With both London and Qatar making headlines of late, we gave ourselves plenty of time (some would say too much time) to get to the airport and check in and go through (what we expected would be) beefed up security. The reality was a relatively smooth run to the airport and an efficient and organised progression through the airport, not to mention a near seamless flying experience. Let's hope the same can be said of our final leg!
- Heathrow's Terminal 4 was a great way to pass time waiting for our flight. The play area was super safe for little ones, was cleaned regularly and monitored by a lovely lady who was not shy when it came to expelling some of the more aggressive kids (luckily not ours). Our little one could only be pulled away with the promise of a swimming pool in Doha.
- Travelling with an aviation geek means that you truly appreciate your first A350 experience. Heathrow's observation deck was great for this too!
- We ended up with 5 seats for 2 adults and an infant, which meant our little one could stretch out on two seats. My own seat was super comfortable.
- Again, our Asian Vegetarian meal was scrummy - and I particularly liked the novelty of the fused wholemeal and white rolls for those of us who can't decide on the little things.
- Boarding and departure of our flight was delayed by both a late arrival and traffic on our route, but we landed on time.
- We 'tried' to take advantage of Qatar Airways' free stopover offer in Doha, but failed, and ended up having to secure our own accommodation. The deal supposedly gives you free visas (normally $70 per person) and a night's accommodation in Doha. We got the visas (you cannot organise these before 30 days of the date of arrival and it can take seven days to get approval, so beware, if like us, you're busy travelling and want the stopover to break up your journey home), but when we attempted to book a hotel, were advised that there was no availability in any of the hotels. We contacted Qatar Airways' customer service who apologised and cited the 'subject to availability' clause in their terms and conditions, but offered no solution. Doha was awesome, but not the free stopover that was advertised.
- There is little worse than folk who leave the window blinds up when the plane's mood lighting is trying to convince your body it's the middle of the night, despite an overly eager sun. I couldn't sleep for the sun piercing my closed eyelids.
- When you order a vegetarian meal, you expect to be catered for when it comes time for the snack. We weren't. Which means that when we arrived in the middle of Ramadan in Qatar, we did so on empty bellies. Hangry much?
THE INGENIOUS SEATBELT HACK
Our little one was able to stretch across two empty seats, but as these were at the front of the cabin, the threat of her rolling onto the floor or be flung around due to turbulence had me convinced I was a horrible mother. So I kept her attached to me until I figured out a way of shackling her to the seat. First, I secured one of the seat belts around her waist, the other around her legs. Then, using the infant belt provided to me, I looped the two belts together, creating an H harness. Unfortunately, it worked a little too well, and she woke up frustrated every time she wanted to roll onto her side but was unable to.
Date of travel: 6 June 2017