Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Trip to Pakistan

In November I had another trip to Pakistan; first one with my daughter. I traveled with Qatar Air which is known as the only 5-Star airline in Gulf and surrounding regions. The flight was as usual, however, the staff was very good, even at airport. They asked us to hand the stroller (baby-pram) at the gate of the plane. Folding the pram was a long effort since I was doing it for the first time and the staff also struggled with it. My daughter was presented with a stuffed plane model with vibration feature. Older children were given small school bags with coloring stuff. We had to change plane at Doha, Qatar.

The first flight was from Munich to Doha. It took us 4 hours even with the fastest train to reach Munich airport. The airport is cleverly designed in that there are two runways on both sides of the terminal, so they can be used simultaneously. And passengers have to walk less because of reduced building size. However, the small walk between terminal 1 and terminal 2 is bad on a rainy day. Food on the plane was as usual German style. They provided us a basinet for my daughter in the plane. It is a rectangular box fitted on a table in front of the front seats. A child can easily jump out of the basinet, so constant care was to be taken, but still it was very helpful.

Doha airport is a small one lacking boarding tunnels. After a small security check, we went upstairs to wait, only to come downstairs on the other side and board a bus to the next plane. It was going to Lahore and thus completely full with a lot of families. Hence we couldn't obtain a front seat and so no basinet. We were given two seats from a row of 4 seats. Another lady was sitting beside us with her baby. The steward moved her somewhere else, since this row had only 5 oxygen masks and thus only one baby could sit there. We landed in Lahore at about 3 am. There was a banner there that passengers from some Swine Flu infected countries can get tested here.

Our return flight also started at about 4 am. Changing the plane again at Doha, we landed on Frankfurt airport. Then we went underground to the fast trains (ICE) station. They have separate train stations for fast and for normal trains at Frankfurt airport. There we tried to board a fast train, but it was full. Then we waited for half an hour for the next train, but it was full too. I went to the booking office to reserve seats, but it was not possible for the next two train connections, since it was Friday afternoon and everybody was travelling for the weekend. So we boarded the next train and stood in the aisle. After reaching our city, we asked multiple big and small taxies, but noone would take us since we had luggage, a pram and a baby. Some didn't have a baby-seat and some thought the luggage was too much. Finally we got a minibus from a company and reached home.

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