As you already might have read in my previous blog posts, earlier this summer I went to Bali to celebrate my 40th birthday. I decided to do in style – from business class flights to a private villa in Bali! While I have already well documented my Bali shenanigans in other posts, I wanted to dedicate this one to trip logistics and share my impressions of business class travel on the Qatar Airways.
Let me start with the fact that I am a huge fan of Qatar Airways, having flown them before on business trips to South Asia. They were even nice enough to upgrade me once to a business class on my flight from Kathmandu, after a particularly taxing work trip. So, when it was time to choose an airline for business class travel to Bali, I suggested to my husband we go with Qatar Airways. Not only they have amazing customer service and received best airline awards for several years in a row, but to our surprise, their business class was more affordable than other carriers (especially if you book way in advance like we did). Plus, they are part of the One World Alliance, which meant I would get lots of Avios reward points. We booked our tickets in early January and couldn’t wait until the actual trip at the end of May.
So, when it was time to choose an airline for business class travel to Bali, I suggested to my husband we go with Qatar Airways. Not only they have amazing customer service and received best airline awards for several years in a row, but to our surprise, their business class was more affordable than other carriers (especially if you book way in advance like we did). Plus, they are part of the One World Alliance, which meant I would get lots of Avios reward points. We booked our tickets in early January and couldn’t wait until the actual trip at the end of May.
And can I say it was FABULOUS! Let me start with Heathrow Airport, where after speedy (i.e. no lines) check-in at the business class counter, we headed to the Qatar Airways business class lounge. As you can imagine, it was very stylish with every detail in decor and services impeccable and well thought through.
Two restaurants inside the lounge serve a wide variety of hot and cold snacks and mains, as well as desserts and a great choice of drinks.
While I was waiting for my snack (chicken shawarma with chips), I also filled a box with artisan chocolates available to the lounge guests to take for the flight.
The toilets are constantly attended by staff, so they are spotless and have small fluffy towels and dental hygiene kits, while showers are available should you want to refresh. The atmosphere in the lounge is very relaxing and chilled, only occasionally and quietly interrupted by staff informing passengers when they should proceed for boarding.
Our Airbus-350 to Doha was spacious and seats were super comfortable, extending to a full bed with a big fluffy pillow and soft quilted blanket. What I love about Qatar Airways is the continuous care you receive from flight attendants. Once we got seated, they brought us our flight kits (they had men’s and women’s versions) and pajamas!
I changed into my pajama, which was so comfy and soft, put my socks on and it was time to relax!
Before we took off, we were served a welcome drink and our flight attendant wrote down our choices for dinner. The great feature of Qatar Airways dining menu, developed by renowned chefs, is that it’s not limited and can be ordered at any time and in any combination! In fact, our flight attendant kept asking me if I wanted something else, tempting me with their desserts and fruit platters.
Here is just an example of some of the dishes I ate throughout the trip to and from Bali.
That’s what I call a great service! Needless to say, a 7-hour flight went by very quickly.
I’ve been to Doha’s Hamad International airport before and always thought it’s smaller and easier to navigate than some of the other airports in the region.
The QA Al Mourjan Business Lounge is famous for its chic and size.
It’s huge and has several bars and restaurants, a business center, family room for children to play, sleeping cubicles, numerous drink stations and various work areas. Restaurants have plenty of meal and drinks choices but even if you don’t see anything you want to eat, they will make you something you like on the spot. That’s how good they are!
Our flight from Doha to Bali was on Airbus-330. And even though it was a smaller aircraft with smaller seats, it meant I could sit closer to my husband. The business class section had fewer rows and there were only a few passengers, which meant we had a very nice and quiet flight. As usual, the crew were exceptionally friendly and caring. The only thing I didn’t particularly like was the choice of new movie releases on their entertainment system since I am not into action movies but that’s minor and I found other things to keep me occupied on this almost 10-hours flight.
After 11 days in Bali, it was time to fly back and, in a very weird way, we were looking forward the journey since we knew we would be comfortable in business class.
I have to say business lounge in Denpasar airport, that serves various airlines including Qatar Airways, was disappointing. Not only it was small (read – cramped) and had a small selection of finger bites and few buffet choices, but it was unclean. I saw roaches running on the food stations, which was simply appalling!
On the way back to Doha we flew on Boeing-777. Once again, I was back in my favorite Qatar Airways pajamas cocooned in an aisle seat.
But what we really enjoyed was the Doha-London flight on Airbus-380, the most beautiful airplane I’ve ever seen! It looked like a whale and all other aircrafts at the airport looked tiny in comparison.
When we showed up for our flight at the gate, Qatar Airways staff politely ushered us to a different gate that takes you to the upper deck. So you board straight into the upper level of the plane where First and Business Class are located. Seat configuration was the same as A-350 so we knew what to expect.
But what sets it apart is the bar area at the end of the business class. It’s a great way to get up, stretch and grab a drink or snack while mingling with fellow passengers. Or look out of the window while sipping So Jenny, Qatar Airways’ rosé-coloured sparkling drink.
The crew were super friendly, so when we asked whether we could see the First Class, they immediately offer my hubby and I a private tour. Needless to say, First Class offers all services and convenience of a private plane. For example, super huge leather seats can quickly turn into an office or a bed, offering everything you need to be either productive or relaxed.
And the bathrooms in the First Class are so spacious, they also serve as a changing room with a bench to sit on.
Beckhams, apparently, recently flew on it, so if it’s good for them, it’s good for me!
The bottom line is that the money we paid for four flights to and from Bali in the Qatar Airways business class was totally worth it. Intercontinental travel across various time zones can be exhausting. But in business class it didn’t feel tiring at all and every flight was pure fun and pleasure. We slept, ate and drunk well and enjoyed most of the business class lounges to the fullest. So, if you are heading to the Middle East or Asia and are considering an airline carrier, I would definitely recommend Qatar Airways.
Happy travels! xx