Guest Reviewer: Chris
An avid traveler and obsessive points and miles hound, Chris is my travel buddy extraordinaire. I love him for his enthusiasm, his sense of adventure, and his many lounge access credit cards. Hope you enjoy his perspective!
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class BLR-DOH
Review: Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class DOH-LAX
Qatar Airways #739
Doha (DOH) - Los Angeles (LAX)
Thursday, February 4th, 2016
7:45 AM - 1:10 PM, 16 hours 25 minutes
777-200LR: Seat 6J (Business Class)
After having an enjoyable time on my 4-hour flight from Bangalore to Doha, I was excited to spend more time in Qatar Airways business class during my much longer onward flight to Los Angeles.
I left the Al Mourjan Business Lounge about 10 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin and found the gate a short 5-minute walk away. To my disappointment, flights from Doha to the US have to go through a secondary security check at the gate, which is pretty much the same as the initial security check, except they make you take your shoes off. There were quite a few people in line, but thankfully there was a separate checkpoint for business class and elite passengers. Unfortunately I was feeling a bit groggy at 7 AM, and what I thought was the premium line was actually the line for a different gate, where a flight to Boston was about to close. Even though they checked my boarding pass, they let me through, and I was about to step onto the jetbridge when they realized my mistake. I had to make a walk of shame back to my actual gate while the employees giggled at me.
After clearing the security checkpoint, I sat down in the waiting area, and a short while later boarding was announced for business class passengers and those requiring extra time. I joined the boarding line, but it was a madhouse. Instead of an orderly queue, it was just a mass of people pushing from all directions. At one point, I had about a foot of space between me and the person in front of me, and a middle-aged couple came up from behind and squeezed themselves into the gap. I couldn't believe it. I don't support the death penalty, but I'll make an exception for queue-jumpers.
Eventually I made it onboard the plane, and found the 777-200LR cabin to be almost identical to the one on my previous flight on the 777-300ER. I found my seat, 6J, an aisle seat on the right-hand side, and was offered a pre-departure beverage and a choice of a hot or cold towel. Unlike my previous flight, on this flight they did serve champagne on the ground, so I chose that. I also chose a hot towel this time, so that I could compare it with the cold towel I chose on my last flight. They're very similar except one is hot and one is cold.
When the "boarding completed" announcement was made, I noticed the cabin was half empty and no-one was sitting in the seat next to me, so I switched to the window seat to give myself a bit more privacy.
The seat itself is the same as the one on my previous flight. It's pretty comfortable for lounging, and there is plenty of leg room, though I find it doesn't quite go all the way to lie-flat. Well, maybe it does for a normal-weight human, but the leg rest definitely sagged for me. Each seat has a water bottle compartment where a water bottle was already waiting, which I appreciated.
Before takeoff, I was given an amenity kit, a set of pyjamas, and slippers. The amenity kit was Giorgio Armani branded and contained lip balm, cologne, a large bottle of aftershave balm, ear plugs, and an eye mask. Qatar Airways has two sizes of pyjamas: S/M and L/XL, and the flight attendant recommended the larger size, which I agreed was a reasonable choice.
Next, I was offered a wine list, dining menu, and a choice of newspapers. The flight attendant explained how Qatar Airways has a dine-on-demand concept, where there are no fixed meal times, and you can just press the call button whenever you want to eat something. While I'd experienced dine-on-demand before in first class, this was the first time I'd seen it in business class, so kudos to Qatar Airways for offering it!
Takeoff was smooth, and after reaching cruising altitude a flight attendant came by ask if I wanted anything to drink. I ordered a cappuccino, which was served with some room temperature nuts. I was also offered a mint (a Smint®) and a hot towel.
While I was enjoying my cappuccino, I decided to check out the entertainment system. The screen is large and bright, and the headphones are noise-cancelling and pretty comfortable. There were plenty of movies to choose from, and I started watching The Grand Budapest Hotel. It quickly became clear that this movie was way too weird for my liking, so I switched to watching a few episodes of Departures, then watched a documentary about how tech workers are ruining San Francisco. It was an especially interesting documentary considering that I'm a tech worker in San Francisco.
At this point I was feeling a bit hungry, so I pressed the call button. Within seconds, a flight attendant showed up, and I ordered the chicken salad (after spending two weeks in India, I was craving some lighter fare). It arrived a few minutes later, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The salad was served with a pastry bowl, from which I might have helped myself to my second pain au chocolat of the day. I also ordered another cappuccino, because I can never get enough of those.
After my meal, I was feeling a bit tired, so I pressed the call button again and asked the flight attendant to convert my seat into a bed. In the meantime, I headed to the lavatory to change into my pyjamas. The pyjamas were extremely comfortable: they were made of cotton, super soft, and pretty lightweight.
I slept for about 6 hours, which is perhaps the longest I've ever slept uninterrupted on a plane. Upon waking up, I was feeling a bit hungry again, so I ordered a bowl of cereal (there's just something I love about eating cereal on a plane) and a peach smoothie. My bowl of Corn Flakes arrived in short order, and came with another bowl of pastries. I ordered my third cappuccino of the flight, and also helped myself to my third pain au chocolat of the day (are you starting to notice a trend?).
While eating my cereal, I started watching Space Jam for about half an hour until I realized that I must look like the biggest kid in the world. Here I am: a grown man, in my pyjamas, eating breakfast cereal and watching cartoons. So I decided to watch a few episodes of Travel Man instead.
After that, I changed to the interactive map, and noticed that the plane was directly above the North Pole. Pretty cool!
I decided to sleep for a few more hours, and woke up about two hours before landing. It was at this point I discovered that a random shoe had appeared at my seat. I was very confused as to how it could have gotten there. The mystery of the shoe was never solved.
I definitely have a sweet tooth, so I figured I couldn't leave this plane without trying the Ladurée dessert. I ordered it along with another cappuccino. This one wasn't served with a bowl of pastries, but that's probably a good thing. I definitely shouldn't be eating four pain au chocolats in one day. Anyway, the chocolate ganache was delicious, although I made the mistake of thinking the Ladurée label was edible. It was plastic.
After my dessert, I changed out of my pyjamas, and soon we were flying along the California coast. Before I knew it, we were landing at LAX.
The 16.5 hours of my flight had flown by, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. While the Qatar Airways 777-200ER hard product is a bit dated, the soft product is top of its class - even better than I've experienced in first class on some airlines. The food was delicious and presented nicely, and the service was prompt and friendly. I would more than happily fly Qatar Airways business class again.
Just a twenty-something with a full-time job and a full-time obsession with traveling. It's best to LiveTraveled.