One of the most exciting parts of my recent trip to Chiang Mai was getting to fly there and back in Qatar Airway’s business class. Having flown with Qatar Airways in business class once before, I knew how much of a treat I was in for. The prospect of the long-haul journey suddenly became much more appealing and ‘do-able’, knowing that I would get to travel in total comfort and luxury. If you’re curious to know more, here’s what it’s like to fly in business class with Qatar Airways…
The Airport Experience
The privileges of flying in business class with Qatar Airways start long before you step on to the plane. With a dedicated check-in desk, a priority pass through security and access to Birmingham’s exclusive No.1 Lounge, the pre-flight ritual was smooth and stress-free. All food (including a la carte and buffet) and drink within the No.1 Lounge at Birmingham Airport is complimentary, so I enjoyed a hot breakfast quesadilla and a glass of champagne.
Boarding the Plane
The business class passengers are first to board the plane and settle into their seats. One of the stewards came and introduced themselves to me, to explain that he would be my dedicated steward throughout the flight. He offered me a choice of a cold or hot towel as well as a glass of champagne or something non-alcoholic. Only a few minutes later, the flight supervisor also came over to introduce herself. The attentive and sincere service was evident from the very start of the flight.
What struck me when boarding the plane was how spacious the business cabin felt. The ceiling of the cabin was almost 3 times the height of a standard economy cabin, which eradicated any feeling of claustrophobia I can sometimes feel on a busy economy flight. I also loved that the layout of the seats meant that every passenger had direct access to an aisle.
Settling in to My Surroundings
After refreshing with a hot towel, I began to explore the surroundings of my seat. Next to the 17-inch LCD screen was a luxurious amenity kit by luxury Italian brand Bric’s, containing flight socks, earplugs, eye mask, hydrating facial mist and anti-aging moisturiser. There was also noise cancelling headphones, a bottle of Evian water, a pillow and a plush quilted blanket which was incredibly soft and cosy.
The steward then came back and gave me the business class food and wine menus. There was a great line up of Hollywood blockbusters, documentaries and TV shows within the Oryx One entertainment system, which can be checked online before flying. The personal entertainment system is also available to Economy passengers on a 10.6 inch screen.
Fine Dining in The Sky
The food has to be one of the most impressive things about Qatar Airway’s business class offering. Guest can request their meals at any time during the flight, and have the courses in any order. The dishes are fresh, flavoursome and wonderfully presented (so much so that you wonder how on earth they managed to prepare it on an airplane). Little extras such as warm crusty bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper in china pots really add to the dining experience.
Over the 4 separate flights to Thailand and back I was lucky to try good selection of the business class meals, all of which are spread over 3-4 courses. My favourite breakfast dish was the French toast with red berries and crème fraiche (the presentation was beautiful). For lunch and dinner, the standout dishes were gnocchi with walnut in a blue cheese sauce and stir fry wagyu beef with vegetables and rice. The beef was incredibly lean and tender.
All meals had the option of a light starter and a dessert, which I also indulged in. I loved the mixed mezze platter with warm flatbreads (a nice nod to Qatar Airway’s Middle Eastern roots) and the intricate chocolate slice could have come fresh out of an artisinal French patisserie.
All the dishes are served on a white tablecloth with china plates, silver cutlery and glassware. It really could not fault the food in any way. It truly is silverspoon service and the best food I have ever had.
Transit in Doha’s Hamad International Airport
My journey with Qatar Airways was from Birmingham to Chiang Mai via Doha. This meant we had a 2-hour transit in Hamad International Airport on both the outbound and the inbound flights. In general, the whole airport feels very futuristic and slightly clinical. Our business class tickets granted us access into the Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge, which tips the image an average airport lounge on its head. The design is minimal and artistic water features make the space feel refined and formal. It’s a strange, yet calming place (and somewhere I was definitely happy to spend my transit waiting time).
