After spending the day in the AA Flagship Lounge, it was time to fly to Doha aboard Qatar Airways’ new Qsuite Business Class.
The flight departed from Gate 14, jut a few paces from the lounge. I was unable to check-in online since my destination was Vietnam, which requires a visa for U.S. travelers. Instead, I checked in at the gate. When the agent asked for my visa I simply handed him a printed copy of my connecting flight on Vietnam Airlines from Ho Chi Minh City to Frankfurt.
My boarding pass indicated an 8:20p boarding time, one hour prior to departure, but we started boarding at 7:55p.
Qatar Airways 702
New York (JFK) – Doha (DOH)
Monday, January 15
Duration: 12hr 15min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 10A (Business Class)
I was among the first to board and there was not yet a FA at the door to greet passengers. Instead, I found my way to my own seat, stopping to take pictures of the beautiful new Qsuite cabin.
Qatar Airways 777 Qsuite Seating
Pictures of the cabin itself were difficult due to the high walls of each suite. Even so, I could immediately see that the new business class product was beautiful.
Note the beauty of the Qsuite concept. Privacy dividers can be lowered to create a larger “suite” for two and as many as four passengers. In the center section, four seats face each other, we with two forward-facing and two rear-facing.
While the seat is not quite as spacious as a true first class seat, you have more privacy than many first class products. That makes Qsuite a revolutionary product.
The seat itself is incredibly comfortable in all positions and the side storage compartment acts as an armrest/shelf, providing even more space.
I love how well-thought out the suite was: it was elegant without being gaudy and the storage solutions, placement of seat controls, and lighting were all at optimal positions inside the suite.
Individual air nozzles are provisioned!
The footwell had plenty of room:
With the doors closed, the suite felt quite private. The wall isn’t too high to prohibit it, but twice when the FA needed something he opened the suite door rather than peered over it.
Also note that the door does not go all the way to the ground. Instead, you have about a eight-inch gap between the floor and bottom of the door:
Qatar Airways 777 Qsuite Bedding
Waiting on my seat was a light blanket and pillow. I loved the message on the pillow.
After the meal service I requested that my bed be prepared and a mattress pad, plush pillow, and velvet-like comforter were added.
I slept soundly for about six hours.
Here’s a clearer picture of the bed/bedding I took after waking up to a sunlit cabin:
Qatar Airways 777 Qsuite Dining
Qatar Airways offers à la carte dining in Qsuite business class. Menus were presented prior to takeoff.
After takeoff, I was offered a choice of beverage along with warmed mixed nuts. I ordered rosé champagne and sparkling water. The sparkling water was served immediately, but it took about 10 minutes for the champagne to arrive. Refills on nuts were offered.
The table was set for dinner and Qatar’s longhaul place settings now include a faux candle (like Turkish Airlines) and an attractive purple water tumbler.
An amuse bouche of salmon filet (sprinkled with caviar) with crab and lobster meat was offered. I ate it, but neither are my favorite.
My champagne also arrived:
Qatar Airways offers business class passengers a pre-selected bread basket. Unfortunately, the bread was not warm and did not even taste fresh.
For my first course, I chose butternut squash soup. Qatar Airways never disappoints on soup and this was delicious.
Next, I had an antipasti salad, which included marinated olives with parmesan cheese, artichoke salad with pine nuts, and Mediterranean vegetable salad (zucchini and squash) with pesto. It was served with rosemary focaccia bread.
The bread wasn’t fresh or warm once again, but overall the appetizer was delicious.
I ordered steak for the main course, hoping (and even requesting) that it not be served well-done.
My advice is to avoid steak on Qatar Airways. I continue to order it in hopes I’ll one day receive that perfect cut, but I should know better by now. The meat is consistently of good quality, but always cooked well-done and dry. At least the mashed potatoes and carrots were tasty.
I ordered breakfast along with dinner, asking to be awakened about two hours prior to landing. It’s probably a good thing I woke up myself…
My breakfasts on Qatar Airways always being with the same thing: a smoothie and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
With only 10-hours of flight time and a fairly prolonged initial meal service, I wasn’t all that hungry. I enjoyed a small bowl of bircher muesli with berries:
Followed by French Toast, which was excellent.
Cappuccinos are “real”, not powdered.
I almost always order eggs for breakfast on a plane, so was happy to try something different this flight.
Overall, the meal service was satisfactory and still very much above average. I was disappointed the bread tasted almost stale and the steak was overcooked, but I love the dine-on-demand menu and the many choices on it.
Qatar Airways 777 Qsuite Amenity Kit
Qatar Airways uses Bric’s amenity kits for business class passengers. These hard-shell cases contain Monte Vibiano toiletries, an eyeshade, and socks. Other amenities like shaving kits, combs, and dental kits are available inside the lavatory.
Qatar Airways 777 Qsuite Pajamas
Pajamas are provided on Qatar mid- and longhaul flights. The pajamas on this were produced by The White Company and were soft and comfortable. I like that both the pants and shirt have pockets. Slippers were also provided.
Qatar Airways 777 Qsuite Lavatory
The onboard lavatory for Qsuite passengers was not huge, but spacious. I mentioned above that it contained additional amenities not found in the amenity kit. FAs keep it clean, for it was spotless even at the end of the flight when I changed out of my pajamas.
Qatar Airways 777 Qsuite IFE
While Qatar Airways is in the process of installing wi-fi internet on its 777s, this flight had no internet. I think that puts Qatar at a huge competitive disadvantage (versus Emirates and Etihad), but at least I had prepared for it in advance.
The IFE selection is excellent, with hundreds of movies, games, audio, and TV shows.
Qatar also provides noise cancelling headphones, which are not of the best quality, but still do the job.
Qatar Airways 777 Qsuite Service
Service was actually disappointing, though perhaps that reaction is a product of great expectations rather than objectivity.
The good: reasonably attentive service, attention to detail, and friendliness.
The bad: slow execution, no anticipation of needs, and failure to address me by name. On the last point, it’s not that I need to be called by name…I really don’t. But many carriers do address passengers by name in business class. I also think it displays a higher level of service. Thus, for comparison purposes it merits mentioning that FAs did not address passengers by name on this flight.
A pre-departure beverage was promptly delivered after boarding with choice of hot or cold towel and a warm welcome:
But in the air, the meal service dragged on far too long. The cabin was only half full and it still took more than two hours to get through the meal service. I’d also like to see more proactive service: when I changed into my pajamas, I would have liked the FA to offer me a hanger for clothes. Instead, I had to ask for one and the FA seemed confused why I would need one…
With the lights darkened and me changed into pajamas, it would have been nice to have offered to make the bed as well. It’s not like I could even do it myself, because the bedding was in a cabinet near the galley.
I concede that this borders on “nitpicking” and the service was truly above-average. But, if Qatar wants to offer the best business class product in the world, I think service can improve.
With a strong tailwind, we landed nearly 90 minutes early in Doha. It had been far too quick a flight. Qatar Airways has revolutionized the business class hard product with Qsuite. I cannot think of a better business class hard product. Service is not flawless, but nevertheless excellent. Throw in great IFE and a dine-on-demand menu and you have a business class product I wholeheartedly endorse.