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maverick
10-04-2009, 06:47 PM
hi folks,

i'm a bit nervous... i looked at these airline rankings (http://www.airlinequality.com/StarRanking/ranking.htm), and found that qatar airways (http://www.airlinequality.com/Airlines/QR.htm) was one of a half dozen airlines to get a 5 star rating (http://www.airlinequality.com/StarRanking/5star.htm).

so i booked a flight on qatar airways to new delhi, india via doha for later this month. qatar airways' timings work out really well for me. british airways via london heathrow was my first choice (similar timings), but their prices are $500 more than qatar's at this point.

then i read some other reviews (http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews-all-91035.html) about qatar airways and doha airport that were less than pleasant.

i'm carrying my aeronaut (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/100/TB0906), along with the side effect (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/TB0412) or small cafe bag (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/TBP/TB0201).

my aeronaut will hold a camping chair, some clothes, toiletries (in a 3d clear organizer cube (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/KNIT/TB0917)), a journal, a book, and some snacks. my side effect or small cafe bag will hold a camera, passport, tickets, and wallet - nothing that should cause any issues going through security. i'm leaving my macbook behind for this trip.

hopefully, it will all work out! :)

maverick
10-04-2009, 08:01 PM
hi folks,

reading the baggage allowance information for qatar airways, i see they allow "1 piece not exceeding 7 kg (50 x 37 x 25 cm)." the aeronaut is slightly longer at 55.5cm, but i can pack it such that one of the end compartments is empty and it comes in well under their requirement.

i'm more concerned about the 7kg limit because i know i can pack it to weigh more. i read on the flyertalk forum (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar-airways-privilege-club/994485-first-time-flying-qr-questions.html) that "check in agent was specifically weighing everones' hand luggage." ugh!

what have i gotten myself into?

moriond
10-04-2009, 08:13 PM
Hi maverick,

hi folks,

i'm a bit nervous... i looked at these airline rankings (http://www.airlinequality.com/StarRanking/ranking.htm), and found that qatar airways (http://www.airlinequality.com/Airlines/QR.htm) was one of a half dozen airlines to get a 5 star rating (http://www.airlinequality.com/StarRanking/5star.htm).

so i booked a flight on qatar airways to new delhi, india via doha for later this month. qatar airways' timings work out really well for me. british airways via london heathrow was my first choice (similar timings), but their prices are $500 more than qatar's at this point.

then i read some other reviews (http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews-all-91035.html) about qatar airways and doha airport that were less than pleasant.

i'm carrying my aeronaut (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/100/TB0906), along with the side effect (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/ACC/TB0412) or small cafe bag (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/TBP/TB0201).

my aeronaut will hold a camping chair, some clothes, toiletries (in a 3d clear organizer cube (http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/KNIT/TB0917)), a journal, a book, and some snacks. my side effect or small cafe bag will hold a camera, passport, tickets, and wallet - nothing that should cause any issues going through security. i'm leaving my macbook behind for this trip.

hopefully, it will all work out! :)

I don't have any experience with qatar, but I took a quick look in the Flyertalk forums. Here are a few threads:

First time flying with QR - Questions (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar-airways-privilege-club/994485-first-time-flying-qr-questions.html)
QR Economy Class Experiences (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar-airways-privilege-club/987301-qr-economy-class-experiences.html)
Force to check in hand luggage (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar-airways-privilege-club/995988-force-check-hand-luggage.html)

Looks like the transfer at Doha may be a bit chaotic. Maybe someone else who knows can comment. Oops, I see that you went to read these forums, too, before I finished typing my post.

Cheers,

moriond

maverick
10-04-2009, 08:24 PM
Hi maverick,


I don't have any experience with qatar, but I took a quick look in the Flyertalk forums. Here are a few threads:

First time flying with QR - Questions (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar-airways-privilege-club/994485-first-time-flying-qr-questions.html)
QR Economy Class Experiences (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar-airways-privilege-club/987301-qr-economy-class-experiences.html)
Force to check in hand luggage (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar-airways-privilege-club/995988-force-check-hand-luggage.html)

Looks like the transfer at Doha may be a bit chaotic. Maybe someone else who knows can comment. Oops, I see that you went to read these forums, too, before I finished typing my post.

