I just finished a trip with Qatar Airways in business class. I started the trip in Bangkok, flew to Munich and then flew back to Adelaide from there. This meant I was able to fly on all three of their aircraft that have the newer reverse herringbone business class seating, the A380, B787 and A350.
Booking this ticket
As I’ve written about before, booking a ticket to Europe that starts in Asia and finishes back in Australia can sometimes greatly reduce the price compared to a straight Australia to Europe return. That’s exactly what I did when I booked this during one of Qatar’s 2-for-1 sales and the total price per person was about AU$2500 including taxes and fees. I also made sure to book the ticket direct on their website as they had several Privilege Club bonus point offers running in conjunction with the sale which were only available for tickets booked on their website. The offers were: 2000 bonus points for my first booking online, 10000 bonus points for flying into Adelaide and triple points for the whole trip. The triple points offer only applied to the miles flown and class bonus not the bonus points. This meant I netted just over 70k points for the itinerary, enough for a one way business class flight from Sydney to Doha.
To position for the flight from Bangkok, I flew with Singapore Airlines in business class which I booked using Avianca Lifemiles, review to come shortly!
All three aircraft I flew on have basically the same seat, which is the 2015 Skytrax business class seat of the year. On all four flights I took I was in the middle section of the 1-2-1 layout as I was travelling with someone. That’s definitely the way forward for couples although if travelling solo, I would suggest booking a window seat.
It’s an incredibly comfortable fully flat bed, similar to Cathay Pacific or American Airlines on the 777-300er. I’ve read comments before saying the version Qatar use lacks privacy due to not having any sort of divider between the seat and the aisle. That’s probably fair but I much prefer it due to the openness of the cabin and how much more spacious it makes everything feel.
There are several storage compartments in the seat and a good amount of surface space, so plenty of room to square away all of your bits and pieces. The table is huge as well and great for doing a bit of work on a laptop.
I found the in flight entertainment selection perfectly adequate for a long flight and the screen is a good size. The screen doesn’t angle but I found that it was watchable regardless of if I was sitting upright or laying down with the seat in flat bed mode. The handheld controller was a little fiddly to use but did the job and I liked that I was able to watch the flightpath on the handset without interrupting the movie on the main screen.
As with any airline, this is obviously dependent on the particular crew onboard. I experienced different levels of service on the different flights that ranged from friendly and attentive to absolutely perfect. The leg from Munich to Doha on my return journey was hands down the best service I’ve ever encountered on a flight. Every attendant in the business class cabin was totally charming and they made the flight an absolute joy.
Qatar have an on demand dining concept, meaning there aren’t scheduled meal times, you just order what you want when you want it. I found this amazing as it means you can eat according to the local time in either your departure or arrival point. Or just have three deserts for dinner!!! The quality of the food was top notch and I enjoyed everything I ate with the exception of one fish option that I can’t remember the name of. The Arabic mezze plates were delicious as were all the pasta dishes and deserts. The champagnes on offer were Billecart Salmon brut and Drappier rose, both delicious.
In Bangkok, Qatar business class passengers get access to the Thai Airways lounges. I’m struggling to think of something nice to say about the lounge we used. It was really mediocre. Definitely nothing you would eat there prior to boarding a Qatar Airways flight, just a few sandwiches and a couple of uninteresting hot options. They had a few beers on offer as well as a selection of spirits and mixers but no wine. It wasn’t the worst lounge I’ve been in but a long way from the best.
In Munich we had access to the British Airways lounge. This was a step up from Bangkok for sure but just your average BA European lounge. The wifi worked well and they had a small spread of snacks and drinks but nothing to write home about.
In Doha though, wow!!! The Qatar business class lounge is MASSIVE and super chic! They have a sit down a la carte service with great food. I had lamb cutlets and they were fantastic!
During Ramadan the lounge is dry, which was fine for us but worth being aware of.
The lounge has shower facilities, a smoking area that’s much nicer than the one in the main terminal and all sorts of seating and lounging areas.
On the flights from Bangkok to Doha and from Doha to Adelaide, we were provided with Armani amenity kits and sleep suits which are amazing but the sizes are huge. On the Doha to Munich and Munich to Doha flights, we were just given a small pouch with eye mask, earplugs, lip balm and socks. Totally reasonable for a ~5hr flight but a big downgrade from the other flights. I assume this is route dependent rather than aircraft dependent but there isn’t much difference in the duration of a Bangkok to Doha flight versus a Doha to Munich flight. The eye mask in the smaller pouch is much nicer than the one in the Armani kit though.
The A380 is very impressive. The onboard bar/lounge is the nicest I’ve experienced and while the Krug for business class passengers offering seems to be over, Billecart-Salmon is still lovely and the bar itself is much more comfortable for a longer visit than on other carriers, just due to the layout and seating.
I was actually a little disappointed when two of my flights had equipment swaps and went from A350s to 787s, though I needn’t have worried. I actually preferred the 787 due to the smaller cabin feeling a bit more exclusive. I did notice the wider, roomier cabin on the A350 but if I had a choice between the two aircraft, I’d go for the Boeing.
So, A380 first, then the 787, then the A350 in my opinion but the difference is marginal and I’d be far more likely to choose my flight based on the most convenient times.
Qatar Airways business class is really exceptional in every department. The value of the ticket was ridiculous and the fact I was able to accrue 70k points for this itinerary is insane!
I would like to try the 777 for comparison but I don’t think I’ll have a chance to redeem those miles until the A380 begins service to Sydney in September. Oh well, I’ll just have to have another spin in Qatar’s whale!