Flying The Qatar Airways QSuite Business Class (777-300ER From Dallas To Doha)

Flying The Qatar Airways QSuite Business Class (777-300ER From Dallas To Doha)

 

 

So nice it deserves its own post.

 

The Occasion

After the past weekend speaking at MAASU 2019 Spring Conference in Boulder, Colorado, and hot on the heels of an upcoming destination wedding in Islamabad 5 years in the making (and one I wouldn’t miss for the world), I discovered I could save both money and time by flying directly from Colorado to Pakistan via Qatar Airways’ new QSuite Business Class.

I figured I could kill a lot of time by skipping a return home to NYC after the conference (I’d forego repacking by using the same suit for both the conference and the wedding), and instead flying a quick AA Business Class flight to Dallas, TX, catch the opening weekend screening of Captain Marvel at the famous Alamo Drafthouse (both of which were awesome!), freshening up at the AMEX Centurion Lounge at DFW, and then taking the 14 hour Qatar Airways QSuite flight #730 directly to Doha before catching another Qatar Airways Business Class flight to Islamabad.

I’d also save money by finally redeeming the 70,000 American Airlines miles I had been saving up for this very occasion. The whole itinerary would cost me $14.00 USD total in additional taxes and fees. Yes you read that right: FOURTEEN DOLLARS TOTAL. And how did I get 70,000 miles in the first place? By taking a mere 5 minutes to sign up for a credit card a few weeks ago (don’t be alarmed by a signup — my credit score has since climbed to 820+).

Of course you didn’t come here to hear about my itineraries, did you? You came here to hear about the QSuites. And how did they fare? Overall it’s a high-class fresh design and deserves its reputation as the best business class cabin in the industry. However, the only gripe was that I got a more full night’s rest and deeper sleep on EVA Air’s Royal Lauren cabin last year on my way to Sydney. But that’s a small, petty comparison.

 

The Seat

The seat itself is gorgeous. You have ample table space that doubles as the electronic shelf, as well as a stowaway compartment under the larger armrest that holds a bottle of water and noise-canceling headphones.

 

 

Once seated, you’re greeted with your choice of pre-flight beverage (including pink champagne, which is what I got) and either a warm or cold wet towel.

 

 

The highlight of the QSuites would be the sliding door, rendering your business class seat to feel even more private than it already was before. The doors can be closed only after takeoff and before landing.

 

 

The Amenities

 

In addition to your Dasani bottle of water and noise-cancelling headphones in your stowaway compartment under your armrest, you also are provided a plush, velvet blanket as an in-flight duvet. You unfortunately cannot take these home with you (as my attendant would warn me).

 

 

The leather amenities pouch carries a delightful Castello Monte Vibiano set of refreshing facial spray, lip balm and facial moisturizing cream, as well as the standard eye mask, socks, slippers, and ear plugs.

 

 

Finally you’re gifted a pajama set by The White Company of London. These you can keep.

 

 

The Bathroom

Sadly, the bathroom is pretty standard. Not as large as Emirates’ but they offer plenty of dental and shaving kits as toiletries.

 

 

The Menu

Surprisingly unlike other business class cabins, Qatar Airways’ Business Class doesn’t really offer a set menu with choices but rather an a la carte selection style where you can choose multiple, if not all the offerings at your pleasure. 

 

 

The Meal

We began with a set of nuts and a starter beverage, of which I chose the Pineapple Margarita.

 

 

Next came an artisanal bread selection served with olive oil, a choice of vinaigrette (I chose the pomegranate), butter, and a piece of ceviche shrimp.

 

 

For appetizers I ordered the Santa Barbara hot smoked salmon with potato dill salad, micro greens, and extra virgin olive oil

 

 

For the main dish I chose the herb crusted tenderloin with haricot vert, parsilied potato, sweet peppers, and beef jus.

 

 

For dessert I said yes to nearly everything including the Fresh berries with rose water syrup:

 

 

…and the Gourmet ice cream selection with their signature So Jennie pale pink sparkling grape alcohol-free “luxury” bubbly.

 

 

Finally they finished my meal service with a choice of cardamom or saffron tea (or coffee) with a box of Godiva chocolates:

 

 

The Sleep

After the meal service it was time to head to bed.

Here the QSuite Cabin takes things a step further with two more arrangements for group travelers. One is the double bed option for couples by sliding down the middle divider to turn two beds into a larger one. The other is the unique “quad” cabin when the entertainment displays can be slid down to the side to allow for paired rear and forward-facing center seats to become one large room of 4 seats/beds — a setup designed for families or work colleagues traveling together.

 

 

After the meal service the attendants will make your bed for you by furnishing a mattress covering:

 

 

And of course, you can set your seat to lie completely flat at 180º:

 

 

Finally, there is a “DND” aka Do-Not-Disturb button on your seat that turns on a red light on your cabin decal so attendants can leave you alone except for take off and landing.

 

 

The Breakfast

I was able to get in a good 3 solid hours of sleep until I couldn’t sleep anymore, partly because my back started to hurt a little bit. Thus I spent the next 3-4 hours watching movies and doing some work on their super fast onboard WiFi (The first hour is complimentary and then you have to pay $10 USD via credit card to be connected for the rest of the flight), until they began their breakfast service around 2 hours before landing.

I started with Greek yogurt, added in with some mixed berry compote, toasted granola, and nuts:

 

 

Next I asked for the steel-cut oats served with berries and cream:

 

 

Finally, I finished off with a hearty steamed eggs and chicken sausage with toasted brioche, sautéed spinach, and hollandaise sauce:

 

 

And with less than an hour until landing, I enjoyed a cup of coffee and another moist warm towel before changing out of my pajamas to prepare for the inevitable end to my 14 hour hotel in the sky.