Cheers,

moriond

thanks moriond!

i should have checked the flyertalk forums earlier, but i was just reading up on a couple of the topics you mentioned (and responded on the first one, but i guess it's a moderated forum so there is a delay in the post appearing).

so far, the flights look pretty empty. so i'm hoping that translates into better inflight service. i'm a pretty low maintenance passenger. i just don't want them to mess up my vegetarian meal request. actually, i can just eat dinner before i board, and pack a sandwich and a couple of lara bars. let's see how the transit experience is...

KarlJ
10-04-2009, 10:14 PM
Aye-yi-yi... I dug up a couple of posts from Flyertalk, too. Not to stir up your un-ease any further, but in the hope that maybe you'll find a heads-up to avoid any problems:

Bad experience with Qatar Airways (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar-airways-privilege-club/935474-bad-experience-qatar-airways.html)

Qatar Airways insensitive and horrid CS (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar-airways-privilege-club/939657-qatar-airways-insensitive-horrid-cs.html)

Hope some good can come of it all.

Frank II
10-05-2009, 03:30 PM
I hate to be the bearer of bad news...but...the 7 kg limit is not just the Aeronaut but the combined weight of the Aeronaut, Cafe Bag and Side Effect.

Get a Scottevest, shove lots of stuff in that since they don't weigh coats, and then redistribute once you get to India. (They have a new packable windbreaker with like 18 pockets (all hidden.)

maverick
10-05-2009, 03:52 PM
I hate to be the bearer of bad news...but...the 7 kg limit is not just the Aeronaut but the combined weight of the Aeronaut, Cafe Bag and Side Effect.

Get a Scottevest, shove lots of stuff in that since they don't weigh coats, and then redistribute once you get to India. (They have a new packable windbreaker with like 18 pockets (all hidden.)

if i'm not mistaken, the aeronaut is 2.71 lbs, the small cafe bag is 11.25 oz., and the side effect is 7.5oz. so even if i select the aeronaut and small cafe bag, i'll be at about 3.4lb. that should still leave me 12lb for what i pack inside of those bags.

let me know if i've overlooked something.

thanks!

Frank II
10-05-2009, 04:41 PM
3.8 oz.....and make sure the side effect and the cafe bag fit inside the Aeronaut. Qatar allows one bag as carry-on.....not one bag and a personal item. You have three items....yes, even though you re wearing the Side Effect, it's still a bag to them.

Many non-U.S. airlines are cutting back on the number of items you're allowed on board. They always allow coats which is why I mentioned the Scottevest,,,:) British Airways does allow a carry-on and a personal item.

maverick
10-05-2009, 04:59 PM
3.8 oz.....and make sure the side effect and the cafe bag fit inside the Aeronaut. Qatar allows one bag as carry-on.....not one bag and a personal item. You have three items....yes, even though you re wearing the Side Effect, it's still a bag to them.

Many non-U.S. airlines are cutting back on the number of items you're allowed on board. They always allow coats which is why I mentioned the Scottevest,,,:) British Airways does allow a carry-on and a personal item.

oh, sorry - i meant that i would carry the aeronaut with either the side effect or the small cafe bag, not all three.

i can put the side effect more easily into the aeronaut, so i'll travel with that. thanks for the tip!

Frank II
10-05-2009, 05:07 PM
What I do, and I use a Tri-Star, is put my "other bag," which is about the size of a medium cafe bag, in the center section of the Tri-Star. In it is everything I need for the flight...and then some as to not waste space. When i get on board, the smaller bag goes under the seat, and the Tri-Star goes into the overhead.

With the continuing changes to rules and regulations, I've learned to have only one bag on "travel days." I do this by constantly seeking smaller and smaller replacements for things I take.

dsmking
10-06-2009, 06:23 AM
I hate to be the bearer of bad news...but...the 7 kg limit is not just the Aeronaut but the combined weight of the Aeronaut, Cafe Bag and Side Effect.

Get a Scottevest, shove lots of stuff in that since they don't weigh coats, and then redistribute once you get to India. (They have a new packable windbreaker with like 18 pockets (all hidden.)

