Arlanda – Doha, Qatar Business Class
At the beginning of December, Qatar Airways announced it would be adding additional services to Oslo, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, building on its presence at the three Scandinavian airports. Particularly with its Boeing 787 Dreamliner, it offers one of the latest aircraft and inflight products to get the Middle East and beyond in style – and often at outstanding value in business class.
I did a return between Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) and Doha’s Hamad International (DOH) as part of a longer trip to Asia. My outbound flight QR168 left Stockholm at 16.05, arriving in Doha at 22.55 the same day.
At the Airport
I had spent a night in Stockholm before my flight to Doha, so I took a bus to the train station to catch the Arlanda Express. While it’s the fastest and most convenient way of getting to and from the city centre, I continue to find it shockingly expensive – even compared to the rip-off that is London’s Heathrow Express.
Boarding and First Impressions
My first impression upon boarding was very positive and felt very much like walking onto a new generation of aircraft, courtesy of the soaring open entrance design that Qatar opted to go with. It gives a great view of the business class cabin, with no overhead bins down the middle and no galley right behind the entrance, just the fuselage arching overhead.
The 787 has a two-class configuration (Business and Economy) for a total of 254 passengers. Business class is an extremely spacious 1-2-1 across for a total of 22 seats, with five rows to your left as you board and one pair of seats in the middle in row six. Economy has 232 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
All business class seats have direct aisle access and recline to fully-flat beds. I found the cabin very tastefully decorated, much less ostentatious than Emirates. Mood lighting accentuates the open space and gradually changes during the flight.
I was also impressed with the seat, which was private, very spacious, and has a variety of places to store your belongings, including a little cubby underneath the side table, which is great for keeping valuables and your passport / tickets.
The mix of burgundy, grey, off-white and wood effect worked well.
The seat reclines to meet a little footstool, which gave enough space to fully stretch out and get comfortable. There is a little drawer to store shoes, provided they’re not boots. Each seat had a pillow, blanket, Bose noise-cancelling headset and amenity kit waiting.
If traveling alone, I would always pick a window seat, probably in the middle of the cabin. If traveling together, you can take a middle pair. I would avoid the middle pair in row 6 at all cost due to the proximity of the curtains and the bassinet row in Economy right behind it.
Each business class seat has a large 17” screen for the in-flight entertainment, which is operated through a touchscreen, smartphone-like control. I struggled working it on the flight; it alternated between being hyper-responsive and not responding at all. It worked much better on the way back, so it probably just needed a reboot.
I was pleasantly surprised by the food. The smoked salmon starter was tasty, but I particularly enjoyed the lamb with cashews I had as a main. There are a number of snacks you can order at any time during the flight. I didn’t drink any alcohol on the flight, so cannot comment on the wine available. Service was good throughout the flight.
Arriving at Doha’s Hamad International Airport means there is no more permanent bus transfer like at the old airport (though ironically, my connecting flight did have said bus transfer). We were off the plane quickly, and my business class ticket gave me access to a fast-track lane at security, which was rammed. I then made my way to the lounge.
A great flight: the Dreamliner is a pleasure to fly on and the business class product on Qatar’s version is outstanding.