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Qatar Airways Business Class Flight Review - Onboard the Amazing Boeing 787 Dreamliner, 777 And Airbus Seats!

Thinking of flying Business Class with Qatar Airways? I've being fortunate enough to fly Qatar Airways all across the the world in their business class seats and below I share my review of Qatar Airways business class seats.

After a recent trip from Auckland to Helsinki on Qatar Airways - a trip that involved 50 hours of fly time across 3 different types of aircraft, I thought I would take some photos and put together this article.

I also plan to update this article as I fly on other Qatar Airways aircraft (such as their new A350), so please CLICK HERE to subscribe to my mailing list to be informed of those updates.

Before we get into the review, here's some bullet-points about Qatar Airways:

  • Based in Doha, Qatar
  • State owned airline
  • Winner of the 2017 Airline of the Year Award
  • Winner of Worlds Best Business Class 2017
  • Travels to over 150 destinations
  • Part of the OneWorld alliance
  • Fleet of more than 180 aircraft
  • Offers Economy, Business and First class 

Qatar Airways Business Class Review

Below I am going to review the business class seat and experience in the:

Note: Click the titles above if you want to skip to a specific aircraft review.

For each aircraft/flight I will review:

  • Service
  • Seat
  • Amenities
  • Menu
  • Entertainment

I will also review the following business class lounges at airports Qatar flight out at the bottom of this article:

Note: Click the links above if you want to skip to a specific lounge review.

Qatar Airways Business Class Review: Boeing 777-200LR (AKL to DOH return)

This 18 hour flight from Auckland to Doha - currently the worlds longest commercial flight - was onboard the 7 year old Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR (LR for long range).

My flight number was QR921 and I was in seat 2F - a seat in the centre of the aircraft.

The aircraft that will be flying nonstop for ~18 hours!

The qatar airways business class setup on the 777 is a little dated compared to their new aircraft (especially the 787 Dreamliner covered below).

Given the fact that I was on this flight for a whopping 18 hours, I would have preferred the newer fit-out, but this is still a quality seat on a quality airline so I am not complaining (I could be in economy for 18 hours!)

Service

Anyone who has flown Qatar Airways - business or not - knows that the service standards are top notch. I personally feel that the service in Qatar Airways business class are the best of any business class I have flown (with Korean Air in a close 2nd).

I don't know how the flight attendants can always keep a smile on their face and maintain that every friendly manner, especially on such a long flight. But they do, and it sure makes travelling enjoyable.

The flight has 4 pilots with 15 crew on a rotation schedule for this flight. 

Service was top notch during this 18 hour flight, here are a few key points:

  • Numerous offers of hot towels - on-boarding, after awaking from sleep, pre landing etc
  • Always eager to help if it looks like you're confused/struggling with something
  • Constant top ups of water/beverages (this is a biggy for me, I drink a lot of water while flying, so it's nice always having water on hand)
  • Patience - while I try and figure out the menu options!
  • 8 of the 15 service staff onboard where for business class

 

The Seat 

Business class seats are split across two sections. There are a total of 42 business class seats on the 777-200LR. 24 in the front section, 18 in the back. I was in the forward section and counted 5 free seats.

Layout

The seat layout is a 2-2-2 setup. Meaning those in the window seats don't get direct aisle access. So if the person next to them has their seat fully extended, it may be difficult climbing over them to access the aisle. (Note, Qatar Airways also has two versions of the 777-300. One of which only has 24 business class seats, the other version as 42 as per the 777-200)

Source - SeatGuru

As I was travelling solo, and given it was an 18 hour flight, I booked a direct aisle access seat - seat 2F (directly behind the F in the image above). I wanted to know that I could get up to use the bathroom at any time without being blocked by an individual, plus I didn't want someone climbing over me waking me up while I was sleeping.

For this reason seats E and F are my preferred option on the Qatar Air 777.

My seat for the next 18 hours

There were 5 spare seats in this front section. I was seated next to another guy (2E) but noticed 1J and 1K were free. I asked an attendant if I could move to them and she politely said it was fine.

Window seats on the 777

The guy next to me overhead this conversation and said he had tried booking these seats only hours before but they were unavailable so I offered him the seat which he took ( I'm not a big fan of the front row seats as you lose storage space to house the pull out TV screen. Note on the return leg of this flight I was located in seat 5E and had one of these pull out screens, the difference in available storage space was huge, more on this soon).

After he moved I then had a free seat next to me. Even when flying in business class, having a spare seat next to you is a welcome extra. You can store spare pillows, blankets, books etc on the spare seat so they're within easy reach.

Not quite lie flat

The seats are lined with cloth and have a 177 degree angle. Not quite a full lie flat setup. But the slight incline wasn't that noticeable, especially compared to some other angled lie flat business class seats.

(Note, the 777-300 has a full 180 degree lie flat)

The width of these seats is 21.82" - and this is the same for all 777 versions. Pitch is 78.0degrees.

When you are ready to sleep the flight attendant will kindly put a fitted sheet over the chair. The attendant told me when I boarded to let her know when I wanted this done for me. 

I watched what she did so I could do it myself on later flights. I always feel bad people doing such trival things for me!

