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Review of Qatar Airways business class (Boeing 787-8, herringbone seat) Doha to London Gatwick – Part 2

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This is Part 2 of Jamie’s review of Qatar Airways business class on a Boeing 787-8, flying from Doha to London Gatwick.

Part 1, which mainly covers the seat, can be found here.

After take off I was given food and beverage menus. The beverage menu was exactly the same as on the earlier B777-300 flight.  The wine list comprised of:

Two champagnes – Pommery Brut Royal (£38 per bottle) and Ataïr Etoile Rosé ($27, unavailable in the UK at the time of looking)

Reds – Château Batailley Grand Cru Classé Pauillac Bordeaux, 2012 (£45 per bottle), M.A.N. Family Wine Skaapveld Shiraz, 2015, South Africa (£8.75) and Miolo Cuvée Giuseppe, 2015, Brazil (£21).

Whites – Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay, 2015, USA (£22), Max Reserva Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, Chile (£12.50) and Abras Torrontés, 2016, Argentina (couldn’t find it for sale in the UK).

A dessert wine – Three Bridges Botrytis Semillon, 2015 Australia (£13) and a Quinto do Vallado 20 years old Tawny Port (£40) 

Beers comprised Peroni, Heineken and Hoegarden. A simple selection of spirits included Belvedere vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin and Glenfiddich whiskey.

Eight cocktails were also on the menu including an old fashioned, buck’s fizz and a screwdriver. Five mocktails and a non alcoholic bubbly called So Jennie were available too. I decided to try something and went for a pink gin, a mixture of Bombay Sapphire, Angostura bitters and lemon. It looked nice but I must confess it was too strong for me so I added a mixer and turned it into a fancy gin and tonic. This was perfectly complimented by a delicious dish of warm peanuts, almonds and cashew nuts. Content was my middle name right now.

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

I wasn’t feeling hungry but the flight attendant was keen to take my order for refreshments, both for now and breakfast. There was a light dining selection including soup of the day, steak sandwich and cheese and crackers. I passed on these and went straight for dessert – sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and dates. When asked, I requested it to be served in about an hour. I also placed my order for breakfast.

Here is dessert half an hour-ish later!

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

It was fantastic, on a par if not better than many good restaurants. I thought the stylish serving plate enhanced it too.

Looking at the IFE, it was the same Oryx One system as I had on the 777 flight and contained similar content.

There was a huge choice of entertainment to watch, listen and play with over 3,000 hours available. There were several hundred films including around 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 Gotham. This time I tuned in to the new Zach Braff comedy called Alex, Inc. Its no Scrubs but enjoyable all the same. If you were feeling in need of some mental stimulation there were also over one hundred TED talks to pick from.

The excellent screen looked the same, a bright and sharp 17′ display. The only difference came in the shape of the remote control. On this plane, it featured a small touch screen which I was quite excited about at first.

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

However my excitement soon turned to frustration. It was slow, fiddly and regularly unresponsive. I decided I’d prefer to peruse the media content directly on the large IFE display which is also a touchscreen. To do this I needed to change the settings using the handheld remote. I tried this several times but failed to get anywhere so asked my attendant for assistance. He spent several unsuccessful minutes trying to work it out but also didn’t manage to! He suggested rebooting the system but I told him not to worry, I wasn’t planning on watching too much anyway.

Wifi was accessible on this plane and I received 8 MB free of charge to use within half an hour. I used this to send Whatsapp messages and several photographs so the data was gone in no time. The internet speed was surprisingly good, I’d say almost 4G quality.

Three packages were available to purchase:

Starter – $5 for one continuous hour (fair use policy up to 30 MB).
Prime – $10 for three hours of continuous access (fair use policy up to 100 MB).
Ultimate – $20 for continuous internet access throughout your flight (fair use policy of up to 200 MB).

I didn’t think the prices were unreasonable compared to other airlines but I didn’t bother purchasing anything. Besides, I wanted to get some sleep…

I enjoyed wearing the pyjamas on the first leg and this was no different. The attendant had dropped off a bag containing the same White Company pyjamas and slippers in my assumed size. He then happily and quickly swapped them for the correct size following my request!

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

I changed in one of the very well maintained bathrooms. Again they had Rituals hand wash, lotion and body mist to use along with toothbrushes and shaving kits.

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

One simple thing that did impress me was the non contact toilet flush. I don’t think I’ve seen one on a plane before.

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

Before returning to my seat, I had a look at the snack counter located just behind row five seating.

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

I really like it when airlines provide a space such as this. It may not be as cool as the Upper Class bar on Virgin Atlantic but it still allows you the opportunity to stretch your legs and have a chat with friends or fellow passengers. Just keep the noise down on a night flight!

Snacks to choose from included crisps, popcorn, fruit and various chocolate bars. I continued with the sugar theme and helped myself to a bar of Lindt Hello Salted Caramel. This is officially my new favourite chocolate. There was also an open bottle of champagne and glasses.

Back at my seat, it was a very easy and swift process to turn it into a flat bed by pressing the ‘bed icon’ button on the right hand panel.

