Even though I’d had a great time in Bangkok, Thailand and Luang Prabang, Loa People’s Democratic Republic, I was eager to complete the around-the-world trip with two flights in business class on Qatar Airways.
The first flight was to be on an A380 from Bangkok to Doha. Business class was all-aisle access on the upper deck. The seat was the same as on a Qatar A350-900 I had flown a couple of years previously from Philadelphia, PA to Doha. I really liked that seat.
But the check-in counter had bad news. Qatar cancelled the A380 and substituted a 787-8 and a 777-300. Qatar did not notify me of the equipment swap and departure time change by email or text. I was rebooked on the 777. Business class on that aircraft is 2-2. I would have preferred the 787. It is 1-2-1 in business and I just like 787s.
Qatar Flight (QR) 941 Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) to Doha, Qatar (DOH)
Distance: 3,285 miles
Estimated Flight Time at Departure: Six hours and 30 minutes
Because this was a red-eye flight with limited service, I will save the detailed trip report for the Qsuites flight from Doha to New York.
Business-Class Cabin and Seat
This fight was scheduled to depart from Gate D-3 at 20:35 20 minutes earlier than the cancelled A380 flight. At check in, Qatar issued a pass for Premium Lane security and immigration which normally have shorter lines. D gates have a prime location in the center of the terminal just behind immigration and security. Even so, when I got to the gate, boarding was almost over.
I used the separate jet bridge for business class to go right onboard to Seat 1A. Separate jet bridges for premium and economy cabins is common in major Asian airports. Separate jet bridges speed boarding and facilitate pre-departure service in the premium cabins.
Qatar outfits this version of the 777-300ER with 42 business-class seats in two cabins arranged 2-2-2. The forward cabin has four rows and the aft cabin three. The cabins are separated by a galley and bathrooms. Row 1 is a bulkhead row in the forward business-class cabin. More bathrooms and another galley lie between Row 1 and the flight deck. SeatGuru gives Seat 1A a yellow rating due to the proximity of the galley and lavatories. After this flight, I disagree.
The seat is about 22 inches wide and has a lie-flat bed length of 80 inches. An extension to the console houses the video screen and provides a bit of separation from the passenger in the aisle seat. There is a small divider on the console that can also be extended for added privacy. The most convenient feature is the nifty tray table that deploys from the console without disturbing anything sitting on top.
The video remote and seat controls are located conveniently on the center console and outside armrest, respectively. There is a small storage compartment under the video remote.
Because this flight was “only” scheduled for about 6.5 hours flight time, I wasn’t expecting all of the amenities of a 15-hour TransPac. But Qatar should not be underestimated. A blanket and pillow worthy of first class, Oryx One noise-cancelling headphones, and an amenity kit were on the seat at boarding. Prior to pushback a flight attendant delivered properly sized slippers and pajamas.
Even though I boarded late, the flight attendants managed to offer me a glass of champagne poured in the galley, hand out the menu and take my order for dinner and beverage. Pushback was at 20:28, seven minutes before scheduled departure. Taxiways were crowded. Takeoff was at 20:53 on 4,000 meter long Runway 19L, BKK’s main runway.
Qatar Airways has the best business class service in the sky. This res-eye flight would not showcase its best, but the service was still great. As the plane leveled off at the initial cruise altitude, the cabin manager came by to introduce himself. Service began 22 minutes after takeoff with drinks ordered on the ground and nuts.
About 20 minutes later the flight attendants set the table and began the dinner service.
Dinner tasted great and the presentation was wonderful. The linen, plates and glassware seemed to be of a higher quality than normally found in business class on other airlines.
After diner, I killed the time before descent by watching a movie and sleeping. When reclined flat, the bed is a comfortable bed although a bit narrow. Th large pillow and heavy blanket make sleeping comfortable even in a cold cabin.
This version of the 777-300ER has a basic in-flight entertainment system. The selection of movies is typical of international business class, but the screen is smaller and with lower definition than the latest systems.
There are two lavatories for business class between the forward galley and the flight deck and two more by the galley between the two business-class cabins. The bathrooms were clean as expected and had some additional personal amenities, lotions and sprays.
With a eight-hour layover before the final flight to New York in a Qatar QSuite, I spent much of the rest of the flight contemplating the best strategy for requesting a hotel room when I arrived in Doha. I knew Qatar offered them in certain situations.
This seat is not Qatar’s best hard product, but it was adequate for this flight. It was disappointing that Qatar cancelled the A380 flight with a better seat and all-aisle-access configuration and even more disappointing not to be notified until check in. The service, however, did not disappoint. Qatar, as a general rule, provides better service in business class than other airlines I’ve flown with Singapore Airlines being a close second.
SeatGuru says that Seat 1A is undesirable. I agree as to Seat 1B but not 1A. By being by the window Seat 1A is comfortably isolated from the commotion in the galley and aisle. The flight attendants did a great job of keeping closed the curtains between the galley and the cabin. Furthermore with a 2-2-2 arrangement, bulkhead rows make it is easier to get by the passenger on the aisle when that seat is fully reclined. There is some space between the seat and the bulkhead where a passenger can scoot out without stepping directly over the aisle passenger.
Other posts from this around-the-world trip to Thailand and Laos.
Asiana Airlines A380 First Class – New York (JFK) to Seoul/Incheon (ICN)
Asiana Airlines First Class Lounge Seoul/Incheon (ICN)
Singapore Airlines 777-300 First Class – Seoul/Incheon (ICN) to Singapore (SIN)
Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge (SIN) – The Private Room
Singapore Airlines 787-10 Business Class – Singapore (SIN) to Bangkok, Thailand (BKK)
Bangkok Airways ATR-72 Economy Class between Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) and Luang Prabang, Laos (LPQ)
Luang Prabang City Tour
Bicycle Tour To Tad Sae Falls, Laos
Hotel Review – Villa Nagara, Luang Prabang, Laos
Hotel Review – Marriott Executive Apartments, Bangkok, Thailand
Qatar Airways 777-300ER Business Class – Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) to Doha, Qatar (DOH)
Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge Doha, Qatar (DOH)
Qatar Airways 777-300ER Business Class (Q Suites) – Doha, Qatar to New York, NY (JFK)