There are various lounge areas with plug sockets and two restaurant areas offering a 24 hour buffet and a selection of dishes made to order. There are also bars serving a range of wines, cocktails and of course, more champagne. So it’s safe to say that the business class experience definitely continues even through a transit in Hamad International Airport. It’s worth mentioning that the Business Class lounge is announcement-free, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for your gate number.
The Final Verdict
Flying in Qatar Airways’ business class meant that getting to Thailand and back was a total pleasure. With the chair that converts in to a completely flat bed, I was able to sleep for the majority of all 4 flights, which helped me to beat the jet lag in both Asia and The Middle East. In my opinion, the personal service, hospitality and attention-to-detail in Qatar Airways business class remains completely unrivalled by any other airline I have experienced. Whether you only ever fly business class or want to upgrade yourself for a special occasion, Qatar Airways is the ultimate airline to do it with.
Flights from Birmingham to Chiang Mai with Qatar Airways start from £509 in Economy and £1,609 in Business Class.
Click here to book tickets and find out more about Qatar Airways
- Find out what I got up to in Chiang Mai
What did you think of my experience of flying in Business Class with Qatar Airways? Have you flown with Qatar Airways before? If so, what was your experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave me a comment in the box below x
My business class flights were provided as part of a press trip with Qatar Airways and Birmingham Airport to celebrate the new flight path from Birmingham Airport to Chiang Mai Airport. All images, opinions and words are my own.
Qatar Airways will also be expanding its global network in 2018 by adding flights to Canberra in Australia, Penang in Malaysia, Pattaya in Thailand and Cardiff in the UK.
Take advantage of this Qatar Airways Promo Code.
Joe Bedford says
i’m hoping (Covid-19 permitting!!) to fly to Perth next year from either London Heathrow or Oslo in business class. I have a couple of choices with the departure times from both which have a 2 hr stopover or 7/9 hr stopover in Doha. Is the 2hr stopover long enough to grab a drink and a chance to have a quick walk round or would you recommend the longer stop over?
Jess Gibson says
Hi Joe! I would say the 2 hour stopover is enough time to enjoy some food and drink in the lounge. And you’ll have an overall shorter journey time so I’d go for that one!
Thank you Jess, for your review on Qatar airlines. My husband has just booked my return flight from Germany to Australia business class. So now I’m really looking forward to this experience.
Great review! Quick question.. were pyjamas offered on any of your flights?
Jess Gibson says
Hi! Yes they were for night flights.
Chrissy Desmond says
My husband and I will be flying business class
With Qatar airlines on 5th February from Heathrow/Doha/Chaing Mai, was your baggage checked all the way through to C/Mai or did you have to reclaim at Doha and check it in again for C/Mai? Your review was fabulous can’t wait to fly !
Jess Gibson says
It was checked all the way through to Chiangmai so it was so easy 🙂 Enjoy your flight
Chrissy Desmond says
Thank you that’s another thing taken care of!
Christina Fjeldstad says
I enjoyed reading your well-written review, Jess! My aunt, who’s a commercial pilot, once told me that for long haul flights, one must try Qatar Airways (QA) or Emirates. I flew with QA on business class this March – from Oslo to Singapore (via Doha) and return. I totally enjoyed the experience. Apart from the food and excellent service, I could sleep! That’s a first-time ever on a plane for me. Next week I’m off again; this time from Oslo-Perth-Singapore-Oslo. I look forward to a new experience on Qatar’s Q-suites. There’s no turning back to economy class now; So long as I can afford to go on vacations, I will certainly choose QA.
peter morton says
‘Exclusive’ lounges at Birmingham? Qatar does NOT have a biz class lounge and anyone can use the lounges (except for the Emirates one). Conditions are horrible most of the day, filthy carpets, long queues, dirty plates and glasses everywhere, hard even to get a seat. There are no toilets inside; the toilets outside are often in a revolting condition. Qatar don’t even have a chauffeur service for biz, unlike Emirates. The only reason to use them is they use nicer planes on the Birm-Doha-Adelaide run. The Doha biz lounge is splendid.
