That being said, I hope you enjoy this report. Please let me know what you think! To be honest: I had never flown Qatar and the experience was absolutely amazing. In this report, I'll make some comparisons to KLM since that is the carrier I know best. Bottom-line up front: I understand why QR has a 5-star rating and KL does not. Let's begin!
I didn't take a lot of pictures of Doha Airport. We arrived in the middle of the night and wouldn't leave before 8am. It's interesting to watch the airport 'wake up' as more and more flights from the east pour in while waiting for departures to the west. Doha is certainly used to this kind of activity. The transition through security was smooth and the airport was very well maintained.
Some views of Doha:
There was a separate waiting area before boarding. Before getting access to the waiting area, I had to go through security. As I waited in the priority line, I overheard some fellow countrymen complaining why other people (such as myself) were given 'special treatment' (Priority) which was an 'absolute shame'. Always great to hear countrymen complaining out loud in Dutch thinking nobody can understand them :-) Here's the waiting area before boarding:
I quickly found my seat and was welcomed by an extremly friendly stewardess. She helped me settle in and showed me how to work the seat. This was a great service! I do have to admit that, no matter how great the QR flight crew was, I felt they were more "distant" (for lack of a better word) than the FA's I know of KLM. She was friendly, professional and quick, but not warm and open like KLM. No judgement - just an observation. As soon as she was gone, I started exploring the seat. I can't overstate how great this seat actually is. Very private, very comfortable, very luxurious. QR really has a fantastic product in their aircraft! The seat features a large TV directly in front of you:
These amenities were waiting for me. The kit is fantastic but I forgot to take some pictures. Two pillows and one very, very, very comfortable blanket. All in house colours. Fantastic welcome! You can also see my trusty Bose Quietcomfort 15 which I always carry with me. The amenity kit features many handy items but no toothbrush which I found odd. However, I quickly found out why - more later.
The seat controls are directly at your left, close to your left hand. The design is awesome and as you can see, everything can be found here: HDMI connector for your laptop, power, USB, controls and IFE remote.
Mood lighting has been set to match QR corporate colors. Again, nice touch. The corporate branding is consistent, professional but also welcoming.
Directly to your left is a reading light, I never have much use for them, but it's good that there is one.
View from my suite to another QSuite. I didn't take a lot of pictures of the entire cabin (always feels a bit awkward when other people are there - feels like I'm invading their privacy). But this picture shows how private these cabins really are. One nice feature is that you can combine multiple suites to form a bigger, larger suite when travelling with 2 or four people. I didn't see this live - there are some great examples on the QR website if you're interested.
Immediately to your left, there is a cubby which can be raised to rest your elbow on, or lowered when sleeping. If you open it, there is a large storage space which has the QR noise cancellation headphones, all the flight magazines and a bottle of water. This storage space is HUGE. I checked it three times before deplaning - afraid I had forgotten something.
I explained how I did a lot of work on the ADL-DOH leg. I always pair working with drinking large quantities of water. Nature calls frequently as a result, so I made a quick trip to the bathroom, which was also really wel designed.
Back in my seat, the kind FA asked me if I wanted something to drink. It was 8 am but I was still on Australia time so I figured a glass of champagne wouldn't hurt. I paired it with the QR Signature mocktail, a great lime/mint drink which I found so enjoyable, I ordered seconds.
Here are some close-ups of the seat controls together with some of my appliances connected.
Papers were distributed and I opted for the FT.
A video started playing explaning the suite and controls. Again, nice touch of QR. It really helps you to get to know your suite.
The champagne went down really well!
Menus were distributed. QR doesn't have set times for dining I quickly learned. I ordered my food for now and 1,5 hours prior to landing and the FA was gone. Very efficient system and much more suited for customers who want to keep a different schedule.
Meanwhile, the video still played. It repeated the instructions 4 times, which was sufficient.
Pushback offered some great spotting opportunities!
Hazy day at Doha. I haven't been to Doha before. I wonder if this level of dust and haze is normal, which wouldn't be surprising, considering the proximity of the desert.
I closed my door and felt very private. This level of privacy is completely new for me.
Time to explore the IFE. The IFE quality is great, resolution and responsiveness are fantastic. The airshow is not of the same quality I know from KLM. The map isn't interactive and you can't easily zoom in and out. This was kind of disappointing since I usually use the remote for the airshow and fiddle around with it quite a lot. The IFE had a decent movie and TV show library but not very extensive, not like I had seen on Etihad before.
These buttons adjust your seat. The presets for eating and take-off/landing are quite usefull
The 'Do Not Disturb" button illuminates your cabin number red, so the FA knows you don't want to be bothered.
This button quickly turned out to be my favourite. Back massage for 20 minutes. The flight took 7 hours so I pushed this button roughly 21 times :-)
After my glass of champagne, I switched to non-alcoholic beverages. Upon arriving at Amsterdam, I would have to go back to work so staying sober seemd like the logical choice. This didn't seem like punishment - the QR Signature Mocktail went down like, well, water, although it's very, very sweet.
Some more airshow images. I liked the timezone display!
The FA dropped by and set my table
I enjoy the extra buttonhole so I don't make a mess out of my (travel) clothes
The table was set for the first course. QR surely takes their meal seriously. All items are well placed, look great, taste good and are plentifull
As a main, I chose the Arabian breakfast. I figured, when in Rome… It was a good choice, it tasted really great!
Another quick bathroom visit.
I've never seen a syringe disposal before. I wonder why? Perhaps for people who need to use medication by syringe?
So, this is why I couldn't find a toothbrush in my amenity kit. There are shaving & toothbrush sets available in the bathroom. The shaving kit is a really nice touch! I hadn't expected it but quickly used one. Now I could simply change at Amsterdam into decent clothes and go to work; no need to shave anymore since I had already done that in the aircraft. Fantastic!
Time for coffee! Arabian coffee is famous for it's quality and QR didn't disappoint there.
After my coffee, I went to sleep and had a solid 5 hours of sleep. I was awoken by my alarm and quickly found the friendly FA bringing my breaklunchfast.
Time to play on the IFE some more. The QR IFE has the Holy Quran as part of the system. I was intrigued and quickly browsed through it. Together with a Mecca pointer, this clearly shows the origin of Qatar airways. The Quran was interesting to browse through, but I quickly moved on. Another intriguing thing I found was the movie ratings. I watched some Modern Family and Fawlty Towers, both of which are comedy with some mild language. They were both rated 18+ by the QR IFE system. In Europe, 18+ would usually mean X-rated movies. Neither Modern Family nor Fawlty Towers are explicit so I wonder why this is?
One thing QR does is handing out warm oshibori's frequently. Another example of the great service on board.
Close-up of the footrest…
Flying over cloudy Europe
On approach to Amsterdam
Touchdown! luckily no Polderbaan so we went to the gate quickly. I waved at the blue birds I know so well.
Final pictures of my seat and the seat of my front-neighbor (which was oriented towards the rear of the aircraft)
Doha - DOH
Amsterdam - AMS
All in all, I believe the QR-flight is the best business class flight I've ever been one. My comparison material is limited, the other J-products I know are Air France and KLM. The QSuite is fantastic! The crew is great, the food is amazing! Only minor point is the IFE. The limited content, both in quality and quantity, and the limited airshow, are my only points of concern. Other than that, I believe this product is very, very hard to beat. This business experience is on a totally different level than the traditional airlines I know so well.
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