Qatar Airways 787 Business Class

After a pleasant flight in Jet Airways business class from Newark to Brussels, I was excited to fly with Qatar Airways from Brussels to Doha, which was the last portion of my 67,500 AAdvantage mile business class award between the US and the Middle East.

I’ve only flown Qatar Airways on one trip previously, and that was several years ago in first class, which was long before they joined oneworld. At the time I thought the product was a bit dated and wasn’t really blown away by any aspect of the experience. So I was curious to see how business class on their new Dreamliner compared.

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Qatar Airways 787

Qatar Airways Business Class 787 Seat

Qatar Airways’ 787s feature reverse herringbone seats. The business class cabin is gorgeous, and consists of 22 fully flat business class seats. While I’ve flown the Dreamliner on a few other airlines (including ANA, Ethiopian, and LOT), the cabin didn’t feel all that different to me on those airlines. Qatar does an amazing job with their 787s.

The entryway feels incredibly spacious, with a bar setup and some magazines and newspapers on display.

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Qatar Airways 787 entryway

One of the unique things about the cabin is that there are two seats behind the main cabin, which seem private and exposed at the same time. They’re all alone, with no seats by the windows, so you have that part of the cabin all to yourself. At the same time you’re directly facing the entryway.

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Qatar Airways 787 business class

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Qatar Airways 787 business class cabin

Qatar Airways didn’t just take the reverse herringbone design from many other airlines (like American, Cathay Pacific, and EVA Air), but instead innovated it in many ways.

Let me start with the one weakness, because if it weren’t for it I’d argue this is hands down the best business class seat in the world. There’s not any sort of a “shield” on the side of the seat for added privacy. On some of the other reverse herringbone configurations you have more privacy by your head, which isn’t present here.

Everything else about the seat is simply amazing.

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Qatar Airways 787 business class seat

There’s tons of storage — there’s a storage compartment to the side of the seat.

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Qatar Airways 787 business class storage

Then on the other side of the seat is a well designed compartment for headphones and a bottle of water, which also acts as the adjustable armrest.

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Qatar Airways 787 business class storage

The seat controls are intuitive and probably the easiest to use of any airline.

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Qatar Airways 787 business class seat controls

Then the tray table actually slides out from under the entertainment system. That’s pretty cool, since it means you don’t have to pull the TV screen out from the side of the seat, which makes it easier to use during takeoff and landing.

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Qatar Airways 787 business class entertainment system

So overall it’s a brilliantly designed seat. I wish there were more privacy around the head, but otherwise it’s simply fantastic.

Qatar Airways Business Class Food

As is the case with most Middle Eastern airlines, there’s an “on demand” dining service. The menu and wine list were housed in a leather folder, which is impressive for business class.

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Qatar Airways business class menu

Since they have a dine on demand concept, there’s a big menu and you can order what you want when you want.

A spicy crab cake with salsa was served as an amuse bouche. I had a glass of rose to accompany it.

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Qatar Airways business class amuse bouche

Then I had the arabic mezze as an appetizer. It was simple but good.

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Qatar Airways business class appetizer

For the main course I had hammour, served with rice, asparagus, and a bean stew. While the presentation was so colorful that it almost looked like a kid’s meal, it was one of the best fish dishes I’ve had on a plane. It was flavorful, light, and flaky, all at the same time. Fantastic.

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Qatar Airways business class main course

Then for dessert I had a chocolate tart by Laduree. Amazing presentation, amazing taste, and a great brand. Kudos to Qatar for one of the most brilliant “luxury” desserts I’ve seen on an airplane.

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Qatar Airways business class dessert

The flight time was about six hours, so while I didn’t have a meal before landing, I did have some ice cream. I was expecting something in a box, but nope, it was an actual freshly made sundae of sorts.

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Qatar Airways business class ice cream

Qatar gets a 10/10 on food. Absolutely perfect. And they also get high marks on champagne — they had Billecart-Salmon as the champagne, and Taittinger Rose.

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Qatar Airways business class Taittinger Rose

Qatar Airways Business Class Service

The service was good.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Middle Eastern airlines don’t typically have the level of service you’ll get from the top Asian airlines out there. And that’s simply a function of the work conditions, their training, and also often the cultural differences between crews.

That being said, I had a Thai flight attendant taking care of me, and she was one of the best flight attendants I’ve ever had on a Middle Eastern airline. She really made me feel like I was in first class. I guess that’s not too difficult given how small the cabin is.

She wasn’t proactive in the sense that she wasn’t constantly wandering the cabin, but she was extremely friendly, attentive during the meal, and spot on in terms of her attention to detail. When I pushed the call button I was helped within seconds with a smile.

Qatar Airways Business Class Amenities

Again, Qatar Airways gets high marks here. They had a really nice amenity kit with Salvatore Ferragamo amenities. For a sub-six hour daytime flight, that’s pretty impressive.

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Qatar Airways business class amenity kit

The pillow and blanket were great, and in terms of design complemented the cabin quite nicely.

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Qatar Airways business class pillow & blanket

And the Oryx entertainment system was top notch.

