Contributed by Laurence Dalby, a Buymyupgrade.com community member.
Back in 2019 my wife and I planned a trip to Asia and then Covid-19 happened. Fast forward to November 2022 and we were on our way to Bangkok, three years in the making. We’d originally used a British Airways Companion Voucher to book direct with BA in Business Class. That cost us 90,000 Avios + approximately £650 each. However, over the three years, we’d experienced numerous changes. We ended up flying via Doha with Qatar Airways as BA has scrapped their direct flight to Bangkok. I’d have preferred a direct flight but you cannot complain about flying on the best Business Class in the world and breaking your trip up in Doha, voted the best airport in the world.
If you’re wondering how we managed to use a companion voucher on non-BA metal… The rules were bent after BA cancelled our original flights. They were happy to let us go via Doha on Qatar airways without much hassle.
Like most airlines, Qatar Airways have numerous Business Class products in circulation. The best is their Q Suites, the worst being their A330 offering. From London Heathrow they almost guarantee the Q Suites other than the recently re-introduced daily A380 flight. For our outbound trip we were scheduled on two 777-300s, from Heathrow to Doha we were on Q Suites and initially from Doha to Bangkok we were on their older 777 product which is 2-2-2, but about 1 week out this changed to Q Suites too, equipment changes are pretty common with Qatar so keep an eye on the seat map every so often to ensure you get the seat you want.
It’s worth noting, that planning flights around getting a specific aircraft can be problematic. The airline has no obligation to offer a particular aircraft on a specific route. This makes getting something like Q Suites a bit hit-and-miss. The airline’s contract with you (the ticket) is to get you from point A to point B and that’s all.
The Q suite on Qatar’s 777-300.
Check-in at LHR
Our flight from Heathrow to Doha departed late in the evening and we arrived at LHR Terminal 4 at around 1930. Check-in was a disappointment, and different to anything I’ve experienced before. It was set up so you approach a counter and exchange your check-in bags for a raffle ticket. Then you go into a waiting area and are called to the check-in desk by your number. There were a lot of people waiting, and the three check-in desks didn’t seem to be moving very quickly, with one occupied by a couple with about 20 bags. After about a five minute wait and no movement, I took things into my own hands. The other side of the Business Class waiting area was a check-in desk for One World status passengers and this had about 2 people in it.
I left my wife holding the fort in the Business Class ‘queue’ and waited in the other queue myself. The Qatar staff were a bit worried by this, insisting that I should wait patiently in the business class waiting area. I politely explained that I was happy to stand, but just wanted to check in as quickly as possible. Lo and behold my option was the better one and we were checked in a few minutes later. Then we headed to the priority security line, which we quickly breezed through.
Lounge at LHR
Next up was the Qatar Business lounge where we were looking forward to dinner. Qatar now have two lounges at LHR T4. There is one purely for ticketed Business Class passengers and another for One World status passengers. After a small struggle to find the right lounge due to some building works occurring at the entrance, we made our way to the a la carte dining area.
Qatar offers a sit-down dinner service or a buffet option. My wife and I opted for the sit-down service and both enjoyed the fillet steak, with asparagus and red pepper. It was delivered within about 10 minutes and the steak was cooked medium rare as requested and very tender. I then had some profiteroles for dessert. For the next 30 minutes or so we relaxed at the seating area with views over the back of the T4 apron until we were called to board.
The Steak main course in the Qatar lounge at LHR.
Onboard LHR to DOH flight
All the Q Suite fitted aircraft are the same layout in a 1-2-1 format. The middle E and F seats are perfect for couples as they pretty much allow a double bed configuration as the divider can the lowered completely. Q Suites also have a door which, after take-off can be closed which provides a great level of privacy. As our flight departed late and would arrive in Doha in the morning the plan was simple – sleep.
I’ll get to the dining options later, but Qatar offers a dine-on-demand service and during taxi when they came to take my order. I told them that I’d not require anything and simply wanted to sleep. They marked me as ‘do not disturb’ and as soon as the seat belt lights went off I changed into my Qatar Airways World Cup branded pyjamas. For those interested in the menu on a 2120 departure from LHR see here. After 5 hours of on-and-off sleep we were soon descending into Hamad International Airport.
Connecting in DOH
Luckily our flight was on time as our connection time was a short 55 minutes, just 10 minutes over the minimum connection time. I was quite worried about this in the weeks before the trip but I had nothing to worry about, we exited right out into the terminal and had loads of time to stretch our legs before the six-hour flight to BKK.
Walking around the garden in Doha airport.
Onboard DOH to BKK flight
We boarded our Q Suites 777-300 in the same seats as before – 3E and F. After a relatively good sleep on the first flight, we were looking forward to making the most of what Qatar Business Class had to offer. The food being served was lunch, with a soup; two starters and three main and dessert options as well as a cheese course for those inclined. I opted for the lobster cocktail with compressed fruits to start. The grilled jumbo prawns with tangy tamarind sauce for my main. I finished with the FIFA World Cup chocolate football to finish. The lobster was a bit odd, but the main and dessert were lovely. The wine list was plentiful with three reds and whites, one rose and two champagnes on offer. Port and a white dessert wine were also available. The menu for this flight is here, should you wish to take a look.
After the meal service I spent the rest of the flight making the most of the selection of films and TV programmes available. One thing that separates Qatar from other airlines is the cabin crew. They are available at your beckon call, any time you need anything they are there to assist. Fancy something extra to eat or drink? Just let them know and soon after it will be delivered to your seat. We were soon descending into BKK and I couldn’t think of many better ways to have spent the last 13 hours in the air.
DOH to BKK main course.
As I said in the opening paragraph, Qatar is regarded as one of the best Business Class carriers in the world. That’s for good reason. Their Q Suites product is fantastic, the service is top-notch. The only thing really letting them down was the sub-par check-in experience at Heathrow.
Check out for part two of this trip returning to London Gatwick via Doha here.