When you’re flying on the airline that just won the best business class award, flying on their newest, most desired aircraft, excitement is impossible to avoid. The problem is that excitement generally leads to expectation, and expectation is hard to deliver on. During our around the world adventure, sampling the best first and business class cabins, we took a ride on Qatar Airways flight 57 from Doha to Munich, aboard their state of the art Airbus A350-900. The experience? Nothing short of Fantastic…

Check In + Lounge…

On this particular flight, we were connecting from Bangkok and therefore missed out on the Qatar Airways Doha check in. I’m sure it was very nice, but really, check in is check in, and it’s the lounge we all get excited about. Upon entering the (behemoth) “Al Mourjan” business class lounge, we found an absolutely gorgeous and tranquil space, with bountiful seating options for all moods and a staircase leading to one of two main food areas…

Doha staircase #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

As you can see, the staircase in itself is something of a spectacle. Once done marveling, guests can find seating spread around the buffet style offerings, which are switched out regularly and feature savory items humans may actually enjoy. If you have a sweet tooth, their dessert selection was truly world class as well…

There are plenty of comfortable seating options ranging from productive quick bite, to “food coma” big chairs found along the edge of the (very large) dining space. You’ll get a mix of waiter service for things like drink orders, and help yourself buffet style for food. I found the mix to be very accommodating and easy going.

Doha eating area #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

These lazy boy style seats which overlook the ground floor are an excellent option and definitely my personal favorite. From these very seats we spied Rafael Nadal enjoying his breakfast in the lounge. Oh, and one tip, there’s orange juice along the side of the lounge, but if you ask a waiter, they will get you some fresh squeezed.

Again, back on the ground floor, plenty of seating and entertainment options, including these funky and (very) comfortable chairs complete with entertainment iPads…

The A350 Seat + Bed…

Before we get to the seat, Qatar Airways does boarding brilliantly. At Doha, on their A380 there’s a separate waiting area for business and first passengers. On flights like this one, where a single gate is used, they politely tell passengers to sit down and (NOT STAND) until their zone or boarding group is called. So. Much. Better…

The seat itself is virtually identical to what can be found on the Qatar A380 and 787 and really, that’s a great thing, it’s pretty perfect. Tons of storage room, large HD entertainment screen, virtually the best tray table space in any business class seat and a very comfy bed. 

350 seat intro #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

If you manage to snag 7A on the A350, you’ll be treated to this extra dose of wood grain, which is exclusive to the first row of the rear business cabin, divided by the “mini” bar. 

I really have nothing to say here, other than you can get a great sense of the space, mood and comfort in the A350, the larger lights and I just think Laura (and the photo) look awesome…

Since it was a morning flight, I opted for the cold towel instead of hot towel (a nice option of Qatar’s service) and a healthy dose of vitamin C to pair with my (healthier) dose of Billecart Salmon champagne. A lovely pair indeed…

350 seat #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

After looking around for yourself, no doubt you can see that there are plenty of plugs to keep charged, space to move around and arm space which is capable of comfortably holding a few GoPro’s, 360° cameras, regular cameras and a laptop….

For many of us, business class is really about the competitive advantage of feeling fresh, and in that endeavor, there’s nothing more important than the bed. Qatar’s business class bed is 22” (and a bit) wide, making it among the best in the game and truly comfortable to sleep in. Just look at Laura…

The pillow and blanket are extremely comfortable and when you add in Qatar’s pajamas, which in my opinion are without a doubt the best business class pajamas, you can really settle in for a good night (or morning’s) sleep. An extra added plus is that the seatbelt can be made gigantic, allowing you to buckle in over the sheets and rotate around without feeling “caught”.

350 bed sleeping #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Comfort indeed! We flew Qatar business class as the main long haul carrier on our around the world journey and without a doubt, I’d say we wouldn’t have been able to experience as many destinations without major jet lag if not for beds like this along the way.

If any airlines are interested, Laura is available for an insanely hefty rate to model airplane seats, and my attendance on any amazing journeys is required (and compensation is needed for that too)….

One fantastic feature (which Laura did not take advantage of) on the A350 is the “double” blind on the windows. With the press of a button, a somewhat sheer window blind comes down, diffusing light (and creating beautiful photos like this), but if you hold the button down longer or tap a second time, a full black out curtain comes down as well. I have to say, it’s more effective than the Dreamliner…

350 bed bed view #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

A bed on a plane is no sad thing and this is certainly no exception. It’s long, spacious and really functional to watch a film and relax. I personally enjoy the setting just above full flat, where I’m tilted slightly up to get a better view of the screen and not feel quite so horizontal…

The “Bar”…

Qatar’s A350 really makes excellent use of what is otherwise wasted space in the design. Seats can’t be put at the doors and exit, so instead they created this nice little circular “mini” bar area, where passengers can stretch their legs, or champagne intake while helping themselves…

350 bar area #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

There’s a nice selection of chocolates, fruit, champagne and ambiance on offer. The rose petals must cost a fortune, but they sure do make it look nice…

As an editorial note, the after shot from this photo (which we’ve chosen to omit) contains far less chocolate bars and Billecart Salmon. 

Food + Drinks…

The tray table and desk space on the Qatar Airways A350, 787 and A380 business class seat is really second to none in its class, making for a very comfortable meal. If you’re a foodie or vino, you can check out the breakfast food menu, wine, wine, wine and more wine. The table has room for multiple courses or dishes, with room to spare, and can easily be moved forward and backward to accommodate passengers with any belly…

350 eating #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Just look at the joy! On this morning flight I opted for octopus salad inspired by Chef Nobu himself (which was good) and then the Indian spiced lentil pancakes with paneer and indian sautéed spinach and potatoes (Sag Aloo), which was a real show stopper for me. Best breakfast I’ve ever had on a plane by far.

Perhaps the best part of the meal service is the crew, who I find very eager to please and engage with. I had very endearing conversations (possibly because they could tell I was a journalist) about the food, wine, my cameras and all sorts of stuff. It’s just a nice feeling…

The Experience + Tips…

Qatar really has the hot hand right now with their business class offering. The Doha lounge, which virtually anyone flying long haul will connect through, is fantastic. The crews are among the friendliest in the sky, the beverages are among the tastiest and best selected in their class, the meals are varied (we had four different menus on four flights) and most importantly, the seat, bed and comfort factor are truly top notch. If you’re going to fly Qatar, aim for their A350, 787 or A380, but after experiencing their 777’s I can safely say there is no bad seat in the house, or plane…