Qatar Airways operate 3 daily flights between Singapore and Doha, so we thought it a good option for our journey back from Malaysian Borneo. Even better was when we heard the route was operated by a new Airbus A350-900. Also, we found it was being operated on the last flight of each day, which worked well with our inbound flight from Kota Kinabalu. This Qatar Airways business class flight from Singapore to Doha was everything we hoped it would be. Read on to see why.
Flight No: QR947
From/To: Singapore (SIN) to Doha (DOH)
Departure time: 21:20
Ticket Class: Business
Flight time: 7 hours 55 mins
Oneworld Tier Points: 140
In this review:
- Check-in & Fast Track
- Aircraft Configuration
- Amenity Kit & Washrooms
- In-flight Entertainment
- Drinks Service
- Food Service
- BG1 Verdict
Check-in & Fast Track
After arriving at Singapore Changi on a SilkAir flight, we eventually found ourselves in the check-in hall of Terminal 3 with our luggage. Qatar Airways had 4 check-in desks open – 1 for premium passengers and 3 for Economy passengers. Although there was only a short queue for the premium check-in desk, we were called forward to one of the Economy desks – they seemed to be prioritising passengers queuing in our line. After a brief discussion on the seating and how busy the flight was – we were told it was almost full – we took our boarding passes and left our heavy bags behind. We headed through security, which was quick and efficient, then followed the brief directions we’d be given to the lounge.
Because Qatar Airways nor Oneworld have a lounge in the terminal, we were directed to the SATS Premier Lounge, which was shared with 8 other airlines.
After completing the usual arrival formalities, we entered the lounge to find it surprisingly quiet. It was bright and clean, with a few of floral arrangements. Seating was a combination of waiting room armchairs in rows, deeper lounge chairs to the sides, and a few dining tables/chairs. All of the lounge chairs had a table beside them with integrated charging.
There was a selection of complimentary hot and cold beverages, including a modest alcohol selection. We identified the required ingredients for a Bloody Mary, so we concluded the bar would be sufficient for most.
A buffet of hot and cold food was on offer. We weren’t sure how long the food had been out as the lounge was so quiet nobody was taking anything. We knew we had a big meal ahead of us on the flight, so we skipped the food.
Overall, it was a nice lounge, although lacking all the bells and whistles of a flagship airline lounge. Clearly, we’d hit it during a lull and came away wondering what it’d be like when a few of those other 8 airlines have flights going out.
Boarding was staged by cabin class, with business class being invited to board first. With only a single air bridge attached to the aircraft, once Economy class passengers were called to board, there wasn’t a fast route onto the aircraft for anyone who missed the business class pre-boarding. We don’t find this a major issue for Qatar Airways flights as they tend to open their gates up to an hour before departure. We tend to let the pack board ahead of us and hang around in the lounge a bit longer.
Arriving on the aircraft, we were struck by the impressively large vestibule area, with an illuminated ceiling rose above it. With no central luggage bins, the cabin felt very open and spacious – looking left you could see right down to the front galley and looking right you could see to the curtains to Economy class. We turned left and made our way to our seats on row 2.
The luggage bins are worth a mention at this point. While a lot of overhead storage capacity has been lost through the omission of the central bin, we didn’t experience any challenges getting our bags into the bins above the window seats. Qatar Airways have made an excellent trade-off here. The feeling of space that is created through the cabin is both innovative and very welcome, particularly having flown more congested A350 cabins.
Once seated, members of the crew came to introduce themselves, offered us a welcome drink and handed us the menus. We opted to try the rosé champagne.
Being a night flight, we were also offered pyjamas in our preferred size.
Aircraft type: Airbus A350-900
Number of classes: 2
Number of seats in flying class: 36
Position: 2E – Middle seat on left aisle, 1 row from the front
In addition business class, the aircraft also carries:
247 Economy seats at the rear of the aircraft
Amenity Kit & Washrooms
There were 3 washrooms in the business class cabin. Two between the large and mini cabins, and one right at the front. They were clean, well-lit, and stocked with toothbrushes and razors, alongside some nicely fragranced Rituals hand wash and body mist(?) We don’t really know what body mist is for, but sweet fragrances lingering through the cabin suggested many bodies were being misted. The crew did a good job at keeping the washrooms in good order and at no point during the flight did the areas around them smell unsavoury. It was all rather pleasant.
