Working in travel I take more long haul flights than most and generally in economy or ‘cattle class’ as it is often referred to.
Air travel is rarely a pleasure and unlike fine wine which improves with age, with long-haul travel I feel we just get better at keeping ourselves entertained and managing jet lag. This is especially apparent when I fly from my new home of London, England to my old home of Auckland, New Zealand.
Qatar is using a long-range Boeing 777 which has 217 economy seats and 42 business class seats. When I heard of this new flight path from London to Doha, and then 17 hours from Doha onto Auckland it put the fear of god into me. The thought of seventeen hours sounded awful however, the price was competitive so we opted to fly there in economy but business class on the way back as a treat to celebrate a ten years anniversary.
Qatar Airways Economy travel
Flying from London to Auckland in economy is tough but there are certain things the airline can do to ease the passage. In my opinion these are really easy for an airline to crack and if done correctly, passengers will touch down on dry land again having been fed, watered, rested and entertained; well as much as possible right!
Doesn’t look like there is more room but believe me there is.
BOOKING SEATS (AT NO EXTRA CHARGE)
Many airlines have started making seats smaller and charging customers to reserve a seat which shows a total disrespect for their customers – Qatar Airways do not do this. I booked my typical window seat at the time of booking for no extra charge so when I was ready, I just switched off the movies, leaned against the window and went to sleep.
Being over 6 feet tall leg space is a constant battle in the sky, especially when airlines put those metal boxes under the seat making it impossible to stretch out. With Qatar I could stretch out my legs and almost turn completely onto my side for a solid seven hours sleep. This just goes to show that when airlines make the decision to favour leg room over adding in two more rows, the result is content passengers who aren’t constantly up and blocking isles.
IN FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
Let’s face it, there is nothing to do in the air but watch movies so why should I bring my own tablet and pay for downloads? When flying long-haul I’m content watching movies from before take off until landing at the other end. If an airline gets this wrong then I will never fly with them again but get it right as Qatar Airways did, and not only will I be loyal but you’ll also not hear a peep out of me until disembarking.
FOOD AND DRINKS
As far as I’m concerned eating a meal at 40,000 ft. is an absolute miracle but please don’t make me beg for a drink. I enjoy all plane meals and my routine is I have two drinks with my meal, another one after this and then I’m ready to try and sleep. I don’t want to drink myself into oblivion but keep me fed and watered and I’m content which is exactly what Qatar Airways did each leg of the journey. In fact when I asked for a bottle of red wine they instinctively handed me two…um did I just make a friend for life?
Qatar Airways Business Class
Now onto the return leg…in business class. Just to be clear I am not a business class traveller and I never will be. I accepted my place in economy many years ago so this one-time upgrade really was just a treat to celebrate a relationship milestone.
Roll on the next anniversary!
I’ve used to think that it didn’t matter if people flew in economy or business class, long-haul air travel was just a necessary evil in order to explore other countries, but I was wrong and now I’m ruined for life! I mean the stewardess introduced herself by name (and addressed me by name), gave me a pair of pyjamas and a glass of champagne before we had even left the tarmac. I didn’t need to ask for my glass to be refilled and my seat had a button which once pushed, massaged the entire length of my body on a continuous loop. Did I just die and go to air travel heaven?
Let’s face it, the business lounge is self-indulgent but with free Wi-Fi, a relaxed environment and comfortable seats to chill in until boarding it did the trick. Food and drink was available to help ourselves and if I’m being honest, I had to fight the urge to not drink myself into a stupor and fill my bag with sandwiches and sweet desserts.
SEAT AND LEG ROOM
Being in a horizontal position in the sky might seem like a strange fetish to some but it feels incredible. The seat had various buttons and gadgets to push so I could sit up or lie down in any number of positions. There was a duvet and a pillow and did I mention the massage button? From Auckland to Doha I slept on and off for almost ten hours which is a result in any language.
FOOD AND DRINKS
My pet peeve on planes is when I get handed a thimbleful of coffee. When I drink a coffee I want a proper cup full and that is exactly what Qatar poured me. If I’d opted for a latte or espresso that wouldn’t have been an issue either. We were given separate food and drinks menu to choose from which included appetisers, selection of bread and cheeses, main courses and dessert options plus a selection of beer, wine, champagne and cocktails. Stewards laid out a towel napkin with proper cutlery and the service was excellent. If I was feeling parched mid-flight I could wander down to the bar and lounge area. Um…what? There is a bar on the plane? No wonder business class travellers always look so smug.
Business travel is not something I’m likely to be indulging in too often but we wanted a bit of luxury and Qatar delivered. Even in economy it didn’t feel like I was just counting the hours down until we landed. That’s really all I look for in an airline when I fly long-haul, one that doesn’t cut corners or make you feel like a sheep amongst the flock.
This is a completely independent blog and I haven’t received any money from Qatar Airways. The reason for writing this is because I have experienced so many airlines cutting corners and charging for services which should be included when a ticket is purchased; Qatar didn’t do that.
It was my first time flying with them but it most certainly won’t be my last.
Happy travelling folks.