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Nearly Alone in Business Class on a Qatar Airways 777

Where: Doha, Qatar
July 31, 2014 at 2:55 PM | by | Comment (1)

We’ve shown you that business class on a Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner is not a bad place to spend a few hours, but how does one of the airline’s latest additions compare to the workhorse of the fleet, the Boeing 777? With 34 in total, split between 777-200 and 777-300 versions, Qatar has more of the triple-seven than any other aircraft type at the moment. Connecting from a 787 onto a 777 recently gave us a good opportunity to compare.

We flew the 777 between Doha and Bangkok, a flight that connects further to Hanoi (Vietnam) after a brief stop in Thailand. Consistent on both legs? A virtually empty business class cabin, with less than ten passengers across the 42 seats, which guaranteed not just a seat pair to ourselves, but multiple rows.

Business class is configured 2-2-2 across, with all seats facing forward. Rows 1-4 sit between the first and second aircraft door, with an additional 3 rows before the Economy cabin. The design draws on the brand colors of grey and burgundy, with each seat converting to a full-flat bed.

One easy win for the 787, with its 1-2-1 configuration, is aisle access for all seats. On the 777, it means that if you want free access, you’re best to pick a middle pair. Especially in a window seat with your neighbor fully reclined, you’ll have to do some acrobatics to get out.

That isn’t to say you don’t have oodles of space though, because you do. Each seat has a little cubby with a bottle of water and some space to place a wallet or passport; a small silver button unlocks the lid and pushes it out, turning it into a little end table. Further forward is another large flat space, underneath which you will find the menu and wine list in a stylish leather folder.

Flight QR828 left Doha at 01.10am local time, so as soon as we took off we reclined and tried to get as much sleep as possible (a full dinner service is available if you want). You’ll be handed a sleeper suit and a Ferragamo amenity kit, which together with a comfy blanket and pillow will set you up for sleep – all just as it was on the Dreamliner. We had a fruit plate and some bread for breakfast in the still-darkened cabin before we touched down at 12.05pm local time in Bangkok.

Return flight QR823 left Bangkok at 09.05am, so we started our flight with an Arabian breakfast plate, which was delicious. The flight landed in Doha at 11.50am local time, where we walked into a toasty 110F (43C) afternoon.

In-flight entertainment had slightly smaller screens on the 777, which didn’t bother us too much, and was controlled with a standard remote rather than the touchscreen version we saw on the Dreamliner. Both seats were equally easy to adjust for sitting up or lounging, but in bed-mode we have a slight preference for the Dreamliner. Being 6’4”, the Dreamliner’s footstool that the seat reclines to meet is easier to get comfortable on. With the red flap you see at the bottom of the 777 seat up, the bed is a bit too short; leaving it down makes the surface uncomfortable and has your feet dangling off the end.

With the full return between Stockholm and Bangkok (two legs on the 787, two on the 777) costing us just under 14,000SEK (Swedish Kroner), roughly $2,000, we were very happy with our flights on Qatar Airways. Now we just have to wait for the airline to bring on the Airbus A380 and see what it has done with business class there.

[Photos: JasonD]

Comment (1)

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They don't upgrade.

Unlike the other major gulf carriers (Etihad and Emirates), Qatar will almost never upgrade passengers (so it's obvious as to why you were mostly alone). As a regular flier (Silver and Hubs was Platinum) for two years, we were NEVER upgraded on a flight, nor could we use miles to upgrade (nor could be bargain for the upgrade, ala Etihad). Qatar is a nice enough product, but I would rather spend the money and be rewarded with EK.

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