Last month, Mike and I traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal for the first time to meet our travel partner Helena, owner of Helena India Travels. We are sending our first group to Nepal in autumn and it was a great opportunity to meet her as well as the owners of the hotels where our group would be staying at. We were offered complimentary five nights stay by Mingma, the Nepalese owner of Chhahari Retreat and needless to say, we enjoyed every single day of our stay not only because of the nice room and excellent food in the restaurant but moreso because each one of them treated us like their own family. As for our flight, Mike and I used our remaining American Airlines Advantage miles to fly in first class from Europe to the Indian Sub continent, just before the devaluation in March, which is 80K miles return per person. Here's the full trip report of our trip to Nepal and I hope that thru this, more people would consider traveling to this wonderful country in the future!
Review: British Airways Business Class, Stockholm-London
Review: Etihad A380 First Apartment, London-Abu Dhabi
Review: Al Dhabi Lounge, T1 Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH)
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Abu Dhabi-Doha
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Doha-Kathmandu
Review: Chhahari Resort, Kathmandu
Review: Yeti Airlines Everest Express
Top Attractions in Nepal
Review: Executive Lounge, Kathmandu International Airport (KTM)
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Kathmandu-Doha
Review: Qatar Airways A380 First Class, Doha-Paris
Review: Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge, T2 (CDG)
Review: British Airways Business Class, Paris-London
Review: Hilton London Heathrow Airport
Review: British Airways Business Class, London-Stockholm
Flight: QR 39
Departure time in Doha: 7:25 (actual 7:27)
Arrival time in Paris: 13:20 (actual 13:10)
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Duration: 6h 43m
Date of flight: June 1, 2016
*This is an award travel, First Class flight #35
Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge
After arriving from our Qatar Airways flight from Kathmandu, we headed directly to the Al Safwa Lounge and decided to book one of the their quiet rooms where we could spend the rest of the night before our morning flight to Paris. It is a first come first serve basis and luckily, we were told by the agent that a room would be available in about an hour so we decided to grab some late dinner from the ala carte restaurant first.
I was greeted by a lovely Filipina staff who took my order. I thought I'd just have a main course and some desserts and ended up with the tenderloin and some cake, which she highly recommended.
After our very tasty meal, I thought I'd show Mike around as it was his first time visiting the lounge. We passed by the bar with all the champagnes on display. I have previously reviewed the Al Safwa Lounge which you can find here.
Then, it was time to check in to our lovely room. I really love the fact that Qatar Airways offers rooms with real beds to their first class passengers since there are very few airlines doing it. Thai Airways has a few slumber rooms in Bangkok and Lufthansa has two nap rooms in their First Class Terminal in Frankfurt but Qatar Airways' is no doubt the best there is. Of course, Swiss has recently opened a new first class lounge in Zurich and from the pictures on the internet, it looks like there is a competition between the two.
At around 6:15 am, we got our wake up call (which we requested the night before). Another 5 minutes later, an agent came to our room and informed us that she would be escorting us to the gate at 6:35 am. She also told us that she was supposed to meet us last night but our flight was delayed so she was not able to do so. I thought that the "escort" thing is a new one since they did not have it when I was here last December 2015, I really thought it was a very good thing, just like what Thai Airways is offering to their first class passengers. But on the other hand, Thai Airways uses a golf cart while Qatar Airways does not so I hope they could also offer the same thing in the future. The fact that the agent who was supposed to meet us last night was not able to do it because we were delayed was not so good since a delay of 5-10 minutes is not a lot of waiting, specially if they really want their first class passengers to feel special.
We had planned to skip the breakfast in the lounge and have it on the flight instead so after taking our shower, we passed by the reception around 6:30am and informed the agent that we would just go to the gate by ourselves and that she didn't need to escort us.
As we boarded, we were welcomed by one of the flight attendants and handed over to Jin, a lovely South Korean lady who would be taking care of us in first class. She escorted us to our seats which were the two middle seats in row 2.
A few minutes later, Jin was back to take our breakfast order. She also cleared our glasses and the bowl for chips. I had my jacket on the ottoman all this time and thought someone would offer to hang it on the miniwardrobe but no one did. This thing will never happen on airlines like ANA and Asiana. Oh how I miss them.
By this time, I had transferred to seat 2G which is a window seat so I could have a nice view during taking off.
For my main course, I thought I'd try the Arabic breakfast which consisted of "feta cheese, cucumber, tomato and olives, served with foul medames and Arabic breads".
Business Class Seat, Onboard Lounge & Economy Class Seat
After our breakfast, Mike and I decided we'd check out the rest of the upper deck. The business class cabin is located behind the first class cabin separated by the galley.
We were greeted by Kaye, the bar attendant from Kenya as we inspect the onboard lounge. I really think that Qatar Airways onboard lounge is one of the nicest out there. I really wanted to take a picture but there were two other guys from the business class cabin so I decided not to.
Mike and I were the only passengers in first class so I had my "own" lavatory located on the right side while Mike used "his" located on the left side of the cabin. Such a luxury!
Time to Sleep
Returning to our seats, I was asked by the cabin supervisor if I wanted my bed to be prepared and I said yes. She offered to do it on the window seat, 2G which was a very nice gesture.
Self serve snack bar
The other choices were:
Chicken Shawarma, spinach fatayer and lahem bil agine
Grilled fillet of beef with sweet pepper relish in toasted sundried tomato bread sandwich
Cheese selection served with crackers and of course the
Grilled prawn which I had earlier.
About 40 minutes before landing, the captain came on the PA with updated arrival information including the current temperature in Paris which is 14 degrees Celcius. The cabin supervisor and the rest of the crew came to our seats once again to thank us for flying with them and at 13:20pm we landed at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Arrival at Paris CDG Airport
Having flown Qatar Airways first class in December last year on this same route, I knew more or less what to expect on this flight. I thought the crew did a fantastic job as they were very friendly and did their best to make sure we would enjoy everything on this flight. The fact that we were the only first class passengers on this flight was a big plus since we had the whole crew taking care of us. Of course, it was not the first time it happened to us as we were also the only first class passengers on Asiana from Frankfurt to Seoul as well as on Singapore Airlines first class from Singapore to Brunei in March 2014. The food selection on the other hand was a bit underwhelming specially if I compare it to Etihad Airways first class who won the World's best first class, best first class seat and best first class onboard catering in the recently concluded Skytrax Awards. The fact that they also eliminated the pyjamas on day flights was not a good thing. Overall, the great crew (and the lovely onboard lounge) made up for these shortcomings and in the end, it was still a very nice flight. To all the crew on this flight, Shukran!
Cathay Pacific First Class, Hongkong-Frankfurt
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class, Tokyo-Singapore