This wasn't a mattress topper as such, but it added a few extra millimetres of cushioning to the chair. Plus it no doubt helps with sanity purposes. 

This was definitely a nice added touch of luxury as the standard seats In a lie flat setup would suffice. But it's  because of small touches like this that Qatar Airways was the winner of the 2017 airline of the year award.

In comparison to other Qatar Airways business class seats, this one was a little firm. It would be fine on a 8-10 hour flight, but after 12hours+ laying there you did start noticing the firmness. Though I am a rather solid guy so slimmer individuals may not notice this.

Oh and when sleeping on my side, occasionally my shoulder joint would end up on a bar of some sort. It seemed like the bar was exactly where my shoulder should go (I'm 5"10).

Anyway I got about 5-6 hours sleep in this chair. I seemed to wake about once every hour. I can't pick why some flights I'm out like a log (9 hours only waking once on the LA to SYD United flight!) and others I toss and turn.

You can see my Oura Ring sleep data from the flight below:

Power Plugs

The Qatar Airways business class seat on the Boeing 777-200LR had a USB port under the arm rest for charging phones and cameras.

AC power point at the front of the arm rest

It also had a AC power plug with international inputs in the front arm rest on the floor. This was a little awkward to get to, but once you were plugged in it was out of the way. 

Seat Storage

If you are seated behind a seat (rows 2-4, and 6 and 7) you have storage space in the back of the seat in front of you.

There is a hole for shoe storage, a pocket for flyers and magazines, and in the centre aim console there are storage bays.

Various storage spaces (note you don't get this storage space if you are in rows 1 or 5 on the 777)

One for water.

One small one for your phone and wallet.

And a larger one for an ipad and camera.

Arm console storage on the 777 (note you don't get this storage space if you are in rows 1 or 5 on the 777 as it's filled with the screen)

Please note, if you are in the front rows (1 or 5) storage options are limited. I cover this in more detail below. 

Note: For more insights into the seats on the 777 please see my update from the return flight below.

Wifi

There was no wifi on the 777.

Personally - I'm really happy about this due to the dangers of nnEMF exposure and the already high radiation levels when flying. Especially as this was an 18 hour day flight (with higher solar radiation exposure).

But that's the health coach in me coming out! Some people wouldn't care about this and would see the lack of wifi being a negative.

I also like disconnecting when flying. Less distractions to think. It's something I try and do in my day to day (on ground) life (read more HERE)

But there is plenty of space to get work done.

 

Cabin Comfort

Unlike later generation planes such as the A350 and Dreamliner, the 777 is not pressurised to the equivalent of a lower altitude (which helps with passenger comfort when flying).

I noticed this. I get really dry eyes when flying. But whenever I fly on the dreamliner it's not a problem.

My first experience going 'dry eye free' was on a Qatar Airway Dreamliner flight from Munich to Doha. I didn't get dry eyes at all.

Then a year later I flew on United Airways 15 hour LA to Sydney Dreamliner flight and noticed the same thing - no dry eyes. 

Meanwhile on the older Boeing 777, 3 hours into a 18 hour flight and my eyes were struggling. 

On the 777 there is also a very small privacy divider between seats. Though to be fair it doesn't achieve much, coming out only 2 or 3 inches. I felt like it was more of a signal to the person next to you than an actual barrier (i.e. 'I'm pulling the barrier out 2 inches now, I know you can still see me quite easily, but this is an indirect way of me telling you not to bother me')

Amenities

Upon boarding, a flight attend hands you an ammenities kit. This was a really nice kit.

Inside the premium quality Brics hardshell case (which I kept and gifted to my partner and sisters, it's a great little makeup case or small toilet travel bag) was your usual ear plugs, socks and eye mask. Plus there was a range of natural beauty products.

Including a lip balm, moisturiser a refreshment spray. I only used the lip balm

 

PJ's 

A few minutes later the flight attendant brought me some pyjamas and slippers. I was given a size XL on the flight to Doha, and a size Medium on the way back. Both fitted, but I think a size L would have been perfect.

I changed into these a few hours after takeoff. They were a quality make, I felt comfortable in them and didn't feel awkward walking around the aircraft in my airline PJs. Actually majority of the cabin changed into their PJs.

 

Bathrooms

The nose of the aircraft held two bathrooms. These were a little cramped, and seemed to be the crews choice of restroom. On the flight to Doha I only used these bathrooms and thought they were pretty standard rest rooms in regards to size.

Inside you could also find toothbrush kits and razors.

Though on the flight back, when I was seated in the rear business class cabin, I used the bathrooms located in between the business class cabins. These were much more spacious than the bathrooms in the front.

If you're flying business on the Qatar Air Boeing 777 and want to get changed or have a bit of space in your bathroom, I would suggest avoiding the bathrooms at the nose of the plane and using the other 2.

So there are 4 bathrooms between 42 business class seats (and crew). 

*** Update After The Return Flight - Doha to Auckland Qatar Business Class ***

The above notes were all taken after my flight from Auckland to Doha. A week later I returned home on the same aircraft but in a different seat. Here are my experiences:

Flight QR920 - DOH - AKL

On my return leg I flew on the 777-200LR again. This flight left Doha at 0225am local time and lands in Auckland at 0500am.