I was looking at that windbreaker when we thought we would be on Alitalia with a single 5kg bag limit. I was figuring on storing everything heavy in the windbreaker (electronics, toilet kit, books) during check in. I might even be able to store a flattened large cafe bag in the large back pocket. I actually got my clothes and a spare set of walking shoes in the Aeronaut for around 11lbs.

Thankfully we ended up on Delta/AirFrance with a more normal 12kg limit. I am still looking for a nice looking good quality raincoat but I not certain about the Scottevest windbreaker.

David

moriond
10-16-2009, 10:52 AM
Hi maverick,

If you're still traveling in India (despite your many active forum posts), I came across this free Indian train status app (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=317786152&mt=8) for the iPhone/iPod Touch. (I know, totally random and not bag related, but perhaps we'll see more great maverick pics of his Tom Bihn bags from his travels.) Looked interesting, and something that you could use on your iPhone. (Link is to the application's page in the iTunes Store).

moriond

maverick
10-16-2009, 11:29 AM
Hi maverick,

If you're still traveling in India (despite your many active forum posts), I came across this free Indian train status app (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=317786152&mt=8) for the iPhone/iPod Touch. (I know, totally random and not bag related, but perhaps we'll see more great maverick pics of his Tom Bihn bags from his travels.) Looked interesting, and something that you could use on your iPhone. (Link is to the application's page in the iTunes Store).

moriond

moriond! how very cool! thank you very much! i've never used the data plan on my iphone while in india, but i'll set it up and see how this works out. it will be very handy to know the status of my train!

moriond
10-16-2009, 11:58 AM
moriond! how very cool! thank you very much! i've never used the data plan on my iphone while in india, but i'll set it up and see how this works out. it will be very handy to know the status of my train!
If you have wireless internet access, you don't need to use your phone's data plan -- this app also works on the iPod Touch. Alternatively, if you're traveling with your MacBook and have a wired internet connection for your laptop, you can set up your MacBook as a software base station for your iPhone as described in this TUAW article (http://www.tuaw.com/2009/09/25/mac-101-create-a-wireless-network-between-mac-and-iphone/) on how to create a wireless network between Mac and iPhone. Of course, that may not be as convenient as using your iPhone from anywhere via the data plan, but you have alternatives.

Cheers,

moriond

maverick
10-16-2009, 01:06 PM
If you have wireless internet access, you don't need to use your phone's data plan -- this app also works on the iPod Touch. Alternatively, if you're traveling with your MacBook and have a wired internet connection for your laptop, you can set up your MacBook as a software base station for your iPhone as described in this TUAW article (http://www.tuaw.com/2009/09/25/mac-101-create-a-wireless-network-between-mac-and-iphone/) on how to create a wireless network between Mac and iPhone. Of course, that may not be as convenient as using your iPhone from anywhere via the data plan, but you have alternatives.

Cheers,

moriond

thanks again moriond! it's nice to have these alternatives when the need arises!

maverick
10-26-2009, 07:17 PM
hi folks,

I'm on board - all is good so far.

zero wait at check in.

just two people in security line in front of me. I had to throw away my blade - not surprised.

one person in front of me at boarding.

plane is more full than I expected. seats comfortable - no one sitting next to me (so far :-).

overhead compartment swallowed my aeronaut. i sent Darcy a picture to post.

have a great week!

maverick
10-27-2009, 08:57 AM
hi folks,

i'm here in doha!

i had a great flight! we took off 10 minutes early. i wasn't hungry, but i am a sucker for palak paneer. dinner was great. i watched a movie and slept a good 6 hours. the breakfast didn't look very good, but i am not a breakfast person.

the landing was smooth, as was the flight. if there was turbulence, i slept through it! :) it was a balmy 87 degrees when we landed. i took a bus to the terminal, which was clean and not too busy. it took five minutes to go through security in order to get to the transit lounge. i have about a 3 hour layover. i thought about going out and getting some pictures with the aeronaut. but i'm not sure if it will get busier as the night progresses. so i'm staying here in the oryx lounge. i will get some pictures of the aeronaut here at the airport.

maverick
11-02-2009, 06:12 PM
i had a nice flight from doha to delhi. it was about a 3 hour flight, so i was surprised they served dinner.

