[Click above for the video review.]
- Flight: QR704
- Route: JFK-DOH
- Equipment: Airbus A350-900 XWB
- Cabin: Business Class
- Seat: 2A/3A
Happy Friday! If you know me, you’ll know that I’m crazy about Qatar Airways. Everything from the lounge, to the seat, and the consistently great service we’ve received from them leaves me giddy like a tween going to a Justin Bieber concert for the first time.
This isn’t the first time we’ve flown QR’s Airbus A350, but we loved the seats and the spacious cabin so much that we still got very excited about the flight.
We arrived JFK airport around 7:00 am from a positioning flight that we booked separately from San Francisco, which left us plenty of time to catch this flight which leaves at 10:00 am.
We took the air train to terminal 7 and made our way to the check-in counters. There was a separate queue and counters for Business Class passengers. There were other passengers waiting, and we waited for about 20 minutes before we were helped by a grumpy agent. Alas, our boarding passes were printed and we lined up for security. Sadly, QR does not participate in the TSA precheck program, which means shoes, laptops, and liquids need to come off. Thankfully, there weren’t many people in line, and we were through in about 10 minutes even without TSA Precheck.
Qatar uses the British Airways Galleries lounge at JFK, and upon arriving at the lounge, we were greeted by a friendly lounge agent who mentioned that we have access to the First Class section because of our OneWorld Emerald Status. Unfortunately, the First Class section was full and there were no seats available, so we went to the Business Class Lounge instead.
The business class section of the lounge is basically one huge room with different sections. There were plenty of seating available, and they even had an outdoor area. There was a business center, and an Elemis Spa (which was unfortunately closed at the time). There were also wine, booze, and snack stations throughout the lounge, which was nice. We decided to stay in the dining area to get some breakfast. I noticed that their food selection was rather limited and they had very limited hot food options. Ultimately, I decided on some oatmeal and fruits to tie me over until the the meal service during the flight.
About an hour before departure, we left the lounge and started walking towards the gate. Sadly, we couldn’t get any good views of the plane at all from the gate area, so we just waited patiently until boarding was announced. We waited in the boarding area for about 15 minutes, and then they started boarding priority, and business class passengers using a dedicated lane.
Upon arriving at the plane door, we were greeted by a female flight attendant and were shown our seats. We were seated in 2A and 3A on the port side of the plane.
QR uses the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond Reverse Herringbone seats that were developed specifically for Qatar Airways. These are the same same business class seats that QR uses on their Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliners. QR’s Airbus A350 has 36 of these flat bed business class seats configured in a 1-2-1 configuration, which means all seats have direct aisle access. There are 6 rows of seats in the main business class cabin, and 3 rows in the mini cabin right behind the main boarding door. The seat is ergonomically designed, and most features and functions are within an arms length when seated. There is plenty of storage, including a shoe storage drawer. The tray table conveniently pulls, and folds out from under the IFE monitor. There’s is an AC and USB power outlet to power and charge your electronic devices. The seat controls are also cleverly placed on the small side table next to your seat, and right next to it a smartphone inspired IFE remote on the side of the seat. The literature rack and adjustable reading lamp are to the left of the seat. I love that there were air nozzles and I liked the futuristic no smoking and seatbelt display.
Waiting at our seats were a pair of slippers, blanket, and a pillow. Once seated, the right armrest opens up to reveal a bottled water and noise canceling headphones.
Upon settling in, one of the flight attendants came with a Giorgio Armani amenity kit for Men. She also offered us a pre-departure beverage. I asked for a glass of their Lanson rosé champagne, which was promptly served along with a hot towel. Another flight attendant came by and handed us the wine and dining menus. She also asked if we wanted a sleeper suit. I said yes, and asked for a Large. She obliged and brought us our pajamas within a few minutes.
Before we knew it, boarding was complete and the captain announced our flight time of about 12 hours to Doha. The safety video soon started playing as we pushed back from the gate.
Taxi to the runway took a good 15-20 minutes, as there was a lot of traffic at JFK at this time. The crew came by and explained their dining on demand concept, and asked if we wanted to have the meal after take off. I said yes, and the flight attendant proceeded to take our drink and meal orders as we taxied. The captain asked the crew to be seated, as we approached the end of the runway, and then we had a smooth yet powerful takeoff roll and ascent.
About 5 minutes into the flight, the captain turned off the seatbelt sign and the crew started the meal service.
Beverage service started with a ramekin of warm nuts and another glass of rosé champagne, which was poured at my seat.
The first course was the butternut squash salad. It was light and refreshing!
For the main course, I opted for the grilled chicken breast. It was nicely presented and very moist and tasty, unlike most chicken dishes on airplanes.
For the dessert, I ordered the chocolate cake, which was sinfully delicious!
After the meal, I took the opportunity to change into my pajamas and freshen up in the lavatory. The business class lavatory was a little on the small size, but it was clean and stocked with various amenities. There was also a bench which made it easier to change into my pajamas.
Before heading back to my seat, I checked out the area in between the main business cabin and the mini cabin, where the flight the crew normally sets up snack a small snack bar. The snacks weren’t setup yet, but I loved the flower arrangement that was on display.
When I got back to my seat, a flight attendant came by and offered me a hot towel. She also asked if I wanted to sleep, so she could place the mattress pad on my seat. I said yes, and she happily obliged.
I soon brought down the window shades and reclined my seat into a flat bed. I slept for a good 4 hours.
Upon waking up, I ordered a mid-flight snack and some coffee. The snack was a chicken curry salad, which was awesome!
I checked out the wide variety of IFE offerings on the remote, but eventually decided on just watching the outside camera and moving map.
I dozed for a little bit and before I knew it, it was already time for the pre-landing meal service.
I ordered the Bircher Muësli for starters.
Then I had the steak and omelet, while my companion ordered the salmon omelet with corn pancakes. Both did not disappoint.
Hot towels were distributed after the meal.
Soon the Captain announced our descent into Doha. I opened the blinds and put my seat back upright. Then the crew picked up a few last minute service items, and thanked us for flying with Qatar Airways. The descent was very smooth and we had a soft landing at Doha’s Hamad International Airport.
We taxied for about 5 minutes and soon disembarked. We made our way to transit security, which was a breeze thanks to a dedicated lane for premium passengers. Then we walked over to the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge before catching our next flight.
My overall impression of this flight is great. The crew was professional and efficient in handling our meal orders and requests. They were also proactive in anticipating our needs during the flight. The seat, as I reviewed before is amazingly comfortable for both lounging and sleeping. The only negatives I can think of were the grumpy ground staff and the subpar food options at the British Airways lounge in JFK. I’ll give this one an 8 out of 10.