Having found a good priced ticket from Oslo to Singapore in one of Qatar’s frequent sales, I was eager to see what their business class product would be like. I’d heard little negative about Qatar’s offering, and I wasn’t left disappointed. If you don’t mind a short transit in Doha, Qatar offers a good option if you’re looking to fly to Asia.
At the Airport
Oslo is quite a nice airport, and easy to navigate. From Oslo, Qatar offer two daily departures to Doha, from where you can connect to a number of destinations. I arrived to check-in roughly two hours before departure, and the Qatar check-in area was fairly quiet. There was a priority queue for Business Class, as well as Qatar and oneworld frequent flyers. It only took around 5 minutes to complete check-in.
Unfortunately, I got confused trying to find the lounge (Qatar use the OSL Lounge) and went through passport control to leave the Schengen zone – from which point it is impossible to then go back – as such, I missed out on the lounge, which is before passport control. Lesson learnt for next time, but it didn’t hugely matter, as I found somewhere comfortable to sit, and free internet was available and offered very good speeds.
Boarding was a very efficient process, and started roughly forty five minutes prior to departure. There was priority boarding for business class, anD this worked efficiently. Upon showing my boarding pass at the aircraft door, I was directed to my seat (2a). Shortly after this, I was offered a pre-departure drink, and opted for champagne – never a bad way to start a flight ;). I was also asked whether or not I’d like a hot or cold towel.
Qatar’s 787 product is very good in business (you can read our review in economy here) with a 1-2-1 configuration. If you’re travelling solo, as I was, try and get either an A or K seat, as these offer greatER privacy when travelling alone. The seats themselves are very comfortable, and feel very private. The personal screen was large, and of a high quality, and worked perfectly throughout the flight.
Qatar offers a very nice amenity pack, which included additional extras such as aftershave, as well as the usual’s, such as earplugs, an eye mask, moisturiser and lip-balm. In business, they offer a dine on demand service, so technically you can have your meal whenever you’d like, there are also a range of light snacks available throughout the flight, should you be hungry. Shortly after take off, I was invited to eat, and asked if I wanted to order anything from the menu, which I opted to do.
On this flight, the menu was as follows:
— Appetisers —
Classic Arabic Mezze
Cured salmon with horseradish and chive potato salad
— Mains —
Arabic spiced chicken breast with rice
Marinated lamb loin and rosemary jus
Vegetable Thai green curry
Cheese selection served with crackers
Lemon tart with a raspberry jus
Gourmet ice cream
Seasonal fresh fruit
All of the options sounded good to me, but I opted for the cured salmon starter, the lamb main, and finally the lemon tart. Everything was of a good standard, although the starter and dessert stood out. I was particularly impressed with the standards of presentation, which were far above the norm for business class. The service, as I’d expect from Qatar, was very good, and the crew ensured that drinks were topped up throughout the main meal, even enquiring if I wanted to switch from white to red wine for the main course, to better accompany the lamb.
Since this was a fairly short daytime flight (6.5hrs) I didn’t opt to sleep, although I did on my return flight, and can vouch that I did so very well with the seat being very comfortable for sleeping when in lie-flat mode. If you’re sitting up, the seat offers a number of angles, meaning it was very easy to find a comfortable option for the duration of the flight. Whilst relaxing, I had a play around with the IFE system, which was of a very high quality. There were plenty of options to choose from and the playback quality was very good. The system also worked flawlessly throughout, and didn’t require resetting at any point.
Throughout the flight, the crew were very responsive to any requests for refreshments, and were regularly in the cabin topping up drinks, and making sure passengers didn’t require anything else – the service genuinely couldn’t be faulted, and the whole experience felt very relaxed. Unlike in economy (you can see our review here), the business cabin felt far from crowded, and there was plenty of space to stretch out – indeed, whilst not the case in Y, in business the 787 does tend to offer a very solid product, and I’d prioritise this aircraft type if it was an option.
Qatar regularly offer very attractive fares from Europe to Asia, and if you’re looking for good deals in business, always be sure to check for departures from Scandinavia, as good offers can often be found from departure points such as Oslo and Stockholm. I booked this fare in January, when Qatar tends to hold a very good New Year sale, but there are regular offers throughout the year, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a fairly good fare, especially if you can be flexible with dates.
If a stopover in Doha doesn’t concern you (and in paid business you’ll be invited to use the very attractive Al Mourjan lounge) then Qatar offers an attractive option when flying to Southeast Asia. When travelling on the 787 in business, you can be sure of a very solid hard product which feels both comfortable and private. In terms of soft product, Qatar is a tough one to beat, with the food and wine served being of a consistent quality, whilst impressive levels of service are the norm.
Providing the value proposition was good, I wouldn’t hesitate to use Qatar in business again.