This is the best business class product flying. With that provocative statement, here’s my evidence for that assertion.
I left my last blog post, leaving the excellent Heathrow Premium Lounge and walking across to gate 6 where boarding had just started.
Being amongst the first to board the 777-300ER, I was able to take a number of pictures of the cabin. I was sat in 1E, with my friend in 1F – they were a rear facing centre pair of seats that could be converted into a double bed.
The seat area between the two seats was huge and well thought out, being very private and shielded from the other passengers.
I took a few other photos of the rest of the cabin. Each of the suites seemed very well designed, thought out and offered both privacy and comfort. The rear facing window seats were excellent for single travellers.
In terms of the detail of the suite itself, everything seemed to have been thought of.
There was an extensive array of seat controls and a large monitor right in front of the seat. The video controller was actually an independent Android-Based mini-computer that could be operated separately from the main screen.
There was an HDMI input for displaying your own content on the screen. There was also a plug socket for power and two USB sockets.
In the cubby hole to my side there was a bottle of water and noise cancelling headphones supplied. They were ok, but not up to the standard of Bose headsets that the like of American Airlines supplies, although still not too shabby.
There was an extra safety card showing how to open the Q-Suite door in the event that it jams shut in an emergency situation.
It was a modern, stylish, well thought out seat, with huge amounts of space.
Already on each seat was a BRICS amenity kit with a variety of products. After a couple of moments the cabin crew came around asking if we’d like anything to drink. Given I was on vacation, I opted for a glass of champagne. This was delivered in a full size glass, around double the size of something that British Airways would serve a drink in (in either Club or First).
Before long it was time to push back. The crew ensured that all seats were in the take-off position, played the safety video and after a few minutes we were on our way to Doha.
Qatar Airways in business class offer a dine on demand service, meaning that you can eat whatever you want, anytime and in any order. Most airlines (like British Airways) only offer this in first, and only grudgingly offer it. The crew were proactive in pointing this out saying it was entirely up to us when and what we wanted. Being peckish and wanting to get a nap later on, we both decided to eat immediately after take-off.
The crew brought me the obligatory gin and tonic with warmed nuts, and then proceeded to lay the table for dinner. The amuse bouche arrived first, paté with an onion chutney relish.
Part of the table settings was a tea light. Now on it’s own, this isn’t terribly revolutionary, however for me I thought it added hugely to the ambiance of the meal. It was battery powered and flickered gently, just light a normal candle would. This small touch I felt made a huge and wonderful difference to the entire service.
Next up was the started – a big portion of smoked salmon and potato salad. That was followed by the soup course. Next up was my main, which was braised lamb. I have to say that was a bit of disappointment, and wasn’t up there with the rest of the food. It was overly dry and over-cooked. Being pretty full by that point, however in the interests of research for the blog, opted for ice cream and an espresso for dessert.
After all of that, being pretty full, we both decided that we wanted to get some rest and so asked the crew to make up the suite as a double bed – it’s signature feature.
I wasn’t sure what their response would be to the request. A day or so before the flight, I ran a poll to see what you guys all thought.
Thankfully the majority of respondents were spot on an they did so without a blink of an eye.
There was not only mattress pads, but also soft quilts, pillows and the tea-lights. All of them made the cosiest and most comfortable business class bed in the sky.
With the doors shut it was completely private and we both passed out for a couple of hours rest.
We awoke at around 45 minutes before landing returning the seats to their landing positions in preparation for arrival into Doha. Before we knew it we were on the ground and disembarking into the main terminal.
So a few closing thoughts. This is without a doubt the best business class product in the sky, and blows British Airways first class out of the water. I would take this over BA every single time, even given the Avios and tier points bribe that BA First would provide. The end to end experience with Qatar is markedly superior in every way. Club World, let’s not even go there.
That said, the crew were very good, but perhaps a tad robotic. I never felt that I got to see their human side, however there was nothing that either of us wanted for, or a need that wasn’t anticipated. The food was also good, but not quite as good as I was expecting. My experience on Etihad was better.
So overall, I was very impressed with Qatar. Very. For business class it was outstanding.