Review: Qatar Airways 787 Business Class Hong Kong to Doha

Introduction: 20,000+ Kilometers In Three Days
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Qatar Airways 787 Business Class Doha to Hong Kong


Unfortunately I got rather sick during my “layover” back home, which meant that by the time I got to the airport I had completely screwed up my body clock. I got to the airport at around 10 PM feeling groggy and in need of a shower, so I decided to get one at The Pier, which I had access to as a oneworld business class passenger. I originally planned to re-review The Pier as I’d heard that the lounge had a lot of wear and tear by then, but it was good as new and as great a lounge as I’d remembered, so I won’t be reviewing it again.

Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge Hong Kong

Our published boarding time was 12:10 AM for our 1 AM flight, so I made my way to the gate at 11:50 PM, in hopes of being first onboard so I could take some cabin photos.

Hong Kong Airport Gate Area

The Qatar Airways 787 was parked at gate 40. Qatar Airways’ livery looks great on the 787 – what a beautiful plane!

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Hong Kong Airport

I had lined up quite a while before boarding started, though unfortunately in the wrong lane. The Cathay Dragon staff running the counter had no idea what they were doing, so they let me stand there, then started directing priority boarding to the lane next to me. Fortunately I quickly realised that was happening after the queue was only 4-5 people deep (and they knew each other, so I could easily overtake them on the jetway), though come on, I was standing there for a reason.

Hong Kong Airport Qatar Airways Priority Boarding

It was actually funny to hear the conversations of the people standing in front of me, as they were talking about how this flight was “actually a Cathay Pacific flight” so you could still “credit your miles”. Sure you can, but I don’t think that’s how codeshares work…

They were having slight mechanical issues, so boarding was delayed for 20 minutes. Fortunately boarding started by 12:35 AM, and as planned, I was able to get onboard first.

Qatar Airways Flight 815
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Origin: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 40 Dep: 01:00 (01:40)
Destination: Doha (DOH) Gate: B6 Arr: 04:30 (04:45)
Duration: 8 h 30 min (8 h 5 min)
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Seat: 4K (Business Class)

Soon I found myself entering Qatar Airways’ stunning business class cabin. I had a picture of the economy cabin, though unfortunately my camera was playing up – no worries, I took some during the inbound, so will wait until that review is written before I share those photos.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Cabin

Qatar Airways features six rows of reverse herringbone seats laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration for a total of 22 business class seats (the last row only has two middle seats).

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Cabin

The middle seats looked reasonably private, and featured high partitions so they’d still have a ton of privacy (from each other, at least). It seemed like on this flight, some partitions were left up and some were down. My mother and my sister never figured out how to raise their partition (thankfully their partition was left down and they had no reason to raise it).

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat 4F

I had given my family seats 4A, 5E, 5F and 4K. All other middle seats were taken by this point with the exception of seats 5E and 5F, and while 5A and 5K were open, I came in knowing that those seats were missing a window, which is unfortunate. For an overnight flight I doubted I’d be missing out on much, but again you can’t really converse with people across the aisle without being overly disruptive, so I went ahead with the above seat choice. I gave myself seat 4K, which was featured on the right side of the cabin.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat 4K

Reverse herringbone seats are so spacious – despite being sick, I was excited to be spending the night in this cocoon.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat Panel

As is true for reverse herringbone seats, there was a ton of legroom.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Legroom

The ottoman was reasonably large, and I had no problem with seating positions (though in retrospect it does seem smaller than the ottomans provided in a few other configurations).

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Ottoman

To the right of my seat were the seat controls, which are the most extensive of any business class seat I’ve sat in. There are a number of preset controls, you can control each individual part of the seat, and even the armrests are electronically controlled (a bit more on that later).

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat Controls

Also to my right was a ton of space which I found useful for putting my laptop and other travel gadgets when I was eating or sleeping. While Qatar Airways doesn’t feature a storage compartment here, I doubt an extra storage compartment here would amount to much extra storage (I might’ve been able to put my portable charger or my camera in there while I was sleeping, so it’s nice to have the option, though

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat Side Table

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat Storage

To the bottom near the seat in front was yet another handy compartment. I assume it’s meant for shoes, though I keep my shoes on whenever I’m not sleeping, so I ended up placing my amenity kit there.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat Foot Storage

To my left was the armrest, which doubled as another storage compartment housing the headphones provided as well as a bottle of water.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat Side Storage

Apart from being abundant on the storage front, the seat was also well wired. To the right was a USB port.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class USB Port

Under the seat by the big storage compartment was a 110V power port (as annoying as that usually is, I wouldn’t have found a better place to put it in this seat).