This time I was seated in 5E. A centre seat with direct access to the aisle. 

This was a located directly behind the kitchen so this meant I had a pull out screen and no seat in front of me. 

Lack of Storage Options

To be honest - this wasn't a greatest seat, especially after experiencing the seats on the 787 and Airbus earlier in the trip (more on this in the article below). But even compared to my 2F seat on the flight over, the 5E seat was rather flawed.

The main issue was with storage. As there was no seat in front of you, there was no extra storage. No shoe storage and no storage pockets in the centre console (as this was taken up with the foldout screen). 

The only storage we had in this seat was the small compartment by your side. This was big enough for your phone and wallet and headphones and that was about it. 

I ended up putting my shoes in the overhead locker and the pillows, pjs, blankets and other odds and ends on the floor in front of me. 

However upon takeoff this floor space must be cleared - so all of this had to be moved overhead. Plus the screen needed to be retracted. 
It wasn't a massive issue, but in contrast to the seats on the other flights it was noticeable and it's enough of a reason to avoid these seats.

No Charging For Me

Another issue I had was with the AC plug. 

The AC plug was located by my ankles when the seat is in the upright position. The only way to get access to it is to retract the seat back to the upright position.

AC plug on the row 5 seat - hard to get to, and I couldn't get my Macbook charger into it

After spending some time realising this, I then found the plug didn't work with my MacBook charger. There simply wasn't enough space to get the bulky plug in - however this wasn't a problem in seat 2F.

Thankfully I had enough battery life so I didn't need the charge. But it's something to note if you are going to be in these seats.... especially on a 18 hour flight!

Bathrooms and Sleep

As noted above, I found the bathrooms further back to be much more spacious than the bathrooms behind the cockpit. 

And finally, I slept really well on the turn flight. Getting about 7 hours of sleep according to my Oura Ring data (though as you can see, it was quite disrupted)

 

Food & Beverages

Qatar Airways take an À la carte approach to serving their meals. Instead of the flight having a set 'meal time' where you have a choice of two or three options, you can pick and choose what you want and when.

If you want to start with dessert even though it's 7am in the morning and everyone else is eating their main, you can do that.

If you want to have breakfast when everyone else is fast asleep, that to is not a problem.

Actually, you could even start with breakfast, have have dessert afterwards then call for a main. I'm sure it would baffle the flight attendants, but it's a possibility with Qatar Airways premium class travel.

I really like this approach to dining in the air. Why? Flexibility.

I had a 35 hour door to door journey as I left New Zealand and travelled to Finland. On the way back it was a 40 hour trip across 4 flights. 

This really messes with your sleep/meal schedule. And if you're a bio-hacker like I, you are planning ahead, using all sorts of tips and tricks to optimise sleep, and minimise jet lag (note, I share these tips and tricks in THIS free Jet Lag report)

So even though everyone else is on local time and wants breakfast, you may want to get your 5-6 hours sleep now and then have your breakfast. With Qatar Airways meal service flexibility, you can have your cake and eat it too - get your sleep in and still have the quality meal.

Food

Speaking of quality meals, the food is really top notch.

I always look forward to the meals on Qatar Airways. Not only is the meal service extremely good, the options are diverse (there is usually a local middle eastern dish, plus one or two more conventional offerings), the portion sizes generous, and the taste amazing.

On the flight from Auckland to Doha I had:

  • Some roasted nuts that came out pre meal
  • Pre lunch

  • Light lunch

  • Ice Cream

  • Godiva Belgium chocolates - these were brought out after my light lunch. There were two chocolates in the box, a dark and a milk chocolate. These were amazing. On my flight home I saved them for my partner... though I must say this required a lot of willpower!

 

Beef & Egg Breakfast

If I am picky, I will say that the one downside was the salt. I like a good sea salt, and lot's of it. The salt shakers provided use the small granulated salt in tiny containers that are often blocked.

But I discovered this about airline travel many years ago, and every since I know pack a celtic travel salt shaker in my carry on bag. Yes I am that guy!

Beverages

I'm not very clued up when it comes to wine, but I know the wine list is a feature when it comes to business class flights. I took down the names of wine on the QR921 flight:

  • Lanson black label white champagne 
  • Lanson rose champagne 
  • Jean-Marc brocard Chardonnay
  • Attems Sauvignon blanc
  • White knight assemblage Viognier & French colombard
  • Chateau branaire-ducru merlot & cabernet 
  • Hollick Shiraz
  • Luigi vista de sangre assemblage: Cabernet Sauvignon, merlot and Syrah
  • Valdivieso Semillon
  • Gran Cruz port

Side thought - Why don't restaurants have wine menus like airlines? With details about where the wine is grown, how it's made, the flavours, good food pairings etc. I would be much more likely to buy a wine that had an interesting description, rather than it's name and country of origin.

As I mentioned earlier, I don't drink much alcohol when flying (sparkling water is my go to flight choice), but given the early hour I decide to ask for a 'small glass of champagne'. Only to be told that they had ran out of both the white and the rose Champagne.

This was only an hour into a 18 hour flight, so I was quite surprised, but not too disappointed.  

