Qatar Airways Trip Review – Manchester to Mumbai – August 2022

Qatar airways

After months of disruptions between 2019 till early 2022, air travel has finally seen a steady rise in the demand from hungry air travellers. Recently, air travel has risen to a level where airports across the United Kingdom are struggling to cope. The post-COVID-19 travel regulations have changed and so has the demand for air travel. From holidays to business trips, everyone wants to fly again to their favourite destinations. Let’s read about my experience flying with the finest, and most highly awarded airline, Qatar Airways. I took a flight from Manchester to Mumbai via Doha and here is my raw experience, penned down for you all to know what it is like flying with them.

Flight Details


Airline: Qatar Airways
Flight Number: QR22 and QR556
Sector – Manchester (MAN) to Doha (DOH) & Doha (DOH) to Mumbai (BOM)
Equipment: Boeing 777-300ER
Registration: A7-BAY and A7-BES
Seat Numbers: 35A and 35J

Why did I select Qatar Airways for our trip?

Over the past few months, I have been exploring various airlines and options to fly to Mumbai from Manchester, where I was based for the past few months. Since there is no direct flight between the two cities, I started exploring airlines with transit options. As I need a transit visa for most EU countries, I decided on the most common and hassle-free route to India, which is transiting via the Gulf countries. Also, I have been using the American Express British Airways co-branded credit card in the United Kingdom, which proved to be a saviour on this flight. Every GBP I spend, I earn Avios, that I can use on various bookings, be it flights, hotels, experiences, etc. How cool is that! And, for this flight too, I redeemed the Avios. By giving away a few thousand Avios, I was able to buy a one-way ticket in this sector for GBP 334, a steal deal during the holiday season when average ticket prices range between GBP 800-1300 for a one-way ticket to Mumbai. Also, after my previous experience flying on Etihad and Saudi Arabian airlines that were not very pleasant, I wanted to try something new this time.

The Airport Experience at Manchester

Qatar Airways operates out of Terminal 2, one of the busiest terminals that also houses flight operations of Emirates, Etihad, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Jet2.com, TUI Fly, and a few more airlines. The early morning hours at the airport are always busy, chaotic, and full of people. As this terminal operates international flights out of Manchester, it is always busy and very rare to find quieter places to relax.

Passenger queue at Manchester Airport

Qatar Airways operates a dedicated set of self-check-in kiosks and counters at Terminal 2. How does this help the passengers? If I am a traveller with the specified amount of luggage as per my ticket, I need to head to one of these kiosks, place my luggage, get my tags and boarding pass and drop the bags on the baggage belt. A simple and quick way to check in and hop on to the next step of the journey. However, I was told to proceed toward the check-in counters to drop off my bags. Generally, due to the high volume of passengers at this time of the year, and also, due to the enhanced network Qatar Airways provides, most of the flights from Manchester to Doha, are always full to the brim. We experienced something similar on this journey too where we had to wait in the queue to check in for almost over an hour. Fun fact: Swissport, a ground handling agency, looks after the ground operations of Qatar Airways. Note: If you are travelling with excess luggage, Qatar Airways will be charging you additional costs to check the luggage. Therefore, always check your allowance on the ticket.

Security, Duty-Free, Pre-Boarding Experience | Manchester v/s Doha

Ringway International Airport, Manchester

During the early hours, Manchester Airport generally has a busy security check queue. Due to the shortage of staff, it had been in the limelight before when the security queues waiting could range between 3-7 hours due to the short-staffing. Thankfully, things have changed now and I spent less than 15 minutes on August 6, even though it was a weekend and a busy day at Terminal 2. How cool and efficient!

Duty-free shopping in Manchester is a paradise for shopaholics. With a wide range of options in almost everything you need, the place is always busy, lively, and full of smiling and supportive staff who would share their best recommendations so you can shop correctly. You can check out what to shop for or pre-book your purchase on the website:

https://manchester.worlddutyfree.com/en/

With a quick few minutes at the duty-free and not having much to shop, I planned to use the best possible time I had before the check-in commences at one of the favourite spots in the Terminal, the airside-facing seats. I was lucky enough to get over 45 minutes to enjoy this hobby while waiting for the beautiful bird, a Boeing 777-300ER of Qatar Airways to land and park.

