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REVIEW – Qatar Airways : Business Class – Doha to Stockholm (B787)

Jarvis Marcos - Qatar Airways Dreamliner

Jarvis Marcos - Qatar Airways Dreamliner

Qatar Airways (QR)

  • Flight: QR167
  • Class: First Class
  • From: Doha (DOH)
  • To: Stockholm (ARN)
  • Duration: 6hr15
  • Aircraft: Airbus B787-900
  • Seat: 2A
  • Status during flight: OneWorld Sapphire
  • Booking type: Cash fare
  • Date: March 2016


THIS IS A FOLLOW UP REVIEW. FOR A DEEP INSIGHT ON THE SEAT ITSELF READ MY FIRST REVIEW HERE: 

Qatar Airways : Business Class – B787 – Stockholm to Doha


Whilst sitting in the Al Mourjan lounge, enjoying our breakfast, we noticed that our flight had gone instantly from go to gate to final call. This meant that we now had to sprint across the entire length of Hamad International Airport as our flight had rather unfortunately been scheduled to depart from one of the dreaded D gates.

The A, B and C gates are all fairly centrally located, in relation to the main concourse (and the Lamp Bear). However, the D and E gates are both much further away and to add insult to injury, the boarding process involved being bussed to the plane.

As we arrived huffing and panting, the gate agent told us not to worry, we were going to make the flight. However he had some bad news for us. I immediately feared the worst. A downgrade to economy to finish our trip.

Thankfully this was only partially the case. We were told that unfortunately the business class bus had already left, he could call another one for us but it would be much quicker if we didn’t mind “downgrading” to the economy bus!

We laughed and told him that we did not mind in the least. I couldn’t help but compare this experience to the crammed ten minute bus journey we had experienced on BA in First Class (in which there was neither a separate bus for premium passengers nor an apology!)

Qatar Dreamliner - jarvismarcos

After one or two minutes we pulled up next to our beautiful Dreamliner. My usual association with bus gates is of boarding Easyjet or Ryanair flights on A320s under a light drizzle. Being up close with the massive engines of widebody jet in the warmth of the Doha morning air is quite a different proposition.


Qatar Dreamliner - jarvismarcos

Staring into the belly of the beast…


Qatar Airways planes - Doha

There’s quite an ethereal feel to the variety of wraith-like, grey vessels dotted around the blank landscape of Doha airport

With pulses still racing from our mad dash to the gate and temperatures fast rising outside, it was with great relief that we stepped into the luxurious environs of the Qatar business class cabin. We were greeted at the door and shown to our seats, a service standard more often adhered to in First but one that Qatar has been keen to implement in the small and exclusive feeling business class cabin on the Dreamliner.

Qatar Airways Business Class Dreamliner B787

Good to be back! A cold, scented towel was delivered to me whilst passengers were still boarding. I still can’t get over the fact that you get an individually presented, thick and luxurious towel (with a choice of hot or cold), whilst other airlines still hand out something that looks like a lens cleaning cloth from a large trough.


Qatar Airways Business Class Dreamliner B787

Once airborne drinks were distributed very quickly and efficiently by the crew. I ordered a bucks fizz (mimosa) and a double macchiato. These came with a generous serving of warm cashews and pistachios. The bucks fizz was really good, which I guess is to be expected given that it was made with Billecart Salmon and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Qatar Airways business class menu DOH-ARN

 


 

Although it was still breakfast time, I felt like ordering something more lunch-like from the menu. Given that Qatar has full dine on demand in business class, this was not a problem. Before flying with QR I didn’t really get what was so special about being able to eat when you want. I generally always want to eat as soon as I get on the plane. However, having the flexibility to eat not only when you want but also whatever you want is actually pretty fantastic. When flying QR in business class you are treated like a capable adult, in charge of your own life. Most other carriers treat you like a child that will be fed, watered and made to take a nap on demand. Quite a difference!

Qatar Airways Business Class Dreamliner B787

My pressed linen tablecloth was laid over the expansive canvas of glistening wood. As this is a breakfast flight the bread basket included a pastry and a croissant. To begin with I ordered the spicy clear broth with seafood and enoki mushrooms. I can’t get enough of the dramatic presentation, with the lid being unveiled from the elegant soup bowl at your seat.


Qatar Airways Business Class Dreamliner B787

The soup was absolutely delicious. The presentation could have been a little better and the seafood would have probably benefitted from not being battered but this was a great dish nonetheless. The stock had such a deep and rich flavour.


