Tried and Tested: Qatar Airways A350-900 Q Suites
Doha - Washington Dulles
November 30, 2020
CHECK-IN Qatar Airways is taking COVID-19 precautions seriously, and passengers must wear both a mask and an airline-provided face shield for the flight. Business class passengers can remove the face shield once inflight since the Q Suites have privacy partitions.
BOARDING Business class passengers have priority boarding, which was efficient; once on board, a tray of champagne and water soon followed. At my seat was a Bric’s amenity kit, which was a special edition for October honoring breast cancer awareness month, as well as a mask, hand sanitizer, and plastic gloves in a sealed pouch. Flight attendants wore white protective suits over their uniforms and masks.
THE SEAT Q Suites are exceptionally private with a 1-2-1 configuration and a door that can be closed once in the air. High walls add to the intimate feel and a small side table features electronic seat controls and power and USB ports. A second compartment offers convenient additional storage. Sealed in plastic was an enormous pillow and plush blanket. A flight attendant came by to explain the Q Suite’s many features and take meal orders for the flight. The seats alternate between forward and backward facing, and my backward-facing window seat offered a great view of the wing and engine. The center rows of seats have dividing walls between Q Suites that can be lowered to create a two-person or four-person Q Suite – ideal for couples or families.
THE FLIGHT Service began promptly after takeoff. Qatar offers dine-on-demand service, so you can order from the large menu and have it served any time during the flight. My flight departed at 8:30 AM, and there was a substantial breakfast and all-day dining menu. In addition, the wine menu features several varieties with detailed descriptions of each. At a time when most airlines have cut back on inflight service, Qatar has maintained especially impressive standards. I started with a delicious mezze plate of tabbouleh, mouttabel, and hummus, followed by lamb kofte and shishtawouk skewers. For an interesting breakfast combination, I had a smoothie and glass of wine with my meal. The large screen entertainment system had hundreds of blockbuster movies, TV programs and music choices. In the end, I decided that the real entertainment was the moving map and my large window as we overflew Iran, Iraq and Turkey. With one deft touch of a button, the upright seat transforms into a spacious flat bed where I was able to get six hours of nonstop sleep.
I woke up over Iceland and ordered chicken tikka masala and a cheese plate along with another glass of South African sauvignon blanc. The flight attendants suggested a wine tasting, and I was quick to oblige. A few hours before landing, I tucked into the movie menu, with popcorn and sweets among other options. You won’t go hungry on Qatar Airways, and the variety and quality were impressive. I appreciated the pink-themed desserts, mocktails and an afternoon tea service.
ARRIVAL My flight arrived early, and I was on my way to my connecting flight in no time. International travel is at an all-time low, but I felt confident in Qatar Airways’ safety protocols and appreciative of the high level of onboard service.
VERDICT Private business class Q Suites are the best in the air with inflight service that is second to none.
BEST FOR: Unwavering levels of service despite the pandemic
PRICE: Roundtrip business class fare started at $4,277
FLIGHT TIME: 14 hours 35 minutes
CONFIGURATION: 1-2-1 Q Suites