Trip Report: SIN-DOH (Qatar A350 Business)

This trip report was contributed by Dario, a reader. Dario has flown over 3 million miles, mostly for business and in the greater part of Asia Pacific. He used to be a travel agent and than a manager for Lufthansa and Star Alliance. He still flies every week. Even if he’s no longer in the airline industry, airlines and planes are still his greatest passion. He feels home on a plane, better if first or business class

Date: 30 AUG 15 / 03 SEP 15

Carrier: Qatar Airways

Flight No.: QR943 / QR944

Route: SIN-DOH / DOH-SIN

Aircraft: A350

Class: Business Class

Seat No.: 3A / 7K

 Intro to the A350

Recently I’ve tried Qatar Airways B787 Business product 6 times and I’ve been looking very forward to the A350.

This flight report is based on 2 flights: SIN-DOH (QR943) and DOH-SIN (QR944)

Today Qatar Airways has a total of 4 Airbus 350 and I was flying on my first leg on registration “7A-ALA” that is the first A350 ever made! You can imagine the excitement. This is of course the aircraft that QR used to the inaugural flight DOH-FRA on Jan 15th as a launch partner for A350.

First impression

As soon I entered the cabin I was impressed by the ceiling’s height and how spacious is the cabin. The central part of the cabin has no overhead compartment and the ceiling is really flat, first time something like this is seen on an airplane, it really makes a difference.

IMG_4664

I checked so many photos of this cabin in the past months but nothing it’s like when you are physically here, difficult to understand from picture, therefore I suggest you to go book your SIN-DOH and find out yourself :-)

The interiors are super elegant, dark bordeaux, brown, ivory and grey, who chose the colours is a genius.

IMG_4651

Nice and gentle use of LED mood-lights, not too many Pinky/Carnival/Flashy colours (I’m talking of 787 of course), A350 interiors are minimal, classy.

a IMG_4594 IMG_4573 IMG_4634 IMG_4582

If you want to compare the A350 with B787, and you will, most probably the A350 will be your favourite. I can go through a list of many differences between the two aircraft but basically A350 it’s more spacious and the windows are nicer.

I appreciated the manual air vents for each seat, old school stuff and still the best way to regulate the temperature in your seat.

IMG_4714a IMG_4583

Temperature on board was just perfect on both flights, I often have to ask the stewardess to increase/reduce temperature, not on these 2 flights, they keep it at 24c and then you can cool down your seat with your manual air vents.

The very best part of the aircraft to me? The windows curtains, feels like First Class. Each window has 2 curtains behind the glass: first a semi-transparent white curtain and then a darkening curtain, it gets totally dark if you bring both down. They are electrically controlled. You can really adjust your cabin light with these blinds, I spent some time playing with my window curtains just to find the perfect light for lunch time.

IMG_4625 3 1 2

If you ask me, no, I don’t like the electronic windows on B787, it can’t get fully dark, just a silly dark blue-green and it looks like you are in a submarine not in an airplane.

Materials, Colours and Light quality are very  important factors in a cabin, Qatar Airways new A350 is reaching perfection.

IMG_4961

Hard product

QR is using the same seat they have on B787 and A380, the seat on A350 are 2,5inch wider and slightly different on the side-table area and footstool, slightly more comfortable and spacious.

IMG_4917 IMG_4955IMG_4920  IMG_4918

IMG_4604 IMG_4592 IMG_4587 IMG_4581

Business cabin is made by 9 rows, divided by the bar/entrance, between row 6 and 7.

IMG_4723

IMG_4660

The ceiling over the bar is featuring a beautiful metal ring décor but the bar itself is quite useless (not like on the A380), it is actually the aircraft entrance with 2 medium-height walls.

IMG_4679 IMG_4659

It is worth notice that row 7 has a unique feature, the walls in front the seats have a wooden finish instead of grey plastic, making the look of those seats more exclusive.  I was on 7K on my return flight and this turned to be my favourite seat as the wall in front give you more privacy than any other seats, same for 7A obviously. Even if closer to economy it was a very quiet seat, highly recommended.

IMG_4931 IMG_4933

As many say about the new Biz Class of QR the main downside of this seat is the “lack of privacy”, you actually  are quite exposed and there is no shade on your side to protect you. I had the same feeling the first two times I boarded in 787 but then I get used to it and I didn’t notice anymore.

IMG_4925

Same as in B787 and A380 the IFL remote control is very close to the armrest so it will happen that you involuntarily change channel with your arm, I usually place it on the side table and no problem.

IMG_4721

I’m not a fan of touch-screen remote controls, they just don’t work properly, I know I sound like your uncle but it’s true, ask any frequent flyer (ED note: Agreed- I dislike the new touchscreen controller on SQ’s latest cabin products. I get that they’re trying to make it like a tablet but it’s so unresponsive and hangs too often to be useful. I often have to tap it many times for it to recognise an input. Physical buttons anyday, please)

What I never get used to is the fact that you cannot place your feet over the footstool when in working position, because you cannot just move forward the seat without going down in sleep position. I found this to be a silly feature.

On the positive side this Reverse Herringbone seat has:

  • a huge TV

IMG_4670 IMG_4728

  • mega dining table to pull-out below the TV

IMG_4932

  • soft padding and decent space for your feet (the most important thing in business class)

IMG_4955

  • very good seat for sleeping and watching TV

IMG_4674 IMG_4678

Soft product

The service is always great on Qatar Airways and food is VERY good.

Service started 30mins after take-off and I will skip the food report as I usually find them very boring, I mean reporting about food is boring not the food itself. Just you know that Qatar Airways has one of the best catering in the industry so you better eat next time on board J My photos wouldn’t help you or make you hungry, trust me here. Try the Krug at the lounge in Doha and Tomato juice on board is smooth as silk (that is also Thai slogan). IMG_4643 IMG_4637 IMG_4647  IMG_4635

IMG_4652

Minor Problems

We had a technical issue with the IFL, being this the first aircraft this problem happens often and apparently only on this machine, the others A350 have no IFL issues. To make it short the entire IFL shout-down twice and Captain came out to check if  IFL was working and apparently to help the crew restarting the system. Nobody complained as I guess we all understand it’s a new machine and on top of that the crew was super kind and professional.

IMG_4644

I guess it will take some more time before A350 become a perfect machine like a B777.

The only really annoying problem is about the terrible quality of their Business Class headphones, I had to change them 6 times in total on 3 flights out of 4, that was ridiculous. And this is not the first time, it really happens almost all flights.

If some from Qatar Airways is reading this, please do something with your headphones.IMG_4632 IMG_4633 IMG_4631 IMG_4627 IMG_4629 IMG_4628

 

Final Conclusion

All in all two fantastic flights and two lovely crew, I’m officially in love with A350.

Doha is such easy and nice airport and the First/Business class lounge is simply mesmerizing.

Qatar Airways is already one of the best airline in the market and with the addition of the A350 they are my first choice when flying to Middle East or Europe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.