Reviews

Review: Qatar Airways Boeing 777 business class: Melbourne to Doha

Overall Rating

By David Flynn, April 23 2015
Qatar Airways Boeing 777 business class: Melbourne to Doha
Route

Melbourne - Doha

Aircraft Type

Boeing 777-300ER

Airline

Qatar Airways

Flight

QR905

Cabin Class

Business

Seat

3K

Notes
The Good
  • A flight that's perfectly-timed for sleeping
  • Fully-flat beds with a light mattress and pyjamas
The Bad
  • 2-2-2 layout in business class
X-Factor
  • 'On-demand' dining to suit your schedule
Service
Meals
Seating
Overall

Introduction

Qatar Airways isn't the first name that springs to mind when you think of those powerhouse Gulf airlines which are are busy reshaping the aviation map.

Its Aussie footprint – which is limited to Melbourne and Perth – doesn't put it front-of-mind for the business traveller.

But with a rapidly-growing fleet including the latest Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and most recently the Airbus A350 – with a sprawling new hub at Doha's Hamad International Airport – plus its membership in the Oneworld alliance alongside Qantas and many others, Qatar Airways is certainly not an airline to leave off your list.

Its fares are also competitive: we priced a return business class Melbourne-Doha-London trip in early September 2015 at just under $7,520.

How good is Qatar's business class from Melbourne? Read on...

Lounge

As a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, travellers on Qatar Airways' Melbourne flights can begin their journey at Qantas' first class or business class lounge, depending on your class of travel and frequent flyer status.

If you're in business class (the topmost class on Qatar Airways' flights out of Australia), hold a gold card in the airline's Privilege Club frequent flyer scheme or the equivalent – such as Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold or any other Oneworld Sapphire-grade card – the Qantas Business Lounge lays out the welcome mat.

Packing a Platinum Privilege Club, Qantas Frequent Flyer card or Oneworld Emerald-grade card in your pocket or purse? Then you can head straight to the Qantas First Lounge:

The only wrinkle is that with a scheduled 10.55pm departure, any delay beyond the Qantas First Lounge's closing time of 11.15pm means you'll need to relocate to the business lounge downstairs.

Flight

Qatar Airways' daily Melbourne-Doha flight QR905 runs on a Boeing 777-300ER with 42 business class seats and 293 in the economy cabin.

After the 10.55pm wheels-up from Melbourne it's a long 14 hour trek to Doha, where the new Hamad International Airport awaits – as do scores of connecting flights to the UK and Europe as well as Africa, the Middle East and India.

Given the late departure and 5.30am arrival into Doha, the flight is geared towards a solid slab of sleep bookended by supper, a movie and breakfast.

Seat

Business class is split over two cabins: a slightly larger 24-seat zone (rows 1-4) at the pointy end, followed by an 18-seat cabin (rows 5-7) behind that and ahead of economy.

(As any savvy traveller will tell you, avoid that second business class cabin if you want to be away from crying babies bundled into bassinets in the front row of economy.)

As you'd want from an overnight international flight the business class seats are not just wide and comfortable, they convert into a fully lie-flat bed that can be topped with a thin mattress while you change into the supplied soft grey pyjamas.

The 2-2-2 layout makes the centre aisle seats (designated E and F) preferable – not only can you step into the aisle without climbing over your seatmate, but you won't have them gingerly stepping over you to do likewise, as is the case with the window seats.

Legroom? There's plenty of it.

There are a few well-placed pockets to keep some carry-on items close at hand, while a sliding cover on the console between each pair of seats reveals a bottle of water handily tucked away.

If you need to work, we're pleased to report that the large and stable meal tray takes a laptop with plenty of room to spare.

And as you'd expect, each seat has AC and USB sockets to recharge your laptop, tablet and smartphone.

Meal

Qatar's inflight dining is built around an 'on-demand' menu, from which you can choose dishes "in any order and at any time during your flight."

There's a natural expectation from the crew that you'd tuck into dinner shortly after take-off, then hit the hay and wake for breakfast a few hours out of Doha.

However, as I'd already dined a few hours earlier at Melbourne's Qantas First Lounge, I opted to 'mix and match' from the menu with a light supper, then dive into some work on the laptop and break for a main dish before sleeping.

That's certainly not the ideal pattern for a flight like this, but sometimes it's the only way to catch up – and it's where you really appreciate an airline's flexible approach to dining.

Here's the dinner menu for our flight to Doha:

For a light starter on any Gulf airline, I find it's impossible to resist a mezze platter.

After that, I settled down to a few hours' work, although I took the precaution of asking the cabin crew to set aside the basil marinated chicken breast for my mid-flight main.

The presentation wasn't fancy but the meal itself hit the spot.

I followed that with dessert: a unique cardamom panna cotta served with poached rhubarb and apple compote.

As is sometimes my habit on flights with an early morning arrival, I opted to sleep as close to the 'top of descent' as possible and have breakfast at my hotel in Doha.

But if I'd wanted breakfast on board, the choice would not have been an easy one...

As for champagne, here are the two quality drops offered:

Entertainment & Service

Qatar's Oryx inflight entertainment system feeds a solid selection of movies, TV shows and music into the large 17 inch screens mounted smack in front of you.

You can browse the library at Qatar's website – click here to dial up any route and to see what's currently playing on the Melbourne-Doha leg.

As mentioned earlier, this is a flight for sleeping more than binge-viewing – or working, for that matter. After dinner in the lounge and perhaps a light supper on board, relaxing with an enjoyable movie or an episode of your favourite TV show might be all it takes to help you settle in for a good night's sleep – indeed, a good flight's sleep.

The service was attentive without being intrusive, and warm without overly familiar – in other words, a safe default setting for an airline which carries travellers from all corners of the globe.