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class 110V Power Port

The two-pronged headphone jack was located next to the USB port.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Headphone Jack

In terms of the seat’s other features, the tray table slid out from under the TV in front of the seat. I like how large and sturdy it was, as it was great for working.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Tray Table

There was also an adequately placed reading light located to the right of the seat.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Reading Light

As aforementioned, the armrest heights were electronically controlled – there was one on each side of the seat. In the takeoff position the windowside armrest went up and the aisle-side armrest went down, in the “mealtime” position both armrests went up, and in bed mode both armrests went down.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Armrest

On top of that, the seat was also rather well padded, so it’s probably one of the best business class seats I’ve ever sat in. The seat had a couple of flaws, though – one flaw was that there was limited head privacy, as there isn’t a “shield” that stops your head from being exposed to the aisle – I had read about that coming in, and can only confirm these accounts. I’ll talk about the second flaw in a bit.

The seat was provided with a pillow and blanket, both of which I found rather high quality.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Pillow

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Blanket

In addition to that, headphones were provided – they were great, though not amazing. I believe they were from Phitek, as they were similar to the Phitek headphones I’ve seen on Singapore Airlines. I resorted to using my Bose headphones throughout the flight.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Headphones

In addition to that we were also provided a bottle of Evian water. I don’t think I’ve appreciated free bottles of water as much as I did on this flight due to how sick I was.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Water

Air nozzles were featured, though it’s worth noting that only the window seats feature air nozzles, as the middle seats don’t feature overhead bins. The cabin was kept rather cool throughout the flight (and I didn’t need the air nozzles anyway as I was trying to keep warm), though air nozzles are always a nice touch.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Air Nozzles

All window seats (bar row 5) also feature two windows, which were definitely appreciated. For anyone wondering, the controls for the window closer to the seat are accessible “underneath” the shield, as these windows are electrochromic.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Window View

Cabin attendant Shady saw me snapping photos of the seat, and asked me if I wanted a picture of myself. I told him I’d ask him for one later if I wanted to, though that never happened.

Shady came back and took orders for my pre-departure beverage, as well as a choice between a hot or cold towel. That’s a choice that isn’t featured on many airlines in business class, and it definitely is a nice touch. I chose a cold towel, as well as Qatar Airways’ signature lime and mint juice. They were both delivered 20 minutes into the boarding process – while the lime and mint juice had more of a “kick” than I expected, it was still nice.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Pre-Departure Beverage and Cold Towel

After the boarding process, amenity kits and pajamas were passed out. The female flight attendant decided that small-sized pajamas would be better for me. Good call – I don’t know if they run large or if my waistline’s well toned, but I was holding up my pants on the way to the bathroom.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Pajamas

After that I received the amenity kit, which was from Bric’s. The amenity kit came in a hard casing, which was very much appreciated.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Bric’s Amenity Kit

The contents were also well stocked, with Monte Vibiano amenities, as well as socks, eye shades and earplugs. Notably absent was a dental kit, though it’s worth noting that the airline lays out their dental kits either in the bathroom (on most planes) or at the entryway (A350s and 787s). I guess it’s to prevent wastage, as the airline has to go through quite a bit of cost cutting, though I’m not sure…

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Amenity Kit Contents

Soon the safety video played. Qatar Airways has a few versions of their safety video – they played their inflight safety video starring FC Barcelona, which I found to be a cool and quirky video – I liked it.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Safety Video

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Safety Video

Soon I was welcomed by the customer service manager, who introduced himself as Alfred. He said he’d be looking after me during the flight, though I never saw him again.

Shady soon came around with meal orders, so I ordered off the a la carte menu, as I wanted to sample what Qatar Airways had to offer (and I was feeling awake, due to my screwed up body clock). After he took my meal order, I sat back and admired the stunning Qatar Airways 787 business class cabin.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Cabin View from Seat 4K

We started a slow taxi to our gate, and took off behind a Cathay Pacific 777. We ended up taking off at 1:55 AM, 55 minutes after our scheduled departure time. We took off on runway 07R, which gave us great views over Hong Kong.

Takeoff Hong Kong Airport

During takeoff, for “security reasons” the cabin lights were dimmed. I’m not sure what dimming the cabin lights has to do with security, but it definitely helped. I wouldn’t want to be seated in the first row, where a big screen played the airshow all night.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class View from Seat 4K

The captain kept the seatbelt sign on for quite some time, and after a while I was rather desperate for the bathroom. I asked the female flight attendant serving my aisle if I could use the bathroom, and her response was “be careful”.

