Contributed by Laurence Dalby, a Buymyupgrade.com community member.
Our return trip was a similar affair, although this time without Q Suites. Instead, we were on Qatar’s older hard product. Our first flight was on the A380 and the second on the A350-900. Qatar is slowly upgrading the majority of their fleet to Q Suites. But with the pandemic and technical issues with their fleet of A350’s this is taking much longer than planned.
The seat is similar to what can be found on many other airlines in a 1-2-1 layout, in a herringbone formation.
Business Class cabin on a Qatar A350-900.
Our flight departed Bangkok at 0115 in the morning landing at 0440 in Doha so the plan was similar to the outbound journey – sleep. This time I was in my pyjamas before the doors were closed. As soon as the seat belt light went off, I could lay down flat and sleep. Not much else happened on this flight to be honest. Five hours later we were starting our descent into Doha where we had a three-hour layover thanks to an on-time departure from BKK.
Connection and lounge at Doha
As you can imagine Hamad International Airport in November was full of World Cup buzz. It had also just opened an extension to what was already a huge airport. I’d read about this new development in the weeks before and was keen to investigate for myself.
Taking a leaf out of Singapore’s Changi airport; Doha now had an indoor garden of its own, complete with a water feature. I haven’t been to SIN, but from what I can tell DOH doesn’t quite match it, but it does offer an area of solace. With being new it was very quiet and we were able to check it out. A few other passengers had decided to use it as a place to rest during a long layover too! It’s surrounded by a number of eateries and high-end designer shops as well as a new Al Mourjan business lounge which we visited next.
Doha garden section.
Hamad International Airport previously only had one massive Business lounge but it now has three. The third in the gardens area had not yet opened but the North one had. At 0500 in the morning, it was deserted with about 20 people there and breakfast service had just begun. Again, a la carte is on offer as well as buffet options and I went for the eggs royale with asparagus. One issue was that the hollandaise sauce, was only just being made so there may be a delay to our food, but we were fine with this as we had plenty of time to kill. In the meantime, I opted for a very disappointing cardboard-like pain au chocolat and smoothie (which was much nicer).
When the eggs royale arrived, it was lovely and set us up for our final flight home. We chilled out for the next 30 minutes or so amongst the ample seating options and then headed to the gate.
Eggs Royale at the lounge in Doha.
Doha to London Gatwick
The A350-900, with the older business seats has a very open feel compared to the Q Suites, with no middle overhead lockers. With an open area at door two you feel quite exposed having been on the Q Suites a few weeks later. Still, in your seat, neighbouring passengers are pretty well hidden. After boarding and making ourselves comfortable we were presented with our menus and soon had to decide what to eat as the cabin crew ideally takes orders before departure.
The menu for this flight is here.
Doha to London Gatwick starter.
Even though it is dining on demand they like you to eat shortly after take-off so the cabin crew can have a bit of a rest. However, we opted for lunch about three hours in, which the crew were happy to do. This time I went for the burrata tomato carpaccio to start, the char-grilled kofta and lamb chop for my main and the gourmet ice cream selection to finish. Everything was tasty, but I’d preferred my meal on the outbound journey.
Once again after a few films and a few naps we were soon descending into Gatwick. That was much more convenient for us than Heathrow and nothing was lost lounge-wise on arrival. Disembarking was swift, as was passport control. Before you knew it our baggage was appearing on the carousel.
Doha to London Gatwick main course.
If you haven’t tried Qatar Airways you really should. I’ve flown British Airways, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Malaysian Airlines, Finnair and Iberia on their long-haul planes and Qatar tops them all. (Can you tell I stick to the One World alliance!).
The food and drink are light years ahead of BA and the hard and soft products trump them too. Now that they use Avios as their reward currency there’s also lots of opportunity to try them, as BA don’t fly to much of Asia and beyond anymore and taxes can be more favourable.