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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.