Beyond Qatar Airways’ QSuites, their A350 offers their best business class hard product. As usual, the soft product shines brightly as well. I was a bit disappointed they did not offer a fruit smoothie for this flight, but I ate enough for days so it’s fine.
The Good: Great seat. Not the most private, but great even for a long flight like this. Excellent food and beverages, nifty amenity kit.
The Bad: Very slow and expensive wifi.
The Noteworthy: Qatar Airways business class is superior to other airlines’ first class. Like, it’s that good.
Since my inbound flight had been delayed about an hour, I had substantially less time to be in the Flagship Lounge, so instead of going I just headed to Terminal E.
I stayed at the Terminal E Premium Lounge for a while, which I have reviewed before here. About 30 minutes before boarding, I left the lounge. Qatar Airways now uses the satellite gates at Terminal E, alongside British Airways and Iberia, and some American flights. Once there, the gate agents were getting ready for boarding. The process was fairly smooth and quick, without any delay or extra security for me.
Airline: Qatar Airways
Cabin Class: Business Class
Flight Number: QR 778
On Time: Yes
This was my first time on an A350 and WOW! The cabin feels extremely spacious. The ceilings were higher than I could ever remember on an aircraft. The cabin had mood lighting, and it was one long continuous cabin for business class. The seats were arranged in a 1x2x1 configuration.
The seats were burgundy with grey accents and finishes. There was a pillow and a heavy blanket waiting for me at the seat.The IFE Screen was very large and had sharp resolution. Seat controls were on the inside side of the seat. They were easy to use and controlled every aspect of the lie flat seat. Power ports were below the seat controls, as well as the IFE controller. On the side table, there was also an Evian water bottle. A really cool detail was the seat belt sign, it was all digital and looked super futuristic. There were also individual air vents, a luxury most premium cabins don’t have.
There was a blue amenity kit next to my seat. It was sturdy and blue (my favorite color), it was provided by BRICS. Inside were all the essentials, as well as Monte Vibiano amenities. I was also presented with a set of PJs from the White Company, the same ones they provide in First Class (more on Qatar Airways First class here). They were soft and fit very well (as expected, not larger or smaller). They also offered low quality noise cancelling headphones.
As soon as I was settled in, the purser came around and offered me the menu for the flight. She said it was a dine on demand concept, and I could have whatever I wanted at any point. She also asked me if I wanted anything to drink before departure. I asked for Qatar’s signature drink: mint lemonade, which was refreshing. I also asked for champagne, and they served me Lanson Black Label, which was okay.
When everyone had boarded, the captain came on the PA to announce our flying time of 12h50m, and that he expected us to arrive a bit early at Doha-Hamad International Airport.
Taxi and Take Off
About 10 minutes after our scheduled push back, we left the gate. There were some cool airlines and aircraft at MIA during our departure, and the avgeek in me was very happy. But what made me ecstatic was the tail camera. That is probably my favorite feature on any aircraft, and it made take off very exciting.
One of the places where Qatar Airways excels is in their food and beverage options on board. This flight was no exception. For each meal, the table is set formally, with each person receiving their own bread basket.
For the first meal, I ordered the non-alcoholic champagne (So Jennie) to start, followed by the Orangeade. Both were very good. My table was set afterwards, and and amuse bouche of goat cheese and squash puree was brought out. It was good, but nothing wow.
As appetizers I ordered the roasted red pepper and tomato soup, which was excellent. Followed by the hot smoked salmon, with pumpkin and goat cheese salad. I guess the ingredient of the day was goat cheese! It was also very good, although it could have used a bit more dressing in my opinion. For my main course, I ordered the chicken biryani. It was extremely flavorful, maybe a bit overwhelming to what I wanted. Nonetheless, it was good. I was stuffed afterwards, so I did not have dessert.
For my second meal, about 8 hours after takeoff, I had breakfast. My table was again set with its own pastry basket. I ordered orange juice and water, as well as the buttermilk pancakes with banana. The pancakes were alright, but I’m not a big breakfast person. I did miss the smoothie and energizer that was available on my last Qatar Airways flight from Miami to Doha a few years back.
For the pre arrival snack, I decided to go for the garden salad, as well as the cheese filled pasta. The salad was just ok, and the pasta was not very warm. This was probably the only let down meal of the whole flight.
For the rest of the menu, here is a gallery:
The seat is lie flat, and I took advantage and slept in it for two stints of about 3.5 hours. There is turndown service on Qatar Airways, and they will add a thin mattress pad. The bed is fairly wide, but there is no privacy divider, so you feel very exposed when you sleep.
Notes on Wifi
The airline offers wifi on their A350, but it is incredibly slow, especially for the price you pay. I paid for two sessions on board, and was down about $45 if I remember correctly.
Notes on Cabin
During the flight, the flight attendants had snacks and drinks on the bar betweent he two business class “cabins”. There is also a gorgeous light fixture overhead, that I almost missed when I was there. So look up when you enter the QR A350.
Notes on Service
This was where the flight was truly uncharacteristic for Qatar Airways. I have heard other people say their FAs are a mixed bag, but I had always had great experience with them. On this flight, they were not proactive at all, and I required the call button to get anything done. When I woke up, I waited 25 minutes for someone to walk by and no one did. It was truly a let down, as I have come to expect more from Qatar Airways.
Arrival and Landing
Too soon we were getting ready to land in Doha. A video about Hamad International Airport played on the IFE screens, and the crew came by making sure everyone who needed landing cards had them.
Our approach to HIA had great views of the airport itself. I keep forgetting how dry and seemingly barrent the Arabian Penninsula is beyond the major glistening cities. We landed about 10 minutes ahead of schedule, and in less than 10 minutes we were at the gate.
Qatar Airways has a competitive hard product on their A350-900s, and their soft product is better than some airline’s first class (thinking British Airways, United and American). There is often good availability on the QR flight from Miami to Doha, and I personally loved the A350 as an aircraft. The only sad part to the story was the crew, which were really a miss. Otherwise, I would have recommended the flight with a 10/10.