Hi again! Been a while. Missed you all. It's day 1 of round 2, and it feels pretty damn good to be back in the blogging seat. I'm sure you'll hear me wax poetic about my journey, my three years beyond the wall, "what I've learned," bullshit bullshit bullshit on various podcasts and stool scenes. But the blog is sacred, and for now, let me tell you about the finest airplane accommodations this native son has ever seen.
My brand new wife and I ventured to Africa for our honeymoon these past two weeks. Let me be the first to warn you that Africa is no longer a country and is now a continent—which I'm totally cool with, by the way. However, remember when you'd leave a few carrots or peas on your plate as a child and your mom would say, "you're not going to finish that? There are starving children in Africa." Turns out your mom was an ignorant skank, for Africa is the richest, most expensive "continent" in the world. Try booking a safari in Kenya. Ask for the price of a gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda. For the same price, you could feed an entire cafeteria of humpty dumpty children in West Virginia—those sorry biproducts of consensual incest that Nick and KB probably targeted in dodgeball. You know their menu of khaki-colored foods: basket o' nugs, personal pan pizzers, swimming pool-sized root beers and a fucking whoopie pie to wash it all down into a set of toes young Charlie hasn't seen or felt since last summer.
Point is, Africa ain't cheap. But once I reconciled its lofty price of admission, I busted the floodgates of my Amex platty wide open. If you can't stop the bleeding, you might as well draw yourself a blood bath and enjoy the soak. After all, you only get married once, half the time. In short order, I upgraded our flights to Kenya from premium economy to business class, and switched us from Delta to Qatar Airways.
If you haven't heard of the Qatar Airways business class Q-suites, you're probably one of those cafeteria amoebae I mentioned before. Which means that even if you magically found yourself flying in one of these expansive, luxurious Q-suites, you'd still have to buy two of 'em for yourself. Can't have your gelatinous wrist rolls oozing over the divider into the seat of someone who actually manages his/her appetite. Not on Qatar anyway.
Qatar's business class is consistently ranked as the #1 business class in air travel each year. There are plenty of sterile reviews out there, but I'll go where they can't. Let's begin:
Obviously, the discrepancy between the business class check-in and the economy/unmotivated check-in starts with the size of the lines. The business line looks like elegant bettors cashing winning tickets at Churchill Downs. The economy line looks like anxious parents searching for missing children following a natural disaster.
Check this out:
The business class check in counter has a royal purple carpet for people to stand on. That thing has bounce and give. You could drop your infant from the 12th story of your burning apartment, and this rug would catch that pending orphan like a glove.
Sadly but fairly, there was no rug for the underachievers. They stood on the cold, hard marble, waiting endlessly for their turn to check all seventeen suitcases they packed. Seriously, what on earth is with the luggage for the economy side of major international flights? Are they fleeing? Isn't the one rule of fleeing that you're supposed to pack light? Gracious.
Conversely, and suitable to the name, business class passengers seem to pack for… business trips. Their trips are short visits—a week at most—requiring a couple suits and a classy leather carry-on that smells like the oils from a Spanish tannery which purports to use the finest horse hide. But really, wink, it's panda.
Pajamas and Champagne
Once you board the flight, one of the many dapper flight attendants directs you to your "suite" and brings you a hot towel— the first of many on the flight. I'm a big hot towel guy. I'd say most people just use a hot towel to clean up their hands, but I use it the way the Native Americans used every part of the buffalo. Hands, neck, face, armpits, taint, that weird leg-armpit behind your knees… it's a sponge bath for me.
Then they bring you champagne. Proper champagne too; not sparkling wine or prosecco or the swill that needs orange juice so it's a mimosa and not some bastard cousin of real bubbly. Then you change into your pajamas.
Closing Doors That Give You Enough Privacy To Cook Heroin
The big difference between Qatar and every other business class is that you have doors which close you off from the aisle. They afford you a level of privacy to vape, bone, crank your hog, plot to bring down the plane, etc. It's almost unsettling. We were so tired that we used them for sleeping. But if you're desperate to join the Mile High Club, the Qatar Airways Q-suites allow for that carousel of sexual positions not possible in an airplane bathroom.
I selected two seats in the middle because they are separated by a thin divider that you can push down. For bedtime, that meant we could recline our seats together, creating a double bed effectively. Then we slept for about nine hours.
The first thing the flight attendant tells you is that you can eat anything from the menu, at anytime throughout the flight. You don't have to wake up for meals or order ahead of time. This is huge because our flight left at 10:30PM, so I wasn't hungry for dinner. Of course I still ate though. And then I ate another dinner when I woke up. And then breakfast. What's the point of having unlimited airplane food if you don't abuse the policy?
Here's the menu:
A trio of olive oils? Poached lobster tail? The days of celebrating the added legroom of an emergency exit row are over. Give me lobster or give me a fiery collision.
For first dinner, I ordered the tapas and a spicy lobster roll. That was from the "light bites" menu, which included such hits as Mexican style oxtail birria, super summer salad, and "afternoon tea" including fresh finger sandwiches, warm scones, clotted cream, and French pastries. Normally, I prefer my lobster at sea level. But this was pretty delightful:
Note the freshly-ironed white tablecloth. These are the small touches that remind you how much worse the experience is for 95% of the plane.
For dinner #2 I had the lamb. Mistake. Lamb is never the right choice unless you're dating a daughter of the Taliban, and her family has cooked you dinner.
Beyond that, the movie selection was deep and current. I watched Dune for the 3rd time because it's a perfect movie. Couple episodes of Curb later, we landed in Doha, Qatar. A short layover and then it was back on another Qatar plane, another Q-suite, more hot towels, more dinners, and then we were in Kenya.
In closing, the Qatar Airways Q-suite is worthy of its ranking. Can't say I've flown business class on a ton of airlines, but it sure felt like the top of the mountain. The service was impeccable and the seats were insanely comfortable. It was a spectacular kickoff to the trip of our lives. Couldn't have dreamed of a cooler honeymoon, highlighted by two days of gorilla trekking in Rwanda. But I'll save all that for another day. For now, I've got some onboarding stuff to do. The ol' legal team is calling me in.
PS- I'm very happy to be back. Thank you for the opportunity.
PPS- chances of me getting fired again are about 96%.