We took this flight just as Qatar Airways was switching its amenity kits from Giorgio Armani to Brics. On the Singapore-Doha leg, we received the older Giorgio Armani kits, and on the Doha-Europe leg we received the new Brics kits. We remain split down the middle on which is better. While the Bric kit comes in a very nice hardshell pouch, the contents of the Giorgio kit are much nicer. Inside we found Acqua di Gio moisturising balm, a mini eau de toilette that’s great for taking through security, and Rituals lip balm. These cosmetic products came alongside the customary socks, eye mask and ear plugs. Plenty to keep you feeling and smelling fresh on the journey.
Easily one of them most important sections in any flight review is the quality of the seat. The comfort of the seat can make or break our experience of an airline. A bad seat can leave us indifferent to exceptional food, beverage, and service. How did Qatar Airways fair on this business class flight from Singapore to Doha?
Although not the newer QSuites, we particularly liked the seats on this aircraft type. Qatar Airways fitted reverse-herringbone type (Collins Super Diamonds) that are standard on Qatar Airways 787s and A380s. The seats were lie-flat and all aisle access, in a 1-2-1 configuration. Window seats had the greatest privacy, as there was no immediate neighbour. The two seats in the centre had a privacy screen that rose to the height of the IFE display. It had to be lowered during takeoff and landing, but aside from that you’d forget there was someone on the other side.
Unlike many older aircraft, the A350 is a very, very quiet aircraft. There was little engine noise and we felt zero vibrations through the seat.
Access & Storage
At the shortest distance (at floor level), there was approximately 2ft of space between the base of the seat and the back of the seat in front. The lowered arm rest increases the accessibility of this seat type from the aisle. The position of the arm rest is also very helpful when you need to exit the seat during meal service – you can push the tray table back and slide out to the side without the risk of a single spillage. You won’t be trapped if you have to run-pee, which can happen on some other seat types, like QSuite!
Storage around this seat type is very good. There’s a decent-sized ledge along one side, a compartment under the armrest, and a little drawer for shoes.
Conveniently, the seat converted to a lie-flat bed at the touch of a button. The crew provided a mattress topper, duvet, and a pillow. We slept fairly well, although a larger, thicker pillow might have improved things. What we won’t complain about is the comfort of the seat and cabin throughout the flight. Because the temperature and air quality remained perfectly balanced throughout the whole flight, we didn’t suffer chills, overheating, or stuffiness.
What was the best seat on our Qatar Airways A350 business class flight from Singapore?
While solo travellers will prefer the window seats, we’d recommend going midway along the front cabin to avoid noise from the gallery at the front and the toilets at the rear. Our pick would be 2A, 3A, 4A, 2K, 3K, or 4K. Food and drink service should also be fairly efficient at these seats.
Couples may be drawn to the two seats together in the centre, although be mindful that seat E will be served by different crew to seat F, so the timing of service may differ between the two seats. If you’re keen to eat at the same time, be sure to tell the crew this at the start of your flight, or one of you may be eating a starter while the other is on dessert. We’d go for 3E and F or 4E and F.
Avoid seats on row 1, as the noise and light from the galley may be disturbing. TV screens above 1E and F may also be a distraction. The mini cabin after the vestibule area may seem appealing, although service is slower/patchier back there. The proximity of the toilets in front of row 7, and infant bassinets being hooked on the bulkhead behind row 9, make us avoid the mini cabin.
See the seating plan for the aircraft we flew on SeatGuru. Note that Qatar Airways is rolling-out QSuites to more of its A350s, so it’s worth also checking the A350 QSuites seating plan.
The In-flight Entertainment system on our Qatar Airways’ business class flight from Singapore was delivered through a personal 17 inch HD, touch-screen display. It was fixed, so didn’t need to be folded away during take-off and landing. They call this a gate-to-gate entertainment experience because you can start watching the moment you board and stop when you’re disembarking.
The Qatar noise cancelling headphones were reasonably good at removing cabin noise, and can make for a quieter sleep. We did find them a tad uncomfortable after a couple of hours wear – sore ears!
