QR276 AMS-DOH business class
In Spring of 2015, Qatar Airways had a number of excellent business class sale fares, which we took advantage of in order to earn BA Silver status (Oneworld Emerald). For just over 1000 euro per person, we flew from Amsterdam to Bangkok via Doha, experiencing Qatar's A380 and Dreamliner business class cabins. The seats are identical, so we will review just the Dreamliner flight here, as we slept through most of the onward flight to Bangkok.
We spent the night before flying at the excellent Andaz Amsterdam and arrived at Schiphol after a relaxing transfer with Blacklane (great upgrade to Mercedes S class). Arriving at Schiphol, we checked in with little queue and were soon on our way to the uninspiring Aspire lounge, shown right. It is at least somewhere quiet to sit and fine for the 20 minutes or so we had to spare before boarding but f&b is pretty poor.
Upon boarding, we were offered a pre-departure drink (we both chose Champagne naturally) and the choice of a hot or cold towel. Service started with an amuse bouche, Mrs d2t then enjoyed a refreshing goat's cheese and butternut squash salad while Mr d2t opted for the arabic meze. Switching at this point from the light biscuity Lanson champagne to the New Zealand sauvignon blanc (always a safe choice), our main of chicken biryani was served. This was delicious - just the right amount of warm spiciness and sweetness from the toasted onions. Fresh fruit salad provided the perfect finish to the meal, although there were richer desserts available for those who wanted them.
Qatar operates a dine on demand service, so we could order whenever we wanted and there were also plentiful snacks available for later on in the flight for anyone who felt peckish. Menus are presented in a stylish leather holder, which is at your seat when you board the aircraft.
Qatar's new business class product is one of our favourites. The seat is spacious, comfortable and looks oh so stylish in grey and burgundy. According to SeatGuru, the seats are actually more spacious than BA's current 747 first class and we definitely felt that the product was superior, despite being sold as business class.
Comfortable in the seated, lounging and sleeping positions, the seat controls were intuitive and customisable. Big soft pillows and blankets were provided on each seat, as well as the amenity kit, which provided the usual toiletry items and some nice perfume by Armani (perfect for the gym bag). On our later flight, pyjamas were also handed out - Qatar Airways is one of the few airlines to provide complimentary pyjamas in business class. Be aware that these come in S/M and M/L, so if you ask for medium, they may be on the small side if you are given S/M. Mr d2t is 1.75m and 75kg and definitely needed M/L.
Al Mourjan lounge, Doha
As we were connecting to an onwards flight to Bangkok, we had access to the Al Mourjan lounge at Hamad International in Doha. This is an incredible business class lounge spread over 10,000 square metres, complete with a stunning water feature (it looks a little like a swimming pool). The lounge is designed in the style of a 5* resort and feels very high-end and opulent, much more so than the old premium terminal. Honestly, some of the airports we use would fit inside this lounge.
There is a huge range of seating options with a separate dining room upstairs, although this can get busy at peak meal times. Food on offer was reasonable quality; however, service was incredibly slow and we found it impossible to order an egg dish at breakfast time on our return flight. On the other hand, the fresh fruit was ripe and tasty, so we feasted on this. The pictures here show the evening spread of Middle Eastern and Indian specialities and salads.
An interesting feature is the games room, complete with Formula One simulator, as shown to the left.
We had previously flown Qatar Airways in First class and been unimpressed. This time, wow, what a difference. Service was polished and friendly throughout, the seat on the Dreamliner is almost as good as first class and the Al Mourjan lounge in Doha is superb. We flew 4 Qatar sectors on this itinerary and had no complaints on the service, amenities, food or seat. Having said that, we found the whole experience much better on the 787 than on the A380 (which has the same seat) or the older 777, so would recommend aiming for these flights. The IFE was also excellent with a very good quality screen and wide choice of TV programs and movies. At under £800 return in business class to Bangkok, you really can't go wrong, even at twice the price.