likewise, the flight from delhi to doha, and the flight from doha to washington, dc were fine. all of the flights arrived early. the only flight that was full was the one from delhi to doha.

i had a less than pleasant experience at doha international airport on the way back.

i went through security as i arrived into doha from delhi, just as i had when i arrived from washington, dc into doha on the way to delhi. all passengers transiting through doha go through security when they land in doha. this went fine.

i had an hour and 15 minutes before my flight to washington, dc was to board. i went to the oryx lounge and relaxed for a while before heading to my gate.

the agent at the gate checked my documents and i went through security again. a second security screening is common for flights coming into the u.s. i've encountered this in paris, munich and new delhi also. the way it was handled in doha was a little different.

let me say up front that i could have handled myself differently to avoid what happened.

my side effect went through first, followed by my shoes, then someone else's bag, then my aeronaut. the side effect was in a small bin, along with my passport, boarding pass, and a book i picked up to read onboard.

i walked through the security checkpoint without beeping and waited. i was told to step back and wait while my hand bags came through - just like everyone else. and i did.

after the side effect came through, a security officer opened it, examined the contents, and then sent it through. the bin was placed on the floor along with bags belonging to others that had cleared security.

while i waited for my shoes and aeronaut to come through, i picked up the bin and placed it on the counter to repack the contents of my side effect.

another security officer did not like that i did this, and pointed back at the floor. i asked if i could pack my bag. he said to do it on the floor. i responded by saying that my back was hurting and asked if i could pack it on the counter.

he pushed me back, took the bin, handed it back to the security screener who had checked the contents and said something to him (i presume telling him to check it again). that security officer then took the contents of the side effect and threw them out into the bin. i am not exaggerating when i use the word threw. i was being treated differently at this point than i had been up until i made the mistake of trying to repack my side effect on the counter.

he threw out my iphone, my blackberry. he emptied the slips of paper i had in a mini moleskine that fits in one of the pockets of a side effect. he threw out the travel cards i had in a mini organizer pouch. he took pens apart. he took everything out of my side effect and threw it into the bin. all of this was clearly to show me that i should do as i am told, not because he suspected any security concerns.

i watched while he did all of this.

after my shoes, someone else's backpack came out. the security officer asked if it was mine. i said no. he moved that bag onto the floor.

then came my aeronaut. the security officer checked it and found that everything was okay, and placed it on the floor with other bags that had been checked.

when i went to reach for the aeronaut, he saw that it was mine. at that point, he picked it up and said that it needed to be checked. i asked why and he wouldn't answer me. i am sure there was nothing in it that was remotely a security concern. i am sure it was not the size because there were many roll aboard suitcases that were bigger. i am quite certain it was because it was mine.

i explained that i had some items in there that i did not want checked and asked if i could get them out. he ignored me and handed the bag to a qatar airways gate agent.

i explained this again to the agent. i said i have my camera and other things.

the security officer kept saying to check the bag.

i asked the agent why. she said it must be because you have something, some liquid or something. i said, yes, i do have liquids, but they are all less than 100ml, pointing to the sign they had.

i again said to the agent that i have my camera in the bag, because that was the first thing that came to mind. actually, there were many other things that i had in my aeronaut that i would never check in, including my journal, some gifts i was bringing back, and the medicines i was taking for this cold.

the agent said to the security agent that i had my camera in there and that i wanted to get it out. i wasn't allowed to touch the bag. it was taken back to the security screening area, and they again went through my bag. i said, and repeated, that i can tell you where the camera is packed. they were not interested. they disheveled the contents of my aeronaut and finally located the camera. as they were going through the aeronaut, i saw my medications and said i also want to get those out. the security officer said no medicines and sent the bag with the gate agent.

i repeated to the gate agent that i was sick, that i had a cold, and asked why can't i have my medicines.

she lead me over behind her desk and said to get out what i need. she said to stay down (so that the security officer didn't see this). as i took out my medications, she said that they are doha police, there is nothing we can do.

so while qatar airways took care of me throughout the trip, there is no way i'm going to fly with them again because it involves going through doha.

