Updated on August 17, 2017
Flight Log of Qatar Airways Flight 871 from Shanghai Pudong to Doha on August 17th, 2016
Summer of 2016.
For reasons I myself find hard to comprehend (so not to mention to explain), I got a four-week vacuum after visiting Cornell. And for similar reasons beyond my comprehension, my parents have been more than eager for a trip this summer to Tibet, also they have been more than displeased for my unwillingness to disclose my summer itineraries and negotiate the Tibet trip. Figuring out there’s no way for me to stay in Beijing for four weeks without offending them in one way or another. So after knowing their urge was for a trip in general, and not for the 48-hour-train away
independence-prone Tibet offering meandering ticket lines and ten-day Jeep-safari featuring sleeping-bag experience and Chinese-standard tourism service (a.k.a. nothing) and Internet censorship, it’s my turn to pick destinations.
(I have to say, you got breathtaking views in return for the sleeping-bagy jeep safaris.)
And it’s Turkey.
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I didn’t recall how I bumped into Qatar’s tickets to Istanbul. But since it’s pretty cheap (Shanghai to/from Istanbul return trip at 4000 CNY), and after figuring that Turkey’s E-Visa was basically no obstacle but 60 dollars, we booked the tickets without hesitation.
I shall say the tickets were bought at early June, before the airport blast, before the coup. At that time I was aware of the situation in the Middle East, and thought it was by and large OK for Turkey. I shall say the blast and the coup did took me by surprise, but since neither of which deteriorate any further, no change of plans.
Since we live in Hangzhou (I guess another reason my parents were so eager to go out this summer was the G20 Summit early September in Hangzhou, for which the government has been trying everything to get people off the streets and off the city by making the city uninhabitable, like shutting down markets, limiting parcel services, etc.), we first took the train to Shanghai. Although Qatar Airways did have a 4-times-a-week service to Hangzhou, adding 2000 CNY per person in air fares didn’t really appealed to me.
Oh, shall I say Hangzhou government’s grand uninhabitable scheme includes driving airport shuttles (to HGH/SHA/PVG airports) out of downtown and into a distant transportation center in the suburbs?
On our way to the train station we had a little chat with the taxi driver, who told us that he too were to take a vacation in a couple of days, presumably in compliance with the grand uninhabitable scheme. I guess that’s unpaid.
Having arrived at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, which is on the opposite of Shanghai to Pudong Airport, my parents and I were kind of split on dinner choices. They sort of preferred the numerous restaurants located in the arrival hall of Hongqiao Railway Station
offering expensively priced and awfully tasted menus, while I insisted the McDonald’s downtown would be a lot better, although that involves one more subway segment.
And it did turn out to be that way.
So after our reunion at Pudong Airport, which is like a little bit less than three hours before departure time, we proceed to the check-in’s.
One thing not so pleasant about the check-in experience was that, we seemed to join the queue at its longest hour. As I said before, it’s never pleasant to be a queue where its tail is shrinking.
Then it’s immigration and securities. I happened to spot a post stating that the airport authorities “strive to make sure the waiting time for 95% of passengers is below 25 minutes” or maybe it’s 15 minutes, I forgot the details. I had a very hard time convincing myself that it’s just me (and my fellow passengers) being the unlucky 5 percent, rather than that post being another bumper sticker that’s basically all over the nation.
And since the windows of Pudong Airport Terminal 2 were basically out of reach for me, which meant I cannot block out the reflections when taking photos, I only took a few of them. I processed the following two photos so as to minimize the effect of window reflection.
Again, I want to complain about the water machines in Shanghai Airports. Like six months ago when I was in Hongqiao Airport, I couldn’t find a single water machine that offers drinking water at temperature below 40 Celsius. Dear airports in Shanghai, you are using the same model of water machines as every other airport in China, which has 3 buttons on it stating cold, warm, and hot. You have a lot of areas where you could have been warmer, like service attitude.
Again, like every other major transportation hub in Shanghai (train stations, etc), the toilets in Pudong Airport were hopelessly small. I don’t know, maybe the designers found people would spot bathrooms better by its queue than by its sign.
Well, the good thing about Qatar Airways is that boarding begins an hour in advance. That, combined with the terrible queues at the securities meant I didn’t got the chance to explore the terminal more
and find out how much more terrible it is.
Maybe because it’s already midnight, so the airspace wasn’t as crowded as during the day, our takeoff was only 20 minutes late, which is very awesome given we were at the most delayative airport in the world.
At first, I thought maybe given the schedule (2350 – 0350+1), there would only be breakfast services onboard (I even had a bet about this with my father.), and everyone would fallen right asleep after takeoff. But obviously Qatar Airways thought differently, as they deemed a dinner service necessary given most of the passengers would have their dinner like 6 hours ago. And the bad thing about meal services on such a giant plane is that they tend to be slow, as I was given my dinner more than one hour after takeoff. So that’s one hour off my sleep.
Our plane flew right above Dubai. But it seemed that the city had veiled itself with thick clouds (if not dust storms), and all its splendor was barely visible from above.
Throughout the disembarkation my father had not stopped complaining about the added trouble of shuttle buses. I, however, was quite excited about my first time of leaving the aircraft from the rear doors.
Speaking of which, although
Oh, one more
good bad thing about shuttle buses is that, you got to experience the heat and humidity of Middle East deserts for five or so brief minutes. I had to say that’s the hottest place we had every been in our entire trip.
Flight 241 of Qatar Airways will be on the next post.
Flight Log of Qatar Airways Flight 871 from Shanghai Pudong to Doha on August 17th, 2016 by Huang's Site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.