Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Qatar Airways Cardiff To Doha Business Class Flight Review

If you live in Wales or the South West of England and want to fly long haul, there aren't many alternatives other than going from London or Birmingham. However, did you know you can now fly to Australia and the Far East from Cardiff with a stopover in Doha with Qatar Airways? I bet you didn't, right? 

Doha in Qatar sounded like an intriguing destination in its own right too with a vibrant culture, interesting architecture and top class food, so when Cardiff Airport and Qatar Airways invited me to try out their flight from Cardiff to Doha recently and spend a couple of days there I thought it sounded an interesting opportunity. 
Qatar Airways 

Cardiff Airport

A little bit of background here - Cardiff Aiport is the largest airport in Wales and handles over 50 direct routes. With a recent investment of 4 million pounds to improve the customer experience and developments to both the terminal and the airport’s surrounding infrastructure, the recent improvements have been much welcomed.

Cardiff Airport

So off Mr W and I drove from our little seaside town 20 miles away and before I knew it we were at the airport. So much quicker than driving the three hours to Heathrow. We were given complimentary Meet and Greet parking so we drove up to the barrier, pressed for a ticket and parked in the Meet And Greet parking area. All we had to do then was hand in our keys and that was it. Simple. The parking area is literally a two-minute walk to the terminal. If you have mobility problems or just want less fuss it's something you can consider paying extra for. 
Business class

We were greeted by the lovely Danielle from Cardiff Airport and a number of local bloggers and journalists, including my friend Kacie Morgan from The Rare Welsh Bit blog. 

Danielle had a surprise for us, we had all been upgraded to business class! WOW is all I could say, I was speechless, and more importantly so was Mr W, a first for him!  I've flown upper class to the US with Virgin Atlantic, and business class to Europe with BA but never business class long haul with a carrier like Qatar Airways before.  I just hoped it lived up to my expectations. 

Check in then was a breeze, and you get to bypass the queues at security. Always a good thing.

Penderyn whisky

The duty-free section at Cardiff Airport has a decent selection for a relatively small airport. Nice to see lots of local Welsh products on sale, such as Penderyn Whisky and Clogau Gold. 

Duty-free

I had my eye on some Clarins and a cute little jewellery case but resisted the temptation - this time.

I should have bought this!

As part of the business class experience, we were given complimentary entry to the 51° Lounge which was next to the Executive Lounge that you pay for. 


51 Lounge

The 51 ° Lounge provides peace and quiet with complimentary snacks, soft drinks, tea, coffee and alcohol for those in business class. I will be frank here, I liked the lounge but it's small and the food options are limited, but there was a tasty cawl, a Welsh lamb soup available.  Other food options were scones, pastries, Welsh cakes, crisps and fruit.  I would have liked a couple of extra choices like some fresh sandwiches for example. What I did like, again, was their use of Welsh food products such as Welsh ale and if you like a little tipple before the flight champagne was available. You are not paying extra for this lounge however so at least you get some refreshments and snacks. They also brought soya milk when asked, so that was a big plus point for me.

The other facilities in the airport include two Costa Coffees - one in arrivals and one in departures, WH Smith, Italian cafe Ritazza and the Beer House bar.
Not long now

Before long it was time for our flight, and I must admit, the nerves I usually have flying didn't seem quite so bad as I knew I was going business class.

Business Class Qatar Airways


Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Turning left on the plane was a lovely feeling and I loved the look of the cabin. It seemed spacious and airy, the ceiling seemed higher than on some planes I've been on before - apparently, this is due to the vaulted ceiling. The plane we were on was a Boeing 787 Dreamliner,  a state of the art plane, with mood lighting, adjustable blinds and a system of air filtration that removes more contaminants than ever before. This means you should get less of a drying effect on your eyes and your throat. Apparently travelling on this plane gives you less of a chance of jet lag too, due to more oxygen saturation in the air.

Seat in business

The seat was spacious with plenty of room for your feet. 
My W is nearly 6 foot and could easily stretch out.


Lots of leg room
The padding was comfortable too and the seat had a decent width. You are given a pillow and a blanket for the journey to aid your comfort, and the blanket was really cosy and super soft. I was sat in the centre and storage was above the seats by the window but there was also ample storage by my legs, a small tray storage on the bottom left by my feet and there was storage on the side too. There was also a small compartment that stored bottled water and noise cancelling headphones.

Very professional staff

The cabin staff were friendly and helpful and introduced themselves by name. A welcome drink was offered before we took off and I ordered some excellent fresh orange juice as well as a small glass of champagne.  Qatar Airways isn't a dry airline.  The drinks were accompanied with some nuts which were warmed up - a nice touch. Then they came around with a selection of newspapers if you wanted one to read.

