Altogether, we took a total of 7 flights going and returning from the Seychelles. Three of those flights were standard Southwest Airlines flights to position us to Chicago, or get us from New York to North Carolina. Below we recount the ‘fun’ flights, i.e. the business class seats on Qatar Airways.
Flights & Lounges (going)
ORD > DOH
Check in was easy using the business class line and we got our normal TSA pre-check and lounge passes this time. Qatar contracts with the rather grim, windowless Swissport Lounge, the same one we used with Eric’s priority pass in April. Except this time they were turning away PP customers in favor of those with an actual business class ticket. We only spent about a half hour there – which was enough. Boarding was quick and we were offered a welcome drink. I said champagne and got the blanc de blanc not knowing there was a rose option. Eric had the rose and it was better so I switched to that for my second glass.
Dinner – tomato soup to start for both of us. Chicken for Eric (nice combo with the sweet potato puree), paneer for me – lacking in flavor and dry. I was also bummed because I didn’t think to reserve the beef carpaccio appetizer when asked about my meals before takeoff so when I requested it later they had run out. :(
Only one mattress pad was available due to a miscount at JFK, so Eric used double blankets to sleep on. Decent sleep, better with earphones than ear plugs.
Breakfast – Eric had a pineapple punch, then OJ and green tea waffles with blackberry compote. I had the omelet with chicken sausage and tried the cardamom and saffron chai teas. (I preferred the cardamom). Sausage was very dry but the omelet and sauteed spinach were good with a little salt.
Qatar Lounges in Doha
After our 14 hour flight we had 8 hours till our connection, so our first stop was the business center to check some work emails. Next up were the shower rooms, which are great, very clean with your own toilet and shower, shampoo, body wash and conditioner all included. Next time I will remember to ask for a toothpaste / toothbrush kit!
We knew the restaurant was going to get crowded closer to midnight, so we made sure to go earlier. Eric had the chicken biryani, and I had 3 unagi (sea eel) sushi roll pieces (twice!) plus the steak which was thin and doubled over, but had good flavor. Tried the rose champagne (gobillard and fils rose) while we waited for our food to arrive, then I also tried the Medoc red with my steak. Very relaxing and friendly service.
With a few hours until our flight we searched for a quiet spot to rest. We tried the rest couches near the front of the lounge area, but you can’t change their positions so it wasn’t great for reading. All the quiet rooms were booked, so we found a quieter corner of the raised middle lounge to wait out the remainder of our time. At some point I picked up another glass of bubbles for me and a scotch for Eric, which he supplemented with a hot chocolate.
The walk to C gates took some time, but it let us see the newish garden section, which was quite charming.
DOH > SEZ
This flight left at nearly 3am, so we were both pretty beat by the time we boarded. Weirdly, business class boarded after economy, causing lots of questions and confusion by people hovering at the gate. It was a bus gate, but business had our own fancy bus with big seats. The configuration was 2-2-2 and there was a ton of space around the pods. I decided to get a glass of malbec and the mezze appetizer then rest while Eric went straight to sleep. We both got the cheese plate about 90 minutes before landing and I had another cardamom chai. We had some really nice views on our approach for landing.
Flights & Lounges (returning)
Salon Vallée De Mai
The lounge in Mahe was surprisingly nice and air conditioned. We only spent about 45 minutes here, but it was spacious for such a small airport. I got a sample of the coco rum from the bar and we both loved it so I dashed over to the Takamaka duty free shop to pick up a bottle to bring home.
SEZ > DOH
Our flight was easy, about five hours to Doha and we left right on time. We each got a rosé sparkling before takeoff and settled in.
Eric got the tomato and sweet pepper soup to start and I got the seared tuna with melon and passion fruit puree. We both followed that with the beef entree and a red each, the Bordeaux for Eric and the reserve Malbec for me. We nibbled a bit on a cheese plate, accompanied by a dessert wine from Loire, and then read / watched shows for the rest of the flight.
Qatar Lounges in Doha
On our return trip we landed around 11pm, so once in the terminal we went straight to the ‘quiet’ area to try and book a spot but no luck. We found some loungers behind the business center and once we obtained blankets managed to nap for a couple of hours.
Around 5:30am we went to the busy restaurant for a lite breakfast then took the tram to the C gates to try out the Garden Lounge – our first visit here.
We were initially seated at a high top table where Eric got a hot chocolate and I got a yogurt with blueberry compote – tasty. Later we found a couch with a view for 30 minutes before we finally headed to our gate.
DOH > JFK
Started out annoyed as we had to go through security again to board the JFK flight – having our boarding cards inspected by five (!?) different people in less than 10 minutes. The duty free rum I purchased in the Seychelles apparently wasn’t allowed in my carry-on to New York. Nevermind that it was in an official sealed duty free bag – because it wasn’t purchased in Doha it had to be checked. 🙄 A woman provided us with a cloth zip bag and we hastily transferred some warm clothes and our jackets into that and our backpacks, all in the limited security area while being chastised twice for being ‘in the way’ by another agent.
On the plane it was a lot more relaxed, rosé champagne to start. We wanted to reset ourselves to the correct time zone as much as possible, so we decided to rest for about five hours before eating another meal.
For breakfast I got the cardamom chai tea, blueberry yogurt and raspberry scroll (a flaky pastry bun with raspberry filling). After some reading and another nap I opted for the wagyu steak sandwich with Swiss cheese and a glass of the Bordeaux red. The sweet potato fries were meh but the sandwich was very good. Before landing I had the main course for my lunch, the artichoke soup and pan-seared salmon with a glass of Australian Shiraz.
Eric really enjoyed both dishes he got on this flight, including this tikka masala.