Qatar also has OnAir wifi, which is charged based on data usage. That being said, the price was cheaper than Singapore, and quality also a bit better.

Qatar Airways Business Class Bottom Line

It kills me to admit it, but His Excellency’s almost obsessive attention to detail really was reflected on this flight, from the cabin to the seat to the food to the amenities.

Now, Qatar Airways claims to be “the world’s five star airline,” which is a real stretch. Their hard product on their 777s is pathetic for an airline making such a claim, and many of their A330s still feature an old angled product. Beyond that, the few first class cabins they do have are about as dated as American’s MD-80s.

But their 787 product sure is impressive.

I hate to admit it, but I’m starting to like Chief Akbar… I think?

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Sunset approaching Doha

If you’ve flown Qatar Airways business class, what was your experience?

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Comments

  1. I agree. Qatar’s Business Class on ther B777 and A330 is ok, but nothing to write home about. However, their dreamliner Business Class is a winner. Read my review here (also on the BRU-DOH leg) : http://wp.me/p4d1XU-DL

  2. Thanks for your report! I’ve flown Qatar’ business class this summer, and found them amazing, even though I only had one other experience in business class (KLM) to compare them to.

    I was flying YUL-DOH-SIN-DOH-YUL, all scheduled on the 777, but my plan was to try and switch to an earlier DOH-SIN flight – operated by the 787 – when I landed in Doha. And it worked!

    The 787 is wayyy above the 777. Tons of storage like you said, great food, great rosé, the mini-airshow on the controller while watching something else on the big screen.

    And the pancakes I had for breakfast were the best pancakes I’ve ever had. Ever. I still talk about those everyday.

  3. Thank you for your post. I really enjoy reading it. I just flew Bangkok to Buenos Aires in business class with thier old 77w and 77L product. I was blown away with thier seat and service. I think it’s actually better than singapore 77w seat and service. Before I try qatar airways I feel that thier best airline of the year award from skytrax and all the 5star airline cliaming was totally a joke. However I was absolutely wrong. Qatar airways are now my most fourvorite airline. I will try 787 on the way back. Thank you again for your post 🙂

  4. I don’t care what they say Ben. Your flight reports are some of most effective in the game. That Qatar Airways 787 biz class looks like first class. Very impressive!
    LOL @ “his excellency” , I’m glad characters like him are still born, he makes life fun.

    I wish I had a reason to travel to the Middle East to fly Qatar, I would love to go to the Doha airport, after seeing it on CNN with “his excellency” LOL.

  5. Wanted to clarify about QR’s business class seat: its different because not all reverse herringbone seat products are the same product. The first carrier US as you may know already are from Zodiac. DL used a standard model of this seat, while CX developed a personalised version of this seat specifically for their airline (and then AA picked up this version from CX). BR also personalised their model but not to the extent of CX.

    QRs J product is from B/E Aerospace which uses the reverse herringbone layout but is *very* different in terms of configuration/spacing/design than the Zodiac product. A differentiating factor is the position of the tray table. The Zodiac product is always on the side, whereas B/E Aerospace’s tray table is positioned under the IFE, which as you experienced, would allow for passengers to easily go in/out of the seat while leaving contents on the tray table. Other airlines that would be introducing variants of this product include AC on their future 787s and possibly CI on their upcoming 777s (this hasn’t been confirmed, but renderings seem to indicate this).

  6. I think the food is really great and the service is top notch for a business class. I had the purser introduce herself, which I think is usually done only on first class. They give pajamas on night flights. They have real toothbrushes on the lavatories, with cases that cover them all. I hate those small toothbrushes with cases that only covers the head.

  7. Flew the 787 last week from Johannesburg to Doha. Killer service all the way around, and on a weirdly timed flight (left at 7ish and landed in Doha at 2:30am), they handed out pj’s, did a quick service and let everyone sleep. Even more amazing service from the ground crew on both ends after I missed a connection. But an 8 hour flight on that plane feels like 2. The best way to fly.

  8. @Alison I’ll be on the same flight Johannesburg to Doha in February and with a 7pm departure I’m certainly not looking forward to “quick service so everyone can sleep.” If the food and beverages are as good as Lucky claims then I wont be sleeping.

  9. Greta report, Ben.
    Have you stopped doing the trip reports in the same format you used do them?
    Like a timeline?

  10. You’ve mentioned in a couple posts now that you were drinking “rosé”, but from pictures and later reference it was “rosé champagne”. No biggie, but wanted to point it out so you don’t get a mistake pour of still rosé wine, also somewhat popular but a totally different animal.

  11. Hey Ben,

    Great detail once again on Qatar’s 787. While I haven’t flown Qatar, just by looking at the seat, it looks a tad better than CX’s longhaul business class. The finish and trim, the screen size and quality and storage options on the seat look better on Qatar’s herringbone than CX. It looks a bit more luxurious and the seat seems a bit wider on Qatar. I like CX’s herringbone too like the build in shield or wing on the seat. FWIW, Qatar’s herringbone seat is actually not the one found on US Airways, CX, EVA etc. but its actually like the ones on UA, and AA’s transcon business seat on their A321’s. Qatar just heavily customized it into a herringbone configuration with custom trim and finishes. Its time for Akbar and Qatar to get these seats across the entire longhaul fleet. These seats are the future of longhaul.

