Qatar Airways proved once again that it offers the most well-rounded and perhaps the best overall business class product in the world.
This is the first of four segments on the incredible $672 Qatar Airways fare sale I took advantage of earlier this year.
Knowing there would be no wi-fi on the flight, I frantically spent the four hours prior to boarding in the Apricot Lounge getting as much of the day’s work done as I could.
I proceeded to the boarding gate about 10 minutes before posted boarding time, but the flight had already begun boarding.
Qatar Airways 665
Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) – Doha (DOH)
Friday, October 20
Duration: 8hr 05min
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 5J (Business Class)
Onboard, I was greeted by a smiling FA from South Korea and directed to my seat in 5J.
Qatar Airways A330 Business Class Seat
The Qatar Airways A330 business class seat is identical to the seat on the A340 I reviewed last summer. You can see daytime pictures of the seat here.
The cabin is laid out 2-2-2 and the seats are similar to what you find on United Dreamliners, American A321Ts, and many other airlines in business class. Thus, window seats do not have direct aisle access, but are quite comfortable in upright, semi-reclined, and lie-flat mode.
The window seat cubby hole for your feet is a bit more spacious than the aisle one. Be warned that it is a bit tight, though did not bother me because I generally sleep in a fetal position.
A shelf includes a reading light, literature rack, and water-bottle holder.
Seat controls are fully electronic. A power port is available in the console between seats.
Qatar offers excellent bedding onboard its longhaul flights and the soft blanket and plush pillow helped me to have a restful snooze after finishing dinner.
Qatar Airways A330 Business Class On-Demand Dining
My favorite part of flying Qatar is the on-demand dining menu. I love the ability to customize what you want to eat and when you want to eat. For this flight, I boarded hungry and opted to eat immediately after takeoff.
Here’s the a la carte menu–
Click here for a full wine/alcohol/beverage selection (menu has not changed).
Moving back for a moment, I enjoyed a delicious Rosé Champagne prior to takeoff along with my choice of a hot or cold towel.
After takeoff, I enjoyed a large bowl of nuts (including pistachios) along with a glass of fresh lemon/mint juice.
Shortly thereafter, the table was set for dinner.
The table setting included a bread bowl with three types of breads.
Every items was carefully placed in the right position, attention to detail I appreciated.
First, each passenger was offered an amuse bouche including crab meat with a dollop of avocado and a spicy salsa. Very tasty.
Next, a bowl of tomato soup: the food item I have probably had more than any other one ever the years on Qatar. As usual, it was superb.
For my appetizer, I chose Arabic Mezze with hummus, tabbouleh, and baba ganoush. It hit the spot.
For my main course, I ordered pan-fried breaded chicken, served with pasta in marinara sauce. It was not a very creative dish, but sometimes simple comfort food is best and it was also delicious.
Finally, I ordered a trio of desserts including vanilla ice cream and a chocolate + ginger tart. Once again…it was incredible, especially considering it had been likely sitting in a refrigerator for 12 hours and was served 40K feet in the air. Additionally, I ordered a cappuccino which was delivered in a styrofoam cup because the fasten seatbelt light came on.
The Lady Across the Aisle from Me
Funny and true story. The woman sitting across the aisle from me acted like she had never eaten before. It was a little Vietnamese lady who must have been at least 70 years old, but who ordered four main courses plus all the appetizers and polished all of it down!
I fell asleep before dinner and awoke about 45 minutes prior to landing (the FA had to nudge me awake) still very full from the larger dinner. The lady across the aisle from me was eating again…
Qatar Airways A330 Business Class Service
I’d rate service a 6/10. Every member of the staff was courteous, but not proactive. I was never addressed by name during the flight. Each passenger was on their own in terms of making their bed and it took a bit too long for FAs to clear dishes after the meal service. Finally, drink levels were not monitored, meaning my glass was empty for much of the meal. Even when I asked for a drink, my neighbor (whose glass was also empty) was not offered a refill.
So did this dampen the whole experience? In a way, yes, but this was not the sort of hostility you often encounter on U.S. airlines. Quite the opposite, the crew seemed genuinely nice…just a bit too busy trying to keep a cabin full of dine-on-demand passengers happy.
I’m not the first one to offer this sort of commentary on Qatar cabin crews, yet I still would rate this an excellent flight. Why? Excellent seat, food, IFE, and good service overall.
Qatar Airways A330 Business Class Wi-Fi and IFE
The A330-300 is not currently equipped with wi-fi, meaning I actually got to take a break during the flight. Although I spent most of the flight sleeping, I did watch a movie during the meal service and was impressed by the wide selection of movies (100+), TV shows, games, and music offered onboard.
The noise-cancelling headphones also worked quite well and were comfortable around the ears:
Qatar Airways A330 Business Class Amenity Kits
It was breast cancer awareness month and all amenity kits, provisioned by BRICS, were pink.
Contents included skincare products from Monte Vibiano as well as pink socks, earplugs, and a pink eyeshade.
Qatar Airways A330 Business Class Pajamas
Qatar also provides excellent pajamas in business class from The White Company. Soft and roomy, I took them home with me. Slippers are also provisioned.
It is true that Qatar Airways does not offer the best onboard service, even among Gulf Carriers. Even so, the whole package makes Qatar one of my favorite (if not my favorite) overall business class product.
Next up: two hours in Doha then DOH to JFK onboard an A350 in Business Class.
Great review. Thanks for your expert opinion.
I’m out of work and twice divorced, but one day I hope to be able to afford such a trip. I love SE Asia.
It takes a sensitive soul to observe a senior citizen enjoying their meal. She probably fasted until the jitters of getting on-time to the airport and taking off subsided.
The crew treated the flight as a sleep prioritized one and concentrated on serving quickly the cabin instead of personalized service.
Ha, that’s just what I was thinking, sans the jitters – I’m a small-boned, thin female, but as a faster, I can out-eat a large man in my once-a-day meal. I’d be the one saying ‘bring me all the vegetarian options you have please, and can you please also serve my breakfast at the same time, and yes, I’ll have all the deserts’, and then, I’m done for the next 22ish hours 😀
Happiness is a long evening in J on QR.
Though I would have loved if you would have held the contest to give away the pink QR amenity kit. Those are pretty rare!
Maybe that will be next!
Do you see a couple of Korean FAs as well on this route? I just came back this Tuesday
One of the FAs on my flight was from South Korea.