Qatar Airways, Business Class – Airbus A 350-900: Doha to Frankfurt


Date: 17. February 2017
Departure: 08:00
Arrival: 12:10
Flight time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Seat: 4A



I have just enough time to upload and post my review of the Melbourne to Doha leg, and then it is already time to head to the departure gate for my flight to Frankfurt. I suppose you could say I am literally on my last leg…!


The flight is departing from gate B8, which is the end gate on the B pier. As such, the position of the gate in relation to how the aircraft is actually parked is awkward and does not allow for any reasonable photos. Add to that the fact that the windows on the B pier have these opaque dots on them and it becomes near impossible to take any decent pictures of your awaiting chariot.


The Cabin

The Airbus A 350 features Qatar Airways’ new Business Class configuration in a 1 + 2 + 1 layout that gives every passenger direct access to the aisle. The additional width of the A 350 really comes into its own in this cabin layout, giving a spacious and airy feel to the cabin.


The only thing I do not like about this aircraft is the fact that it has those electronically controlled window blinds. And while these are obviously a lot of fun to play with if, like me, you spend way too much time around engineers than is really good for you, they have the disadvantage of being remote controllable by the crew.

No sooner has the fasten seatbelt sign turned off after take-off the blinds come down and can no longer be opened individually until about ninety minutes out of Frankfurt.

The Crew

The crew on this flight are a chirpy bunch. Their service is efficient but unrushed and they are obviously determined not to waste any time so passengers can maximise the amount of rest they can get before we reach our destination. This is yet another thing that Qatar Airways does really well in my opinion. One of the things I really cannot stand on Singapore Airlines or SWISS is that for some reason their main meal service always seems to take for ever. On a flight across the Atlantic you are usually already half way there by the time they finally finish and clear everything up.


The vanity kit is another one of the senselessly oversized tube of aftershave balm variety. Come to think of it, it would be interesting to know what is in the ladies’ vanity kit and if that has any more sensible contents.

The Meal

I know it has not been that long since my breakfast on the inbound from Melbourne, but I am feeling peckish nonetheless. I blame it on the jet lag.

I start with a tasty strawberry and banana smoothie with is rich and creamy.


Next I have the Bircher Müsli with berries and nuts, which is served nicely decorated with a sprig of mint that gives it a refreshing twist.


And then for the main course I have the Indian dish, in this case something called Aloo paneer tikki with jeera potatoes, green pea upma, makhani sauce and sambhar. And what an excellent dish it is too, even though I am really not quite sure what it is I am eating. Luckily, Qatar Airways always seem to have at least one Indian dish on their menu, usually the vegetarian option.


For dessert I have a combination of lychee éclair and a coffee and chocolate mousse cake, which is also very good.


Once the meal is over, I figure I may as well make another trip to Noddy land to pass the time before the next feeding.

The Second Service

Ninety minutes out of Frankfurt the cabin crew pass through the cabin asking passengers if there is anything they would like to eat before we arrive in Frankfurt. There is a section with light options on the menu for passengers to choose from. I decide to go with the shredded beef salad with Thai noodles. The dish is good and tastes authentic, but I am kind of disappointed because I had been hoping for something with a bit of ‘umpf’ in it, which this dish does not have.



Twenty-three hours after departing from Melbourne I arrive back in Frankfurt. We approach the airport from the East and land on the new runway that lies north of the apron. As I step off the plane I finally get a chance to take a proper look at her and take a few pictures. This is a really very cool plane!



This flight brings to a close my journey to the land of Oz with the fabulous Qatar Airways. Their performance on the four flights I took has been truly stellar. What’s more, they are consistent in the service level they provide, even in comparison to my experience on previous trips with them. In comparison to the other Middle Eastern carriers I have tried, I think Qatar Airways definitely takes the biscuit. They are certainly more professional than Oman Air and their service feels a lot more sophisticated than Emirates. I also think their cabins are a lot classier than Emirates, which tends to be a bit flashy, bordering on gaudy. Of course Qatar Airways also has the advantage that with Hamad airport, they have a very spacious and nicely designed hub.

I shall be flying with Etihad for the first time in two months, and I am curious to see how they will compare to Qatar Airways, but I think it is safe to say that Qatar Airways is a hard act to follow.

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Boeing B 777-300: Melbourne to Doha


Date: 16. February 2017
Departure: 23:15
Arrival: 05:25
Flight time: 13 hours 55 minutes
Seat: 3B, aisle seat



Next Monday the new semester begins, which means it is high time for me to get a move on and head back home. Again, I shall be travelling in Qatar Airways’ formidable Business Class, which admittedly softens the blow of having reached the end of my vacation…

My flight to Doha will depart at 23h00 from Melbourne, which means I have all of Thursday at my disposal.

Getting to the Airport

In Melbourne I am staying at the Radisson on Flagstaff, which is just a short ten minutes walk away from the coach terminus at Southern Cross Rail Station. The journey from the city centre to the airport takes approximately 25 minutes and there is a Skybus coach leaving for the airport every 10 minutes. A one way ticket will set you back AUD19. There are no trains to the airport.


All of row B in Terminal 2 is dedicated to Qatar Airways. You can check in online for this flight too. Even so, it is probably still worth it to make a stop at the check-in counter when you get to the airport because Business Class passengers are given a voucher for the security fast track that they can use in both Melbourne and Doha. You will also need to complete a customs form for departing passengers, which is also available at the check-in counter.


The Lounge

Qatar Airways uses the lounge of its Oneworld partner Qantas in Melbourne. And thank God for that, because lounges are something Qantas does really well. It is a fairly large space with a variety of seating options. I like the design of the Qantas lounges. My only grippe with the lounge is that it is rather dark.


Apart from that though, the food selection is rather good and there are salads, various pasta dishes, soup and a really delectable and sinful tasting chocolate cake.


At around 22h10 I leave the lounge to stretch my legs one last time before the long flight. Boarding for the flight has already started, even though we still have another hour to go before departure. I wonder if perhaps the crew is hoping to get away earlier for some reason or other.


