Taking a flight in the midst of The Great Global Lockdown of 2020 was hardly very much in fashion, and so with only one global airline still mostly flying, my expectations going into this flight – without, honestly, a hint of sarcasm – was simply to be transported in relative comfort and to survive without catching CovId-19. What I got instead was probably one of the most lavish spreads of the year, even if it was all served by someone dressed in a hazmat suit who looked more suited to trying to catch E.T. than to serving business class airline meals.
Airline: Qatar Airways QR853
Route: Kuala Lumpur – Doha (Approx. 7 hours)
Despite a late departure time that saw us up in the air perusing menus well after 2 in the morning, our crew – in spite of the pandemic-era hazmat suit garb – continued with a long-held favourite tradition of mine, the regular pouring of alcohol.
Along with that came the offers of an evening meal; and even though my main evening meal of choice was a liquid dinner comprising more champagne, the haute professional in me knew that I’d have to get something, so that I could write this very blog at a later stage (I also worried the wine supply might slow down if I was not seen to be consuming some food), and so I ended up with a roast beef sandwich of some sort.
Whilst I fully appreciate it looks questionable at best – and yes, it was not exactly the work of the artisan – it was a surprisingly strong start for a time of flying when I was reading most airlines were either ‘offering’ nothing at all, or some disgusting cold box (and possibly, no alcohol – can you imagine?). Topped up with a few additional glasses of wine, it went down a treat and saw me retreat to my slumber without further delay.
The next morning – if we can call 4 hours later, ‘the morning’ – I awoke with vague recollection of the journey so far. For breakfast, I decided that nursing a coffee might be for the best, and requested that and a glass of orange juice.
The crew complied, but not until they upheld their standard from the previous night of trying to insist I sample some additional dishes, or try a multi-course meal. You would honestly have never known there was a global airline industry-threatening pandemic from the over-the-top generosity and attentiveness of the crew throughout the flight.
Needless to say, they simply couldn’t bring themselves to bring only a coffee and orange juice and instead, out came an assortment of items ranging from muesli, fresh fruits to a selection of baked goods. To be honest, it was an important lesson for me – for the best airline breakfast, ask for coffee, juice and whatever fresh fruits everyone else is getting on the side.
It was home and away the best airline breakfast I’ve ever had; not a piece of questionable breakfast meat or a stodgy bread roll to be had.
Final thoughts? This was a winner – if this was some kind of reduced service due to covid-19, they should keep it like that. The crew were personable, in flying form (ha!) and the food, while I didn’t work my way through very much of it, was really very good by any standard – and the wine flowed down to my glass from the galley as rapidly as Niagara Falls. Considering the time, and that other airlines were serving stodgy cold sandwiches, I couldn’t but praise this culinary effort!