Review of Qatar Airways flight Istanbul Doha in Business

Airline Qatar Airways
Flight QR238
Class Business
Seat 02A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 04:05
Take-off 22 Nov 20, 00:35
Arrival at 22 Nov 20, 04:40
QR   #1 out of 99 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 551 reviews
ISTFlyer
By GOLD 1425
Published on 1st January 2021

Report No: 2020-1103


Ladies and Gentlemen,


As I needed to head back to the USA due to multiple events in December, I decided to fly Qatar Airways again on this route as they were both offering competitive prices and an ongoing x5 Qmiles promotion ( 4 times more miles than usual ) so I booked my ticket with Qatar Airways. Although this mini-series would be different as I used my Qcredits ( free upgrade vouchers ) on this trip as there were availability and the outbound leg of this trip would be in Business Class and for the first time, I was able to experience the Qsuites. However, the return leg to Turkey is planned to be in Economy Class unless things change.


The first report of this series would be onboard the Qatar Airways A320 onboard from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Doha Hamad Airport in the lie-flat configuration. I would also cover a brief review about the non-premium ISG CIP Lounge in Sabiha Gökçen Airport.


Here is the routing for this series;


Routing


Load for todays flight

Business Class: 100%
Economy Class: 40-45% 


ONLINE CHECK-IN


Online check-in was pleasant as usual


photo ekran-resmi-2020-11-21-082214

Although, due to document checks at the airport, it is not possible to get boarding passes online for flights to/from the USA on Qatar Airways.


photo ekran-resmi-2020-11-21-083854

You might not believe me but I was the only passenger in Business Class two days before the flight, until QR cancelled the earlier SAW-DOH flight the same-day and the passengers got transferred to my flight.


photo ekran-resmi-2020-11-21-083937

I already had seat 3A for the QSuite leg as I was traveling solo and I wanted a window seat. Also a reminder that the window seats on the QSuites are reverse-headed.


photo ekran-resmi-2020-11-21-083955

And the confirmation of my seats.


photo ekran-resmi-2020-11-21-084017

ISTANBUL SABİHA GÖKÇEN AIRPORT - SAW


The day of the flight, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport was empty.


photo img_5672

Such as the security check and the entrance. While entering the terminal, thermal cameras are measuring your temperature in addition to a ticket check by the security as only passengers are permitted inside the terminal.


photo img_5673

Check-in was quick and smooth. 5 desks were available today and after a short wait, I was served. My bag was checked all the way through and my boarding passes for both flights and my lounge invitation at SAW. I knew that seat 02B would be occupied so I asked about an empty row but I was told that the Business Class cabin was full today.


photo img_5675-36637

Boarding passes and lounge invitation


photo img_5676

Although there is a fast track, there was no wait at the Turkish Citizen lane so passport control was a breeze. For security, only a single lane was open and the wait was not bad. Although as usual at SAW, there were passengers complaining with the security about liquids and sharp objects.


photo img_5677

ISG LOUNGE - ISTANBUL SABİHA GÖKÇEN AIRPORT


To spend time before the flight I've headed to the ISG Lounge. At entry, there was a set of passengers negotiating about the walk-in fee, then paid the fee and asked for a refund so it took 2-3 minutes to enter the lounge.


photo img_5686

Although the staff was friendly, there were almost no seats left and in the taken seats, people were sitting without masks when not eating and drinking. In addition, there were several mannerless people who listened to music or watched videos on the loudspeaker of their personal device.


photo img_5684-28511

There was meal boxes similar to my past visit which had a sandwich, salad and a dessert but when the lounge attendant brought the boxes, everyone was attacking to them.


