Airline review: Qatar Airways, Boeing 787 economy class, Doha to Cardiff

qatar airways Boeing 787

THE PLANE
Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Qatar Airways has 30 Dreamliners in its fleet (as of May 2018).

THE ROUTE
Doha to Cardiff, a new route connecting Australia – via Qatar – to Wales and south-east England (so avoiding Heathrow or Gatwick).

CLASS
Economy, 3-3-3 configuration.

LOYALTY
As a member of Oneworld, QR has arrangements with its 13 partner airlines including Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific.

DURATION
Six hours 30 minutes. Landed on schedule.

FREQUENCY
Five days a week at time of testing, but expected to increase to daily by the end of 2018.

THE SEAT
10G (aisle, close to the Business Cabin).

BAGGAGE
30kg, maximum dimension 300cm.

CHECK IN
If you have to check in at a foreign airport, there’s nowhere better than Hamad International Airport.

(I’d enjoyed a two-day stopover in Qatar. Of course, if you have a connecting flight, refer to your airport of departure: your bags will be waiting for you in Cardiff.)

It took me 44 minutes between standing in the queue, checking my bags, going through passport control and finally sitting back with an Arabic coffee in departures.

COMFORT
I travelled in the first week of the new route, and the economy cabin (232 passengers max) was only a third full, which meant I could stretch out over three seats.

But even if confined to a single seat, both pitch and width (31 and 16.9 inches respectively) are noticeably generous.

Plus the extra oxygen Boeing boasts about its Dreamliner, sure makes it easier to doze.

SERVICE
Attentive, friendly but not obsessively so.

ENTERTAINMENT
Yes, there’s a USB port. And yes, Oryx (the national animal of Qatar) is also the name of the airline’s entertainment system.

But I’m disappointed. There’s meant to be up to 4000 movies, TV, box sets, audio and games available, but I found the touchscreen control hard to navigate.

Still, I did find a podcast of a Desert Island Discs interview special with Tom Jones, waxing lyrical about his childhood in Pontypridd.

Wales, here we come!

FOOD
Since this is a breakfast flight, we’re offered only three choices.

Cheddar cheese scrambled egg with sauteed potatoes, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Vegetable upma and sambar with tomato chutney. Or cinnamon and raisin bread pudding with apple compote and vanilla sauce.

Just like an average day at home, then.

Later we’re served with mid-morning snacks. Both the chicken arabic chicken pastry and the lemon sponge were bland (though in the interests of research I ate them).

ONE MORE THING
The cocktail, beer and wine list (should you be travelling on a later flight) is extensive – despite this being a Muslim carrier.

THE VERDICT
An excellent airline that has risen in just two decades to be at the forefront of aviation.

RATING OUT OF FIVE
★★★★

Steve Meacham was a guest of Qatar Airways.

Read originally published story at Traveller