Review of Qatar Airways flight Doha Milan in Business

Airline Qatar Airways
Flight QR117
Class Business
Seat 5A
Aircraft Airbus A330-200
Flight time 06:35
Take-off 08 Jan 16, 15:20
Arrival at 08 Jan 16, 19:55
QR   #10 out of 79 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 574 reviews
Nick
By 3515
Published on 16th January 2017
This is the tenth report in a series covering my trip to Europe and Africa around New Year's 2016. The trip involved three nested itineraries (which turned into four): A OneWorld roundtrip itinerary from the US to Milan, a Tunisair roundtrip itinerary from Milan to Tunis, Tunisia, and a Star Alliance roundtrip itinerary from Tunis to Windhoek, Namibia. The return portion of the Star Alliance itinerary would turn into a one-way itinerary on Qatar Airways due to South African Airways delays (hot weather), horrible customer service by South African Airways and United Airlines, and a cancellation of the remainder of the Star Alliance itinerary. I submitted a claim to World Nomads travel insurance for the Qatar Airways ticket I had to buy because I had faced a 24 hour delay by Star Alliance. World Nomads rejected the claim (as well as my appeal). According to them, they're off the hook unless the "common carrier" is completely shut down for 24 hours due to weather or a labor strike. The verbiage in the policy doesn't include "common carrier" though. I submitted a complaint to the California Department of Insurance, but they don't actually do anything besides forward the information to the insurance company, who had already ruled on it anyway. I filed a small claims lawsuit against Trip Mate, which administered the plan, and the trial date is set for February 2017; so stay tuned for that. I can't recommend using World Nomads travel insurance. I've bought five travel insurance policies through them. This is the first time I made a claim and it has not been a smooth process to say the least.

The OneWorld itinerary was an open jaw from Chicago to Milan in Economy, and Milan to San Diego in Business. The total cost was 63,000 AAdvantage miles and $84.10. Normal cost would've been 70,000 miles (20,000 for the outbound in Economy and 50,000 for the inbound in Business). However, I was able to get 10% back thanks to my Citi AAdvantage MasterCard.

The roundtrip cost for the Tunisair ticket was $182.48, bought through Vayama.

The roundtrip cost for the business class Star Alliance ticket was 70,000 United MileagePlus miles and $135.00. On the surface, this is an incredible value. Intra-Africa airfares are quite a sweet spot on Star Alliance if you go from one end of the continent to the other. However, my faith in Star Alliance has been completely shattered and I don't think I'll ever take advantage of this intra-Africa MileagePlus fare again.

—– Chicago O'Hare to Berlin Tegel (AirBerlin Economy): http://flight-report.com/en/report-13019.html
—– Berlin Tegel to Milan Linate (AirBerlin Economy): http://flight-report.com/en/report-13101.html

———- Milan Malpensa to Tunis (Tunisair Economy): http://flight-report.com/en/report-13169.html

————— Tunis to Istanbul (Turkish Airlines Business): http://flight-report.com/en/report-13349.html
————— Istanbul to Kinshasa (Turkish Airlines Business): http://flight-report.com/en/report-13576.html
————— Kinshasa to Johannesburg (South African Airways Business): http://flight-report.com/en/report-13733.html
————— Johannesburg to Windhoek (South African Airways Business): Jo'burg to Windhoek
————— Windhoek to Johannesburg (South African Airways Business): Windhoek to Jo'burg
————— Johannesburg to Lagos (South African Airways Business): Cancelled Flight
————— Lagos to Istanbul (South African Airways Business): Cancelled Flight
————— Istanbul to Tunis (Turkish Airlines Business): Cancelled Flight

———- Tunis to Milan Malpensa (Tunisair Economy): No Show

——————– Johannesburg to Doha (Qatar Airways Business): Jo'burg to Doha
——————– Doha to Milan Malpensa (Qatar Airways Business): You Are Here

—– Milan Malpensa to Miami (American Airlines Business)
—– Miami to Chicago O'Hare (American Airlines First)
—– Chicago O'Hare to San Diego (American Airlines First)

Unfortunately, my inbound flight didn't get a gate with a jetway, but business class passengers did get their own bus over to the terminal.

photo img_0723


My flight from Johannesburg landed at 6:20 AM which is during the morning rush. One of the lounge workers told me that 6:00 AM till 8:00 AM is their busiest time and this day proved to be no exception. The security check for transfer passengers was crowded but moved along (especially the business class line). The only weird thing that happened during the security check was that the guy checking boarding passes didn't think one of the other business passengers from my Johannesburg flight was actually in business class. He got it cleared up and was able to go through. From there, I headed up to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge.




