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March 20, 2017 / oneworld82

Always a pleasure: MAD-DOH-DFW on Qatar Airways Business Class (QR J, 788 and 77L)

Sometimes you have the chance to fly Qatar Airways for work – and you don’t want to pass on that chance. For instance, during my latest trip to Spain I could either have spent one extra night in Madrid and then flown AA back home nonstop (easy way)… or I could have saved my company one night hotel stay and flown Qatar Airways overnight to Doha and then back to Dallas (long way). As an aviation enthusiast, I couldn’t pass on the latter opportunity.

My ride tonight

My ride tonight

After checking in at the Qatar Airways desk I proceeded through security – it was pretty quickly tonight – and then I made my way to T4S, the satellite terminal where most (all?) long haul flights leave from. After shopping for cosmetics for the Wife, I checked out the Neptuno lounge since I had a couple hours to spare, and then I proceeded to the gate for boarding.

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Around 40 minutes prior to scheduled departure time boarding started – business class passengers were let in first right after families and travelers with wheelchair.

Flight QR152, MAD-DOH

9:30p – 5:55a+1

Business Class, Seat 3K

Boeing 787-800

The first impression of QR 787-800 was: wow! This plane is neat! As you board, there is a lounging area between business class and economy class, and it has faux wood flooring. This provides both an upscale and warm welcome to customers – regardless of their class of travel. I walked to my seat, 3K, and the first impression was great. While this is a reverse herringbone seat just like AA (for instance), the finishing and design of the seat is more modern and stylish. I particularly liked the light cream color of the pods that went together very well with the maroon of the seat upholstery. Very classy.

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After snapping a couple of pictures I set down. The seat was comfortable and wide enough, and the legroom was ample. The tray table was folded right under the TV screen, and while it is a clever arrangement I had some issues with mine, as it kept sliding towards me as the magnet holding it in place did not seem to cooperate.

Intuitive controls

Intuitive controls

Storage space

Storage space

Screen and tray setup

Screen and tray setup

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Blanket and pillows were on the seat as well – both were of good quality, as were the headphones which worked pretty well throughout the flight (and were definitely noise cancelling).

As I was situating myself the flight attendant serving my aisle stopped by and offered to take my jacket. She also came back a few minutes later to offer a pajama, an amenity kit, and a choice of hot or cold towel.

The pj’s Qatar Airways have are definitely good quality, as are the Giorgio Armani amenity kits that are classy on the outside and substantial on the inside with a 75ml tube of Armani lotion and mini bottle of cologne. Together with Singapore Airlines’ Ferragamo kits in First Class these are my favorites.

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I was also offered a pre-departure beverage, but no alcoholic drinks were offered pre-departure, so I just opted for some water.

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The menu for the evening read as follows:

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I unfortunately lost the menu for beverages (and for the breakfast options as well on this flight), but it was very similar to the one on my connecting flight to DFW, so I will post it later.

Once airborne, service begin rapidly. I ordered a glass of Lanson Rose’, which was served with some nice warm nuts. I started watching Star Wars: Episode I as I wanted to finally catch up on the series, and I enjoyed my aperitif. Oryx One – QR IFE – offers an extensive selection of movies and tv shows. The TV has a touch screen, but a remote is also located in the right armrest.

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Qatar Airways offered onboard wifi as well, offered by OnAir.

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Pricing was quite outrageous, but not as much as on Iberia.

Qatar Airways offers dining on demand in business class, akin to most First Class cabins. Some people opted for dinner, while others went straight to bed. As I did not eat much that day, I of course indulged in a nice meal.

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Table was set up with white tablecloth, butter, salt and pepper shakers, and bread basket. Then, a nice salmon amuse bouche was served.

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I of course had some mezze, as I can never pass on some good hummus and baba ganouj!

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The pita bread was warm, and the spreads – including the tabbouleh – were very good.

As main, I went for the paneer tikka masala.

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Not only the presentation was nicely done, but I also appreciated the amount of vegetables served with it, as well as the grilled paneer on top. I was offered some moutarde as well, which I took but did not use.

