After an unexpected but enjoyable week-long stay in Doha, it was time to head home to Montreal onboard a Qatar Airways Qsuites flight on the Boeing 777.
Having already reviewed the Qsuites experience onboard the Airbus A350 in depth, I’ll be keeping this installment quite brief. I’ll focus mainly on the soft product (food, drink, service, etc.) instead of the hard product (the identical Qsuites seat, in-flight entertainment, etc.), as well as the experience of flying on the daytime service between Doha and Montreal, which I suspect will be a popular route among most Canadian travellers.
As a reminder, I had booked the entire Tokyo–Doha–Montreal sequence using 90,000 Asia Miles plus only $90 in taxes and fees, thanks to Japan’s regulations on fuel surcharges.
These days it’s no longer possible to add a stopover in Doha on this routing, but you can still add a layover of up to 24 hours while paying only 90,000 Asia Miles for the one-way itinerary.
After eating, drinking, bathing, and resting up a storm in the Al Safwa First Class Lounge here at Hamad International Airport, I headed for the boarding gate by way of the automated people-mover.
The flight turned out to be less-than-half-full in business class, and most of the other passengers had boarded already, so I swiftly passed through the priority boarding queue and made my way onboard.
Qatar Airways | QR763
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Cabin: Business class
Route: Doha (DOH) to Montreal (YUL)
Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Time: Departing 8:10am and arriving 1:50pm
Duration: 13 hours 40 minutes
The Montreal route is one of the lucky recipients of Qatar Airways’s newly-refurbished Boeing 777s, which offer their cutting-edge Qsuites layout that’s widely considered the best in the business.
The airline also has some Boeing 777s with a much older forward-facing configuration, which are best avoided, so you’ll want to make sure which configuration you’re getting if you’re booking a flight on a Qatar Airways 777. The easiest way to do so would be to check the seat map on ExpertFlyer, or to look up your flight on Google Flights and see if the business class seat type is shown as “lie-flat seat” (for the older 2-2-2 configuration) or “individual suite” (for the Qsuite).
With the Qsuites layout, there are 42 business class seats in total, spread out across 11 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. Rows 1–6 and 8–11 have four seats each, while Row 7 consists of two seats at the front of the business class mini-cabin.
Speaking of which, the forward cabin is the more spacious one, while the rear cabin is more intimate (although not quite as intimate as the Airbus A350’s mini-cabin, which only has eight seats). For this flight, I had chosen Seat 10K, a rear-facing window seat in the penultimate row.
(Recall that, as a result of the staggered Qsuites arrangement, the rear-facing window seats are closer to the window, while the forward-facing window seats are closer to the aisle. For a full rundown of the different seat types and an in-depth look at the seat features, refer back to my review of Qsuites on the A350.)
Compared to my last flight, the Qsuites cabin looked even more gorgeous in the daytime, dressed in that distinctively regal shade of redcurrant. Having boarded through the first door on the port side of the 777, I made my way through the main cabin and into the mini-cabin in the rear.
Taking my seat in 10K, I briefly looked around the suite and admired the now-familiar seat features, from the ergonomically positioned control panel along the curvature of the seat console to the storage compartment adjacent to me by my right-hand side.
The Qsuites seat is simply an absolute joy to sit and relax in, not to mention the incredible visual appeal of the hard product as well.
A flight attendant was immediately present to greet me and welcome me to the flight, offering me a choice of welcome beverage. Without skipping a beat, I already knew exactly what to ask for: a glass of the Taittinger rosé champagne, which was promptly brought over and poured in front of my eyes.
Hey, it was well past 5pm in our destination of Montreal, wasn’t it?
Like my last flight about a week ago, the amenity kit today was made by Italian luggage maker Bric’s, although it came in a different colour than last time: navy with gold trim, rather than black-and-white.
Even though this was a daytime flight, passengers still received a set of loungewear by The White Company. I didn’t really need to keep two sets of Qsuites pajamas from two different flights, so I simply held onto this set for a future giveaway at one of our Miles & Points Events or something.
It’s something of a rare treat when I don’t need to be reviewing a flight in-depth and spending lots of time taking pictures, so it was nice to be able to just relax in my seat and sip my rosé as the rest of the passengers completed boarding.
Seat 10G opposite me would remain empty throughout the flight, so I had complete privacy. Indeed, I’d use 10G as my bed and pop over to sleep later on during the flight.
It was also at this time that the crew member came by to top-up my champagne and ask me how I’d like to take my meals on this flight. Qatar Airways offers dine-on-demand service in business class, so I was welcome to go with the default order of breakfast shortly after takeoff followed by a light meal prior to landing, or I was free to mix things up as well.
As always, the customizability of the meals on Qatar Airways was a real treat, and I decided to go with a bigger breakfast to start – opting for both the Western charcuterie plate and the Arabic ful medames – and I’d follow it up later in the flight with some afternoon tea and light appetizers.
