats, expensive toiletries, complimentary pyjamas, lie-flat, food on demand - for goodness sake, I might just as well be flying Emirates! 

So that's taken the shine off the trip, truly. Sigh. But what I started this post by talking about will still apply - instead of dropping into the unknown, as I usually do, where everything is a discovery and (mostly) a delight, I have genned up on what to expect. I've seen all the classic views of the city, read all about the history, the culture, the politics, the food, the geography. I know what not to miss, as well as what to miss, I know about the climate and, forewarned about the conservative dress, spent literally hours yesterday working through my wardrobe trying to assemble outfits that will cope with the blast of desert heat as well as the equal but opposite blast of indoor air-conditioning, and at the same time meet the requirement to keep my shoulders, upper arms and most of my legs under cover. Not easy, I promise you, and there is going to be discomfort, guaranteed.

I will be able to ask informed questions of my guides, and to recognise where I am much of the time. It will be all about Ah! Yes, instead of Ooh! Look! 

Will it be a better way to travel? I'm suspecting not, to be honest; but I'll let you know. Now I must go and brace myself for the rigours of 17 hours of standard business class tomorrow. I will not be holding my breath for sympathy from one single soul.

4 comments:

the queen said...

Perhaps first class will be available on the return trip?

TravelSkite said...

Brilliant! Never even occurred to me, that. Certainly worth a try...

the queen said...

Well, sounds like you got it handily already! Bravo.

TravelSkite said...

No credit to me - and it was even a surprise to the PR person back in Australia - but all's well, eh.

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