Melbourne airport is quite busy at this time of night. To our left, Singapore’s A 380 is being readied for its flight back to Singapore, to our right the Thai Airways flight to Bangkok is also in the final stages of boarding, and as we taxi out, I also spot aircraft from Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Qantas and Emirates.

The Cabin

Tonight’s flight is being operated by one of my favourite aircraft, the mighty Boeing B 777-300ER – so please excuse my little fanboy outburst…

The last time I flew on Qatar Airways’ Boeing B 777-300ER was back in 2012 on a short flight from Hanoi to Bangkok. Admittedly, the cabin on the Boeing 777 is not near as nice as that of the Boeing 787 or the Airbus A 350. The seating configuration is in a 2 + 2 + 2 layout, which is rather old school and less private. But still, the seat is very comfortable, even when it is extended into a bed. The inflight entertainment is pretty much on a par with that of the other Qatar Airways aircraft I have flown with on this trip. The only major difference, from what I can tell, is that there is no wifi available on board this aircraft. But in the sum of all things, I do not really mind any of this. First of all, because it is the crew that makes the flight and secondly, no matter what the cabin may look or feel like, as far as I am concerned, the Boeing 777 is just one hell of a machine…oops, there goes the fanboy again.


The Crew

Just when you think you have seen it all and done it all, along comes Qatar just to remind you that really, you are just so clueless. The crew on this flight are even better than those of the two previous flights. They are courteous and friendly, considerate and attentive and nothing seems to be too much for them. Throughout the flight they are constantly present in the cabin, making sure passengers are comfortable and properly hydrated. The toilets are kept in impeccable condition during the flight.

The service sequence follows the usual protocol, what else?


While I think it is nice that airlines provide a vanity kit, I often wonder what on earth they were thinking when putting together the content. On the two previous flights with Qatar, the vanity kit included this really enormous tube of Armani aftershave cream, which somehow seems a bit of a waste. At least on this flight, the aftershave balm has been replaced with a large tube of Armani shower gel, which to me just makes more sense. There is also a small flacon of the perfume in the kit. Toothbrushes are available in the toilets.

The Meal

As a welcome drink I have another one of those tasty lime and mint affairs, which probably contains more sugar in one glass than an average, mid-sized country consumes in a whole month. But it is just so good.

When the cabin crew comes round to take my order – Susanna from Macedonia – I explain to her that I really just want to sleep right now. Of course, this being Qatar, she tells me that that will not be a problem. She will take my order and put it aside and then I can eat whenever I wake up.

And so, as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign is turned off after take-off, I convert my seat into a bed and head off to Noddy Land for six hours.


First Course

For a starter I have the Arabic mezze, which is very tasty and includes hummus, something with red pepper and tabouleh. A few years ago I flew to Singapore with my colleague, the tall blond M., who struck up a conversation with one of the Arab cabin crew on that flight. At some point the guy told us that as an Arab he would only ever have the mezze on flights out of Doha, because the quality of the mezze is just so much more authentic. And I think I tend to agree. While this mezze platter is good, I think it kind of lacks a bit of zing. As far as the hummus is concerned, I think it could have done with a bit more tahina.


The Main Course

For the main course I have the gnocchi with a spinach and blue cheese sauce that is served with walnuts and ruccola leaves. I notice that the food is piping hot, whereas the plate is not. I can only assume therefore, that the food is not plated in advanced and instead is assembled on the aircraft.



And then for dessert I have the ice cream – chocolate and vanilla, with mixed berries and a chocolate biscuit thing that tastes very good.


The Valhorna chocolate after the meal has been replaced with a praliné by Godiva.

The Second Service

The second service already starts two hours and thirty minutes out of Doha because the crew is expecting heavy turbulence as we approach our destination. But in fact the bad weather starts much earlier, and the service has to be interrupted repeatedly.


The breakfast service begins with a warm, rose scented hot towel to wake me up, followed by some Greek yoghurt with cherry compote and granola. The yoghurt is good, but the compote is just a bit too sweet, even for me.


For the main course I have the Arabic breakfast, which is very tasty and quite extensive. There is a small plate with pita bread, another plate with cucumber, olives, tomatoes and feta cheese and a separate, hot dish of foul mudames, which is made with beans.


The main is excellent, it is not spicy in the sense of being hot, but there are just a lot of different spices in the dish that make it very fragrant.

Transfer in Doha

Eventually we land after a flight time of 13 hours and 55 minutes. In the end it was not quite as bumpy after all on the approach. Much to my surprise though, the ground is wet and the captain informs us that there have been heavy rain showers in the area.

Security is already busy. It is quite apparent that this is the rush hour here in Doha. Even so, with the separate fast track for security, I am quickly processed and soon find myself airside again. Time to head for the lounge.

I had hoped to be able to take a shower, but they guy in charge tells me there is a waiting list that will take about an hour to clear.

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Airbus A 350-900: Doha to Adelaide


Date: 09. February 2017
Departure: 21:15
Arrival: 17:40
Flight time: 12 hours 30 minutes
Seat: 3K, starboard window seat



I have just enough time to post the report of my flight from Frankfurt to Doha before it is time for me to leave the comfort of the al-Mourjan lounge and head for gate C5 from where the flight to Adelaide will be boarding.

Since my last visit to Doha airport they have changed the security regime. Where previously you used to go through a centralised security checkpoint, which tended to get slightly hectic and chaotic during peak periods, you now only have to go through security before you enter the respective gate for your flight, which makes the whole process far more efficient and much less of a hassle for passengers.

The Lounge

Location: Just off the central plaza that links concourses A, B and C.
Name of Lounge:
Type of Lounge:
Qatar Airways Business Class lounge.
There is a long escalator that leads up to the lounge.
Toilets & Showers:
Both are available in the lounge and there is an attendant who obviously keeps the place spotlessly clean.
Food & Beverages: There is a huge selection of hot and cold dishes. In fact the food offerings are more comparable to what many airlines provide in their First Class lounges. One floor up from the central lounge area there is also a restaurant with buffet and à la carte dining.
Complimentary wifi is provided by Doha airport.
Newspapers & Magazines:
There is a large selection of magazines and newspapers in English and Arabic.



