Monday, December 17, 2007

Vienna Flight Out

Purposefully getting up early, we were able to have a leisurely breakfast in the hotel and then head out to the underground to the train station. From here we took the train to the airport, quick, easy, and cheap at 3.20 Euros each. There are other train options, but not quite this bargain. We arrived so early at the airport, the gates for check-in were not open and we had an hour to wait. We begrudgedly went up to the restaurant for a coffee, where we could also smoke. If we had been able to check in, we could have gone to the Diner’s Club lounge and not had to pay for our drinks. With the check-in desks finally posted, we were second in line, but with boarding passes now in hand, we only had forty minutes in the Diner’s Club lounge.

Our first leg of the trip was a five hour flight on Qatar Airlines from Vienna to Doha, Qatar. We were scheduled to have a two hour lay over there before continuing on to Kuala Lumpur, but we left late. The seating was 3-3. We asked for a window and aisle and had the three seats to ourselves. The attendants were beautiful women and wore various uniforms throughout the flight; however, it was rare to see any of them smile. Qatar Airlines plays up its 5 star class of service. The service is excellent, the seating is roomy, and the staff efficient and as Qatar repeats in all print ads, their flight crew are from over sixty different countries.

On our way to Doha, we were given our choice of dinner entrees: veal butter schnitzel, fish sayadia, or spinach and ricotta tortellini. Surprisingly, the fish was the first to go. Along with this, the appetizer was a pasta salad with turkey and sun-dried tomatoes, dessert of apple strudel with vanilla sauce, rolls, butter, cheese, and crackers, and a Mars bar for an added extra. Both movies were ones we had seen, Stardust and Hairspray. Before landing, we were again served a large sandwich on a sesame seed roll with crispy lettuce and sliced tomato with lunch meats and cheeses.

Arriving late and not making up any time, we only had time to run to the smoking room for a quick cigarette before heading to our next flight. The room was not ventilated well and even for a die hard smoker, it was a challenge walking into this room that would make a firefighter pale. This next plane had a 2-4-2 configuration going from Doha to Kuala Lumpur and would be 7 hours flying time. We were both assigned aisle seats across from each other, but after we were in the air, the man next to me asked if he could have an aisle, so he switched with Ron. Each seat back had a movie screen and control. One could choose from 40 different movies from various countries with sub-titles. There were also games, TV shows, and other forms of entertainment. We slept for most of both flights, but did manage to watch the Bourne Ultimate Challenge with Matt Damon before drifting off.

Of course, when meals are served, we woke up, not out of hunger, but rather a sense of something to do that is different. We each felt like we were drugged and eating was a motivator for keeping our eyes open for a short while before we were out like a light once again. The selections on this flight were more limited than the last one. The appetizer was corn and cucumber salad with chicken and then choices of: beef randang with green beans and coconut nasi lemak, Cajun chicken with leek compote, carrots, beans, and potatoes with olive oil. We both opted for the chicken. There was enough meat for two people in each portion. Besides butter and rolls, there was strawberry mousse cake for dessert. Delicious!!

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