Qatar Airlines Business Class
I’ve been a Qatar Airways fan for some years now, their planes are inevitably new, or almost new, I can fit my ample ageing frame in an economy class aisle seat quite comfortably for the 11hr stint from Perth to Doha. I also happen to prefer the individual air vents on 777s – the 380s don’t seem to have them, although the 380 wins hands down in terms of silence. I also like the mix of nationalities amongst Qatar Airlines pilots and their cabin crews, not to mention the announcements in Arabic – I found it delightfully exotic, it reminds me I am travelling. Speaking of their cabin crews, I love them, they’re relaxed, friendly and genuine, an attitude not easy to sustain for ten or so hours serving 300 people in economy. My only small complaint would be that Qatar don’t appear to have a large movie library, but then that may be operator error – I don’t find the finger touch screens particularly intuitive, or easy to operate.
So it was one evening in early December, I found myself in the economy class queue, as we presented passports and boarding passes to the staff at the boarding gate. “Mr Gregory Ross?”
“Yes,” I hesitantly replied, as the young lady tore up my boarding pass, “Is there a problem?”
“Not at all”, she smiled, “You’ve been upgraded to Business, have a lovely flight” and she handed me a new boarding pass.
I had indeed been upgraded – an aisle seat at the front of the Business Class section no less! I stowed my backpack – it is a Bugatti backpack, so it matched the decor – and sat down to take stock of my good fortune and Qatar’s favour.
The seats are a wonder to behold, it needs five minutes to understand exactly what they are capable of – sliding footrests, everything adjustable and laying down to become very, very comfortable beds, just superb. Half way through my seat learning curve, David arrived, arms laden with the best looking Business Class toiletry bag I’ve seen, (tan leather), the prerequisite blankets, pillows, pyjamas, slippers and noise cancelling earphones, plus dining and drinks menus. I needed all the leg room just to spread out the assorted gifts! A couple of minutes later, he returned, enquiring as to whether I would like a champagne. Here it needs be understood we had not left the terminal, the doors were still open. I went for an orange juice – I’m not a champers drinker and for some reason, red wine wasn’t available until the aircraft had taken off.
I was aware we were in take-off mode, but the quietness and ambience of the Business Class section was such that the American guy beside me and I were almost oblivious to the fact, as we introduced ourselves with that small talk one does. It was then I became aware of the physical distance between us, it’s elegant enough for individual ‘space’ not to be intruded upon, very clever design. There are only six seats across the width of the cabin.
We turned north over Gages Road and as the lights along the coast line became fewer and fewer, David returned with what turned out to be a glorious Bordeaux red, a table cloth, glass and cutlery. He laid at the table cloth and accoutrements, proffered the bottle and asked “Would you like to try this Sir?” I hadn’t had to ask, he’d remembered my request before take-off. As I savoured the wine – well, I think my eyes misted over with the aroma and sensational taste – he laid out canapés and asked my preferences for dining.
Suffice to say, the food was exquisite, I shan’t detail every dish, however the a la carte dining experience was available throughout the flight and the quality, in terms of presentation and taste did not diminish. I ordered a ‘Traditional Arab breakfast’ and was stunned how fresh the ingredients were. It would be remiss of me not to write of the beverage list – I’m a malt whiskey and red wine cove, Qatar had let me loose in Paradise! I will not forget the 2011 Bordeaux Cabernet Merlot – David ensured it was never far from my wanton glass throughout the flight.
Qatar already offer a stunningly god service from Perth to Europe – the stopovers in Doha are incredibly short, if you choose not to stay in Doha for some sightseeing, something we must find the time to do. I regularly use the Perth to Amsterdam route and the entire flight time, including an hour and half stopover at Doha, is less than 20 hours! Previously I’ve always travelled economy – the days of a company paying for me to travel business class are long gone. Qatar’s Economy Class is amazingly good value – I always book an aisle seat and although I’m not tall, I have long legs, yet the leg room is quite acceptable. I am hoping Qatar will introduce Premium Economy out of Perth, but if you are able to afford the extra cost (around AUS$5,300.00 return), Business Class on Qatar is the ONLY way to travel. I have thought for some time that Qatar Airways are the World’s best airline, now I’ve been privileged enough to experience Qatar Business Class, I know they are. It’s a great airline, with fabulous aircraft and equally important, wonderful staff.
PS: If you’re an A380 fan, the whisper is Qatar are introducing them on the Perth – Europe route early in 2018.