Middle East Trip - November 2015

At the beginning of November, I was able to, thanks to Qatar Airways, take a trip to the Middle East, somewhere I had not been in 18 or so years. This was a trip with 5 other aviation journalists and the head of the company that handles Qatar Airways Public Relations in the USA. Then, it was a business tip to Dubai, Riyadh, Bahrain and back to Dubai. This time, it was an aviation related trip to Seattle, Doha, Dubai and back to Miami via Doha. The occasion was the delivery to Qatar Airways of their 25th Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner at Boeing's Everett Plant in Seattle, followed by a ferry flight to Doha, and then a couple of days at the Dubai Air Show, before the long trip home to Miami via Doha. The special pleasure of the trip was that all the flights with the exception of a 40 minute Doha to Dubai flight were in Qatar Airways' impeccable Business Class, and I can honestly say that on two long distance flights exceeding 13 and a half hours, it certainly makes an incredible difference. Here are some of the highlights of the trip in photographic form.

The pictures in this section were taken while in Seattle for the delivery and acceptance by Qatar Airways of their 25th Boeing 787-8. However, during this time, I was also able to finally meet up with an aviation friend, Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren with whom I'd been conversing for many years, but actually never met in person. Jeremy gracefully took time out of his evening as well to show me some of the sights of Seattle, including the Fremont Troll, Boeing Field, etc. During the trip to Boeing's Everett Plant, we were also so taken on a tour of the Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 assembly lines, before heading to the actual delivery ceremony.

On the day after the Seattle ceremonies, we climbed aboard the 25th Dreamliner for our just over 13 and a half hour flight direct to Doha. I cannot say enough about the Qatar Airways Business Class, but after arriving in Doha, we went out to tour Doha, and in particular, the Museum of Islamic Art with its ancient artifacts, and then the Souk Wafiq with all its treasures and novelties.

After Doha, there was the short flight to Dubai for a couple of days of the Dubai Air Show. However, the night before that started, I was able to go to the 42nd floor of the hotel I was staying in, the Shangri-La to get these shots of Dubai at dusk and at night. Dubai is a spectacular place to photograph at night.

Finally, it was two days at the Dubai Air Show. This was an incredible thing to see for the first time, with all the displays, flying demonstrations, etc. I have tried to detail everything in each of the pictures, but I do want to make special mention of one thing in particular and that is the Etihad A380 that we saw on day two of the show. The first row in First Class on this aircraft is knows as "The Residence". This is a private small apartment that has the Etihad First Class seat in the first section of "The Residence". Leaving that and heading further into the area, you pass your private bathroom with a full standing shower, and then finally into the bedroom of "The Residence" which has a full double bed. You flight attendant for this compartment is a London, Savoy-trained butler and occupants of "The Residence" have their own personal chef on call for the complete flight. I did happen to price a trip in "The Residence" from Abu Dhabi to London, an almost 8 hour flight at a cost of just over $22,000 for the one way flight. If I had the money, I'd certainly love to experience that first hand.