A nice feature on the A350 is is the ability to watch live video from cameras mounted in on the aircraft’s tail, under the nose, and pointing downwards. It’s an enjoyable alternative to watching a takeoffs and landings out of the window.
The movie list was extensive, to say the least. We found 20+ recent Hollywood releases, complimented by a catalog of nostalgic classics. TV offered your usual American sitcoms, natural history documentaries, and kids content. There were also a variety of audio channels to choose from – one or two we found good to sleep to!
The IFE on Qatar Airways is one of the more reliable ones we’ve encountered. In the many flights we’ve taken, we’re yet to experience a crash or reboot. It appears like good quality software is running on decent hardware. Other than a bigger screen, which Qatar Airways have already implemented in QSuites, there’s little more we could ask for.
Cabin service started shortly after take-off on our Qatar Airways business class flight from Singapore. The format was consistent with most other Qatar Airways long-haul flights we’ve taken:
- Hot towel
- Drink with nuts
- Cheese (if you order it)
- Drink top-ups
- Sleep and/or cabin lights dimmed for a few hours
- Hot towel
- Second meal service
While a few people grumble about service being a bit robotic, we like the consistency and professionalism about the way it’s delivered.
We kicked-off trying the L’Allier Grande Reserve Brut champagne. It did what we expected, providing fizz, acidity and notes of green fruit and toasted brioche. Perhaps not the most refined, but good for this price range. £30/bottle is pretty much the norm for business class these days. For more expensive champagnes, a first class ticket, or a hip flask, is necessary.
Away from the fizz, the drinks menu splits into 3 red and 3 white wines, a dessert wine, port. Selected premium aperitifs and sprits are were available. We indulged in a delicious Old Fashioned and a Bloody Mary before our meals.
There was also a comprehensive selection of non-alcoholic cold juices, smoothies, and sodas. Hot teas and coffee were offered after meal services, but could be ordered at any time during the flight.
Evian still water and San Pellegrino sparkling water was poured regularly throughout meal service.
Food on our Qatar Airways A350 business class flight from Singapore featured some Qatar Airways regulars, as well as a couple of dishes we’d not tried.
Primary meal service
Agreeing to have different appetisers, one of us had the Arabic Mezze and the other the Trio of Tuna. Both of us were pleased and agreed that the portions were generous for an appetiser. We were, however, very glad we’d not eaten in the terminal, as the crew sent out a salmon amuse-bouche ahead of our appetiser!
For mains, we both opted for the herb crusted lamb cutlet, as we’d not yet tried it on a Qatar Airways flight. Despite the pink/purple mood lighting in the cabin making it difficult to see the colour of anything we were eating, the torchlight from an iPhone revealed the lamb was cooked a nice shade of pink. A knife glided through the meat and each bite was succulent. The seasoning was spot-on, bringing out the flavour in the lamb.
To finish things off, we went for the chocolate plum cake and fresh berries, and paired these sharing dishes with the Sauternes dessert wine. Other than Christmas, we don’t bother with dessert wine. It is, however, a real treat and highly recommended if you see it on the menu.
Second meal service
The flight arrived into Doha at around 5am Singaporean time, so we slept the second half of the flight and skipped the second meal service. The light meal service was about 90 minutes before landing, with options that ranged from laksa noodle soup to afternoon tea. We were sad to miss out on afternoon tea, especially after trying it once on a flight from Oslo. Equally, we were pleased to arrive in Doha feeling rested!
Our flight landed at Hamad International Airport just before midnight local time, this was on-schedule and gave us a 1 h 45 m layover in Doha. Just enough time to hit the lounge! Following a fairly long taxi to the stand, we disembarked through an air bridge into the terminal.
There’s no need to clear immigration when transiting in Doha, so we passed through Premium Passenger Security and directly up a lift into the Al Mourjan business class lounge within 10 minutes.
Qatar Airways A350 business class is great step up on what is already the best business class product flying. The quality of the aircraft makes for a smooth, comfortable and clean-feeling journey. At the seat, comfort is assured by a well-built seat and high-spec entertainment system. Finally, a fantastic range of food and drink will be served in a consistent and professional manner. It’s a world-beating product and we look forward to flying Qatar Airways business class again from Singapore very soon.
Ask for an extra pillow from the crew before you take-off, one isn’t enough and everyone will be asking once it’s bedtime.
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