Tarmac de-planing from a Qatar 777-300ER in Doha

Tarmac de-planing from a Qatar 777-300ER in Doha

QATAR AIRWAYS BOEING 777-300ER BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Qatar Airways
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Departed: Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Arrived: Hamad International Airport (DOH)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Business Class
Seat: 4E, inside middle [but also sat in 1A bulkhead on a leg and 2F on another]
Length: About 12.5 hours

Cheers: Great service and the food was (mostly) delicious.
Jeers: The hard product is getting a bit dated.
Overall: After so many miles and so many hours, I was still ready for some more.

Caption

The business class seat on the Qatar Boeing 777-300ER. Notice the blue lighting.

Recently, I flew quite a few miles on a Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER in business class. Although my review will mostly concentrate on the leg from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Doha, Qatar (DOH), bits and pieces of my other legs, which were DOH to Bangkok (BKK) and then back towards home DOH-IAD will also make their way into this review. After flying over 17,000 miles on the product in a short amount of time, I think I got a pretty good feeling what it is all about.

Over a short period of time, I spent lots of miles in QR's 777 - Photo: GCmap.com

Over a short period of time, I spent lots of miles in QR’s 777 – Photo: GCmap.com

QATAR AIRWAYS BOEING 777-300ER BUSINESS CLASS FULL REVIEW:

Qatar doesn’t have their own lounge at IAD, but premium passengers are able to use the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. It was a bit small, but did its job and let me waste some time before boarding. There was nothing special with the boarding process and I was excited to get settled.

When I first saw that my seat was going to be in the middle section, I was disappointed that I didn’t have a window. That said, I was thankful that I would at least have direct aisle access and no one trying to crawl over me, as the cabin is set up 2-2-2.

With a 2-2-2 layout, there is more than enough room to be comfortable

With a 2-2-2 layout, there is more than enough room to be comfortable

On paper, the business class product might not be anything super special. However, the nice touches that Qatar has done really improve the experience. From the wood-like finishes to the nicely done blue lighting around the seat, it really made the product and cabin feel higher end.

BONUS: Comparing the Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR & the 787 Dreamliner

I was nicely welcomed on board the plane and quickly offered a drink and asked if I had any questions. A little champagne, I figured, would do me some good and I settled into my seat. Soon we were taxiing out and on our way to Doha.

Caption

A good start to my meal — with some red wine

It didn’t take long until it was time to eat. This was a good thing, because I was quite hungry. If you really wanted to, you could make dinner a seven-course meal. Did I want to? Sure did.

BONUS: Taking the Inaugural Bangkok A380 Flight on Qatar Airways

I started out with some poached scallops in lemongrass and saffron, then moved on to some egg drop soup. For my appetizers (the things before were “pre-appetizers”), I had the choice between Arabic mezze (bread and hummus) and smoked tuna salad. I kind of wanted both, so I asked and I was able to try both. Unfortunately, on this flight, the bread was a bit stale, but on my other 777 flights, the bread was perfect.

Caption

A delicious dessert to round out the meal

The main course had three options: vegetarian (butternut squash and mascarpone ravioli), chicken (grilled chicken breast with creamy tomato and olive sauce) and finally beef (braised beef in lemongrass sauce). I went with the beef and it was very flavorful and moist.

To wrap things up, I had some cheese, fruit, and some ice cream. Might have had a little port to go with the desert as well. When the meal was done (it was quite the event), I was comfortable and full — a good place to be.

The cabin

The cabin all lit up (notice how it is easy to see my seatmate’s IFE choice)

Not long after dinner, the cabin darkened and I felt it would be a good chance to check out the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. The screen was touch-screen, but was just out of reach of my long arms, so I mostly used the remote. It is always nice to have the ability to use the screen or remote, but I appreciated the additional seat-pitch when it came time to get some shut eye.

One annoying part of the IFE was that there were no screen protectors. This meant that not only could I easily see what other passengers were watching, but they could also see what I was watching. Not a huge deal, but I always take the opportunity to watch crappy movies during long flights and I just don’t like being judged for my choice. Good thing everyone on the flight were strangers.

