View Photos

Transport : Airlines

Feeling in need of a midsummer break, we decided to take advantage of some fantastically competitive fares offered by Qatar Airways in Business Class on their B787 Dreamliner to promote their new routes from European cities. We bought two business class returns from Amsterdam to Bangkok (via Doha naturally) for only £1,600. We have flown to SE Asia many times and usually fly direct so we have lots of experience of 11 and 12 hour flights to Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong. In the past we’ve felt it’s better to get where we’re going asap but we often find the flight a bit too long even in first or business class with lie-flat seats. We’ve also been wary about Boing’s trouble-prone Dreamliner B787. Since there had been no recent repeat of the onboard fires, we decided it was time to give it a whirl. It proved to be something of a revelation.

Qatar Airways B787 Seat Review
Qatar’s new business class product is one of our favourites and I have reviewed the best and worst seats in this cabin separately. The seat is spacious, comfortable and looks oh so stylish in grey and burgundy. According to SeatGuru, the seats are actually more spacious than BA’s current 747 first class and we definitely felt that the product was superior, despite being sold as business class. The seat was easy to operate and it was possible to be completely comfortable for dining, reading, viewing and sleeping. Very clever use of space in the cabin resulted in a huge amount of storage for personal effects so be careful to check carefully that you have everything before disembarking.

Comfortable in the seated, lounging and sleeping positions, the seat controls were intuitive and customisable. Big soft pillows and blankets were provided on each seat, as well as the amenity kit, which provided the usual toiletry items and some nice perfume by Armani (perfect for the gym bag). On our later flight, pyjamas were also handed out – Qatar Airways is one of the few airlines to provide complimentary pyjamas in business class. Be aware that these come in S/M and M/L, so if you ask for medium, they may be on the small side if you are given S/M.

Qatar Airways B787 Food Review
Upon boarding, we were offered a pre-departure drink (we both chose Champagne naturally) and the choice of a hot or cold towel. Our special dietary requirements were easily accommodated with some of the food being adjusted to suit us despite the cabin being full to capacity. Top-ups were generous and food was very professionally plated and delicious, possibly the best we’ve had other than in the best first class. Service started with an amuse bouche, which we followed with a refreshing goat’s cheese and butternut squash salad and the arabic meze. Switching at this point from the light biscuity Lanson champagne to the New Zealand sauvignon blanc (always a safe choice), our main of chicken biryani was served. This was delicious – just the right amount of warm spiciness and sweetness from the toasted onions. Fresh fruit salad provided the perfect finish to the meal, although there were richer desserts available for those who wanted them.

Our Travel Auctions

Qatar operates a dine on demand service, so we could order whenever we wanted and there were also plentiful snacks available for later on in the flight for anyone who felt peckish. Menus are presented in a stylish leather holder, which is at your seat when you board the aircraft.

Overall Impression
We both remarked that we have never felt so fresh on arrival after 15 hours’ travelling and were amazed by the Al Mourjan lounge at Doha airport (see separate review of Al Mourjan lounge at Doha airport). That’s testimony to the low levels of noise and good air quality of the B787 and to the comfort of Qatar’s business class product which is simply excellent. We had previously flown Qatar Airways in First class and been unimpressed. This time, wow, what a difference. Service was polished and friendly throughout – all requests were met with a smile. We flew 4 Qatar sectors on this itinerary and had no complaints on the service, amenities, food or seat. Having said that, we found the whole experience much better on the 787 than on the A380 (which has the same seat) or the older 777, so would recommend aiming for these flights. The in-flight entertainment system was simply superb with the best choice of viewing we have experienced so far including a judicious mix of classics and new releases. At under £800 return in business class to Bangkok, you really can’t go wrong, even at twice the price.

You can read more of my Business and First Class airline reviews including flights in Qatar Airways First Class on A380, Qatar Business Class On Boeing 777-300ER, Etihad Business Class on A330, Etihad Business Class on A380 and my top 10 best Business Class airlines for long haul travel.

Review by my friend Andrew Price at Driven2Travel.

Qatar Airways