There is a separate lane for security for Business Class passengers. Business Class passengers are invited to board the aircraft first and there is a separate airbridge attached to the L1 door.


The Cabin

The seat on the Airbus A 350 is very similar to that on the Boeing B 787 on my previous flight. There are however, a few differences. First of all, due to the fact that there are no overhead bins for the middle row of seats, the cabin has a very spacious and cavernous feel, which is very pleasant actually. There is a shoe compartment large enough to store a pair of shoes properly (I wear a size 46 and managed to stow my shoes easily). And finally, the inflight entertainment system is slightly updated. Is has a larger selection of films and can be operated either via the handset or using the touch screen.

The Business Class cabin is also larger on this aircraft. There is one toilet behind the forward galley on the left and two toilets by the L2/R2 doors.



The service sequence is identical to that on the previous flight – welcome drink, menu, vanity kit. However, because of the longer flight time of twelve hours and fifty minutes, a few additions have been made to the service:

  1. Slippers are provided and they are rather comfortable.
  2. Pyjamas are also provided.
  3. There is a turndown service to convert the seat into a bed.

The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Lemon and mint juice.
Pre-meal drink:
Coke Zero, served with a ramekin of warm nuts.
Choice: There are three choices for the first and main course and dessert.
À la carte service.
Type of meal:
Late dinner.
Hot towel after the meal: Rose scented hot towel.


Amuse Bouche

Salmon tartar with mango salsa.

First Course

Spicy lentil soup.


Arabic mezze with hummus, moutabel and tabouleh, served with Arabic bread.

The Main Course

Red snapper with a saffron cream sauce and asparagus. Served with crushed new potatoes and spring onions and a confit of cherry tomatoes.


Ice cream.

The Second Service

Choice: The breakfast menu can be put together individually and includes a wide selection of hot and cold dishes.
À la carte service.
Type of meal:

Strawberry and banana smoothie.


Scrambled eggs with chives, served on toast with ruccola and grilled tomatoes.

A selection of breads, served with butter and marmalade.


We land in Adelaide after a flight time of twelve hours and thirty minutes. The approach brings us in right over the city and offers some great views of the hills in Adelaide’s hinterland.


Once we land I have ninety minutes to make my domestic connection and then I’ll be done. For today.


This flight and the previous one from Frankfurt to Doha have firmly established Qatar Airways as one of my favourite airlines, together with the legendary Cathay Pacific. As I already mentioned in a previous post on Qatar Airways, it never seizes to amaze me just how reliable and consistent their crews are in their service delivery. And they are all so nice about it.

But it is not just the crews that make flying with Qatar Airways such a brilliant experience. The quality and quantity of the food is really something else and puts many of the First Class products I have had the pleasure of sampling to shame.

And then there is also the aircraft. This was my second flight on the Airbus A 350 and I must say, she’s really something else. The feeling of space and comfort that the cabin provides makes even a twelve hours journey pleasurable. The only problem you have with this aircraft is that it is so quiet in the cabin that you can hear the dude snoring five rows further back!

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Boeing B 787-8: Frankfurt to Doha


Date: 09. February 2017
Departure: 10:45
Arrival: 18:30
Flight time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Seat: 2 K, starboard



Terminal 1, hall C. Qatar Airways has its own dedicated check-in counters. There are two counters for Business Class passengers.


The Lounge

Location: Terminal 1.
Name of Lounge:
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.
There is a set of stairs and an escalator adjacent to gate B42 which take you one floor up. You see the lounge entrance as soon as you get off the escalator.
Available in the lounge. The toilets are clean and look rather nice.
Available in the lounge. Contact reception for a slot.
Food & Beverages: There is a fairly large bar area but the selection of food and beverages is fairly limited. There are no hot dishes. But at least they have Lavazza coffee.
Complimentary wifi is available, no password required.
Newspapers & Magazines:
There is also a good selection of English and French language magazines and newspapers.



Business Class passengers are invited to board the aircraft first and have their own, dedicated gate. Boarding is through the L2 door.


The Cabin

Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1.
Cabin Layout:
Business Class – 22 seats.
Economy Class – 232 seats.
Pitch: 80 inches.
Width: 22 inches.
Length as a Bed: 80 inches.
AC Power:
AC power plugs are available at all seats in Business and Economy Class.
Audio and Video: Audio and video on demand, handset controlled.
Earphones: No-name noise-cancelling earphones.
Connectivity: Onair wifi available.
Comment: A pillow and a blanket are already on the seat.


The Crew

The crew on today’s flight are all either from Thailand or the Indian subcontinent and they are all very friendly.

The service begins with a welcome drink and a choice of either a hot or cold towel. I choose a cold towel and have a lemon juice with mint with that.


Shortly after that the vanity kit and the menus are distributed.


Once the doors close, the crew pass through offering Arabic, English and German language newspapers.


Armani branded vanity kit. There are obviously different kits for men and women. The kit contains earplugs, lip balm, perfume, after shave cream, socks and eye shades. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are available in the toilets.

The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Lemon juice with lime.
Pre-meal drink:
Apple cooler – Apple juice, soda water, lemon juice, mint leaves and a slice of lemon. Served with a bowl of nuts served with the drink.
Menu: There are three choices for the starter, main course and dessert.
Delivery: À la carte service.
Type of meal:

Amuse Bouche

Balik salmon with a horseradish sauce.


The Soup

Soup of roasted butternut squash with a lemon and herb crème fraîche.

First Course

Smoked salmon with pea and potato salad with confit tomatoes and a lemon dressing.

The Main Course

Paneer tikka masala with makhini sauce, servied with coriander and mint basmati rice, spiced asparagus and black-eyed beans.

The Cheese

A selection of cheese with crackers, red onion chutney and condiments.