Qatar Airways Business Class Dreamliner B787

My next dish was the smoked halibut with mackerel rillettes. Again, the presentation here could have done with a little work but the freshness of the ingredients was undeniable and the horseradish, in conjunction with the lemon, worked as a perfect counterpoint to the oiliness of the fish.


For the main course I ordered the Thai beef salad. It was unbelievably good. The sourness of the lime dressing, the sweet chili kick, the salty tang of the fish sauce, a perfect harmony. The chilies were all heaped on one side so that those with more sensitive palates could remove them if they so chose. I did not ?

I spent the next few hours editing photos, listening to music and watching the world go by out of the Dreamliner’s expansive windows. With a couple of hours to go until landing I ordered a gruyere cheese omelette with chicken sausage and a glass of champagne.

Qatar Airways Business Class Dreamliner B787

This image really highlights the degree of freedom and the expanse of table and storage space available to passengers on Qatar. I have full access to tabletop storage at shoulder level and the large compartment near my knees. I am able to eat a meal and work from my laptop at the same time, whilst enjoying the airshow on the IFE. I can also get up from my seat, whenever I want, whilst my space is set up in this way. This is really a cut above the reverse herringbone seats found on the likes of the AA 777s or fleetwide on CX.


Qatar Airways Business Class Dreamliner B787

After my pre-landing meal I put everything away and listened to music, whilst marvelling at the spectacular views on the way in to Stockholm.

Overall another great flight, if anything this was even better than my first QR J experience at the beginning of the trip. The service was extremely attentive, every dish I tasted was superb and every item of F&B which I ordered was in stock whenever I ordered. More than anything, flying QR J imbues you with a feeling of freedom. You can do what you want, when you want and are never beholden to the whims and desires of other pax or the cabin crew. Leave your seat when you want, eat when you want, sleep when you want. How many airlines can claim likewise?

 

Transferring at ARN

Despite the rather well publicised (and very customer unfriendly) policy change, meaning that OneWorld airlines are no longer obliged to check bags across multiple itineraries, I was able to convince the check-in agent at BKK to cross check our bag between our Qatar ticket to Stockholm and our separate BA ticket back to Heathrow. I thought it would be useful to illustrate the transfer process for those in a similar situation.

Not quite as great as the views of the Concorde at LHR Terminal 3 but seeing these vintage planes whilst taxiing in Stockholm was still very cool.

Qatar airways uses Terminal 5 at Stockholm Arlanda, alongside the majority of international airlines.
You can check here to see which Terminal your airline uses.

BA uses Terminal 2 which is as far from Terminal 5 as it is possible to be. Whilst the terminals are connected landside, there is no airside connection possible on foot. Thankfully the bus transfer system works very well.

Stockholm terminal transfer bus 2 5

We followed the signs to the terminal transfer and pressed the ‘Request bus’ button.


Stockholm terminal transfer bus 2 5

A couple of minutes later an airport security agent appeared and asked us to scan our bags and pass through the metal detector. Despite the fact that our amenity kits had liquids inside them, we were allowed to keep them without having to transfer the liquids into a separate, transparent bag. 


Stockholm terminal transfer bus 2 5

Five minutes later our enormous, private bus appeared! I guess there are times when a vehicles of this size is necessary but we were the only pax on board on this occasion. I loved being able to get up close with the planes as we wove in and out of each terminal. It is almost worth planning a transfer between terminals just for this ?

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5 Comments

  1. KP says:

    Excellent trip report as always. Can the text colour of the picture captions be changed from grey to black? Really strains the eyes to read in grey! Regards 🙂

    • JarvisMarcos says:

      Thanks KP!
      I guess not everybody has a monitor that burns with the brightness of a thousand suns, like mine.
      It too all my technical expertise but I fixed it, I hope it’s easier to read now! 🙂

  2. Vieri_c says:

    My favourite dishes with QR!
    Had the seafood broth and thai salad on multiple occasions on the trip down to Auckland and back!
    Cant wait for our Sake fare trip to Tokyo and Taipei in October!
    Keep posting on instagram too

    Regards

    Vieri_c on instrgram

    • JarvisMarcos says:

      Hi Vieri, nice to see you over on my blog too!
      The Sake fare has been VERY good to me, flying Q suites in November… plus another surprise, thanks to the latest schedule change ?
      I hear the catering to Tokyo is the best on the entire QR network.

      • Vieri_c says:

        Nice !
        We are flying ex-Bru so no change to flights unlike AMS which has been decimated so I gather.
        The ex-AMS flights were all vanishing fast that night when booking.
        Looking forward to the Tokyo catering and being back in Tokyo again espcially our favourite kaiseki restaurant Kikunoi
        Shame our trip isnt overlapping!

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