This is my review of Qatar Airways business class, flying from Bali to Doha on a Boeing 777-300ER.
Whilst I was sad to be leaving Indonesia, I was rather excited and looking forward to my first experience flying Business Class with Qatar Airways. I’d read plenty of good things about them, particularly on Head for Points, so my attempts at keeping expectations in check were not going well.
I was on the evening flight, scheduled to leave at 18.45 and arriving in Doha at 23.20. Check in was very straightforward – no queue plus courteous and efficient desk staff meant I was dealt with in the space of a couple of minutes. Surprisingly there was no fast track security available but it wasn’t busy.
I was through and heading to the Premier Lounge in less than ten minutes. You can read my review of Bali’s Premier Lounge here.
At the allotted time I made my way to the gate for boarding. The business boarding lane was empty so I walked straight through and headed onto the plane. For the first time on this trip, business class passengers had their own gangway and entrance.
That was nice and gave me a bit more of a VIP feeling. Stepping onto the plane I was met by a smartly dressed man, the senior flight attendant, who warmly welcomed me on board and ushered me to my seat. I know this is a simple thing to do but it was done with such purpose and sincerity that I really felt special.
I hadn’t been able to choose my seat online but was allocated 1A for the second time this month and was happy with that. Here is my seat.
The plane was a Boeing 777-300ER although I’m not sure which version I was on (Qatar Airways operates four versions). Sadly, I do know it wasn’t the one with the new Qsuites. Rob’s a.rticle on the new Qsuite business class seat is here.
Business class seats are arranged in rows of three pairs and there were four rows in my section. Altogether there are either 24 or 42 business class seats depending on which version of this plane you are flying. There is no first class compartment – this is something that Qatar Airways only has on the A380 fleet. Business Class wasn’t busy, perhaps no more than a quarter full. I had a full row to myself.
The seat has a pitch of 78′ and a width of 22′. It also converts into a fully flat bed as you would expect. I have no idea how old the seat (or plane) was but the uninspiring colour design gave the impression it was older than it probably was. Despite this, it was perfectly comfortable to sit in and with it being a front row seat, I had plenty of leg room. In fact, it had potentially enough legroom to avoid having to step over the (theoretical) passenger next to me, avoiding one of the downsides of the paired seating arrangement. There is a privacy screen situated between seats which when pulled forward provides a limited amount of seclusion.
On the right there was a small metallic counter to house your drink. Right next to it is your neighbours counter space. This is great if you are travelling as a couple but, as someone travelling alone, I was surprised at the cosiness employed here. Overall it didn’t feel anywhere near as private as my Club World seat to Kuala Lumpur a month earlier, but as there was no one next to me this was fine.
The counter slid out to reveal a minimal storage unit containing a bottle of water. There was space in here for my wallet and phone but not much else. Below this was your pull-out dining table.
Further down by the seat could be found a USB charging point.
A universal charging point was situated further forward near your feet.
The IFE screen was in the front of the right side panel. The control was hidden underneath the right hand armrest.
There was a reading light above my right shoulder.
The left armrest contained the control panel for adjusting the seat and making the bed.
Significant storage space was lacking around the seat but there was plenty in the overhead locker. A magazine rack was positioned on the wall directly low down in front of me.
I stored my iPad in here and you may be able to fit a small laptop in the back compartment. Otherwise it has to go back in your hand luggage in the overhead locker I’m afraid.
An amenities kit from luxury Italian luggage brand BRIC’S had been left for me.
This was in the form of a hard case with a simple but elegant design. Inside it contained lip balm, anti ageing moisturiser and hydrating facial mist from Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, an environmentally friendly olive oil company. Ear plugs, an eye mask and socks completed the kit.
Once comfortable I was offered a drink and given food and beverage menus.
I chose a glass of Ataïr Etoile Rosé champagne. I had never heard of this producer before but I think that is their point. Qatar Airways states in its wine list that they take great pleasure in finding hidden treasures and claim this is a star in the making. I’m not qualified to agree or disagree with that statement but it was very nice to drink. A quick look online found that I was not able to source this bottle for sale in the UK but a couple of US sites were selling it for $27, so its possibly not in the premium champagne category just yet.
I was offered a hot or cold towel and a newspaper. There were English options offered but no UK editions so I declined.
Before take off, my flight attendant talked me through the à la carte dining experience. In a nutshell, you can choose when to eat and in what order you would like your food served. I placed my order and booked a serving time for about an hour and a half later.
In the meantime I checked out the inflight entertainment system, called ‘Oryx One’. I had a 17 inch screen (Club World is 10.4 inches in most cases) with crisp and bright picture quality.
There was a huge choice of entertainment to watch, listen and play with over 3,000 hours of content available. There are very few airlines that can compete with this, except for Emirates.
There were 291 films including 70 new releases such as The Seagull, Solo and Deadpool 2. Many were Arabic or Bollywood but it still left more than enough to keep you occupied. There was no shortage of TV programmes either with some available in series box sets. You could watch everything from Red Dwarf to Howards End to er, MacGyver. I tuned in to the ever watchable Brooklyn Nine Nine. If you were feeling in need of some mental stimulation there was also over one hundred TED talks to pick from.
The headphones were similar to BA’s and did the job.
Unexpectedly there was no wifi available on my flight. The Qatar Airways website says it is available on “select B777” services and clearly mine was not select enough.
You can find out more about Qatar Airways Business Class on this section of their website.
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