Chocolate ice cream with berries.
The meal concludes with a hot, rose scented towel and a mug of Karak Chai with cardamom. Before the lights go out, the crew pass through the cabin with small boxes of Godiva pralines.


We arrive in Doha at 18:30, just slightly ahead of schedule, after a flight time of five hours and thirty minutes. I know have a bit more than two hours to make my onward connection.


Qatar Airways, Business Class – Airbus A 330-200: Riyadh to Doha


Date: 10 March 2016
Departure: 04:15
Arrival: 05:00
Flight time: 45 minutes
Seat: 3J, aisle on the starboard side of the aircraft.


The course in Riyadh has gone well and we managed to finish one day ahead of schedule. A quick mail to my travel agent and I am booked to return home one day earlier than expected. Cool!

Getting to the Airport

Transport: Private car provided by the hotel.
Journey time: Around 30 minutes, depending on the traffic situation and your driver’s sanity.
Departs from: Doubletree Hotel by Hilton in al-Muroj.
Arrives: Riyadh King Khaled International Airport.
My flight will be leaving at 04:00 in the morning, so I guess it is best if I check out of the hotel at 01:30 to arrive at the airport at around 02:00, two hours prior to departure.

The traffic in Riyadh is interesting. There are definitely not as many cars here as you see in Dubai for example, so you rarely get the kind of clogged up traffic jams where nothing moves anymore. Even so, the Saudis have an ‘interesting’ style of driving, to say the least. Essentially, their motto is to do what ever you like on road, just as long as you can solve it by honking your horn. Repeatedly.


Location: Terminal 1, counters 118 – 121.
Counters: Three Economy Class counters and one Business Class counter.
Facilities: Only airport check-in available.
Check-in is a huge mess. There is only one person ahead of me but he is travelling with eleven heavy suitcases of luggage. The problem is that the luggage belt is having difficulties dealing with the copious amounts of luggage passengers are checking in. So the belt keeps stopping to let other pieces from other counters pass. Eventually, it takes no less than 45 minutes to process the eleven suitcases and that is still a lot faster than the crawling Economy Class lines.

I then head straight for immigration and security, where the queues are surprisingly short and processed in an unexpectedly efficient way.


The Lounge

Location: Behind security turn right and right again, there is a set of escalators leading up to the Lounge.
Name: Premier Lounge.
Type of lounge: Contractor lounge.
This is yet another sad excuse for a ‘premium’ lounge. From what I can tell, there is no food available in the lounge. Those dried biscuits do not qualify as food I think. The drinks selection is also somewhat limited and the presentation is positively lousy. I sit down long enough to drink a small bottle of water and then decide to leave the lounge again.



Boarding starts a whole hour before departure with a first call for Business Class passengers. It is going to be a full flight in Business Class this morning and most of the passengers are looking about as bleary eyed as me.

The Cabin

Configuration: 2 + 2 + 2
Seat: 3AJ, aisle seat on the starboard side of the aircraft.
Capacity: Unfortunately it is dark outside, so I cannot make out if it is an Airbus A 330-200 or a -300 that will be taking me back to Doha tonight. In addition, Qatar Airways operates both types in a number of different configurations.

Despite the configuration, the seat on the A 330 is still fairly private. The seat pairs by the windows point outwards. In addition, the seats are staggered, which means that the aisle seat is slightly further back than the window seat. There is also a large divider between the seats. Every seat is equipped with a power socket and USB port.

A pillow and blanket has been placed at every seat before boarding.


The Crew

As usual, the crew is an interesting racial mix of nationalities. There are three female cabin crew working the Business Class cabin – they are from Bulgaria, Zimbabwe and Jordan respectively. All three of them do an excellent job interacting with the passengers, making sure they get settled in for the flight. By the time the crew pass through the cabin taking orders for breakfast, I have already nodded off to sleep. But once we get airborne, the Bulgarian notices I am awake again and comes to ask me if I would like to join for breakfast.

Type of meal:
Service: À la carte service.
Delivery: Individual delivery service.

  1. Avocado and date smoothie.
  2. Seasonal fresh fruit.
  3. Potato and spinach tikki with fig chutney, za’atar labneh, feta cheese, cucumber, tomato, olives.
  4. Tea or coffee.

The flight time to Doha this morning is only 45 minutes. Even so, Qatar Airways provide an extensive service. The trays are brought out individually and the meals are served – in theory – whenever the passenger requests to eat, although of course the options are limited given the short flying time.



I have just finished my last bite of food when the captain comes on the speakers and announces our descent into Doha. Everything happens rather quickly. The crew clean up the cabin in no time and shortly thereafter we are already touching down.

As I exit the aircraft, there is a young lady from Qatar Airways ground handling waiting to escort me to the First Class lounge. Our aircraft is parked at one of the farthest contact stands in the terminal and it is a good 10 minutes walk from there to transfer security.

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Boeing B 787-8: Doha to Riyadh


Date: 06 March 2016
Departure: 01:20
Arrival: 02:15
Flight time: 55 minutes.
Seat: 3A, window on the port side.

Transfer in Doha

Behind security I head one floor down to the central airside area. I am always a bit disoriented in Doha. But eventually I do find the escalators leading up to the First Class lounge. Unfortunately though, by this time the departure time for my flight to Riyadh is already quickly approaching and I still have another 15 minutes walk to make it to my departure gate. So I decide to skip the lounge this time. Something to do on the way back, when I have a longer layover in Doha.


Boarding already starts about 45 minutes before departure. By now it is already nearly one in the morning, so I am not complaining.


The Cabin

Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1.
Seat: 3A, window seat on the port side of the aircraft.
Pitch: 80 inches.
Width: 22 inches.
Capacity: 22 seats.
The seat and cabin configuration is the same as on the Airbus A 380. The only difference is that the hull of the aircraft has a narrower diameter, so the cabin feels less cavernous. A pillow and blanket has been placed at every seat before boarding.


Service begins -as usual – with the distribution of welcome drinks and towels. I go with the lime and mint juice and a cold towel to wake me up. Next come the newspapers. With a flight time of only 55 minutes, no vanity kit or slippers are distributed. Once boarding is completed, the crew will pass through the cabin offering passengers dates and a cup of Arabic coffee.


