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My journey was to take me from LHR Terminal 4 to Colombo via a 50-minute layover in Doha, a total journey time of around 13 hours. I am a frequent Economy Class flyer, however, here is why Qatar Airways Business Class has made me second guess my decisions, changing the way I think about flying altogether.
From check-in, my experiences travelling were already very different. Like most airlines, Qatar Airways provides separate check-in counters for those travelling First/Business class. Travelling from Heathrow during mid-afternoon meant peak-flight times and I could tell from check-in the new A350-1000 aircraft was going to be filled. The Economy Class queue wrapped around bends and never seemed to empty even though all check-in desks were manned by Qatar staff.
(Although I must note I was provided with an ‘Upgrade On Departure’, which did not allow me access to the Qatar Lounge. Which I’m sure would have eased the disparity I felt).
When it came to board the flight, Qatar Airways Business Class customers are invited to board when they please. You again have your own boarding line which is pretty much empty due to the significantly lesser number of Business Class passengers. I followed the bridge down to then realise there was even your own separate entrance to the aircraft.
In-Flight Qatar A350-1000
The Qatar Airways Business Class Q-Suite
Your side table is coated with a faux-marble countertop, showcasing your lush duvet and additional pillow. Qatar Airways gifts you a lovely Brics hard cased amenities bag. The bag is filled with Castello Monte Vibiano locations and sprays along with an eye mask and socks for your flight. Below the table, you find a small space where you can hold any documents from passports and boarding passes to magazines and newspapers.
I thought Qatar Airways use of space was brilliant when it came to the location of technical buttons. The chair controls are insight with easy access, no need for a remote. I appreciated that they provided an onboard international socket, which allowed me to keep my laptop charged.
Shortly after boarding, I was greeted by an attendant who offered me a choice of a hot or cold towel and a selection of drinks. The towel comes in really handy during multiple transits making you feel really refreshed and I was surprised to see my drink brought over to me in a glass, rather than the standard plastic I was used to in Economy Class.
During takeoff, I noticed that I felt significantly fewer vibrations being near the front of the plane, aside from the usual change in pressure it was probably some of the smoothest departures I’ve experienced. I think being provided with noise-cancelling headphones definitely added to the comfort but I will go into this more a little later.
Food and Drink
Once at cruising altitude, each Business Class passenger was provided with three menus. One depicting your unlimited choice of beverages throughout the flight, another containing the in-flight menu options and lastly a snack ‘platter’ menu. You were able to select meal choice at any time during the flight, although attendants recommend you select your ‘main’ as soon as possible to secure your meal choice. Snack platter options were available throughout the flight.
The Qatar Airways Business Class wine and beverage menu include a selection of high-quality wine, champagnes, liquors and soft drinks. I would personally recommend their Rosé Champagne and Pineapple Margarita (Mocktail).
I found overall their quality of even fruit-juices provided was much higher than that of Economy Class. I ordered both an Apple and Orange juice. Common fruit juices offered in Economy class and found they were both provided with a variety of options from cloudy too with pulp, neither from concentrate. I even decided to venture to get a Mango juice which was incredible!
I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed by airline food in my life. I honestly felt like I was sat down at a gourmet restaurant and here’s why. Qatar Airways made sure their whole meal system worked perfectly, from weighted metal cutlery (Finally allowing you to cut and eat your airline food properly), well-timed change between courses to finally the exquisite presentation of their food.
I’m usually sceptical about ordering seafood In general and especially more on flights, however, something about Qatar Airways made me feel comfortable about my decision to order Prawns and I was not disappointed. I had ordered Tempura prawns but more of a deconstructed prawn ‘tempura’ was placed in front of me, perfectly presented and tasted amazing.
Unfortunately, Qatar Airways does fall short in the food department in one place. Snacks. They only provide you with a selection of salty nuts (almonds, cashews and pistachios) and a post-meal box of Godiva chocolates (1x dark chocolate, 1x praline). Although both are premium selections and are great snacks, they can get boring quickly on journey times of 13 hours.
ORYX – In-Flight Entertainment System
The entertainment system as previously stated is filled with a whopping compilation of 3000 movies, tv shows and albums. I honestly found it one of the easiest navigable airline systems around, being able to control the screen not only with my finger but the touchscreen remote control also. Their vast collections of films had me annoyed as I couldn’t watch the abundance of films in one sitting with the time I had! You can even precheck what will be available on your Qatar Airways flight Here.
Wi-fi and Internet access
Transit at Doha Hamad International Airport
Be aware! As simple as it sounds make sure you have enough transit time to transfer between flights. On both journeys I had a 1-hour layover at Doha International Airport, I was informed this was enough time otherwise Qatar Airways would not allow this as a transit time. As an experienced traveller this may be enough time, however, this is not the case for Doha Airport.
