Review: Qatar Airways 787 Business Class Doha to Hong Kong

Introduction: 20,000+ Kilometers In Three Days
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Qatar Airways 787 Business Class Hong Kong to Doha
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Al Maha Lounge Doha Airport
Qatar Airways 787 Business Class Doha to Hong Kong


After my short visit to the Al Maha lounge, I made my way back to the Al Mourjan lounge to catch up on a couple of emails and a bit of work. I initially wanted to shower, though as I outlined in my review of the Al Mourjan lounge, I was only able to reserve a shower 30 minutes after I approached the shower attendant. Fortunately the shower was great once I received the shower room, though my stay at the lounge was otherwise uneventful. For more on the lounge, check out the review of the lounge that I wrote when detailing my outbound experience.

Eventually it was time to leave the lounge and head to the gate, which I decided to do so early in hopes of being first onboard for better cabin pictures.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Doha Hamad Airport

Qatar Airways has “holding pens” at each gate, where you could enter (in my case, through a priority lane), and wait until boarding started, where you’d just head straight to the plane. This makes it really easy for people like me who just sit as near the gate as possible so I can pounce, especially since business class boards first with Qatar Airways’ boarding procedures, though for those less wary, boarding does become a bit of a free-for-all.

For these types of airports, though, I was impressed by how orderly the boarding process ended up being. While business class passengers are invited to board first, economy class passengers are separated into different “zones” – while I couldn’t observe the boarding process of our flight, I observed the boarding process of a nearby gate, and found it interesting how people paid close attention to the zones, and only stood up to board when their zone number was called. That’s in stark contrast to Singapore Changi Airport, where everyone just rushed to the gate like a bunch of sheep, regardless of cabin class.

While our 787 was parked at the corner of the airport, our gate area also had a clear view of a Qatar Airways A330.

Qatar Airways Airbus A330 Doha Hamad Airport

During our wait for boarding there was a man seated in economy doing leg exercises right in front of the gate entrance. A gate agent struck up a conversation with him, and he was flying from Sao Paulo. That’s a long flight in economy…

Boarding was announced at 2:20 AM, fifteen minutes behind schedule. I was excited to be back onboard the Qatar Airways 787…

Qatar Airways Flight 818
Friday, July 28, 2017
Origin: Doha (DOH) Gate: B8 Dep: 02:50 (03:25)
Destination: Doha (DOH) Gate: 42 Arr: 16:05 (16:45)
Duration: 8 h 15 min (8 h 20 min)
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Seat: 5K (Business Class)

We boarded through door 2L, where I was directed left to my seat in the main business class cabin. While there isn’t a rear business class cabin, there are two seats situated behind the entryway. They might be good “couple” seats, though they could be more annoying than not when people lurk around in the entryway waiting for the bathroom (which a few passengers including myself found ourselves doing much to the disdain of the two sitting in these seats on our flight).

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seats 6E and 6F

Qatar Airways’ 787 features 22 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Apart from the two seats mentioned above, there are five full rows situated in a large main cabin.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seats

I also took a peek at the economy cabin, which features 232 seats across two cabins in a 3-3-3 configuration. While that’s tight, it’s unfortunately the industry standard for a 787, so I’d avoid flying the 787 in economy class whenever possible.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Economy Class Cabin

The seats looked fine – the headrests looked rather large and the seat in general reminded me of Virgin Atlantic’s 787 economy class seat.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Economy Class Seats

Qatar Airways’ 787 cabin looks stunning from behind, but I couldn’t get the best photos, since the cabin was dark and it was nighttime.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Cabin

I found my seat 5K, which was located in the right side window seat in the back row of the cabin. While that’s usually my preference, I knew that the seat was missing a window, so was originally hesitant selecting it. However, I knew my mother and Hailey would both want to try out a window at some point, so jumped on the opportunity to select seats 2K, 3K, 4K and 5K (as 1K was taken). Since my family gives me the window seat all the time anyway, I just forewent the window so I could have my otherwise preferred seat in the cabin.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat 5K