Orange Mocktail with roasted nuts

There was also a good cocktail menu, but again I didn't try any of these on this flight. 

Entertainment On Board

The Qatar Airlines Boeing 777-200LR has 17 inch screens in their business class.

It's good that there is such a big screen as it is quite a distance from the seat. So much so that if you want to touch the screen, you will have to unbuckle your belt to reach the screen.

Plenty of space, but the screen is a fair distance away

Personally, I find using the touch screen to navigate around the entertainment menus is much easier than the control. So I often found myself undoing my seat belt to reach food to touch the screen.

All the usual options are there:

  • Music
  • Hollywood movies
  • Bollywood movies
  • Arabic movies
  • TV shows
  • Ted Talks
  • Documentaries - Nat Geo, Discovery, BBC etc
  • Music
  • Games

There is an option to go through and add movies/episodes you like to your playlist and then simply pull that playlist up during the flight.

I didn't like the interface that much. It could be improved.

It was a bit difficult finding my way around the screens sometimes.

Also, the colour theme wasn't great - the background colour is purple. And the highlighted button is also a shade of purple.

Can you find what button I have highlighted ? I couldn't for a while either...

But otherwise there are plenty of entertainment options.

For the headset you are supplied with Bose noise-cancelling headsets.

 


Qatar Airways Business Class Review: Boeing Dreamliner 787-7 (DOH-HEL)

After a few hours layover in Doha Airport (Lounge review at the end of this article) I had my 2nd flight. Flight QR303. Doha to Helsinki.

Please note - when I took this flight in November 2017, it was on a Boeing Dreamliner, it appears that Qatar Airways now flies a Airbus A330 on this route (which I cover below).

The below notes/photos are for the 787-7 Qatar Airways Dreamliner.

According to Qatar Airways fleet stats, they own 30 Dreamliners, a big chunk of their 180 aircraft.

Having flown on the Qatar Dreamliner before, I was really looking forward to this flight.

A client of mine who does a lot of business and first class travel told me 'Qatar Airways business class on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is worthy of First Class status.'

I've never flown first class so I can't comment on this statement, but the newer fit out on a much quieter and comfortable aircraft combined with Qatar Airways outstanding food, and service standards definitely makes this a highlight of my airline travel.

 

 

Service

We had the same great friendly service despite it being 0130am in morning. One thing to note about leaving Hamad International Airport is the size of the airport and the resulting commute.

There are no boarding announcements at the airport, this makes for a rather tranquil experience. But it also means you have to keep an eye on the time. To get to my flight I had a 5 minute walk, and then a short indoor train ride, then another walk, finally I had to take a shuttle bus out on to the tarmac to board the plane (Business class passengers had their own bus).

Business class passengers on the right, economy on the left, Dreamliner in the middle.

All this was extremely easy with friendly staff everywhere (seriously everywhere, even at 1am in the morning) in the airport, but it's important to remember this in case you spend a few too many minutes at the airport spa and gym!

My first time to Doha with my partner nearly saw us missing out flight as we were so used to boarding calls and didn't realise how far away the gate was from the lounge. Lesson learnt.

 

The Seat

For this 6.5 hour night flight (departing Doha at 0150am and arriving in Helsinki at 0700am) I was seated in seat 4A - a window seat. Actually tell a lie, I was assigned a centre seat, but when I saw a free window seat I swapped over to that.

Window seat in the Qatar Airways Dreamliner

Layout

The layout on the Dreamliner is a 1-2-1 setup, so every seat has direct aisle access.

1-2-1 in the Dreamliner

The window seats are slightly angled towards the window. And the center seats pointing inwards.

 

These centre seats would be great seats for a couple travelling together. However there is a slide out privacy screen for those solo travellers (better than the divider on the 777!).

But given the window seats have direct aisle access, solo travellers are best to pick those. 

Seat

The seat setup is really nice. It's much more of a private pod setup than than the more exposed seat in the 777. 

Everything right where you need it

You definitely feel like you have more privacy in these Dreamliner seats.

At least that was the case once I figured out how to raise the arm reset/barrier on the aisle side!

When we got on the arm rests were down and I thought it was a bit strange - no arm rest.

Plus I felt a little 'exposed'. Then I saw the armrest button on the console. Lifting them up created a great space for the arms plus a little more privacy. I felt rather cocooned in this seat. 

You can tell a lot of thought has gone into this seat/pod design. Everything is within easy reach, no awkward contouring needed to access plugs or pockets (more on these features below).

The screen is within easy reach, the table expands to create a huge work desk and the control buttons are idiot proof.

What I like about the chair buttons/console is its simplicity. There are pre defined setups - upright for takeoff. A eating position. A semi reclined. A full lounger position and then the lie flat bed option. 

Simple!

No more tweaking 6 different axis's trying to great the right fit!

The 787 Dreamline also has the 177 degree seat recline - though I must admit I didn't notice the 3 degree angle on this, I actually thought it was a full 180 lie flat until I pulled up the spec sheets.

The seat width is slightly wider than the 777 (22" vs 21.8") and the pitch is 50"

Plenty of leg room

The chair was comfortable. It had more 'sponge' in it compared to the 777. I tried sleeping but it wasn't really happening on this flight.

