Pic: Qatar Airways B787 Dreamliner Business Class Seat
Business Class fares have dropped significantly in the past couple of years. It’s not uncommon to see Business Class fares from Europe to Asia for ~€1200 or less these days. One of the airlines routinely offering extreme low Business Class fares is Qatar Airways, Skytrax 2015 Airline of the Year. In May, I flew Qatar from Brussels to Bangkok via Doha on the B787 Dreamliner (QR196 BRU-DOH) and A380 (QR836 DOH-BKK). The Qatar Airways B787 Dreamliner is serving Brussels Airport since December 2013.
Pic: Qatar Business Class – Pol Roger 2006 Rosé Champagne
Qatar Airways, renowned for its excellent inflight beverages, was serving Billecart-Salmon Brut and 2006 Pol Roger Rosé Champagne on my Business Class flight from Brussels to Doha. They also had the exceptional 1974 Kopke Colheita Port on the menu!
Pic: Qatar Airways Business Class – Classic Arabic Mezze
Pic: Qatar Airways B787 Dreamliner Business Class Cabin
Pic: Qatar Airways Business Class – Gourmet Ice Cream
Forget about getting this kind of ice cream served in Business Class on one of the US or European legacy carriers! Once exception maybe: DO&CO catering onboard Austrian and Turkish Airlines.
Pic: Qatar Airways Arrivals Lounge in Doha
The brand new Hamad International Airport, which opened in April 2014, hosts some impressive Qatar Airways facilities. For arriving passengers there’s a stunning Arrivals Lounge just after immigrations & customs. It has plenty of seating, showers and meeting rooms.
Pic: Seating at Qatar Airways Doha Arrivals Lounge
Pic: BMW Limousine ride to InterContinental Doha The City
The Qatar Airways Arrivals Lounge agent arranged me a limo to InterContinental Doha The City where rates were exceptionally high that weekend due to the Doha Diamond League taking place. I used 25K IHG Rewards Club points instead of paying 1900 QAR (€481) to book my room and was upgraded to an Executive Suite. Excellent value!
Pic: Nighttime view from InterContinental Doha The City
Pic: View from my room at InterContinental Doha
Confusingly, there are two InterContinental hotels in Doha with similar names. On Saturday, I moved to InterContinental Doha which has the longest private beach in Doha. I used 35K IHG Rewards Club points to book my superior room instead of paying 1030 QAR (€260) and was upgraded to a Deluxe Sea View room. I wasn’t too impressed with the service at the pool bar and lobby restaurant nor did I get my Ambassador Welcome Amenity. After complaining about it, the guest relations manager offered me a complimentary limo ride to the airport at check-out. Ka-Ching!
Pic: Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar
Instagram follower Katia, who works for Qatar Foundation, invited me for a brunch with her expats colleagues and showed me around in Doha. Highlights were the Qatar Foundation campus, the Museum of Islamic Art (a masterpiece by architect Pei) and The Torch Doha.
Pic: Cantilevered Swimming Pool at The Torch Doha
Doha to Bangkok
Pic: Qatar Airways Business Class Check-In in Doha
Qatar Airways has the most stylish Business Class check-in area I have ever seen. There’s plenty of seating around the check-in area with complimentary drinks and refreshment towels and you get a box of Belgian Godiva chocolates at check-in!
Pic: Qatar Airways Check-in Welcome Amenity
Pic: Hidden gem in Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge
And then there’s the mighty Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge. Beautifully designed and furnished with excellent food and beverages featuring a restaurant with table service! Hidden gem in this lounge: they serve Krug Grande Cuvée Champagne on demand which retails at ~€150 per bottle!
Pic: Qatar Airways A380 – Flight QR836 from Doha to Bangkok
The Qatar Airways A380 aircraft has 8 First Class seats and 48 Business Class seats on the upper deck. (QR A380 seat map) I was surprised to see another 8 rows of economy class seats tucked away behind The Lounge, the inflight bar for Business and First Class passengers on the A380. I had selected business class seat 15K which looked identical to the seat on the B787.
Pic: Qatar Airways A380 Business Class Cabin
Pic: Qatar Airways A380 Upper Deck Economy Class Cabin
Pic: The Lounge bar at Qatar Airways A380
Another highlight at Qatar Airways is the very impressive bar onboard the A380 called ‘The Lounge’. It’s incredibly spacious, has a beautiful color scheme, stunning chandeliers, leather seats, fresh flowers and servers the best Business Class Champagne in the world… Heaven! 🙂
Pic: Qatar Airways – Fresh Roses at The Lounge bar
Pic: Drinks selection at Qatar Airways A380 The Lounge
The Lounge even features its own menu: Intro & Food Selection, Champagne Spirits Wines Beers Cocktails and Mocktails & Beverages.
Pic: Krug and Taittinger Rose Champagne at The Lounge
Pic: Bart at Qatar Airways A380 The Lounge Bar
Conclusion: It didn’t come as a surprise when Qatar Airways won the ‘Skytrax 2015 Airline of the Year‘ award at the Paris Air Show in June. Qatar delivers in terms of aircraft cabin, food & beverages, inflight service, lounges and ground services. The only area of improvement is customer service: I requested to receive some feedback about a remark I made during my first flight, but was never contacted. It’s clear His Excellency Akbar Al Baker (CEO of Qatar Airways) has a meticulous attention for detail which shows in the product his teams delivers. Qatar Airways, highly recommended for your next premium class trips! Feel free to share your Qatar experiences in the comments of this post. PS: Make sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook to get instant updates when Qatar Airways published new low Business Class fares!