The Meal

Type of meal: Midnight snack.
Service: À la carte service.
Delivery: Individual tray service.

  1. Once more, I forget to take the menu, so I cannot remember the exact name of the dishes I had. All I know is that it was an Indian meal and that the piece of chicken that was served with the dish was warm.
  2. Selection of breads.
  3. Chocolate dessert.
  4. Tea and coffee.
  5. Valrhona chocolates.

Qatar Airways’ offering on such a short flight is really quite impressive. What is more, it is quite amazing that they manage to serve all passengers with enough time to spare for them to be able to enjoy the meal.



Eventually the aircraft dips its nose and we start our descent into Riyadh. I am about to arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time. Much to my surprise, and contrary to all the reports and reviews I had read prior to this trip, immigration is a swift and easy process. There are two channels for foreigners. One is for first time entries into the Kingdom, while the other is for repeated entry passengers. In any case, fifteen minutes after exiting the aircraft I find myself standing outside the terminal looking for a taxi to take my into town.

Oh yes, about that. Sometimes in life it is easiest to just surrender to your faith. The only means of transport to and from the airport is by taxi, and the driver will rip you off.

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Airbus A380: Paris to Doha


Date: 05 March 2016
Departure: 15:00
Arrival: 23:25
Flight time: 6h 25 min
Seat: 14A, window on the port side

Transfer in Paris Roissy

Transport: Shuttle bus and automated train.
Journey time: About 15 minutes.
Departs from: Landside.
Arrives: Terminal 1 CDGVAL station.
Fare: Complimentary.
I make my way to the landside exit of Terminal 2G. I do not have my boarding passes for the onward connection yet. The N1 and N2 shuttle busses both run from 2G to 2F, which is  the central complex of Terminal 2. The journey to 2F will take approximately 5 minutes. From the bus stop head one floor down and follow the signs marked CDGVAL, the airport’s automated people mover. It is about a 5 minutes walk. The CDGVAL takes another 5 minutes to make the journey from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1.



Location: Terminal 1, Hall 2
Counters: Six Economy Class counters, two Business Class counters, one First Class counter.
Facilities: Qatar Airways has an app that works rather well. However, you cannot add the boarding pass to Passbook and can only print a copy of the boarding pass. There are no self service check-in machines for Qatar Airways at CDG.

There is quite a queue at Economy Class, apparently today’s flight is full, but the Business Class counters are empty when I arrive. A young lady immediately checks me in and issues my boarding passes for the flight to Doha and my onward connection. She also hands me an invitation to the Galaxy lounge. First and Business Class passengers are eligible to use the fast track at CDG, which goes by the name of ‘No 1. Access’. It is highly convenient, given that the queues can be rather long.


The Lounge

Name: Galaxy Lounge.
Type of lounge: Contractor lounge.
Location: In the main building of Terminal 1. Access is via lift.
This is the same lounge Qatar Airways was using the last time I flew with them from Paris last year. Back then though, it was called the Air France Première lounge. Alas, apart from the name nothing much has changed and it is still the same rat hole it was when I last visited. In fact, I open the door to the lounge and I am instantly reminded of how little there is to enjoy in this lounge. So I turn around again and leave. Instead, I head for the satellite from which my flight will be leaving.


The security check at CDG’s Terminal 1 is done just before you enter the satellite. Here too, premium passengers can avail themselves of the No. 1 Access priority lane, but essentially all this means is that you get to jump to the head of the queue. Behind security I buy myself a sandwich, a chocolate maccaron and a cup of coffee and find myself a quiet seat by the window.



Boarding for the flight starts on time. There is a separate gate for all passengers on the upper deck of the aircraft, so the premium passengers are completely segregated from the riffraff.


The Cabin

Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1
Seat: 14A, window seat on the port side of the aircraft.
Pitch: 80 inches.
Width: 22 inches.
Capacity: 48 seats.
The Business Class seat on the A 380 is very similar to that on the Boeing B 787. The seat offers a lot of privacy because the window seats all point outwards towards the window. Which obviously also means the seat is great for looking out the window. But apart from that, the seats are not aligned in a row. As a result, it becomes pretty impossible to make eye contact with anybody, unless you really, really want to. And there is ample storage space, even for larger items like a laptop, iPad or Kindle. The cabin has a very spacious and airy feel. Every seat is equipped with a power socket and USB port.

A pillow and blanket has been placed at every seat before boarding.



The Qatar Airways Business Class vanity kit is branded by Giorgio Armani. It features a lot of pretty useless items and lacks a lot useful ones. There are socks, earplugs and eye shades, but there is no toothbrush and no comb or brush and no shoe horn. Instead, there is a fairly large tube of Giorgio Armani moisturizer. Toothbrushes are available though in the toilets. They come with Colgate toothpaste.


Service begins, as usual on Qatar Airways, with the distribution of welcome drinks and towels. Every passenger has a choice between a hot or cold rose scented towel. To drink I go with the lime and mint juice, which is very sweet but very refreshing too. Next come the newspaper and then finally the vanity kit. Once boarding is completed, the crew will pass through the cabin offering passengers dates and a cup of Arabic coffee, which is very tasty as well, as long as you like cardamom – otherwise steer clear!


The amazing thing about the service on Qatar Airways is that it is highly predictable, it is always the same and you always know exactly what to expect.


After take-off, there is a drinks service. I have a Coke Zero and a ramekin of warm nuts to go with that.


The Meal

Type of meal: Late lunch.
Service: À la carte service.
Delivery: Individual tray service.

On mid-haul flights Qatar Airways only offers one service in Business Class, which is perfectly adequate for a flight with a duration of around six hours. However, should you feel hungry at any point during the flight, they do have small snacks. There is also the large bar area in between the Business Class section and the Economy Class mini cabin on the upper deck, where they serve drinks and canapés.


The First Course

Smoked haddock on a bed of rocket salad with peas.


