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In times when the COVID-19 pandemic has led to airlines and hotels around the world adapting services through hygiene guidelines or cost-saving measures, the travel experience has fundamentally changed in many cases. Some airlines stand out for their customer-friendly focus, while others are less positive.
InsideFlyer Germany Editor, Steffen, recently flew in a Qatar Airways Qsuite from Frankfurt via Doha to Dubai and was able to see for himself what the current experience is like. The following piece is his review:
Qatar Airways Qsuite during COVID-19
Several days before departure, it becomes clear that Qatar Airways is very strict about the current travel guidelines of the various countries. We receive several emails with links to the entry rules of countries worldwide as well as information about the safety regulations on board Qatar Airways.
At Frankfurt Airport, too, a thorough check is carried out to ensure that all criteria for entry into the United Arab Emirates are met. In addition to the negative COVID-19 test, installing the Dubai COVID tracking app is also required.
The Qsuite from Qatar Airways enables maximum privacy for the individual traveller. This not only ensures the greatest possible distance between individual passengers, the lockable suites also contribute to a private travel experience. The configuration of the Qsuite is such that there are individual seats by the window, which are sometimes closer to the aisle and sometimes closer to the window. With the latter, you travel backwards.
If you travel as a couple or with friends, the seats in the middle are ideal. Some of these can be converted into a common area for four passengers using sliding panels.
An Airbus A350-900 with a total of 36 seats in business class was used on this flight. This is divided into two cabins. The larger cabin comprises rows 1 to 6. Behind the second aircraft door, there is then a small cabin with only three rows.
Service & cuisine
The welcome from the Cabin Service Manager is very warm and it is immediately clear that it will be a pleasant flight to Doha. He hands us over to the flight attendant responsible for us, Ash, who takes us to our seats in rows 5 and 6. During the first few minutes it becomes clear that Qatar Airways has not cut back on service for business class passengers. We are offered welcome drinks, including an excellent Laurent Perrier Rosé champagne. In addition, a personal hygiene kit with a mask and disinfectant wipes is waiting at the seat.
The menu and wine list for the flight to Doha is already at the seat. This is just as extensive as we know it from previous flights with Qatar Airways. Ash tells us that there are currently only two real adjustments: unlike normal times, the table is not set like in a restaurant, the food is served one after the other on a tray. In addition, drinks are not poured at the seat, but at the galley.
As a Business Class passenger with Qatar Airways, you still have the opportunity to eat whenever you want. For an early lunch, the starter of choice is the typical Arabic Mezze, and for the main course we try the Mango Prawn Briyani Pie. Both dishes turn out to be excellent. As an aperitif, we stick to the Laurent Perrier Rosé.
After departure, the Qatar Airways Qsuite is also unlocked so that it can be closed. However, the attentive crew regularly checks whether you have any further wishes. Ash provided us with excellent Iced Chai Lattes, Iced Cappuccino and a delicious tiramisu for dessert.
If you prefer to sleep and rest, you can press the DND button. The QSuite sign lights up red and the crew knows that you don’t want to be disturbed. It is very positive that the crew pays great attention to compliance with the mask requirement as soon as you leave the seat.
Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge Doha
After only 5 hours and 30 minutes we land at Hamad International Airport in Doha. We have some time before our onward flight to Dubai. We spend this in the excellent Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge. Business and first class passengers currently have access to this. But be careful: if you have booked the cheapest Business Saver tariff, this benefit is no longer available.
In contrast to earlier times, it is noticeable that the lounge is almost deserted. While it used to be almost impossible to find a place for several people at rush hour, you can now sometimes see no other passenger for several minutes.
It is slightly more crowded in the restaurant above the main part of the lounge. Despite the current situation, passengers can look forward to an extensive range of food and drinks. Some of it is available as buffets. Here, all dishes are covered and served by the staff. There is also an a la carte menu that can be called up via a QR code that is available at every table.
A strict mask requirement applies at the entire Hamad International Airport and accordingly also in the Al Mourjan Lounge. You can only remove the mask when you are sitting in your seat. The employees (kindly) speak to guests who are not observing the rules.
Flying in a Qatar Airways Qsuite is still a fantastic way to travel, even during the pandemic. The seat is industry-leading and the food/drink and service remain superb. The detailed focus on the various national travel guidelines and hygiene measures was also very reassuring.