Introduction: An Insane Week In The Sky
Review: China Eastern Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To Shanghai
Review: Grand Hyatt Shanghai
Review: China Eastern Lounge Shanghai Airport
Review: China Eastern Business Class A330 Shanghai To Colombo
Review: Hilton Colombo
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class A340 Colombo To Doha
Review: Oryx Lounge Doha Airport
Review: Royal Air Maroc Business Class 787 Doha To Casablanca
Review: Hyatt Regency Casablanca
Review: Royal Air Maroc Lounge Casablanca Airport
Review: Royal Air Maroc Business Class 787 Casablanca To Doha
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class A340 Doha To Colombo
Review: Saudia Business Class 777 Colombo To Jeddah
Review: Saudia Lounge Jeddah Airport
Review: Saudia Business Class 787 Jeddah To Manchester
Review: Pakistan Airlines Business Class 777 Manchester To New York
Review: Airspace Lounge New York JFK Airport Terminal 5
Review: JetBlue Mint A321 New York To Los Angeles
Our flight from Casablanca arrived at around 10:30PM, and our connection to Colombo was at 2:15AM, so we had just under four hours. Transit security in Doha was quick, and within minutes we found ourselves in the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge, which I’ve reviewed before.
After getting caught up on some work and having a snack, we eventually headed to our departure gate at around 1:20AM. We were departing from gate C5, which was about a 10 minute walk from the Al Mourjan Lounge.
Boarding for our flight commenced at 1:35AM, about 40 minutes before departure.
Qatar Airways 664
Doha (DOH) – Colombo (CMB)
Monday, August 2
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Seat: 4B (Business Class)
This flight was operated by the same type of plane we had from Colombo to Doha. The A340-600 has just 24 business class seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.
The friendly cabin service director, Eduardo, directed us to our seats in row four.
We had assigned seats 4A & 4B, on the left side and in the last row of the cabin.
Already waiting in the storage compartment behind our seats were headphones and bottled water.
I took a quick glimpse at the economy cabin behind us. It’s sort of insane how many economy seats Qatar Airways has on their A340-600s!
Also waiting at our seats were Qatar’s excellent plush pillow and blanket, which I quickly used to get comfortable.
Moments after settling in we were offered a small pouch with some amenities. This wasn’t the full blown amenity kit given that this was a short flight, but I assume rather just intended as a snooze pack.
The pouch consisted of eyeshades, earplugs, socks, and a comb.
Moments later Mohammed, the flight attendant taking care of us, came by and introduced himself. He informed us that the flight time would be 4hr30min. He offered us our choice of drinks, as well as hot or cold towels. We selected hot towels and Qatar’s excellent lime mint juice, as usual.
Moments later he brought the menu and wine list, and explained that we could eat what we wanted when we wanted.
Boarding was efficient, and at 2:10AM Captain Alfonso made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our cruising altitude of 39,000 feet, and that he hoped we’d have an on-time arrival.
By 2:20AM boarding was complete, and every business class seat was occupied. From the looks of it, business class seemed to consist mostly of Europeans, with several older British and German couples.
I was expecting we’d push back shortly, but unfortunately there was a bit of a delay. After a while Captain Alfonso was back on the PA to explain that there were two passengers who no showed, so their bags had to be offloaded. That’s a process that took about 30 minutes, so it was 2:50AM before we began our pushback.
At that point the safety video played, which in this case was the special FC Barcelona one.
Here’s the safety video, for those of you who haven’t seen it (it’s rather over the top):
As we taxied out I watched the airshow, noting our route straight out over the ocean.
We taxied out to runway 34R, and by 3:10AM were cleared for takeoff, as there were a few planes ahead of us for takeoff (as usual in the Middle East, the middle of the night is rush hour). Our takeoff roll was long, and we had some great views on departure.
As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment selection, and per Matthew’s suggestion, watched Dr. Ken. That’s the same guy who played Mr. Chow in The Hangover. While this sitcom wasn’t quite as over the top, it was still amusing.
When we looked at the menu, we were a bit surprised to find that they basically had a full dinner service on offer, rather than breakfast. For a flight departing at 2AM and landing at 10AM, you’d think breakfast would be the primary meal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, since dinner is almost always better than breakfast on planes… but I was surprised.
Matthew and I were both tired, so the initial plan was to go to sleep right after takeoff and eat before landing. However, we then realized this was just a 4hr30min flight, so it seemed better to get the meal “over with,” and try to sleep until as close to landing as possible.
This is also when it dawned on us just how insane the journey ahead of us was. We were flying to Colombo, had a seven hour layover there, were flying to Jeddah, had a seven hour layover there, were flying to Manchester, had a four hour layover there, were flying to New York, had a six hour layover there, and then were flying to Los Angeles. What were we thinking?!
Anyway, the rather strange (and extremely impressive) menu for the flight read as follows:
And the beverage list read as follows:
Mohammed and Eduardo were great about carrying out the meal service quickly. Within 30 minutes of takeoff our tables were set, including personal breadbaskets.
To start we had the wild mushroom soup, which was hot and flavorful.
For the starter I decided to mix it up (I’m usually a die-hard mezze fan) and have the chicken cheese tikka with mint chutney. It was phenomenal.
Meanwhile Matthew had the mezze, which looked as good as usual.
For the main course I had the saffron chicken korma, which was also incredible and flavorful. It was so well prepared, and translated well even at 39,000 feet, unlike some other dishes that may be good on the ground but not in the air.
Matthew had the lamb loin, which looked good as well.
For dessert we had the chocolate florentine gateaux with nuts. It was decadent.
The meal was done about 90 minutes after takeoff, giving us about three hours before our arrival in Colombo. Qatar’s meal services are just flawless. Where else in the world do you get this kind of a meal service on a short redeye flight?
Towards the end of the meal I watched Fresh Off The Boat, another sitcom I find pretty hilarious.
By the time the meal service was done, the sun was already rising over the Indian Ocean.
I reclined my seat and tried to get some rest. Despite being dead tired, I didn’t really sleep all that well, for whatever reason.
I woke up a bit over 30 minutes out of Colombo, as we were passing over the southern tip of India.
I asked Eduardo for a couple of cappuccinos, which we promptly served us.
You know how there are some experiences in life that are just disproportionately enjoyable? Well, for me sipping a well made cappuccino on a plane shortly after having woken up while looking out the window and watching the airshow is one of them.
There’s something about just sitting there for five minutes holding a warm mug in my hands while coming to terms with the fact that I just slept for several hours while in a machine transporting me at 500 miles per hour over an ocean that never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes a nice cappuccino helps with slowing down and appreciating that.
We were offered Walkers cookies with the cappuccinos, and also some chocolates.
Moments later Captain Alfonso provided us with updated arrival information, informing us that we’d be landing at around 10:15AM, a bit behind schedule (due to our delayed departure).
We hit a bit of chop as we descended through the clouds (the flight was otherwise very smooth), and sure enough touched down at around 10:15AM. From there it was a short five minute taxi to our arrival gate, where we arrived at 10:20AM.
Qatar A340 business class bottom line
This was another incredible flight on Qatar Airways. Their soft product in business class is simply second to none, especially on these shorthaul flights. Where else do you get a legitimate four course meal on a fairly short redeye? Furthermore, their cappuccinos are incredible, which is a great thing to wake up to after a short night of sleep.