These were the only things left at the buffet.


photo img_5682

Also a reminder that the lounge only offers pre-packaged food.
The drink options are limited to soft drinks, coffee, espresso specialities and beer. 


photo img_5685

My selection for the day


photo img_5683

A7-AHS from the lounge


photo img_5681

Indeed, if QR had a flight at the night-block from IST, the lounge over there is one of the reasons I would prefer over SAW when flying QR. However, starting from 2021; this lounge would be rebranded as the Plaza Premium Lounge so we might see some positive improvements.


GATE AREA & BOARDING


Due to the disturbing crowd in the lounge, I decided that going to the gate and seating there would be a better idea. Indeed, it was quieter over there. 


photo img_5687

At the gate, face shields were distributed by the ground staff.


photo img_5689-95823

About 30-35 minutes before scheduled departure time, the ground staff approached me to my seat and told me that I could board as many people were blocking the boarding lanes. I could definitely imagine how a difficult crowd they were able to manage.


photo img_5688

QR 238 ISTANBUL SABİHA GÖKÇEN AIRPORT TO DOHA Hamad Airport


After being welcomed by the crew at the aircraft door, I was escorted to my seat. Today's aircraft A7-AHS, was equipped with the lie-flat Business Class seats. It was a nice surprise as this route may get recliners as well.


photo img_5690

The seat had a large IFE screen which was equipped with the Thales IFE system


photo img_5691

The legroom is generous


photo img_5692

Menus, headphones, "Travel with Confidence" kits, Nappa Dori branded amenity kits, and the menus were available at the seat.


photo img_5693

The Nappa Dori amenity kit


photo img_5695

The Travel with Confidence kit


photo img_5719-90282

Headphones


photo img_5720

Bottle of water


photo img_5723

The IFE remote which also has a touchscreen


photo img_5697

The seat pocket which only had the safety card


photo img_5696

Shortly after I took my seat, welcome drinks were offered. I opted for a lemon-mint juice which was served with a refreshing towel.
By the way, champagne is available as a pre-departure drink on departures in Turkey. 


photo img_5694

The IFE screen interface


photo img_5698photo img_5699

For most of the flight, the route map was on at my seat.


photo img_5703

The touchscreen remote interface


photo img_5700

Power outlets and USB ports were available at each seat


photo img_5732-23116photo img_5742

Before departure, the cabin supervisor introduced herself individually to all passengers seated in the Business cabin and offered me a refill for my lemon-mint juice.


photo img_5701

About 10 minutes before our scheduled departure time, we were all set and we started our pushback.


photo img_5705

At SAW, it's really rare to see a non-Turkish carrier. Almost all of the planes parked where either TK, AJA or PC.


photo img_5706

At that time, the safety video was played.


photo img_5707

After the safety video, one of the crew members came to take my meal and drink order for dinner.


Pegasus A320neo which would head to Erzincan the next morning and a Pegasus 737-800, which arrived that evening from Dalaman, at remote stands


photo img_5708

More Pegasus aircraft at remote stands


photo img_5709

The Turkish Technic hangars at SAW


photo img_5710

While we were continuing to taxi, a video about COVID pre-cautions were shown


photo img_5711

AnadoluJet 737-800 heading to Kuwait as TK7678.


photo img_5713

Shortly later it was our turn and we took off.


photo img_5715

Last photos of SAW


photo img_5716photo img_5717

Derince


photo img_5721

Dilovası


photo img_5722

City of Kocaeli ( İzmit )


photo img_5724

At that time, the video about the charity project was monitored


photo img_5725

Shortly after the seatbelt signs have been turned off, I've visited the lavatory which was clean at that time.


photo img_5726-28621photo img_5727-90248

The lavatory had amenities from Rituals.


photo img_5728

Sakarya


photo img_5729

Here is the menu for today's flight.
Dinner options 


photo img_5881-36967

Non-alcoholic beverages


photo img_5882

Champagne options for today's flight


photo img_5883

3 different white wines and 3 different red wines were available on todays flight


photo img_5884-92503photo img_5885-99315photo img_5886-65730

Dessert and port wine options


photo img_5887-51012

And, other alcoholic drink options


photo img_5888

For the aperitif service, I've opted for the Chateau La Marzelle red wine from France which was served with nuts.


photo img_5733-24579photo img_5734

About 20 minutes later, the appetizers were served. For today's flight, I've opted for the Arabic mezze option. The tray also had Arabic pita bread, regular bread, butter, and the dessert that I would cover later.


photo img_5735

Signature Arabic mezze
Hummus, tabouleh and moutabef served with Arabic bread 


photo img_5737-94500

Also I was served olive oil of my choice for the bread. I've opted for the balsamic vinegar olive oil for this flight.


photo img_5736

For the main course, I've opted for the pasta option which was the Saffron tortellini which tasted really good. Also, refills for the wine were offered throughout the meal service.


Saffron tortellini
Creamy mushroom sauce 


photo img_5738-41818

The dessert for this flight was the passion fruit brûlée. However, this dessert wasn't burnt as the description, it tasted really good as well. 


Passion fruit brulée
Chocolate flakes 


photo img_5739-46625

After the meal, I've ordered a café latte.


photo img_5740

Shortly later the cabin lights were dimmed and the route map at that time


photo img_5741

While I finished my coffee, the cabin crew handed a refreshing towel and then I set my seat to the full bed mode and had a nap for an hour or two.


photo img_5743

Before landing to Doha, cabin lights were turned on and chocolate was served by the cabin crew.


photo img_5744photo img_5745-68473

Later on, videos about quarantine at Qatar was shown for passengers terminating their journey in Doha.


photo img_5746

Shortly later, we have landed at Doha runway 16L.


photo img_5749

As usual, the main sights of DOH are other QR aircraft


photo img_5751

The terminal expansion construction going on


photo img_5752

Qatar Airways 787-8 that would head to Prague in a few hours


photo img_5753

Qatar Airways 777-300ER that would head to Chennai as QR8358, a cargo-only flight


photo img_5754

And we've parked at remote stand H6.


photo img_5755

While waiting for the buses to arrive, our neighbor was pushing back.


photo img_5756

Within 5-10 minutes the stairs and the buses arrived and after saying goodbye to the crew, I have left the aircraft. 


photo img_5757

The next flight of A7-AHS would be to Kathmandu the next evening.


photo img_5758

There was a dedicated bus for Business Class passengers and after all Business Class passengers have boarded, we headed to the terminal.


photo img_5759

After a short bus ride, we've arrived at the terminal. By the way, passengers whose final destination was Doha was asked to stay onboard the bus and only transfer passengers were asked to leave. 4 out of 12 Business Class passengers onboard this flight were transfer passengers.


photo img_5760-17738

After heading into the terminal, I've headed upstairs to transfer security.


This report has come to an end.
The journey would continue in the next report.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report. 

See more

Verdict

Qatar Airways

9.1/10
Cabin9.5
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering10.0

LGM Lounge

3.1/10
Comfort4.0
Meal/catering1.5
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Services4.0

Istanbul - SAW

9.1/10
Efficiency9.5
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Doha - DOH

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

My first Business Class experience with Qatar Airways was really enjoyable. Despite the bad lounge in Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, with a very mediocre offering selection and a horrible ambiance; the ground experience was pleasant. The onboard experience was perfect similar to my experiences back in the Economy cabin on my previous trips. The cabin crew was attentive and helpful, the food & beverage selection onboard was great, the seats were comfortable ( both during take-off and lie-flat positions ) and toilets were kept clean throughout the flight. The only negative part about the journey was that this flight didn't have Wi-Fi but as I slept for the majority of the flight, that didn't matter that much. Also, a small negative part of the journey was that I didn't have priority meal selection as a QRPC Platinum member during the flight; meal orders were taken from front to back; although as they didn't run out of anything until I ordered my food so that wasn't an issue on this flight.

