Review: Qatar Airways First Class 777-300ER Cairo To Doha

Introduction
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Qatar Airways First Class 777-300ER Cairo To Doha
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US Airways Business Class A330 Frankfurt To Philadelphia


I had reviewed this route just over three months prior, though the flight was earlier in the day and was operated by an Airbus A330. So I figured it would be worth writing a review, since this flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, and it was my first time flying Qatar’s version of the aircraft.

Qatar 1302
Cairo (CAI) ā€“ Doha (DOH)
Wednesday, January 14
Depart: 6:40PM
Arrive: 10:40PM
Duration: 3hr
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 4B (Business Class)

We boarded through door 2L, where we seemed to catch the crew a bit off guard. We had the business class cabin to ourselves for about 15 minutes, since the business class bus was taking its time.

I was especially excited to finally fly Qatar Airways’ 777, since that’s the only airplane which Qatar Airways flies to North America. So if you’re flying Qatar Airways business class to North America, this will be the product.

I should also quickly clarify that Qatar Airways markets their forward cabin on flights within the Middle East as first class, even though they’re the same business class seats offered on longhaul flights. In theory the service is better on flights within the Middle East, though unfortunately Qatar Airways recently downgraded first class catering within the Middle East, so that’s no longer really the case.

Anyway, Qatar Airways has reasonably large business class cabins on the 777-300ER. Business class features fully flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. There are four rows of business class seats in the forward cabin (for a total of 24 seats), and then three rows of business class seats in the rear cabin (for a total of 18 seats). That means there are 42 business class seats spread across the two cabins.

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Qatar Airways 777-300ER business class cabin

As far as forward facing business class seats go, these are about as good as they get. They’re in a 2-2-2 configuration, meaning there are no middle seats. And they are fully flat, which is great.

If you’re traveling with someone I think it’s tough to beat this type of configuration. If you’re not traveling with someone, I tend to think it’s really advantageous not to have a seatmate, especially on a longhaul flight. For what it’s worth, the privacy shields between seats aren’t that great.

Nonetheless for a shorthaul flight this is a great product, while for a longhaul flight it’s average at best (fortunately Qatar has a better business class product on their A350, A380, and 787).

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Qatar Airways 777-300ER business class cabin

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Qatar Airways 777-300ER business class seats

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Qatar Airways 777-300ER business class seats

I was assigned seat 4B, which is an aisle seat on the left side of the aircraft in the last row of the forward cabin.

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Qatar Airways 777-300ER business class seats

The seat width is quite good, and the aisles are nice and wide. Furthermore, waiting at each seat was a comfy pillow.

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Qatar Airways 777-300ER business, seat 4B

There’s also tons of legroom. I do sort of prefer seats which have ottomans, since you can put up your feet in a more “traditional” manner without feeling like you’re in a dentist’s chair.

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Qatar Airways 777-300ER business class seats

Anyway, once settled in the crew offered us some pre-departure champagne. Unfortunately the champagne had already been downgraded from Krug to Lanson, which puts this flight in line with what they serve on other routes in business class.

The seat has an interesting center console, whereby the cover moves over to create a drink tray and also to reveal a bottle holder, where I found a bottle of water (shocker… I know!).

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Qatar Airways business class pre-departure champagne

The business class cabin quickly began to fill up, mostly with Egyptian passengers. During the boarding process the crew was efficient with drink refills, and I think we got in four rounds of champagne before the door closed.

During the boarding process menus and wine lists were distributed in leather folders, and shortly thereafter the meal orders were taken.

At 6:40PM the crew announced that boarding was complete, and about five minutes later we began our taxi to the runway.

At that point Qatar Airways’ safety video began to play, which is one of the most well produced safety videos of any airline, if you ask me. šŸ˜‰

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Qatar Airways safety video

We had a roughly 15 minute taxi to the runway, at which point we were immediately cleared for takeoff.

Our climb out was smooth, and about 10 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. Shortly thereafter the captain came on the PA to inform us of our flight time of 2hr35min, which he anticipated would put us into Doha on schedule.

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Qatar Airways airshow enroute from Cairo to Doha

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Qatar Airways airshow enroute from Cairo to Doha

Given that this is a fairly short flight and Qatar has a proper multi-course dinner service, the crew was quite busy. For what it’s worth, the crew members were mostly Indian and Filipino. As I find to be the norm on Qatar, they mostly just seemed to be going through the motions. While they weren’t rude or anything, they were focused exclusively on efficiency, and I didn’t sense any “warmth” from them.