Jenny fuller says
Jess, my husband and I are flying with Qatar Business Class in September – via their new route to Cardiff and return to Perth in October. Your description of your experience flying Business Class with Qatar has really got us excited and we truly are looking forward to our flights.
Jess Gibson says
Hi Jenny, thanks for your comment. I am so pleased this review came in handy for you. I am 100% sure you will love your business class experience with Qatar! Enjoy 🙂
Steve A. says
Always a bit contrarian for those that flew in the past.
1. The Q suite. Sitting backwards I plainly do not like and it is the only choice if one needs a window.
2. The business class lounge used to be great. As the outside caterer has been eliminated there are no more sit down meals and the quality of the buffet has diminished considerably.
3. In flight the smoothies have been eliminated and on the short connection flights (GRU EZE) the quality of the snscks are just plain lousy. Furthermore canopies and selections have been paired way down. The large menus have been replaced by small nondescript menus.
4. On the 777 the entertainment system and maps are 7 years old and there is no camera for take offs and landings. Only on the 380s and a few 350s.
5. The attendents are pedantic and as polite and nice as they appear could not make a decision if they wanted to. After the Bush catastrophe followed by the CAA and EUSEA follow the leader decks world wide have been bolted shut. Still on many carriers after the flight one can be invited. For asking I got such a lecture that I was less then pleased.
Summary, still good but is not how QR used to be.
Great post and comments. I just firmed up my decision. My wife is to fly Houston to Lagos with my newborn on economy, now I’ll upgrade them to business despite the cost.
Jess Gibson says
Thank you for your comment! I am so pleased this post has helped you make a decision. Your wife will not be disappointed in Qatar Airways Business Class that is for sure 🙂
Scotia Powell says
Wow!!! This is the best review of Qatar I’ve found. Thank you so much. We are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in the Maldives In November 2018. We flew Turkish Airlines last November from Miami to South Africa. The trip was super long and uncomfy in economy. Waiting in the airport for 9 hour layovers was terrible. I said the next time we fly international it will be business class. I wasn’t sure if Turkish was the way to go. Based on your review, we will definitely splurge on Qatar tickets. They cost a little more but how many times are you married for 10 years ? Your review eliminates all doubt. Thanks so much.
Hi Scotia, Thank you for your kind comment! I am glad the review helped you to make a decision about booking with Qatar. I have every faith in them and their business class really is world class. I have never flown Turkish so can’t comment on them but hope you have a wonderful experience in Biz class x
Nehad Zein says
Really well put together account Jess, Qatar Airways is indeed the best at their game. Also its one of the very few airlines to offer pajamas in business class. This alone makes their business class competitive with even the first class offerings of some well established airlines. I loved your use of pictures too, really enhances your already excellent writing.
Hi Nehad, thanks for your comment! Glad you agree that Qatar is one of the best. I do feel like their business class offering is on par with many other airlines’ first class service, especially with the extra touches such as the PJs. Glad you enjoyed my review! 🙂
Sandra Hewson says
Thank you for your detailed experience of your Qatar Airways buisness class flight.We are flying to Thailand in April so your feed back was of great interest to us.
Thanks for your comment Sandra! Hope you enjoy flying with Qatar. They really are my favourite airline.
I want to go too! I love business class but I rarely afford it because it’s essentially the price of another trip…still this is making me wish I could haha,
Hi Jet! Haha that is very true. I couldn’t afford to fly biz class all the time. If I had the choice I would rather take more trips 🙂
How completely fabulous!!! I want to fly business class with Qatar now just so I can drink champagne and eat all that fantastic food!
Hope you get the chance to experience it some day. It really is a treat x
I would love to fly business class at least once in my life, it looks the dream! So far away from the easyJet flights I take over to Sweden on a regular basis, ha. x
Thanks Jennie! Hope you get to fly in Biz Class one day, it’s certainly an experience. Couldn’t be without Easy Jet though! 😉 x