I am the editor of a travel magazine since four years now and expectedly I travel a lot. I always travelled all my life since my model years and I must say those days are long gone when people used to dress up when going on a plane!
I remember wearing the most stylish clothes on my trips to Rome from my hometown Vienna and arriving in the capital of Italy where fashion is in people’s ADN wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
Recently I had to travel to Morocco and chose – off course – Qatar Airways from Doha. On the Dreamliner there might be less noise, but still the seats aren’t that large and comfortable as they should be for an eight-hour flight. Nevertheless, the flight was great due to the service Qatar Airways provides from the check-in at the amazingly beautiful Hamad International airport to the ground staff leading you through the terminal and ultimately the cabin crew, always super professional and smiling.
Now here starts my latest adventure on a code-sharing flight with Royal Air Maroc back to Doha from Casablanca. You will ask why did I not take Qatar Airways back to Doha, well, to be honest I did not expect it to be such a disaster and the departure time and flying time was more convenient.
Arriving at the airport in Casablanca is already a story by itself with the hundreds of people wanting to access thedeparture hall through two security checks only. Moroccans have little patience, and some of them are from zero to onehundred is a fraction of a second. So men shouting on others wanting to surpass them in the line seems a normal daily thing.
But, that shouting never ended, because when I finally passed the first security check and made it to the counter to check my luggage there was a hysterical woman shouting on one end and on the other men waving their arms with gestures I can’t describe here and the least you could say it was total chaos!
Ground staff did not seem to be very impressed, I think this is a daily scene, they even leave their counters where people stand in line and never come back which causes even more chaos underpassengers that have been waiting in line and are becoming short of check-in time.
After that second experience I am off to another security check where I am told (after I pass the gate where it should ring when metal is detected) that I should come back and remove my shoes. On my reply ‘ but it did not ring, do you want me to walk barefoot on that dirty floor ‘ the girl only replied it is mandatory to take off all shoes. All this after I had asked for a tray to put my computer, as they were stored on the side and she did not bring them back for the passengers use as it would be mandatory as well..
So fine, I did was I was asked, then went on to passport control, a long line again, how could it be different in a chaos from A-Z, and again, this time three women, shouting and arguing about surpassing them when others are standing in line. I wonder between men and women in Morocco who wins the race of being louder?
After a good 20 minutes I finally reached the officer who handed me a pen to fill out the departure card without a word ( I speak french and english so he had a choice) and nobody had advised me to do so earlier. Off I went heading to the gate. I tempted a stop at the souvenir shop only to find out that the outrageous prices there will not make me buy a thing. The cheapest item would cost thedaily salary of a maid in Morocco, so I refrained from tourist traps and went on to the gate.
At the gate – how could it be different – hundreds of people and a screaming ground staff telling the passengers thatthis line is for business class passengers only. On the side of that line stands a big banner of Qatar Airways that indicates that Privilege Club members can go through here.
Being such a member I take that lane only to ask the ground staff since this is a shared flight with QA if Privilege members could come through here. She looked at my boarding pass and said that I am not business class, so I repeated my question if Privilege Club Members could go through here. She insisted that I am not business class and started to talk in Arabic to me, while I was talking in English and French to her. Three times I asked about Privilege Club, showed her the banner and she told me that she has no idea what I was talking about.
Bottom line I went back to sit down and wait for the boarding call of my section, which the same person called and did not let anyone else pass other than the ones entitled to board, and the face she made was far from being pleasant. No thank you, no have a safe flight.
Maybe I should excuse her because to handle a few hundred people and being the only ground staff at the gate seems not that easy, but what kind of experience for the passengers? Some people might notcare, but I do and never ever not one single person of the Qatar Airways ground staff has been impolite or rude.
In the airplane finally after two hours non-stop battle since arrival at the airport I find myself in a Dreamliner, yes, but what a difference in the style of the seats. Same plane, different airline,different design, different cabin crew. Very obvious.
Curious about the service and choice of food I found myself still wondering about the way things are handled. No consistency in serving the meal left and right to passengers, the choice only chicken or beef, no vegetarian option (which I was looking for and is offered on QatarAirways), coffee or tea is served walking with the pot in the cabin crew’s hand – where is the milk or sugar ? Oh, it is brought in a big plastic bag from which it gets distributed to those who are claiming it.
On Qatar Airways’ flights the cabin crew walks through the alley with cups filled with water and juices on a longer flight to hydrate the thirsty passengers. On Royal Air Maroc one cabin crew comes with a pile of cups and a big bottle of water and serves those who claim. I always thought water and hydrating yourself on a plane is one of the most important things! Well, at Royal Air Maroc it is a luxury.
The snack which was served in the second part of the flight was on a wet tray, no drink was on the tray, nobody passed by with a trolley to offer any drink and then the cabin crew disappeared.
When rolling their carts through the alley they can’t manage to roll them straight and bump into the passengers (three times in me) sitting on the aisle seats.
Between the guy in the row in front of me having another hysterical fight with another passenger who just passed from one side to the other and dared to bother him, and the cabin crew who made an announcement that the headsets and blankets will be collected half an hour before landing, I made myself a promise:
Never ever Royal Air Maroc and God Bless Qatar Airways and the discipline, respect, courtesy and professionalism thestaff from ground to cabin crew shows.
The attribute ‘Royal’ should be given to Qatar Airways ! I can’t wait to be on my next flight to Mykonos with them…