The dinner menu read as follows:

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And the beverage/wine list read as follows:

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Qatar-Airways-777-Business-Class-16

Qatar-Airways-777-Business-Class-17

Qatar-Airways-777-Business-Class-18

Qatar-Airways-777-Business-Class-19

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Service began with some more champagne, accompanied by the “palate pleaser,” which was a tasty chicken and bell pepper terrine.

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Qatar Airways first class dinner palate pleaser — chicken and bell pepper terrine

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Qatar Airways first class dinner palate pleaser — chicken and bell pepper terrine

After that I had the Moroccon vegetable harira soup, which was delicious (despite the underwhelming presentation).

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Qatar Airways first class dinner soup — Moroccon vegetable harira soup

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Qatar Airways first class dinner soup — Moroccon vegetable harira soup

I was offered a bread basket to accompany it. Personally I prefer just being offered bread out of a bigger bread basket, since the selection of rolls wasn’t especially exciting (garlic and pretzel bread, please!).

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Qatar Airways first class dinner — bread basket

For the starter I had the Arabic mezze, which was good but simple.

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Qatar Airways first class dinner starter — classic Arabic mezze

Meanwhile my friend had the beef kibbeh.

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Qatar Airways first class dinner starter — beef kibbeh

For the main course I had the filo parcel. It was freaking delicious.

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Qatar Airways first class dinner main course — oven baked filo parcel of mushrooms herb and cheese

My friend had the lamb.

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Qatar Airways first class dinner main course — Arabic spiced lamb and okra stew

For dessert I had the Laduree tart, which was as tasty as it was stylish. You’ve gotta love that Qatar Airways even brands their desserts.

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Qatar Airways first class dinner dessert — Laduree Plaisir sucre

Then to finish off the meal I was offered a box of Godiva chocolates.

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Qatar Airways first class dessert — Godiva chocolate

I mean, seriously, does catering on such a short flight get better than that? The crew was really efficient, though not the most charming I’ve had.

By the time the meal was done the captain came on the PA to give us updated arrival information, estimating we’d touch down at 10:35PM, and be at the gate on schedule.

I quickly headed to the lavatory, which was located between the two business class cabins. It was a good size, though didn’t have any special amenities (not that I’d expect any for such a short flight).

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Qatar Airways 777-300ER lavatory

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Qatar Airways 777-300ER lavatory

Sure enough we touched down in Doha at 10:35PM, and were at the gate at 10:40PM sharp. From there we were off to the Al Mourjan Lounge for a glass (or two) of Krug!

Qatar Airways 777-300ER bottom line

Qatar Airways offers an unbeatable product on their shorthaul flights. It’s tough to beat an amazing meal and flat bed on a 2hr35min flight. As usual, the service on Qatar was efficient though not very sincere-seeming.

I wouldn’t mind flying Qatar Airways’ 777 to the US, though ideally with a friend, as there’s otherwise not much privacy between seats.

If you’ve flown Qatar’s 777s, what was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. Seems like they not only have the same seating as business class on the middle east first class, but the long haul business class beverage and food menu as well. Anyway I really enjoy the 777 business class product of Qatar.

    I fly medium and long haul and Id rate their business class 777 > 787 >>> 330
    – 777 have great food, service and seats.
    – 787 have great food and service, but less space and when you lay flat, your legs are in a small tube.
    – The 330 is far behind the other two. The food is not great, and unless Ive been very unlucky on my two attempts on that aircraft, the service is not as good. And the worst… The seats are not flat, so sleeping is not at all comfortable.

    Luckily I can choose 330 or 777 from my primary origin, so now I avoid 330 if possible.

  2. The seats are almost fully flat with a slight incline but not enough to prevent a good sleep. And they give you some nice mattress pads and pajamas on the flights to the US so it’s quite comfy. The 787 cabin is pretty good as well but it’s actually nice to be able to talk to your travel companion (if you have one) on the 777. Personally, sitting next to someone in business class >> sitting next to someone in economy and I’ve always made some great friends!

    Can’t wait to see what Qatar does to the 777 business class in the future.

  3. Lucky, any thoughts on best seats in the 77W? I’m wondering if you thought the forward cabin or the rear cabin would be preferable. Thanks!

