This review looks at Qatar Airways business class on a Boeing 787-8, flying from Doha to London Gatwick.
Over to Jamie ….
This is the review of my second business class flight with Qatar Airways, this time from Doha to London Gatwick. Regular HFP readers will know that Qatar Airways added TWO daily flights from Gatwick to Doha last year, on top of its Heathrow services, taking advantage of slots which British Airways inherited when it bought the Monarch portfolio.
I’d enjoyed the first leg of the journey back to the UK on the older Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300 and now it was time to try a more modern seat – although I still wasn’t going to get Qsuite!
Like the earlier flight, boarding was quick and straightforward and business passengers had their own entrance gangway, although this time there was no red carpet!
With a smile I was welcomed on board by the attendant supervisor. As I entered the impressive looking cabin I was surprised to see pretty much every seat was taken. I was sitting in 5K this time and from first impressions, it was immediately clear that it was a much newer seat than on the first leg.
Here is the seat
There is a limit to the quality of photographs you can take in the middle of the night! This PR picture shows how the cabin looks in perfect conditions:
The plane was a two class Boeing 787-8. As you can see above, the Qatar seat configuration here is one-two-one in a herringbone format. There were also two seats in the middle at the back behind a counter. The flat bed seat has a pitch of 80 inches and a width of 22 inches.
For comparison, the Qatar Boeing 777 seat had a slightly shorter pitch of 78 inches. BA also operates the B787-8 with three rows of two-three-two in the same space. However the seat is smaller with a pitch of 72 inches and a width of 20 inches. Neither of these comparisons tell the whole story, however, because the Qatar Airways layout above offers substantially more space and privacy than either Club World or Qatar’s outgoing B777 seat.
I was encouraged by what I saw. The seat looked a significant improvement on the Boeing 777 I had on my first leg. Generally it appeared far more stylish and modern. The colour scheme and upholstery were nicer and included a leather trim. The whole seat environment seemed to be more spacious. Compared to the previous flight seat, I had my privacy back too. This was a place I could definitely sit back in and relax.
The whole business cabin seemed open and I realised that the overhead storage space down the middle was much more streamlined. This additional head space was surprisingly effective but I wondered how much of a storage compromise this had created. And if so, was such a brave decision to reduce coveted passenger storage down to Qatar Airways or Boeing? Saying that, there still seemed plenty of room for everyone in the overhead lockers.
One downside with my particular seat, and also 5A, is the misaligned window which hindered the view outside. It was a night flight coming back to the UK so I didn’t mind but if you’re a fan of looking out of the window and travelling somewhere with good views, I would avoid this particular row.
Around the seat, the left armrest lifted to reveal a bottle of water and headphones.
I’d used the same headphones on my previous flight and they were soft and comfortable.
The right side of the seat incorporated a couple of shelves and storage space. Lower down there was a storage compartment which could accommodate your shoes and a small laptop inside.
Just above the storage compartment was a universal power socket.
And above that was a small shelf with an integrated seat/bed control panel in the front. In the corner by my right shoulder was a bigger sized shelf.
This was really useful for keeping a book and headphones close by without them getting in the way of your seated comfort. On the back wall could be found the magazine rack and a small reading light. Below the shelf were two sockets – a USB charging point and one I wasn’t sure about! Next to them was the IFE remote control with its touch screen functionality.
The 17 inch inflight entertainment screen was positioned neatly in front of you and the dining table pulled straight out from underneath it.
As with the first leg, an amenities kit from luxury Italian luggage brand BRIC’S had been left for me. This time the elegant hard case was a sky blue colour.
Inside it contained the same lip balm, anti ageing moisturiser and hydrating facial mist from Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, the environmentally friendly olive oil company. Ear plugs, an eye mask and socks completed the kit. The socks were colour matched to the hard case which I hadn’t realised with the other kit.
Looking around, I saw that female passengers received a brown or beige coloured version of the kit with the same products inside.
Once settled, a flight attendant offered me a welcome drink. I decided to skip the champagne at 2am and instead chose their signature lime and mint drink which was very good, zesty and fresh tasting.
I was also offered a hot or cold towel. I requested a cold one and received a hot one, outrageous! In reality it was no big deal but I’d already noticed a difference in service quality from the first flight. The gentleman looking after me seemed distracted and less confident, almost like he was new to the role and still learning, which he may well have been. Perhaps he was just very busy. I also wondered if he was simply having trouble understanding my subtle northern accent!
Newspapers were brought out next, this time including the Financial Times but I was not in the mood for reading and declined.
Part 2 of this review looks at the food and drink and IFE – click here to read it.
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