There are some aircraft that have hundreds of them built every year like the Airbus A321, with thousands in existence…
Trip Report: Qatar Airways QSuites Houston to Doha
Recently, I was on a quick trip to India with my wife. It was our first international trip since COVID so we went out of our way to make sure it was enjoyable. I’ve flown business class on Emirates and Etihad before so I was hoping to try out QSuites on Qatar Airways that everyone raves about after experiencing it.
The initial plan was to fly out of Washington where Qatar Airways regularly flies their Boeing 777 aircraft. I redeemed 70,000 American Airlines miles each and was all set, until I noticed that this route doesn’t always have QSuites. Qatar Airways, like just about every other airline out there, is dealing with capacity constraints. This was further exacerbated at the time by numerous Airbus aircraft grounded due to quality issues.
We weren’t entirely concerned about the old business class configuration, since we were traveling together and the 2x2x2 seating configuration is made a lot less awkward by sitting next to someone you know.
However, since this was our first international trip in a while, I consistently checked for availability on other routes. The goal was to find a route Qatar Airways operated their Airbus A350-1000 aircraft consistently. That entire fleet of aircraft all have QSuites so we shouldn’t face any surprises.
After some searching, I found availability out of Houston that also had the double suite available. We were all set to depart.
At the Airport
When we got to Houston we went all the way to the far end of Terminal D where the check-in counters are. There was no line for business class, but the economy line was packed, it’s definitely a good idea to arrive early if you’re flying economy.
Check-in was quick and painless. We were informed our bags were checked all the way to Delhi and we could use the Air France lounge at the airport in Houston. Security was quick with pre-check, and we were off the lounge which was nothing to write about. There is also a British Airways lounge in the same terminal and flying Qatar Airways in business class should grant access, however, that lounge isn’t that exciting either.
I’ve reached a point in my travels that there is very rarely a lounge that I’d leave home earlier for. I’d rather spend the extra hour or two at home instead of elbowing people to get at the cheese cubes.
The boarding gate was hectic with a lot of families and people milling about. A separate business class lane was roped off and staff were continuously checking the boarding passes of people near the business class boarding lane to ensure they were in business class.
Boarding started a few minutes past schedule with family boarded which seemed to be about half the plane. Business class boarding started afterwards, upon entering the aircraft we were shown our seats. I was unable to take any pictures of the cabin or any decent pictures of the seat since half the cabin had already boarded and flight attendants were constantly going back and forth in the aisles attending to passengers.
On the Plane
Qatar Airways has a nifty 360-degree interactive view of the cabin so here’s a link to that instead, just imagine me sitting in 1E. At the seat was a pillow, blanket, and amenity kit filled with Diptyque products. Pajamas from The White Company were handed out as well.
Shortly after getting to my seat I was asked if I’d like anything to drink and was provided a through explanation of the QSuites offering. At the time Qatar Airways was serving Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rosé 2006, so I went with that. It turned out to be sublime.
Oftentimes airlines overlook their wines or source for Château Turpentine, this was not the case. They have a dedicated wine menu that is separate from the dining menu.
Here are a couple of the offerings, you’ll notice a some pricey bottles for business class:
- Charles Heidsieck Brut Champagne
- Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rosé 2006
- Oro de Castilla Sauvignon Blanc de Rueda 2021
- Château Batailley Grand Cru Classé Pauillac 2015
- Château de Rayne Vigneau Premier Grand Cru Sauternes 2005
I was then asked for my meal choices and when I’d like to eat since dining is on demand in QSuites, I went with dinner right after takeoff and breakfast before landing.
Shortly after takeoff meal service began with some nuts. Oftentimes business class meals are served on a tray, but it wasn’t the case here. Linens were placed on the tray tables along with silverware and a LED candle.
There were several bottled olive oil options, I had gone with the standard but I found out afterwards that the tomato chili one is fantastic. My one regret of the flight was not asking for a couple mini bottles of it.
The meal started off with a lobster and caviar amuse bouche followed by balik salmon and a beetroot puree as the appetizer. I’m not a fan of salmon since it often has a fishy taste, but I found this to be very good and fresh to the point that I’d want to eat it again. A soup was available, but I skipped it.
My wife went with the tapas and was a good sport letting me take a couple pictures of everything before she dug in.
There several main course options that consisted of different proteins and vegetarian options. I went with the brisket since it was an attempt to provide a regional offering, it was accompanied by sautéed greens and mac and cheese. This was no Franklin’s brisket nor was I expecting it to be. I’ve never had brisket on a plane and it very good braised brisket that was slightly smoky with the accompanying barbeque sauce
My wife went with the vegetarian option, the mushroom risotto.
Dessert was simple but had well-executed options ranging from healthy to indulgent. I went with the ice cream sundae. It was a base of vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge, brownies, strawberries, shaved white chocolate, and a chocolate praline. I also grabbed a bite of cheesecake
This was the best meal I’ve had in business class and could even be passed off as first class catering on some airlines. I found there to be enough of a variety that someone would always find something worth eating.
My wife normally orders a vegetarian special meal but decided to chance it this time at my insistence, it turned out to be a great decision as she enjoyed all the vegetarian offerings. It’s often the case that vegetarian options on flights are after thoughts, but it felt that this time there was an equal amount of effort put into providing vegetarian and vegan choices as the other choices.
It’s always appreciated to not have someone’s dietary choices not feel like an afterthought.
After dinner, I watched another movie on the IFE which was surprisingly responsive and full of movies and tv shows people would actually want to watch.
When it was time for bed, I rang the call button off the control panel and a flight attendant showed up immediately. I asked for turndown service, while I went and changed into my pajamas and brushed my teeth.
The pajamas were very comfortable and I still use them every so often at home. I’m a bit of a sucker for airline branding so would’ve like a Qatar Airways logo somewhere on the chest, but many do appreciate the more subtle approach by stitching a tag with the logo on the hem. Here’s how the seat looks with the mattress pad
The double suite in QSuites really is a fantastic experience if you’re traveling with a partner, with the divider down and doors closed it felt like we had our own reasonably sized personal space on the flight.
There are also no overhead bins in the middle which add to the feeling of space in the cabin.
I woke up about two hours before landing and had breakfast. I asked for the bedding materials to be taken away while I changed out my pajamas and brushed my teeth again. I asked for a latte as well which was delicious.
Again, the table was set with as much effort as dinner service. I was not particularly hungry but decided to have breakfast, for you the readers. The omelet was fine for a plane omelet.
The spinach was tasty as were the potatoes. The beef bacon was fine, not great and not terrible. Qatar Airways catering is entirely halal so don’t expect to find pork bacon. I also grabbed a couple bites of the buckwheat waffle for science.
Landing in Doha
Shortly after breakfast was cleared we began our approach into Doha. We landed in Doha on time, and it was an end to a spectacular flight.
I appreciated that the flight attendants held back the economy passengers until all of business class got off the plane. It’s always frustrating to get off the plane when it’s a free for all.
We quickly made our way through transit security and paid a visit to the Al Safwa First Lounge, more on that in the next post.
Overall, the flight was very pleasant and exceeded my expectations for business class. I’ve found a good marker for how much I liked a flight to be if I’d be willing to pay cash to book the flight instead of miles, for QSuites I’d generally say yes if the fare is right.
It would be nice to have better lounges at outstations but overall there really wasn’t anything to not like about the experience.
If I had to nitpick, I would say that when sitting in the middle with a partner you may find the service speeds to vary since a different flight attendant is working each aisle.
My wife got her pre-departure beverage and appetizer a couple of minutes before I got mine. However, that’s an insignificant gripe, 10/10 would fly again.
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