Qatar Airways, a member of the Oneworld alliance, has been consistently voted to have the world’s best Business Class. I recently found out why as I flew in Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business class to Doha.
|Route||Windhoek (WDH) to Doha (DOH)|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|
|Class of travel||Business|
|On time performance||We arrived 15 minutes early|
This map shows the direct, or “great circle” route from Windhoek to Doha:
In reality, we had to take a detour and flew over Muscat, Oman. This is because Qatari airlines do not have the right to fly over Saudi or UAE airspace.
I paid for this flight using Qantas Frequent Flyer points. I booked this as part of a Oneworld Classic Flight Reward itinerary, but booked individually this flight would cost 75,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points + $238 in taxes & charges. A paid Business class ticket would cost around $3,350 one-way or $4,880 return.
Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) is relatively small but functional. I was checked in straight away through the dedicated Business queue and, as there are no luggage belts at this airport, my checked luggage was placed onto a trolley by the porter.
In Windhoek, Qatar Airways uses the Amushe Lounge. This is not a large lounge but there were enough seats for everyone and a good selection of drinks and newspapers available. A selection of buffet food was available, although the lounge attendant advised me that I should microwave the hot food before eating it. Unfortunately the internet did not work at all; the lounge attendant informed me that this was normal and advised me to head over to the café in the departures hall which offered 30 minutes of free wifi.
Business class passengers were invited to board first, with the boarding procedure involving a short walk across the apron.
The Hard Product
Qatar’s Boeing 787-8 may not be fitted with Qsuites, but the Business Class product was still excellent! The cabin is laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, and it feels particularly spacious as there are no overhead lockers in the middle section.
I was seated by the window in 3K. It’s a reverse herringbone seat and I found it really comfortable, with plenty of storage space. As you would expect, the seat reclines to become a fully-flat bed.
There was a pillow and blanket on each seat, and amenity kits and noise-cancelling headphones were also provided. The amenity kit was stocked only with basic essentials, but further items such as razors and toothbrushes were available in the bathrooms.
Qatar’s Oryx One in-flight entertainment system was excellent, with lots of content and a large, high-definition screen at my seat.
Wifi was advertised as being available, however I could not easily connect. I didn’t need the internet so didn’t pursue this any further.
The Soft Product
After being seated, the flight attendant looking after my section introduced herself and offered a non-alcoholic welcome drink, hot towel and menu. The signature lemon & mint welcome drink was delicious.
Qatar Airways uses the “dine on demand” concept, so I was asked not only what I wanted to eat, but when I wanted to eat. This is a brilliant service for passengers that might be travelling across different time zones, or want to maximise their time for working or sleeping!
Here is the menu for this flight:
And the non-alcoholic drinks list:
There was also an extensive wine list, which included Pommery Brut Royal champagne and Canard-Duchêne Charles VII Brut Rosé. A range of spirits and beers were also available.
We had some nice views of the Namibian landscape after take-off.
Shortly after take-off, drinks were served along with warm nuts.
I opted to eat lunch at the beginning of the flight, which started with a canapé:
This was followed by the soup of the day, which tasted better than it looked.
The next course was the signature Arabic mezze plate.
Finally, I chose the kibbeh meshwi and mint raita for the main course. This – as with everything else I’d tried so far – was delicious.
With only 11 passengers in Business class, the service on this flight could not have been more attentive. The crew came through the cabin regularly to offer drinks, and the friendly purser Stanley seemed to know what I wanted even before I did!
After sleeping for a few hours, I had a light meal before landing. I personally found this meal a little boring, but the comfort food will appeal to some.
This was followed by a tasty cheese plate for dessert.
We parked in Doha at a remote stand, but this was barely a problem as Business passengers were invited to disembark first onto a dedicated Business class bus, which had us at the terminal in no time.
The benefits of flying Business class to Doha don’t end when you get off the plane! With so many flights arriving in Doha just before midnight, there was a huge queue for immigration. But as a Business passenger, I was able to use the peaceful Qatar Airways arrivals lounge before passing through the premium immigration facility, which was a breeze.
Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class
This was a truly exceptional Business class experience – and I wasn’t even flying in the airline’s flagship Qsuites. Qatar Airways has clearly put a lot of thought into its product, and it shows.
Other than the third-party lounge in Windhoek, the only thing I could really fault was the lack of pyjamas. Now that’s a first world problem if ever there was one, and even Qantas doesn’t provide pyjamas on daytime flights of this length, so I can hardly criticise the airline for that!