I figured this would be one of two “luxury” flights on the trip. I had yet (and still have yet) to have a bad experience on Qatar Airways. With Qatar sandwiched around China Eastern, Royal Air Maroc, Saudia, and Pakistan Airlines, I was looking forward to a drama-free flight.
And indeed it was.
We arrived at the airport around 9am for our 10:50a flight, which gave us plenty of time to clear security. At Colombo, you clear security as you enter the airport, again before the check-in counters, and once more at the gate for your specific flight.
Qatar uses the Araliya Lounge in CMB, which I will review in a future post. I also checked out the (far better) SriLankan lounge, which I had access to as a business class passenger because both Qatar and SriLankan are part of the oneworld alliance. We received one lounge pass to share even though we booked separate reservations.
Boarding commenced 45 minutes late, but we ended up arriving into Doha only about 10 minutes behind schedule. Boarding took only 20 minutes — impressive for an aircraft with nearly 400 seats!
Qatar Airways 665
Colombo (CMB) – Doha (DOH)
Friday, July 29
Duration: 4hr 45min
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Seat: 2K (Business Class)
Qatar Airways A340 Business Class Seat
Qatar’s A340-600 have been retrofitted with 24 business class seats and 348 economy class seats. First class has been removed and the high-density aircraft is now used on lower-yield routes.
While not reverse herringbone seats we see on Qatar’s A350s or 787s, the B/E Aerospace Diamond seats are quite comfortable. You’ll also see these seats on United’s ex-Continental and 787 fleet plus American Airlines’ A321 premium transcon planes in business class.
These seats are slightly staggered and while the window seats do not have direct-aisle access, they are fairly private if traveling alone.
I love the color scheme: the burgundy, gray, and white combo with woodgrain accents is really classy. The seat also contained individual air nozzles, a universal power outlet, USB-slot, and am impractical shelf behind the seat that contained a literature rack, reading light, and water bottle.
Prior to pushback FAs offered pre-dearpture beverages. As always on Qatar (and Etihad and Turkish) I chose a refreshing mint lime juice. We were also offered either a cold or hot towel, something I’ve seen elsewhere only in Garuda Indonesia first class.
Qatar Airways A340 Business Class Dining
Prior to takeoff we also received a separate menu and wine/beverage list. After a personal greeting from the cabin service director and a friendly PA announcement from the captain, we took off.
Though on-demand, meal orders were taken shortly after takeoff. It was time for a feast!
Qatar can be counted on for delicious onboard food and this flight was no exception.
Here’s the menu:
Service began with mixed nuts (refills were offered). Having chosen lamb for my main course, I ordered a glass of French Bordeaux. It was exceptional.
The table was beautifully laid out for lunch, including a bread basket (well, dish) and a choice of sparkling or still water to accompany the wine. Every item was carefully laid.
First up was an amazing bowl of tomato soup. Very delicious.
Next up came an exceptional chicken and bell pepper kebab that could easily have been a main course. The flavors and spices were excellent.
Ben ordered Arabic mezze and approved.
Unfortunately, the main course was a letdown. My slow cooked lamb leg with herb lamb jus was still well above average for an airline meal, but overcooked and on the dry side. The herb sauce was strongly dill-influenced, one of my favorite herbs.
Ben raved about his Sri Lankan style chicken stew and it admittedly appeared to be excellent.
Dessert was sensational: red velvet cake with nougat and a superb cappuccino to go with it.
As if that wasn’t already more than enough, we were offered a beautiful cheese course with dark chocolate.
This was a 4hr15min flight–hardly a longhaul–and yet we ate as well as we would have on any ultra-longhaul flight.
Qatar Airways A340 Business Class IFE
Sate from a huge meal, I reclined my seat a bit and checked out the IFE. The flight had no wi-fi and Ben insisted that I watch Disney’s Zootopia (oddly called Zootroplis on this flight). He even handed me his Bose noise-cancelling headphones to ensure that any sounds were not compromised. Confession: I loved the movie. I also loved seeing that Ben already had the lines memorized!
There were other elections as well — an extensive film library, TV shows, games, and music.
Qatar Airways A340 Business Class Lavatory
The lavatory was cleaned, contained cloth towels, featured a window, and had amenities including toothbrush/toothpaste and a shaving kit.
Qatar Airways A340 Business Class Service
While service was friendly and gracious during boarding and the meal service, FAs disappeared after the initial meal service. I’m sure FAs would have quickly appeared with a smile on their face had we rang the bell, but service was not proactive. I’m not arguing that is necessarily a bad thing, just pointing it out.
We enjoyed some great, albeit smoggy, views of Doha during our final descent into Hamad International Airport. This has been a wonderful flight. The whole Middle East subsidy issue aside, I really cannot think of a carrier I would rather fly in business class than Qatar. That’s saying a lot.
For another perspective, read Ben’s take on this flight here.