Power Plugs

Like the 777 there is a USB plug and an AC plug, but this time around they were in much better locations.

No stumbling about or twisting and turning into awkward positions to get the plug in. Again, the design team have really thought out this layout. 

Next to the plugs is the console to change your chair positions and arm rest heights. 

 

Seat Storage

There is a lot of storage in this seat! With pockets, compartments and trays everywhere. Shoe storage...

Storage under arm rest (with water bottle and headphones)...

Storage down by knee - which could fit a purse and iPad... 

Lots of storage compartments and trays for your belongings

Space for a small bag above foot rest (foot rest which is only used when bed in lie flat)...

Then a tray for laptops. Wallet. Phone. Or just to store that pillow when not needed. ...

The tables in front of you make this pod feel like a workstation. The table pulls out and folds over to create a large surface - you could have a laptop and still have space for a meal. 

Plus there is a little space off to the side that is great for drinks (or snacks from the communal area at the back of the business class section)

Wifi

There was wifi on board this flight.

I connected to it briefly on the free 10mb plan, the speed was fine for emails and reading articles, but I hit my limit rather quick and didn't bother signing up to the pricey data plans.

 

Cabin Comfort

Being the Dreamliner, the cabin pressure simulates an elevation of just 6,000 feet above sea level. Much lower than the conventional 7500-8000 feet pressure level most aircraft use.

This helps with people who suffer from headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and even nausea when flying.

Another feature of the Dreamliner is the higher humidity level within the cabin. This helps with dry eyes and dry noses.

There is also an advanced air filtration system on board, eliminating pollutants from gases, carpets, sanitary wipes and deodorants. This is a big plus, I have written about how these pollutants affect our health and contribute to weight gain irrespective of diet. You can read that HERE.

The Dreamliner has larger windows - thought being a night flight this didn't mean too much for me. And they use electronic window dimming. No more opening or closing slides.

Boeing have also utilised 'mood lighting' in their Dreamliner. It looks pretty - nice hues of blue and red, but they've got it all wrong. They're using blue lights at night when everyone is trying to sleep. Boeing, you really need to read my article on Blue Light here.

Finally, Qatar Airways have equipped their Dreamliners with a communal area in the Business Class section.

Here you will find magazines, champagne on ice, a fruit bowl and snack bowl (with handmade European fudge, kettle chips and popcorn). 

It is a great spot to do some casual stretches, flick through a magazine and introduce yourself to fellow travellers. While waiting to get changed into my PJs I got chatting to a fellow traveller who was heading to Helsinki to attend Slush just as I was. We caught up in Helsinki a few days later.

Amenities

PJs

Like the 777 flight, business class passengers were given:

  • An amenity kit
  • A set of PJs
  • Pillow, and blanket
  • Water bottles
  • Bose Headphones

See my overview in the 777 section for more info on these. 

Bathrooms

The bathrooms on the 787 Dreamliner were really nice.

The bathrooms are spacious enough for a guy my size to get changed.

And there are a few extra features that weren't on the 777 - such as a big baby change table. A shoe changer platform.

Lots of coat hangers and two big mirrors - and a makeup mirror.... For a bathroom in the air it's pretty decent!

There are a total of 22 business class seats on Qatar Airways Dreamliner, with 2 business class bathrooms at the back. 

 

Food & Beverages

Given it was 1 am and I landed at 7am and hadn't slept great on the 18 hour flight. I decided to skip the food and aim to sleep. 

The menu on the 787 looked very similar t my previous 777 flight with a few minor tweaks.

Please read the food and beverage section in the 777 review above for more on this. 

 

Entertainment

There is a big 17 inch screen within easy reach (unlike on the 777 - where you had to unclip belt to reach screen). 

Big touch-screen, within easy reach for those who don't like using the remote control

The screen seemed bigger than the 777 - but this must have been due to the closer proximity to the seat. The screen itself was definitely a higher resolution screen and looked really sharp. 

Best of all the wired remote was a touch screen and mean navigation around the entertainment was a breeze. It worked similar to an iPhone - though not as responsive. But still a lot better than the older systems. 

 As per the 777, it had a very wide range of movies, documentaries, episodes, music etc.

 


Qatar Airways Business Class Review: Airbus A330-300 (305 seater) (HEL-DOH) 

This was my 3rd of 4 Qatar Airways flights on this trip. And with that 3rd flight meant a new aircraft and a new business class seat layout.

Flight QR 304 left Helsinki at 0940 and 6 hours later landed in Doha at 1630. This was onboard the Airbus A330-300. 

FinnAir loading up Qatar Airways flight QR304 from Helsinki to Doha

Qatar Airways have 13 of the A330-300's in their fleet, with two different versions. A 259 seater with 12 first class seats with a 180 degree recline seat, and 24 business class seats with a 165 degree recline seat.

And a 305 seater with no first class seats but 30 business class seats - again with the 165 degree recline.

I was on the latter aircraft.

Service

On board the Qatar service is hard to beat. With the manager of the team coming around and personally introducing herself.

