Qatar Airways is a rapidly growing Gulf carrier, serving the world via their incredible new hub airport in Doha, Qatar. With a new fleet, great Arabic hospitality, personal service and some of the best food in the sky, they are great option for American travelers looking to reach destinations all over the world. I had a chance to fly in the airline’s Business Class service on a flight from Doha to Philadelphia. With 14 hours to spend on the plane, I really had a chance to experience the seat, the service, the food, the wine, the entertainment and the amenities.
The US flights are done on 777 planes with two classes of service. The airline will introduce new Airbus A350 XWBs on the Philadelphia and US routes starting in 2016. Also in 2016, Qatar Airways will also add new US cities to the list of those it serves, those new destinations being Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta.
Doha’s new Hamad International Airport (HIA) is huge, beautiful and well-designed.It needs to be with an expected annual capacity of over 50 million passengers. It was a quick trip to walk down to the boarding gate from the Al Mourjan Business Lounge. The airport, one of the largest in the world, features incredible shopping and dining. There’s a Harrod’s as well as all the luxury brands including Chanel and Bulgari, even a Caviar House & Prunier caviar bar.
In-flight service was personal and attentive. Qatar Airways separates itself from other carriers with an on-demand dining system. Like a restaurant, anything from the extensive and delicious menu can be ordered anytime during the flight. The food is amazing, including bespoke menu selections from world-class chefs like Nobu Matsuhisa. The flight schedule is even jet-lag friendly with a 1 AM departure from Qatar leading to a 7 AM arrival the same day into Philadelphia (with the time change).
On the 777, the seats are 2-2-2. They are standard, 22-inch-wide large international business class seats, and the recline into a flat, 78-inch-long horizontal bed. The seats are a woven fabric material. The seats have good lighting, ample spaces for storage and a divider that offers good privacy, especially when sleeping. For sleeping, the cabin crew make the seat into a bed with a Frette linen mini mattress, sheets and a real pillow. It was extremely comfortable and quite easy to get a long night’s sleep. The new A350s feature the more suite-like seats in a diagonal herringbone layout.
Giorgio Armani products are included in the amenity kit, as are Qatar Airways pajamas. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to go into the large bathroom, change into my pajamas, then come out to my seat, which had been made into a lovely bed.
Qatar Airways’ Oryx IFE system provided a nice range of big-name movies, TV shows, audio content and games. When I flew, they featured a “box set” of Al Pacino movies, which was awesome. The airline offers an even more extreme luxury experience on its First Class service, although it’s not available on US routes.
The airline shines here as well, Qatar Airways features what they call their “Culinary World Menu” which highlights dishes from four of the world’s best chefs. Tom Aikens, Vineet Bhatia, Ramzi Choueiri and Nobu Matsuhisa each have added selections to the menu.
First, I had the roasted pumpkin and chestnut soup, served with creme fraiche, spiced pumpkin seeds and Parmesan cheese twists. For the main course I went with the chicken breast, prepared with an apricot tagine sauce. It was served with corriander, mint, red pepper and a sweet raisin cous cous. Dessert was amazing, featuring my favorite, Laduree pastries from Paris, along with fresh fruit.
The wining part of the dining started with Taittinger Rose’ champagne, then a Babich 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I continued with a special 2006 Reserve de la Comtesse Pauillac from Chateau Pichon Longueville in Burgundy.
The Al Mourjan Business Lounge
Doha’s Hamad International Airport is home to Qatar Airways’ truly amazing Al Mourjan Business Lounge, one of the largest airport lounges in the world. Filled with four areas serving delicious food, vast areas to relax, socialize or work and offering incredible luxury amenities, it’s a great place to spend some time. Cool highlights of the lounge include a gameroom and F1 racing video simulator. Each seat and seating area in the lounge has its own digital display with flight information. Showers with free amenities are available, as are quiet sleeping rooms, complete with pajamas and wake-up call service. For those willing to venture outside the lounge, the airport has its own luxury hotel, within the security area, complete with an indoor pool, gym, spa and sauna. The hotel is creatively called The Airport Hotel and those hotel amenities are available to Qatar Airways Business Class passengers.
Follow luxury travel blogger Freddy Sherman on Twitter, @luxuryfred and on his blog, luxuryfred.com
Flight provided by Qatar Airways