Fast pass through security and check-in
Designer amenity kit
Bar/lounge on the plane
Order food from full menu at any time
Real silverware, glassware, plates etc (something about this made the experience so much more worth it)
180 degree flat bed seats (with bedding)
When it comes to hospitality, the country of Qatar really knows what it’s doing. After being nominated in the top 5 airlines in the world multiple times by a variety of different websites and magazines, Qatar Airways was an airline I had been longing to try for a while. However, if I was going to fly Qatar I had to do it right, so I booked a ticket in one of their highly recommended business class seats.
The experience started at the airport when we were directed to a special check in desk, complete with their signature burgundy carpet, roped off for business and first class passengers. The attendant gave us passes to get through security faster which would work for each one of our flights. We also received access to their business class lounge. Since we were traveling for about 25+ hours we had two stops and lounge access at each stop was included.
Qatar Airways main lounge is located in Doha, Qatar, where the airline has most of their layovers. We had a 5 hour layover in Doha so there was enough time to experience the Doha lounge. After checking in at the desk we were granted access into the two story lounge. The architecture was modern and made up of polished stone and silver furnishings. There was a large, shallow, pool sized fountain in the center with artificial rain dripping from the ceiling. Up on the second floor was a 24 hour buffet and bar with table service. We chose a seat and headed to the buffet to choose from many Middle Eastern inspired cuisine items along with some basic items like yogurt and omelets. Everything from the buffet and bar was complementary so we didn't have to bother exchanging money just for a five hour wait. Down stairs was more seating and the bathrooms. Through the futuristic frosted sliding doors you have the stalls with floor to ceiling doors and another section with private showers and their own private washroom ensuite which can be used upon request, toiletries and towels are provided as well. Other amenities provided: smoking lounge, coffee and dessert bar, recliner chairs, free wifi, and much more.
Another perk of the business class ticket is priority boarding so we were able to board the plane first, in a separate line. The attendants directed me to a special walkway leading to the top floor of the plane (economy was on the bottom floor). Upon entering the plane you are instantly greeted by an attendant who explains everything; how to use your seat, food and beverage service, in-flight entertainment, etc. I was also greeted with a glass of champagne (in a real glass champagne flute). The spacious seats included two mini cubbies to put your things, your own personal overhead bin, coat check, two windows with automatic shades, a large tv/entertainment system, and plenty of table room. The entertainment system consisted of a large list of movies new and old, games, maps, tv shows, documentaries, I did not feel deprived in this department.
When it was time to go to sleep the flight attendants came over and offered a “turn down” service where they put sheets and blankets on your chair which reclines a full 180 degrees to act as a flat bed. I took out my welcome gift that I received upon entering the plane and found an eye mask, ear plugs, lotion, chapstick, face mist, and socks. The bag is designed by the luggage company 'BRICS' and the products are from an Italian skincare brand called 'Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio.' They also provide pajamas if needed. I have traveled a lot and am proud to say this is the first time I have ever actually slept on a plane for more than an hour. However, my flight was 13 hours so after waking up I decided to investigate and thats when I discovered the lounge. Hidden behind a large burgundy curtain, past the bathrooms, was a full bar and lounge. I felt like I was seeing things because I actually had no idea it was there until I found it. The bar served drinks, snacks, and desserts. There were long leather couches to sit at and look out the window incase you just needed a change of scenery.
The food was not served at specific times, we had the option to choose whenever we want to eat and whatever we want from the menu. Their menu is constantly changing but the one I received was a full 6 pages long with breakfast, dinner, snacks, and drinks that would be available on request at anytime throughout the flight. The menu had items like cheese platters, steaks, omelets, fresh juices, and desserts. They are willing to accommodate any dietary needs if you notify them before arrival. When I ordered my food the attendant came out with a mini white table cloth for my tray table, real silverware, glass cups and plates, my own personal salt and pepper shaker, and bread before my meal. The set up was outstanding, however, the food wasn't as great as it looks but it was surely better than most airplane food. I decided to try the gluten free option, I've tasted better so I asked for the steak and potatoes from the regular menu instead which was better, but not outstanding. I have heard that food tastes different when your more than 5 miles high in the sky, maybe thats just a myth, the food was surely edible just not something I’d choose over a restaurant on land.
I can’t forget to mention the bathrooms because those were ones I will never forget. The bathrooms, while not too much larger than a normal airplane bathroom, were somehow lavishly decorated and designed to feel like you aren't in an airplane bathroom. The seats had thick leather cushions on top of them and a full length mirror on the wall. The sink was a brown marble-like material with any amenity you can think of from individually wrapped toothbrushes to individual lotions. The lighting was vanity style so if you are on the go and need to get ready right as you exit the plane, this is the bathroom to be in. I actually stayed in there for a while and did my hair and makeup because I was board and this was the first non-offensive airplane bathroom I had ever set foot in.
It would be an understatement to say Qatar Airways goes above and beyond for their business class passengers. The experience was lavish to say the least and I instantly joined their rewards program upon arriving home (if you buy a business class flight you will get a large amount of points, its free to join so its definitely worth it). I was seated at the front of the plane so it was hard to tell the difference between first class and business class, I guess I will just have to try out first class someday to know for sure!