Frank II
11-03-2009, 05:57 AM
Doha security makes TSA sound like the model of efficiency and customer service.

A few tips that might help you in the future....you have too many separate things going through the security checkpoint. Shoes, you have to. The book should have been shoved somewhere into the Aeronaut. Passport should always stay on your person as should your boarding card. Neither will alert the walk through metal detector and I've never had a security officer say you can't keep it with you.

Next, keep your bags attached. Considering how small the side effect is, next time attach it to one of the handles of the aeronaut and connect the clips. (I would even do this with something the size of a cafe bag. I carry a small flexi-line lock to do this.) Both bags will come out together. If you're asked why, you say you want to make it easier on everyone to keep your bags together and if they need to be looked at "they" will have all the bags together. (Saying you're trying to make it easier for the security people makes them happy.) This way, when they put your bag on the floor, all you would have to do is pick up one bag and your shoes and walk away. (Not the Aeronaut, the Side Effect, your shoes, your book, your passport--too much stuff.) Once out of sight, you can then rearrange everything.

I try to put everything I'm carrying into one bag. So, I would have even shoved the side effect into the Aeronaut.

One last thing you need to remember is the country you are in. Qatar is a shiekdom where the privileged rule and the common people obey. The police, who run airport security, do not like anyone talking back to them or arguing with them. They will make you "suffer." You are to obey. You did not ask first if you could move the bin to the table. So, you had to pay for your disrespect. Actually, you're lucky. They could have prevented you from taking your flight.

maverick
11-03-2009, 09:26 AM
A few tips that might help you in the future....you have too many separate things going through the security checkpoint. Shoes, you have to. The book should have been shoved somewhere into the Aeronaut. Passport should always stay on your person as should your boarding card. Neither will alert the walk through metal detector and I've never had a security officer say you can't keep it with you.

Next, keep your bags attached. Considering how small the side effect is, next time attach it to one of the handles of the aeronaut and connect the clips. (I would even do this with something the size of a cafe bag. I carry a small flexi-line lock to do this.) Both bags will come out together. If you're asked why, you say you want to make it easier on everyone to keep your bags together and if they need to be looked at "they" will have all the bags together. (Saying you're trying to make it easier for the security people makes them happy.) This way, when they put your bag on the floor, all you would have to do is pick up one bag and your shoes and walk away. (Not the Aeronaut, the Side Effect, your shoes, your book, your passport--too much stuff.) Once out of sight, you can then rearrange everything.

I try to put everything I'm carrying into one bag. So, I would have even shoved the side effect into the Aeronaut.


thanks fbrown627! yes, i should have prepared better for going through security and conducted myself differently.

i actually had room to stuff the side effect into the aeronaut, but didn't think twice about it. i had my passport and boarding pass in hand and presented it to security, and they placed it in the bin.

Loki
11-03-2009, 11:56 AM
Dang. I hate being out of control (or touch) with my passport when I travel. I've had some tough security experiences particularly when working in or traveling from conflict zones, but your encounter sounds particularly unpleasant... and a bit scary. When people begin to use power just because they can it makes me very nervous. Glad you got through it ok.

flitcraft
11-05-2009, 07:45 AM
I sympathize with you. Doha Airport is the worst, bar none, that I have ever had the misfortune to transit through. I actually will take a longer and more expensive route these days just to avoid it. I have suspected that the rudeness I have experienced there is because I am a professionally dressed Western woman and they want to take me down a peg by treating me in a peremptory and humiliating way. Now I see that they are "equal opportunity" harassers.

Hope your trip to India otherwise went well.

maverick
11-05-2009, 07:51 AM
I sympathize with you. Doha Airport is the worst, bar none, that I have ever had the misfortune to transit through. I actually will take a longer and more expensive route these days just to avoid it. I have suspected that the rudeness I have experienced there is because I am a professionally dressed Western woman and they want to take me down a peg by treating me in a peremptory and humiliating way. Now I see that they are "equal opportunity" harassers.

Hope your trip to India otherwise went well.

hi flitcraft,

i'm sorry to hear that you also had a bad experience in doha.

my trip was great otherwise! i was able to relax and really enjoy my time!

i got a cold the last couple of days, but it will hopefully pass soon.