Hamad International Airport, Doha

While Doha was my transit stop, the airport itself feels like a city in the terminal. Qatar Airways is based out of Hamad International Airport and caters to hundreds of flights and millions of passengers. The airport feels modern, busy, and lively. Unlike my previous experiences of transiting from Jeddah and Abu Dhabi, where I had to re-clear my security checks on a transit flight, this experience was relaxing and I didn’t have to through security queues all over again after a tiring first half of the journey where I had been awake for more than 30+ hours already. The airport is spacious, offers a lot of shopping options, and is constructed keeping in mind the number of people that travel to and from Doha. The staff at the airport is super friendly and they look after every passenger’s query with a smile.

So which airport provided a better experience? I would say it was Hamad International Airport, Doha. With just over 2 hrs in the terminal, I felt it was surely one of the best options to fly through this airport.

The Boarding Experience at Manchester Airport v/s Doha Airport

Manchester Airport

Our ride for the day was the Boeing 777-300ER, A7-BAY, a 10-year-old bird with the old configuration of Qatar Airways (24 Business Class seats and 388 Economy Class seats). The aircraft was slightly delayed after arriving at Manchester due to the busy ground movements in the morning hours, further delaying our boarding. Qatar Airways still follows strict COVID-19 guidelines as laid down in Qatar that makes it mandatory for people to wear a mask on an airplane. Did you forget to carry a mask? Don’t worry, they do provide it at the gate and on the flight too. As I mentioned, the ground handling operations of the airline are handled by Swissport, which means, they would be ensuring the quick turn-around of the aircraft. How would I rate the ground staff of Swissport?

  • Helpful – 3/5
  • Customer Friendly – 2/5
  • Energetic – 3/5
  • Smiling and Caring – 2/5

Briefly, I missed the warm and friendly ground staff and this was not the first time I experienced this with Swissport at Manchester. The airline was surely not supposed to be blamed but I hope they do take corrective actions after reading this trip review and make the third-party staff, more customer-oriented. I feel the ground staff defines the image of an airline as they are the first point of contact at the airport for a nervous flyer (surely that wasn’t me).

So, we are now done with:

  • Check-in✓
  • Security✓
  • Immigration✓
  • Duty-Free Shopping✓
  • Plane Spotting from the Terminal✓
  • Waiting at the gate to board✓

As I walked towards my gate at Manchester Airport, I couldn’t resist clicking this shot. I was left awestruck!

After a brief wait at the boarding gate, seeing a mix of nervous, over-excited, arrogant and rude, tired, mixed-emotions passengers, it was now time to board the beautiful Boeing 777-300ER. PS: Boeing 777-300ER is my all-time favourite aircraft. Look at this stunning “Bae”, our “BAY” for the first sector. Isn’t this bird, a gorgeous one?

Qatar Airways Boeing B777-300ER

Whenever I am flying, the first impression of any airline is often from the friendly crew, both, on the ground and in the cabin. However, being a little disappointed with the ground experience, I was now looking forward to experiencing the much-spoken onboard hospitality and award-winning cabin crew. Masks may have covered the smile but the warmth was always there and my mood completely changed with the first welcome. The cabin crew was super friendly, smiling, and had a different energy to make sure guests felt welcomed and had a great start to their journey. Once boarded, I walked past the busy Economy cabin of “Alpha Yankee” to my seat 35A for this sector (MAN to DOH).

Qatar Airways B777-300 Economy Seats

After the boarding was completed, with a little bit of operational delay, which is common sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances, the aircraft was off to take me back home from Manchester.

Powered with the mighty General Electric GE-90 engines, the start-up sounds of the engines are always mesmerizing to an avgeek’s ears. A quick taxi to the Runway 23L and I was all set to listen to these powerful engines as we were ready for take-off. Trust me, I was an excited kid on board enjoying the music of my favourite jet engines and onboard my favourite aircraft. With a stunning view, heavy loads, beautiful bird, and a happy passenger (that’s me), we were all set to roll out of Manchester. Here are a few pictures of the stunning wing-view from our Push-back, Taxi, and Take-off respectively.

