Qatar Airways are the current holder of the Skytrax award for World’s Best Business Class and the general feeling is the award is justified. In May 2016 the Internet was abuzz with a three day flash sale which had an amazing deal on flights to Auckland and happily this suited my future travel plans so I made a booking.
In Pisa, boarding is announced in the lounge and you then proceed through Passport control which flowed very quickly. There was no queue in the priority lane so it was straight on board.
My first surprise of the day is the fact Qatar Airways board economy class passengers first so they are all on board when business class passengers arrive. This means the usual procession of people walking past is avoided.
QR134 – Pisa to Doha (PSA-DOH)
12 April 2017
Airbus A320-200 – A7-AHW
Seat: Business Class 1A
Departure: 18:05 Arrival: 01:00+1
Seats are upholstered in a silver grey fabric which gives a really elegant feel to the cabin. Arranged in pairs on either side of the aisle, they feature a generously sized screen for watching movies.
The moment I sat down is burned in my memory as the seats are very soft. I sank gratefully into my seat already very pleased with the way the flight was turning out.
Before flight, the crew offered a pre-departure drink and I selected Champagne. This is served in a proper flute with a generous pour and I found it to be very tasty.
Amenity kits are already situated in the seat area along with a bottle of water for consumption during the flight. There is a small shelf over your shoulder where these sit. As it is only business class passengers boarding, everyone is down quite quickly so boarding is almost a pleasure compared to other airlines.
Menu and Wine List
A separate menu and wine list are provided, with covers comprising of quality embossed card. The heaviness and tactile embossing gives a properly high class feel.
For a flight of around six hours, the menu features plenty of options as you can see below. I was pleased to find on demand dining is available on a medium haul sector like this one.
The wine list features a full page for each offering with a full colour picture of the bottle flanking the text. What really impressed me is the availability of cocktails!
Certainly well thought out and brilliantly presented all round. It is a pleasure to peruse!
Time To Fly!
Hot or cold towels are offered and these are presented on a little tray. Cold towels are quite refreshing when you’ve been outside in the heat and dust of Pisa. The safety video played next.
Once the video completed, a crew member came around and started taking meal orders. Dine on demand is offered on board Qatar Airways and the person beside me was clearly an old hand. He requested his meal to be delivered two hours after take-off and detailed his selections.
After this we headed out to the runway and off into the sunny Italian afternoon. Soon after, my requested drink was delivered along with some nuts.
Due to the dine on demand offering, the cabin crew work non-stop from the moment the passengers are on board. Once the drinks were provided it was straight into the start of the meal service.
Qatar Airways Superb Inflight Dining
Trays are laid with white linen and the crew fold a linen napkin into a triangle and lay it on your lap. Delivered first is the scallop amuse-bouche which is not mentioned in the menu so I was pleasantly surprised.
I was asked if I preferred Arabic bread or normal bread and I went with Arabic. Still or sparking water is offered, the salt and pepper pots added to the tray and my Champagne was topped up.
Utensils are usually handed to you by the crew once the food is delivered which I find to be a really nice personal touch. My appetiser choice was the Classic Arabic mezze, a staple on Qatar Airways.
Every element of this is utterly delicious and I found it to be very filling for an appetiser. Pacing between the courses is appropriate being not too fast and not too slow. For my main I chose the Arabic spiced chicken kapsa with rice.
Not only a pleasure to look at, but a pleasure for the taste buds. I was very impressed by the meal thus far!
At this point I was asked if I wanted dessert as I did not order that before take-off. I decided instead I’d like to try the soup course and ordered this along with dessert. When ordering dessert, I was told they had run out of the cheese plate. Shortly after the roasted red pepper and tomato soup arrived.
Happily the soup was appropriately sized and not some vat of liquid. Once done, it was time for dessert and my choice was the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake.
Absolutely delicious – my sweet tooth was well satisfied. After dinner is a hot towel service and on this occasion it was very hot and very wet!
Cabin and Seat Views
Directly over your shoulder when you sit down are the device charging points, headphone point and a small storage area. Here you will find your complimentary amenity kit and a bottle of water. Immediately in front is your PTV and the controller for it is on the side of the centre console.
Business class seats on the Qatar Airways A320 are slightly offset which means those against the window can’t really see the person sitting beside them without actually looking in that direction. The strip along the overhead compartments features lighting which I really like. This is also a feature on the British Airways Club World London City flights.
Headphones feature a small switch on the side which turns on the noise cancelling mode. It is very effective! All seats come with a decent size pillow and a blanket for use if you wish to sleep. Seats are lie flat and the person sitting next to me chose to nap the first two hours of this sector.
A View And The Toilet
Eventually it was time to visit the facilities which is no surprise considering soups and drinks and all the rest of it. The toilet is located forward by the cockpit. Economy class passengers absolutely do not come forward through the curtain to use the business class loo.
Qatar Airways feature Rituals branded products which are quite nice. Also, lavatories feature little kits with toothbrush and toothpaste and others with shaving items. Much better to offer them here rather than providing them in the amenity kit I feel.
Other Drinks, Entertainment, And Those Chocolates!
Oryx One is the Qatar Airways entertainment system on board and it really is one of the most extensive I have ever seen. I watched Rogue One and then Driving Miss Daisy. The selection of current movies is extremely good as is the catalogue of classics. Selecting the entertainment with the controller is very intuitive.
Cocktails are offered and I found the Cuba Libre to be delicious. In a bold move (for me!) I decided to switch to non-alcoholic drinks to give those a try. The So Jennie luxury non-alcoholic bubbly which reminded me of Shloer which is very similar. The Mocktail is also really tasty too!
Towards the end of the flight, some Godiva chocolates are presented and they look and taste just great. Soon enough it was time to land in Doha, where I would be connecting to the longest flight in the world.
Is this the world’s best business class? I have flown several airlines in business class and Qatar Airways is easily the best I have ever experienced. The seat is extremely comfortable and well laid out and the inflight entertainment is excellent.
The soft product is where Qatar Airways really excel. The crew are trained to deliver such a wonderful service that the mind boggles. Everything is done in a consistent manner and in the same order. The service has been thoughtfully devised to provide the passenger with a really excellent experience.
I have nothing but praise for the hard working crew who remember everyone’s requests, work non-stop and do it all with a smile. Nothing was too difficult and they never forget a thing. I would recommend anyone to fly Qatar business class as it is a real experience that I challenge you to fault.
Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Sergey-Korovkin-84 via Wikimedia Commons.