Recently my 10 year old son and I took a trip to Morocco. In our family, we try to make regular individual trips with each of our children, and he chose Morocco. After hearing about some of his older sister’s experiences on our trip to Taipei and Beijing, he really wanted to travel business class.
While I generally like to save my miles, there’s no doubt that having a flat bed for overnight flights can really help with jet lag. For one of our flights, we flew from Philadelphia to Doha in Qatar Airways business class. Here’s what you need to know about how I booked our tickets and what I thought about the flight.
How to book Qsuites
The more discerning among you may understand that Qatar is quite apart from the United States and Morocco. But at the end of the day, it all depends on what you are looking for in a trip. It took an extra day to travel on this route, but we also spent over nine hours in business class (twice), spent the night in Doha and also experienced the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan business class lounge at the Doha airport.
The use of American Airlines AAdvantage miles is one of the best ways to book Qsuites. American’s rewards table costs 70,000 AAdvantage miles per person to fly from the United States to the Middle East, or just 5,000 additional miles (75,000 in total) to Africa.
I ended up booking flights from Cincinnati to Philadelphia and Doha to Casablanca for 75,000 US AAdvantage miles and $ 19.80 per person. The Cincinnati-Philadelphia flight was domestic first class on American Airlines, and the other 2 legs were business class on Qatar Airways. (The Philadelphia-Doha leg was in Qsuite, while the Doha-Casablanca leg was in non-Qsuite business class.)
Boarding and cabin
Qatar Airways flies from Terminal A at Philadelphia Airport, and we flew on an Airbus A350 in Qsuite configuration. Our flight departed at 9:15 p.m. Philadelphia time, and was scheduled to arrive at 4:40 p.m. Doha time, for an approximate flight time of 11 hours 25 minutes. I was only able to take this quick photo of the boarding lines before one of the gate officers told me I couldn’t take a photo. I wasn’t sure why this was the case, but I complied and didn’t take additional photos of the door area.
Our aircraft had 36 Qsuites in rows of four, with five rows facing rear and four rows facing forward. Each row had two window seats (either A and K or B and J) and two middle seats (either E and F or D and G). The business class lavatory is at the front of row 1, and there is a galley there as well as a rear in row 6. The lavatories were not as luxurious as the Emirates A380 (with shower on board), but they were much nicer than a traditional airplane toilet.
We boarded through the front door of the plane (between rows 6 and 7) and made our way to our seats in 3E and 3F. If you are traveling with a companion, I recommend the rear-facing center seats (E and F), as they have a divider that can be lowered so that the space is more open and it is easy to talk with your companion.
Due to the way each row alternates between rearward facing and forward facing, each seat has aisle access, which is great on a night flight like this.
Seat and amenities
As I got on board, I noticed that each seat had a small pillow with an inspirational travel quote, as well as a blanket and an amenity kit.
And of course, with such a premium product, the Qsuite seat lays flat in a bed.
Each seat comes with a wide array of configurations, as well as a remote that lets you control the seat or entertainment while reclined.
Each Qsuite is equipped with a large entertainment screen with Qatar’s “Oryx One” entertainment system. There were several movies and TV shows available to watch, along with a variety of music, in-flight cameras, and other options.
There was a compartment on the side of each seat with headphones.
Unlike most other business class products, the Qsuite has a door that you can close, for added privacy.
Service and food
Business class service began with the flight attendants and the flight attendant introducing themselves to us. All of the cabin crew I interacted with spoke fairly good English, although my son sometimes had trouble understanding what they were asking him to do. It was probably because he was more interested in the show he was watching than what they were asking him to do, so I kept leaning in to see what they were asking.
The service started with hot nuts and hot towels. Since it was my son’s first business class flight, he didn’t know what to do with a hot towel.
Food is served a la carte and available at all times. Because the flight takes off in the evening, Philadelphia time, I ordered dinner as the rest of the flight was still boarding.
It was served shortly after we reached our cruising altitude. First there was a starter dish with bread.
One thing I liked about the flight was that alcohol-free grape juice was offered. I don’t drink alcohol, so on previous flights I had to eat my “fancy” meal with Diet Coke, which I found a bit disappointing. This flight was accompanied by a variety of other mocktails, cocktails and soft drinks. There was also a great selection of other alcoholic drinks, and their featured drinks were the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, a Matanzas Creek Chardonnay and Taittinger or Pommery Champagne.
After that came the aperitif (signature tapas) …
… followed by the main course.
As we got ready to land, I had breakfast, which started with the assortment of cold meats …
… followed by waffles and strawberries.
I also had the cheese and fruit platter which was delicious.
When we landed mid-afternoon the next day in Doha, we quickly disembarked and passed through Hamad International Airport. We followed the signs indicating the arrival of passengers, even though we were in transit to Morocco. Our connecting flight was only the next morning, so we intended to stay in Doha for the night.
As we made our way to Immigration and Customs there was a sign indicating that Business and First Class passengers should take a different direction. I did not have a photo because I know most places are image sensitive in the immigration area. I followed the signs and it led to a small airport lounge. There was no food, but there were seats and drinks available. Then you can go through immigration straight out of the lounge, without a queue. Another interesting advantage of flying Qatar to Doha.
Photos courtesy of Dan Miller.
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