Doha Airport

Being on a transit flight, I had little time to spend exploring the airport. Nevertheless, I did explore a bit of the shopping options around. Our ride for the second leg to Mumbai was another Boeing 777-300ER, A7-BES, a 4-year young bird with the new configuration of Qatar Airways. Here is a summary of my airport experience with the staff of Qatar Airways at the airport where I had requested a seat change from my existing 43K (Window) to 35J (Emergency Exit).

  • Helpful – 4/5
  • Customer Friendly – 4/5
  • Energetic – 5/5
  • Smiling and Caring – 3/5

Again, the crew was super welcoming, had a smile behind the mask, and assisted all the guests in the best possible manner they could. Operational challenges are stressful for any airline and helping guests at such times is always a challenge. However, the crew, including the captain ensured everyone was kept aware of the situation. As I had swapped my Window seat with an Emergency Exit seat, I felt relaxed even though there was an operational delay. With ample leg space for a tall traveller like me, the 35J onboard “Echo Sierra” offered me enough space to stretch myself out.

In-flight Meals | MAN – DOH v/s DOH – BOM

MAN – DOH

Let’s talk about one of the most interesting topics on the flight, the in-flight meals. Qatar Airways’ renowned hospitality and meals have won them several awards including the Skytrax Best Airline award. The airline is also the official airline partner for the upcoming FIFA 2022 world cup, which is going to take place in Doha this winter. Qatar Airways provides a variety of meal options that can be selected on web check-in, and that too absolutely free of cost. As I was flying with Qatar Airways for the first time, I wanted to try the Vegetarian Oriental Meal. The meal service (breakfast) had commenced within the first 45 mins of the flight as passengers had been at the airport very early. The meal consisted of a rice dish, cut fruits, a sweet dish, multi-grain bread, and some coffee/drinks of choice. Unlike Saudi Arabian Airlines, I flew in May 2022, the airline does serve a wide variety of both, Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic beverages to its guests on board. We were offered two meal services in this sector, breakfast, and a snack (sandwich) before landing in Doha.

DOH – BOM

Again, I had pre-selected a Vegetarian Oriental Meal (VOML) on my next sector from Doha to Mumbai which had a flight time of approximately 3 hours. The dinner service had started as we were cruising over Dubai and since the flight time was less compared to the previous sector, it was one full meal (dinner service) served along with a choice of alcoholic/non-alcohol beverages and a tea/coffee service later. This time, it was one of my favourite dishes, hot and spicy noodles with gravy, salad, cut fruits, and the multi-grain bun with butter.

Arrival Experience | Mumbai Airport

Mumbai was our final destination on this long journey from Manchester and even though there were operational delays, our landing in Mumbai was just 10 mins behind schedule. It was amazing to see how we covered up the lost time with the help of efficient operations. Mumbai experienced some heavy rains when we landed but the flight was super smooth and comfortable. After a long walk to the immigration (approx. 20 mins) from the gate, having spent 45 mins in the immigration and almost 1.5 hours in customs, it was tiring to see a super long queue everywhere at Mumbai Airport. Note: You must declare if you are carrying taxable items. Check out https://www.cbic.gov.in/index for more information.

Let’s Wrap Up!

Phew! That was quite a journey, ain’t it? While the journey from Manchester to Mumbai via Doha was memorable, we’d like to rate our experiences at each checkpoint:

  • Check-in at MAN – 2/5
  • Security at MAN – 4/5
  • Duty-Free Shopping at MAN – 4/5
  • Duty-Free Shopping at DOH – 4/5
  • Boarding Experience at MAN – 2/5
  • Boarding Experience at DOH – 4/5
  • Cabin Experience – 5/5
  • Seating – 4/5
  • Comfort – 5/5
  • In-Flight Experience – 5/5
  • Meal and Services – 5/5
  • Crew Friendliness – 5/5
  • Overall Qatar Airways Experience – 4.5/5
  • Walk from the gate to Immigration at BOM – 3.5/5
  • Immigration in BOM – 3.5/5
  • Baggage Claim – 4/5
  • Customs – 2/5
  • Exit and Way-out – 4/5

We hope you find this virtual journey along with us meaningful. If you enjoyed reading this article, kindly share it with your friends and family. We would love to hear from you, so please share your comments below. It would help us improve our content. Thank you for reading this detailed flight review. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy!

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