In December last year, Qatar Airways launched direct flights from Doha (Qatar’s hub) to Gothenburg in Sweden. I was a part of their inaugural flight, along with other bloggers, vloggers and media delegates from Asia, Middle East and United Kingdom.
I have flown Qatar several times previously, however, this was a special experience. Not only was it the exclusivity of being on an inaugural international sector flight, but also the privilege of flying Business Class.
Onward journey: CCU-DOH-GOT
Duration: 5.5 hours + 6.5 hours
I have to admit the best thing about flying Business is the seamless check-in. My check-in at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Kolkata International Airport was less than three minutes. Qatar’s ground staff ritualistically handed-out the lounge pass along with my boarding pass. Even though Kolkata’s Travel Club Lounge is not grand, I wouldn’t have missed a chance to visit it.
I’ll go directly to my inflight experience from Hamad International Airport, Doha to Göteborg-Landvetter Airport.
The 22-seater Business Class of Boeing 787 Dreamliner boasts of regulated cabin pressure with better air circulation, 17-inch touchscreen control unit, 80-inch flat beds, award-winning inflight entertainment system Oryx One (which can be previewed here) and amenity kits designed by BRIC’S and Nappa Dori. In the Economy, this aircraft has spacious 232 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. As I widened my eyes to that piece of information, my flight attendant, Alexia, informed me, “This is still a baby for us”, cheerfully.
The service was excellent. (I always recall Qatar for its excellent service.) Since this was an inaugural flight, I suppose they had their A-listers at our service.
Breakfast was elaborate three courses. I skipped the juices and opted for Greek yogurt with toasted granola with nuts. My main course was a delicious portion of scrambled eggs with grilled chicken skewers, accompanied with several helpings of karak chai and one hot chocolate. On my way to Gothenburg, I wasn’t too well. They constantly checked on me, without disturbing my snooze time.
Landing in Gothenburg was eventful. We were welcomed with water cannons and most airport officials were there to greet the first direct flight from Doha.
Al Mourjan Business Lounge at Doha International
Unfortunately I had a short 1.5-hour layover in Doha. In the early hours, I hardly found any time to explore the Al Mourjan Business Lounge at the airport. However, I made up for it on my way back from Gothenburg, when I had a 2.5-hour layover.
Qatar’s Al Mourjan Lounge covers a sprawling 10000 square metres—the high ceilings further magnify space. There are many reclining couches and private workstations, showers, family rooms and play areas for children and even a garden area. The restaurant in the mezzanine floor has an elaborate buffet around a bar. They also have a separate dessert counter.
On my return journey from Gothenburg, I downed a couple of G&Ts alongside quick bites. I also got some work done, though the wifi wasn’t the best.
Return Journey: GOT-DOH-CCU
Duration: 6 hours + 5 hours
Qatar Airways made departing from Sweden tolerable. We flew out off Gothenburg early in the day and as expected, check-in was seamless. Again we were handed out our lounge passes. However, Gothenburg airport has immigration clearance just before the departure gate. As a result, I did not get a chance to stop by their lounge for a cup of tea.
No sooner onboard, Mushtaq, my flight attendant, introduced himself and served me a refreshing cup of lemon tea with cookies—even before we took off! The award-winning airlines has dine-on-demand for their Business Class passengers. I slept off for two hours and requested Mushtaq to bring me my main course (chicken curry with flavoured rice) once I was awake. Needless to say, the service was impeccable and the food was wholesome and delicious.
Dinner onboard from Doha to Kolkata was even more flavourful. I chose the tabouleh and hummus platter for appetisers, followed by chicken biryani. It felt good to fly back home to Indian flavours.
I was impressed by how the crew knew I was on the inaugural flight. Even more surprisingly, they remembered my food preferences and that I was unwell on my way to Sweden. That kind of attention to detail is very humbling.
Perspective: Qatar Airways’ Business Class is flawless. By definition, ‘business class’ is an exclusive experience and Qatar exceeds all expectations. However, I can vouch for Qatar’s Economy Class with the same confidence. As mentioned, I have flown their Economy many times and they excel in all areas there as well.
Other parameters and information:
-Baggage allowance: 40k (no limitation on number of bags. One bag can be a maximum 23k.)
-Punctuality: On time
-The lounge in Göteborg-Landvetter Airport departure terminal is BEFORE immigration clearance.
-The Al Mourjan Business Lounge is located on Level 3 at Hamad International Airport.
-Qatar’s 787 Dreamliner Business Class has a social ledge where passengers can help themselves with champagne, crisps and fruits.
-Qatar Airways flies to Gothenburg five times a week.
-Deservingly, Qatar Airways was awarded World’s Best Business Class by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax, among many other awards.
How has your experience been with Qatar Airways?
Note: I was invited by Qatar Airways on their inaugural flight to Gothenburg, Sweden.