Eventually, after the safety video played, the captain came on the PA to speak to us, and the crew retrieved my champagne glass, we pushed back from the gates and taxied across the airport for takeoff.
After the seat belt sign was turned off, I got out my laptop and connected to the onboard wifi, just as the in-flight service began. As promised, the crew member returned with another glass of rosé, as well as the mixed berry smoothie that I had ordered to go with my breakfast.
Breakfast began with a simple fruit plate.
That was followed up by the elegantly plated charcuterie board, which I enjoyed nibbling away at. Qatar Airways styles its business class product as “First in Business”, and it’s perhaps telling that there was a tiny dollop of caviar amidst the assorted cold items to be savoured.
The charcuterie was served alongside a bowl of cornflakes, complete with a self-pour glass of milk, which is an excellent example of the “little things” that Qatar Airways gets exactly right with their soft product.
After the Western items, it was time for my Arabic main course: ful medames, a stew of fava beans with a variety of spices.
While I was eager to try out Qatar’s interpretation of this dish, I didn’t love the taste in the end, and combined with the fact that I had already eaten in the lounge prior to the flight, I didn’t end up finishing everything.
The meal service ended about three hours into the flight, just as we were passing over Turkey.
At this point, whether it was the rosé or my lack of sleep the previous night (probably both, let’s be honest), I was feeling rather exhausted and so decided to go to sleep, even though it was 11am local time.
It can be tricky to figure out when to sleep on these daytime long-haul flights, but I figured I may as well get a head start on readjusting to Eastern Time by getting some good rest prior to our 2:40pm arrival in Montreal.
I set an alarm clock on my phone to wake me up in five hours’ time, so that I wouldn’t oversleep and lose out on my enjoyment of the flight, of course. I then popped over to Seat 10G, put the vacant seat into lie-flat mode, and dozed off.
Sure enough, five hours passed before I was awoken, just as we were overflying Ireland and preparing for the Atlantic crossing. With about six hours of flight time left, I decided to work on my laptop for most of the time, while ordering stuff to eat and drink every now and then.
To start, I had a glass of the cucumber, apple, and mint healthy energizer, which was crisp and revitalizing. Qatar Airways offers a wider range of smoothies and healthy juices on morning flights where breakfast is the main meal (as opposed to evening flights, when breakfast is usually served before landing), and both the mixed berry smoothie from earlier and this concoction were quite tasty indeed.
I then requested the afternoon tea service, which is a staple of Qatar Airways’s daytime flights that I was very much looking forward to trying.
The presentation was exquisite: a trio of mini scones, finger sandwiches, and bite-sized desserts were served alongside butter and strawberry jam and a cup of Earl Grey.
What a treat it was to indulge in high tea at 40,000 feet, and I polished off the entire spread with the most outstretched of pinkies.
I mostly spent the rest of the flight working, while keeping my window shades up and watching the Atlantic Ocean crawl by. I almost lost track of time a little bit, and the flight attendant came by a few hours later to check if I wanted to eat anything else before we landed.
Since I wanted to use my laptop instead of having to set my table for another meal, I just decided to try out a few more beverages and appetizers.
I started with an iced cappuccino, which hit the spot just right.
That was followed by a cream of cauliflower soup, which was presented beautifully, and tasted surprisingly good for a cauliflower soup (which is usually far from my favourite dish).
Finally, I had a prawn cocktail appetizer plate, which was much more to my satisfaction.
I also wanted to briefly comment on the service on this Qsuites flight, which left me with no real complaints, but didn’t quite reach the same high notes as my first flight on Qsuites.
The flight attendant taking care of me was friendly, but not particularly effusive or enthusiastic in her service, and did not execute a few of the little touches that I had experienced last time (such as the remarks of “May I?” and “Please enjoy.” every time something was laid down or withdrawn from my table).
Perhaps that’s because I enjoyed some special treatment as the only passenger in an eight-seat mini-cabin last time around, to be fair. Either way, you can definitely expect a level of service on Qsuites that’s far above average for business class, but just keep in mind that it can vary between “great” and “outstanding”.
The food and drink bonanza on this flight concluded with a glass of orange juice, and I watched our descent into a snowy Montreal with more than a little bit of longing for the warm Doha sunshine I had just left behind.
After an incredible maiden Qsuites experience onboard the A350, this flight on the Boeing 777 only reinforced my belief that Qatar Airways Qsuites currently leads the way in terms of the world’s best business class products.
As I’ve stated before, the cutting-edge hard product offers ample storage space, surface space, comfort, and privacy, as well as the ability to adapt into a communal design for larger groups of travellers. And while the soft product didn’t quite reach the same heights as my first Qsuites flight, it’s still leaps and bounds better than what most airlines around the world offer in business class, with a very high degree of customizability every step of the way.
Best of all, thanks to programs like British Airways Avios and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Qatar Airways Qsuites is a product that every traveller can experience for themselves at least once. I’d highly encourage you to treat yourself to a Qsuites experience when we take to the skies again – you won’t regret it.