My First Time Having A Business Class Cabin All To Myself

Over the years I’ve had my fair share of empty first class cabins. I’d estimate that I’ve probably been on close to 10 international first class flights where I was the only person in the cabin. It goes without saying that it’s a real treat when that happens. You typically have 1-2 flight attendants taking care of just you, so service is exceptional. For a brief moment it also gives you the feeling that you’re on a private jet, only better (personally I’d rather feel like I’m on an A380 or 777 private jet than on a Gulfstream). 😉

However, as far as I can remember I’ve never had a business class cabin all to myself. I could be wrong, but if I have, I don’t remember it. It seems to me like that’s much rarer, both because more people can justify paying for business class than first class, and also because business class cabins are typically larger.

Well, today for the first time I had a business class cabin all to myself. Okay, I probably wasn’t as excited as I’d otherwise be given that it was just a 2.5 hour flight from Yerevan to Doha, and given that this was after a 10 hour delay. But still, there’s something sort of cool about the crew saying “boarding complete,” and then looking around and realizing there’s no one in sight. Of course it gets even better after takeoff when the curtains are closed, and you have true privacy.

This was another flawless Qatar Airways flight. Unlike my flight from Doha to Yerevan, this flight wasn’t operated by an A320 with flat beds, but rather featured Qatar’s regional recliner seats. Even so, Qatar Airways offers an unparalleled soft product — dine on demand, a five course meal, two types of champagne, pre-departure drinks of choice, amenity kits, etc.

Once again, the food was spectacular. The meal started with a spicy carrot and cumin soup.

Then there was a smoked salmon and cream cheese roulade appetizer.

Then I had the tofu in panko bread crumbs with curry sauce as my main course.

Then for dessert was a chocolate crunch with raspberry coulis.

I had two flight attendants taking care of me, and they were both excellent. Fortunately they weren’t too overly attentive, which can get a bit awkward when you’re the only passenger, since there’s no subtle way they can check on you.

The arrival experience at the airport was equally impressive. On one hand, I can’t wrap my head around how Hamad International Airport just opened a few years ago, and is the self proclaimed five star gateway to the world, but I almost always seem to both arrive and depart from a remote stand here. On the other hand, Qatar Airways has separate buses for premium passengers, even if it’s just you. 😉

While I would have preferred my flight to not be delayed by 10 hours, it was a fantastic short flight nonetheless.

After flying with Qatar Airways it’s always tough to return to the US and deal with the domestic flying grind, as the experience is just ever-so-slightly different.

Comments

  1. So lucky, Lucky!

    I once forfeited a chance to be one of two passengers on a 757. I was using a hidden city fare and was going to go home at the hub. Out of curiosity, I visited the gate and was told by the gate agent that it was open seating, including sitting in First with my economy ticket.

    I was the only passenger once in a 50 seat plane.

  2. I once was the only First Class passenger (with my 10 year old daughter) on a Singapore Airlines flight from Shanghai to Singapore. The purser at 08.30 brought me a bottle of Krug. “Sir, you will be drinking this”. Not at 08.30. At 11.30 I gave in. I savoured the last drops as we touched down in Changi. I was the only Business Class passenger upgraded.

  3. My only time solo in business class was also a short flight. DED to REP on Vietnam Airlines. That meal service was a few levels below Qatar. No champagne nor multiple courses. A super basic chicken and rice with a Bia Hanoi.

  4. I’m lucky if Delta has an edible choice during the meal service in domestic first-class on flights under 3 hours.

  5. “Flawless”

    Reality: 10 hour delay

    I don’t know why you cut Qatar slack all the time. I flew them recently based no your reviews. Will avoid them like the plaque from now on. Six hour delay in the desert in the middle of the night is tiring and then another three hour delay on the way back from Australia. Yea. No thanks.

    That airline is a complete mess operationally. From 5 flights I had with them 4 got delayed, 1 luggage lost for three (3!) days

  6. Obviously Qatar hasn’t mastered controlling the weather yet. 😉

    I’ve been in solo in first, SIN to MNL. It’s wonderful when the bottle of Dom is all yours.