The Main Course

An Indian dish, the name of which I cannot remember. But it was certainly very tasty.



Strawberry frangipan tart with vanilla mascarpone and raspberry coulis.



Eventually we start our descent into Doha. Our routing takes us right over the downtown area and due south of the airfield on the downwind. As we begin a series of turns to line up with the runway, it becomes quite apparent that we are reaching Doha in the middle of its late night arrival bank. There are flashing lights of other aircraft all around us in the air.


By the time we reach our parking stand and I alight from the aircraft, I only have an hour or so to make my connection. I make the long trek to security, which is crawling with people that have just arrived on all those other aircraft we could see in the air. Fortunately, there is a dedicated line for premium passengers and despite the chaos, the line moves quickly.

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Boeing B 787-8: Doha to Zürich



I spend the night in Doha at the Oryx Rotana hotel. It is rather a nice and modern facility with a very large gym and what is theoretically a 25 m pool. However, at the shallow end it is really quite impossible to swim.

In addition to the complimentary hotel room, Qatar Airways will also give you a food and drink voucher for 250 Qatari Rials to spend at the hotel if your stay in Qatar exceeds 12 hours. Dinner is an Indian buffet at one of the hotel’s many restaurants, which costs 180 Qatari Rials and leaves you enough to also cover any expenses for drinks. The Indian buffet incidentally, was divine!

Getting to the Airport

Transport: Complimentary hotel shuttle bus.
Departs from: Outside the lobby.
Frequency: Roughly every twenty minutes.
Journey time: About twenty minutes.

I meet the tall and blond M. in the lobby at 05h45. Check-out from the hotel is swift. I just need to pay for the internet access and then we are good to go. The shuttle is completely full this morning, with an interesting mix of nationalities and races on board.


Location: Entrance 1 is for First and Business Class passengers.
Facilities: Dedicated check-in area for Business Class passengers. There is an extensive lounge area opposite the check-in counters where passengers can sit and wait to be served or bid fair well to friends and family. Behind check-in there is a dedicated immigration area and a security check-point for Business Class passengers that is completely segregated from passengers travelling in Economy Class.


Al-Mourjan Qatar Airways Lounge

Location: The lounge is located on the third floor. Access to the lounge is via the escalator just off the main atrium.
Catering: There is an à la carte dining and buffet restaurant on the fourth floor, which is accessible via a grand staircase. In addition, there is a bistro style restaurant on the lounge’s main floor, serving things like salads and sandwiches, depending on the time of day. There are also numerous self-service bars in the lounge.
Free wifi is available throughout the terminal. No password required.

I am rather hungry, I have not had breakfast yet, and although I certainly made the best of the Indian buffet the night before, I am definitely ready to eat again. And so I head straight for the Business Class lounge and the dinning area. Initially, the place is seething with activity. And there are hardly any tables left. However, the staff do a really excellent job and make sure to clean up tables as soon as they become available again.

The buffet is extensive. I treat myself to crèpes filled with apple compote, scrambled eggs, baked beans, fruit salad, bread and cheese. And a coffee and an orange juice to go with that.



There is a separate queue for Business Class passengers to enter the holding pen. Business Class passengers are invited to board first, together with families with young children.


When eventually I reach my gate at A10, the flight is already in the final stages of boarding. There are just a few empty seats left empty in Business Class.

The Cabin

Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1
Seat number: 3E, aisle seat
Seat: There are twenty-two seats in total, all of which are 180 degrees lie flats. The seat is very similar to the one Cathay Pacific has installed in Business Class. The window seats are very private because they are angled to face in the direction of the window. The two seats on the middle row point towards each other. Nonetheless, hey still provide enough privacy because the seat is fairly deep, so the shell of it blocks your neighbour from view.
Pitch: 80 inches.
Width: 22 inches.
Facilities: AC power outlets are available at every individual seat in all cabin classes; wifi is also available on board at a charge in Business Class.
Length as a bed: 80 inches.
Audio and Video: Audio and Video on demand.

The Crew

The service is pretty much the same as on the three previous flights. The experience begins – how else – with a glass of lime and mint juice and a refreshing rose scented cold towel.

The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Lime and mint juice.
Hot towel before the meal: Rose scented cold towel.
There are four main choices for the main dish and another four for the starter.
À la carte service.
Type of meal:

  1. A selection of bread and pastries with a choice of preserves and butter.
  2. Traditional Arabic breakfast of labneh with za’atar, feta cheese, cucumber, tomato, mixed olives and served with foul medames and Arabic bread.

Having eaten in the lounge, I am not exactly feeling hungry. So when the crew come to take orders for the meal, she tells me not to worry and that I can eat any time I like. She still asks me what my preference would be for the main dish, just to make sure she can put one aside for me.

About two hours out of Zürich I ask the cabin crew to set up the table for me to have breakfast. Once more the flight attendant checks to make sure I want to stick with my original order.

Of the four flights I took with Qatar Airways on this trip, this must be without a doubt the tastiest one of the lot, despite the fact that it is probably one of the simpler dishes. But in any case, the flavours go very well together. Especially the foul moudames is flavourful and goes incredibly well with the feta cheese.



We arrive in Zürich some 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Fortunately, it looks as though we managed to beat the Emirates A 380 to it, which I can just make out turning onto the final approach as we vacate the runway and I look back. Surprisingly, even my suitcase makes it. Given that it was standing around in Doha for such a long time, I was pretty sure it was not going to make it.


I catch the 14h04 airport train back to Basel. Perhaps not the fastest connection, but with all my luggage I do not really fancy having to change trains until my final destination.


This concludes this series on my recent trip to Singapore. The Qatar Airways experience was quite an eye opener to me. Having tried both Emirates and Qatar Airways in the Business Class cabins now, I really do think the Qatar Airways product is far superior to that of Emirates in most areas. Emirates’ advantage obviously being that they operate two daily flights into Zürich and thus offer greater connectivity via their hub in Dubai.

