July 18, 2016

Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Kathmandu to Doha

Trip to Kathmandu flying on Etihad A380 First Apartment and Qatar Airways A380 First Class

Last month, Mike and I traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal for the first time to meet our travel partner Helena, owner of Helena India Travels. We are sending our first group to Nepal in autumn and it was a great opportunity to meet her as well as the owners of the hotels where our group would be staying at. We were offered complimentary five nights stay by Mingma, the Nepalese owner of Chhahari Retreat and needless to say, we enjoyed every single day of our stay not only because of the nice room and excellent food in the restaurant but moreso because each one of them treated us like their own family. As for our flight, Mike and I used our remaining American Airlines Advantage miles to fly in first class from Europe to the Indian Sub continent, just before the devaluation in March, which is 80K miles return per person. Here's the full trip report of our trip to Nepal and I hope that thru this, more people would consider traveling to this wonderful country in the future!



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Qatar Airways Business Class Tandoori Prawns

Flight: QR 651
Departure time in Kathmandu: 21:15 (actual 21:14)
Arrival time in Doha: 23:50 (actual 23:36)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Seat: 3A
Duration: 5h 7m
Date of flight: May 31, 2016
*This is an award travel, Business Class flight #104

Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu

We arrived at the airport around 5:30pm which was more than three and a half hours before departure. We have already checked in on line using our mobile and thought we could just go straight to the lounge since we did not have any checked in luggage.

Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport

Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport

Airline check-in area, Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport

The check in desks were still closed when we came so we thought we'd go directly to the Passport Control, presenting our mobile boarding pass to the agent. Unfortunately, we were told that we need to have a paper boarding pass issued by the check-in agents.

At exactly 6:15pm, check-in desks opened and we were one of the first passengers to be attended to by the agent for Business Class passengers and those with status . He also confirmed that mobile boarding passes are not accepted at Kathmandu Airport for security reasons.

After a few minutes, we were given our boarding passes to Doha and Paris, as well as a lounge invitation.

Executive Lounge

The Executive Lounge which is located before the Security Check offers good food, free wifi and a good place to stay at while waiting for your departure, thanks to it being managed by the Radisson Hotel.

About an hour and a half before our departure, we decided to head to the security check when the power went off for the second time (the first one occuring when we were in the lounge). Fortunately, it was back in no time at all. There was a separate queue for men and women and obviously, the men's queue was much, much longer than the women's. I also noticed that they were very particular with metals while on the other hand, taking liquids was not an issue.

Aircraft

Qatar Airways A330-200

Boarding

Boarding using airstairs

Boarding was not the nicest experience here as there was no priority boarding for premium passengers and that the pre-boarding area at gate 5 was very small (just like the other pre-boarding areas) that it was really very crowded.

Seat

My seat 3A, was a window seat

This is the same aircraft we flew on a few days ago from Doha to Kathmandu so I was sort of familiar with the seats, etc.

Personal screen, a bottle of mineral water and magazines

From my seat, I took another picture of the airstairs.

As soon as we were seated, Tery a very nice flight attendant from Kenya came to us to introduce herself, welcomed us and took our predeparture beverage as well as our choice of hot or cold towel. Moments later, she was back with my glass of apple juice while Mike ended up having both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic champagne (out of misunderstanding). She also offered the menu so we could have a look at it. The cabin supervisor also came to our seats to introduce herself and welcome us. Newspapers were also offered a little later though Michael and I both declined. The captain also came on the PA to welcome us and inform us of our flight time of 4 hours and 30 minutes. There were a few operational upgrades since the economy cabin was overbooked so I saw "very happy faces" in the business class cabin.

We were also offered a comfort pouch consisting of an eyeshade, a brush and earplugs. The toothbrush/toothpaste and razor/shaving cream could be found in the lavatory on the other hand.

Qatar Airways business class headphones and entertainment controls

Airshow enroute to Doha

From the movie selection, I ended up watching "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" and "Concussion".

Mike on the other hand listened to some cool music from Earth, Wind and Fire.

Qatar Airways business class blanket

As we pushed back, the safety video was shown on the monitor, with the Barcelona football team as the stars!

Dining

Qatar Airways Business Class menu card and wine list

As soon as we were airborne and the seatbelt sign was turned off, Tery came to take our meal orders and asked which time we wanted to have our dinner, as well as our preference of water. She also informed us that there is a cheese platter although it was not written on the menu. The menu read as follows:

All day dining

Appetizer:
Classic Arabic Mezze
Tandoori Prawns

Mains:
Stuffed Chicken Breast with Mushroom and Cheese
Lamb Shank Korma
Vegetable Biryani

Desserts:
Cherry chocolate gateaux
Seasonal Fresh Fruits

Beverages:
Mocktails, softdrinks, juices, water, etc.

Beverages:
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate

Champagne:
Billecart-Salmon Brut
Drappier

French Le Haut-Lieu and Esk Valley from New Zealand

Cocktails and spirits

Beer and Liqueurs

Moments later, Tery was back with some warm nuts and a glass of apple juice.

Qatar Airways business class table set-up

For my appetizer, I chose the Tandoori Prawns which was fantastic!

My main course, Lamb Shank Korma, also tasted very good.

Qatar Airways business class cheese platter

Fruits

To end the dinner service, hot towels and chocolates were offered. I was tired and sleepy so I decided to take a nap, like most of the passengers did.

Valrhona French chocolates

Lavatory

Qatar Airways business class lavatory with body mist and hand lotion from Rituals, toothbrush and razor

About 40 minutes before landing, the captain came on the PA with updated arrival info. Terry came to our seats once again to ask if we wanted something to drink but we declined. Finally, the cabin supervisor came to thank us for flying with them. We landed at Doha Airport around 11:30pm.

CONCLUSION

There it was, another great experience flying business class on Qatar Airways. I really loved the fact that Tery, the flight attendant was very friendly and made this flight really enjoyable for us. The food was also very good specially the Tandoori Prawns. And of course, the seats were very comfortable and I was able to sleep for awhile even if it was not a fully flat bed. The boarding process was a bit chaotic though and something I hope they will try to improve on in the future. Overall, this is a very nice flight and we were glad we chose to fly on Qatar Airways. To all the crew on this flight, Shukran!


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