Flight: London Heathrow to Doha
Airline: Qatar Airways
Flight Number: QR16
Plane: Boeing 777-300ER
This is a flight which I have been very excited about taking!
I’ve been meaning to fly Qsuite on Qatar Airways for some time, but due to cancelations, trip changes and various other reasons my plans to date have been somewhat scuppered!
Seemingly, Qatar offer five flights from London Heathrow – across the A380 and Boeing 777.
For various reasons (I was connecting) I went for the QR16 21:20…..for the reasons I set out below, it’s unlikely to be a flight I take again!
My Check In experience actually started at another Airport, and this was very straightforward – I just had to show my Vaccination, Negative PCR and Qatar Passenger Locator Form.
When getting to Heathrow, I followed the lines through to Flight Connections, and scanned my Boarding Card – then it was through Security and I ended up upstairs in T5’s main Security.
Sadly, the Security lines were fairly long, and I wasn’t able to use the First Wing as it was a connection – so it was a bit of wait. In fact it would have been quicker to leave through arrivals, go up to departures and use the First Wing’s security!
Currently, whilst Heathrow’s Terminal 4 is closed, Qatar is operating out of Terminal 5. I was slightly sad about this, as I’ve done T5 to death and not experienced the Qatar Airlines lounge in T4!
So I went to the First Lounge, had dinner, and did some work until boarding time.
I don’t usually write about Boarding, as it’s fairly mundane – but this was slightly frustrating, so it’s worth writing about.
Firstly, my flight didn’t have a Gate Number for ages, and nobody seemed to know it – and I didn’t want to go to the B-Gates Lounge, in case for some reason the flight ended up going from Terminal A.
Suddenly, the Gate went from none to Gate C57 and a “Gate Closing” sign – so I left for C-Gates pretty rapidly!
Once there, I was told to head straight for the gates. This wasn’t a fast process, all my paperwork was re-checked, before being told to wait. I then stood the ‘other side’ of the gates, where there was a huge queue forming down the stairs to the jet bridge.
The queue then started to move – but then moved to the jet bridge, where I (and a large number of other passengers) stood for 20 minutes before being let on board.
Not quite the premium start I was expecting/hoping for with Qatar – but this was seemingly due to delays in cleaning, which I also experienced on the way to Male last year.
This was Qatar Airway’s Boeing 777-300ER, equipped with Qsuites – currently Qatar Airways have 52 777-300’s in their fleet, mostly configured the same.
I didn’t manage to get the Registration, but this plane was fitted with 42 Qsuite and 312 or 314 Economy. There is no First Class and no Premium Economy.
I guess this is the reason you’re reading this!
Qsuite features closing doors, huge amounts of space, lay flat bed and a large entertainment screen. In general terms, I wasn’t disappointed!
Firstly, the seat itself is extremely comfortable. There are multiple controls, which allow the seat to be controlled in a number of ways – and a few ‘hot keys’ for landing, eating, lay flat, etc.
In the Qsuite there was what is effectively a side counter which already had bedding, amenities kit and pillows waiting for me. There was also a USB socket, multi-voltage mains socket – and curiously a HDMI socket and a contactless card reader!
I rarely talk about bedding – but this is certainly worth taking about! The bedding was really soft and very comfortable. Two pillows were provided – one which matched the bedding and another which had a slogan on it – a welcome bit of personality, compared to other airlines who give you a plain white pillow!
The table was also extremely good quality – it was rock solid! I often complain about Club World and even Club Suites as having ‘bendy’ tables, which is annoying for eating and for putting a laptop on. However, this was so rock solid – I could have stood on it!
The doors of the Qsuite fully closed, and once closed the area was very private – but still felt like there was plenty of space.
To the side of the seat there was a storage unit, which opened up for storage. Inside was already a water bottle, headphones, and a sick bag. There was a fair amount of storage.
Above my seat was a reading light and air nozzles! This I was hugely pleased about, as BA seem to have removed these from their aircraft meaning that I can often get hot and bothered!
If the high-end quality of Qsuite wasn’t enough, there is a video which plays pre-takeoff explaining where all the buttons are, where the storage is, and generally how Qsuite works. This just adds that extra ‘edge’ to the quality of the product. I was impressed!!
In general terms the Qsuite is a stunning product, extremely high quality. BUT, there were two problems I found with the design, both relating to storage.
The first is that I like to take my shoes off during the flight and there was nowhere to store them! BA’s Club Suite has storage space under the foot rest – but Qsuite did not – so I put them in the overhead locker as the side storage part was too small.
The second issue is that there was nowhere to store my laptop. This is an issue I have with BA’s Club Suite too (but not with their ‘old’ Club World). Again – I like to unpack pre-takeoff and get ready, but on this occasion I did have to get back up due to lack of storage.
You could call me lazy – but in my view these things do matter!
Naturally, the Amenities Kit was waiting for me on my seat. Rather interestingly, I noticed that I had a green ‘pencil case’ Amenities Kit and the lady behind me had a white ‘makeup bag’ style of Amenities Kit – so there was clearly some pre-planning that had happened in terms of thinking who may be sitting in the seat. These are nice little touches which show you’re not just ‘3A’ and that the Airline has thought about the passenger joining – unlike BA’s offering of handing out the kits from a basket.
Qatar Airways Amenity Kit
My washbag was made by BRIC’s. I’m not a fashion guru, but it seems to purchase something roughly the same would be around £100. Inside the Wash Bag was;
- Castello Monte Vecchio Lip Balm
- Castello Monte Vecchio Moisturiser
- Castello Monte Vecchio Facial Mist
- Ear Plugs (which were in their own case!)
- Eye Mask
Qatar Airways Amenity Kit
But it didn’t stop there. Whereas some airlines are offering facial wipes, Qatar Airways offered a kit, inside was;
- Face Mask
- Hand Sanitiser
Once I’d sat down, a member of the cabin crew offered a drink and brought me PJ’s and slippers. She very kindly said she guessed I was a medium. The PJ’s are from the White Company, and contained some rather nice PJ’s!
Food and Drink
Very quickly after I sat down, I was offered a drink. The cabin crew member reeled off about 10 different possibilities of drink, included her personal recommendations. Sadly, I didn’t quite hear everything she said due to her quiet voice and the mask she was wearing – so I took a glass of Champagne.
The champagne was Charles Heidsieck Rose Millesime 2005. I don’t know much about wine (or champagne), but I do know that this costs around £100 per bottle to buy!
Before we took off, I was asked what I wanted to eat and drink. I asked for a Stella and it was bought fairly quickly after takeoff along with a bowl of nuts.
In theory, Qatar Airways offer a ‘dine on demand’ service for their food – however it was pretty obvious that in this case that the food was to be served ASAP as it was such a short flight. This was fine by me!
Prior to the appetizers being delivered I was offered a salmon canope – I politely declined as I don’t eat fish.
Dinner options were;
- Artisan Breads
- Soup of the Day (this was chicken)
Followed by Appetizers;
- Classic Arabic mezze
- Poached lobster with seared scallop
Followed by Mains;
- Braised osso buco with beef jus
- Poached Atlantic salmon fillet
- Smoked aubergine
Followed by Desert;
- Flourless chocolate cake
- Fresh berries
- Cheese plate
The breads come as a standard, and I selected the soup. I have to say, it was excellent!
I passed on the appetizers, as it wasn’t really my thing – so I went for the osso buco. It was also excellent, though it was allegedly served with potato which was a little strange in texture and taste!
I’ll explain why below, but in the end, I had the cheese plate and chocolate cake brought to me together.
The chocolate cake was absolutely delicious.
The cheese plate was also excellent, and it was nice to have a large set of crackers – often there are never enough crackers of the cheese!
With my dinner I had a glass of Bordeaux, which was very nice indeed!