They were serving breakfast when I got there, but I headed for the showers. Even though this was the middle of the morning rush, I still only had to wait 15 minutes. By the time I finished showering and shaving, the morning rush was nearly complete and the lounge was almost deserted. I checked my bag into a locker and went for a walk around the terminal and the rest of the airport was almost completely deserted as well. When I returned to the lounge, I got a made to order panini which turned out to be one of the best sandwiches I've ever had. I purposely booked a longer layover so I'd have more time to experience amenities like this and I'm glad I did. For an AvGeek, having the Al Mourjan Business Lounge nearly to yourself for hours is like being a kid in a candy store. After a bit of time surfing the internet and exploring the rest of the lounge, I went to the other restaurant. For lunch, you could either go to the buffet or order off the menu (or do both, which is what I did). I made a plate of food from the buffet and ordered pumpkin ravioli off the menu. After a few more hours of chilling in the lounge, I sadly said goodbye and headed to my gate.




I Googled "Qatar A330 Business Class" when I was booking the ticket and saw images of angled lie-flats, so that's what I was expecting. But I was pleasantly surprised with an updated cabin. I had originally picked 2E because I like being in the middle section of a 2-2-2 configuration (aisle access for both me and the person next to me). However, I noticed there was no one in 5A or 5B so I asked if I could move back there and the flight attendants were fine with it. The flight attendant assigned to my row was incredible and made it abundantly clear I could order whatever I wanted for dinner and could eat at any time I wanted. Compare this to United where you're supposed to pre-book this sort of thing before your flight. I was still pretty full from the lounge so I watched Bridge of Spies before ordering dinner. I managed to sleep for a while after dinner, but this route isn't actually that long (usually between 6 and 7 hours). Overall this flight was incredible, both thanks to the modern hard product and the unparalleled soft product.




Passport control at MXP was fine. I booked a room at the Moxy hotel (part of Marriott) which is located right at the airport. You can take the free shuttle over to Terminal 2 then just walk across the parking lot. My only gripe is that there was no normal thermostat and I couldn't figure out how to heat up the room based on this weird dial system they had to control the temperature. I don't know if I wasn't using it correctly or the heat wasn't working. The rooms are pretty small and the whole "we're trying to appeal to millenials" schtick was a little over the top. Overall though, the hotel is very new, modern, clean, and a pretty good value.

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Verdict

Qatar Airways

9.1/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering9.5

Qatar Airways Al Mourjan South Lounge

9.0/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering9.5
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Services9.0

Doha - DOH

7.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access5.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Milan - MXP

7.4/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

I can't say enough about how great my overall experience was on Qatar Airways, both on my flights in and out of Doha and also in the lounge. All of the employees were incredible as well. Not only the flight attendants, but all of the lounge workers were very friendly as well. I know we've all heard horror stories about working conditions for foreign workers in the gulf states, but everyone seemed to at least somewhat enjoy their job and they were happy to chat with me about their country of origin. The guy who was checking in bags at the storage lockers was from Kenya and we struck up a conversation about my travels there and where his hometown was. This could have all been an elaborate act, but I have a friend of a friend who's a flight attendant for Emirates and she genuinely seems to enjoy her job.

When I see United touting their new Polaris product, I can't help but laugh at that fact that they're actually years behind the curve. You have business class cabins with all-aisle access and food menus in the lounge?! Wow! The funniest part is that they've only retrofitted a few planes so far and only have one Polaris Lounge up and running but still act like the airline has undergone some sort of historic revolution.

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9 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 382227 by
    eminere™ 272 Comments

    The narrative should accompany the pictures.

  • Comment 382245 by
    757Fan 616 Comments

    Nice report! It looks like you had a good flight with Qatar Airways. I'd love to fly them sometime!

    Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to your next report.

  • Comment 382521 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Thanks Nick for sharing this nice and comprehensive FR.

    "I was able to get 10% back thanks to my Citi AAdvantage MasterCard."
    - This is one of the reasons that keeps me loyal to this card. It's a nice perk.

    "For an AvGeek, having the Al Mourjan Business Lounge nearly to yourself for hours is like being a kid in a candy store. "
    - Don't you love that feeling every time that it happens? ;) It makes for a more memorable and special experience. The amount of space is insane.

    "For lunch, you could either go to the buffet or order off the menu (or do both, which is what I did)."
    - I'm impressed. Usually ordering from a menu is reserved for F pax.

