Qatar Airways Business Class 777 MIA-DOH
Qatar Airways Arrivals Lounge DOH
Doha Business Elite Flyers Lounge
Doha First Class Elite Flyers Lounge
Doha Al Maha Lounge
Qatar Airways Oryx Lounge
Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge
Qatar Airways Business Class 787 DOH-JNB
JNB Arrivals Lounge
JNB Shongololo Lounge
BA Galleries First Lounge JNB
British Airways First Class A380 JNB-LHR
BA Galleries First Lounge T3 LHR
Cathay Pacific Lounge LHR
American Airlines Flagship Lounge LHR
American Airlines Admirals’ Club LHR
British Airways First Class A380 LHR-MIA
Final Landing Thoughts
Gate and Boarding
I arrived at the gate over 1h 20m before takeoff. Boarding was scheduled for 6:40pm, and the flight departed at 7:40pm. As soon as I got to the service counter, I had my boarding pass reissued and I was granted pre-boarding in order to take photos of the business class cabin.
At 6:36pm they offered pre-boarding and special assistance. For the first time in my 22 years of life, I was pulled aside by DHS. The unsmiling, unemotional man asked me where I was from, where I lived and where I was going. After a routine and quick Q and A, I was n my way. Unfortunately, the DHS issue held me back three wheelchairs. I would normally not care, as they are the ones who really need pre board, but this case there was a mess with the wheelchairs. There were a total of about 7 on the flight, and for some reason only one of them could speak English. When the aircraft crew tried to help, they noticed that they too had a language barrier. Eventually, after many hand gestures, the people in front of me understood that they needed to either stand or transfer to an aircraft wheelchair. When I presented my boarding pass, I was motioned to turn left to my seat 1A.
Qatar Airways 778
Flight Time: 13h 10m
As soon as you turn left, you see the majestic Qatar Airways logo on the wall. I had been assigned seat 1A. The aircraft is configured 2-2-2 and offers fully flat seats. Waiting at my seat, there was a blanket, a pillow, noise cancelling headphones and slippers. The cabin was dimmed with blue ambient light, a feature of more recent 777s. There was ample legroom, probably one of the most in a 2-2-2 configuration. Next to the seat were sliding placeholders, underneath which were two bottle holders, and in one of them there was a bottle of Evian Water. The seat controls were on the opposite side of the seat, and had a massage function. They were pretty intuitive to use.
About 15 seconds after I was starting to settle in, Patricia introduced herself as the FA who would be working my aisle. She offered me a pre departure beverage, which I chose the signature lemon and mint drink. It came with a hot towel. The tray table was in the center console, and was fairly large and sturdy. I personally don’t like wobbly tables.
A few moments after, Patricia came back with a set of Qatar Airways branded pjs, size L/XL (not sure which one it was really). They were HUGE on the arm length and leg length, but they were rather short on the torso length. She also handed me a Giorgio Armani branded amenity kit, which came with the essentials, as well as a 3oz (largest possible) hand cream lotion of the Aqua di Gio collection, as well as a small perfume. There were different cases for men and women, I noticed afterwards. The slippers were sturdy, and although I would not use them outside the flight, they were much appreciated.
The coolest thing about the QR seat was the seat belt. It has the QR logo lasered in. Personally, those little touches are the ones that give it a “wow” factor. The noise cancelling headphones were similar to Panasonic ones I have used in other airlines, albeit wider and more comfortable. They weren’t Bose, but did the trick.
Food and Drinks
The menu was fairly extensive. I was able to divide it into 3 distinct meals, according to the time of day on the outside. They had a selection of mocktails, as well as a full wine list. I did not photograph the wine list (if anyone wants the photos, let me know,I kept the wine list), but they had Rose wine, and Taittinger as the Champagne, not bad in my opinion. The first row of each cabin, the IFE screen pops out of the center console. The TVs had meh resolution, but were decently large. The control was set next to the seat, on the arm rest. The IFE software, called Oryx One, was available during boarding and taxi.
