Review: Qatar Airways Business Class A340 Colombo To Doha

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Our flight was departing from Colombo Airport at 10:50AM, and we arrived at the airport at around 9AM. Upon arriving at the airport we had to go through two security screenings before we could even enter the check-in area. Check-in was quick, as was security and immigration.

Qatar Airways uses the Araliya Lounge at Colombo Airport, which is a contract lounge used by many airlines. While that’s technically the lounge they use, you can also use the SriLankan Lounge if you’d like, given that both carriers are part of oneworld. Since I’ve reviewed both of those lounges before, I won’t be doing so again this time around.

We got to our departure gate at around 9:50AM, about 15 minutes before boarding was scheduled to commence. The security checkpoints at Colombo Airport are at the individual gates, so it took just a few minutes to get through that. Once in the gate area we realized our plane hadn’t arrived yet.

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Colombo Airport departure gate

Sure enough at around 10AM the plane finally pulled into the gate, and at around 10:30AM the crew got on the plane.

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Qatar Airways A340 Colombo Airport

Finally at 10:50AM, our scheduled departure time, business class boarding commenced.

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Qatar Airways A340 Colombo Airport

Qatar Airways 665
Colombo (CMB) – Doha (DOH)
Friday, July 29
Depart: 10:50AM
Arrive: 1:05PM
Duration: 4hr45min
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Seat: 2J (Business Class)

Qatar Airways only has a few A340-600s remaining, and they recently reconfigured these planes. I flew one of these planes back when Qatar Airways still had first class on them, though nowadays they’re in a super high density configuration, and used for flights to destinations like Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, and Algiers.

The A340-600 features just 24 business class seats and 348 economy class seats.

The business class seats are spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. These are B/E Aerospace Diamond seatsthe same seats that Qatar Airways has on their regional A320s. Unfortunately it’s not the reverse herringbone seats they have on their A350s, A380s, and 787s.

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Qatar Airways A340 business class cabin

Interestingly the center seats angle towards one another, unlike the seats by the window, which angle in the same direction.

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Qatar Airways A340 business class seats

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Qatar Airways A340 business class cabin

We had assigned ourselves seats 2J & 2K, the aisle and window seats on the right side in the second row.

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Qatar Airways A340 business class, seats 2J & 2K

Legroom in these seats is plentiful, and there’s a bit of privacy thanks to the seats being slightly staggered, along with a privacy partition between them.

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Qatar Airways A340 business class, seats 2J & 2K

These seats have fairly small footwells, and are similar to the seats on Aeromexico’s 787s, Air China’s 777s, American’s A321s, United’s 787s, etc.

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Qatar Airways A340 business class, seats 2J & 2K

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Qatar Airways business class ottoman A340

The seats have great padding, and it’s clear they’re pretty new, because they’re in immaculate condition.

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Qatar Airways A340 business class, seat 2J

The seat controls were located to the right of my seat, and were easy to use.

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Qatar Airways business class seat controls A340

The entertainment controller was also to the right of my seat. It’s one of the more advanced controllers out there that’s used by many airlines, though personally it’s not my favorite, as I find it rather difficult to click around on the small screen (fortunately the TV is touchscreen as well, so you can bypass it altogether if you’d like).

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Qatar Airways business class entertainment controls A340

Also on the right side of my seat was a headphone jack and USB outlet.

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Qatar Airways business class USB outlet and headphone jack A340

The power outlet was located underneath the center armrest.

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Qatar Airways business class power outlets A340

Back behind my seat and to the right was the seat’s storage and magazine rack. While I appreciate that the seat has some storage (even if it’s exposed), it’s rather difficult to access, as you have to turn around completely.

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Qatar Airways business class storage A340

In this configuration the tray table also folds out from the center armrest, and is quite large.

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Qatar Airways business class tray table A340

I was also pleased to see that these seats had air vents, which is something I really value.

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Qatar Airways business class air vents A340

Waiting at my seat were noise canceling headphones. They’re not the highest quality headphones out there, but are decent. I still used my own Bose headphones.

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Qatar Airways business class headphones

Also waiting at my seat were a pillow and blanket. I quite like Qatar’s pillows and blankets, as the pillows are plush and the blankets are comfortable but not too hot.

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Qatar Airways business class pillow and blanket

Once settled in our flight attendant, Jennifer, came by to introduce herself. She informed us of our flight time of 4hr15min, and familiarized us with the seat, including the entertainment, recline, power port, etc.

She also offered us pre-departure beverages, along with our choice of hot or cold towel. I love how Qatar gives you your choice of towel, as they’re the only airline I know of that does so.

I had a lime mint juice to drink, which is my favorite non-alcoholic beverage on Qatar Airways.

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Qatar Airways business class lime mint juice with cold towels

Jennifer also presented us with the menu and wine list for the flight, and explained the a la carte service, and that we could eat when we wanted.