    " Compare this to United where you're supposed to pre-book this sort of thing before your flight. "
    - Well, it's like comparing apples to oranges. ;)

    Nice cabin but the seats seem a bit narrow for J. The amenity with the cologne is a nice addition.

    Food looks well presented and the ability to eat at anytime is a big plus.

    • Comment 382816 by
      Nick AUTHOR 172 Comments

      Thanks for all the comments Jetsetpanda!

      I recently canceled my Citi AAdvantage MasterCard because I earned AAdvantage Gold status and many of the perks are similar. I've kind of screwed up my AAdvantage miles accumulation lately. First, just due to absentmindedness, I missed out on the Citigold checking account promotion that would've yielded 50,000 bonus miles. Also, they changed the rules on getting bonus miles from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum MasterCard. Previously, you could get the bonus every 24 months. But now, you have to wait 24 months even from when you close a mileage earning card. So, in hindsight, I should've canceled right after getting my last bonus to start the 24 month clock. Now, I have to wait 24 months from my account closure earlier this month.

      I was a bit spoiled with the 1-2-1 layout I had just experienced on my 787 flight from Johannesburg. But, for a 2-2-2 layout on an A330 cabin, this is about as well as it could be done.

  • Comment 383065 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6044 Comments

    Hey Nick, awesome report!

    Wow, I'd seen reports on the impressive QR F lounge in Doha before, but I believe this is the 1st time I'm seeing the new Business class lounge and wow, it is just as impressive. I hear you about being a kid in a candy store when you have such a nice lounge to yourself. That is a rare event as more often then not, most lounges I visit are super full, which then makes it awkward to take pics. So thanks for the extensive coverage and great pics of the lounge.

    Love the new QR A330 cabin! Yes, it's not 1-2-1, but I really don't mind 2-2-2 when it's a good product like this. Especially since the A330s are deployed on shorter missions like this. I'm a fan of QR's design aesthetic. I find the cabin and lounge design to be very elegant, yet colorful and not boring. I much prefer QR's aesthetic to their overly blingy competitors at EK.

    I noticed the next flight in the series is AA. I imagine going from QR to AA must be a somewhat womp womp kind of moment, lol. Unless it's a 77W (or 787 or updated 77E).

    Thanks for another beautiful FR as always!

    • Comment 383072 by
      Nick AUTHOR 172 Comments

      Thanks for reading Kevin! Crowded lounges can certainly be annoying. Even during the morning rush though, this place didn't feel overly crowded. They must have designed its capacity to be able to adequately handle peak levels.

      I agree with you about the color scheme, it's nice and subtle. My experience in the cabin was especially nice since I had two seats to myself.

      Womp for sure when I switched over to AA. Qatar is now the standard I use to compare other airlines against. The AA flight that's next up is actually the one on the renovated 767 that had the Samsung tablets. The starkest difference was the lounge experience though. I'll add the MIA Admirals Club pics to the MIA-ORD report.

      • Comment 383123 by
        KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6044 Comments

        "Crowded lounges can certainly be annoying."
        - Yes, indeed. And I realize how #FirstWorldProblems that sounds, lol

        "They must have designed its capacity to be able to adequately handle peak levels."
        - Based on what I see from your pics, it looks like a ginormous space. I mean there's a lake in the lounge. lol

        " Qatar is now the standard I use to compare other airlines against."
        - Well then you're in for a lifetime of disappointment haha

        "The AA flight that's next up is actually the one on the renovated 767 that had the Samsung tablets."
        - Good thing you didn't get one of the old 767s, though I think the few unrefurbished 76s left are only doing long domestic runs like DFW-HNL and some South America stuff

        "I'll add the MIA Admirals Club pics to the MIA-ORD report."
        - Blech, the MIA club is a dump. Or I should say was, since it has just been renovated. It looks nice now. Last time I was there was May and it was undergoing reno

  • Comment 384050 by
    PhilSylvester 1 Comments

    Hey Nick
    I work for World Nomads and came across this report. So sorry you're not happy with your experience with us. I'll raise it with the Insurance Director here in HQ in Australia and get another review for you, if you're happy for me to do that.
    From what I'm reading you weren't actually delayed, just "faced a delay", which may be the sticking point (although I can't say for sure). Delay coverage in our policy kicks in after you've been on the ground for 6 hours, and it covers additional expenses such as food and lodgings while you're stuck. I don't know if you did, but if you'd called our Emergency Assistance team and told them about the issue they might have been able to arrange something. It gets tricky when people rack up unauthorised expenses and then try to claim it from insurance. Sadly it just doesn't work that way. Anyway, this is all supposition and I'll get your case reviewed again.
    Phil

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