Due to the current situation, I stopped posting trip reports a few months ago as to not distract you from all the relevant news and information that you needed to hear. But seeing as to how this is dragging on much longer than I expected, I will be resuming with my trip reports that were taken prior to the pandemic. I hope these upcoming reviews provide you with a small break from all the negative news online and throughout social media and remind us all of the joy of traveling again. Please stay safe and I hope to see you in the skies again soon.
At Da Nang International Airport in Vietnam, Qatar Airways operates one daily flight from Da Nang to Doha with a Boeing 787-8 aircraft. The check-in counters are located in zone B of the international departures terminal and they open two hours prior to departure time. I arrived shortly after the counters opened and found the check-in process to be quick and easy. The check-in agents were very friendly but also very strict with their baggage policy. Both my checked and carry-on bags were weighed for compliance.
If you have Priority Pass, you can visit the CIP Orchid Lounge for some relaxation and food prior to your flight. The lounge is located upstairs on the mezzanine level, cross from gate #7. For a contract lounge, the CIP Orchid Lounge is actually really nice. There are plenty of open seats and a nice buffet spread. There’s even a shower if you need to freshen up before your flight. This is the same lounge Qatar contracts with for their business class passengers.
A few minutes prior to boarding time, I left the lounge and made my way to gate 7, where my bird was waiting. I snapped a few pictures of the aircraft, took a seat and waited for boarding to be called. As I sat there, a second Qatar agent came up to me with a handheld scale and weighed both my carry-on bag and personal item (backpack) for compliance. This is the first time that I have ever had my bags weighed again at the gate while flying a non-budget airline. I’m not sure if this was a Qatar thing or a Vietnam thing but as I said earlier, they were very strict with their baggage weight policy.
Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Economy Class
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Da Nang (DAD) to Doha (DOH)
Depart: 08:30 AM on Thursday
Arrive: 1:00 PM same day
Duration: 8hrs 30mns
Seat: 11A Economy Class
Qatar Airways operates a brand new Boeing 787-8 on this route. In economy class, there are 232 seats configured in a 3-3-3 layout. According to Seat Guru, these seats measure 17.3 inches in width and provide 31 inches of pitch. Each seat is equipped with a personal in-flight entertainment system, USB port, overhead reading lamp and an air vent. Two universal electrical outlets are provided for every three seats.
On this flight, I was seated in seat 11A, a window seat located on the left side of the aircraft. Waiting at my seat were a pillow and a blanket. Both the pillow and blanket were very nice by economy class standards. The pillow was firm and the blanket was nice and thick.
Storage-wise, you can store your belongings in the overhead bins, underneath the seat in front of you, or in the seatback pockets. However, keep in mind that the under-seat storage spaces are rather limited due to the positioning of the electrical boxes. As you can see in my picture below, the under-seat storage area was not wide enough for my backpack to lay flat on the ground and there was no space to store anything under the middle seat.
As we settled into our seats, the flight attendants came by with packaged wet naps, headsets and amenity kits. Inside the amenity kits, there were socks, eyeshades, earplugs, lip balm and a dental kit. I must admit that this was a fantastic amenity kit. The bag itself was nothing special but the contents were fitting of a premium economy amenity kit.
As the final passengers were boarded, the Captain came on the PA to make his welcome announcements. He welcomed us on-board and provided us with the details of our flight. We then pushed back from the gate and made our way to the runway for our 8.5-hour flight to Doha.
Once we reached our cruising altitude, the seatbelts signs were turned off and the flight attendants prepared for our meal service. Menu cards were distributed and breakfast was served shortly afterward.
I’m not the biggest fan of airline breakfasts so I went with the local option, which was a beef congee for my main meal. It was served with a side of fresh fruit, a raspberry yogurt cup and a warm croissant. I know it doesn’t look appealing but if you like congee, it was actually quite tasty. The flavors were on point and the congee was perfectly cooked. Alcoholic drinks were provided complimentary.
Service was efficient and friendly. After my tray was taken away, I settled in for a movie and did some work on my laptop. Entertainment-wise, the Oryx entertainment system was loaded with a large selection of new Hollywood, Bollywood, Arabic and other international movies, TV shows, video games and music entertainment. The screen is touchscreen and there’s also a touchscreen remote. I found this to be rather redundant and not once did I even take the remote out to use it.
OnAir WiFi was provided on this flight but it was very expensive. There’s a free plan for one hour of messaging but everything else seemed very pricey. Prices started at $5 for one hour of connectivity (capped at 30 MB) and maxed out at $20 for the flight (capped at 200 MB). Needless to say, I didn’t pay for it so I can’t tell you how fast or reliable it was.
Comfort-wise, these Qatar economy class seats are a mixed bag. I really appreciated the padding and nice recline (approximately six inches) but I wasn’t a fan of the headrests with the fixed bolstered sides. The headrests can be adjusted up and down but you can’t adjust the sides. The headrest wasn’t the most comfortable. It felt like it was pushing my head too far forward and the bolstered sides limited the lateral movement of your head and neck.
In between meals, water and juice were made available in the galleys. Service-wise, the flight attendants were great. They walked the cabin frequently and made several passes with drink trays during flight.
About an hour and a half prior to our arrival into Doha, the cabin lights were turned back on and a light snack was served. It was a warm sandwich, similar to a hot pocket, filled with either chicken or vegetables, and served with a warm muffin. It was perfectly acceptable and appropriate for a pre-arrival snack.
Qatar Airways 787 Economy Class Bottom Line
Overall, this was a pleasant flight experience with Qatar Airways. This was my first flight with Qatar and I didn’t really know what to expect but I can honestly say it was much better than what I was expecting. Other than the headrests, I found the seats to be comfortable with a nice recline. The food was tasty and the service was friendly. The entertainment on-board was plentiful and the amenity kit provided was fantastic. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Qatar Airways economy class again and I would recommend them to anybody.
The other trip reports in this series include:
- British Airways Terraces Lounge Seattle
- Japan Airlines 787-8 Business Class, Seattle to Tokyo
- Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Narita
- Japan Airlines 787-9 Business Class, Tokyo to Hanoi
- Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi, Vietnam
- Song Hong Business Class Lounge Hanoi
- Plaza Premium Lounge Siem Reap
- Sheraton Nha Trang, Vietnam
- Sheraton Grand Da Nang, Vietnam
- CIP Orchid Lounge Da Nang
- Qatar Airways 787 Economy Class, Da Nang to Doha
- Qatar Airways 777 Economy Class, Doha to Los Angeles