At about 7:35, we pushed back to our very slow taxi to runway 9. The highlight of boarding was that there was no one seated next to me. So before take off, I asked Patricia if I could use 1B as my sleepspace, and 1A as dining and workspace, and she said it was okay, but she seemed a bit confused. This also meant, my favorite part of the flight: TWO IFE SCREENS!. I programmed 1B’s screen to the moving map all the flight, and had my own screen set to shows like the Big Bang Theory.
After Take Off
About 10 minutes after take off, and a bit bumpy climb, the FAs sprung into action. They brought me my preferred drink of Orangeade (basically a citrus mix with soda) and an amuse bouche. It consisted probably of salmon and potato salad, which was weird because that was also one of the starter options. At that point, the cabin service director came over and introduced herself.She was from Thailand, but I could not catch her name, so she asked me to call her A. A was fantastic, she was kind, attentive and proactive. She set the table, and placed the bread basket.
The first course was a butternut squash soup with creme fraiche. It tasted really good, better than many restaurants’ soups. I ordered both starters,. I started off with a smoked salmon with tomatoes and potato salad with peas. The potato salad and tomatoes were basically tasteless, but the smoked salmon was on point.
The second started I ordered was the Antipasto. I did not like it, I ate a bit of it, and could not find the motivation to finish it. As my main course, I selected the chicken in sage sauce with new potatoes and corn. It was a good meal, but nothing to rave about.
For dessert I had a coconut panna cotta. The presentation was simple but elegant. It also tasted really good. After desert, Patricia offered me tea and placed a box of chocolates with it.
After dessert, I was feeling tired and asked to have my bed made in 1B. Qatar Airways offers a very thin mattress for their overnight flights. It is very thing, but it makes the seat a bit more comfortable when lying down. I slept for about 2 hours before I woke up literally in the middle of the Atlantic.
Finding myself unable to sleep, I explored around a bit, and found that the crew had set up a snack section in the galley, with chocolates, nuts and cookies. It was a nice gesture, but I don’t think many people took advantage of it given the dine on demand concept.
Around 7am GMT, I decided to have breakfast. I ordered the OJ, the carrot ginger energizer and the coconut banana smoothie. Now, let me stop here. I had had a similar smoothie on Etihad earlier on in the year. I thought I would never have a chance to have such a good smoothie again, even after visiting hipster juice bars in Houston. This smoothie… Was… AMAZING. It was just like the one on EY FIRST class. I had three glasses, and I would have had more had I not felt guilty of having it all for myself.
They set up the table with the breakfast breads and muffins, and soon after came my French Toast. It was delicious, and I haven’t had good french toast in the sky ever. As a closer, I had a set of savoury pastries. They were meh, salty but very dry.
As dawn approached, I decided to watch my favorite IFE in any aircraft: the sunrise. I gazed out the window for a solid 35-45 minutes. At this point, we were approaching the British Isles.
After another, more successful stint at sleeping, I woke up about 2 hours out of Doha. For my “lunch” course, I ordered the steak sandwich. It was very tasty, and small, which I appreciated as I was very full still.
I drank a very well made latte, and soon enough we were preparing to land in Doha. I got a couple of good pics of Hamad International Airport before we landed, and it looks even more stunning on the inside than on the outside.
We arrived on time, and pulled into the gate. I said goodbye to Patricia and A, and proceeded towards Arrivals. The cool thing about QR is that you get your own immigrations hall lounge if you travel in F or J. So I skipped an easily 40 minute queue. The lounge is spacious and I was one of three people there. They have a coffee and tea section, as well as ample seating.
After paying the QAR100 visa, I was officially in Doha. I would stop by the arrivals lounge before heading out to the city to see a few sights.
Although Qatar AIrways’ hard product is not industry leading, their soft product blew me away. The food was good, the IFE selection was ample, the service was great, and the amenities offered were superior to EK or EY. I have to say, however, that my perception is skewed for not having a seatmate. It would be a bit different had I had someone sitting next to me. If QR started flying more consistently their 787s and A350s to the US, they would have an unbeatable product in Business Class. Overall, I am a very happy camper, and look forward to my future travels with Qatar.
What do you think? Have you ever flown Qatar Airways from the US? Let us know!