Qatar Airways Business Class – Is It Worth It?
Having recently flown with Qatar Airways in economy class a couple months back I decided to make the jump up to business class. A spur of the moment decision while checking in for a twenty-two hour long flight from Los Angeles to Thailand. A last minute call, but what’s life without a little spontaneity?
Now, this definitely added a notable price increase to my airfare. Upgrading from economy to business class from LAX to Doha, Qatar ran me $1,050. Considering this was a major part of the journey (just under 16 hours from LAX to Doha), I sprang for it. I purchased my initial economy class ticket through American Express Travel at an excellent price of $670 round trip from LAX to Chiang Mai, Thailand.
It was the perfect time to test out and note the major differences between economy and business class while my economy trip to India with Qatar Airways was fresh in my mind. I was still having mixed feelings about Qatar Airways from my previous trip, having my return ticket cancelled by based on a call I made inquiring about pricing on a possible date change. I digress, I decided to give them another shot and just couldn’t pass up on a $670 round trip ticket to Thailand.
Also, let me share my biggest mistake with this upgrade which I hope none of you make. If you upgrade at the counter, you will not earn Qmiles (Qatar’s Loyalty Program) at the business class rate. You will still earn it at the economy rate, or whichever class you made your initial booking in. Not a huge deal, but I would avoid this mistake in the future.
I made the upgrade to business class, my bags have been checked in, and I’m ready to roll. As I start entering the security clearance entrance I am redirected by security, “Sir, business class is actually on the other side.” “Ok, thanks”, I replied. It looks like the experience between economy and business class starts even before going through security screening.
Now, while this alternate security line wasn’t exactly a breeze, it was considerably shorter than the economy line. Before hopping on this 16 hour flight I am going to have to throw something in the tank. I hit Umami Burger at the food court for burger with an airport price tag. Regardless, I’m happy and ready head to my gate.
About an hour passes as I sit by the gate listening to Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap album, man I can’t turn it off!
It’s boarding time, and just a short wait while first class boards. I hadn’t notice on my last trip that first and business class share a connecting walkway from the gate to board the aircraft. As I step on board I’m a bit baffled to see so few people in the business class cabin area. I’m used to having the person behind me running into me with not only their suitcase, but their body odor as well!
I’m pleasantly surprised to be shown to my seat by an attractive young air hostess who addresses me by my name. Wait, I didn’t tell you my name yet did I? It seemed to be a sort of magical experience compared to my usual air travel. I take a seat in my very comfortable seat with enough leg room for Shaquille O’Neal.
Comparatively, on my previous trip with Qatar in economy I practically supported the person’s seat in front of me with my knees the entire flight. Having previously flown with several competitors such as Singapore, Malaysia, British Airways, and Emirates. I found Qatar to have extremely uncomfortable economy seating.
However, this time with Qatar couldn’t be further from my previous experience. I didn’t have anybody sitting next to me so I was able to use that seat to put blankets and unwanted stuff on to really stretch out and see how comfortable the seat can get. At the maximum recline you can just about fully lay flat in the seat.
It’s time for take off and I hardly notice a thing as it’s super smooth and very little commotion and movement in the cabin area. Within a few moments of reaching a cruising altitude I’m greeted by my hostess with some warm cashews as she takes my drink order. Upon returning with my drink she asks me what I would like to eat. Already time to eat? Wow. My economy trip with Qatar served the first meal after several hours of being in flight with dishes unworthy of recognition.
This time around is different, meal one comes around with a perfectly cooked steak, mixed salad, gravy, and mashed potatoes. This is definitely the first time I ate a meal on board with my seat reclined and my feet up. Damn, it’s not even this comfortable while I’m eating at home. Definitely a solid food menu and a great meal. I turn on some on board entertainment and really recline. The movie and music selection is the same as economy, a good variety for everyone to find something they like.
A huge differentiator is being able to enjoy the entertainment with their upgraded headphones in business class. These are comparable to studio headphones fully covering the ears with cushion and comfort. The headphones I experienced in economy with Qatar were hands down the absolute worst I have ever experienced on board. Their sound quality was so poor I thought they were broken and asked for another pair. I quickly realized there was nothing wrong with my previous pair, the headphones in economy are just extremely cheap with horrible sound quality. Ideally, I would use my own but the headphone jacks on planes require an adapter for any normal pair of headphones. These ones in business class, are extremely nice and comfortable adding to the overall experience.
With that awesome meal in me, reclining, and listening to some good music I’m sitting as high as the clouds. I fully drift off to sleep as I think to myself “I don’t give a shit how long this flight is, I could circle the globe three times like this.”
I wake up from my nap and check the flight status. We’re landing in 90 minutes?? This was a sixteen-hour flight that went by quicker than I could account for. My hostess notices I’m up and comes over to ask me if I would like to eat. After that last meal I’m ready for round two. I end up ordering a perfectly seasoned and spiced chicken and rice along with a steak sandwich. Both parts of my meal are served up nice and hot consecutively as I smash them both down in minutes.
What a relaxing journey, I actually feel energized from the rest and food. This make the rest of the trip from Doha to Thailand so much easier, that lost in a daze type of vibe I usually get from jumping time zones really wasn’t hitting me. I figure I’m feeling so good right now, I’ll fly economy for the remaining six hours from Doha to Thailand. To be honest it wasn’t bad at all as I just couldn’t get my mind off of how sweet of a flight that last leg from LAX to Doha was. Plus, after a sixteen hour long flight, six hours is a breeze.
To sum up my experience with Qatar Airways in business class I would say that it was an awesome experience. If you save for the extra expense, or accumulate enough miles for an upgrade, or your company covers the travel expense, then definitely give it a go. I aim to test out business class with a couple competitor airlines to give a review of them compared to Qatar. I hope to see you sitting 30,000 feet high with your feet kicked up reclining real soon.
Until next time, keep pushing and progressing.
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