Review: Qatar Airways Business Class A330 from TXL-DOH and going on in First DOH-DXB
On the track from Berlin to Doha, Qatar usually uses a short haul plane and not an A330. But on the occasion of the ITB in Berlin on March 9th it didn’t go as usual, but with the A330 and so my journey to Dubai via DOH was timed perfectly.
Checkin and lounge in Berlin
Check-in took place in the very back corner of Terminal C, which is normally used by AirBerlin. The way from A to the very back corner of Terminal C is a little further, but check-in is less complicated. A friendly employee in Qatar uniform “picked me up” by the door and brought me to the business class check-in of Qatar Airways. One row was open at the counter but it went fast anyway.
When package was on its way I was advised to go to the British Airways lounge. They used the one by British Airways because at an airport of such size it doesn’t make sense to have an own one. Also, Qatar becomes member of OneWorld Alliance and there are no alternatives in Berlin. The “exclusive” waiting area is neither nice nor can be called a lounge and is placed behind another security control in area C. So I get back to the lounge, eat, drink and work a little and then go to the gate. For departure there are two separate security controls and two manned counters at passport control. We get along fast. Only one man is being escorted along the queue: the CEO of Qatar who will travel back to Doha with us today.
The plane is placed on the movement area, close to the gate, and so we walk the few steps and enter at the front door. All economy passengers enter later and mostly at the back door.
Aircraft and seat
The cain is ordered in a 2-2-2 seating in business class and color-wise dominated by a wine red, which is also to be found in the uniforms of the stewardesses.
The seat itself is formed like a bowl, so you’re for yourself when hinging down. The width is comfortable, even though it could be a little more for bigger people. But for me, it’s fine. I’m sitting on one of the middle seat in first row today, which is separated by a middle bracket. A separating wall is not there. The table has a sufficient size and offers enough space for eating and working at least. Shelves are hardly to be found. In the middle bracket is a little one. Otherwise there is only a shelf for newspapers in the front board. Especially if you are travelling with all kinds of technical gadgets, like me, you don’t really know where to put them. You also find a little lamp in the bracket, so you can read or work when lights are shut down.
The cabin seems clear and comfortably small, due to the maximum of 24 seats in business class in the A330. I like such private areas much more and therefore love the cabin at Swiss or the upper deck of the 747 of British Airways. Also when being serviced the cabin appears quit and relaxed, not as scurry like other ones with 15 and more rows.
The seat is adjustable in different steps. Besides a fixed position for departure and landing and sleeping, there is one for eating and two more savable. You can save an appropriate position for every purpose and don’t have to adjust it again and again. There also is a massage function, but it seemed quite loud to me.
The amenity kit
In business class on the pretty short flight to Doha, Qatar provides a nice black kit. It appears high class and contains everything it needs. Cream, eye mask, tooth brush stuff and so on. One of the Arabian competitors, Emirates, completely abstains from a kit on the track Dubai – Hamburg, which is quite “headstrong” as I think.
Further products like shaver, comb or such can be received on request.
After getting something to drink right at departure (besides orange juice and water also Champaign and Coke for me), service followed again when we were up in the air. We got hot and cold towels beforehand and the menu right after. The menu is wrapped in a nice leather envelope and divided into foods, beverages and wine list.
I’m always happy with coke when it comes to beverages. Therefore let’s first take a look at the food. After a little greeting from the kitchen, which consisted of marinated chicken, I decided to take squash soup to start with. Fresh bread and rolls with butter and or olive oil were also served. I sticked to chicken for main course and took marinated chicken with creamy sauce. As alternative they had lamb with Arabian spices or “grilled onion squash cake”, as vegetarian variance. My chicken was, together with sauce and pasta, quite delicious and nicely served.
As dessert I had a little ice cream and fruits, because I was already stuffed. I abdicated cheese and cake today. After a small piece of chocolate I laid down and later on enjoyed a selection of cookies, cake and coffee before landing in Doha.
Transfer in Doha
Business class passengers were brought to the premium terminal with a little very own bus. It’s separated from the main terminal and only accessible for business and first class passengers. After a short security control we went on to the duty free shop on the first level. Because I travel on in first class to Dubai, I went to first class lounge. It consists of a SPA with treatment option, showers and silent area, but also seating areas, business center and restaurant. Here you can help yourself from an extensive buffet as well as Arabian foods. If you like, you can watch the food being prepared in the open kitchen.
When I got called to my continuation, I went a level down to the bus, while bus is actually understated. It was a rebuilt bus for first class passengers, as you can see on the pictures.
The almost one hour lasting flight with Qatar is spent in a broad and very comfortable seat. I immediately noticed the small cabin with the 2-2 seating. It’s very clear.
After having an Arabian coffee or other beverages before departure you get something to eat. Besides bread, oil and butter you can have chicken or halibut.
It doesn’t only look good, it also tasted good. For dessert I had rice pudding and espresso or other coffee and tea specialties on request. The flight was over so fast.
I am definitely surprised by the service of Qatar. It began before check-in in Berlin over the first flight to Doha. Also here in the terminal and on the last piece personnel was friendly, helpful and always smiling. This is what I think is good service and this is what makes flying fun.
In the end, everybody has to decide for himself what preferences he has, if he likes to transfer in Doha, but especially on long distance flights to Asia this is really an alternative. The short flight to Doha and then sleeping on the long flight is worth it.
I personally really liked the flight and I will fly with Qatar again in May, maybe they have the 787 until then. Hopefully! On the way back in first class from Dubai to Doha and then in first class to Munich – but you’ll read about that in another post.