Breakfast was a little more of a casual affair with the following on offer;
- Seasonal fresh fruits
- Butter croissant
- Greek yoghurt
- Breakfast serials (including Kellogs!)
I somehow managed to badly time breakfast, and it wasn’t offered – I guess because they were waiting for me to ask. So I didn’t have breakfast – but never mind!
Just before landing, the cabin crew brought a box of chocolates around – which were very nice indeed!
There are a few really nice details about the dinner service, and Qatar’s F&B in general. The mini salt and pepper grinders are great and showed high quality (BA currently offer salt/pepper in a paper packet in their Business Class offering). The drinks are in appropriate glassware. There was also a little candle brought to the table, which was a nice finishing touch.
So, food quality was absolutely excellent. No faults whatsoever!
Unfortunately, the service was the let down!
This was a 6hr overnight flight, it was VERY short. Dinner wasn’t served until 1hr into the flight, and it seemed to take forever between courses to take my plates. After my main course, I easily waited 20 minutes for my plates to be cleared – at which point I asked for both the deserts to be brought to me.
I was also not offered a refill of my wine, nor water.
By the time dinner was all done it was 3:50 to landing. So realistically I was going to get 3hrs sleep at the maximum.
Now, there is no doubt is was about as premium as you can get for a dining service in the sky – and if this was a 6hr daylight flight, I would be happy to spend 2hrs having a relaxed lunch/dinner. But sadly, I was very keen to get to sleep, and became rather annoyed at the length dinner was taking!
There was a very large screen which was perfect for the entertainment, which ran similar to BA’s Club Suite. The screen is about the same size, and entertainment controlled via a remote.
Content was also not dissimilar to BA’s offering, with much of the same material – but by far more choices!
There were endless films on board, including the recent James Bond film, and many many new releases.
The audio side was also very impressive. There was a HUGE range of audio choices, and I was very impressed! For example there was a wide variety of artists, and each had at least 6 or 8 albums of music content.
The slight let down was the flight map. BA’s offering in their Club Suites is fully customizable – whereas the Qatar’s offering continually changed views as well as changing between English and Arabic – so I turned it off!
There is apparently free Wifi on this flight, but I couldn’t seem to make it work.
I didn’t use the paid Wifi on this flight – but I will review it on my next flight!
There is no other way to describe the Cabin Crew for this flight other than excellent.
Nothing was too much trouble. The service was friendly, efficient (apart from dinner) and I was extremely well looked after!
An example of the high-level training of the Cabin Crew could be when warm towels were brought around. Firstly the warm towels were not handed to me with tongs – they were placed on little plinths. Secondly, the member of Cabin Crew checked the temperature of the towel before giving it to me!
Similarly, I had a question about the Arrivals Lounge, and immediately a member of the Cabin Crew returned with an iPad to help with the answer.
When I popped to the bathroom, on the way back I asked the Cabin Crew for a glass of Coke, and the said she would bring it to me. She did so no more than 3 minutes later and apologized for the delay.
The only thing that the Cabin Crew didn’t do was address me by name.
Landing in Doha
Upon landing, immigration moved very quickly (there is a fast track lane for Business Class) and my baggage was also very quickly came.
I then headed out to the Arrivals Lounge, which I have reviewed separately.
There is a reason why Qatar Airways are award winners in their field, and this flight proved it.
The very slow dinner service was annoying – but at the same time it wasn’t a rushed experience, and perhaps if you don’t plan on sleeping, that can work for some people?
Other than that, and the boarding issue; this was absolutely excellent. It met every part of my expectations and went beyond!
In terms of comparables, this easily is as good (or in some cases better) than BA’s First service, despite being a Business Class service. This may be somewhat intentional since Qatar don’t have First Class on the majority of their services.
74 out of 75 – or 99%!
This is an extremely high-scoring flight, the only thing that let the flight down (for me) was the VERY long time it took to do the dinner service. On the one hand this may be because it could be considered a premium dining experience – on the other hand, I just wanted to sleep!