Wednesday, December 30, 2015

QATAR AIRWAYS PREMIUM CLASSES: THE ULTIMATE REVIEW


Review of 12 QR flights - with emphasis on food


During fall 2015 we performed the ultimate test of Qatar Airways. We took 12 flights with Qatar Airways, 11 in Business Class and 1 in First Class; 4 flights were on the Airbus A320 reconfigured with flat beds, 6 flights were on the Dreamliner Boeing 787, 2 flights were on the A380.

We wanted to test the consistency of this 5-star carrier and see if they lived up to our high expectations. We have focused a lot on the food served on board as it is one of QR’s key selling points.

This trip report is in three parts:

1.       A quick summary of our experience on each aircraft/class flown

2.       A picture report focusing primarily on food

3.       Our overall evaluation of Qatar Airways premium cabins.

1. Summary


The Dreamliner Boeing 787-800


Qatar’s Dreamliner is in a 2-class configuration with 22 flat bed seats in Business Class in a 1-2-1 configuration so every guest has direct aisle access. The economy section is in a 3-3-3 configuration with 232 seats with 31 inch of pitch and audio/video on demand at every seat.

All our 6 flights were in business class on the route Stockholm – Doha and vice versa. Despite taking 6 flights on the same route in the period of 2 months we were not once served the same menu – amazing variety – great for frequent flyers.

The Dreamliner is a very comfortable aircraft to fly on. It is quiet, has better air with more moisture and a superb business class seat which is spacious and great to both work in and relax in. The only thing we cannot figure out is the placement of seats 6 E, F in between the 2 toilets in a dimly lit area of the cabin. Avoid these seats unless you want to be extremely private on the flight. Seats 1A and 1K has a much more spacious foot well and ensures a more comfortable sleep. These seats are always blocked by check in and cannot never be pre-assigned when booking your ticket but we have our ways of making sure we end up there anyway J


The Airbus 320 flat bed configured


Qatar flies two versions of the A320. One has 12 fully flat beds in a 2-2 configuration and the other has recliner seats fine for a short day flight but uncomfortable for anything else. All our 4 A320 flights were on the Doha – Male (Maldives) route and they all had the flat bed configured aircraft. QR tends to prioritize the flat bed configured aircraft for the MLE route since it is high yield. The flat bed is somewhat tight but for an A320 and flight length of around 4 h 30 mins it is super comfortable. It is incredibly soft to lie in, but lacks storage space due to the limited space in the cabin.

A320 business class screen

A320 business class seats

The A380


We flew Qatar’s A380 on the Doha-Bangkok route. The aircraft 517 seats; 461 in economy taking up the entire lower deck and the back part of the upper deck, 48 flat bed business class seats on the upper deck and 8 first class open style suites at the very front of the upper deck. In between Business Class and economy class is a bar/lounge for First and Business. It is indeed a great lounge which serves Krug Champagne on request even for Business Class passengers. We flew one flight in First Class and one in Business Class.

The A380 is by far the most amazing aircraft in the sky. It is more quite and comfortable than any other plane.

The business class seat is identical to the one on the Dreamliner but the added feature of the A380 is the bar/lounge.


A380 bar


The First Class cabin is elegant in an understated way. Seats are plush and wide. The two bathrooms are enormous. Our favorite amenity is the Missoni pajama which is soft, light and not oversized like most other airline pajamas.

The Food and Beverage selection is a clear step up from the already great business class catering. The main differentiators are Caviar service and Krug Champagne.

The only things QR could improve for their First Class is any type of special treatment on departure and arrival at their airports. No greeting, PA or special service is in place. In the cabin we would wish for more light options as it is very dark with little opportunity to control the amount of light in your individual sphere.

2. Picture report of all our flights



Doha to Male Business Class

Business class menu card



AMUSE BOUCHE IN BUSINESS CLASS









SOUPS IN BUSINESS CLASS

Soup presentation

Soup


Crayfish soup


STARTERS IN BUSINESS CLASS

Poached shrimps


Panko crumbed fish 
Meze

MAIN COURSE IN BUSINESS CLASS

Pan grilled lamb


Lamb plated onboasrd


Indian style


Butter chicken - amazing flavour


Chicken
Fish


MORE DELIGHTS IN BUSINESS CLASS

Dessert from Laduree

Dessert from Laduree on all flights departing Doha
Fruit plate


Table setting - whites


Reds


Cheese plate


FIRST CLASS DELIGHTS


Breakfast in a dark First Class cabin

Amuse bouche crab cakes - First Class

Caviar with mother of pearl spoon as it should be

First Class caviar presentation


Spicy beef salad - First Class


Scallops in smoky broth by Nobu . First Class

Dessert by Lauduree - First Class



First Class wines



First Class wines



First Class staircase

First Class sest - plush and wide

First Class pyjamas
First Class Missoni slippers

Minibar in First Class

Bed - First Class
Bathroom - First Class
First Class bathroom amenities

Bathroom in First Class


3. Overall evaluation of Qatar Airways premium cabins


Qatar Airways is truly a five star carrier. The consistency in food quality and service that they showcased on our 12 flights is impressive and matched by very few competitors. We would say that in Business Class is where Qatar really shines and probably leads the game in the world. Few other airlines are even close to delivering the same luxurious experience as Qatar does on their 787, 350, 380 aircrafts. Another area where Qatar was a class leader was the wine list in Business Class. 

Unfortunately on all our 12 flights we have seen a significant downgrade of the Business Class wine list. Qatar says it is a temporary measure to clear a huge stock of Jacquart Brut Mosaique champagne that was previously served complimentary in economy class but now moved to Business Class until finished. We hope to once again be able to look forward to fantastic Champagnes in Business Class that we have come used to on Qatar.

Qatar’s First Class (only available on A380 aircraft) is solid but not class leading. It especially lacks in the ground experience with no meet and greet at any end of the journey. Onboard it is a clear step up from Business Class in space, privacy, caviar service and quality of Champagne.

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