We live in Iceland and several of our family members live near Melbourne, Australia, so we decided to spend Christmas there. The two airports - Keflavík and Melbourne - are not exactly close to each other, the distance being 10,539 miles (about 17,000 kms). If there was a direct flight it would overfly Svalbard, Eastern Siberia, North-East China and Eastern Indonesia and it would take about 21 hours. But there's of course no direct flight. So how should we get there?
We knew we didn't want to fly economy and we didn't have the budget for most business class flights, so we had to look for an exceptionally good deal in business class. Connecting flights from Iceland to Africa, Asia or Australia are never good value. London, Copenhagen, Frankfurt or Germany are usually among the more expensive departure airports. Amsterdam or Paris can have better deals but none was available at that time.
We checked premium economy as well, and although Singapore Airlines' great premium economy was bookable at a reasonable price from Stockholm to Melbourne via Moscow and Singapore, we still hoped for a good price in business.
We considered for a long time, and we even held a booking for some time, to fly from Cairo. A CAI-MCT-KUL-MEL in business class was offered by Oman Air and Malaysia Airlines at a price similar to many economy class flights from Europe to Australia. But direct flights from Europe to Cairo are overpriced even in economy and connecting flights can have unfavorable schedules.
So what was the solution? Oslo is usually, maybe surprisingly for some of you, the cheapest airport for long-haul business class flights from Europe. And there came a promotional offer: Oslo to Perth with Qatar Airways and Auckland to Oslo with China Southern. Yes, we wanted to fly to Melbourne but why not to visit Western Australia for a few days? And yes, the return leg was from New Zealand but we could finally visit NZ as well - and the flight was even slightly cheaper than a return from Australia.
It's a very busy airport with a lot of domestic and intra-European destinations and a handful of long-haul flights: Emirates to Dubai, Ethiopian to Addis, Hainan to Beijng, Norwegian to Bangkok, Fort Laudardale, Krabi, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, PIA to Islamabad and Lahore, Qatar to Doha, SAS to New York and Thai Airways to Bangkok.
Ethiopian has usually outstanding business class promotions to Africa twice a year. Qatar's cheapest business class offers from Europe to Asia and Australia/New Zealand are usually from Oslo. Norwegian has a long-haul premium economy product that can be interesting, although a lot of changes can be expected in their route network.
There was no queue at business class check-in. We had to wait a little bit due to some technical issues but the supervisor was very apologetic.
Fast track is of course included both for boarding pass control and security
You have to walk through the large duty free area to get to the lounge
Follow the signs!
Go upstairs and turn left
The airlines that use OSL Lounge
OSL Lounge has two parts. The one that can be used by Qatar's business passengers is called OSL Lounge Premium
The food offer was quite good for a business lounge in Europe
The drink offer was somehow limited. Soft drinks and beer were also available (no photo)
The lounge is before border control. We left the lounge 80 minutes before departure. We missed priority boarding by the time we got to the gate
Our aircraft waiting for us in the snow
Upon boarding I was escorted to my seat. My first impression was that the cabin was absolutely stunning, beautiful. It reminded me more of first class than business class, although it was quite large with six rows of seats. The seats were in a 1-2-1 configuration. An overview of the cabin (photo taken later during the flight - note the very characteristic mood lighting):
The seat is of course very comfortable.
Legroom is plenty
Another view of the seat: storage space, reading lamp, water and amenity kit
Details of the amenity kit
Lea introduced herself and offered a welcome drink shortly after I took my seat. I choose Qatar Airways' signature lemon mint - it's so good I'd like to have it every day. It was served with a choice of cold or hot towel.
Menus were distributed before departure. Qatar does not have set meal times or menus: you eat when you want and what you want. This is extremely convenient and gives Qatar Airways a huge advantage against other airlines that do not offer this service.
The drink menu:
The wine list:
The meal and drink order was taken while we were still on the ground.
Push-back was on time at 16.15 and was followed by a long deicing. We took off at 16.50 from runway 19.
Some more lemon mint, champagne and warm nuts were served shortly after the seatbelt signs were turned off
My table was beautifully prepared for dinner.
Cold smoked salmon with horseradish and chive crushed potato salad
Sweet corn soup
Lamb loin with herb butter, dauphinoise potato, ratatouille and lamb jus sauce
Fresh berries with orange syrup.
I was perfectly satisfied with my dinner and I can clearly give 10/10: - the cold salmon was good, the sweet corn soup was very, very good, the lamb was also good, and the fresh berries with orange syrup were absolutely delicious, - everything was served quickly by a can't-be-better cabin crew, - the attention to details in the service was remarkable.
It was time to relax and enjoy the in-flight entertainment. The screen built into the seat in front of me was big, easy to use and responsive.
The entertainment is divided into four parts:
The flight map looks like this:
Some self-promotion about Qatar Airways:
Cameras are also available - they're of course especially interesting during take-off and landing
There's a very high number of movies you can choose from (not all movies are on the photos):
And more movies:
So you can watch a movie while eating…
Of you can have a look at Qatar Airway's fleet in the on-board magazine
You can see who is behind many of the airline's main decisions
…such as the new routes Qatar will serve
Or you can listen to music. The choice is also as big as for the movies (not all disks are on the photos)
Some more music
A view of the cabin towards to end of the flight
The berries with the orange syrup were so delicious I asked for some more
I went to shave - I think it was the first time for me in a plane
Almost in Doha
Lea came to thank me for flying Qatar Airways and asked if everything was OK during the flight.
We landed in Doha at 00.50 local time for a scheduled arrival time of 00.40.
Thank you for reading my flight report - please feel free to comment.
Oslo - OSL
Doha - DOH
Qatar Airway offers one of the best business class products in the world. The cabin was beautiful, the seat very comfortable, the service outstanding, the food delicious and there was a huge choice of movies and music. Moreover the price I paid for this booking was very low for the distance, making this flight extremely good value.
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