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After finishing my Hennessy XO I put the seat in bed mode and fell asleep. I managed to get around 2h30m of closed eyes, and when I woke up we were starting our descent into Doha. I went to the restroom to change and refresh, and once at my seat the flight attendant came by to ask if I wanted anything before landing – I got a glass of orange juice.

We landed a few minutes ahead of time as the sun was rising, and the temperature was very pleasant (around 70F). As we landed at a remote stand, we had to take a bus to the main terminal.

After going through security, I went to check the Al Maha lounge, which was a little hard to find as you can only access it through an elevator situated to the right of the huge teddy bear at the center of the terminal. I was promptly admitted and I took a quick shower before leaving to explore the terminal – the lounge was nice but was very crowded and I did not feel hungry, so I preferred walking around.

The terminal is very nice, with plenty of restaurants and shopping. I also like how there is an elevated train shuttling passengers to the more remote gates.

Once I got to my gate, I went through the usual screening reserved to passengers heading to the USA, and then waited to board the plane.

Flight QR729, DOH-DFW

Boeing 777-200LR

Business Class, Seat 7K

08:10a – 03:25p

I was scared/excited as this was going to be the longest flight I had been on. What was I going to do for 16 hours?? Well, as we’ll see, it wasn’t a problem.

While the 77L looks a bit dated in terms of product, I still find it perfectly comfortable and nice, especially because I like QR’s interior color schemes lot.

I took my seat, 7K, at the end of the second mini cabin, next to an American gentleman who was coming back from Mosul. I came across many American contractors working in Iraq in the past few months, and I can’t help but think how shady the whole thing is…

After settling down, the flight attendant came by offering a pre-departure drink (champagne, please – especially when it’s Lanson rose’) and a hot or cold towel. I like cold towels, so that’s what I got.

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The seat overall is quite spacious although not very private for solo travelers. It has some storage space on the side through a small movable tray, it has plenty of legroom, it has a storage space for shoes, and it has a nice enough TV.

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Another pj was offered (this time I went for the L one), as well as another Armani amenity kit (thankfully I did not get the new Brics ones, a clear downgrade from these nice Armani’s with nice amenities inside!).

Right on time the doors were closed and the captain announced a 15h35m flight to Dallas, which should land us there around 15 minutes early. Good to know.

Once airborne, service started. As I wanted to sleep I decided to have breakfast straight away before lying down for a nap. The extensive, dine-on-demand menu read as follows.

 

And this is the drinks list.

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After ordering, my drink was brought shortly after, and around 20 minutes later service started. The table was set in a very nice way, with white tablecloth in pure QR fashion. Note the nice breakfast breads bowl.

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I started with some muesli, which was good.

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To follow, I had the … option. It was tasty and filling, although not as good as the paneer tikka masala on the previous flight.

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The coffee I had with the meal was pretty good as well.

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I did not ask for more at this point, and so I just kicked back in the comfortable seat and kept my Star Wars marathon going. I must admit – the first three episodes of the series are actually pretty good and provide a great context to the classic trilogy movies.

After finishing I think episode two I decided to put the seat in bed mode and to try to catch some sleep. I actually ended up sleeping a good 5 hours – which meant that when I woke up we still had a good 7h30m to go – not bad!

After using the restroom, I ordered some cheese for snack, together with some more champagne and, why not, Camus XO.

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I kept watching Star Wars – and drinking champagne – while the hours passed away. A 15h30m flight can be pretty long, but honestly Qatar Airways is so comfortable that I hardly minded it.

BAthroom shot

BAthroom shot

Around 2h before landing, well over the midwest, I decided to have some lunch. From the menu presented above I started with the soup, which was very good.

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That was followed by the mezze – I can never resist mezze!

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To finish off the meal, I had… with a great German riesling. The dish was tasty, and overall I was very full!

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I skipped the dessert, and I reclined my seat trying to digest all this excessive amount of food, and before I knew it (and halfway through The Empire Strikes Back) we started our descent into Dallas, where we landed 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

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This was a VERY long flight on Qatar Airways, but I cannot fault anything to the airline. Food was good (although not spectacular), as was the service. Beverages is surely an area where QR goes above and beyond, offering top notch selection. The hard product, while dated, it’s still very functional, but I surely look forward to a refreshed business class cabin on the 77L’s!

Overall, great job, QR!

 

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