Although this was a very short flight, the service and attention to detail by Qatar Airways blew me away. I was in ECONOMY and got better service than what I would get in business class in some US and European Carriers.
The Good: Spacious seat, no one in the middle seat and nice IFE. Food served was also decent for the short flight.
The Bad: It’s not really a bad, but there is no way QR made any money on this flight (see next point).
The Noteworthy: The flight was about 30% full, there were 6 people in Business (labeled as first by QR), and about 50 people in economy. The entire middle section of the aircraft was empty, I ended up moving there to sleep in an entire row of seats.
Hamad International Airport
The flight left at night, and I expected the airport to be more full than it was. Although the center section (where the duty free is) was pretty busy, the concourses were sparsely populated. My flight left from the same gate I arrived in from my Miami flight. To my surprise, it was the same aircraft! In order to access the boarding lounge, you need to present your boarding pass and your passport. As soon as they checked my ticket, they motioned me to go the first class waiting area, as I am a OneWorld Emerald.
By the time boarding began, the boarding lounge was basically empty. There was one other person on the first class queue, and about 20 people in the economy chairs. I kept thinking that there was a tour group, of sorts, that would show up last minute and fill up the aircraft. I was the first to board, and I got to see the Economy class cabin of the A350.
Airline: Qatar Airways
Cabin Class: Economy Class
Flight Number: QR 1082
On Time: Yes
The Qatar Airways A350 economy class cabin is divided into two sections, one right behind the smaller business class section, and another after the 3L/R doors. The first section would remain empty during the entire boarding process.
I was assigned seat 34K, a window seat in the back end of the cabin. The A350 has pretty large windows (though not as large as on the 787) and I got some good views of the wing. Each seat has its own large IFE screen, an IFE control that doubles as a second screen and a tray table. Legroom is a nice 31”, but feels larger because the slimline seats. The seats themselves are well padded, as far as slimline seats go, and have more recline than what you’ll find on a regular international flight.
Each seat came with its own pillow and blanket, something that you don’t see in domestic first class in the US. The pillows were plush enough that they would be comfortable for a much longer flight, and the blankets were the traditional ones you can find. Each seat had its own light and air vent (a much needed amenity that lacks often).
The IFE screen was extremely sharp. It was a high resolution screen, similar to the ones found in business class, and the entertainment selection had something for everyone. For me, however, I stuck with the moving map.
Departure and Take Off
After about a 15 minute boarding process, we were ready to leave. The flight was about 30% full, give or take 5%. I had never seen a flight so empty, and the fact that it was on an A350 made it even more shocking. We took off with some nice views of Doha on the other side of the aircraft, but all I got to see was the darkness of night.
After take off, the FAs sprung into action. They handed out warm towels to everyone, packaged but still a great gesture. About 10 minutes later, they came by with a snack box and a cup of water for everyone in economy. You can imagine my surprise when I saw it, and how blown away I was when I realized that it was a hot meal.
Inside the box was a savory pastry of sorts, which was warm and super flavorful. There was also a lemon muffin, which I found to be a nice addition. During the meal, the FAs came around offering people more water. After they picked up the trash, they handed another moist towel.
Landing and Arrival
About 45 minutes before landing, as soon as my tray was cleaned, I moved to an empty row of seats, to try out the economy class lie flat seat options. It was surprisingly comfortable, and the middle section can fit a 5’10” person comfortably.
Soon enough, we were getting ready for landing, and the cabin crew came by to clean up whatever trash was left. I sat back on a new seat, this time seat 26K, and watched the aircraft land in the late Kuwaiti night.
Overall, Qatar Airways is my favorite airline in economy. Their A350 is super comfortable, the food was excellent for an 1h35m flight, and the fact that the aircraft was basically empty made it even more fun. I would hands down recommend Qatar Airways for regional economy class flights, and maybe go as far as to say to fly them in coach for their ultra long haul flights, because it can only get better for a long haul flight.