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Qatar Airways business class menu & wine list

A few minutes later Yasin, the cabin service director, came around to each passenger to welcome them aboard as well.

By 11:10AM boarding was completed. It’s pretty impressive that they can board a (mostly) full A340 in just 20 minutes.

At this point Captain Aziz came on the PA to add his welcome aboard as well. He sounded like a nice guy, and said we’d be cruising at 38,000 feet, and that we should expect light to moderate turbulence enroute.

At 11:15AM we began our pushback with one empty business class seat — 23 of the 24 seats were taken. Interestingly on this flight I learned that Qatar Airways doesn’t serve Arabic coffee and dates in business class, but rather only in first class (offered on their A380s and flights within the Gulf).

The flight attendants did a manual safety demonstration as we taxied to the runway, which is quite a shame, since I quite enjoy Qatar’s safety video.

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Taxiing Colombo Airport

Our taxi to the runway took about 15 minutes.

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Taxiing Colombo Airport

At 11:30AM we were cleared for takeoff.

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Taking off Colombo Airport

The A340-600 is one of my favorite planes to fly from an aviation perspective (as opposed to passenger experience perspective), and as usual, the takeoff roll was long.

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View after takeoff from Colombo

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View after takeoff from Colombo

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View after takeoff from Colombo

Our climb out was smooth, and about 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point the cabin crew closed the curtains between cabins.

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View from my seat after takeoff

Shortly thereafter they came through the cabin to take meal orders.

The menu read as follows:

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The beverage list read as follows:

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And the wine list read as follows:

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In my opinion Qatar Airways masters the business class soft product, at least as far as food and drinks go.

Service began with drinks and mixed nuts. I ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc, which was poured at my seat, as is the norm on Qatar Airways. I find that to be a nice touch.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch — mixed nuts and sauvignon blanc

We were even offered nut refills.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch — mixed nuts

After that the table was set, including an individual breadbasket and water (either still or sparkling).

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Qatar Airways business class lunch table setting

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Qatar Airways business class lunch bread selection

To start I had the tomato and basil soup, which was fantastic. It was spicy, hot, and had a great kick to it.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch — tomato and basil soup

Next I ordered the Arabic mezze. While not the most extensive one out there, it was tasty, and had hummus and tabouli, which are among my favorite mezze components anyway.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch — Arabic mezze

Meanwhile Matthew had the chicken and bell pepper kebab, which looked great as well.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch — chicken and bell pepper kebab

For the main course I had the Sri Lankan style chicken stew, which was incredible. It was so flavorful, and served with tomato rice and tempered okra. I would have been thrilled with this dish even in a restaurant.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch — Sri Lankan style chicken stew

Matthew had the lamb, which he said was good, though overcooked.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch — slow cooked lamb leg with herb lamb jus

For dessert I had the red velvet cake with nougat, along with a cappuccino to accompany it.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch — dessert and cappuccino

The dessert was incredibly delicious as well.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch dessert — red velvet cake with nougat

Lastly we were offered a cheese course, and also a box of chocolates.

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Qatar Airways business class lunch — cheese selection with crackers

Qatar Airways really does an incredible job with their business class catering. I don’t know of any airline which has more flavorful and extensive meals in business class.

Service throughout the meal matched my typical experience on Qatar Airways. Upon boarding the crew was super friendly and professional and attentive, but then service slowly deteriorated as the flight continued. The crew was pretty good throughout the meal service, but then disappeared until before landing.

After lunch I checked out the business class lavatory, located in front of the business class cabin. It was pretty bland, though did have a window, which I thought was a nice touch.

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Qatar Airways A340 business class lavatory

Qatar has a pretty good entertainment system, called Oryx One.

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Qatar Airways entertainment system

Unfortunately Qatar’s A340s don’t have wifi, so perhaps entertainment is more important on this plane than others.

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Qatar Airways entertainment system

Since Matthew hadn’t seen Zootopia, we watched it together (it was my third time seeing the movie — yeah, it’s that cute/good). Oddly on this flight the movie was called Zootropolis, though it was identical to the version I had seen previously, except every mention of “Zootopia” was replaced with “Zootropolis.” Anyone know why that is?

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Qatar Airways entertainment system

I also browsed the airshow, though our flight took us out over the Indian Ocean mainly, so there wasn’t too much to see.

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Airshow enroute to Doha

After the movie I worked for a bit, and before I knew it were already over the Arabian peninsula, just approaching Muscat.

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Airshow enroute to Doha

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Airshow enroute to Doha

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Airshow enroute to Doha

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Airshow enroute to Doha

About 30 minutes before landing Captain Aziz came back on the PA to provide us with updated arrival information, anticipating that we’d be landing at 1:15PM.

