I recently heard about Qatar Airways’ newly reconfigured Airbus A320, which services the Helsinki to Doha route. I was intrigued about the passenger experience, considering QR flies widebody planes to other Scandinavian cities. Luckily, I was able to find a good last minute deal on a business class ticket from Helsinki and decided to book it.
We spent the night before our flight at the Hilton Helsinki Airport, which is connected to the airport terminal via covered walkway.
The day of our flight, we walked over to the terminal and found the Qatar Airways check-in counters. There was dedicated queue for Business Class Passengers, and we were helped by a friendly agent right away.
Boarding passes printed, we went through security and walked over to the Finnair Lounge.
The lounge itself is very bright, because of the huge windows facing the tarmac. Unfortunately, it was way too crowded when we got there and we ended up sitting at one of the counters.
Food selection was rather basic. There was soup, some vegetables, and fish available from the hot food buffet. There were also some cold fruits, greens, cold cuts and cheeses in the cold buffet. I ended up just having some soup, veggies, and cheese.
An hour before departure, we made our way to exit immigration and eventually arrived at gate 32A for our flight.
Boarding started about 40 minutes before departure time. People traveling with small children and people with disabilities were called first, and then Business Class passengers. There was a dedicated Business Class boarding lane, so we didn’t have to wait long.
We made our way down to the jet bridge, and I was able to take some last minute shot of our airplane.
At the door, we were greeted by a Filipina flight attendant and were escorted to our seats. We were seated in seats 3D and 3F, in the last row of business class on the starboard side of the plane.
QR uses the B/E Aerospace Diamond seats, similar to what American uses on their 3-cabin transcontinental configured Airbus A321 in business class. There are other carriers that use these seats, including United on their 787 Dreamliners.
There are only 12 seats in business class on this plane and the seats are configured in a 2-2 layout.
Waiting for us at our seats were our pillow and blanket. Bottled water and noise canceling headphones were also available in the small cubby right above above the shoulder, which also houses the USB port, and audio inputs.
The seat controls are on the center console in between the seats, while the AC power outlets are in the front of the center console.
Upon settling in, we were offered a pre-departure beverage, as well as a choice of hot or cold towels. We opted for some rosé champagne.
Bric’s branded Amenity Kits and menus were also distributed soon after. Sadly since this is a day flight under 8 hours, no pajamas were offered.
I browsed through the IFE contents, but ultimately decided on just watching the moving map.
Before we knew it, boarding was complete and the Captain came on the PA to announce our departure to Doha. Our flight time was 6 hours and 10 minutes.
We soon pushed back from the gate, and the travel prayer and safety video started playing. The flight attendant took our meal orders during our rather short taxi to the end of the runway.
We were soon cleared for takeoff. Both the takeoff roll and initial ascent were smooth as it was was a clear day in Helsinki. We also had some great views of Helsinki on the way up.
About 10 minutes into the flight, the captain turned off the seatbelt sign and service began.
Beverage service started with some champagne and a diet coke along with some warm nuts.
Then our tables were set, and the amuse bouche was served. It was a cold marinated seared tuna dish, and it was delicious!
Up next, I ordered the Arabic Mezze plate. It was just OK, but I think Etihad’s mezze is better.
My companion ordered the roasted red pepper and tomato soup. I had a taste of it, and it was a little too salty for my taste, but it was flavorful, and at least it was served at the right temperature.
Then I ordered the spiced Arabic chicken. It just had the right amount of flavor and spice, and it was delicious. It was quite possibly one of the best chicken dishes I’ve had in the sky.
My companion had seared fish fillet, and he enjoyed it as well.
For dessert, I ordered the cheese plate. It was more of a cheese platter since it was a huge serving, but the cheeses and accoutrements were good!
My companion had the ice cream. I really like how QR presents their ice cream compared to other carriers.
After the meal, I ordered some port wine for my digestif. We were also given 2 boxes of Godiva chocolates -yum!
I visited the lavatory to freshen up. There was only one lavatory in the front of the business class cabin and it was on the small side, but it was well stocked with the usual QR amenities.
After I got back to my seat, I looked out the window and marveled at the view of the mountain ranges above Iran.
I then made my bed and slept for a couple of hours.
I woke up about an hour before landing, and I wanted a snack so I ordered some hot savory pastries from the menu and a diet coke. The pastries were delicious and exactly what I was craving for.
My companion wasn’t very hungry, so he just ordered QR’s signature lime and mint drink, which was served with a package of Walkers cookies.
Soon enough, the captain announced our initial descent into Doha. The flight attendant came around to collect and last minute items, and thanked us for flying Qatar Airways.
Descent and landing were very smooth as it was a clear afternoon in Doha.
We taxied for a few minutes before parking at the gate. We soon gathered our belongings and said our goodbyes to the awesome crew. We then went through transit security and said hello to the big bear of Doha once again.
Overall, I thought this was an excellent flight. The seats were lie flat and the service was impeccable as always. The food and amenities was also very good and well presented. The only thing that could be an issue is the the lack of direct aisle access for all the seats. Otherwise, it hardly felt like a narrow body flight at all. I give this flight a very good 8 out of 10.