Welcome to the latest business class review! This week, it's time to put Qatar Airways to the test on the Doha to Cardiff route. Pull up a seat and read the Qatar Business Class Review - and find out how to save more than 3000 GBP on the ticket.
The Qatar Business Class cabin uses a 1 – 2 – 1 combination so that everyone has easy access to the aisle and no-one is disturbed by anyone reaching over them.
If you’re travelling with someone else, the central two seats have a divider that can be pulled up or down to allow for privacy or conversation, depending on your mood. Any more of you, though, you’ll need to reach across an aisle or behind your seat.
There’s a fair bit of empty space towards the end for the business class cabin. There is a “bar” of sorts with a selection of fruit, snacks and nibbles. I suppose the idea is that if people want to stand and chat, then this is the place to do it.
For the quietest part of the cabin, choose a seat in the middle. Right at the front leaves you vulnerable to be woken as the crew prepare meals. To the back makes you closer to the toilets and bar area if other passengers are chatting.
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The Qatar Airways Business Class Seat is fantastic. It has a range of easily reached and operated controls, including back rests, foot rests and, of course, the all important fold-flat bed.
The design also allows you to turn on your side and bend your knees slightly into the foetal position. Or in other words, how most people actually sleep.
There are also “quick release” buttons on the seat to allow you to sit up or lie down quickly, as well as tweaking the other components.
The TV screen is large and in an obvious position, no wrestling it in and out of position. The table, likewise, is spacious and easy to use.
In seat storage is a a little more disguised but easy enough to discover. Comfortable headphones live in the armrest and a bottle of water sits behind one shoulder on a small shelf. You can also stash a laptop or handbag there and papers, passport and visa form in the magazine rack. There’s an adjustable reading light and the window seats have adjustable dimming windows instead of the older, pull-down sort.
Seats have USB charging points and a duvet and pillow are provided.
You'll find Rituals hand soap and moisturising lotion in the two business class toilets. The wash bag contains an eye mask, socks, toothpaste and toothbrush and three of my favourite travel goods: Monte Vibiano lip balm, facial mist and moisturiser.
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Dining is a la carte in business on Qatar: you make your choice of meal at the start of the flight, and the time you’d like to have it. This is fantastic if you’re hoping to sleep and don’t want to be woken three hours before you land for the breakfast meal service: you even have the option of deciding on two courses of action depending on whether or not you’re awake at the time.
Qatar menus follow an international basis but always include authentic Arabic cuisine, a touch I appreciate. Firstly, it’s great to see culture being shared in this way. Secondly, I love Arabic cuisine ;-)
On the Doha to Cardiff route, Qatar suggested one late night dining option and breakfast.
Dinner included a mixed garden salad, mini slider, soup of the day and bouillabaisse. Breakfast included the usual international fare plus the traditional Arabic breakfast: feta, cucumber, tomato and green olives with ful medames (cumin- enriched fava bean stew) and Arabic bread.
All food is prepared according to Islamic principles. And while it’s good, it’s not the highlight.
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In a word, yes. Yes, the do. They’ve even won the prestigious Business traveller’s “Cellars in the Sky” award, often described as the highest honour an airline can receive.
In business class, the wine menu tries to take you on a sensory journey across the world. Drinks come from iconic chateaux in Bordeaux, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and the mountains of Chile and Argentina.
But that’s not all.
Beyond the champagne and the port, Qatar serve a range of spirits, cognac and liqueurs. The beer menu is a little more limited (Peroni, Heineken and Hoegaarden) but the cocktail list makes up for that with a hint of fun in the sky.
From the simple Buck’s Fizz and Cuba Libre to a good Old Fashioned, Dry Martini or Pink Gin, the flight is far from long enough to enjoy the options on board.
It’s easy to pack light when flying in Business with Qatar. Each seat receives a wash bag with Monte Vibiano toiletries , a sleeping mask, moisturiser, toothbrush and toothpaste. Grey cotton pyjamas from The White Company are available on request in a variety of sizes. At 5’6 and a healthy BMI, medium felt a little snug to help you decide your size!
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It’s worth having a separate section for the Al Mourjan Business Lounge in Doha.
It’s a kingdom unto itself, with more space inside than many airports have in their entirety (yes, Cardiff, I’m looking at you.)
Entrance is slick and well organised, whisking you past sculptures and fountains before you choose what you want to do.
Sleep? There are choices. Family-style cabins. Quiet areas. Ergonomic reclining chairs with partitions that seem like a mix between a library and a spa. All the staff ask for is that you clearly display your boarding pass on the table next to you and set an alarm: they patrol regularly to make sure you haven’t overslept.
There’s a bar, well, several bars. A café. An upstairs restaurant, work stations, a play room for the kids. A prayer room. Showers. And multiple ipads announcing flight times and distances to your gate.
At the moment, Qatar are offering cut price upgrade options on certain flight routes when you check in online.
For example, on the Doha-Cardiff route, there was a one-time only option to upgrade for 800 GBP by debit or credit card (the usual price of the ticket is over the 3500 GBP mark.)
A standard economy ticket is around 400 GBP on the same route.
Make sure you read the small print – you can’t transfer the offer nor decide to upgrade at the gate, for example. But in the meantime, it’s a great way to save money yet still fly in business class with Qatar Airways.
What about the Q suites?
Qatar announced their Q suites in 2017: business class seats with doors and configurations to allow people to have meetings, make a double bed or put a whole family together. However, these are not available on all flight routes so check before you book.
Basically, I loved it. I flew out to the Maldives in economy and back in business and the service was faultless throughout. Flight attendants were polite, helpful and not too intrusive.
Yes, indeed it does! Brilliant, comfy flat beds with a space for your knees.
If there is space, then yes you can. It is much better value for money to do this online before you get to the airport. But it's always worth asking...And check the terms and conditions on your ticket.
Qatar fly from Cardiff to the hub in Doha, Qatar. From there, flights connect across the world: I flew on to Malé in the Maldives.
Yes! In both economy and business class.
Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.
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