The bathroom was rather standard for a 787, with a couple of premium amenities such as hand wash and lotion.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Lavatory

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Lavatory

I was super excited about the fact that this lavatory had a window with both electrochromic windows and a window shade. That’s the one and only time I’d be seeing a window shade on a 787!

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Lavatory

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Lavatory Window

The meal service began not long after takeoff. For reference, the menu read as follows:

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Menu

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Menu

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Menu

There was also a separate wine list, which read as follows:

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Wine List

Shady came around for a drink order, where I decided to have an apple cooler, which was light and refreshing. The apple cooler came with hot nuts, which were tasty as well.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Pre-Meal Service Beverage and Hot Nuts

I only ordered a main course and a dessert, as I wasn’t really up for a full meal. That backfired, as all the appetisers were served first, so I might as well should’ve gone for an appetiser just for the photo opportunity.

For the main course I ordered the spinach and ricotta cannelloni, which was one of the most complex meals I’ve had on a plane. As complex as it was, it was absolutely delicious. The tomato sauce and pesto oil fit with each other perfectly, which complemented the cannelloni – there was the perfect ratio of pasta to the filling. The pasta itself was nice, well cooked and well seasoned, and the filling itself was well seasoned as well. I was also impressed that the courgettes and bell peppers on the side were perfectly cooked and seasoned as well.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Meal – Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni with Tomato Sauce

What an impressive dish. This easily beats any pasta dish I’ve had, on the air or on the ground. I think the fact that I was scraping up the sauces with my fork despite being full (and queasy) is enough to explain how great the dish was.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Meal – Whoops

For dessert I had ordered the crème brûlée, which was served by the female flight attendant. She said “normally we like to do a nice presentation, but the sauce tastes really good with the dessert, so I gave you all of it”. I appreciated that she explained that, though I didn’t think the presentation was hindered by the amount of sauce she put on the plate.

What I will say, though, is that what I had definitely was not crème brûlée. It tasted more like lemon cheesecake, but it was delicious nonetheless.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Dessert – Lemongrass Crème Brûlée with Raspberry Coulis

Not long after I finished my dessert Shady came over to clear up my table, and offered me a hot towel, which I appreciated.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Hot Towel

I was further offered Godiva chocolates, which were great as well.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Chocolates

Overall I was impressed with the meal service – despite only having a main course and dessert, I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the food. However, Shady and the female flight attendant were rockstars throughout the service. They laid out everything so precisely, to the point where I was concerned that service could have been too personalised, as they were asking everyone if they wanted anything, etc.. Shady was slightly reserved (or, in other words, he lived up to his name), though he was genuinely friendly and seemed like he wanted to be there.

After the meal service I brushed – I didn’t need a dental kit, as I’d nicked myself a reusable dental kit from one of The Pier’s shower rooms. It’s worth noting that I should’ve used Qatar Airways’ dental kits, though – they feature “legitimate” brushes, instead of the cheap reusable ones you find at even some of the world’s top hotels. After that I reclined my seat into a bed (as you can see, I didn’t really bother with making my bed, as Qatar Airways only provides turndown service on “true” longhaul flights, e.g. to the U.S.).

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Bed

Here’s my second complaint on the seat. Jason had told me to “watch out”, as he’d heard reports of people bumping their knees into the side table while they were sleeping. Being wary of that, I carefully avoided the side table, only to bang my knees on the bottom of the tray table. That only happened once throughout the night, though it’s something to take note of – it’s rather easy to bang your knees on the bottom of the tray table, as half your legs are going to be below it.

I didn’t sleep well – not because of the lack of privacy or the knee issue, but because my nose was stuffed. I kept on needing tissues throughout the flight, and whenever the female flight attendant walked past the cabin, she was happy to get me some tissues upon asking. Eventually I had a big stack of tissues beside me, and drifted off out of exhaustion and waking up around two hours prior to arrival.

Around 90 minutes prior to landing mood lighting was turned on for the breakfast service, which, while on demand, was standardised – most people went for breakfast at this time. My orders were taken, and I decided to start off with an orange juice, which tasted fresh.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Breakfast Orange Juice

My table was then laid out for the appetiser.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Breakfast Appetiser

While I believe I turned down a bread basket from the female attendant, I was given one anyway, so I decided I might as well have it for the picture. It featured a few buns, none of which I really wanted to eat at that point.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Bread

The smoked salmon and chive cream cheese I’d ordered was in itself nothing special – it was your average business class appetiser, I guess, though I appreciated the nice plating.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Breakfast – Smoked Salmon with Chive Cream Cheese

For my “main course” I decided to order the vanilla french toast. I’ve talked about how annoyed I’ve been that airlines just don’t seem to get breakfasts right – they either offer sausages, bacon, or eggs in some form, which I just don’t find to be appetising. It was so nice to have a sweet option for breakfast with Qatar Airways, and the french toast delivered.

