Departure time in Doha (DOH): 1:55
Arrival time in Stockholm (ARN): 7:30
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Duration: 6h 35m
Date of flight: October 5, 2013
* This is an award travel, Business Class flight #34
When I booked this flight a few weeks before the trip, I was so excited because I knew that Qatar Airways has started flying the Dreamliner to Stockholm from August 1, and that I would finally be able to test their most famous business class seats on an angled reverse herringbone arrangement. Unfortunately, a few days before the actual flight, I checked the flight on Amadeus and found out that the equipment would no longer be a Dreamliner but an Airbus 332. I couldn't help but be disappointed and just hope that there would still be a last minute change so that we could still set our foot on a Dreamliner flying in business class.
We arrived at the airport more than five hours before departure, not because it was allowed to check in that early, but because I had spoken with their Al Maha Service staff while still in the hotel and was told that it was ok to check in earlier and just wait in the lounge. Impressive 😉
Business Class Lounge
Business Class Lounge.
Aircraft, Airbus A330
Business Class Cabin
Pre-departure Drink & Amenity Kit
The menu read as follows:
Tempting your Palate
Salmon rillettes, ciabatta crostini
Clear soup with crispy rice and mushrooms
Classic arabic mezze, hummus, tabouleh and mujaddara served with arabic bread
Chicken with sesame seed salad, sauteed potatoes, bell peppers and spring onions
Arabic spiced lamb and vegetable wrap with tahina, za'atar with roasted potatoes, cherry tomato and raita
Individual cheese plate of emmental, castello blue and brie, dried apricots and prune cake
Selection of seasonal fresh fruits
Freshly baked cookies
Herb baguette, tomato and basil, multi cereal and granary rolls
Because I already had my dinner in the lounge, I skipped the meal and decided to take a nap instead.
Croissant, multi cereal baguette, apple and cinnamon muffin
The other choices for starters were: Toasted muesli and Smoked salmon with apricot and celery salad.
The other choices were:
Paneer Bhurji with yogurt potato curry with spiced sesame cashew nuts with warm croissant
Vanilla french toast with orange coulis, candid citrus zest
Arabic breakfast plate: feta, shanklish cheese and labneh with za'atar served with moussabah, cheese manakish and arabic bread
I found the meal simple with nothing extraordinary so to be honest, I wasn't that impressed.
Arrival in Stockholm
My mission in taking this flight was to be able to compare the business class of Qatar Airways to the other two Gulf Carriers, namely: Emirates and Etihad, and find out which is the best airline among the three. Had this been a flight on a Dreamliner, I would have given the title to Qatar Airways one hundred percent. But after they changed the Dreamliner to an old Airbus because "they didn't have enough aircraft" according to the cabin attendant, then I didn't have much choice but to find something else that would make this flight really special. Unfortunately, there was not much except for the friendly and efficient service from the crew. The food was okay but not that exceptional. If I were to give a piece of advice to Qatar Airways, I would say that being one of the fastest growing airlines in the world is good (ie. opening the most number of routes in a certain period) but please make sure that the airport facilities specially the lounges and the number of aircraft you have are keeping up with the pace, otherwise there would always be compromises along the way. My future flights unfortunately (or fortunately) do not include flying with Qatar Airways so it would take a while before this Doha based carrier gets another chance. Till next time! Good luck, Qatar Airways 😉