During my journey from London Heathrow to Colombo: I arrived at Gate A for my stopover with my onward flight departing from Gate B. By the time the plane had landed and we were allowed off the aircraft I only had 30 minutes to reach my next flight. You would assume Gate’s A and B are close to one another but this is not the case. I had to power walk for around 10-15 minutes through Doha airport in order to reach the Gate B area and another 5 minutes to reach my particular gate. This left me with only around 10 minutes to get myself in order as the aircraft was on last call boarding.
On my return journey, I was shocked to find I had to go through security during my transit in Doha. This was unexpected and definitely added a lot of time to the transfer. Again due to the size of Doha airport the gate I had to reach was very far away from the gate we had arrived in. As I was injured I luckily was provided with a buggy throughout my transit time, although even with this buggy I was late. I definitely believe that this was not a walkable distance within 1 hour.
I would recommend as an able-bodied passenger you allow yourself at least 1.5 hours transit time at Doha Airport, extending up to 2 hours for those less able.
In-Flight Qatar 777
For me, this particular aircraft felt a lot more ‘old school’ First/Business Class especially compared to the Q-suite pods available on the A350-1000. I even thought it reminded me more of Premium Economy than Business Class at first glance. Although the abundance of natural light felt more welcoming than the more artificially lit Qatar Airways Business Class cabin on the A350-1000.
The Qatar Airways Business Class 777 seats
The configuration of the Boeing 777 aircraft is different from that of the A350-1000 so naturally, the seats throughout the aircraft are different. The Qatar Airways Business class is fitted in a 2x2x2 configuration with wider seats than that of the A350-1000. The seats are fully reclining massage chairs with water bottle storage in the armrest.
The storage your provided is located in different places, you have a large bag compartment in front of your feet and a document store underneath your side table. Similarly to the A350-1000, you’re provided with a amenities bag, this time in partnership with Nappa Dori. Although apart from the eye mask and socks for your flight there was only one Castello Monte Vibiano lip balm, 1/3 of the Castello Monte Vibiano products that were provided on the A350-1000.
Technical seat buttons were once again easy access. The socket and USB port were located underneath the remote flap whilst chair functions were visible at the top of your alternative armrest. Although I did find the functionality of the massage chair buttons slightly more confusing on the Qatar Airways 777, especially when it came to making minor chair tweaks.
As expected there was an abundance of legroom, with me being 6 foot and still having more than enough room to stretch out. Overall although the seats were wider in the 777 their comfort was about the same.
Unlike the Q-suite pods, you are seated directly next to your accompanying passenger which felt a lot less luxurious than having your own private quarters 30,000 feet in the sky. Although as I had no passenger next to me, the vacant seat definitely made me feel as though I had more space than on the A350-1000.
Food and Drink
Again at cruising altitude, we were provided with menus. One depicting your unlimited choice of beverages throughout the flight and another containing the in-flight menu options. This time we did not receive a snack ‘platter’ menu which may have been because overall this was the shorter flight (by one hour).
Each individual flight has a completely different 6-course menu, whilst the drinks menu remained relatively the same. Again the quality of food was gourmet restaurant quality with beautiful presentation. It’s really difficult not to overindulge when the food and drinks are this good.
ORYX – In-Flight Entertainment System
The entertainment system on the 777 seemed slightly outdated compared to that of the A350-1000. Only operable via the standard remote, with a flick-screen system. Even though slightly more tedious it was still fairly operable and contained a variation of the films, tv shows and albums available on the other aircraft.
Throughout all flights, Qatar Airways Business Class passengers were provided with noise-cancelling headphones. Leather padded over the ear headphones were a great treat compared to the usual set of earphones provided in Economy Class cabin. The noise cancellation system is brilliant to the point you cannot hear any other passengers or the aircraft and have limited disruption during takeoff and landing. I guess the only downside is your ears may get a little tired of wearing them for the long duration of the flight, I know mine did.
Qatar Airways Business Class – Flight Attendants
In general, the service provided by the Qatar Airways flight attendants was world class. I felt from the moment I stepped onto the aircraft to the moment I left, they made me feel as if I were at home. Beyond their constant smiles and upbeat personas, it came across as they really wanted to help you with whatever they could assist with. It did at some points get slightly frustrating having to pause my entertainment system multiple time to respond to their check up’s. Although appreciated and obviously carried out through their commitment to providing you with the best experience, could have happened slightly less.
Beyond their service, they are more than willing to have conversations with you. As most Business Class passengers travel alone, it was nice to have a bit of conversation during my flight times.
Flying with Qatar Airways Business Class is a completely different way of flying with true luxury and comfort throughout. I hope this overview of my experience flying with the airline can help you determine whether you think flying business with Qatar Airways Business Class is the right choice for you. Personally, If I was flying long haul (anything 8h+) and I had the funds I wouldn’t hesitate flying Business Class again, it’s like adding an extra 2 days to your holiday! So if you want to experience flying Business Cass at least once in your life, Qatar Airways would definitely be one to do it with.
Well, I hope you guys found this article interesting and insightful! Let me know below if you have any thoughts or questions!
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