It's the December school holidays in Singapore and off I go on my annual family trip. This year we were headed for Dubai and there were a few options available since we kinda booked the tickets at the last minute. The main airlines under consideration were Qatar Airways, Emirates, Sri Lankan Airlines and Singapore Airlines. Sri Lankan Airlines was the cheapest at S$600 or so but the planes they were using were old and my parents did not want to stop over at Sri Lanka since it is a pretty bare airport. Singapore Airlines is seen like the best airline in the world for most Singaporeans, and I guess it's part of the pride that we have, as we're a tiny nation and yet we manage to have such an amazing airline that is known worldwide for it's exceptional service and quality. Don't mind me, I'm just one of the proud Singaporeans ;) And well, it turns out a return ticket to Dubai would amount to about S$1100. I guess SQ’s off the list :( Emirates was going for S$850 for a direct flight while Qatar was going for S$730. So we took a long while to decide and as usual, my parents never liked the idea of a transit flight but due to my persuasive skills, I managed to persuade them to stopover at Hamad International Airport as I really wanted to see Doha’s new airport. In addition, they were operating their brand new A50 on the Singapore to Doha route so why not aye? So QR it was! Besides, we got to save S$120 as well.
These were our flight details: Qatar Airways A350-941 (A7-ALE) SIN – DOH
Changi Airport has individual security at every gate instead of a centralised one and I guess it’s better in the sense that there wouldn’t be overcrowding considering how busy SIN is. However, Changi is implementing centralised security screening at Terminal 4 when it opens and I really hope that the operations would be smooth considering the tons of Air Asia flights operating on a daily basis and I’m pretty sure there would be long queues for security. Let’s see how it works out when the terminal opens next year. We walked around the transit area and took the internal skytrain to the 3 terminals to kill some time before proceeding back to Terminal 3 to board our flight.
Etihad Airways B787 at Terminal 2
When I boarded the plane, I was first struck by the amazing mood lighting and the different layout of the entrance of the A350 as compared to older models like the A330 and B777. The overhead bins were lined with lights as well and it was really nice. There was a blanket, pillow, amenity kit and headsets found on every seat. The amenity kit consisted of really thoughtful items like ear plugs and eyeshades which are neglected on airlines like SQ. Well done QR!
Note the lights on the overhead bins
The seats were EXCEPTIONALLY comfortable. There was enough lumbar support and the headrests were soft and hugged your neck snugly. I would honestly rate the QR A350 economy seats the best out of all airlines I’ve taken. A friend of mine told me the Singapore Airlines A350’s economy seats are extremely comfy as well and I can’t wait to try them. But for now, QR wins even SQ’s 2006 Y seats hands down. It is also a little better than CX’s new economy seats which I have once mentioned to be the best economy seats I’ve sat on. The seats had a 31-32 inch seat pitch and it was really spacious for my 5’9 self.
Huge amounts of space
One thing I noticed was how big the windows were as well. Sadly, it was a night flight so there wasn’t really much to see either
Seat aside, the IFE on the QR A350 was great, but not brilliant. The quality of the movies were exceptional, but the choices were rather limited in my honest opinion. For example, the music selection was really bad. I don’t exactly like Taylor Swift but to not even have Taylor Swift in the music selection kinda implies how backward the IFE is. The movie selection was not bad though. What made up for it were the external camera views in the IFE which was great considering how some airlines don’t have them in the IFE.
External views of the plane in the IFE
View of the seat. Note the touchscreen handset as well.
The IFE consisted of a 10.1 inch Thales Avant system and a smaller handset which was touchscreen as well. I felt it was basically useless though, since everything could be operated on the main screen and almost no one in the plane was using the handset. It was good in the sense that it could display the flight map while you were watching a movie or playing a game on the main screen so you wouldn’t have to constantly change the channel to view the flight path. You could also key in the 4 digit code provided in the inflight entertainment magazine for the movie/music/game that you want through the handset and it would direct you right away to it on the main screen.
Right after take off, the cabin crew proceeded to distribute to every passenger a menu for dinner and supper.
I chose the rosemary beef and it was fantastic. The starter and the cake however, wasn’t so good. I expected more from QR though, considering how they are always one of the top 3 airlines in the world. The starter was tasteless and the cake was different from what was listed in the menu. It wasn’t a caramel brownie cake. Instead, it was this really dry banana sponge cake that was just bad. The drinks menu was pretty good, though I feel the selection on SQ is way better.
Safety card (Front)
Safety card (Back)
Items in the seat pocket
Cool tiny screens underneath the overhead bins to indicate the ‘no smoking’ and ‘fasten seatbelt’ signs
The IFE system was easy to navigate and there were many options to display the flight path. For a better visual, you may watch the video that I have uploaded on Youtube. I will put the link down below.
About 2 hours before landing, the crew came around to distribute some snackboxes for supper. They consisted of a chocolate cake and a pastry that was arabian of some sort. It was filled with chicken that had a very indian/arabian spice to it. An orange juice accompanied the small meal.
One gripe I had with QR was that they served these snackboxes on almost all of their flights and they had no variation. On my 4 sectors, SIN - DOH - DXB and back, they served the same snackboxes with that exact same chicken pastry. I mean c’mon QR, you need to have more variation in your meals! It was the same for CX when I took them 2 years ago. On my 4 sectors from SIN - HKG - NRT, they had the same snackboxes on all sectors which was really disappointing.
Making a turn to land at Hamad International Airport
Finally at the gate in DOH. Does anyone know what airline we were parked next to?
Please watch my video on Youtube for a better experience! :)
Singapore - SIN
Doha - DOH
Before I end my flight report, I just wanna say that the A350 is amazing and it isn’t as quiet as I thought it would be. I guess when everyones saying how quiet it is, I kinda expected it to feel like sitting in a Bentley, Rolls Royce or S Class (Which I have never done so). Well it sure is quieter than the usual B777 or A320 but there is still noise. For anyone out there who has the same expectations as me w.r.t. to how quiet an A350 would be, I’m pretty sure you would be disappointed. Anyway, regarding the QR crew, they were pretty good. Systematic like on SQ and they get their job done. Well, most of the time, considering my requests were forgotten at times. On all my 4 sectors, the QR crew were polite and helpful, and it was nice seeing a mix of races of the crew as on all middle eastern airlines. One last thing, there is not much to do at Doha's Airport so I would strongly recommend Emirates for passengers who wish to stopover in the middle east before heading to Europe from Singapore. I'm pretty sure DXB has more things in store for transit passengers. However, if you're the kind that prefers to take a nap during your transit, Doha's airport is exceptionally clean and most importantly is WAY less busy and hence quieter than DXB, so QR would be the airline for you! Thanks for reading my report!
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