  12. I only have a look from time to time to your posts because I’ve the feeling that I really know everything about LH, SQ and CX but there’s always a very funny thing in them…
    Whenever I read one them, there is always one thing which is “the best” compare to your previous experiences !
    The best meal, the best service, the best crew, the best pillow, the best Champagne – even if one day at breakfast in a Vienna hotel you couldn’t make the difference between “Sekt” and “Champagne”, the best chocolate cake, the best bred…
    And today’s best was… “the fish” !!!
    Really so funny :-))))

  13. I love the Kate Bush cameo in your review. I’m still pretty bummed I can’t make it to London for one of her shows.

  14. @ Lucky – thanks! Didn’t see a photo of the seat in bed mode — guess you are holding something back for the full review 🙂

  15. “For the main course I had hammour”

    Hammour is a delicacy in the Arabian Gulf. It’s definitely one of the better local food offerings you can find there. For those of you seafood fans out there, it’s grouper. Lots of expats even take frozen hammour back home with them when leaving the GCC or going back home for vacation, so glad you enjoyed it.

    How comfortable was the seat in regards to sleeping, and how does it compare to some of the other better seats like AA or CX?

  16. @ wwk5d — It was great for sleeping. I do wish there were a bit more privacy on the side, but I almost think it was more comfortable than the American and Cathay seats. Just an all around awesome seat.

  17. Hey Ben! What’s the best way to fly on this plane using miles? I’ve only flown United’s 787 LAX-PVG and would love to try this one out.

  18. @ Bruno — The best option is American miles, given their reasonable redemption rates and that they don’t impose fuel surcharges for travel on Qatar.

  19. I agree with your comments. Shame QR flies these planes mainly on medium-haul routes to Europe and a random few to the Far East. If they could fit more of these cabins into long haul flights, then it’d be amazing. Hope they get their A350s soon!

  20. So this wasnt even the full review? Hands down the 787 cabin I`ve ever seen. Will be flying with them on both 777 and 787 on december for two very longhaul flights.

  21. I didn’t like how cramped the leg area is when in sleeping position as compare to the comfortable IAD to Doha flight is. If traveling as a couple I prefer the older plane.

  22. @lucky I’ve flown for work the DOH-CPH-DOH few times. It is great! I got a real ice cream creation with a mint leave. Bollinger Rose as Champagne. Day flight so no PJ’s.

    The service is hit or miss. As someone said before, 8-hour flight feels like a 2 hrs flight

  23. This product is as close to first class as you can get on a “budget”, whether you actually pay for the ticket, redeem an award or upgrade from a (cheap) economy fare, which was what I did when I flew this product back in february. The upgrade I had the pleasure of reedeming for a perfectly acceptable 30000 Qmiles (DOH-OSL), made it fantastic value. The food was the best I have ever experienced, on par with the quality of the few first class meals I have had the pleasure of having been served. Hard product is unbeatable as a business class offering. QR will not have to worry about deciding to get rid of first class (with a few exceptions ofcourse), if they install this product as their replacment troughout the most of their fleet.

  24. Great to see you had a great time! I flew QR earlier this year and loved the experience. I’d fly QR again. Ok I just realized this was a first impressions type blog post. I can’t wait to read your full review!

    I think for the same price of 67,500 miles from US to Middle East/India, you could have added one more flight sector on your trip (i.e. DOH-BLR, DOH-KTM, or DOH-CAI.) When I flew DOH-CAI, that business class hard product was treated as a first class (in a 2-cabin plane) and they served Krug! I couldn’t believe it.

  25. Hey Lucky,

    Great post about 787 biz class report. Always fun reading your report.

    Just wanted to let you know there is another “Lucky” who flew from Toronto to Brussels on Jet A330 business class, instead of Newark. It’s shame you guys didn’t run into each other. 😀

  26. For me and and anyone that likes a window herringbone seats are a disaster, especially reverse herring bone seats. And Qatar is one of the few airlines I like to fly because of their CD selection and day flights. Why are most of the airlines putting those things in. Sad

  27. Hi Ben,

    I’m really enjoy reading your review on QR 787 and 350 business class. So I’m actually planning to try one myself. But when I search on ba.com, there’s only DOH-WAW available for award ticket. ALL other itinerary seems just got blacked out. Destinations of 787s (EDI, MUC, BRU, AMS, ARN, VIE, ZUR, MAD…)and 380s (LHR and CDG) are all not available, neither does FRA. The date I looked up are September 5th and 6th.

    It’s even more weird since WAW is still OK. Nah….

  28. @ Anqi — Sometimes they just don’t have award space, unfortunately. It might require a bit more flexibility. Hope you get to try it!

  29. I’ve flown QR J on 777s and A380s. They do a nice job, although my flights weren’t dine-on-demand (or didn’t seem to be). However, QR does a very strange with with business class: there are no towels in the lavatories! Every QR flight I’ve been in J has had multiple boxes of facial tissues in the lavs, but never towels. No cloth towels, no paper towels, no towels. What’s with that?

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