It doesn't get any better than this. At least I can't image a better all around flight for the price. You be the judge.
This was the opening salvo on another round the world journey, this time sampling American Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Qantas and Virgin Australia. Needless to say the excitement was high.
The trip almost never exited Boston. After an uneventful flight from Chicago to Boston on American Airlines, I had a few hour layover in Boston. My choice, as I would rather be early than late, especially during a high travel period as well as when weather could be an issue.
The incident was an hour before departure to Doha. Tired of the Air France lounge I went into the concourse to look around. Seeing that the Air France lounge had a single washroom, I used the facilities in the concourse. Next I visited a few shops looking around at some luggage and books. As boarding approached I headed to the gate.
Reaching into my pocket to check my phone panic struck. No phone. Where's the phone?
I know I had it leaving the lounge. Did I leave it at the luggage store? A quick check proved fruitless. It must be in the washroom. Great, it's been at least 20 minutes. I'm screwed.
I offered my blessings as I entered the men's room. Turning the corner, there in full view, alone on the wash basin counter was my phone . No one took it! I wonder how many people saw it and contemplated a heist? Whoever they may have been, thank you for being a good samaritan!
Boston Logan Terminal 5 gearing up for the overnight European departures.
Even though I had a mobile boarding pass from Qatar I could not enter security as they required a paper boarding pass. That policy resulted in an hour wait in the area shown above.
Once airside I headed to the Air France lounge in the basement. Having stated there was only a single washroom, meaning really single, you probably have an idea of what the Air France lounge in Boston Logan is like. Don't hurry to attend.
The "dinner" spread
It was dark and the lounge was next to the Qatar flight gate, downstairs, and has a window. It might have a decent view of the airport tarmac. But at night it just seemed like you were in the basement, which you are.
Time to forget my phone in the washroom.
The low-light of the trip was the boarding area. So as to not ruin a good thing, I'm only posting the boarding sign. Qatar did not have their act together for this boarding process.
Soon all was to be forgotten.
There are numerous words that could illustrate the Qatar A350 cabin. But none of them would really portray the true feeling when you enter.
Described almost as crimson with purple highlights using the A350's 16.7 million color variation mood lighting, there is only a single drawback.
Pictures don't turn out well.
My advice. Go take a ride on one.
This is a look back in the business cabin behind the entry. Since there is no partition it really can't be considered a separate cabin or mini-cabin.
Storage bins are huge. There are no bins above the center seats giving the cabin an airy feeling.
For reference this piece of luggage just barely squeezes into the overhead bin of an A330.
Huge windows with electronic shades. (Although a 787 window would have been preferred on this flight as apparently the Northern Lights were out over Greenland. That would have been incredible to see!)
Lavatories are nicely appointed and well stocked.
The B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seat is rapidly becoming my favorite business class seat, or any class seat. They are super comfortable, well designed and fully functional. Qatar did an outstanding job with their version.
A pillow and blanket await.
The table doesn't stick out as far as on some other carrier's, allowing for more room to move.
While not enclosed you still have a sense of privacy.
The exit side armrest, which can be moved up and down, contains a bottle of water as well as your headphones.
I love how these regulators insist on requiring "Max Stowage" weights posted everywhere. First, where's the scale? I don't usually travel with one. Second, what am I supposed to put in that compartment that weighs more than 3.3 lbs, a gold brick? Not likely.
On the other side is a storage compartment.
And in my case a perfect fit for the travel shoulder bag.
At the base of the pod in front of yours is a small storage compartment for your shoes.
Workspace and reading lamp.
Underneath are the power outlets.
And an ingenious panel of seat controls attached to the side of the secondary table.
Plan on getting a good night's sleep.
You have a fairly large footwell and lots of legroom.
Upon request, turndown service. Qatar provides a mattress pad as well as duvet.
For couples traveling together the center seats offer the ability to converse with a moveable divider.
And privacy with the divider up.
This was my second trip in an A350, with the first being a short hop on Singapore's new bird. I mentioned in that report the nasty smell of jet fuel when spooling up the engines. I made the comment that I had hoped it was a one off. Well now I hope it is a two off. The smell on this flight was also very strong.
Time to go.
A good book or song grabs your senses and builds to a crescendo. While the cabin and seats on this Qatar A350 aircraft are wonderful, the crescendo is building.
Upon entering I was offered champagne. At first I just had water and was given an oshibori.
Multiple flight attendants came by to introduce themselves. The attendant taking care of me was named Klowyne. She was excellent and made the trip even more special.
After departure I enjoyed some Pommery Louise 2002 champagne. This brand runs about $75 a bottle. Second only to Dom on Thai first class in my travels so far. Kudos QR.
An amenity kit, slippers and pajamas were passed out. Qatar provides pajamas to business class customer on overnight flights. They are really nice too!
Time to eat and drink.
Qatar has an extensive beverage menu:
As well as a food menu offering 3 mains, numerous anytime snacks as well as breakfast on arrival:
Once the tray folds out it provides plenty of room. Also notice Klowyne really knows how to treat your pour.
I will take away the suspense. Dinner was incredible. Was it Austrian Airlines good. Maybe…
I began with Garden Pea soup. Okay so it's green, get over it.
A nice touch of fresh micro-greens as a garnish.
Next the Anitpasti salad. One word, OMG
Butter bean and tomato salad
And then this incredible dish of marinated peppers with cheese.
And some crostini.
I opted for the grilled chicken with chickpea sauce.
It was delicious. Blackened with mild spices, not burnt, juicy and tender.
And to finish the outstanding meal off I chose the rich chocolate torte. And that it was!
The problem with sleeping so well is I slept until breakfast so I wasn't able to try any of the light menu options.
For breakfast I chose the bircher muesli and for the main, well I guess I'm a typical American.
Breakfast was not as good. The steak was way over well done and the eggs were the typical pre-made whatever they do. This meal prevented Qatar from an exceptional rating in my book. It looked good though. Bottom line is the I have no complaints at all with QR's catering.
The Airbus A350-900 has 3 outside cameras. A cockpit view, underneath ground view as well as tail camera. Unfortunately take-off and landing were at night. The hand held controller could also be set to show the air show while viewing something else on the monitor. Nice feature but somewhat useless.
Many trip reports describe Qatar flight attendants as aloof while being professional in performing their duties. The crew on flight 744 was friendly, engaging and extremely attentive. For a business class flight I can't imagine any better service.
This aircraft had made its first revenue flight one year and one day prior to this flight. It was the 13th A350-900 built. The A350 is a remarkably quiet aircraft in the air. While the 787 is quieter on take-off, the A350 is superior at 40,000 feet. Frankly you don't know you are flying.
When traveling to Doha on a premium class ticket don't exit through normal immigration. Continue on and you'll find the Doha arrival lounge which looked spectacular. You can exit and get your visa from here as well. This is the main room. In the back by the counter is the entrance. They have a full compliment of services, including showers.
These are some notes I made during this business class flight:
Dine on demand unusual for a business class flight Four course main meal Food quality rivals, if not superior to many first class meals Comfortable pajamas in business class Mattress pad and turndown service A delightful cabin crew Brand new state of the art aircraft
I would happily take Qatar, especially their A350, anywhere, anytime!
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