Flying the Dreamliner with Qatar Airways

I have one rule when flying: If you have to fly across the world in economy, it is best to do it on a non-American airline.  Preferably on the Dreamliner.  And, if possible, on the Dreamliner with Qatar Airways from Doha.

So, when we got a decent price on a one-way Qatar Air flight from Singapore to Doha, and then continuing to London, with a one week stop over in the Middle East, we jumped on it.  After all, Qatar Air claims to be the world’s only “Five Start Airline.”

Our flight to Doha was on a new Boeing 777, and was very nice.  The seats were comfortable, with a decent amount of leg room.  The entertainment system was great.  The cabin was new and clean.  My only complaint, really, was that the service was just fine.  Yeah, I said it, fine.  It was better than most American Air or Delta flights, but for the world’s only five-star airline, it was fine.

We had a choice of continuing flights, from Doha to London.  Many of them were at very reasonable times of day.  And, for a flight through the Middle East, that is a luxury – many flights are in the middle of the night.  

Eric wanted to take the 6 am flight, forcing me to get up around 3:30 am, just to fly the Dreamliner with Qatar.  It would be our first Dreamliner flight, and he promised me I would be impressed.  Really, my thoughts or feelings were of no concern to an aviation junkie who just had to fly the Dreamliner.  

As the flight got closer and closer, Eric became more excited.  You could not gauge his excitement, though, as we rode the shuttle bus from the terminal to the aircraft.  Instead, he looked annoyed:

Dreamliner with Qatar We boarded the plane from the rear, which made Eric a little testy as he could not see the upper-class cabins, but he survived.

Dreamliner with Qatar Once on board, I initially noted how everything seemed very red: the seats, the lighting. There was also a blue hue from the sky colored, mood-lighting on the ceiling of the airplane.  Eric was thrilled to be on board.  Like a kid in a candy shop:

Dreamliner with Qatar Eric was also excited about the windows, which have a button to control them.  We, however, had aisle seats, so he could not control the window himself.  Oh, a guy can dream.

Dreamliner with Qatar Overall, I thought flying the Dreamliner with Qatar.  I hate to say that, but it was fine.  I think if our flight immediately preceding the Dreamliner with Qatar had been a United flight or an Air Asia flight, I would probably have been impressed.  Instead, to a layman’s eyes, the cabin was very similar to the Qatar Air Boeing 777 we just flew a week before.  The ceiling seemed higher, and the bathroom doors sort of slid in so you don’t whack the person outside when you open them. That was an improvement. 

But, lest you feel cheated by my description of flying the Dreamliner with Qatar, the aviation nut himself speaks out for the first time on With Husband In Tow: 

I’m an aviation geek. I love getting to the airport extra early before a flight, I read aviation blogs and have referred to certain airplanes as sexy. Like all aviation geeks, I want to fly on the latest and greatest aircraft. We are lucky to be living in a time when there are two new aircraft soaring through the sky: the Airbus A-380 Super Jumbo and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Prior to our trip to Qatar, I had only seen the A-380 fly at the Farnborough Airshow, and at other airports, and I have only seen photos and videos of the Dreamliner so when we had the opportunity to fly the Dreamliner from Doha to London with Qatar Airlines, I naturally jumped at the chance…regardless of what I had to do to make it happen.  

The Qatar Air Dreamliner flight to London was schedule to leave Doha at 6 AM. A little early, but for an aviation geek, well worth the 4AM wake up. Our bus from the terminal brought us right along side the back of the Dreamliner providing this aviation week with some really cool views of the engines and wings. When I boarded, one of the first things I noticed is the “new aircraft smell”….just kidding. I noticed that the windows are larger than other aircraft windows which make for great viewing even if you don’t have a window seat. About an hour outside of London, I was able to see past my fellow row mates and catch a glimpse of an A-380 flying near us. On any other aircraft, I don’t get to see past the guy hogging the window. The biggest thing I noticed about the Dreamliner compared to any other aircraft in the sky today is that on take off with the engines roaring to life it’s still quiet inside the cabin. I’m sure most passengers didn’t notice this, but isn’t that the point? 
I know the Mrs. wasn’t happy with the early wake up call and didn’t appreciate the window, silence, and sexy look of the wings and engine, but at the end of the day, it was a special moment for me. To enjoy the experience first hand, after reading about it and watching videos for the past several years, was an experience I won’t forget.



9 thoughts on “Flying the Dreamliner with Qatar Airways

  1. Corinne says:

    We just flew through Doha on the Dreamliner as well. We agree with everything you said, but I hated the departure/transit terminal at Doha. Even though they are building a new terminal, they hopefully will get their sh*t together and treat the lower classes ie.economy people better. But yes! The Dreamliner was big, pretty, and quiet.

  2. Alex | Wanderlust Marriage says:

    This is great! I'd love to fly the Dreamliner! We haven't yet.

    We can totally relate to this. I was so thrilled to fly Emirates A-380 from Dubai to Melbourne last year. I couldn't help but harp on and on about it. Bell couldn't care less. The A-380 is an incredible plane but I have to say that loading 500 people takes an eternity. And when riding in economy like we did, all I got to see of upstairs was the stairwell with a red rope blocking us plebeians off.

    I was left to sit and imagine all the wonderful things going on upstairs…Like something our of The Great Gatsby…

  3. Jean| Holy Smithereens says:

    I'm glad to know economy on Qatar Airways passed the test! I have yet to fly them but I'v heard luxurious tales about it , especially in business class!
    I love Eric's enthusiasm (or is this an understatement) about aircraft. Would love to know, what is his personal favourite (currently flying) aircraft of all time? and least favourite?
    I have a least favourite: Boeing 767.
    My favourite- well anything in business probably? even the oldest aircraft! LOL

  4. Amber Hoffman says:

    Corinne, yeah Doha airport stinks and I so hope they get their act together soon! Alex, we have yet to fly the A380, in part, because Eric has read not to stellar reviews of economy, and we have yet to figure out how to fly upstairs!

  5. Takamitsu says:

    I think the passenger experience will be not so different if you are in economy. The seats look more or less the same as any other in Qatar airways. Really the airport situation in Doha is ridiculous it takes 20 minutes standing in the hot bus just to get to the terminal

  6. The Husband says:

    Without a doubt the 777. I haven't flown on the A380, but for me I'll take a 777. It's big, usually roomy inside even in 3-4-3 configuration, and the sound of the engines, especially if the airline uses the GE90 engines, oh my god!!!! With that said, I do cherish our upper deck 747 experience years ago. It was such a strange feeling being that high up.

  7. Jon says:

    Doha’s new airport terminal is now world class inside. Some flights do still require a (much shorter) bus ride during peak hours though.

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