This was by far the best airline breakfast I’ve ever had, and better than some french toast dishes I’ve had on the ground. The toast was well caramelised, the cream was sweet, the pineapple syrup was sweet (though I couldn’t taste much of the caramelised pineapple itself) and the strawberries were tart.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Breakfast – Vanilla French Toast with Caramelised Pineapple

The breakfast service was done as we approached the UAE, which we’d have to avoid due to the Qatari crisis banning us from flying over UAE airspace.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Airshow During Breakfast

There was a stunning sunrise after breakfast, though I wasn’t able to photograph it well enough despite the dimmed cabin lighting.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Sunrise

Before landing I decided to check out the minibar setup of sorts located at the entryway between rows 5 and 6.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Entryway Area

First there was a bottle of champagne, which I believe was Billecart-Salmon, though I’m not sure. I’m not old enough to drink, so I didn’t touch it (and it was probably only there for display, since you can order beverages anytime).

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Entryway Area Champagne

Located in the middle were the remaining dental kits that hadn’t been used during the flight.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Entryway Area Dental Kit

To the right was a fruit basket, though I doubt anyone would be touching that throughout the flight.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Entryway Area Fruit

Qatar Airways’ 787 cabin is especially stunning from the entryway, where you get a full view of the first five rows. The cabin is so spacious due to the lack of middle overhead bins.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Cabin

Around 30 minutes before landing an introductory video on Hamad Airport was played, explaning some of the features that the airport contained, including the lounge, spa, pool, gym, etc.. I found it interesting how much weight was put on connecting traffic – most of the video was focused on connecting, and only a small part of the video was dedicated to those terminating their travels in Doha.

Qatar Airways Doha Hamad Airport Arrival Video

There was more about the airport on the airshow.

Qatar Airways Doha Hamad Airport Facilities

In addition to that, there was also a message telling people to stay seated when praying onboard, which I found fascinating.

Qatar Airways Airshow Praying On-Board Notice

Before our landing into Doha we witnessed a beautiful sunrise, which carried on until our touchdown into Doha Hamad Airport.

Sunrise upon Descent into Doha

Landing Doha Airport

Unfortunately the windows fogged up upon arrival (it was 40°C in Doha at the time), so that was about it for the views we got.

Fogged Up Windows Doha Airport

I bid farewell to Alfred, Shady and the female flight attendant, and was on my way. At this point, my nose was running and my ears were clogged, though I was happy to set foot into Doha for the first time, and was looking forward to my transit experience.

Bottom Line: Qatar Airways’ 787 Business Class

Qatar Airways unquestionably offers a great 787 product. The seat itself probably isn’t my favourite reincarnation of a reverse herringbone seat – I prefer it to Cathay Pacific’s A330 and 777 seat due to the additional flexibility it offers, though I don’t prefer it to Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class seat, which is ultimately more spacious and doesn’t feature the knee-banging issue that I experienced on this flight. That said, the seat itself was still competitive, industry-leading and on the whole, very good.

The soft product was exceptional, which I found true of Qatar Airways as a whole – the service was personal and flawlessly executed, and the food on this flight was unbeatable. While I didn’t sleep well on this overnight flight, it was no fault of Qatar Airways’.

I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again, and based on this flight alone believe that Qatar Airways offers one of the world’s best business class products. That said, at this point I still had three more flights to try out, so I was curious to see how the experience differed. I also haven’t tried many other products of which are considered to be the world’s best, so I won’t jump to conclusions until I’ve tried some of these other products.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Qatar Airways 787 Business Class Hong Kong to Doha

  1. Hey Alvin!

    First off, thank you for your outstanding review! It’s the best review for Qatar’s 787 J class I’ve ever read. The detail and effort you put into it is truly amazing. Futhermore, I’m sorry you’re sick, and I hope you feel better very soon. I also can’t wait for you to review Qatar’s 787 economy, as I’ve heard numerous times that it’s very cramped and could be better. But I’m glad that you enjoyed your 787 business class experience onboard the Skytrax World’s Best Airline 2017!

    That being said, I’m also a young traveller too, and I’m a very passionate aviation enthusiast. I’ve tried the CX 359 Economy and Premium economy products on my own! Would you mind if I contacted you further regarding some possible collaboration? My email is ethany22110592@tas.tw. Thank you very much, I look forward to hearing from the blogger I admire the most soon!

    With warmest and most sincere regards,
    Ethan 😀

    ethany22110592@tas.tw

    Like

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