As soon as I exited the plane, there was an escort with my name on a sign, waiting to walk me to the lounge. Nobody else in first had an escort, pretty much confirming what the purser told me about the upgrades. The escort was sort of strange, however. It was useful I guess to know where to go for transit security, but following the masses of people would be just as easy.
When we got to security, there was a long line, and she just stood in line with me. I’m not sure what the point of an escort in transit is if they can’t even get you to the front of the security queue? After security she dropped me at the lounge, and wished me a pleasant flight. It was a nice touch, but there are several little things that would have made it a much better experience.
Inside the lounge, I asked where the showers were, and I was escorted to the spa area. I had to wait 10 minutes because they were “very busy” according to the agent, and eventually they showed me to a room. I’m not sure if all the rooms are the same, but it a mini bedroom with a desk and washroom/shower all in one. The thermostat in the room showed 27C despite being set at max AC – which clearly was broken. In hindsight I probably should have asked for another room, but I just wanted a quick shower so it was fine. The idea of being able to nap if I wanted was a nice one, but for a simple shower it was overkill.
After freshening up, I headed into the dining area for a little “lite” breakfast. I asked for some eggs benedict, and was informed they would take some 10-15 minutes, so it was insisted I have some juice and a pastry. I chose a pain au chocolate, and was brought two of them.
Eventually the Eggs Benny arrived. They were good, but far from great. The hollandaise sauce was quite bland.
The expansive foyer in the lounge. Looked to be a good 10 meters high. Note the water feature.
Eventually it was time to board, and I had my own bus from the lounge to the plane:
Qatar gives nice boarding pass jackets in Doha. I switched my seat when I learned the flight was practically empty, so got a new boarding pass.
Time to board. It was nice having my own bus and being the only one boarding the plane…
Qatar Airways flight 402
Doha, Qatar (DOH) to Amman, Jordan (AMM)
Depart 07:55, Arrive 09:55, Flight Time: 3:00
Airbus A330-300, Registration A7-AEO, Manufactured 2008, Seat 3A
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 25,053
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,389,454
Exceptional seats for a shorthaul flight. I wouldn’t be too pleased with these on a redeye, but they were great for this flight.
Champagne? Don’t mind if I do! Also, choice of cold OR hot towels offered. A nice touch.
Reminder: for your safety, please stay seated while praying on board.
After a turn, great shot of Doha on takeoff:
Avocado and date smoothie – I was dubious on this one, but it was delicious!
There was a choice of three appetizers. I went with “feta cheese, cucumber, tomato and green olives” – the other choices were fruit, cereal, greek yogurt and granola.
Cheese and chive omelette with grilled lamb kofta. One of the best egg dishes I think I’ve ever had on a plane…and it came with Tabasco!
Other than that, pretty typical flight. First was only booked to 3 of 24, so there was plenty of space. This was good, because Typhoid Mary was one of the three, and she spent the whole flight coughing and sneezing and hacking away. Despite her sitting on the other side of the plane, I was convinced I would end up sick in the next 24 hours. She CLEARLY should not have been on a plane with recycled air in the proximity of lots of people.
I hadn’t been to Amman in almost ten years, and since then the new terminal has opened – and wow, what an improvement. Transit security was rude and belittling, but after TSA they seemed positively pleasant.
On the other side of security, I was rewarded with Starbucks!
After coffee in a vain attempt to wake up, I headed up to the Royal Jordanian lounge. This place is absolutely massive, and spans pretty much the entire balcony level overlooking the terminal. One small part:
View into the terminal:
I found a nice quiet corner of the lounge to camp out and do some work. The big plus of the lounge is space, and plentiful beverage offerings. There was a reasonable amount of food, but nothing that looked remotely appetizing to me. Another huge minus was a lack of power outlets. There was tons of seating, but very few places to plug in your devices. Also, the staff was rather unfriendly. I asked if I could have my boarding pass reprinted on Royal Jordanian stock, and was met with “no. why do you need that.” I explained that I would like to have it as a souvenir, and got “no. this one is fine.” Ummmm, alrighty then!
Off to the gate. I was in the bulkhead, and wanted to move to another seat, so asked the gate agent if there were any other “A” seats left. Unfortunately, he didn’t speak good enough english to understand what I wanted. I was rather surprised. No worries, at least in 1A nobody will recline into me!
Royal Jordanian flight 503
Amman, Jordan (AMM) to Cairo, Egypt (CAI)
Depart 13:15, Arrive 14:45, Flight Time: 1:30
Embraer ERJ-195, Registration JY-EMB, Manufactured 2007, Seat 1A
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 25,347
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,389,748
pre-departure water and arabic coffee were offered. This is seriously the tiniest sip of coffee ever.
for a 75 minute flight, I was impressed that a meal was offered. Unfortunately, it featured some room temp ceasar dressing, sketchy looking shrimps, and some mystery coldcuts. I ate the cheese and desert and called it a day.
Can’t be in de-nile any longer, we’re approaching Cairo!
Now, upon landing, there was a small problem. This terminal is gorgeous, wtf. Pulled up google on my phone, and realized that the brand new Terminal 2 had recently opened to serve regional flights. Not only was it nice inside, but there were no huge queues for visas or immigration, and I was through in maybe five minutes. One small problem – how do I get to Terminal 3 where my hotel was connected. Of course, asking a couple people led me to find out they had “friends” who would take me in their taxi.
According to google maps it was walkable in 10 minutes, so I decided to risk walking on the roads (there were no sidewalks) and see if I could make it. It was a reasonably easy walk, I lived to tell the story, and soon was checked into the Le Meridien. The hotel was just as nice as I remembered, and I was upgraded to a reasonably big suite. The only unsettling thing is that the windows rattled – badly. It took me a while to figure out it happened when I walked around the room. That didn’t give me much faith in the construction, but at least it wouldn’t bother me when sleeping.
After showering up and changing, decided to head out a bit rather than hang at the hotel all afternoon. I didn’t have time with Cairo traffic to get to any interesting sites, so chose the mall near-ish the hotel. I decided to call Uber and pray…Mohammad showed up quickly, and it was a nice easy and cheap ride over to the mall.
You know you’re in Egypt when there’s smoking at Starbucks:
While sitting and enjoying my coffee, this monstrosoty passed by:
Supposedly, this is actually pretty close to Jason:
I’m gonna assume that says “Starbucks Coffee.”
What is it with me and finding the one ice rink in a country. Inside the Sun City Mall, so I couldn’t resist getting a little exercise. Just a little, however, because these rental skates were terrible!
After finishing up, went and got a shot of the rink from above. Not too shabby for a rink inside a mall in Egypt! Certainly much better ice than the swamp in Bangkok!
Hailed another Uber, who had no trouble finding me at the exit of the mall despite no English at all, and made it back to the hotel around 8. Had a quick beer and appetizer in the hotel sports bar (which was not half bad) and then was asleep by nine. Next morning and the onward flights to Germany would come very early!