Furthermore, no matter how good an airline’s product is, ultimately it is the crew that make or break a flight. And for many airlines – and I am afraid this goes for the European carriers in particular – their staff are often the weakest link. Qatar Airways however, has evidently invested heavily in properly training their staff at the front line. All the employees of the company I encountered on this journey were friendly, polite and helpful. Many of them were also charming and interacted easily with their passengers.

So perhaps I shall just leave it there and simply say that I am greatly looking forward to my next trip with Qatar Airways. Perhaps I should give their First Class a try one of these days…

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Boeing B 787-8: Singapore to Doha


Getting to the Airport

Transport: Taxi
From: Singapore Hilton
To: Changi Terminal 3
Journey time: About thirty minutes.
Fare: SGD32.

My flight from Singapore to Doha will be departing at 10:40. I have ordered a taxi to leave from the Hilton at 08:00, which should get me to the airport roughly two hours before departure. Perhaps just a word of warning at this point. Taxis are a commodity very much in demand on weekdays in Singapore. In fact it is near impossible to just stand on the side of the road and hail a cab when you need one. So if you are planning to take a taxi, make sure you order one at the concierge well enough in advance, preferably the day before.


Location: Terminal 3, entrance 6, row 8.
Facilities: For flights departing Singapore, Qatar Airways offers web check-in.
Counters: There are five counters open for our flight: three for Economy Class, one for status holders and one for Business Class passengers.


Given that I have a large suitcase to drop off anyway, I figure I might as well check-in at the airport, rather than using web check-in. In Doha I shall be in transit for a connecting flight to Zürich. There are three flights from Singapore to Doha every day. But with only one flight from Doha to Zürich, there is no same day connection available and instead I will have to spend a night in Qatar. Qatar Airways will even pay for the accommodation. However, Qatar Airways will check your suitcase in to its final destination and you will not be able to retrieve your bags in Doha.

The DNATA Lounge

Location: One floor up from the public airside area. After immigration turn left and take the first escalator going up. At the top do a sharp right turn to bring you straight to the DNATA lounge.
Dining area, work stations, toilets and showers available in the lounge.
Catering: A small but adequate selection of hot and cold snacks.
Wifi is available in the lounge, password required.


The DNATA lounge in Terminal 3 is nothing to write home about really. In fact, seating is somewhat cramped and if the lounge were full, it would probably be more pleasant outside. The lounge’s one redeeming feature though, is the excellent view of the ramp and the runway beyond. From where I am sitting I am towering over a Singapore Airlines B 777-200.


Business Class passengers and disabled passengers are invited to board first. The process if enforced by the gate agents.


My flight is leaving from gate A20. There is a centralised security checkpoint for gates A17 to A22. There is only one queue and no separate line for Business Class passengers.

The Cabin

Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1
Seat number: 2E
Seat: There are twenty-two seats in total, all of which are 180 degrees lie flats. The seat is very similar to the one Cathay Pacific has installed in Business Class. The window seats are very private because they are angled to face in the direction of the window. The two seats on the middle row point towards each other. Nonetheless, hey still provide enough privacy because the seat is fairly deep, so the shell of it blocks your neighbour from view.
Pitch: 80 inches.
Width: 22 inches.
Facilities: AC power outlets are available at every individual seat in all cabin classes; wifi is also available on board at a charge in Business Class.
Length as a bed: 80 inches.
Audio and Video: Audio and Video on demand.


The Crew

As it happens, one of the flight attendants working today’s flight is April, who was working on the Zürich to Doha flight I took on Monday. Surprisingly, she recognises me. She asks me how I have been and if I am on my way home again. She asks what I would like to drink and smiles when I ask for another lime and mint juice. What can I say, the stuff is rather habit forming… She also brings me a rose scented cold towel, which is very refreshing.


Other than that, yet again the crew on this flight are excellent. Repeatedly during the flight the cabin crew pass through the cabin proactively asking passengers if they would like anything. They are simply outstanding.

As this is a day flight, no pjs or slippers are provided.

The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Lime and mint juice.
Hot towel before the meal: Hot or cold rose scented towels available.
Pre-meal drink:
Sparkling water.
There are two choices for the starter and three choices for the main, including one vegetarian option.
À la carte service.
Type of meal:

Amuse Bouche

Prawn cake with assam sauce.


The Soup

Spicy Tom Yam soup.


The Mezze

Classic Araic Mezze with Hummus, Muhammara, Tabouleh and Arabic bread.


The Main Course

Pasta in a cherry tomato, basil, pesto and mozzarella sauce.


The Cheese

Cheese plate with crackers, grapes and cheese.



Panna cotta with fresh fruit and melaka sugar.


Admittedly, I cannot really say I like the prawn cake. Apart from the fact that it had a somewhat disgusting consistency, it did not really taste of anything at all. But apart from that, I must say the food on this flight is just as good as any of the meals I experienced on the two previous flights on the outbound. In particular, the pasta has a rich, tangy flavour.

The Second Service

There is no second service as such on this flight. However, there is an extensive menu of snacks and light dishes available throughout the flight. Roughly 90 minutes out of Doha, the cabin crew pass through the cabin asking passengers if there is anything they would like to eat before they get on their flight. I choose a beefsteak sandwich with melted cheddar cheese, bell peppers and caramelised onions, which is very tasty and hits the spot nicely. I spend the rest of the flight surfing the IFE.



We land in Qatar just after 13h25. The airport is pretty deserted at this time of day. As we do not have a same day connection to Zürich, we are going to have to spend one night in Doha before continuing our journey tomorrow morning.

Layover in Doha

If you have a stay of more than eight hours at Doha airport, Qatar Airways will provide complimentary accommodation for the stay in Doha. Although I am not entirely sure if all passengers are entitled to this service or only Business Class passengers.

In any case, the reservation for the hotel was made directly with Qatar Airways through the travel agency at the time the flights were booked. You will then receive a hotel voucher by mail from Qatar Airways that you need to print out and take along.