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

I was very pleased to see the armrests drop down, creating a wider area for your upper body. I unwrapped the quilt, a luxurious feeling thick velvety soft blanket and spread it across the bed. As I said in the earlier review, this was the nicest and most gratifying bedding I’ve ever experienced on a plane and gives an instant snug warmth. The pillow was also comfy and whilst I didn’t sleep as well as the other flights (probably due to a confused body clock), this was easily the comfiest bed of my three long haul journeys.

One thing I like about breakfast in business class is that they wait until you are awake and ready for it. There’s no attendant either waking you up or just missing you out as they serve it in economy. And so after maybe three hours light sleep I sorted myself out and prepared for breakfast. I’d ordered an energising fruit smoothie, steel-cut oats with berries and cream, a platter of seasonal cut fruits and a green tea (there was actually a choice of eleven different teas and five coffees!).

Here is the porridge oats.

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

I think my attendant had a bit of a morning rush on as he looked a little harassed when he served the porridge. After he dashed off I realised he’d forgotten my spoon! Quickly resolved, I tucked in to delicious and light oats and the cream added a decadent touch. I was also served warm pastries with strawberry jam. I had a croissant which was fresh and crisp.

Next was the fruit platter:

Review of Qatar Airways Business Class - Doha to London Gatwick

This was presented beautifully and consisted of a variety of no less than eight different fruits including exotic lychee, starfruit and dragonfruit. I was so impressed by this, all fresh and perfectly ripe.

Other breakfast options included cereals, assiette of cold cuts, traditional Arabic breakfast and a continental breakfast.

Fifteen minutes after my plates had been cleared away I was still waiting for the green tea I’d ordered. However, a gentle reminder very quickly resolved this.

Not long before landing the attendant supervisor dropped by for a little chat, his second of the flight. I felt this was such a simple way of making you feel like you are a welcome and appreciated guest. After ensuring I’d had a pleasant flight experience, he went on to explain about a technical aspect of the plane that was new to me. I was told the Boeing 787-8 causes less travel fatigue than other planes because the cabin is pressurised lower making more oxygen available to breathe. I really couldn’t tell if it had benefited me but it was good to know!

Conclusion

Looking back over my recent long haul flights – British Airways Club World Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur (reviewed here), Qatar Airways business class Bali to Doha (reviewed here) and this one, I enjoyed them all for the most part. But overall, this last leg on the Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 was the most pleasurable.

It was my favourite seat for numerous reasons. The modern design was far superior with better storage and shelf space around it. It had a good deal of privacy and the bed was the most comfortable. The cabin as a whole felt open and the refreshment counter was a big positive. The 17 inch IFE screen on both Qatar flights quite literally outshines BA’s 10.4′ offering although content is very good from both airlines. I rated the food very highly on this flight, as well as the previous Qatar flight. And whilst the food mainly wasn’t bad with BA, it is very far behind the quality provided by Qatar Airways.

There was one let down on this flight – the service, which was the worst of all four business class flights I undertook. They were generally only small issues but these end up standing out when you have recently experienced much better. Perhaps I just caught my attendant having a bad day but he was slow and disinterested for parts of the journey. That is not something that happened on any of my other flights and judging by my VIP treatment on the first Qatar Airways flight, it is not the standard they aspire to. There were significant differences in passenger levels between my Qatar flights but that should not be an excuse.

It would not put me off flying with Qatar Airways again. Quite the opposite in fact. I was still very impressed overall and having finally experienced their business product, I can totally understand why it is so highly regarded.

You can learn more this version of the Qatar Airways Boeing 787 business class seat on this 787 page of their website.

Review of Qatar Airways business class (Boeing 787-8, herringbone seat) Doha to London Gatwick - Part 1
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Comments

  1. Simon Jakarta says:

    Nice Review, I agree with the service on some Qatar flights , it can be very hit and miss, also completely agree with the IFE system i find on the 787 the controller is useless and slow when it does work.

    When your next heading to Asia suggest you try CX or JL then you notice the difference to both QR and BA .

    BTW how did you enjoy Indonesia?

    • Indonesia is a remarkable country. I’d been before 20 years ago (flying with Biman Bangladesh Airlines!) and am almost kicking myself for taking so long to return. Amazingly diverse and fascinating cultures, warm friendly people. Highly recommend.

      • It really is wonderful, isn’t it?
        The islands are so different to each other, and there’s just so much to see and do if you’re a bit of a nature lover like me, between the Wallace line running through the middle of it, and more volcanic activity than you can shake a tectonic plate at, it’s paradise.

        My highlights were the Togean islands, the Gili islands, Lombok (climbing Rinjani) and actually Java, which surprised me (Bromo is breathtaking, and Yogyakarta / Borobudur is just incredible).

        • Shoestring says:

          Great diving off Manado (Sulawesi) – you need to get to Bunaken Island, where the drop off is massive, about 100m or more, and big currents, so nice variety of things to see.

        • I went to Bunaken, but I managed to actually visit when the visibility was poor for about a week. Such a shame!

