Written by Barnaby Taylor. Published on .
If you’re going on holiday to possibly the most enticing and serene destination on the planet, the last thing you need is to arrive feeling stressed, cramped and grumpy.
Bali is calling, and I don’t want to waste a single minute when I’m there feeling even remotely negative. So, Qatar Airline’s business class travel it is!
This airline’s reputation is as stellar and beguiling as my ultimate destination.
Of course, even amazing business class deals need to be carefully weighed up. The cost of the ticket, compared to the entire travel experience; from the moment you arrive at your starting point to stepping up to your hotel reception desk. It’s all about your own personal ‘pleasure points’, the extras you most value to make long haul travel at least ‘bearable’.
Though it is an individual decision, no Qatar business class travel review would be complete without mentioning how well respected the airline company is by its own industry.
In the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards Qatar picked up Airline of the Year for a record-breaking fifth time. It also scooped the titles for World’s Best Business Class, Best Business Class Seat, and Best Airline in the Middle East.
Now that’s impressive!
One of the ways the company retains its industry crown is by constantly investing in the quality and luxury features of its flight services, and indeed in its fleet as a whole. The company’s latest A350 aircraft are used for selected flights to Doha, though the company also offers a luxury Business Class product using its Boeing 777-300ER, also with the QSuite, and its Dreamliners and Airbus A380s with its previous configuration.
The company’s modern fleet has been manufactured to improve passenger comfort by every sensory aspect – including its reassuringly modern appearance, along with well-regulated cabin pressure and humidity, ambient colour-change lighting, and engine functioning that’s as quiet as humanly possible.
All of this can help passengers to manage jetlag brilliantly (as long as you’re not distracted by all the wonderful things provided, but more on that later).
My Qatar Airways trip to Bali was set to be an 18-and-a-half-hour journey, which included a little over two hours stopover in Hamad International Airport, Doha. That sort of time needs to be spent wisely and well, to make sure this big chunk of my holiday was more about pleasure than pain.
Find out what I thought in this Qatar business class review…
Flights from London Heathrow with Qatar Airways leave from Terminal 4, and as this was a peak time for holidaymakers flocking abroad I was keen to see how quickly business class travel becomes an authentic perk.
The answer is immediately! My passage through check-in and security was swift and seamless, leaving me relieved to be away from the envious looks of fellow passengers standing in large human snakes!
Slipping into the Qatar Business Class Premium Lounge at Heathrow everyone else was quickly forgotten. Think luxury Middle Eastern hotel, with gently lapping water, cool mosaics and blue tiles, real olive trees and herbs, and the warm glow of fabulous customer service. There were fellow passengers comfortably huddled in private pockets to work, but I took full advantage of the theatre-style food service to watch complimentary culinary masterpieces being made.
After this ‘food porn’ I almost needed to use the luxury showers on offer!
Stepping onboard the Airbus A350 that was to be my ‘home’ for the next six hours and 40 minutes, I immediately discovered something not necessarily covered by the marketing spiel.
The quality of the Qsuite seating – with its sliding doors and option to fully recline – was strikingly obvious. So was something less tangible – atmosphere. This was partly stimulated by the way that the versatile Qsuite seats could be adjusted to accommodate family interaction, or even little colleague meeting ‘pods’! If you want to be private and alone – it is a doddle to make that happen. However, there is nothing stuffy or impersonal about the Qatar business class cabin. It is a five-star luxury hotel with as much social interaction as you personally desire.
Cheap business class tickets with Qatar are tricky to track down, so it’s important to be 100% sure that the extra cash is money well spent. A fabulous seat is not much good if you’re bored on the plane and the journey drags.
Settled into my fabulous seat, with some new friends to chat to, attentive Cabin personnel and plenty of delicious treats available, I unwound far quicker than I expected. (There was abundant fruit by the way; but I’m on holiday!) Fortunately, with Qatar the in-flight food easily became a wonderful distraction and a highlight of the business class experience. It was truly delicious, and made even more appealing by service, silverware and linen that ‘transports’ you to an earth-bound fine dining restaurant!
After so much socialising and eating, it was time to freshen up with the Qatar business class goodies. This immediately won maximum points from me, as the airline has introduced re-usable amenity bags – from Italian luxury travel brand Bric’s. I must confess to being ‘that person’ who gets a little over-invested in any kind of freebie, but the Qatar goodies were in a league of their own. As well as the usual socks, eyeshades and earplugs, the business class amenity kits include a range of Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio skincare products (such as lip balm, a hydrating facial mist and an anti-ageing cream). I also loved the addition of a night cream, spectacle pouch and hairbrush in first-class amenity bags; I can dream.
Thoroughly pampered, I nestled down in my seat for some ‘me time’ during the flight, and found it lived up to its promise of comfort, privacy and ample elbow and legroom. I browsed the well-curated entertainment collection – with many current film titles – watching and listening with technically brilliant audio-visual equipment. It was all going wonderfully well.
My stopover in Doha was uneventful, and mainly consisted of a lovely “meet and greet” service that swept me through immigration and security, before popping my head briefly into the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge. It looked busy – as Economy Class passengers can purchase entry too – but very appealing and luxurious.
Then, I was back onboard a Qatar aircraft for more business class pampering in my own private ‘world’ for almost ten hours, where I settled for a snooze in my beautifully-sheeted chair bed.
Touching down in Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar, I had safely arrived at the ‘Island of the gods’.
Okay, I confess to arriving feeling tired. That is far from the fault of the Qatar business class deal. Well, it is in a way. I had so much to eat, so many lovely people to talk to (staff and fellow passengers) and great films to watch in comfort and crystal clear quality, that I didn’t get as much sleep as I should!
However, I arrived tired but HAPPY, and started my Bali break in a positive, relaxed frame of mind, feeling pampered and ready for paradise. I can sleep on the beach!
If I had to pick one thing that made the cost of business class flights with Qatar worthwhile, it is something common to the company’s airport lounges, onboard experience and arrival at Denpasar; the staff. At no point are you made to feel like ‘just another customer’. It was a level of professional courtesy and care for which the abbreviation ‘VIP’ is the only fitting moniker. The staff all glide around looking wonderful, and approach you with discretion, serenity and a genuine interest in your wellbeing. Nothing is too much trouble.
When you experience a flicker of trepidation about leaving your aircraft to start your holiday, in case your holiday customer experience just peaked, you know that business class travel is worth every penny. You also feel a little less sad about facing the journey home too!
To learn more about Qatar Airways, the services they provide and the amazing business class deals from our experienced travel consultants, call us on 020 8417 1366 or enquire online. Alternatively, if you’d like to find out more about other airlines, check out our cheap business class flights here.
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