Hmm. Yea. I am not going to ask my seatmate what Ben Stiller was doing in the bathroom...

Hmm. Yea. I am not going to ask my seatmate what Ben Stiller was doing in the bathroom…

It was interesting to see the inconsistent editing done to the movies. Some had almost no editing and offered graphic language and visuals, while other edits were quite humorous. My favorite was watching There’s Something About Mary and during some of the more graphic scenes (which are not even that bad), a black screen came up with the message, “Due to the sensitive nature of this scene, we cannot show it to you. Please ask a friend to explain…” The movie always makes me laugh, but that editing made me laugh harder (and no, I don’t need any of you to explain the scene to me — thank you).

Although my camera picks up light well and this appears lighter than it really was, it is still too light for my taste when sleeping

Although my camera picks up light well and this appears lighter than it really was, it is still too light for my taste when sleeping

I enjoyed the ambiance of the cabin during the sleep cycle, but I wish that it was a bit more dim. Most cabins barely have any lighting (if any) and passengers can use their seat lights if they want. Yes, I had a sleep mask in my amenity kit, but I just don’t sleep as well with a mask on my face.

BONUS: 235 miles on an A340-600 – Qatar Airways Economy Class Flight Review

Between having good light or a good bed, I will choose a nice bed – this is where Qatar really came through. The bed is lie-flat  and offers a soft cover and pillow. Throughout all my flights, I was easily able to get some much-needed rest without too much to worry about (my longest “nap” was a respectful 7.5 hours).

The seat had plenty of storage. Took me a while to find my water.

The seat had plenty of storage. Took me a while to find my water.

Qatar also gives premium passengers PJs that you are able to keep. Some airlines offer the optional sleepwear, but ask for them back at the end of the flight. Even if you opt not use them, you are still encouraged to take them with you, if you would like (I did).

My biggest complaint with all my flights (which some might see as a positive) was that the flight crew were too nice and too engaged. Stick with me here.

Lining up for take off from Doha

Lining up for takeoff from Doha

I think there is a time where there can be too much “customer service.” I like it when the crew thinks about what I might need, like asking if I want something when I wake up or checking in every few hours. But with all my 777 flights, I kept being asked if I wanted anything constantly and I kept having to nicely tell them that I was fine. I know I have a call button and if I want anything I am more than happy to let them know.

BONUS: A Demonstration Flight Aboard the First Airbus A350 with Qatar Airways

This became a bit more annoying during my last leg, from DOH-IAD, where I didn’t eat almost all flight (wasn’t feel well). I swear that they were only one step away from bringing me food and force-feeding it to me — I felt a bit mothered. I am a grown boy (Editor’s note: this is questionable) and can make decisions on when/if I want to eat thank you! I know they only had good intentions and they were always very friendly, but sometimes I just want to be left alone.

In Qatar

Sitting on the tarmac in Bangkok

But really, if that is my biggest complaint after 17,000 miles and three legs of flying in business class on a Qatar 777, I would say I had a pretty darn good experience. Although the hard product might be on the cusp of being a bit dated, the extra touches and service still make the Qatar 777-300ER a very viable and high-end option.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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18 Comments

> but I always take the opportunity to watch crappy movies during
> long flights and I just don’t like being judged for my choice

LOL, I know how you feel.

Oh, I think there’s a typo on your return flight: IAD instead of IAH?

Heh… I think my finger memory was still on IAH due to all the Hello Kitty stuff http://www.airlinereporter.com/2015/06/hoedown-in-texas-with-hello-kitty-eva-air/

Thanks for pointing it out 🙂

David | AirlineReporter

Hi,

nice read but about the last photo: surely you mean sitting on the tarmac in Bangkok? That is not Doha!