I’ve detailed the seat during the outbound review, so check out that post for a more thorough exploration of the seat. I found the seat to be reasonably wide and well-padded. While the seat features a lack of head privacy due to how the “shell” curves, I liked the seat otherwise.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat

As you can see, each seat features a multitude of features, and is laid out in a way that you have a lot of personal space.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat from Behind

To the right were the extensive seat controls, where you could adjust the seat recline, legrest, armrest height and lumbar support, as well as set it to a few preset positions.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat Controls

This aircraft was delivered in 2015, while the aircraft operated on our outbound was delivered a year prior. I thought the seats would be identical, and they basically were, with one exception – the side table and tray tables on our flight were finished with glossy wood, while they were finished with matte wood on our outbound. While relatively minor, I actually have to say that I preferred the matte wood finishes, as they better suited the seat’s otherwise subtle, earthy colours.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Side Table

As you’d expect from a reverse herringbone seat, the seat featured legroom for days.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Legroom

Aside from the side table, a larger table was situated to the right of the seat, which came in handy when placing a computer, etc. when I needed to sleep, eat, etc..

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Side Table

The tray table itself was massive and slid out from below the TV. It was also finished with glossy wood, and was really sturdy and great for eating and working. In terms of dining and working alone I much prefer these to Cathay Pacific’s fold-out tables in their longhaul business class seat, though you do tend to bang your knees on the tray table when fully reclined. I didn’t have this problem on the flight, though I did on the previous flight when I slept less soundly, and I’ve also heard reports of similar situations happening, especially with taller people.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Tray Table

To the bottom right of the seat was a storage compartment, handy for storing unneeded pillows, blankets and pajamas, as well as other unneeded items during the flight.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Storage Area

The seat was well-stocked in terms of charging, and featured a USB port, as well as a 110V power port below the side table.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class USB Ports

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Power Port

In addition to that, there was a two-pronged headphone jack. Those bringing their own headphones may need to bring an adapter, or use the “plug the headphone jack in only halfway” trick. I never used the IFE system on the flight, and my Bose QC35 case comes with an adapter anyway, so I was all set in that regard.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Headphone Jack

The ottoman was located below the seat, and was well-padded for sleeping, though due to the position of the tray table you couldn’t really use this area as a storage compartment.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Ottoman

To my right was a reading light, which had two brightness settings, and was well-placed for reading and photo-taking (I’d say it was a bit too focused, though).

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Reading Light

Qatar Airways’ IFE system is confusing in general, as it was only controllable by the handheld monitor, where you’d select your movie that would be played on the big screen. The entertainment system in seat 4K didn’t work at all, so there was a little commotion regarding that during boarding as people attempted to fix it. Hailey ended up sitting in seat 4K and slept throughout the entire flight, so she managed to survive without needing the IFE at all. I’ve outlined the OryxOne entertainment system on my flight from Doha to Munich, so I won’t do so in this report.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class TV

In terms of amenities provided at the seat during boarding, there was a plush pillow and a decent blanket.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Blanket

While I was taking photos of my seat, I was trying to adjust my camera to the lighting onboard the aircraft, so was standing in the aisle. The flight attendant told me to take pictures “later, as people were boarding the aircraft”. There was absolutely no one boarding the aircraft when I was taking the photo (not even anyone seated in economy), so I found that to be confusing. She turned out to be lovely for the rest of the flight, though.

As I said earlier, there was a bit of commotion regarding the entertainment system not working in seat 4K. Originally the flight attendant told me that Hailey would be reseated in another seat in the business class cabin, though that didn’t end up happening.

