Last month, I flew with Qatar Airways on a trip that took me to Europe from Singapore. My main destinations for this journey were the Baltic States and Ukraine but since there’s no decent connection to these places from Asia, I headed to a couple of Scandinavian cities first. Those who have been reading this blog throughout the years would know that I have been flying with Qatar Airways almost annually for the past 5 years as they have great connections to several European gateways coupled with an admirable product at a reasonable price point. This time, I had the opportunity to experience the Business Class service on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and this review will cover this aircraft. I had previously been on the Dreamliner when I flew from Singapore to Doha in 2014. The new A350 now services this route so my Dreamliner experience this time coincided with the second leg of my flight – from Doha to Oslo.
QR’s Dreamliner is a two-class setup with Business Class and Economy Class. There are 22 seats in the Business Class section with the first twenty seats separated from the last two by a bar where passengers can find free-flowing champagne during the flight. The seats follow a reverse herringbone layout which means aisle access for all seats which are on a 1-2-1 configuration.
Reverse Herringbone Business Class Seats on Qatar Airways’ 787 Dreamliner
My seat for this particular flight was 6F which was in the last Business Class row. It seemed a bit open at first during boarding when practically all economy passengers passed through my seat. I could see some of them secretly glancing at my seat – probably out of curiosity at what the Business Class seats might be like. But during the actual flight, I found this area to be more private than the other seats as no one except the cabin attendant handling me would have a need to walk by the last Business Class row. There was also no window seat beside me.
The seat can be reclined to a 180 degree angle (fully flat), has a bed pitch of 80 inches and width of 22 inches. The first thing I noticed as I sat down was the sheer number of storage compartments! There was one on my left, one on my right, one in front of me and another behind me. The wooden panel armrests on my seat that did not face the aisle offered a lot of space to put reading materials, including the wide variety of newspapers offered to me by the cabin attendant. The other armrest facing the aisle opened to reveal a noise-cancelling headset and a bottle of water.
I loved the seat controls here which were extremely easy to use. The graphical interface told you exactly what each button was for and I had a bit of fun exploring the various seating configurations available.
Catching Up On Foreign Films Through Oryx One
Like many airlines these days, the flight came with onboard WiFi. Passengers get to have 15 minutes free internet after which it becomes chargeable with different packages to choose from. For some reason, my free internet access got reset every few hours which meant that I could surf for 15 minutes free every couple of hours during the flight.
One thing I’ve always loved about Qatar Airways is its entertainment system. I was bowled over by it the first time I flew with QR five years ago and it continues to impress with upgrades done over the years. As in the past, I still got thousands of movies, TV shows and documentaries to choose from as well as songs that I could play while I sleep. This is now compounded by a dual-screen interface which allows one to multi-task through a handheld device aside from the video screen which in Business Class measures to about 17″.
Due to the extensive movie selection, I always end up watching foreign films whenever I fly with this airline. I get to discover quite a few hidden gems with their catalog. For this particular flight, I ended up watching Ochos Apellidos Catalanes – a Spanish comedy and sequel to another Spanish film which I incidentally also watched while on a past Qatar Airways flight.
Wonderful On-Demand 5-Course Dinner While Everyone Else Slept
Shortly after I sat, a cabin attendant introduced herself to me and told me that she would be the main person handling me during the flight. She then asked me for my choice of drinks. While most would automatically choose champagne, I chose to have orange juice which in J Class came freshly squeezed. I was also handed the menu where I found out that we would have two meals on this 5.5 hour flight – a 6-course dinner shortly after take-off and breakfast shortly before landing.
As my flight started shortly after midnight, I noticed that most other passengers opted to have just one or two courses before calling it a night. I was more ambitious and for the sake of a more holistic experience, I chose to have 5 courses despite not being particularly hungry that night.
I was first served a piping hot bowl of Roasted Tomato Soup which was a fitting starter for a night flight as I needed something warm.
For my appetizers, I chose to have Dill Marinated Prawns with Smoked Salmon. The prawns were highly enjoyable and rather large!
For the main course, I was given three options but I chose to go with the Seared Red Snapper with Saffron Cream Sauce and Asparagus. Honestly, I was quite impressed with how they managed to cook this dish well given that it is after all, airplane food. The meat was tender and it was served to me hot as if it just came from the kitchen!
I was starting to feel quite full when the next dish came – the Cheese Plate.
I skipped the Fruit Plate and went ahead with Dacquoise Biscuit with Chocolate Ganache as my final course of the night. A perfect ending to the meal, I particularly loved the crispy layer in the middle contrasted against dark chocolate and a layer of fudge.
The meal took more than an hour to complete and by the time I was having desserts, I was the only one left in the Business Class section still eating. I guess everyone else was too tired and ended with the main course! I decided to have some shut eye myself for the remainder of the flight. That being said, those feeling thirsty or peckish could easily walk up to the bar to have some free-flowing Billecart-Salmon champagne and fruits.
Time For Some Shut-Eye
I opened up the amenity kit to find toiletries by Acqua di Gio – Giorgio Armani. Given the flight time of less than 6 hours, I was impressed by the variety – I spotted aftershave lotion, lip balm, a small bottle of perfume, socks, dental floss and an eye mask. Some of these items proved to be highly useful as I traveled around Europe the days after.
I was also given a pyjama set which in some airlines is only given for First Class passengers so that was definitely a plus. It was a fully-functioning set – not some disposable item that you wear only once. I was tempted to put it on as I went to sleep but decided against it as there was only 2 hours left in the flight. The pyjama set was quite thick and was definitely something I considered using later on the ground.
The Business Class lavatories were roughly the same size as the ones in Economy Class. The primary difference was the availability of branded toiletries inside. Also, dental kits were laid out for passengers to use with standard sized toothbrushes.
Finally, some 2.5 hours into the flight, I managed to get some sleep. I loved the lengthy bed pitch. At 80 inches, there was quite a bit of leg room for me even after I had laid down completely flat.
I specifically asked the cabin attendant to wake me up at the last possible time for breakfast and indeed, around 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to landing, I felt a gentle tap on my left arm.
Breakfast Before Landing
I chose to have the heaviest breakfast option available and I was soon served a small cup of this Strawberry Yogurt.
The omelette and sausage platter came next. An upgraded version of the one frequently served in Economy Class, the omelette came with Gruyere cheese filling and had lyonnaise potatoes, tomatoes and mushrooms as sides.
Needless to say, I was quite impressed with the Business Class product on the 787 Dreamliner. QR got the various elements right – from the food to the seats, amenities and even the service. Throughout my flight, the cabin attendants were very responsive without being overly intruding. There were essentially two people serving me during the flight – the supervisor and a dedicated crew member who served me the food and made sure I had everything I needed.
I have been flying with Qatar Airways for the past five years and this airline has taken me to unforgettable places such as Iran, Georgia and various cities in Europe. I have seen their planes evolving through these years. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner by far (along with the A350 as I would find out later) is one of their best and I like the direction the airline is taking with their new planes.
Have you flown Qatar Airways Business Class before? How was it?