THIS IS A FOLLOW UP REVIEW. FOR A DEEPER INSIGHT ON THE SEAT ITSELF READ MY FIRST REVIEW HERE:
Whilst sitting in the Al Mourjan lounge, enjoying our breakfast, we noticed that our flight had gone instantly from go to gate to final call. This meant that we now had to sprint across the entire length of Hamad International Airport as our flight had rather unfortunately been scheduled to depart from one of the dreaded D gates.
The A, B and C gates are all fairly centrally located, in relation to the main concourse (and the Lamp Bear). However, the D and E gates are both much further away and to add insult to injury, the boarding process involved being bussed to the plane.
As we arrived huffing and panting, the gate agent told us not to worry, we were going to make the flight. However he had some bad news for us. I immediately feared the worst. A downgrade to economy to finish our trip.
Thankfully this was only partially the case. We were told that unfortunately the Business Class bus had already left, he could call another one for us but it would be much quicker if we didn’t mind “downgrading” to the economy bus!
We laughed and told him that we did not mind in the least. I couldn’t help but compare this experience to the crammed ten minute bus journey we had experienced on BA in First Class (in which there was neither a separate bus for premium passengers nor an apology!)
With pulses still racing from our mad dash to the gate and temperatures fast rising outside, it was with great relief that we stepped into the luxurious environs of the Qatar Business Class cabin. We were greeted at the door and shown to our seats, a service standard more often adhered to in First but one that Qatar has been keen to implement in the small and exclusive feeling business class cabin on the Dreamliner.
Although it was still breakfast time, I felt like ordering something more lunch-like from the menu. Given that Qatar has full dine on demand in business class, this was not a problem. Before flying with QR I didn’t really get what was so special about being able to eat when you want. I generally always want to eat as soon as I get on the plane. However, having the flexibility to eat not only when you want but also whatever you want is actually pretty fantastic. When flying QR in business class you are treated like a capable adult, in charge of your own life. Most other carriers treat you like a child that will be fed, watered and made to take a nap on demand. Quite a difference!
I spent the next few hours editing photos, listening to music and watching the world go by out of the Dreamliner’s expansive windows. With a couple of hours to go until landing I ordered a gruyere cheese omelette with chicken sausage and a glass of champagne.
Overall another great flight, if anything this was even better than my first Qatar Business Class experience at the beginning of the trip. The service was extremely attentive, every dish I tasted was superb and every item of F&B which I ordered was in stock whenever I asked. More than anything, flying Qatar Business Class imbues you with a feeling of freedom. You can do what you want, when you want and are never beholden to the whims and desires of other passengers or the cabin crew. Leave your seat when you want, eat when you want, sleep when you want. How many airlines can claim likewise?
Despite the rather well publicised (and very customer unfriendly) policy change, meaning that OneWorld airlines are no longer obliged to check bags across multiple itineraries, I was able to convince the check-in agent at BKK to cross check our bag between our Qatar ticket to Stockholm and our separate BA ticket back to Heathrow. I thought it would be useful to illustrate the transfer process for those in a similar situation.
Qatar airways uses Terminal 5 at Stockholm Arlanda, alongside the majority of international airlines.
You can check here to see which Terminal your airline uses.
BA uses Terminal 2 which is as far from Terminal 5 as it is possible to be. Whilst the terminals are connected landside, there is no airside connection possible on foot. Thankfully the bus transfer system works very well.