Time to head home. I booked a great reward Doha-Zurich flight using my British Airways Avios. You can see how much I paid for my Doha-Zurich Qatar Airways Business Class airfare.
Qatar Airways has a dedicated Premium Terminal at Hamad International Airport (DOH). Both Business and First Class passengers check-in and go through passport control there.
Check-in was quick. Two agents helped me tag my checked luggage and carry-on. Then I proceeded to passport control and security. Two police counters were open. It was still very quiet, the whole process took less than 5 minutes and I was off to the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan lounge.
Boarding Qatar Airways [B787 Dreamliner] Business Doha-Zurich
I find boarding very entertaining. Qatar Airways definitely knows how to keep passengers in order. In the boarding area, seats were divided into Zones. You knew where you'd sit or hand-out pretty quickly. Seats were also assigned to Special Assistance, Priority Seating and Families. Some of people concerned by the Zones (Economy flyers) would still try there luck and approach seats that were not assigned to them just because they were closer to the gate. Delirious human behavior.
Inflight Qatar Airways [B787 Dreamliner] Business Doha-Zurich
Usually Qatar Airways flies the A350 to Zurich. But there was an aircraft change. I boarded a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that had a 1-2-1 seat configuration. I was ecstatic to be seated alone.
Late night diner
Since the flight took off at 2 am, the menu featured a light diner. I've had a light diner at the lounge prior to that.
Business Class menu
However, I still went for an aperitif and the 4-course meal that included:
- Seared red snaper with saffron sauce and asparagus;
- Cheese plate;
I was exhausted and I needed to get a few hours of sound sleep. I was eager to open my pyjamas kit, courtesy of The White Company,
I had a short but deep sleep. I had asked the flight attendant to wake me up for breakfast. I woke-up relatively rested considering the short red-eye.
I never though I'd say this. But Qatar Airways failed royally on the Arabic breakfast that I chose. The menu featured 3 main breakfast choices with some side dishes (fruits, cereals). I was expecting a delicious plate of ful medamas (Egyptian fava bean recipe) along with some some cold and warm meze. What I got instead was a plate of balila. Balila is a plate of boiled cheak peas mixed in garlic, cumin, olive oil and salt. It is a popular breakfast dish in winter but it's not considered a main dish. But most of all it's by far the wishy-washiest plate I've ever had.
Also the Arabic bread was just awful. Someone who works at the ovens doesn't put much love into their breads.
I really struggled with the inflight entertainment system. Although it looked great with a 17 inch screen, the touchpad remote control was an annoyance the whole time. I could not select menus and switch. I ended-up with an Agatha Christie's 70s movie I didn't even finish. Since I got some sleep I gave-up on it. I didn't tell the flight attendant about it. She could do nothing about it.
The service level I received throughout the flight was consistent and solid. The flight attendant who was assigned to my aisle was pretty busy even though some passengers decided to sleep at take-off. She was thorough and pleasant. Despite my frustrations with the quality breakfast and the IFE, I have to acknowledge the high standard of service. It was pretty much seamless from the check-in, through the lounge until landing.
My overall experience was satisfactory. Although IFE and breakfast disappointed, Qatar Airways presents a solid Business Class product. My Premium terminal check-in and lounge experience add-up to the flight experience. Attentive and service-oriented staff is a big winner for me. Remember, I was flying with people who, for me most, paid at least $4,500 for their airfare. It cost me $127 on top of the 37,500 Avios. To say it's a steal is an understatement for the entire luxury experience.
I definitely encourage anyone who stacks-up Avios or any other oneworld miles to fly out of Doha (DOH) and experience the whole Business Class offering.
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