Cheers

I did mean Bangkok! Thanks 🙂

David | AirlineReporter

Product. Product? PRODUCT??! Are you, then, just that which is stuffed inside the product? I remember back in the 60s and 70s when there was still romance to airline flying and do truly lament the sardine-like method used today. However, to call the seat(seating area?) the product means that the bean counters running the airlines today have completely won and flying has been depersonalized to the point of a super market shopping trip. “Hello, sir. Would you like the mac’n’cheese, the chicken or the filet mignon today?” Ugh!

Hey Cragg,

I don’t know what to tell you, but many call what is offered by airlines to be a “product.”

And I disagree that the romance of flying is gone. In fact, I would easily argue that the highend products offered today by airlines is quite a bit better than the “golden” age. Now, there are lie-flat seats, better food, IFE, etc. Yes, economy is not as great, but it is now a cheaper option. Many more people are able to fly today because there are more economic choices.

If you still want that high-end service, it is there and better than ever… but just like it was back in the 60s and 70s, it will cost you more!

David | AirlineReporter

I know what you mean about crappy movies on planes. On my last flight with Qatar Airways (A380 LHR to DOH) the other day it was a real struggle to find anything that was suitably light and breezy to zone out to during the flight.

In other Qatar Airways B777 news, I’ve read now that the new planes they are taking delivery of now have 10 seats across in the economy cabin (I travel economy, I’m sad to say). Between this, and the tightened lounge access rules in DOH, and the winding back of the ‘little touches’ (like complimentary champagne for us Economy class passengers). In the past it seemed worth the little extra money because you got a little extra in return. Now into the future I cannot imagine taking Qatar Airways and paying for a premium 5 star product when they no longer offer it. I’d rather make use of other One World carriers and save my money.

I know what you mean Andrew. I am a bit surprised that Qatar does the 10 abreast, but I don’t think most passengers even know there is a 9 v 10 option. But even with the tight seats, airlines, like Qatar, often can be better than others. But really it depends on where you are going and if having a stopover in DOH makes more sense than somewhere else!

David | AirlineReporter

Awesome review, I like your complaint about “too much service”. Just Imagine if you had to change planes to one of US airlines …Too much service to NO service
I wish our airlines learn to serve their customers just like other alliance members e.g BA, AF, NZ

If too much service is the biggest issue — it is a good ride ;).

David | AirlineReporter

Richard Kent

Hi David, have you flown the Qatar 787 Dreamliner business class? Review please, thanks.

Hey Richard,

I kind of have flown on Qatar’s business class in a 787. But it was on a delivery flight, so not 100% as it would be. You can see it here: http://www.airlinereporter.com/2015/11/hitching-ride-qatar-airways-boeing-787-8-delivery-flight/

David | AirlineReporter

Daniel Lewis

Very helpful! I’m flying LAX to Abu Dhabi on the Qatar 777, business class, in late Feb., and your review was very useful. Looking forward to it!

Enjoy your flight Daniel!

David | AirlineReporter

I love Qatar’s old business class!!! those seats are bigger than 787 and A380

Steve Tucker

We flew last year Larnaca to Johannesberg via Doha. The Business lounge was first class while we transited. The Boeing 787 was extremely comfortable in business with lots of attention to our comfort. We are flying Larnaca to Melbourne next week business and the long leg will be on a 777 so we will be able to compare which is the better aircraft and layout. Some friends recently flew economy on a 787 to Cape Town on a 787 Dreamliner…….they called it a Nightmareliner- too cramped in their seats and they are not big built people.

Great Article David!
How is the business class flight from Doha to ORD Chicago?
Just booked it and wondering if it will be a similar experience!

Qatar airway is a lier …..
I was told to be a warrantee r to flight the next day after I acepted the amount $1350. When I arrived the next day for the flight. Asking about the money and my status the manager said they can not pay me for be a warranteer. They ruined my flight destination from Dfw airport Dallas to Bangkok. What they can reserved me was only from DFW to Doha. I checked in my bag the day before was not know the status now. They are the big lier to the customers I got all the paper that I sign with the acepted money for being the warranteer with the agent counter.
Should I sue the airline for be the big lier that cause me to loss of time and miss some apoint men on my journey and paI’d trip back home.
If anyone with please comment..

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