Tuesday, December 13, 2022

New York to Bangkok via Doha: Two Fine Flights and an Amazing Airport Layover

Our flights from New York (JFK) to Doha Qatar (DOH) to Bangkok (BKK) couldn’t have been much better. In between we got to explore DOH, the “world’s best airport” according to at least one major survey.

Flying in business class in an American Airlines 777-200ER is a very pleasant experience.

We ate well and, thanks to good seats and excellent bedding, we slept well during the 12 1/2-hour flight. Service was excellent.

We couldn’t help but notice that toward the latter part of the flight we were traveling over a dangerous neighborhood.


Once we landed at DOH, we navigated transit and security requirements quickly. We had plenty of time to gawk and to take some photos of this huge and impressive airport.

We had to make a stop at the famous multimillion dollar teddy bear sculpture.

The artificial turf is in honor of the ongoing World Cup. Oh, and where else can you see a photo of the back of the teddy bear sculpture?

After that it was time to visit the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, one of the world’s largest airport lounges.

The first priority was a shower. The lounge contains two separate shower facilities at opposite ends and we took advantage of the opportunity.

After our showers we sat down in the casual dining area (there’s a more elaborate restaurant at the other end upstairs) and enjoyed two outstanding double-shot Cappuccinos each, followed by a simple Greek salad.

Rested, refreshed, and caffeine fortified, we explored the airport further.

That included a quick overlook of the airport’s brand new Orchard Garden.

Two automated trains run back and forth on this magnificent thoroughfare between terminals.

This was our mode of travel to visit the garden and that side of the terminal.

Almost before we knew it, it was time to board the upper deck of the Qatar A380 that would carry us to BKK.

We’ve only flown on A380 upper decks, and it looks similar to other widebody two-aisle planes.

Those darned tourists are always taking photos, aren’t they?

This is what taking off at 2:45 AM looks like on camera.

It’s not obviously noticeable that there’s a first class section in front of us, and an economy section behind us, separated by - get this! - a bar, where we whiled away nearly an hour chatting with another American couple and with the charming young Qatar flight attendant from India serving as the bartender.

Barflies in the sky… What an experience! Qatar is a rather amazing airline that takes service to another level.

We landed at BKK 20 minutes late, almost exactly 24 hours after taking off from JFK. Fast Track immigration took only 30 minutes. After an ATM stop to extract some Baht, we found our AOT limo, a smart little Japanese SUV,  and relaxed with a skillful driver on the 40-minute drive to the Millennium Hilton.

We checked in at the Executive Lounge and were soon in our 29th floor Executive King room, enjoying a view of the Chao Phraya River.

A tub for Kathy…

A view and welcome gifts for both of us…

Happy Hour in the Executive Lounge runs from 5 to 7 PM. We make it in time to sit outside on the 31st floor rooftop deck and take in one of our very favorite views in the entire world.

After a few snacks and a glass of wine, we see that it’s 5:30 PM. 

Bedtime. It feels great to be back in Thailand.

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