To conclude, I'm happy to learn that the SAW Lounge would be operated by Plaza Premium in the future, which would be a great improvement. Also, QR's short-haul Business Class product is great and wonderful and I definitely recommend everyone to try QR Business Class one day.

SAW
(+) Friendly ground staff
(+) Efficient check-in, security, passport control process
(+) Boarding made with priorities being respected
ISG Lounge
(-) Not easy to find a seat
(-) Mediocre offerings
(-) The ambiance
QR 244
(+) Comfortable seats
(+) Delicious meals
(+) During meal services drink refills were proactively offered
(+) Toilets were kept clean throughout the flight
(+) IFE system content
(+) Friendly cabin crew
(-) No Wi-Fi available on this flight
DOH
(+) Private bus for J class passengers
(-) It took a bit long for the stairs to arrive

Information on the route Istanbul (SAW) Doha (DOH)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Istanbul (SAW) → Doha (DOH).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Qatar Airways with 8.3/10.

The average flight time is 4 hours and 5 minutes.

  More information

6 Comments

  • Comment 569341 by
    Leadership TEAM GOLD 5013 Comments

    Hi,
    It's good to see you seated in Business Class on QR for once, a welcome change and a good use of your Qcredits of course!
    The ground experience at SAW is not very pleasant, this airport is much more know for it's low-cost/cheap flights and those using the lounge want probably make the most of it as they will not be served anything later...
    Nice cabin, you got lucky with the aircraft, even more important as it's a redeye flight.
    Catering is good and the wine selection still impressive, especially considering the galley space limitation of an A320.
    QR doesn't give a full size hand sanitizer anymore to J class pax?
    Looking forward to your next flight in Qsuite :)

    • Comment 569342 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 325 Comments

      Hi there,

      The ground experience at SAW is not very pleasant, this airport is much more know for it's low-cost/cheap flights and those using the lounge want probably make the most of it as they will not be served anything later...

      - You're true in this part, the only full-service carrier that operates from this airport at the moment is Qatar Airways. No other full-service airline operates from SAW at the moment. ( EK normally has a daily service to DXB but that route is temporarily suspended ). In normal cases, the cafés and restaurants at SAW are really nice and there is a wide choice, however, the lounge is mediocre. I really hope that the Plaza Premium rebranding would change the experience. By the way, the lounge was full of Russian passengers going to SSH with PC and some Middle Easterners traveling back home with PC and AnadoluJet.
      Nice cabin, you got lucky with the aircraft, even more important as it's a redeye flight.

      - I'm glad that the aircraft wasn't swapped last minute which is highly normal with QR.
      Catering is good and the wine selection still impressive, especially considering the galley space limitation of an A320.

      - You're right about the catering and the wine selection, they are good and impressive. As far as I read from another review on another website, QR offers the same drink menu despite the aircraft being a wide-body or a narrow-body. I am not sure how they manage to load all those bottles in the front galley of an A320 and I'm pretty sure that the crew serving Business Class didn't go back to the rear galley to get supplies.
      QR doesn't give a full size hand sanitizer anymore to J class pax?

      - They didn't give one on this flight, however, there was a mini version in the Travel with Confidence kit. On the second leg, they handed a full-size one
      Looking forward to your next flight in Qsuite :)

      - Hope to see you there, thanks for your comment :)

  • Comment 569398 by
    hometoyyz SILVER 542 Comments

    Hi IST! Thanks for offering a look at a narrowbody flatbed product that I have not seen before from Qatar. It’s nice to see that, along with safety considerations, it looks like service is still solid at QR.

    Although this mini-series would be different as I used my Qcredits ( free upgrade vouchers ) on this trip as there were availability and the outbound leg of this trip would be in Business Class and for the first time

    Nice to be able to upgrade a longhaul like this. Is this a top-tier perk for QR loyalty members?

    The lounge definitely leaves a bit to be desired. At least it has views of the apron.