Upon arrival in Doha, follow the signs marked transfer. Eventually you will reach the Qatar Airways transfer counters, which are located opposite the security check for transfer passengers. There are separate counters marked ‘City Accommodation and Transfer’ and there is also a dedicated counter for premium passengers.

I hand the agent my passport and hotel voucher. She invites me to head downstairs to the arrivals halls and instructs me to wait in the Al-Maha arrivals lounge while she gets my visa for Qatar processed.

Al-Maha Arrivals Lounge

I am welcomed to the lounge and immediately one of the lounge attendants approaches me and asks me if there is anything I would like to eat or drink while I wait. About 20 minutes and one orange juice later, a Qatar Airways rep appears with my stamped passport. She then escorts me out into the arrivals hall and through customs.


I shall be staying at the Oryx Rotana Hotel. As I exit immigration, there is another representative from the hotel already expecting me. By the looks of it I have just missed the shuttle to the hotel, so the Qatar Airways representative escorts me to yet another lounge – the landside Qatar Airways lounge – and advises me to wait there until the shuttle arrives. I enter the lounge and again somebody approaches me immediately, asking if there is anything I would like to drink. But my wait in the lounge is only about 10 minutes anyway, so I decline.


Eventually I am escorted from the lounge to the shuttle bus stop at the far end of the arrivals concourse. The journey to the hotel takes roughly 20 minutes.


This was yet another brilliant flight with Qatar Airways, and unless they seriously screw it up on the last leg back to Zürich, I think they are truly deserving of the five star rating, simply for the consistency they have managed to keep in their product and service. The transfer process at Doha airport could really hardly be easier. As my friend the valiant M. always says, it’s as easy as cutting Swiss cheese…

Qatar Airways, Business Class – Boeing B 787-8: Doha to Singapore

I just arrived in Doha on the Qatar Airways flight from Zürich. I have roughly two hours before my next flight to Singapore.

Al-Mourjan Qatar Airways Lounge

Location: The lounge is located on the third floor. Transfer security is one floor below. To access the lounge from security you need to take the lift. Otherwise you will have to take the escalators down to the first floor before taking another escalator up to the third floor.
Catering: There is an à la carte dining and buffet restaurant on the fourth floor, which is accessible via a grand staircase. In addition, there is a bistro style restaurant on the lounge’s main floor, serving things like salads and sandwiches. There are also numerous self-service bars in the lounge.
Free wifi is available throughout the terminal. No password required.

This lounge is really something else, it is huge and very elegantly appointed. I try taking a few pictures but it really is quite impossible to capture the sheer size of the place.

The toilets are very well kept and very clean. As I approach the sink to wash my hands, one of the four attendants puts on the water for me, squirts some liquid soap in my hands and eventually hands me a small towel to dry my hands.



Business Class passengers are invited to board first, before a general boarding call is made.

The Cabin

The flight to Singapore is operated by a Boeing B 787-8. For information about the cabin, see the previous post of my trip from Zürich to Doha.

The Crew

There are three cabin crew working the Business Class cabin, which is full on this flight. The purser is a young man from Singapore. The other two crew members are a young woman, also from Singapore, and another from India. I must say I am really quite impressed by the consistency of the staff and their level of professionalism. For example when I am brought my welcome drink, the flight attendant places a small napkin on the table and then turns it to make sure that the onyx logo printed on it is not upside down. Later on when she comes to dress the table for the meal, she places the cutlery and then straightens it to look nice. Of course these are only minor details and they will not make the food or the flight any better. Even so, it such small details that make the difference which justifies Qatar Airways’ five star rating in my view.

After departure the purser comes by to introduce himself and check if everything is okay. It is a nice touch that he shakes my hand as he introduces himself, I think.

As this is a night flight, Qatar Airways provides pyjamas. Just beware that the cut is fairly generous. I was give an L and the trousers were way too big.


The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Lemon and mint juice.
Hot towel before the meal: Hot towel with a subtle scent of roses.
Pre-meal drink:
Water and another lemon and mint juice.
There are two choices for the starter, three choices for the main – including one vegetarian option – and three choices for dessert.
Type of meal:


Amuse Bouche

Tempura nori wrapped black cod with Asian vegetables and sweet chilli sauce.


The First Course

Lime infused prawns with coriander chilli crème fraîche, cucumber, black sesame and frisée lettuce.


The Main Course

Marinated chicken breast with a lemon and garlic sauce, mashed potato with parmesa, roasted carrots and beets, steamed asparagus.



Ladurée Vendôme of dark chocolate biscuit, blackberry confit, chocolate and blackberry tea mousse.


Once again, the quantity and the quality of the food is quite impressive. In particular, the presentation is very professional and makes an interesting change from the usual Business Class meals, which are served with every item side by side in the dish.

Once the meal is over I go change into my pjs. In the meantime, one of the cabin crew makes up my bed, which incidentally includes a thing mattress.


The Second Service

Hot towel the meal: Rose scented hot towel.
Pre-meal drink:
Cucumber and apple juice, orange juice.
There are two options for the hot meal.
Type of meal:

  1. Orange compte with Greek yoghurt and toasted granola
  2. Pepper and feta cheese frittata with sautéed potatoes and red onion, roasted plum tomato, Portobello mushrooms and chicken sausage.

The second meal hits the spot nicely and is well timed. The second service starts about 90 minutes out of Singapore, which leaves you enough time after the meal to change and complete the immigration form.


Qatar Airways operates out of Terminal 3 at Changi airport. The place is not overly busy. There is only a short queue for passport control and by the time I am through, my suitcase is already expecting my on the luggage belt.


Originally, this flight should have been operated by an A 350, which obviously would have been very cool. Better luck next time. As for Qatar Airways, I think they have a very solid product that is very elegant and comfortable. Of course the over all journey time from Zürich to Singapore was slightly longer than if I had taken the Singapore Airlines nonstop service from Zürich, which leaves slightly after the Qatar Airways flight. But in all honesty, I hardly think the time gain of roughly three hours can justify what Singapore Airlines or SWISS charge for the journey, especially seeing as the SWISS product at least is certainly no match for Qatar Airways.