  7. Last year June I had same experience fly TK from Venice to Istanbul. After boarding, one flight attendant came to tell me that I am the only business class passenger. I can tell she was trying not to laugh. It was very cool feeling like private jet.

  8. I had the same thing this summer ATH-DOH with lie flats on a redeye. Interestingly enough I bought the tix about 6 hours earlier.

    The strangest part was when they would deplane Y at bus gate in DOH and they all had to wait for me to leave before they started boarding

  9. I’ve had it once, luckily it was Chengdu to Heathrow so I had a good few hours to enjoy!

    It was one of the best flights I had (and this was BA CW)

  10. Flew by myself Christmas day Hong Kong to Bali. FlyingBlue wouldn’t ticket online and call center said space wasnt available period. So I bought economy and made lowest bid for upgrade and I guess unsurprisingly got it.

  11. @ Phize — You have better memory than I do! You’re absolutely correct, guess I should have known it happened at some point. I stand corrected!

  12. sri lankan air. upgraded by bidding. think the very first comment mentioned so. champagne bottle all by yourself.

  13. I remember I was the only one in Americans domestic First / Business class one. They ran out of my first meal option.

  14. I was the only passenger on a Qatar business class flight on board a A330, it was a four hour flight from Doha to Dhaka. Think there were four FAs just for me, they were incredibly attentive but all I wanted to do was sleep.

  15. Nice report!
    I was wondering if you will be sharing your trip to Armenia with us?
    I would like to know what you thought about the country

  16. soo lucky ..
    two years ago , I had the same fly experience , but the comedy scene was when the flight attendant came to tell me that I am the only and lonly business on class passenger, then we two laughed so much
    really It was amazing experience

  17. Flew alone in short/medium haul J quite frequently in business on intra Europe flights and also regionally in Asia on routes with 1-3 fixed rows of recliner J and also F. Never had a domestic US ‘F’ business cabin to myself obviously.
    @Adrian
    Never had that happen to me flying in J to coastal Chinese destinations; in fact load factors are quite high in business these days.

  18. I had a quite good ratio of “cabin all to myself” flights in 2017: 35 Business Class flights, four times alone in C.
    QR LXR-DOH (two days before the route was discontinued)
    D7 TPE-KUL
    LO WAW-TLL and the return LO TLL-WAW

    By contrast, all of my 8 First Class flights had additional passengers in the cabin.

    I remember one QR flight DOH-LXR, where I shared the C cabin with 5 others, while there were only 3 passengers in Y.

  19. Haven’t had an empty C cabin yet, but I did get HKG-ICN in KE F on the 748 all to myself last summer.

  20. Ignoring many times as the only passenger on intra-Europe business class, I once had the 49 seat business class to myself on an Air China flight ICN-PEK. It was rather awkward with a 4:1 ratio of cabin crew to me. I had a separate jet bridge to board the plane. Instead of bringing a menu they just made one of each and asked what I preferred. My glass was generally refilled after each sip before the glass had reached the tray table. And the lavatory door was held open for me. Overall it was a fun experience and makes for a good story.

  21. It reminds me of a fantastic flight I had in BA First to JFK….I was the only passenger in First, and the attention was superb… Good food and two bottles of Laurent Perrier…

    They wandered what kind of a ‘doctor’ I was….and kept trying to slip it in to the conversation. They hoped I was a doctor of cosmetic surgery….How wrong they were…Academic….

    We were late leaving….the captain came down to apologise personally.

    When we arrived at JFK, BA’s station manager came to personally escort me through the diplomatic Channel at immigration…. In and out in ten minutes.

  22. @Johnny –

    Cool story, brah. I don’t think an academic doctor would spell “wondered” with an a. Try again.

  23. I was the only Business class passenger on a Qatar Airway Doha-Luxor flight. And I fell asleep quickly during ascending until a crew wake me up on descending.

  24. @William Y

    It is possible for minds to “wander”. In this concept the sentence is correct. Their minds wandering between different ideas.

  25. @CS – DITTO
    Why build a new airport if you can’t dock all your flights at a main terminal?
    Nothing more ghastly than arriving after a long flight and stumble down stairs with loads
    of carry-on to a bus. No matter what class.
    Quick stroking those 3W airlines that wouldn’t be in business without money from the Kingdom.

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