Even thought I would be flying with (arguably) the best airline in the world, I was skeptical about spending six hours onboard an A320, a flight time close to the world’s longest operated by that aircraft type. I expected it to get quite uncomfortable, especially in the last hours of the QR262 flight from Warsaw to Doha.
On ground experience
Qatar Airways operates twice daily on the route from Doha to Warsaw. Flights depart at 21:25 and 09:25, arriving at 04:05 (+1) and 16:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. However, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays the second daily flight departs at 18:00 to arrive at 00:35 (+1) in Doha. Both flights are from terminal 1 at Warsaw Chopin airport, which at the time of my arrival was quite busy due to many charter flights and Wizz Air passengers.
Qatar Airways’ check in area was empty two hours before arrival, so it was quick to drop off my luggage, and then proceed to the security check.
I fly from Warsaw quite often, and even though the security check is often poorly organized and time consuming, this time I spent over 40 minutes in the queue. This was mainly because only two out of eight security check stands were working, and not very efficiently at that.
Finally I was through and on my way to gate 16N, where our A320 was already waiting. Interestingly, right next to our gate, LOT Polish Airlines was celebrating the launch of its new route to Beirut, which was set to depart a few hours later.
Boarding started smoothly a few minutes behind schedule, even though the plane arrived ahead of schedule in Warsaw.
After a warm welcome from the crew, I arrived at my seat 21A. Shortly after, all passengers received an amnesties kit, which included a toothbrush, socks, lip balm and other bits and pieces. We were soon informed about an issue with the water system which, after some maintenance work, caused a delay of roughly 45 minutes.
We took off from runway 33 and turned sharply to the south-west, having a beautiful overview of Warsaw at night. Shortly after that, we reached cruising altitude and the meal was served.
I decided to take the chicken, which turned out to be quite tasty.
The flight was relatively bumpy, often disturbed by short yet quite strong turbulence. However, the kindness and professionalism of the staff served to offset the unpleasant ride.
“Oryx One”, the in flight entertainment system, has a fair range of movies including some Oscar winners. The screens are quite small on the A320, however, as one sits so close to them, it is not a big issue.
There are also some TV series and music available, both with recognizable names.
The last hour and a half were tiring as the smaller seats, noise, different air pressure and other factors such as lack of sleep started to play a role.
During most of the flight, the passenger in front had a fully reclined seat, which significantly reduced my legroom and travel comfort.
After touching down in the rays of rising sun, we parked at a remote stand and were taken to the terminal by bus. It was a great opportunity to observe the ground movements in Doha, including many A350s, A380s and 787s. After arriving at the terminal we went through the security check and went to rest before our next flight to Kuala Lumpur.
All in all, the service was great, the only issue being limited legroom and uncomfortable seats. I have to admit that flying for longer periods of time onboard an A320 become tiring, especially as it is difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep.
What are your thoughts? Would you fly on an A320 for almost 6 hours?