Guest Blogger D
It is no secret that I have flown in and out of CLE dozens of times over the past decade. I love Cleveland, I love the food scene, and I love our Great Lake Erie. When I was getting out of school, my pals all wanted to go to big cities to work like NY, Chicago, L.A. San Fran, Boston, and I wanted to go to Cleveland. There is no better place in the summer than Cleveland. The sun is shining, the kids are happy, there is low humidity, and the farmers markets are a bounty to behold. THEN there is winter, and I just am not a winter girl anymore.
Besides all the fun things to do in Cleveland, there is one of the best hospital systems in the USA, the Cleveland Clinic. Now, UAE has partnered with CC to create an uber hospital system in the UAE in the state capital city of Abu Dhabi in the state of Emirates. The best of the best of CC have flown over to Abu Dhabi to consult and direct the creation of the best hospital in the world. As an aside, if you ever find yourself in the Persian Gulf area, and in need of a hospital visit, feel assured by going to the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi for medical help because it will be the best designed hospital in the world. Back to the story, as I stood in line at the CLE airport, I heard the best of cardiology taking to the best of files management discussing the best airlines to get into Abu Dhabi from CLE. Everyone says Singapore Air, but most take Qatar Air because they have the most direct flights into Abu Dhabi.
Well, I just so happen to have a pal, I will call D, who works for the CC who is representing the best of the best of the department. D is flying back and forth to Abu Dhabi to advise on the best of the best of setting up the department. D is taking Qatar Air because it is the shortest trip, 14 hrs or so one way. D tells me Qatar Air is terrific and ranked #3 in service, comfort and luxury. I have taken only USA based airlines to Hawaii and Europe, and they are NOT winning any awards in comfort or luxury, rather it may beat out school buses for comfort, but not much else.
Here is what my pal D has to say about how nice it was to take Qatar air. After hearing conversations about how much greater Singapore Air is, Singapore Air must be great because Qatar Air was that good, in D's opinion.
Breakfast included mushroom crepes with a baked tomato, chicken sausage, roasted corn hash browns, croissant, and wheat roll. There was sides of fresh pineapple, grapes, melon, yogurt, cheese, butter, jams and crackers. D said it was just very tasty, and no one is going to starve on this plane trip.
Granted it was only 6 hrs from Dallas to Maui on my last longer trip, but there was NO FOOD offered on that domestic flight, let alone fresh pineapple and chicken sausage. I see a check plus for Qatar Air
On the first flight we had two choices for dinner entrees, Creole Chicken with roasted new potatoes and veggies or Channa Masala with basmati rice and mixed vegetables in a mild curry sauce. I opted for the Punjabi dish. The airline’s version of channa masala was mashed chickpeas with mild spices mixed with spinach. The sides included a mixed bean salad that was vinegary but not sweet like American Three Bean Salad, Raita dipping sauce, a roll and Thai Rice Pudding for dessert. There was a tiny container of Indian-style pickled vegetables (achar) and a small box of crackers, butter, cheese and a piece of chocolate. There was also a small packet of Indian Mouth Freshener (fennel, anise and other seeds). It was a very interesting meal! Much more than you would ever expect on a U.S. airline.
Yes, I agree this is way more than you would ever expect on U.S. airline is correct because most U.S. airlines on domestic flights have done away with all meals! My 6 hour flight to Hawaii, without any meals offered, AND I did not have any food with me because it is illegal to bring fresh foods into the state of Hawaii, I was hungry and mad.
Dinner was a traditional local dish of boneless chicken bites baked in red, spicy jasmine rice with mixed vegetables in a spicy sauce on the side. It was served with a mini pita and a dinner roll, a small serving of hummus topped with an olive, a salad of cucumbers, shredded carrot and onion in a mild vinegar dressing and a creamy blueberry topped dessert. As usual, we had crackers, butter, cheese and a chocolate truffle.
Well, it looks like D is not going to starve on the flights back and forth from the US and UAE. I think it will be a delicious trip every time.