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.