In the meantime, I ordered a lime and mint juice as well as a cold towel for my pre-departure beverage, both of which were delivered five minutes into the boarding process.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Pre-Departure Beverage Lime and Mint Juice

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Cold Towel

After the boarding process, the captain came onto the PA to introduce our flight time of seven hours and 35 minutes. He later came back on and announced a ten-minute ground delay, and acknowledged the warm temperature in the aircraft, which he said he’d rectify once we left the hot, 40°C+ realms of Doha.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Cabin

Fortunately the window seats feature air nozzles. Due to the lack of overhead bins, the aisle seats don’t feature air nozzles, so that’s another reason to pick the window seat.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Passenger Service Unit

Before takeoff I also checked out the lavatory, which was nice, and featured Rituals toiletries.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Lavatory

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Lavatory

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Lavatory Rituals Amenities

As Qatar Airways’ amenity kits don’t come with dental kits, there are dental kits placed in the bathroom that you can use. That’s a much more economic and less wasteful solution, which I can appreciate.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Dental Kit

25 minutes after boarding we were presented with an hard-case Bric’s amenity kit and pajamas, or in the flight attendant’s words, a “sleeping set”. Once again I was presented with a small set, though I didn’t end up using it on this flight.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Bric’s Amenity Kit

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Amenity Kit Contents

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Pajamas

We were also given menus, though I’ll talk about those in a bit when I detail the meal service.

The seat also provided noise-canceling headphones, as well as a bottle of water.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Noise-Canceling Headphones

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Water

Prior to takeoff the cabin manager introduced himself as Eric, though I found that to be “for show” more than anything since I didn’t see him during the flight. We taxied over to runway 34L, and took off at around 3:30 AM.

After takeoff the cabin lit up in Qatar Airways’ gorgeous signature pink and purple hues.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Cabin After Takeoff

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Cabin After Takeoff

I played around with the seat a bit, and tested the several positions that it offered. The seat features two preset reclined positions (in case you’re wondering about the lighting, I took these later on in the flight). The first recline preset was great for watching TV, as it didn’t go down that much – slightly more than what you’d see in a premium economy seat.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat in Reclined Position

The second recline preset was much deeper, and great for short naps and relaxing, especially on the 14-hour-flights that this seat sometimes operates.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Seat in Relax Position

The third preset was the flat bed, which was of a reasonable length, though as I touched on earlier half your body ends up below the tray table, which you could bang your knees on if you weren’t careful.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Bed

After we were at cruising altitude at 3:45 AM, I decided that it was probably time for bed. I had commitments the day after the flight, so before I went to bed, I asked the flight attendant if I could be woken up four hours after takeoff for my meal so I could properly review both meal services on this flight. That would be at about 12:30 PM Hong Kong time, so I’d have around four hours after that to work and do whatever I wanted. I figured that was a good plan, as I’d arrive Hong Kong slightly groggy, and I’d be able to crash back home.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Bed

Unfortunately I woke up five and a half hours after my nap, which meant that either the flight attendant hadn’t woken me up, or she’d tried, in vain. Embarrassingly, the flight attendant came out after she saw that I had awoken, and confirmed that the latter was true. That’s rather embarrassing, though in hindsight I should’ve seen it coming, as I slept really late.

The flight attendant had placed this sign next to my seat in the meantime, which made me feel worse about not waking up. I’ve outlined this in a separate post, so won’t do so again.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Post-Wakeup Signage

At this point we were two hours out of Hong Kong, so I decided to just have my pre-arrival meal from the à-la-carte dining section. The menu read as follows:

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Menu

The breakfast menu read as follows:

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Menu

The beverage menu read as follows:

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Menu

There was a separate wine list, though it was similar to the wine list given on my flight from Hong Kong to Doha, so I won’t post it here again. Feel free to check out that post if you’re interested in some of the champagne and liquor options.

I elected to have an Apple Cooler with my meal, which was crisp and delicious.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Beverage – Apple Cooler

I elected to have the soup of the day, which was a miso soup of sorts. While flavourful, I found it to be ever so slightly on the salty side, though it was great as far as airplane soups go.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Meal Soup – Soup Of The Day

For my main course I elected to have the five-spiced braised beef, which I had high expectations of. Unfortunately, it underwhelmed. The rice was fine – nothing special – though the beef was overcooked and leathery, and the entire dish just tasted salty. On the plus side, the portion was large, and the vegetables were well-executed.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Meal Entrée – Five Spiced Braised Beef with Mushroom

Fortunately the dessert was excellent, consisting of a chocolate ganache cake. It looked straight out of a pastry shop, and tasted just as good as it looked.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Meal Dessert – Chocolate Ganache Cake

Overall, the meal service wasn’t what I was expecting from an airline highly praised for its catering, though I can’t say that it was terrible. The braised beef was on par with what I’d expect on other airlines in business class (and plated nicely as well), whereas the other two courses were comparable to dishes I’d find in a restaurant.

