Browsing Tag: Boeing 777-200LR

Qatar Boeing 777-200LR (A7-BBD) at Paine Field.

A Qatar Boeing 777-200LR – Photo: Andrew W. Sleber | FlickrCC

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to fly Qatar Airways on their (current) longest flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Qatar’s home hub in Doha ’“ about 16 hours. Given all the talk about them being named a ’œFive Star Airline’ by Skytrax, and our previous coverage of flying Qatar, I was really excited for this flight.  It would be my first experience on Qatar, and it would be in business class. Unfortunately, I was let down by my experience, at least on the flight to Doha (my flight home to the states was much better at least).

I arrived at LAX via a quick domestic hop from Denver on United. Getting from one side of the airport (T7) to the other (T2) was a mess. I walked outside, on foot, as I had a long layover and it was a decent day out. While the south side of LAX is now fully connected post-security, the north side is still old-school separated.

A busy afternoon at the security checkpoint at LAX's Terminal 2.

The LAX Terminal 2 (T2). My wait started out a floor below this.

Surprisingly, Qatar flies out of the newly-renovated T2, which seems to be the terminal of bastard airlines at LAX. Hawaiian, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic, and other low-frequency carriers are based there, as opposed to the excellent Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). Although the actual terminal is updated, getting there did not seem equipped for prime time. Even with a business class ticket, I was held at the lower level of the terminal. Once enough room cleared on the next level at the packed security checkpoint, I was allowed to take the escalator up to join the queue.

Security was an absolute mess. The older facility just wasn’t designed for modern-day TSA security. The floor was sloped towards the gates as my bag was constantly rolling off — it was pretty comical.

A6-LRE a 777-237/LR loading up for the long flight back to Abu Dhabi at LAX - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AIrlineReporter

A6-LRE, a 777-237LR, loading up at LAX for the long flight back to Abu Dhabi – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

“That was the bulliest experience I ever had. I envy you your professional conquest of space.”

Thing is, Teddy Roosevelt never flew Etihad. Guy missed out. If a small biplane could impress our only president to ever ride a moose, I think the sheer awesomeness of Etihad would likely have left him a gibbering fool!

AirlineReporter Senior Correspondent Jacob Pfleger flew Etihad’s first class product back in the days when it was still called “Diamond First Class.” It was amazing, but with the introduction of the Facets of Abu Dhabi scheme and removal of the word diamond, Etihad has taken it even further. Out of a sense of curiosity and jealousy, a need to travel to South Africa, and a desire to best Jacob, I found a good fare from Los Angeles to Johannesburg that would let me put Etihad to the test on their longest pair of flights. I flew from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi and back, the route that Etihad purchased their 777-200LR fleet from Air India specifically to launch.

The suite was too long to fit its entirety in my 14mm lens! Photo- Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

The suite was too long to fit its entirety in my 14mm lens! – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Now, when these planes came from Air India, they were in legendary Air India style. Missing parts, missing documents, pretty much close to the axe; the aircraft were not taken care of. Worse, Air India had decided to purchase the auxiliary fuel tanks from Boeing that were necessary for their dream routes to the U.S. West Coast that will only materialize this year (maybe). Etihad and Boeing worked for months to bring these aircraft up to scratch.

However, when you get on board, there is not a trace of the old horrors and neglect that these wonderful machines faced. The result is a first class cabin that is better than both Gulfstreams I have flown on.

The extremely wide seat extends into a bed well over six feet in length. Feeling exposed? Yeah, I would be too. Even though you can’t really see any other passengers when seated, that’s not the point – you have the ability to shut your doors and have ultimate privacy. When I fly, I’d rather not see anyone but the cabin crew. Commercial flights are not about socializing for me. Etihad understands.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR - Photo: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR – Photo: Qatar Airways

After getting the opportunity to fly on the first Qatar Airways 787 and then also flying back to the US on-board a Qatar Airways 777-200LR I wanted to be able to write a story to compare and contrast the two aircraft.

Since my Qatar Dreamliner flight back in November 2012, the 787 has run into some issues, but at least the aircraft is still flying. Both of my flights were in Business Class and both were about the same length, giving me a great opportunity to compare. Let’s break this down bit by bit…