      • I may have just talked myself into a return visit soon…

  2. I’ve had the same issues with the IFE on their 787s. According to the FA, the early ones are remote control only, the later ones are regular touch screen and work much better.

    • I had a flight earlier this year on a QR 787 in J – all screens appeared non-touch. When I complained about the remote not working the FA held the top-right corner of the screen for 10 seconds that enabled the touch – so tried the same trick on my partners screen and again, suddenly the screen became touch-friendly. Not sure if all other passengers just assumed the 787s were non-touch (like me), or they disable the touchscreen for consistency. Bit odd.

  3. Sorry but I have to say it, it’s just “comprised” not “comprised of”.

    • Other Pedant says:

      True! Also it’s “uninterested”. “Disinterested” means impartial. Great review otherwise.

      • Eye new that two 😉

      • Shoestring says:

        No ‘e’ in Scotch Whisky 🙂

        • Genghis says:

          🙂 when I was doing my accountancy training I proofread a proposal doc for a big client and the lead partner’s bio initially said he liked “Scotch whiskey”. I like to think the reason they won was down to me… lol.

        • Or even Scottish whisky 😀

        • Shoestring says:

          Can’t think of any Scottish whisky producers who put ‘Scottish’ on their label – it’s *always* ‘Scotch’.

          There might be a ‘Scots whisky’ out there, I suppose.

        • I guess – I just find whenever I heard folk talking about Scotch it seems to be mainly Americans 🙂

  4. I think QR offer an excellent first class level of service on their flights, but first class service is fiddly and it’s designed for a higher crew to passenger ratio – sometimes on a full cabin, particularly a full A380 cabin, things can get missed as they struggle to complete all the service steps.

  5. Jamie – Great series of reviews, v interesting and well written. Rob can we have more Jamie

  6. MudIslandMlungu says:

    Flying OSL-DOH-SIN tomorrow and return on Sunday. A350-900 and A350-1000 with Q-Suite. Looking forward to it.

  7. I fully concur with the review. One has to wonder how they test IFE solutions as almost all of them seem to suffer lags and not be the equivalent of flicking through your iPad, which is what I assume they are trying to achieve. The Qatar Doha lounge is vast and a complete contrast to the boring, drab, dirty BA lounges. The 787 is a lovely plane though I also like the A380 with its bar. Food on BA is a great let down too. Seems to be boil-in-the bag stuff with no presentation – though as BA tried to rip me off when a flight was delayed (claiming the arrival time was touchdown rather than door opening) I have not flown long-haul with them since. Emirates screwed us big-time on a trip to Australia so it is Etihad and Qatar always – especially with the miles and tier points offered by Qatar. I do wish BA senior managers would fly more with Qatar to experience what ‘to fly to serve’ really should be like. I know – BA dropped that line (along with its service) some time ago!

  8. Very informative & helpful review, thanks. Flying Qatar to Perth from Stockholm in Feb… just waiting for the sales announcement (especially if it’s similar to last year, when it was cheaper to book two business-class tickets together, as we want to do).
    Any ideas from anyone when this might happen…? It was around this time last year, so fingers crossed it’ll be soon.
    Thanks.

  9. I think Qatar are a fantastic airline and I wish they hadn’t fallen out with the UAE as I would be flying them more often.
    I have always found their crew excellent although my wife isn’t as impressed.
    Readers also criticise BA crew a lot on here but I have to say I have never had as good service as we had last month on a flight in F to the Middle East, it was outstanding service on both legs.

    • That’s nice to hear. I’m legacy BA crew myself! Glad you got what we all still aspire to.

    • I found the really excessive ‘ Anything at that you need Mr ****, I’m here for you’ that was said so many times to my husband on the trip down to Australia really funny, he thought the look on my face each time spoilt it for him!
      We had the very short leg from Sydney to Canberra with a new crew and they barely had the time for the whole , welcome and I’m here for you stuff.

  10. I flew all these legs in April and got completely free wifi the whole journey

    shame thats changed

  11. Micheal says:

    Great review which confirms my view that Qatar is the best. One small piece of info (sorry for being geeky) – the dreamliner is more (not less) pressurised so you are not experiencing the usual mild altitude sickness you get when flying.

    • Good point – it also has a higher humidity level (~6% vs 2%) due to non-aluminium design that it also meant to help pax feel better after a long flight

  12. Hmmm so my takeout from this is ‘showy but occasionally lacks substance’ … now there’s a surprise 😂
    – IFE buggy and not always touchscreen
    – service inconsistent between flights and a bit ‘meh’ on this one
    – timings messed up with the ‘dine on demand’ service
    – pour-your-own champagne rather than ‘top-notch attentive service’
    – missing spoons for breakfast
    – and of course the big one, a ‘messed up body clock’ because of a forced change in the desert in the middle of the night

    … but what I find most interesting is that on BA, this would be taken as a sign of poor service and a ‘decline’ in standards. It’s not entirely clear why you’re so willing to forgive QR for the same ‘failings’.

    I second the other comments about Jamie’s writing style though, it’s very informative, flows well and fits in with the ‘house style’… not that it’s up to me in any way, but I’d also be happy to see more 🙂

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