Flight test: Qatar Airways business class
On board Qatar Airways
It's impossible not to be comfortable on a flat bed that, when you're ready to sleep, is made up with a thin fitted mattress.
Aircraft Qatar Airways Boeing 777.
Route Melbourne to Doha, Qatar.
Class Business, seat K2.
Seat pitch and width Seats lie flat; 78 inches between seats and 22 inches between arm rests.
Seat configuration 2-2-2.
Luggage allowance Two checked bags, each up to 30 kilograms.
Scheduled flight time 14 hours.
On-time performance Spot on.
Lounge access For business passengers transferring in Doha, the Qatar Premium Terminal is more akin to a five-star hotel than a holding pen. Along with complimentary fine-dining restaurant and drinks, there's a bakery, a couple of bars, business facilities, comfortable seating, shower rooms, smokers' lounge, children's nursery and games room and attentive attendants. There are no loudspeaker announcements — instead, attendants will seek you out and let you know when it's time to board your next flight.
Aircraft condition Very good.
Entertainment Qatar's in-flight entertainment system is accessed through a touch-screen, although it's easier to use the remote control. Range of movies and the noise-cancelling headphones are good. The console between seats has USB and power ports for laptops, iPods or iPads.
Comfort It's impossible not to be comfortable on a flat bed that, when you're ready to sleep, is made up with a thin fitted mattress. There's an extra large storage bin in the rear of the seat in front.
Service Very attentive; crew address business-class passengers by name.
Food and beverages La Grand Dame Champagne is offered before take-off with leather-bound menus. The food, served on mini linen tablecloths, is of high quality and includes Arabic mezze platters (dips and flatbreads) and paperbark smoked barramundi with wild rosella and wasabi couscous. Desserts are equally exotic. Snacks available any time. The wine selection includes French champagne, New Zealand sauvignon blancs and Australian shiraz.
Flight frequency Daily between Melbourne and Doha. Business return fare about $9865 (economy $2250). Sydney passengers pay about the same and fly Virgin Blue to Melbourne to connect. Economy fare is low season and business fare is the same all year.
Tested by Kylie Northover, who flew courtesy of Qatar Airways.