 

 

After disembarking in Doha, where I had been only 9 months before, I headed straight through transfers security and towards Al Mourjan Lounge for Qatar Business Class passengers.

 

 

You have to show your boarding pass and get scanned to board the escalator upstairs for lounge access.

 

 

And just like the QSuites’ design, Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan Lounge is also out of this world bonkers nice. By surface area it boasts to be one of the largest in the world. Although it may not enjoy as many food stations, activities, entertainment options and frills as the equally large (but chaotic) Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge in Istanbul, it makes up for it with its grander use of space, attention to detail, and higher quality furnishings.

 

 

There’s even an infinity pool and grand staircase to an elevated dining room:

 

 

Here I just met up with Evan (who also just flew QSuites from Chicago O’Hare International Airport), with whom I had just traveled with last month in Prague and Budapest, and now will be part of my monsoon wedding party heading to Islamabad for the upcoming festivities!

 

 

- At time of posting in Doha, Qatar, it was 21 °C - Humidity: 41% | Wind Speed: 11km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear with periodic clouds

 

Doha: Teardrops On My “Qatar”

Doha: Teardrops On My “Qatar”

 

First and foremost, props to Ann “Narcoleptik!” Wen on this trip for the blogpost’s witty pun of a title — It’s going to be sad to leave such an unexpectedly pretty city that it’s the reason for the teardrops on our “Qatar” (hey hey hey!).

After 4 wonderful days in Oman it was time to say goodbye; I had to return to work back home in 2 days and the girls’ vacation time was ending soon. So at around the last minute we collectively decided to make a brief one day foray into the capital of Qatar, Doha before heading home.

We booked and boarded an 11:40am Qatar Airways flight and landing in Doha around 2 hours later at 12:15pm Qatar time (Qatar’s 1 hour ahead of Oman).

 

 

Unlike Oman, visas are free for Americans and it was refreshing to finally cross through; Doha was my first ever layover when I first traveled on my own to India in 2009 and I had always been meaning to visit it officially. Nearly 10 years later, I’m finally here!

We decided to keep it convenient and stay near the city center in Souq Waqif, Qatar’s oldest souq that translates to “standing market.” As for lodging, it seems that a collection of boutique hotels united by the Tivoli Brand has a monopoly on most of the souq’s refurbished buildings, although it nevertheless commands the best value stay here with luxurious accommodations for relatively affordable prices.

 

 

Around $75 per person gets you a full on suite here that should cost $400/night if this was in Europe or North America.

 

 

After freshening up for half an hour we headed out to explore the area around Souq Waqif.

 

 

Across the street is a clock tower that acts a useful landmark to find your way around.

 

 

Another notable landmark on the other side of the souq with which you can use to orient yourself is the Qatar Islamic Centre:

 

 

And by the waters stands the Pearl Monument, which heralded the development of this manmade island in Doha. You can rent a 30 minute boat ride here for 50-100 Qatari Rials (QAR).

 

 

And right behind Souq Waqif is Al Koot Fort, a 1920s military fort that’s currently being renovated to become a museum.

 

 

We then took a cheap Uber ride from here towards the Qatar National Library, passing by numerous buildings that would make most architects blush.

 

 

During Ramadan the National Library closes at 4pm instead of 8pm so we had only half an hour to explore.

 

 

The library’s interior is a master class in space and design. No number of panoramas can do it enough justice:

 

  

 

When the library closed we took another Uber to the recently finished Al Hazm Mall, at the recommendation of our concierge. It’s ridiculously ornate and elaborate, built to look like an Italian city:

 

 

We were the only ones here.

 

 

After about 20 minutes walking around, we took another Uber to the Doha Corniche for these classic views of the Doha skyline:

 

 

 

We then returned to our lodgings at Souq Waqif during which we passed by this curious caravan of camel-riding pedestrians on a random city street:

 

 

After changing quickly, we walked a few steps over from our hotel for dinner overlooking the Doha skyline at Al Shurfa Lounge.

 

 

Their hookah menu blew my mind:

 

 

And the views weren’t so bad either:

 

 

Once dinner was over, we headed into the souq to walk around a little bit. They sell everything here from handcrafts, food, snacks, sweets, clothing, souvenirs, furniture, and even pet animals including kittens, birds, and giant turtles (can you spot the lonely turtle in the photo below?):

 

 

Then we walked 20 minutes in the sweltering humidity towards the Museum of Islamic Art:

 

 

Right by the museum are a collection of boats you can pay to take you around the harbor for 20-30 minutes. We bargained down from 100 QAR to 50 QAR for the 3 of us for a 20 minute boat ride.

 

 

After we redocked back in the marina, we hailed an Uber to take us up a 20 minute drive to The Pearl, a 4 million square meter artificial manmade island that was built as the first place in Qatar where foreigners can own property.

 

 

We then drove to Katara Cultural Village nearby, a cute waterfront area featuring a beach, an amphitheater, museums, a convention center, and multiple shops and eateries:

 

 

After a few minutes driving around here, we then returned back to our hotel in Souq Waqif and called it a night.

Tomorrow morning Ann and Mihaela sadly fly out on an 8am flight back to NYC where I take a 1pm flight back to Muscat to catch a KLM flight home back to NYC via Amsterdam.

Another monsoon in now in the books!

 

- At time of posting in Doha, it was 40 °C - Humidity: 29% | Wind Speed: 14km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear