[Click above for the video review.]
- Flight: QR1363
- Route: DOH-JNB
- Equipment: Boeing 777-300ER
- Cabin: Business Class
- Seat: 1J/1K
As you may now know, I’m a huge fan of Qatar Airways. For me, the passenger experience with them has always been en-pointe and though some of their business class seats are outdated, they are still very comfortable even in long haul flights.
This review brings us back to Doha’s Hamad International Airport. It was around 10:00pm and we had just flew in from Colombo on Qatar Airways Business Class. Our connecting flight to Johannesburg didn’t leave until 2:45am, so we had a few hours to kill. We were also meeting my sister and brother in-law in Doha, and they were traveling with us to JNB.
We initially went to the Al Mourjan Business lounge, but because of Qatar’s lounge access rules, we were not allowed to bring in guests and instead were directed to go to the Qatar Airways “First Class Lounge” (not to be confused with the Al Safwa First lounge, which only First Class passengers have access to) – which is the designated Oneworld Emerald lounge in Doha. We walked over across the concourse and took the escalators up to the lounge. We mentioned to the lounge agent that we are Oneworld Emeralds traveling with guests. The agent scanned our boarding passes, and waved us through.
I wasn’t expecting much, but the lounge itself was much nicer than I thought. It was definitely much cozier than the Al Mourjan or Al Safwa lounges, but it was also beautiful. The space is basically a long and rather narrow hallway. It featured a living wall, with high ceilings and offered plenty of seating. There were also hot and cold food items available on the buffet. An espresso maker and other beverages were also on offer. Directly adjacent to the buffet, was a small dining area with tables.
There was also a single shower room available, which we were able to use but we had to wait a bit. Our overall impression was very good. Not on the same league as the al mourjan or al safwa lounges, but much better than some US lounges that we’ve been to.
After a nice shower and a cappuccino, we decided to head to the gate. Upon arriving, the gate agent scanned our boarding passes and allowed us into the boarding lounge. As always, there was a battalion of people standing near the gate, and things got crazier as boarding was announced.
We made our way to the gate and through the jet bridge. Waiting at the door was the cabin service manager, who welcomed us on board, while another flight attendant walked us to our seats.
This Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER features QR’s previous generation seats. There are 42 front facing flat bed seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. Qatar also uses these seats on their 777-200LR planes, which we reviewed here. Sadly not all seats have aisle access, which may be problematic for people traveling solo.
We were seated in 1J and 1L on the starboard side of the plane, both of which are bulkhead seats. Waiting at our seats were the pilllow, duvet, and noise canceling headphones. There was also a bottled water inside the sliding coaster in the center console.
After settling in, a flight attendant came by and took our pre-departure beverage orders. My companion asked for a glass of rosé champagne, while I ordered Qatar’s signature lime & mint drink. She also asked if we wanted a hot or cold towel. I opted for the hot, while my companion asked for a cold towel.
While waiting for our drink orders, another flight attendant came by and offered us each a Girorgio Armani amenity kit. She also asked us if we wanted a sleeper suit, in which we both asked for a size Large.
Our welcome drinks and towels were soon delivered along with our pajamas. After few minutes, boarding was complete and the Captain went on the PA for his pre-flight announcement. He mentioned our flight time of 8 hours and 20 minutes.
We soon pushed back from the gate and the safety video started playing. We had a quick taxi to the end of the runway, after which we had a short takeoff roll and rather smooth ascent.
10 minutes into the flight, the Captain switched off the seatbelt sign, and the crew started their service.
A flight attendant came by to take our drink and meal orders. We first asked for the rosé champagne, which was served with warm nuts. Even though this was a late night (or early morning) flight, I still wanted to have a full meal since I didn’t eat much at the lounge.
While waiting for our meal, I decided to check out the IFE selections. Since we were seated in the bulkhead, the IFE monitor pops out from the center console. I flipped through the large selection of movies, TV programs, music, and games, but as usual just decided to watch the air show.
Soon a flight attendant came by to setup our meal table with white linen complete with a bread basket and plate.
The soup course came first, which was cream of asparagus. It doesn’t look that appetizing, but it was pretty good and also served at the right temperature.
Next up was the main entrée, in which I ordered the Thai chicken curry. It was delicious!
Finally for dessert, I was in the mood for some cheese, so I ordered the cheese plate. I loved it and I finished everything!
After the big meal, I visited the lavatory to freshen up and change into my pajamas. It was a good size lav complete with the usual toiletries, and amenities. There was also a changing bench which made it easy for me to change.
Feeling refreshed, I went back to my seat and made it into a flat bed. The bed was comfortable and I slept for a almost 5 hours.
After waking up from a restful nap, I decided to have my pre-landing meal a little earlier than the usual 90 minutes before landing. I pressed the call light, and a flight attendant promptly arrived. I asked if I could have my meal earlier and she obliged and reminded me that I could order anything since they offered a dine on demand service concept.
Then I had the Bircher Müesli to start the meal.
For the main, I ordered the omelet which was pretty good.
The meal ended with a hot towel.
I went back to sleep for another hour or so, only to be awakened by the Captain’s announcement of our initial descent into Johannesburg.
It was a cloudy day in Jo’Burg, but we still had some good visibility on the way down. Landing was uneventful. We taxied for a few minutes before parking next to a Lufthansa 748-8i. Then we soon disembarked said our goodbyes to the crew.
We had a rather long walk to immigration, and sadly the queue at passport control was even worse. We were in line for over an hour before we eventually got through.
We arranged a pickup service from the Hyatt Regency Johannesburg, and the driver was already waiting for us at the arrival hall.
All in all, this was another excellent flight on Qatar Airways. We were bummed about not being able to bring our guests to the al Mourjan lounge, but were happy to be able to see the “other first class lounge”. The flight was a typical Qatar flight. We got excellent and efficient service from the crew. An awesome dining on demand service with great food presentation and quality. The seats, well they were the older business class seats, but since I was traveling with a companion it worked out rather well. And of course, the pajamas and flight amenities were also a nice touch. I give this flight a solid 8.5 out of 10.