Good Advice Tried and Tested

Qatar Airways 777-300ER Business Class

04/10/2012

PLANE TYPE777-300ER

SEAT CONFIGURATION2-2-2

SEAT PITCH78 inch/198.1cm

SEAT WIDTH22 inch/55.9cm

SEAT RECLINEFully-flat 180-degree

PRICEInternet rates for a weekday round-trip Business Class flight from Doha to New York in March started from $6,790.00.

CONTACT qatarairways.com 

VERDICT In an overall excellent flying experience, three things stand out: the roomy Premium Terminal at Doha did not feel at all like waiting in an airport. And onboard, I give the responsive cabin crew and the comfort of the fully-flat seating two big thumbs-up. What a great seat to sleep in! I would fly again.

CHECK-IN Our flight from Seoul arrived Doha about 0530. Almost immediately we were whisked aboard a special business class bus to the Premium Terminal, a stand-alone facility which to my eye looked very much like one gigantic airline lounge over two stories. We entered on the ground floor and, despite having been through security in Seoul, we were screened again. Then it was up an escalator to the lounge areas – one side for first class and the other for business class. 

It’s clear that Qatar has made a significant investment here; the whole Terminal is modern and spacious with lots of amenities. Screens set apart discreet seating areas for eating and meeting; people were not crammed in on top of one another and the gentle sound of the water feature made for a relaxing atmosphere.  A separate smoking lounge and plenty of TV monitors spread around the place completed the roomy and welcoming, but business-like feel.

Since I had arrived in the morning, I spent some time grazing at the international buffet, which featured both Western and Middle Eastern breakfast fare.  There’s also a five-star restaurant and a deli with sandwiches and gourmet items. The bar serves up a selection of coffee, juices, plus wine, beer and spirits.  

BOARDING  Having been through security at Seoul and again on arrival at Doha, I was surprised to be screened again prior to boarding here. More disconcerting was having the screeners take items, but not explain what they were taking.  Suffice to say, security is tight – and thorough. We then got aboard our bus which took us out to the aircraft.

At the plane, we boarded through the front doorway, while economy passengers used the aft boarding door.  I’m not much of a snob about airline class distinctions, but this setup worked well. Premium passengers were seated quickly while the 240 or so economy-fare folks wrestled with the overhead bins and got the kiddies settled in.

THE SEAT The business cabin aboard the B777-300ER is arranged 2-2-2.  I eased into my seat, which was certainly deluxe enough for sitting. But at first glance, I was a little skeptical that it would really make a comfortable bed. Sleeping on airplanes has never been my strong suit.  

However I did find that there was plenty of work space; the table opened up leaving room for my laptop and my portfolio next to me.  The personal light could be aimed where needed – a nice touch.

THE FLIGHT We departed on time. The previous leg of my journey had taken me from Seoul Incheon to Doha across six time zones in the dead of night. Knowing that I could use the 14 hours to New York to readjust my body clock, I resolved to avail myself of Qatar’s fully flat seating to get caught up on sleep – that is, if I could. 

Qatar has a number of different business class seats, from cradle seats to ones like these that recline fully-flat 180 degrees. What’s more, to my surprise they provide a really spacious sleeping area which afforded me several hours of refreshing sleep.

When I awoke, I found the meal service had already come and gone. No matter; the cabin crew went out of their way to serve me. The menu offered a selection of Middle Eastern cuisine and Western fare. The mezze that preceded the main course was a tasty prelude, and the medallions of beef tenderloin were a nice counterpoint, punctuated by an agreeable red that I chose from Qatar’s Cellars in the Sky award-winning wine selection (see page 38).Having caught up on work and sleep, I was now ready for some in-flight entertainment, of which this flight offered plenty with literally hundreds of movies (both current and classic), TV shows and music options. Finally picking a favorite comedy more or less at random, I chuckled and dozed (upright this time) the rest of the way home.

ARRIVAL We arrived JFK a little ahead of schedule and made our way through customs with minimal fuss. Our baggage arrived at the carousel about the same time we did, and within the hour, we were in a cab on our way to Manhattan.  


—  Jerry Allison