Number 24 and 25 of Qatar Airways’ 787 Dreamliners at the Everett Delivery Center
Every plane flying today had its delivery flight at one time or another. Many have been built at Paine Field, in Everett, WA and then flown to each airline’s home base to be put into operation. When the opportunity came up to join Qatar Airways on the delivery of their 24th and 25th Boeing 787 Dreamliners, how could I say no? I didn’t!
The 787 line
Down the 787 line
The 777 line
For most airlines, the whole experience is more than just the flight itself. There are pre-events, meals, speeches, and then the best part: the flight. I wasn’t able to participate in everything, but I was able to enjoy a line tour of the both the 787 and 777. Getting into the Boeing Factory never gets old, and seeing how making building complicated aircraft look easy is a feat in and of itself.
The business class cabin in the Qatar 787-8
These media events are also about the people who attend. The airline media world is not so big and made up of many great folks. Part of my excitement was being able to hang out with people like Jason Rabinowitz, Paul Thompson, Seth Miller, and I got to meet Mark Lawrence for the first time. A bunch of AvGeeks flying in a 787 halfway across the world? Yes, please!
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.
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.
His Excellency Akbar Al Baker flanked by two senior Qatar Airways executives at his DC press conference – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
There is a ridiculous war of words over whether or not American customers deserve to have choice. I’ve been over the open skies debate before, many times. Both here and other places. You know where I stand; I support the middle eastern carriers. I am not here to talk about the whole debate today, but am here to talk about only one facet of it – Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways has been the target of a certain American that neither myself nor H.E. Akbar Al Baker would like to name. I flew to Washington D.C. to watch Qatar’s head shoot down these allegations of questionable legality in person. Furthermore, it’s always a pleasure to see my favorite aviation personality.
An Emirates 777-31H/ER sits in a delivery stall at the Boeing Paine Field – Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
It’s that time again. Time for me to give you some of my personal thoughts on a topic. Some might call it a rant.
You know the time when an American aviation lobby group decides that there’s just too much competition in the world? Not only is it the “Big Three” themselves, but also an aviation lobbying group backed by them. Combined, these companies and interest groups can bring a lot more lobbying firepower to the table.
Their argument, as is everyone’s against someone who does business differently than them, is the old fallacy of “if their costs are lower than ours, it must be the result of either unfair trade practices or shady accounting.”
This time, the argument is about how Gulf airlines Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways may have received launch subsidies. Indeed, the argument goes further and states that they are continuing to receive subsidies to fuel their current expansion and operation.
The A350 flight deck being shown off by its joyful flight crew – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
For press, the delivery ceremony completion usually means it is either time to drive back home, or return to the hotel and pack for the flight.
Not this day.
Airbus and Qatar Airways decided that it would be a great way to enhance the press experience if everyone was given a demonstration flight aboard the Airbus A350.
This was a great idea, so there had to be some kind of drawback! For a demonstration flight that would last an hour with pre-selected passengers, all 200 of us present had to go through security screening. A process that felt like it took longer than the flight itself. What a surprise, no one had any contraband or ill intent!
Rant aside, after what felt like an eternity, I finally made it onto the jet bridge to a crowd that was more akin to being in the last row of economy on a domestic narrowbody. I realized then and there that taking any kind of photographic imagery was going to be a challenge.
Door L1 on Qatar Airways’ first A350 XWB, long after the crowd had dispersed for lunch Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
We boarded via a choice of either L1 or L2, I chose L2 as I wanted to see the lovely dome light and the in-flight bar. The doors themselves do not create any temporary feelings of claustrophobia. In the case of L2, you immediately walk into a spacious and open atrium. The ceiling is higher than one has come to expect on regular passenger aircraft, the walls more vertical.