On the previous flights this introduction was a rather simple 'welcome, my name is..., let me know if you have issues, enjoy your flight' typical greeting. 

Pleasant but lacking that authenticity. 

On this flight the welcoming was more personalised - I was asked my final destination (which was Auckland) we spoke about the long flight ahead and a few other things.  Then she went into her manager 'welcoming spiel'. But it felt much more personal this time around.

A few other things to mention specific to this flight:

  • Prior to boarding business class passengers had access to the FinAir lounge. Review below.
  • The flight was delayed 30 minutes once everyone was onboard. This was related to a passenger issue. I didn't mind as I was already seated and had a 10 hour layover in Doha. The attendants brought out drinks as we waited on the tarmac.
  • I was seated in the middle and asked if I could move to a a spare window seat, the staff confirmed this was OK and helped me move my drinks and belongings.

 

The Seat

Layout

The business class cabin was setup in a 2-2-2 layout as per the image below.

There are 30 business class seats, and about 1/3 of them were empty.

Like the 777, those in window seats don't have direct aisle access, but everyone else does.

Interior of Qatar Airways A330-300 business class. Note the extra foot space in the front Row 1 seats compared to row 2 and back seats.

Centre seats - great for couples. Ok for solo travellers as you have direct aisle access and a decent privacy screen

Flight attendants taking meal orders. Note the extended privacy screen in the centre seats.

The Seat

I was assigned seat 2E - a middle row seat with a passenger next to me in 2F. However given the numerous empty seats, I moved to window seat 5A as the seat next to it - 5B - was also free.

Seat 2E on the Airbus A330-330

Centre Seat 3E - Note the narrow foot space - only an issue in the fully reclined position and if you are tall.

I have taken photos of both Seat 2E and 5A.

Window seats with privacy screen retracted.

The business class seats had a similar 'pod' like layout to the 787 dreamliner seats. But they weren't quite as nice or as well designed as the newer dreamliner. 

Think of these seats as the first generation pod layout, and the 787 Dreamliner as the 2nd generation.

Saying that, the older 'pod' style seats still is nicer and more private than the more exposed seats on the 777.

If you have been reading from the beginning, in regards to the ranking of seats from worst to best it would go:

777 > A330-300 > 787

Though there is nothing wrong with the 777 seat, it's just that the 787 seat is so much better (with the A330 in between the two!)

Shoe storage between seats 5A and 5B. This is the foot rest when seat 5B is fully extended

Seat 5A fully reclined

Plenty of leg room - Seat 5A

There is a retractable privacy panel between all seats. When extended you can a lot of privacy - though you could still see the screen beside you etc. 

Even with the panel retracted there is still some privacy. And couples or friends seated next to each other may find this slightly annoying. 

Retracted privacy screen - Centre seats

Extended Privacy screen - centre seats

I was traveling solo and didn't have anyone seated next to me so it wasn't an issue. 

The seats are really comfortable. They're not quite as wide as the other flights however, with a seat width of 21" (compared to 22" in the dreamliner and 21.8" in the 777) and this was noticeable given how much time I was spending in these seats, but not a deal breaker.

I have in my notes here that these seats were full lie flat seats, but when I check the technical specs on Qatar Airways website it lists them as being 165degree recline. 

Seat in the fully reclined position

As this was a day flight I didn't spend much time in the recline position, so my notes are probably wrong! If you are flying a long haul/overnight flight on the A330 it might be worth looking into this if a slight angle bothers you (if you're on the A330 version that has First Class seats, those will be 180 recline).

Shared tray table with the stowed meal table. Charging my Oura Ring

It is clear that the fit out is older than the Dreamliner. The materials, layout, lighting etc all seemed a little dated in comparison. 

But still nice. 

 

Power Plugs

Plugs - there was a USB plug on the side in easy reach. And two Ac plugs in the front of the seat under the tray table. 

Console and USB plug by your shoulder

AC Power plugs at the front of the arm rest

Both locations were handy. 

I spent most of this flight working, and had no issues with the setup for using my laptop.

Seat Storage

Compared to the seats on the Boeing aircraft, there was a definite lack of storage space in these seats. 

Shoe storage bays

My laptop bag went under the foot rest, there was storage bay for my shoes and a small storage 'tray' for a bottle of water and Passport but otherwise storage was lacking. 

For example - If it wasn't for the spare seat beside me I would be too sure where to store the pillow and blanket. 

Some of the limited, but hard to access storage space

Another example - I was handed the food menu, and realised there was no obvious place to stow this when not in use. Again I ended up leaving it on the seat beside me. There was a magazine section behind my head. But it was rather awkward to access. 

 

Amenities

Amenities - as per the other flights. But as this was a day flight there were no PJs. I still got the Brics amenity kit however. 

Pillow and blanket in centre seats with privacy screen extended

Bathroom

The bathrooms were pretty standard.

 

Food & Beverages

Food

The menu was the similar as the 777 flight. Not that this is a bad thing as I really enjoyed the meals. 

I had the butternut squash salad. Fish fillet for main. And ice cream for dessert. 

All tasty and well presented. 

Beverages

Drinks - the same menu as previous flights (see above). This was a 0940am flight and my second of 4 flights as I left Oulu enroute to New Plymouth.