  4. @ wln — If traveling alone I think there’s merit to taking a seat in the center section, since no one will have to step over you. Otherwise I’d go for anything except the first or last row in a cabin, just to minimize noise/galley light.

  5. Looks very nice.
    I just flew an Emirates 777 on a short 2 hour hop in business and your Qatar experience looks infinitely superior. The seating in EK is also denser: I was on one of the 2-class 777-300ERs, with five rows of business ahead of Door 2LR and one row behind. And it’s 7 abreast. The seats recline amply but you never reach a fully flat, let alone horizontal configuration. And the food was decent but nowhere near as ample or elegant as what your pictures describe. Only the TV screens in EK were more impressive.

    I agree with you lucky in that if you are traveling with someone, this configuration is the best. Plus I like facing fully forward.

  6. Having flown IAD-DOH, I really liked the biz setup. Seat isn’t quite as comfortable as CX, but they give you PJs and a mattress pad which helps. Billecart-Salmon champagne, very solid food, and decent service made me a happy camper. Definitely one of the best long haul biz products out there despite the seat.

  7. Lucky, do you have a photo of the seat when converted into a flat bed?

    Would like to see how it is when it is flat.

    (or is this angled flat?)

  8. “Qatar Airways offers an unbeatable product on their shorthaul flights”

    Well, yes…though I wonder how much you’d like it on an A320 or A321…

    Doesn’t the bottle holder at least chill the water? I heard it did, unlike the ones on Emirates or Etihad…

  9. @ wwk5d — I’ve done the A320 as well, and it’s comparable to what Etihad offers on their A320s as well. That being said, I do think Qatar does a better job with catering than Etihad.

  10. @ flyingfish — Sorry, I don’t but based on having reclined it all the way it seemed fully flat to me.

  11. This will say more about me and my mind than anything else – but I roared with laughter at that bread basket picture šŸ™‚

  12. I don’t know what you guys are referring to in the bread photo but my gaydar went off the charts when I saw that guy in the safety video on my flight last month.

  13. Recently flew from BKK to JFK via Doha on the 700-300er in biz class in the forward part of cabin, overall service and seat was fantastic, especially for the price compared to the more direct flights from Asia to NYC. Only minor issue was when in the Hamad airport lounge, they only have 4 showers in the men’s washrooms, so if you are transiting you will probably have a long wait to freshen up before you next leg. The lounge btw was amazing, so spacious and peaceful. Finally the entertainment selection was superb, huge selection of the latest movies. Flying with them next week on same route

  14. Hot Damn. Glenfiddich 15 and Godiva on a 3 hour flight? Qatar knows the way to my heart.

    Lucky, are you much of a Scotch drinker? I’ll pass on the Krug for a solid glass of something single malt any day of the week…

  15. there must be a problem with the wine presentation. What they’ve classified as tempranillo is actually the sangioviese grape. I had the impression that there were some more mistakes in the wine presentation on the menu

  16. Hi Ben –

    I know this is a bit off-topic, but how did you feel traveling in Egypt. Prices are great right now, and I’d love to see the pyramids, sail up the nile from Luxor and dive in the Red Sea, but I am a bit worried about safety and hostility toward Americans. I’d love any perspective you can offer.

    Thanks,

  17. @ Tom — Felt extremely comfortable there and extremely safe. Based on my experience they loved Americans, especially given how few are visiting nowadays. Made them more thankful than before, it seems. I’d definitely feel safe returning.

  18. Lucky- would you recommend the cabin number 1 or number 2 on QR 777’s in business class?

    Thanks!

  19. @ Dassault7X — I’d probably go with the forward one, since not everyone will pass you during boarding that way.

  20. HI,

    For a single passenger , do you consider the QR 2-2-2 business to be a better product than etihad 1-2-1 business ?
    i am traveling J alone from BKK to USA next week and i don t know which one to buy…
    To be considered i am 1 flight to become ETIHAD Gold but since they changed the GUEST program i wonder if i should not move to ONEWORLD.

    Thanks for your answer.

  21. Great site Lucky. We are flying to Venice and back from Melbourne in May. Looking forward to the Busniss experience on Qatar. We are in 3A&B, so we have chosen well with your recommendations.
    It’s great to read an honest account. Thank you.
    D & R

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