Amenity kit

As I settled in, I checked out the amenity kit from Italy’s Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio brand which consisted of a lip balm, hydrating face mist, ear plugs, City Cream moisturising cream, socks and eye shades. All the skincare products are made with olive oil and felt special on the skin and are expensive to buy, so use them!   


Menu

Menu

The dining was on demand. The menu gave you a selection of options and you could order either at the beginning of the flight or later as you saw fit. I liked the choices, they were slightly different with an Arabic feel but not too unusual. and if you wanted to have food that was simpler in presentation, the tenderloin of beef was a good option. Vegetarians were catered for with the mushroom tortellini. So I ordered and waited for the food to arrive. There is also a wine and beverage menu that you can order your drinks from too. Options included champagne, cocktails, mocktails and soft drinks.

Entertainment

Oryx One entertainment system

As I waited for takeoff I was offered a hot or cold towel to refresh myself and I then started to get to grips with the entertainment. The Oryx entertainment system had a proper flat screen TV and was either touch screen or you could use the small handheld controller to navigate the system. 

Choices included Hollywood, Bollywood and Arabic movies, which were a mix of fairly new and older films, TV, games and audio. We watched a range of movies including The Commuter, Ocean's 8 and Deadpool 2.  The audio selection was particularly good I thought and included jazz, blues, country, movie soundtracks, children's stories and audiobooks. Languages were not just in English and included Arabic, Cantonese, and Korean options.

Noise cancelling headphones

The noise cancelling headphones provided were very good too, I couldn't really fault them.

The internet options allowed you 15 minutes free and then you had to pay. I was a little disappointed when I tried to connect and couldn't - maybe it was my fault though as Mr W had no problem. If I was paying for business class, I would have liked the internet for free. 

I was pleased to see powerpoints for UK and US plugs as well as a USB charger.

Dining

So once we were up in the air, the food was presented. The table which folds away was laid down with a tablecloth, proper cutlery, salt and pepper. A basket of warm bread and a pat of butter was added to the table as well as olive oil and balsamic dressing. A cute little tea light powered by a battery added a finishing touch (no candles are allowed on the plane).

Amuse bouche of salmon

The presentation was exceptional. Don't forget this isn't in a top class restaurant, this is 35,000 feet up in the sky. Firstly an amuse bouche of salmon was a little taster before our main course.

Starters

Then before long, my starter arrived. The grilled prawn salad had a little spice to it and the endive added a satisfying crunch. The red pepper mango salsa was a nice sweet accompaniment. Very good indeed.

Main course

For my main course, I picked the tenderloin of beef. It was well cooked and tasted great. I could have kicked myself though for not being more adventurous when I saw Mr W's Chicken Kabsa dish which looked intriguing. Sorry, I didn't take a photo of it, he ate it so fast!

Dessert

For dessert, I opted for the sticky toffee date pudding, which was just SO good. I honestly could not believe this was plane food. Mr W even topped it off with cheese and biscuits and there was an option to have a port with it too.


Chocolates to finish.

A little box of Godiva chocolates added the finishing touch. 

So sated and actually so full I could hardly move, I decided to have a walk around. 

The toilets


Popping into the toilets to check out the facilities, I noticed they had razors and shaving cream you could use and toothbrushes and toothpaste all hygienically sealed.  There was even a window - something I've never seen in plane toilets before.


As I came out of the toilet I noticed a small section with fresh flowers and magazines to read, and later on, there was champagne and snacks that you could help yourself too. 

The flight didn't have any turbulence and it was a comfortable flight. It was a little hot on occasion but the stewardess did apologise and adjust the temperature lower when I mentioned it. 



We returned business class too a few days later and I was pleased to see that the seats did recline fully flat. Mr W slept for the whole flight, so that must be a recommendation to the comfortable seating. They also gave out a White Company set of pyjamas and slippers to use. 


The giant teddy bear at Hamad Airport

The airport in Doha - Hamad International airport is exceptional. With the usual shops, restaurants and cafes it also has a hotel in the airport, a swimming pool, spa and jacuzzi, oh and a giant teddy bear! You could happily spend some time here comfortably. If you are flying into Doha, there is also a visa-free entry into Qatar.

The business class service here was very good, they took our bags off us quickly, and we went through priority security with no one before us. We were given a tour of the airport so didn't spend much time in the business class lounge but it looked very good indeed. 

Swimming pool at Hamad Airport

My final thoughts

First-course breakfast with more to follow

It was a real treat to fly business class with Qatar Airways. The seat was very comfortable, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane with its mood lighting added a cool ambience, and the service was impeccable. The staff looked very smart in their uniforms and were professional but still super friendly. 