Given the intense travel itinerary and lack of sleep I had in Finland I stuck to water and sparkling grape juice. 

I was offered champagne.

Entertainment

This was a different screen to the Boeing flights. 

The screen was within touch reach from the seat (unlike the 777) and from a technological point of view it would sit in between the 777 and the 787 screens (with the 787 being the best screen from a size and quality point of view). 

There were an assortment of new movies loaded onto this flight that weren't on the previous flights. I'm guessing these changes happen at the beginning of each month. My flights to Finland were late November, I returned to New Zealand on the 5th of December.

I didn't spend too much time on the entertainment as I had work and rest to catch up on. 

There was also a touch remote - similar to the 787 remote, though I actually found the remote on the 330 more user friendly (it was a simpler device, but simple often means better!)

Touch remote - that acts as a second screen 


 

Qatar Airways - Business Class Lounges

The following section continues a brief overview about the checkin process and business class lounge access when travelling with Qatar Airways.

I will update this section as I travel through more Airports with Qatar Airways.

Auckland International Airport - Qantas Business Class Lounge

When flying Business Class with Qatar Airways through Auckland, New Zealand, you will get access to the Qantas Business Class Lounge.

I have included some images and a brief overview of this lounge below.

But first, the Business Class check in process with Qatar Airways at Auckland International Airport:

Checking in with Qatar Airways at AKL

I checked in 2 and a 1/4 hours before the flight.

Approaching the Qatar Airways counter at AKL

The Economy line was huge.

Business class line was also rather long (for a premium check in). There were already 8 people in it when I arrived. With only one counter serving the premium passengers, I had a 15 minute wait. 

Long, but still better than the 30-45minute wait the economy passengers would have had.

Business Class Lounge Access (Qantas Lounge)

I got to the lounge at 2pm, it was quite busy. (Note, Qantas also has a First Class Lounge, but you need a first class ticket, or a Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyer membership, or just amazing luck!)

Qantas lounge at Auckland

I have been here a few times before so was familiar with the setup. I don't want to go into too much detail about the lounges, as there are already some great reviews on airport lounges.

Instead I will include a few photos and my comments.

There was a bag storage area - I left a bag here without any issues.

I did a few loops around the lounge looking for a table next to a power point. It proved rather difficult! Despite their being a lot of tables, there were also a lot of people, and the few tables that were free didn't have a power point.

Contrast this to the lounge at Doha, where there are power points and USB charging ports at every table.

The food was nothing flash. Basics done well.

I had a light lunch of kumara soup and cheese with soda water.

I then used the computer room to do some last minute work before my 18 hour flight.

For those that are interested, there are showers in the lounge, and the bathrooms were clean.


Doha Hamad Airport - Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge 

Dohas Hamad Airport is probably my favourite airport in the world (saying that, I did enjoy my time at Helsinkis airport).

It's new, it's clean, it's quiet (they don't do any public announcements), staff to help you are everywhere, there's lots of good shopping, and restaurants, there's a gym and health spa (read my dedicated review HERE) and theres even a hotel... and thats just the airport, not the lounge!

The Vitality Spa & Fitness centre located within Dohas Airport. Read my review HERE

When it comes to the Business class lounge, Business class passengers will get access to the Al Mourjan lounge, which is the biggest lounge I've ever been to. 

And like the airport, it's amazing.

Like I did with the Qantas Lounge in Auckland, I'll post up a few photos and comments below. If you have any questions about the airport or lounge, please leave them below.

I have had a few layovers here, including a 7 hour layover, and a 10 hour layover on my recent Auckland to Helsinki trip.

What do I do in these layovers? Eat, shower, exercise, get massages, shop, eat some more, and work!

Important to note - there are no boarding announcements made in the lounges or in the central airport complex. 

So what is there to do in the lounge? The question should be, what is there not to do!

The lounge is split over two levels. Here I am up at the top restaurant looking down at the lower level

Upstairs there is a buffet restaurant and bar with amazing food. You can see why I look forward to my Doha stopovers!

One of the many great meals I had at Doha Airport

There is also a Al a carte restaurant. On my recent trip to Finland I only had a 1.5 hour layover, which was used showering after my 18 hour flight and quickly getting some work done. So I just went to the sandwich/salad bar for food.

Restaurant dining area

Buffet

Desserts

Buffet dining area with bar in the background

Upstairs Bar

On the way back I had a 10 hour layover, but I spent a good 3 hours in the Vitality Spa Pool & Fitness Centre (review here), and then a few hours in the computer rooms doing work. So both layovers I didn't eat from the restaurant, instead I just ate at the buffet.

However on a previous trip I ate at the al a carte restaurant with my partner, and the food and service was amazing!

Along with these eating places, there are small snack bays all throughout the lounge. You can also find various beverages here.

Down the other end of the business lounge is a salad/sandwich bar, with sandwiches made fresh to order.

There are also two shower rooms. I had a 30 minute wait for a shower on my first layover. On the return leg I showered at the Vitality Spa. On a previous layover I also had a 20-30minute wait for the shower.

The shower facilities are large and cleaned after each use.

There is a games room.

A family/child room.

A smoking room. I didn't go near this!

