I’ve never been one for good byes, sometimes my good byes seem a little cold and I may seem a little blasé about it, in reality I don’t like saying good bye, but then again, who does! Having chosen a life of traveling around and seeing new places, making new friends and learning new things about this wonderful world as well as ourselves, it is inevitable that there will be many good byes but also many “hellos, nice to meet you” In this day in age, good byes are not permanent, it is only a temporary thing as we get to see friends and family in other ways.
Panic Before Flight
Thursday night, time for one last take away and to pack the car, but not before one last moment of panic!
3 x hand luggage – tick
3 time suitcases bursting at the seems – check
Ensure we are within our weight limit? hmmmmm, sort of checked, let’s look into this………… OOOOOPS! We are over, not just by a little bit but by a long way!
Hand luggage – 7kg (our weight average 11 kg)
Suitcases: – 30 kg (our weight average 34 kg)
Desperate times call for desperate actions, time to unpack, evaluate what we really have to take, what we would like to take and what we just cannot take.
Pack, weigh, get frustrated, take more stuff out and repeat several times until we are somewhere near the weight limits, after all, airlines are a bit lenient……. aren’t they?
Time for One Last Takeaway and an Early Night
Once the cars were loaded it was time for one last takeaway, after all, during our UK stay we hadn’t eaten enough! After food it was time for a shower and an early night.
I don’t know about you, but when I am traveling and I have to wake up early I suddenly become the lightest sleeper on the planet and sleep with one eye open monitoring my phone.
4 am Wake up Call
Time’s up, time to part company with a warm snugly bed, time to face a cold, dark and rainy morning. Hoped in the cars at 5am and headed off to Manchester, we had put Kati to bed the night before fully clothed so we could pick her up and put her straight in the car, inevitably she woke up as soon as we walked outside, she just chilled during the one hour drive to the airport.
Sorry sir you are overweight…. (and so is your luggage)
While waiting in the queue we met up with Katy and Andrew Bradshaw and their kids who are also starting a new life in Doha teaching at Qatar academy.
Qatar Airways check in desk was open when we arrived, being well aware that we were a tad overweight I put on my full Estate Agent charms which seemed to be working well….. until she weighed our luggage. Sorry sir but maximum weight allowance is 30kg for suitcases and 7kg for hand luggage and we are very strict on these limits. Oh dear. We were 10 kg over our limit. As we were concerned this may happen Andy (Cathy’s brother) had come in with us. We quickly started taking stuff out of suitcases and putting them into a rucksack we had brought with us (or I should say Cathy had the foresight to do this). OK, weight adjusted time for another check. Sorry sir you are still 7 kg over your allowance. Fine, we will have to pay for excess luggage then. While this was being sorted out, the check in lady proceeded to check our bags in. “Sorry sir, this suitcase weighs 34 kg, baggage handlers are not insured for anything over 32 kg, please re-distribute the weight between suitcases”. In the mean time, the queue was growing longer and longer, fortunately there were enough check in desks open! Luggage checked in, it was time to now take Kati’s car seat and her bike over to the oversize check in.
Time for one last bacon sarni
Kati was amazing and helped pull one of our hand luggage cases all the way through security (I have seen more organised security queues in Italy than in Manchester, now that is saying something!).
Found our departure lounge easily so it was now time to relax by having a nice cup of tea and a bacon and sausage sarni, this was followed by taking Kati to the play area to let off some steam before the 7 hour flight.
having done plenty of short haul flights throughout Europe we are more used to Easy Jet, Ryan Air, Whizz Air and those sort of airlines. It was a pleasure boarding Qatar Airways plane, everyone was so polite and friendly, leg room and on board entertainment which included computer games for kids (Kati managed to completely lock two of the screens up!) Food was OK, nothing special but the overall flight was fantastic, only encountering a bit of turbulence over Romania.
I think I can speak for Cathy too but after 8 months planning, working on the house week in, week out, day in, day out and perhaps one of our longest countdowns in our moving history, we were finally here, it felt completely surreal.
Wherever you may fly to in the the world, it is always the same thing, as soon as you land, everybody immediately stands up and opens the overhead compartment ready to disembark, regardless of how long it may take, leaving you standing in one of those awkward positions defending your territory so nobody gets past you, especially the person standing next to you (or is that just me?)
We disembarked pretty quickly compared to some flights I’ve been on and were greeted by the most amazing, well designed, signed and welcoming airport I have been to in many years, if not ever!
Not too sure as to what to expect we arrived at immigration which is before baggage collection. The queue was short and we were greeted by a very polite Qatari immigration officer who was more interested in talking to Kati and finding out all about her coming birthday than in even checking our visas which we had so carefully printed out!
We collected our luggage soon after, and then had a little wait before our oversize items, all in all, we were through in around 45 minutes (from plane to exit!).
We were greeted at arrivals by Qatar Academy representatives who immediately made us feel at home by helping us with a Qatari mobile number and guided us to a waiting mini bus to take us to our new home.
Mike, Cathy and Kati had arrived in Doha!