Monday, October 10, 2011

Flight to Doha with kids

We spent two weeks with Irma’s family in Miami Lakes, FL, waiting to fly to Qatar on August 19th, 2011. Our three tickets plus a lap-child seat for Gracie were one-way and cost over $8,000 paid for by Qatar University. The flight would be through DC and cover 12,000 miles over thirteen hours.  It was exciting to get the etickets and visas!
Planning for the trip was never complete. Our combined baggage of seven checked bags and seven carry-on bags required a separate pick-up truck to get us to the airport. It is hard or impossible to plan for everything you will need for a three year stay and we purged more than we expected or put things in a small storage unit to get our total bags down to 14.
The check-in was the worst part of the whole journey. The counter had no record of Gracie at all and was prepared to stop us from boarding without an additional charge. We were running late as usual, so this additional headache was unbearable. We had the proof that Grace did have a ticket and eventually persuaded the airline too.
The Qatar Airlines Boeing 777 was the best plane we had experienced. Full service and very comfortable. Gracie and nine other babies slept in hanging bassinets on the plane. Allie and Dad slept the whole night or watched the excellent entertainment system. 
One decision we made to purchase an iPad 2 turned out to be a great one. Our kids loved the interactive children apps and other features of the iPad so much they needed to take turns playing with the computer. This was a surprise to me. I was amazed to see my 20 month old use a computer with some success so fast. The iPad was intended more to use in Qatar where we would need instant internet and we knew the compatibility of the iPad globally.
We arrived in Doha, Qatar, two days later after crossing Newfoundland, the north Atlantic, Ireland, UK, Europe and lastly Turkey and Iraq.
At arrivals we met our greeter and were seated at a lounge for VIPs. We had our passports and baggage done by proxy while we had tea and water in the lounge. I never had to lug the 14 bags again! A driver took us that night to our apartment.
Each faculty member at QU is offered accommodation for the duration of the employment contract. We accepted the keys to a three bedroom apartment in a gated compound. The major furniture was there already and they even put food in the fridge. Allie asked that we use the swimming pool by the club house before we even when to bed.

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