Qatar Airways

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  • August 11, 2015

Is Qatar Airways as good as they say? Read more in this trip report

As a star alliance frequent flyer I tend to be loyal to the star alliance network. But recently I found OneWorld to be offering much better deals in their premium cabins, especially with Qatar Airways. A 5 star airlines, is Qatar Airways up to par with its competition? Beyond the price (1200US$ for a return flight from MAD to CGK), I also really wanted to try the new A350 to compare it to the Dreamliner (which by the way is my new favorite aircraft).
I recently had to attend a family event in Jakarta and looked for the best price/travel time option. Turned out that Qatar Airways had amazing deals flying from Madrid, and I booked the following route: MAD-DOH-CGK-SIN-DOH-MAD. (I flew Jetstar Asia on the CGK-SIN (and wasn’t really impressed)).

Booking: While doesn’t have the best UX, it is pretty straight forward. One can confirm seats as well as meal options at the time of booking and it is also possible to combine flights with a longer layover in Doha. Their new premium lounge is totally worth it.

Madrid airport is big and messy and definitely one of my least favorite airports in Europe. The only bonus is when flying Oneworld, one can enjoy Iberia’s facilities, as it is one of Iberia’s hub, they tend to be slightly better than Skyteam’s or Star alliance’s.
Food was rather boring and wifi totally unreliable. Not a good start!

Welcome onboard.

I always get the same feeling when I enter a Dreamliner, the windows are huge and it definitely gives a sense of space that other aircrafts don’t have.
I was warmly welcomed by the pursuer who helped me to my seat.
Qatar has a herringbone seating in their Dreamliner (and most of their newly refurbished aircrafts).
The seat:
It looks expensive! The lacquered wood, the very large screen, the control pad and the seat padding. Everything is made to make you feel at home during your flight. I always think that there isn’t enough storage space but that’s me.
The table is big enough to hold my 15’’ macbook and that’s all that matters.

The service:

I was very impressed with the level of service. While it might be less professional than SQ, Qatar has definitely up their games when it comes to making their passengers feel at home. Luxurious leather covers for the menu, a champagne bar in the middle of the cabin and a very attentive crew.

The amenity kit:

Probably the best I’ve received in 2015! Great comfy pyjamas (a first in business for me and I keep using them!) and full size products of Giorgio Armani’s Sì (there is another pouch for men with Aqua di Gio)

The menu:

I really liked the fact that I could dine whenever I please. Unlike other carriers where it always seem to trouble the crew, they were very accommodating in letting me work and nap before food. As soon as I woke  up I ordered some of the extensive menu and was served in no time. This is one of the really nice touch of Qatar airways. If you stick to the regular service it tends to be a bit slow (my travel companion’s meal took about two hours…)

The entertainment:

Onyx, Qatar’s signature entertainment system, offers a very broad selection of entertainment, and I was surprised to find so many different series in full (and not only 1 or 2 episodes). There is also a very good selection of asian movies.

DOH: The flagship lounge:

There is several lounges in Doha, if you travel Qatar airways in business there is a specific lounge which is amazingly beautiful. While there isn’t any “napping” station, there are shower facilities and endless options to eat. Bespoke sandwiches, several food stations and a restaurant, everything is designed to make you feel like you never want to leave!
Additionally, the ratio of attendants per passenger is the highest I’ve ever seen in a lounge.

En route to Jakarta.

So, yes the new aircrafts are truly amazing but bear in mind that Qatar airways also flies some older planes on their less popular routes. This raging A340 was a bit of a drag after such a tremendous experience.
Luckily, we had an amazing FA taking care of us and she made our journey as pleasant as possible.

Flying back from Singapore:

I was very excited to fly the A350 for the first time! But unfortunately flying out of Singapore, the whole experience starts with one of the saddest lounge I’ve seen. Food selection was terrible and the shower facilities were down right dirty.
It is not a Qatar operated lounge but a Dnata lounge. For such an important destination I would have thought that Qatar would have arranged some sort of deal with BA or Cathay. Next time I’ll use a Oneworld lounge with my One world/BA silver status card.

The A350:

Definitely the A350 was designed to compete head to head with the Dreamliner. Large windows and a sense of space. But to be really honest, the Dreamliner is more comfortable (somehow I found that it had a better soundproofing system). It also has some really cool features like a bathroom window (who cares but really this is very cool).
I just thought that the choice of purple and pink lights to welcome passengers on a red-eye was pretty funky.

The cabin interior:

It is not radically different than the Dreamliner in the premium cabin. I slept like a baby as soon as we took off!

The menu:

Again, very impressed by the quality of the food and the ease of being served whenever I wanted.


Qatar is definitely a top player when it comes to price and quality in a premium cabin. The only downside is the layover in Doha but if you’re not in a hurry it’s definitely a great way to transit.

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