    Seat looks good, especially for a narrowbody. Everything looks good in QR’s colour choices, in my opinion.

    Nice to get amenity kits for this relatively short sector.

    Catering looks on point, and I like their drink menu. Between Glenfiddich and Woodford, and the champagnes, they’d have to pour me off the plane.

    Food looks really good — hard to go wrong with the mezze, and the pasta is an interesting way of presenting it.

    As for the dessert… that creme brulee does not look brulee at all.

    Even in these less-than-packed travel times, arriving at a remote stand? Oh well. At least there was a dedicated J bus.

    Thanks again for sharing your debut with QR J. I look forward to seeing the TATL segment.

    • Comment 569402 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 325 Comments

      Hi hometoyyz and thanks for your comment,

      Thanks for offering a look at a narrowbody flatbed product that I have not seen before from Qatar. It’s nice to see that, along with safety considerations, it looks like service is still solid at QR.

      - You're very welcome. I find both the service and the safety measures on QR solid and consistent and that's why I enjoy flying them.
      Nice to be able to upgrade a longhaul like this. Is this a top-tier perk for QR loyalty members?

      - Yes, the free upgrade credits ( Qcredits ) are a special perk for Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold and Platinum members.
      The lounge definitely leaves a bit to be desired. At least it has views of the apron.

      - Completely agree, I hope that the Plaza Premium Lounge which replaced this lounge at the moment is much better.
      Seat looks good, especially for a narrowbody. Everything looks good in QR’s colour choices, in my opinion.

      - Indeed, the seats were really comfortable for a narrow-body.
      Catering looks on point, and I like their drink menu. Between Glenfiddich and Woodford, and the champagnes, they’d have to pour me off the plane.

      Food looks really good — hard to go wrong with the mezze, and the pasta is an interesting way of presenting it.

      - Definitely agree, the food and drink choices are perfect. The alcoholic drink options are perfect for a 4h flight, plus their non-alcoholic drink options are also wonderful which we could not see at many other carriers.
      As for the dessert… that creme brulee does not look brulee at all.

      - It was more like a pudding to be honest. :)
      Even in these less-than-packed travel times, arriving at a remote stand? Oh well. At least there was a dedicated J bus.

      - It's the normality in DOH, if you arrive on a narrow-body, 90% of the time, you end up with a remote stand as there are not enough jetbridges despite the lower number of flights due to COVID. Hopefully, the new terminal expansion would solve this issue as I also don't like stepping outside at 45 degrees Celsius or 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Doha could be humid and super warm at the same time.
      Thanks again for sharing your debut with QR J. I look forward to seeing the TATL segment.

      - Hope to see you at the next part which I'll post soon. Take care

  • Comment 569421 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5399 Comments

    Hi ISTFlyer, awesome that you got one of the A320s with lie-flat seats on this flight, which makes for a much more pleasant first experience in QR J! The cabin looks really nice and these seats are perfect for narrowbodies. The a la carte catering is also very impressive for just a 4h regional flight.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 569422 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 325 Comments

      Hi Kévin and thanks for stopping by,

      awesome that you got one of the A320s with lie-flat seats on this flight, which makes for a much more pleasant first experience in QR J!

      - Definitely, the lie-flat seat allowed me to sleep more comfortably compared to a recliner seat for about an hour or two during this flight, especially on a red-eye flight.
      The cabin looks really nice and these seats are perfect for narrowbodies.

      - Indeed, QR usually assigns these aircraft on routes that are 5-8h long but not feasible to operate with wide-bodies and I was only lucky to have one of them on a shorter route.
      The a la carte catering is also very impressive for just a 4h regional flight.

      - Yes, it's really impressive but given that point-to-point Istanbul to Doha ( or vice-versa ) Business Class tickets start at $1500-2000, I would expect an extensive menu like this.
      Thanks for sharing!

      - You're very welcome, stay safe.

Login to post a comment.