The Doha based Qatar Airways promotes itself as “the World’s Five Star Airline.” A bold claim with the likes of Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, and Singapore Airlines offering travelers exceptional service along with the latest aircraft and inflight experiences. Having previous flown Etihad’s amazing business class, we were eager to test out Qatar Business Class to see if it lived up to the “5 Star” designation. Lucky for us, we would have two opportunities to experience Qatar Business Class flying from Milan-Malpensa to Hamad International in Doha then connecting onto Mumbai.
Eager to begin our #IndiabyMarriott experience in style we booked our Qatar Business Class tickets using American Airlines miles. We are very protective of our airlines miles and want to get the best service when we use them. Having been burned by Etihad Airways business class a few years ago, we set the bar very high, perhaps unrealistically high, for the experience on the ground and in the air.
Milan-Malpensa isn’t our favorite airport. It’s over an hour outside of Milan city center and is in desperate need of renovation. With our flight taking off before noon, we decided to stay the night before at Marriott’s brand new concept hotel called Moxy Milan.
Qatar Business Class at Milan Airport
The next morning we made the 5 minute walk from the Moxy over to Terminal 2 to catch the free shuttle bus to Terminal 1. Quickly checking in at the ticketing counter, we made our way to security where our business class tickets allowed us access to the ViaMilano Fast Track lanes. It wasn’t a particularly busy morning but it’s always nice to transit through security and immigration without delay.
We popped in the lounge to grab a quick cafe and something eat. The Montale Lounge, which serves Qatar and a few other airlines, has a contemporary design typical of a European airport. By no means it is the best lounge we’ve ever been in but its functional, except when trying to locate silverware. That was a challenge.
Flying Qatar Business Class – A330
The business class on our Airbus A330 was arranged with a spacious and new 2x2x2 seating. The seats were not fully lie flat seats. For our “short” 6 hour flight that wasn’t that much of a concern, but is something Qatar should reconsider. There were enough buttons to adjust the seat to confuse anyone though.
The seats were angled towards each other, with a privacy screen in between the seats. Amber could tell I wished the privacy screen were a little higher.
Boarding was relatively quick, which allowed enough time for a refreshing mint, lime juice followed by a few glasses of tasty Tattinger pink sparkling wine.
I will give Qatar props for the his and her amenities kits from Armani, especially the carry on sized bottle of cologne. I liked it so much I actually bought a full sized bottle. That was a first.
Where Qatar excels with its business class product is the food. An extensive wine selection from compliments world class cuisine. Preparing food at 30,000ft is no easy task, but somehow Qatar nailed it. Even the menus were classy.
We were served an amuse bouche of sorts, with a fried meat pie. This was not on the menu so I am not entire sure what it was. We enjoyed a delicious Middle Eastern mezze platter of hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabouli. Which was not only tasty and fresh, but came in a lovely preparation.
Getting my last taste of Italy, I dove into an outstanding osso buco with yellow rice.
To complete the dining experience in the sky, we ate ice cream and berries. There’s always something a bit decadent about eating ice cream in the air. The presentation was, again, stunning, and complemented by a glass of port from the Douro Valley. Because we just learned about port as part of our Douro Valley wine tasting, we appreciated this glass of port more than others.
Arrival that at Mamad International Airport was smooth and easy. We had time to enjoy the Al Mourjan Qatar Business Class Lounge. Unlike in Milan, Qatar has this lounge all to itself and they spared no expense. The lounge is massive in every sense of the word. Height, length, you name it. Designer furniture, art showcasing Arabian culture, and world class dining encourage you not to board your next flight.
With only a couple hours to enjoy this slice of heaven, Amber and I grabbed a light snack from one of the many dining options while waiting for our 8:40pm flight to Mumbai.
Flying Qatar Business Class – Boeing 777-300ER
If our experience flying from Milan to Doha was the equivalent of driving around in a Mercedes sedan, then our flight to Doha to Milan was the Chevy Minivan. Don’t get me wrong, the service and experience in business class was good, we ate well, and enjoyed some nice wine. Some of the menu items were identical.
But overall you could tell that this flight was utilitarian, bringing workers between Qatar and India. Flying a Boeing 777-300ER with over 330 seats is a big plane for only a 5 hour flight. Factor in our flight times, departing Doha at 20:40, and arriving in Mumbai at 2:40AM, luxury isn’t a concern.
Overall, Amber and I enjoyed our first Qatar Business Class experience. My inner #AvGeek now has his sights set on Qatar’s First Class product to see the differences. Not sure if it’s in the cards for 2016, but we’ll get there I’m sure.
For more reviews of our business and first class experiences, see our Luxury Travel Guide.