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View on approach to Doha

We had some pretty cool views on approach into Doha, including of The Pearl, and then of the skyline, though that was sort of tough to see due to the haze.

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View of the Pearl, Doha

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View of the Doha skyline

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View on final approach to Hamad International Airport

Sure enough we had a smooth touchdown at Doha Airport on runway 16R at 1:15PM.

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View on final approach to Hamad International Airport

From there we had a quick five minute taxi to our arrival gate.

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Taxiing Hamad International Airport

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Taxiing Hamad International Airport

Fortunately we got an actual gate, and not a remote stand.

Qatar Airways A340 business class bottom line

This was an extremely pleasant flight, as is the norm on Qatar Airways. For a four hour flight the seat was great, though I definitely prefer the reverse herringbone seats they have on many of their other planes.

The food and drinks on the flight were great, as is the norm in Qatar Airways business class. They really do have one of the world’s best business class soft products, in my opinion.

Unfortunately service was spotty — it was great during boarding, and deteriorated from there. I’ve found that to be the norm on Qatar Airways, though.

Overall Qatar Airways is a fantastic way to fly.

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Comments

  1. i asked them as to what they do the manual safety demonstration. they informed that they have to do it once a year for an entire month to keep the crew properly trained.

  2. During summer here in Doha its as hazy / dusty as it looks in the pictures. Exactly the same as when I look out the window right now!

  3. The seating configuration is very similar to Lufthansa’s C configuration on the A346, as it is 2-2-2 and the center seats angle towards one another. The main difference is the center passengers on the LH plane share a footwell. When I flew in the center of that configuration earlier in the year, my seatmate knocked into me with his knees while I was asleep, and woke me up! However, LH has larger foot wells for those on the left and right.

  4. Lucky – film was renamed for marketing and branding purposes. In Europe, the brand name “Zootopia” was already taken by an actual zoo. In this case, it seems like Qatar has the European version of the movie.

  5. Why are you “amazed” that it would take 20 minutes to seat 200 people. That’s standard.

    What’s amazing to me is the US, where they seem to allow people to bring steamer Trunks on board, and waste a ton of time while the aisles are blocked by the cargo.loading operations. How many millions of dollars are they wasting!!

  6. I recently flew QR business from PHL to DMM. Unfortunately, they “temporarily” removed the a350 from the route and so we had a 777. We had the same drink menu as on your flight. I found the wine selection to be subpar, especially for Qatar. I wonder why they stopped offering the 1979 Port wine and also what happened to the laduree desserts.

    With EK flying the 380 to IAD, Emirates may be edging out QR to the mid Atlantic region

  7. This configuration is what I came across in A333 CAI-DOH (F) one day. Most of time I get B777 CAI-DOH (F) so I was quite surprised seeing this configuration by chance. Seat looks sleek and elegant, but after taking this product twice in this route, now I actually prefer B777 (cos’ I am a lady traveling alone and most of time there is an Arab gentleman seated next to me in this route, I feel more comfortable in moving around in spacious B777).

  8. I experienced this product in QR A333 CAI-DOH (F) one day. I normally get B777 CAI-DOH (F) in this route, I was quite pleasantly surprised to see this configuration. Seat looks quite sleek, modern and elegant, and service is quite nice as usual in this route. Enjoyed very much, but after taking this configuration twice, I actually preferred B777 in this route (cos’ I am a lady traveling alone and most of time there is an Arab or (somewhat overweight;;) Western gentleman seated next to me, I prefer more spacious B777 seat).

  9. Pity you didn’t try the Billecart Salmon. Putting Krug to one side, it is one of the best champagnes out there. And although not familiar with the particular brand, it’s hard to go wrong with a McLaren Vale Shiraz.

  10. Thanks for the report. I’ll be flying Qatar Business for the first time next month so looking forward to it. The seat looks a lot like Lufthansa Business. Which do you find it better?

  11. They disappeared so that you and the rest of the passengers can rest and not get disturbed constantly. There’s a call bell that you can press if you require anything. Common sense man! Why do you want the crew to keep walking around and checking on you every few minutes, I would hate that. Your problem is so petty, seems like you don’t fly frequently and not really fit to make a report.

  12. Thanks for the great report Lucky! Never flown QR but I have many friends who have raved about their J class. Hope to try it someday to compare it to BA CW (although we know who the winner will be…).
    Keep flying
    Chloe

  13. Gulf Air also offer the choice of hot or cold towels on all their flights.
    Ethiopian have installed the same seats on their new A350 aircraft, I found them to be rather comfortable.

  14. Zoomania is called Zootropolis, Zootopia, Animalopolis(translated from polish) or Beastpolis (translated from Russian) depending on where you live.
    In part of Trademarks to certain names in certain Regions but I assume also due to regional differences.

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