Qatar Airways’ business class has always been high on my wishlist, but there was no way I would have spent my frequent flyer points on their below par 777 that used to operate out of Perth.
Luckily for Western Australia, Qatar recently launched a daily A380 from Doha. This is perfect if you’re flying from or to Europe. For this trip, I had booked business class on the 787 departing from Nice (NCE) with a stopover in Doha and then onto Perth (PER) on the A380 in first class (check out that review here).
Qatar has a lot of European destinations which are serviced by the 787 but for my particular dates only Nice was available for redemption. One short $80 economy flight from Brussels later, I had positioned myself for one of the best business class experiences in the sky.
Qatar Airways Nice (NCE) Checking in + Lounge
I arrived into Nice 4h before my flight just in case my positioning flight experienced some delays, this was right on time for the Doha flight check-in to open. The check-in staff in Nice aren’t Qatar employees, and for some reason, the lady at the counter refused to speak English. Though when she did, she kept reverting back to French pretending that she forgot I spoke English… typical French.
Nice airport provides an “express” lane through security for its premium passengers or those with status. Unfortunately, the premium line just merges with the regular queue right before the X-ray machine. Since it was rather busy, I got some dirty looks and a stressed out American lady remarked that it was not fair that I got to cut into the line… I simply replied that these are the benefits of flying business and that she should try it sometime.
I really dislike these premium lines that blend into the regular line because it always creates awkward situations; who do you give way to and who do you cut off?
Nice airport is pretty dull, and the contract lounge located after the passport control section wasn’t anything special, so I won’t go into the details.
Boarding Qatar Airways B787
Around 20 minutes before boarding I headed downstairs and asked the gate agent if it would be ok to pre-board to get some pictures which they happily obliged to.
Entering the 787 you come in via the foyer which is a spacious section at the back of the business cabin. It also divides the business cabin into the central section and a smaller area down the back. The cabin manager introduced herself and walked me through the features of the seat before one of the crew came over and offered me a hot or cold towel and a pre-departure beverage.
Qatar Airways pre-departure beverage selection includes anything on the menu…however departing out of NCE champagne was only available after takeoff. I’m unsure whether this had something to do with Ramadan or merely to avoid certain alcohol-related taxes being imposed.
The Qatar Airways 787 Business Class Seat
Qatar Airways uses the reverse herringbone seat in its B787, A350 and A380 cabins. Apart from the Q-Suite, this is the best business class seat design in my humble opinion. The 1-2-1 configuration provides aisle access for all passengers, and since everyone is facing away from each other, you’re guaranteed privacy as well.
Compared to the Cathay A350 seat, the Qatar business class seat feels a bit exposed since the seat shell doesn’t really wrap around, so it’s a bit more exposed when sitting upright. When fully reclined however the seat shell does offer enough privacy.
The seat itself is spacious and incredibly comfortable, every aspect of the seat can be adjusted to suit your position. The footwell is large enough to sleep on your side and the length is definitely not a problem. The storage bin by the window is level with the seat when in bed mode and has padding so it further increases the width of the seat so you can stretch out a bit more. The armrests also go down which adds a few extra centimetres on each side.
On the window side, a large side table gives plenty of room to store your belongings within hands reach.
The table slides down, similarly to the Virgin Australia A330 and folds into a large table, perfect for dining on working.
On the right-hand side of the seat, you will find a seat control section with a bunch of pre-programmed positions and a touch screen remote which can be used to control the media on your 17 inch screen.
The overall colour palette and design of the seat are very pleasing to the eye with grey upholstery and the traditional Qatari maroon colour as an accent, offset by pearl white seat design. The dining table and side table are made out of faux wood and the panelling on the seat has some maroon red leather detailing. The B787 has some fancy mood lighting options as well, which makes for a very relaxing environment.
Another thing I noticed on both my Qatar Airways flights is the overall cleanliness of the cabin, everything was spotless!
Qatar Airways Food & Drinks
Qatar Airways offers its guests ‘dine on demand’ so you can eat what you want when you want during the flight. I started off with the Arabic meze (which was better than their first class offering), the cod for my main course and a delicious chocolate fondant as dessert. The presentation of the food was good and so was the taste!
The wine menu was also very good with two champagnes on offer, an NV brut by Pommery and a rose by Drappier, both are very drinkable.
Qatar Business Class Amenity Kit
The Qatar Airways amenity kit is a miniature travel bag by Italian luggage brand Bric’s. The kit comes fully stocked with moisturiser, lip balm and hydrating facial mist by Monte Vibiano. The Bric’s kit also includes some socks, an eye mask and earplugs. Toothbrushes can be found in the business class bathrooms which were kept very tidy throughout the flight.
Arrival In Doha
Arrival in Doha is one of the fastest airport experiences you can have. Business and first class passengers get access to a dedicated Qatar Airways exit lounge which leads straight to immigration and customs. The whole section is separate from the main part of the terminal so in a matter of minutes you’re outside at the taxi rank.
Free Stopover Hotel In Qatar
Qatar Airways have extended their +Qatar program for those traveling in business and first. You can get a free hotel on eligible tickets for bookings through December 28, 2018, and for stays through December 31, 2018. In addition you can add on a second night for US$100, which is great value. You can see the full list of hotels and details on how to book here.
Qatar Airways Business Class Conclusion
The crew on my Qatar Airways flight were exceptional, and the same can be said on the second leg in first class. Overall I find them up there with Singapore Airlines when it comes to professionalism and customer service. QR’s 787 is a fantastic business class experience and look forward to flying them again…hopefully in a Q-Suite!
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