Wrapping up my six country three week trip, I was leaving Doha with a sense of personal and professional accomplishment. I had spent a few days in Canada, a few days in London (Windsor), and then 8 days touring the Arabian peninsula through British Airways, Oman Air, and Qatar Airways. I have already provided several #travelhacks if you happen to be flying through this part of the world. I also covered some #layovertips through Bahrain Airport and Muscat Airport here. For this blog, I wanted to spend some time on leaving Doha, and the journey back to DEN.
My journey home consisted of 4 legs on three different PNRs (3 segments). I know, I know, everyone tells me I’m crazy. But trust me, I had to do it this way due to the combination of a business and a personal trip and to complete certain inbound journeys for Gulf carriers that are Point of Commencement and file fares more cost competitively as round-trips. Here’s the synopsis on leaving Doha:
- 915PM DOH-BAH: Although the flight was a quick 30 minute puddle jump, the next few hours were hard.
- BAH Airport layover: I decided the best option for dinner at BAH airport was to pay the 10 BAH ($25 USD) to gain access to the Marhaba club that had food, drink, comfortable seating, chargers, and strong Wi-Fi, since I had a 4 hour layover in Bahrain. At the check-in desk to the club, I met a Saudi national that clung to me for the next 4 hours and wouldn’t leave me alone. I tried to do work and ignore him, but he kept striking up conversation. He was drinking a little, and nobody else in the club approved of him or of us sitting together for that matter. He wasn’t threatening or disrespectful, just a nuisance and a little too nosy, urging me to have children with just a little too much fervor considering I’m not even married. When we said goodbye, he promised to send me a gift as soon as I had my first child (who does that!?). This happens to me nearly every time I travel alone though, so it’s no big surprise. It’s always hard to just relax.
- The flight departing BAH again (on Qatar Airways) proved a wonderful view leaving Muharraq.
- 150AM BAH-LHR: The short flight from BAH-LHR, back on British Airways now, was easy. Luckily there was a Wi-Fi USB charger in the seat that allowed for continuous charging operations.This layover in LHR was also 4 hours, but luckily I slept 5 hours on the plane so I didn’t feel too bad. I was able to do work and blog after a minor hiccup as security where my liquids somehow turned up a questionable chemical (it turned out to be a false positive). I easily found a charging area, had a Starbucks, and powered through. LHR was a better airport than I remembered and the airport authority clearly had put some serious capital investments in place to improve it.
- 1120AM LHR-YYZ: On this flight, I had a near SNAFU. The British Airways gate agent insisted that I check my carry-on (that incidentally was fine fitting in the overhead bins on the 8 other flights I took up to this point on this trip, 2 of them on British Airways). I told her that if I checked it, I would miss my flight to Denver. That bought no sympathy, and she tagged it anyways. Well, as she got distracted with something, and I walked it on to the jet-bridge, did not leave it plane-side as instructed, hid the tag, and walked right on to the plane, finding a spot in the overhead bin easily. Disaster averted. I followed Brice’s tactic of claiming ignorance in case I was called out.
- 420PM YYZ-DEN: I had a 2 hour layover in YYZ why luckily did leave me enough time to check with Air Canada as well as the airport lost and found for the book I lost on the DEN-YYZ trip, go through immigration and security, and buy a smoothie :). This final leg on Air Canada turned out to be the first time I was really able to sleep, and caught some good z’s on a flight that otherwise didn’t have a lot of amenities nor even food service. I arrived in DEN and had already cleared US immigration in Toronto prior to boarding, did not have to wait for any checked bags, and caught a Lyft out of there in no time at all.
This harrowing finally journey home after leaving Doha had so many elements that could go wrong and derail the entire trip. Miraculously, everything executed to plan. And, it was a small price to pay for the amazing three weeks of this epic adventure through the Gulf, ending with a sparkling day in Doha.