David Flynn travelled as a guest of Qatar Airways.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

jrfsp

jrfsp

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 111

I fair assessment i think, i flew them in J recently PER-DOH-LHR on the 773 and the 333, not so impressed with the A330, but the 777 is much better than EKs. I cant say i was a massive fan of the lounge in DOH though, personally think DXB is better.

sagidec

sagidec

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 246

I'd love to fly them but they don't fly to Sydney at the moment.

With choices to Europe via EK and EY, hard to consider taking a detour to MEL or PER to get a connecting flight.

flychrisfly

flychrisfly

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2011

Total posts 78

Unless you're a QFF and chasing points and status credits.

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Nice review! Do you have some insights in the wine and other beverage offered on the flight?

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 581

would definetely go for the mezze option and also the Arabic breakfast plate, but as you said I would take the centre seats since I just cbf dealing with other people and jetlag at the same time.

auspointer

auspointer

24 Mar 2015

Total posts 18

But more importantly - what Champagne was on offer?

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 581

the alcoholic type

Poisson

Poisson

QFF

06 Nov 2012

Total posts 47

Thanks for the review.  Can you comment on the new terminal and lounge at DOH? The old premium transit terminal was pretty good, but the long bus rides involved took some of the gloss off the experience.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 581

I believe when connecting to a regional A320 flight, they you still have a long bus ride but most other QR flights use aerobridges

ashnic7g

ashnic7g

Qatar Airways

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 26

The connecting proposition is a vast improvement. I agree with an earlier post about the lounge. i had the pleasure of visiting the TK lounge at IST on the way back to Australia, and that was fabulous. Of course, no direct flights to Australia from here.

Personally, with the Etihad A380 now flying to London and coming to Sydney, as well as the 787 to Brisbane, I think they're a better ride in J. 

 

pan129953

pan129953

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

01 Aug 2012

Total posts 7

The loung is huge and the seating and dining options are great however I was there last week and it was so busy.  THere was a 2 hour wait for a shower.  The guy wouldnt even put me on the wait list.  I only had a 2 hour layover anyhow.

pan129953

pan129953

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

01 Aug 2012

Total posts 7

I have flown QR a lot over the past couple of years to the Americas such that I am a Platinum Privilege Club member.  In that time I have also done occasional trips with JAL, Cathay, Singapore and Qantas.  I find the service and food excellent and the QF First lounges and Hamad lounge also excellent.  However, I am now moving my flying to Cathay.  I find the seat on QR business uncomfortable, especially in the lie flat bed mode.  It is hard and lumpy and doesnt properly go flat, the foot end wobbles around.  On my routes to the Americas its 777 all the way but if it was A350 or B787 maybe I would re-consider.  CX bed is much more comfortable and service is also great.

chrisrad

chrisrad

19 Mar 2015

Total posts 9

Their 777 product is getting out of date. The new business class product on the A380, A350 and 787 looks good though. Will be trying the A350 from SIN - DOH later this year. As with other comments here EK's business product on the 777 is on par with the worst. Sloping lie-flats are what I expect from MH or VN. Also I would hardly call $7500 "competetive"

Reg

Reg

American Airlines - AAdvantage

20 Jun 2012

Total posts 24

Looking forward to our PER-DOH 773 followed by 788 DOH-CPT Business. Will be interesting to compare soft / hard product on both. Now that US Airways is Oneworld, points need to be used on Oneworld partners, not Start Alliance. It's a long way around, but at least only one stop...

dmc

dmc

25 Apr 2015

Total posts 2

Have traveled with Qatar on 5 trips and have found the service to be first class. Travelling from Melbourne to Europe via Doha is a great way the get the bulk of the journey behind you on the first leg. The Doha lounge is one of the best I have experienced.  The aircarft has Great flat beds, plenty of leg room. Flight staff very polite and attentive.  Food and beverages of great variety and quality.....the only disappointed with your flight will be getting off!!!!

 

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2337

Here are the two drops offered in Qatar's Boeing 777 business class for Melbourne-Doha.

nix584

nix584

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 253

I flew DOH-KUL a couple of days ago and the Pol Roger ran out before boarding had finished. Luckily they had some Taittinger Rose available as a replacement :)

MagiKats

MagiKats

01 May 2015

Total posts 1

The 777 is definitely one of Qatar's best products - don't be lulled into thinking that the A330 or A340 are a patch on the 777. 

Having done both the Perth and Melbourne routes several times, I agree with everything that David has to say. My preference is usually also for a light supper and it is always a good idea to reserve anything else you might want later. The soup is usually excellent.

I would comment that the new Hamad airport is vast, but Qatar still have VERY tight turnarounds, so you may find very little time for shopping or freshening up in the lounge. I was never a fan of the old Premium terminal (it was boring if you had to be there more than an hour) but I now find myself viewing it with a sense of nostalgia!

FIFO Expat

FIFO Expat

Qantas

15 Jul 2015

Total posts 3

Good morning. I am Qantas Platinum travelling Melbourne to Doha on Business Class. I have heard that there is a difference of points and status credits between Qantas v's Qatar airlines. Could someone please advise: how many points and status credits Qantas v's how many points and status credits Qatar?

emailboy

emailboy

03 Oct 2011

Total posts 29

Would row 1 (bulkhead) offer direct aisle access to the window seat passenger?

Karl

Karl

10 Apr 2016

Total posts 14

Surprised to see the service got four stars!  Have flown their J class several times and find their service lacking.

On a recent flight from New York to Doha to Singapore the staff were in a rush to finish meal service so they could then dissapear. I know 12.5 hours is Long but it is for us as well so not even walking passed and offering water during the flight is terrible. 

i will stick with Singapore Airlines in future out of Singspore especially when they restart their direct flight. 


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