If you have been reading this blog like how I wish you have been you would have read that I managed to piece together a crazy itinerary that goes something like this; DC-Budapest-Zurich-Lucerne-Doha-Melbourne-Fiji-and back. Although Switzerland (Zurich and Lucerne) was breathtaking, the highlight of this itenirary was always Fiji, and now I’m finally making my way there in Qatar Airways business class. Qatar is the only airline from the big 3 gulf carriers that I haven’t flown yet so while I’m excited to get to Fiji, I won’t be in any hurry if Qatar is anything like Emirates and Etihad 🙂 This is my play by play review of Qatar Airways Business Class.
Zurich to Doha: Boeing 787 seat 6e and 6f
I picked 6e & 6f because of the privacy. These two seats are seperated from the rest of the business class cabin and in a small cabin all by themselves between the business and economy cabins. Some passengers don’t like these seats because there are no windows and the area can get busy traffic due to the close proximity to the bathrooms and also snack area for business class passengers. I can say that it wasn’t bothersome at all and the privacy really trumps the loss of windows. I expected the service to be top notch and Qatar didn’t disappoint!!! Soon as I took my seat a flight attendant immediately greeted me by name and asked for beverage orders, having just came from the lounge I declined and asked for a hot towel instead. I sat down and got comfortable by looking around the seat and opening the amenity kit which in this case was a Giorgio Armani amenity kit. A nice kit indeed but still a tad bit short from my favorite kit thus far, a Rimowa kit I received aboard Eva Airways.
Once settled in I began to browse through the IFE system and to my surprise, I saw that the movie Difret was a top pick of the month. Difret is a movie I have been meaning to see for a while since it’s filmed in my home country of Ethiopia and in my mother tongue of Amharic. Speaking of the IFE system, I wasn’t impressed by the functionality of it, the touch screen was a bit difficult to navigate and wouldn’t respond most times so I had to resort to using the handheld remote control which was either too sensitive or had a lag. Also, you couldn’t watch a trailer of the movies before you made your decision which could be a problem for some as the library of content is pretty big. Que hash tag “first world problems” here.
Food was great as expected!!! I opted to go with a light salad for starters and the Fillet of Fish for my main course. I really love the on demand concept that Qatar has for dining as I’m often not very hungry early on in a flight after spending an hour or so at the airport lounge. I asked the flight attendant to serve my meal in approximately 3 hours when she took my order and right on the dot 3 hours later she came by to ask me if I wanted my meal served.
It amazes me how airlines are able to prepare restaurant quality food in such confined spaces. Each course was delightful and the service was fast, responsive and my table was cleared almost immediately after I finished dining. After my meal I decided to recline my seat into the fully flat bed position and caught some much deserved Z’s. Since this was a relatively short flight (5.5 hours) by the time I awoke we were already making our descent down to Doha Airport. It was an overall great first experience with Qatar Airlines wich elevated my excitement for the 12 hour flight from Doha to Australia that I was going to be embarking on after my 3 hour layover in Doha.
Doha to Adelaide: Airbus A-350 seat 6e & 6f
After a 3 hour layover in the business class loung in Doha airport wich I will be reviewing in a seperate post, we started to make our way to our brand new A-350 to board our flight from Doha to Adelaide. Boarding was a breeze once again and I was greated immediately by a flight attendant at my seat and asked for my beverage order. Shortly thereafter she came back with a glass of Rose and a hot towel. Since we boarded early I took this opportunity to snap a few pictures and look around the seat wich was identical to the seat in the Boeing 787.
Once I was settled in I decided to play around with the IFE system and became even more frustrated than I was with the one aboard my earlier flight. It wouldn’t respond to my commands and when I finally got it to respond I could only watch about 5 minutes before it crashed. This happened about 4 times before I called over a flight attendant and asked them to reset my IFE. It got better after the reset but would still occasionally crash and freeze about once every couple hours or so.
About 3 hours into the flight my meal was served. I opted with a Smoked Salmon starter and a Tofu dish that I was iffy about but once I saw the dish, was pretty intrigued. After one bite I was in heaven!!! It was probably one of the best meals I have ever had in the skies!!!
Desert: White Chocolate & Mango Mouse Cake
After dinner my eyes became heavy and although I wanted to take a quick nap I declined an offer from the flight attendant to make my bed for me. Why? Well I did not want to get too comfortable and sleep for the remainder of the fight as we would have been landing in Australia in the evening and wanted to begin adjusting to the new times zone on the flight to reduce my jet lag. Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of the US East coast.
Instead I decided to take intermittent 30 hour naps hear and there while watching a movie and getting some work done.
The A-350 is a gorgeous plane, the mood lighting is very relaxing and while it’s not as spacious as the A-380 is still a very spacious plane with plenty of storage space and is even equipped with a small snack area between the 2 business class cabins.
Business Class Cabin
In summary, one could make a compelling argument that Qatar Airways could possibly have the best business class product in the market. The service, food, and seat are top notch. Combine that with the several promotions that Qatar runs and you will be hard pressed to find a better value flying the skies. In terms of rating them amongst Gulf carriers, It’s hard for me to compare Qatar with its’s Gulf counterparts as I have only flown in Emirates and Etihad first class wich is an unfair comparison, but I will hopefully get a chance to try Qatar first class aboard the A-380 to be able to make a better comparison. The only bad grade I would give to this product is the IFE system, while the library is vast, the operation isn’t that smooth and both I and my companion experienced several crashes of the system. A small price to pay for flying in such grand style.