Good Advice Tried and Tested

Qatar Airways B777-300ER business class

04/10/2012

CHECK-IN As I was transferring from a flight from Kolkata (click here to read the review), a Qatar Airways concierge met me from the plane on disembarkation at 0700 and took my by shuttle bus to the Premium Terminal. Once inside, I put my hand luggage through an X-ray machine (there were no queues and laptops could stay in), and then headed upstairs to the business class lounge, where I waited for the concierge to get my onward boarding pass. (There had been a problem issuing it in Kolkata.)

THE LOUNGE Although breakfast was being served when I was there, I didn’t have time to have more than a quick cup of coffee, but having been there before I know that it provides passengers with plenty of seating (around 800) either by floor-to-ceiling windows or in the dining and relaxation areas, the use of showers, a smoking room, free wifi (no password required), plenty of free food and drink (including spirits and champagne) and staff who come around to inform travellers when their flights are boarding.

BOARDING At 0725, my concierge returned with my boarding pass and took me back downstairs to board from Gate 16, as there wasn’t much time until the departure of my 0810 QR11 flight to London. Back on another shuttle, it took three minutes to get to the plane, to which I ascended via a set of steps at the front. 

THE SEAT I was in aisle seat 3B but noticed that no one was in 1A/1B so asked if I could move to the window seat once everyone was on board. It was not a problem. Although there are seven rows of business class in total, I was in the front section where there are four (click here to see a seat plan).

The B777 is configured 2-2-2 in the premium cabin and 3-3-3 in economy. Business class seats are angled lie-flat, which I don’t generally consider to be particularly comfortable for sleeping, but as this was a day flight it was not such an issue. The personal IFE (in-flight entertainment) screens for seats in the front row come out at the press of a button from a solid central divide and then flips out, while the ones behind are mounted on the seat backs. In-seat power (EU and US) is provided, as are noise-cancelling headphones, blankets and amenity kits containing Molton Brown products.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE? There appeared to be less legroom for middle seats E and F in row one as they are directly behind a bulkhead, and those in aisle seats in row four and five may be disturbed by people queuing for the washrooms or going in and out of the galley. Middle seats E and F are good for couples who both want direct aisle access, other than that, you can’t really go wrong.

THE FLIGHT Once in my new seat (1A) I was offered a choice of water, orange juice or “lemon mint”, as well as a hot or cold towel. There was a short delay before take-off because of a problem with loading the baggage, but a charming stewardess took the opportunity to introduced herself and note down any orders for breakfast. She also checked with each passenger to ask whether or not they wanted to be woken for the second service.

Take-off was 35 minutes late at 0845 and the meal service began not long after, at 0910. I wasn’t particularly hungry, having had breakfast on my earlier flight, so just nibbled on some toast and had a smoothie before watching a movie. An afternoon snack was served at 1300, in which I did partake, opting for some cheese. I was offered wine but declined, preferring to stick with water. 

ARRIVAL The plane landed at 1515 (1315 local time) about 30 minutes behind schedule, and disembarkation was efficient and orderly. 

VERDICT A good business class product with excellent staff, both in the air and on the ground. I enjoyed both the meal service and entertainment offering, and found the angled lie-flat seat to be very comfortable for a day flight such as this.

FACT FILE

SEAT CONFIGURATION 2-2-2

SEAT PITCH 78in/198cm

SEAT WIDTH 22in/56cm

SEAT RECLINE 177 degrees

PRICE Internet rates for a return business class flight from London to Doha in February started from £2,450.

CONTACT qatarairways.com

Jenny Southan