After my meal I decided to visit the economy class cabin. The seats seemed tight, as is usually the case for a 787 with a 3-3-3 configuration in economy class. On the plus side, each seat seemed comfortable, had decent recline and was well-equipped with a USB port and a handheld remote.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Economy Class Cabin

Back at my seat I decided to take advantage of the non-alcoholic champagne – yum!

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Non-Alcoholic Champagne

At this point I decided to purchase inflight WiFi. WiFi on Qatar Airways comes in several packages:

  • 15 minutes/10 MB of free WiFi is provided for each passenger
  • 30 MB/30 minutes for US$5
  • 100 MB/1 hour for US$10
  • 200 MB/full flight for US$20

Ultimately I’d rather have WiFi priced by time instead of WiFi priced by data usage, though I elected to purchase the 100 MB price plan, which I shared between myself and my father. The WiFi itself was a good speed, and I didn’t have any issues with connecting to it (other than the fact that we only used around 50 MB of the 100 MB that we paid for before it was turned off for landing).

Around 20 minutes before the landing the captain announced our imminent arrival into Hong Kong. Shortly after the flight attendant came around with mints, which I found a nice touch.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class Mint

A notification popped up on my screen which reminded that no voice calls were allowed with the onboard SMS system that this aircraft was equipped with.

Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Business Class TV Message

We took the scenic approach into Hong Kong, so my eyes were glued to the window upon descent as we made our way across Hong Kong to our landing runway at the airport.

View upon Descent into Hong Kong

View upon Descent into Hong Kong

View upon Descent into Hong Kong

View upon Descent into Hong Kong

View upon Descent into Hong Kong

View upon Descent into Hong Kong

View upon Descent into Hong Kong

View upon Final Approach into Hong Kong

It was a rather cloudy day in Hong Kong, so weather wasn’t stunning by any means, especially since a typhoon had just passed. (The weather was great for the few days after, though.) I wasn’t ready to be thrown back into such warm weather, though was looking forward to staying home for a while after a crazy month of flying and meeting new people.

Taxiing Hong Kong Airport

American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

I spotted an Etihad A330 in the Manchester City FC livery, though unfortunately couldn’t get a good picture of it. I managed a good picture of an Air New Zealand 777, though.

Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200 Hong Kong Airport

Traffic Hong Kong Airport

Traffic Hong Kong Airport

I also managed to spot a Virgin Atlantic 787, which gave me bittersweet memories of the crazy fun first half of July that I enjoyed.

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Hong Kong Airport

In addition, I also spotted a Scoot 787, which I’m dying to try in the near future (as well as revisit Singapore, as it’s one of my favourite cities).

Scott Boeing 787-9 Hong Kong Airport

We saw a China Eastern A321 (hidden behind was a China Eastern Yunnan 737, which gave me memories of the time I spent in Yunnan), before finally parking at gate 42 next to a Garuda 737.

China Eastern Airbus A320 Hong Kong Airport

Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-800 Hong Kong Airport

From there I bid farewell to the fantastic flight attendant and was on my way home.

Bottom Line: Qatar Airways 787 Business Class

Qatar Airways 787 business class continued to impress this time. I love Qatar Airways’ business class hard product – it’s not my absolute favourite (and I still think Cathay Pacific’s A350 business class has the better hard product), though it’s nice to see how a soft product can be so flawlessly executed, from the plethora of amenities presented to the dine on demand service. While food on this flight didn’t impress, service was great, as was the case on my other three flights.

Under this value I think that Qatar Airways’ business class can’t be beaten. Do I think it’s worth the HK$30,000+ prices that the airline can sometimes charge for a four-segment roundtrip between Hong Kong and Europe? Not really, as there’s the inconvenience of having your flight time cut squarely in half, which reduces the amount of sleep you can get on the flight. However, the onboard experience is great, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take Qatar Airways again.

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