It is incredible just how Qatar Airways kept surprising me with their business class product. My first time on the new Airbus A350 surprised me in all the right ways.
After spending some time in the Al Mourjan lounge in Doha, I headed off to the gate and got the last bus across the tarmac to my aircraft. Economy class passengers boarded via the rear stairs while those of us in business class boarded through the front stairs.
QR69 – Doha to Frankfurt (DOH-FRA)
27 April 2017
Airbus A350-941 – A7-ALK
Seat: Business Class 2A
Departure: 01:30 Arrival: 07:05
Boarding via the stairs in the middle of the night has a romance about it that is difficult to explain. I really love it and on the way up the view of the aircraft is superb.
I regret not taking a picture from outside looking through the door as the reception area with its high ceiling and mood lighting is truly incredible.
Business Class Cabin
Seating is arranged one two one in the cabin with each passenger having direct aisle access. Interestingly there are no overhead lockers in the middle which adds to the feeling of space. Even being last on board I found room for my carry on.
There are so many differences compared to the usual aircraft I fly on. The overhead lockers have a lighted strip and they open and close a different way to what I am used to. The panel with the seatbelt sign is also unusual with the addition of devices on it.
Business Class Suite
Having come off the Boeing 777-200LR which features an excellent older style business class seat, I found the difference between that and the new one pretty marked.
Suites are nicely arranged so everything is close to you. This means there is no unnecessary stretching or reaching to get to whatever you need.
A generous storage cabinet is by your knee and next to that are the device charging ports. Seats are lie flat and you feet go into a well when sleeping. In addition, over your shoulder is a ledge and this is also where the menus, magazines and so on are found.
Padding is quite good on this seat so it is a comfortable sit. I would place it as less padded than the Qatar A320 business class seat but softer than the Boeing 777-200LR seat.
Welcome On Board
Once seated, the cabin crew come by and offer you a welcome drink and hot or cold towel. I chose Champagne as usual as well as a cold towel which is just so refreshing in a warm climate. Immediately in front of you is a large high resolution screen.
When I saw pictures of the seat, I thought the fact there was no arm rest on the aisle side to be quite odd. What I didn’t know is that there is an arm rest there that raises and lowers electrically. It must be down for take-off.
Pyjamas are provided for business class passengers as it is an overnight flight and an amenity kit is waiting at your seat. This has my most prized requirement for overnight flights which are the ear plugs. I love the case they come in too.
Safety On Board
Soon enough it is time for the safety demonstration which plays on all the screens. The safety card is in the literature pocket along with the menu and magazine beside you.
After this, the hard working crew come around and ask for your meal orders so they can be ready to serve after take-off if you wish to eat immediately.
With little delay we took to the air and my side of the aircraft was treated to an incredible view of Doha. I was delighted my photo came out fairly well for a change!
On The Menu
This flight was my fourth in the same month and the menu was rather similar to the one on my flight from Pisa to Doha a couple of weeks previously. The words are literally rearranged to make it look different which amused me.
Far from being irritated by this, it provided me with an opportunity to try some different dishes to the other flight.
My first order of business once the seat belt sign was extinguished was to visit the facilities. I went forward and found myself in an incredible toilet. It is just so slick – who expects to be impressed with an aeroplane toilet?
Even this little room at the front of the aircraft featured mood lighting. The finish in here really astonished me with its perfect combination of colours and light. The mirror is spectacular and I loved the inset shaving and make up mirror.
Each toilet contains a pile of little bags containing a toothbrush and toothpaste for those who need to clean their teeth during the flight.
Rituals products are featured here which is standard for Qatar Airways. Only a window could have made this little room better really!
Dining On Demand
I cannot stress enough how excellent dining on demand is. It really comes into its own on a really long flight but the control it gives you over your own body is hard to underestimate. The crew member told me the soup was something with onions and it sounded great so I selected that.
Alas, it appeared the soup loaded was tomato and I didn’t fancy that so I was offered a salad type thing that was not on the menu. Happy to order something secret, I went for that.
No issues with that and once done it was time for the main course. This is the Tofu, courgette, mushroom and pepper stir fry in Asian chilli bean sauce.
When a meal looks great, you expect it to taste great and this tasted incredible!
For dessert I had the cheese selection served with crackers. Sometimes a cheese plate can come across as a bit of an afterthought but this was far more substantial than I expected.
With the meal I had some wine and to follow I decided to sample the port. Both the wine and the port are lovely and I may have had more than one glass of port and I’m no port drinker.
Godiva chocolates are handed out after the meal and I find them really nice. I was totally stuffed at this point so I took them home with me and had them the next day.
More nuts and more water were provided and I settled in to relax for a while.
Inflight Wireless Internet
Wi-Fi is available on the Airbus A350 and I decided to check it out. You can use it for free for a short time and then you can opt to pay for more. I paid twice for two short sessions and found it to be reasonable.
Fees are not too extortionate but it would be nice to have it for free in business class as Aer Lingus offered when I last flew with them. It’s always fun sending social media updates from the sky.
Time For Breakfast
An hour or two before landing I decided it was time for breakfast. I chose to start with the seasonal fresh fruit and also had a croissant with honey from the bread bowl.
Sitting on a fabulous black glass plate, the fruit looked delectable and it was! Qatar Airways cutlery is so so lovely too. It’s light in the hands, feels good and more importantly looks amazing.
My strawberry decided to go swimming in my Champagne. Airlines should offer strawberries to go with the Champagne, I’d prefer that to nuts as nuts make the bubbles fizz a lot in your mouth. Next, it was time for the main dish for breakfast and it didn’t disappoint.
Traditional Arabic Breakfast
When I chose the Arabic breakfast, I was informed this was a great choice and that the breakfast catered out of Doha is the best on the network. When it arrived, the crew member asked if I knew how to eat it. I did not, so I was given instructions on how to eat it. Excellent!
It is a veritable explosion of taste and I couldn’t eat it fast enough. Make sure you get this when you fly Qatar Airways as it’s just incredible!
Happy? You betcha! If I had any room inside me I would have asked for seconds!
Windows and Blinds
Unlike the Boeing 787, the Airbus A350 has normal size windows and to be quite honest I prefer them. I was rather surprised to find the up and down selector is for window blinds. I’ve only encountered these in first class before.
It’s such a novelty and I enjoy them so much that I geeked out and took a short video. I mean, it’s blinds going up and down but it’s still pretty cool.
It had to be done and I have no shame about liking these!
Incredible Outside Cameras
Airbus decided to put some cameras around the aircraft which means you can watch the outside action from underneath or above the aircraft. During landing I had a birds eye view of the touchdown.
On take off the tail cam was operating on the main screens and that was really something!
I am thoroughly impressed with the Qatar Airways business class experience and I really like the Airbus A350. Virtually everything about this aircraft is brilliant. From the meals to the entertainment, Wi-Fi, service – just incredible.
During the flight I chatted with the cabin crew in the forward galley for a little while and found them to be professional, kind, fun and just like any other cabin crew from a human perspective. As professionals, they work hard, non-stop and with evident pride in their work.
On my budget I am extremely lucky to have been able to experience Qatar Airways business class and I really look forward to doing so again. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image and marketing image of the business class seat via Qatar Airways