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This was my second roundtrip with Qatar Airways to Europe. Considering it was shoulder season, I got an extraordinary deal to fly to Paris to justify the extra flight and transit time.
I had not realized they close their check-in an hour before departure, which was a bit earlier than other airlines I've flown with. Luckily, I made the cut-off.
The red-eye flight was full with many seats taken by packaged tours. Upon arrival in Doha in the early morning, passengers had to take to the stairs to board buses for the terminal.
With almost 3 hours in transit and nothing much else to do in Doha's small terminal, I toured the window spaces for some plane spotting. It was almost all QR aircraft though.
QR 019 Doha - Paris
Boarding starts a lot earlier than at other airport since all passengers must take the bus to the tarmac. The process usually begins an hour before departure time. Once past the ticket check, passengers descend downstairs to board the buses.
Just before the flight got on its way, the flight attendants were already at work serving passengers welcome candies.
I purposedly chose a left window seat hoping to see Doha's skyline. I was not disappointed.
It was sunny but dusty in the Middle East as expected. It wasn't a full flight, and there were plenty of empty seats here and there for the 6-hour flight to Paris.
A large breakfast was soon served. The croissant was quashed badly but the rest was good. I wonder where did they import the fruits from?
As we flew over European airspace, a hot snack was served. It was a sandwich with meat inside and tasted quite good.
Looks like someone else just passed through this airspace as well.
My biggest complaint with the A340 is the huge metal box for the entertainment system that sits underneath the window seat, which removes half the stretching space. Surely, they can engineer a better solution to sustain passenger comfort?
It was a long approach into Charles de Gaulle which involved reversing the plane's direction through a series of turns. As I was sitting on the left and clouds were rolling in, Paris aerials were out of my reach. However, the towns en route looked decent enough. Surprisingly, despite the relatively clear weather, the approach was quite bumpy.
We parked at an old facility but it seemed weird that the plane could end up in this position. I suspected it was a satellite terminal and the circular structure beyond was where I'd find the exit.
There was an immigration check by two personnel on disembarkation, so the passengers were backed up for a while as the line slowly trickled. Then everyone descended into a tunnel for the ride into the main terminal building, where there was a formal immigration counter. The whole process was inadequately-resourced, as the line for international passports stretched quite far back, and even the EU counters saw long lines. It was quite some time before I could reach the inter-terminal train to get to the RER station.
The RER trains were old and dirty just as I had remembered from my last visit to Paris.
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