I recently had the opportunity to fly the Qatar Airways 787 Dreamliner. As one of the leading Middle Eastern carriers, Qatar Airways has gone above and beyond to try and capture market share from Emirates and Etihad Airways. They were also recently voted as the world’s best Business Class. Naturally, I had to try out the third Middle Eastern airline to see how their service compared to others. I managed to fly Etihad First Class and Emirates First Class before but it was a little harder to find space in First Class with Qatar Airways. Instead, I opted to fly Business Class due to the fact that I had to go to pick up my grandmother from Bangladesh. My friend Fabio from passageirodeprimeira informed me about a great fare on Qatar Business Class that I immediately jumped on.
Originally, I was booked on the inaugural flight for the Qatar A380 but that flight got postponed till July 1st and now till even later. Initially, Qatar switched me to a 777-300ER and as cool as they are, I really wanted to try out something newer. At check-in, I was able to convince the agent to switch my grandmother and I into the Qatar 787 from Doha – London.
My complete routing started off in Bangkok, went through Doha to London and then after a 23 hour stop, headed to Chicago. The entire itinerary was on a paid (D) fare which earned 125% with American Airlines. The total cost per person came out to around $470.
Check-in was fairly smooth and the agent helped me change some flights around and eventually checked my bags for me. She also handed me two lounge passes to their partner lounge. In Doha, the Business Class lounge isn’t fully completed yet so she offered to give me some vouchers to use around the airport. I previously wrote a post on my thoughts about Hamad International. I was actually connecting in Doha from Bangkok and had about 6 hours to hang around the airport. Around 5AM, we headed to the gate to start boarding our flight.
Qatar Airways QR 7
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
6:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Seat 6E (Business Class)
Boarding began promptly at 6AM with Business Class and elite members leading the pack. Once onboard, we were escorted to our seats, which are very weirdly placed. The Qatar 787 has 5 rows of seats, then a break/walkway and then 1 more row of Business Class. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me but the seats did make me feel more excluded from the rest of the cabin. I did however feel like I wasn’t part of Business Class at times and was scared that these seats would affect service. At first, it seemed as my fears were coming true when the flight attendants started handing out amenities to all other seats but us. They eventually made it to our seats and handed us amenities and informed us of the flight time of 6 hours even.
Boarding was completed 15 minutes early and we managed to pushback about 5 minutes early. As we were taxiing, I realized how quiet the 787 is and what a marvelous job Qatar Airways did with fitting their plane! The 787 itself is absolutely beautiful. Between the lighting and electro-chromatic windows, this plane was a spectacle in and of itself. Our seats didn’t have windows so I couldn’t see anything on take-off. Instead, both sides of our seats were fitted with closets and storage space. Right behind us was Economy Class and it seemed to be quite full.
After take-off, the purser came around to introduce himself to us. He made sure to let him know if we needed anything at any time. After our purser left, another attendant came by to take our dinner orders. She informed us that my main selection was unavailable so I decided to try out the Indian Selection instead. I was pretty surprised to see some menu items that were created by Chef Nobu!
Meal service started very quickly and we were presented with an Arabic Mezze to start off with, which included chicken and two samosa style appetizers.
The main course was then presented and was actually very tasty.
After breakfast, I declined any dessert option and decided to take a nap. As I was awake for pretty much all 6 hours in transit, I was pretty tired. The seat on the Qatar 787 is a reverse herringbone that turns into a fully flat bed. The bedding provided with the seat is also comfortable and features a down comforter with a semi-plush pillow.
After taking a nap for about 2 hours, I couldn’t sleep anymore and chose to browse the entertainment system. Qatar calls their entertainment system Oryx and has hundreds of shows and movies to choose from. The fact that I was flying for close to 24 hours beforehand meant that I watched most of the movies offered. Instead of watching anything, I connected to Wi-Fi, which cost around $5 per 10 MB. It was a bit pricey but I found out that if you purchase with your laptop and create an account, the price gets knocked down to $10 for 25 MB. I used that plan to log into my phone and communicate with my awesome Whatsapp travel group.
After my internet space ran out, I went and spoke with some of the attendants working the cabin. Their work seemed to die down around halfway in and I spoke to them about how it is to work with Qatar Airways. They reacted positively and told me that they really liked what they did and the company they worked for. She went on to talk to me about the controversy that surrounded them a few months ago and explained that the employee in question was wrong for what she did. The attendant told me that everything is mostly explained at training and before they accept the position so to complain later is quite useless. She also mentioned to me that after that post, Qatar Airways pushed the employee curfew to 4AM instead of midnight. Overall, I got the sense that this crew at least liked working for Qatar Airways.
I managed to snap a few pictures of the lavatory and it seemed to me that it was a bit small and dull.
About an hour and a half before landing, a light meal was served. It was actually very light as it was some pastries and other small items. It was quite tasty and wasn’t too heavy.
The cabin was then prepped for landing and the purser invited me to sit at a window seat for landing. We landed into London Heathrow a few minutes early and I had the chance to take pictures of some heavy aircraft!
Overall, I really loved my flights on Qatar Airways. The service was impeccable and other than a few hiccups, I would definitely fly with them again. The crew on both my flights were extraordinary and took great care of my grandmother and I throughout the flight. Kudos to Qatar Airways for great service on some really incredible planes! They have set themselves up for success in the future and the addition of the 787 and A380 in conjunction with their new airport is the next step to gaining more market share.