There is a business/computer room - which is huge. With workstations, meeting rooms, printing facilities etc.

Scattered around the lounge are small and big tables, every table has charging points and a LCD screen that you can use to track boarding times and browse the web.

There is also a prayer room, and various 'quiet areas'. These quiet areas give you access to private booths for napping or simply getting away from the crowd.

Oh and there are staff on hand everywhere. It's truely amazing how many staff there are. the moment I cleared my plate of food a staff member was ready to take it away. 

Cake and coffee on hand

My only complaint with this place is that there is no tables suitable to do work form that have a power point.

Now I know I said there are tables and chairs littered all throughout the lounge with power points and usb charging ports, but these tables are all the low 'coffee table' type table.

After 30minutes working at one of these tables you soon get a stiff neck and sore back.

If you want a normal sized table to work from, then you have to go either to the dining areas - but then there are no power ports (trust me, I had 10 hours to look!)

OR you can go into the business centre, where there are normal work height desks with power points, but there are a few issues with this.

One, it's full of ultra bright fluorescent lights which only seem to be used in the business centre (these lights ruin concentration and focus, and due to their flickering nature and bright blues and white light are not considered healthy, read more here).

And two, it's a depressing place to be. Its so stale and soulless, unlike the rest of the airport and lounge. 

Now I know this is a minor gripe, but as I had a lot of work to do, and a lot of time to kill, I really wanted to setup in a nice spot. 

I ended up going to the dining area and charging my laptop on a random wall outlet while I worked off my phone and then when my phone died I switched over the laptop.

Given the size of this lounge, it would be nice to have a few more higher 'work tables' rather than the 100's of low coffee tables. Or even better, a standup desk with power ports - I personally use a standup desk at work, and as I'm stuck in a aircraft seat for 18 hours, a standup work desk would be great.

Thats my one and only gripe about the lounge!

Other than that, it's amazing.


 

Helsinki Airport - FinnAir Business Class Lounge

After an amazing week in Finland (You can check out my stay in my #AuthenticAlex VLOG here) where I attended the 2017 Slush Event and had a hands on experience with the new Oura Ring launch, it was time to head back to New Zealand.

The trip home involved 4 flights - 1 on Finnair, 2 on Qatar Airways, and 1 on Jetstar, and a total of 40 hours of travelling - door to door.

 

Finland 🇫🇮 you've been a blast 🙌🏼 Had an amazing week in a country very different to my home! Ate moose, reindeer, lots of local fish, met some very talented business minds at @slushhq, met extremely caring and generous locals who invited me into their beautiful homes, had numerous swims in the ice cold Baltic Sea, was able to experience an authentic Finnish sauna experience and of course was able to meet the wonderful @ouraring team and play around with their new ring 👌🏼 All amazing highlights from what was a last minute trip to a country from from home. Now it's time to return to NZ - and catch-up on some Sun ☀️ 😀 I just have to get through 4 flights and 44 hours of traveling 😬🛫🛫🛫🛫 And congratulations Finland on your 100 years of independence 🇫🇮🍾😃

A post shared by Alex Fergus (@alexfergus_coach) on

My first flight left Oulu, Finland in the wee hours before having a 2 hour layover in Helsinki.

As the flights were booked separately, I had to go through the usual checkin process at Helsinki Airport. After that I was invited to the FinnAir business class lounge.

I have left my experiences and a few photos below.

Check In

I arrived at the Qatar Air Business class check in counter 2 hours prior to my departure. There was 1 business class counter and I was first in line.

Due to some issues with the passenger in front of me I had a bout a 10 minute wait.

FinnAir Lounge

After checking in my bag, I headed to the FinnAir business class lounge.

I did a quick shop in the airport on the way to the lounge and picked up some local gin, vodka, health foods and gifts for friends and family.

The FinnAir lounge was really nice. Very modern and it was decorated in christmas decorations (it was December). 

There was a lot of space inside, with plenty of tables and seats. And a wide range of tables - high tables, coffee tables, standard eating tables...

I was happy!

There was also various work areas, relaxing areas and eating areas.

As it was quite early in the morning (0700) the lounge was very quiet, no more than 10 people were in there.

Breakfast was out, and there was a lot of cold options (typical for a Finnish breakfast) with a few hot options.

There was also a good coffee and alcohol range.

Inside was a business centre - though I didn't use it. A kids section

Some neat looking sleeping pods (with blankets)

 

And best of all, a sauna!

Unfortunatley I didn't have time to have a sauna session, though I had been lucky enough on my trip to get in some amazing sauna sessions (check out episode 7 HERE for more) so I couldn't complain.


 

And That's A Wrap!

That's all I have on my Qatar Airlines Business Class Flight review. I hope it answered any questions you may have had and gave you an insight into the amazing airline that is Qatar Airways.

Before you go, please remember to:

  • Click HERE to Sign up to my mailing list to be informed of updates to this article (I will update it when I travel on other Qatar Airways aircraft such as the new A350 and the A380)
  • Download my FREE Jet Lag Recovery guide HERE.
  • Post a comment, or question in the discuss box below
  • Share with friends and family who may be interested in flying with Qatar Airways

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