QR915, 06 June 2016
Depart Adelaide 9:25pm, arrive Doha 4:40am
Guest Contributor: Anthony Riemann
Lounge - 9.5/10
Seat - 8.5/10
In-Flight Entertainment - 9.5/10
Food and beverage - 9/10
Service - 9/10
Cleanliness - 9/10
Overall - 9/10
After a busy and tiring week I was not looking forward to a 14 hour flight from Adelaide to Doha. However I had heard great things about Qatar Airways and their new A350 plane, so I was hoping that could help me relax and get through the long flight. And without a doubt, that was certainly the case! A brand new aircraft, friendly service, delicious food, extensive entertainment and a flatbed for a solid sleep – there is not much more you need. Qatar is a fantastic option that proves why they are the world’s best airline for 2015.
At Adelaide Airport, the lounge was shared with Qantas so I won’t write about that, but I did get to experience the business class lounge at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar which was amazing. The airport itself was modern and classy, but the lounge was dare I say … beautiful. It started with a huge open area with water features followed by plenty of lounge and relaxing areas with privacy. The lounge had a dedicated area for eating food prepared live from a chef in the open for all to see. I had a very tasty roast lamb sandwich (lightly toasted) followed by a Cajun chicken salad. Both were delicious, fresh and nicely presented. The service was great too as the barman mixed my drink of choice with a smile. In addition to the spaces for eating, relaxing or working, the lounge also had dedicated gaming and kids’ rooms for those that need to let off some steam. A very pleasant experience and my only negative would be the choice of desserts, not that I was in the sugar mood anyway.
As I boarded the Qatar A350, I was greeted several times by warm and smiling faces who showed me to my seat. This plane had my favourite 1-2-1 ‘pod’ layout and rather than facing directly forward, they were all on a slight angle to give a little more leg space. The seat was well presented and came with all the gadgets and conveniences needed for a long flight. Storage was not as substantial as other airlines, but there was enough for my laptop and other items so I really can’t complain. There was a secret compartment with a drink bottle and headphones which was good to find early on. The pillow was comfortable and I again enjoyed the ‘mat’ that the flight attendant laid onto my seat when I did lay it flat for a sleep. Although the bed did lay flat with plenty of leg room, the seat is not that wide compared to other airlines so it did feel a little squashed when I slept and that made me rate the seat as an 8.5/10.
The amenity kit was by Giorgio Armani and was well equipped as expected. It contained socks, a mask, earplugs, lip balm and aftershave balm, plus some nice GIO cologne which was not expected. There was no toothbrush/toothpaste included but I found plenty of them in the toilet which I have to say was always very clean and tidy throughout the trip, as was the entire plane. The black bag that the amenities came in was small but nice, so I will be able to keep and re-use. The attendant offered some nicely wrapped grey pyjamas which were very comfortable but for a six foot person I recommend you go a large size as the medium was a little too snug!
The audio video on demand (AVOD) system was excellent, in fact the best I have seen on any airline in business class. It was a huge screen with a massive range of new and old movies plus plenty of TV shows, music and games too. During this trip I didn’t venture outside of the long list of movies and I got straight into watching a movie prior to take-off, which was easy to get started via the iPhone like touch screen device. I was only interrupted as they played the slightly cheesy safety video featuring FC Barcelona players twice in two different languages!
The food menu was excellent and was a la carte style so you could order what you wanted, when you wanted it, which is a great idea. It included everything from starters to mains to desserts to snack options to choose from throughout the flight. The drinks menu was extensive with everything from cocktails to my stable JD’s and coke and the wine menu was high end with recommendations matching foods. I started with the winner of the whole trip – classic Arabic mezze – which was delicious and came with hummus, tabouleh, a fetta salad and warm Arabic bread. Yum, yum, yum!! Following that I had a seared fillet of snapper with lemon and spring vegetables which was just as nice. As with many of my photos, they don’t do the food the justice they deserve but you can see they were well presented. I went with some fruit for dessert but the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake did sound tempting. Unfortunately my breakfast choice was the let-down of the food as the buttermilk pancakes with caramelised banana was dry and not very warm, but Qatar did make up for it on the return flight home with a yummy cheese omelette with all the expected trimmings. Simple but great tasting. Overall I’d still rate the food and service as excellent but I had to give a point down due to the pancakes.
All up, it was an awesome first experience flying with Qatar on their new A350 aircraft. I would be very happy to go back and fly with them again, especially while they still have great airfares available. I understand why they were airline of the year last year and I’m sure they will get close again this year. All round a great job to the Qatar team!