Pin for later

The food was exceptional and beautifully presented.  A major plus point for me was to fly from my local airport with no three-hour drive back from Heathrow or Gatwick. From Doha, you can connect to a number of destinations such as Australia, Sri Lanka and other destinations in Asia. 

As I like to be balanced for my readers I feel it's only fair to point out a couple of little things. I think that it would have been nice to have free internet for an hour, not just 15 minutes,  enough time to check emails and social media. I also found it a little warm on the plane, as I was sitting in the middle of the business class section with no individual air vents, so if this bothers you, book a window seat. A quick word to the stewardess and she adjusted the cabin temperature.  These are small things, however, and as you can read from my review, the business class on Qatar Airways is an exceptional product.  

If you are looking for a treat for a special occasion, anniversary or birthday I would say book it, you are worth it!  Let me know, what you think of my review. Would you fly Qatar Airways business class?

*Thanks to Qatar Airways and Cardiff Airport for this press trip. I was not paid for this trip but received flights, accommodation, food and tours on a complimentary basis. 
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45 comments

  1. Great review Mel. It was a great experience to fly Business Class with Qatar Airways. I especially loved the food.

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    1. The food was amazing, wasn't it? Not like normal airline food, that is for sure. I loved the dining on demand concept too.

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  2. It's all the little touches isn't it. I love that they gave you noise cancelling headphones and the on demand dining looks incredible. What a way to travel

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    1. The noise cancelling headphones really do make a difference.

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  3. This sounds amazing, definitely something I'd love to experience for a special anniversary or birthday perhaps. The food looks so delicious, but I agree with you about WiFi - I think that's a necessity these days!

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    1. You need to get your husband to treat you Sally!

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  4. Wow, it looks like you got great service and food on your flight. I definitely think we should focus on growing airports in other parts of the UK not just London!

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  5. Wow what a treat!!! The food, the staff and the seats just look amazing (especially the food!). I love that the seat reclines right back - certainly a huge improvement on comfort. The lounge at Cardiff is good too, we had access to that the last time we flew to Amsterdam, very impressed

    Laura x

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    1. The food was exceptional, you would think you were in a restaurant.

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  6. wow sounds like you had a fantastic time!

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  7. Interesting read. I've flown upper with Virgin and Air NZ. The only trouble is you never want to downgrade again.

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  8. Great review. I would love to fly business class

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  9. This sounds like a fab flight - but I already said that to you on Instagram. That food looks so good, so much better than you expect flight food to be!

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    Replies
    1. It's the way to fly in style if you can afford it.

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  10. I would love to fly business class one day, looks like a great experience

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  11. This looks fab. We have travelled both first and business and must say that the upgrade is usually well worth it for all the extra perks you get xx

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  12. This looks amazing. The food looks much better than your standard plane food!

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  13. Oh wow that looks like a great experience! We were upgraded on our honeymoon and it's all the little touches that make it extra special.

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  14. I've never been more jealous! Haha. It sounds like an absolutely amazing experience. I love all the little touches that really make the difference. Like the flowers, magazines and pyjamas!

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    Replies
    1. The pyjamas were lovely. I am never sure if you can take things like this or not? We didn't

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  15. Flying Business Class sounds a dream! I can't believe how good the food looks. It's great you can fly long haul now from so near home.

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  16. oh what a lovely treat - its like a holiday in itself isnt it!

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  17. Oh wow, this looks like an amazing trip you had Mellissa! I love how amazing first class is with Qatar, would be worth the price tag for sure. I can't believe how amazing those meals look too! xx

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    1. This is business, I think first class is even better! There was no first class on this plane.

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  18. I have to say I am pretty jealous about this as I have never flown business class and this looks amazing. It's nice that there's more choice from the smaller airports x

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    1. I am so glad that Cardiff if running this route as it's a gateway to the Far East and I want to go to Sri Lanka next year.

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    2. Angela Ricardo Bethea24 October 2018 at 09:27

      Looks like you had a great experience there in Qatar Airways. The place inside and the service looks great and the foods are truly tempting, nice review!

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  19. What an amazing experience. I love all the touches (like the chocolates) and the food looks amazing.

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    1. The little touches takes the whole experience up another level.

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  20. Business class is a dream. It looks like they gave you a really good service.

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    1. They did Jemma. Couldn't fault the service at all.

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  21. wow I've never flown business class but now I'm sort of desparate to try haha

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    Replies
    1. I think everyone should try it once in their life, money allowing.

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  22. Sounds incredible & my kind of flying experience which I hope to have experienced at least once in my life time.

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    1. I really hope you get the chance to one day Shelley.

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