Review: Qatar Airways Business Class A320 Yerevan To Doha

Filed Under: Qatar

Qatar Airways 286
Yerevan (EVN) – Doha (DOH)
Saturday, January 13
Depart: 3:25AM
Arrive: 5:25AM
Duration: 3hr
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 3F (Business Class)

As you can see, the above flight times are the originally scheduled ones, and don’t reflect the nearly 10 hour delay.

Upon boarding I was welcomed by Kulwant, the friendly cabin manager from India, who escorted me to my seat. Qatar Airways has two A320 configurations — one has flat beds in business class (which I had on the flight to Yerevan), while one just has recliner seats (as I had on this flight). The configuration with recliner seats has 29 rows in the cabin, while the configuration with flat beds has 28 rows (though note that there are often last minute aircraft swaps, as I had on the outbound).

Qatar Airways A320 business class cabin

Qatar Airways A320 business class cabin

The seats are burgundy-colored, which is Qatar Airways’ signature color. Legroom is excellent when you consider how short most flights operated by this plane are, as the seats had about 45″ of pitch. I had selected a seat in row three, though Kulwant told me I would be the only passenger in business class, so I could sit wherever I wanted. While the seat was spacious, the seats are really starting to show their age, and the padding seemed to be almost nonexistent, as the seat was really hard.

Qatar Airways A320 business class seats

Qatar Airways A320 business class seats

The seatback pocket had three pouches, which was convenient, since you could put your phone in one, glasses in the other, and laptop in the other (or whatever you’d like to put in them).

Qatar Airways A320 business class seatback

On one side of the seat were the electronic seat controls (most airlines with these types of seats have manual seat controls).

Qatar Airways business class seat controls

On the other side of the seat was the entertainment controller.

Qatar Airways business class entertainment controller

Then between seats were power outlets, including 110v and USB outlets.

Qatar Airways A320 business class power outlets

Between the seats was a small tray table that could be extended for drinks.

Qatar Airways business class tray

Waiting on my seat was a pillow, and then on request I was also offered the same excellent blanket as on all my other Qatar Airways flights.

Qatar Airways business class pillow

Once settled in, the lovely Moroccan flight attendant working business class offered me a pre-departure drink, as well as my choice of a hot or cold towel. I requested a cold towel and a lime mint juice.

Qatar Airways business class pre-departure drink & towel

I was then presented with the menu and drink list for the flight, and reminded that I could dine whenever I wanted to.

Qatar Airways business class menu & wine list

I was also given headphones, a bottle of water, and a small amenity kit, consisting of socks, eyeshades, and lip balm.

Qatar Airways business class headphones

Qatar Airways business class bottled water

Qatar Airways business class amenity kit

Boarding had started at 11:40AM, and by 11:45AM an announcement was made that all passengers were onboard. There were only about 30 people on the flight, so the boarding process was quick. At that point the (local) captain made his welcome aboard announcement, apologizing for the delay and informing us of our flight time of 2hr30min. By 11:50AM the main cabin door closed, and moments later we began our pushback.

Pushing back Yerevan Airport 

As we taxied I saw an Armenian Air Force A319, which I believe is used by the president.

Armenian government plane Yerevan Airport

As we taxied out the safety video was screened. By 12PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 27.

Taxiing Yerevan Airport

Taking off Yerevan Airport

View after takeoff from Yerevan

As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment selection. The monitor was in the center armrest, and the selection was quite extensive.

Qatar Airways entertainment system

Qatar Airways entertainment system

Qatar Airways entertainment system

In the end I just decided to watch the airshow, though.

Airshow enroute to Doha

Airshow enroute to Doha

The seatbelt sign was turned off 10 minutes after takeoff, at which point the crew closed the curtains between the cabins, and I couldn’t help but take a picture of the empty cabin inflight. It’s not every day you see that! The crew had noticed that I closed the windows by my seat, and a moment later they closed all the windows in the cabin, which sure is some good attention to detail.

Empty Qatar Airways business

A few minutes later my meal order was taken. The menu read as follows (I won’t post the whole drink list this time around, but it was the same as on the Doha to Yerevan flight):

To start I ordered a glass of champagne, which was served with mixed nuts.

Qatar Airways business class meal service — champagne and mixed nuts

About 10 minutes later my table was set for the meal.

Qatar Airways business class meal service — soup

This included being offered an individual breadbasket.

Qatar Airways business class meal service — breadbasket

The soup of the day was a carrot and cumin soup, which was excellent.

Qatar Airways business class meal service — soup of the day

Next up was the smoked salmon and cheese roulade.

Qatar Airways business class meal service appetizer — smoked salmon and cheese roulade

For the main course I ordered the tofu in panko bread crumbs with curry sauce, which was excellent. My one criticism is that Qatar Airways doesn’t seem to rotate their meals all that much, especially when you consider that most people fly four segments with them on a roundtrip, as I had this exact dish twice before.

Qatar Airways business class meal service — main course

For dessert I had a delicate chocolate crunch with raspberry coulis, as well as a karak chai.

Qatar Airways business class meal service — dessert

To finish off the meal I was offered a warm towel and a box of chocolates.

Qatar Airways business class meal service — chocolate and warm towel

What a phenomenal meal. As I say, there’s no airline that does short-haul business class like Qatar Airways does. The food quality and presentation were excellent, beverage selection unrivaled, and service attentive, as you’d expect it to be when you have two flight attendants looking after just you.

By the time my meal was done I was treated to some views of Iran.

View enroute to Doha

View enroute to Doha

After looking out the window for a while I closed my eyes, and before I knew it the captain announced that we’d be landing in 40 minutes, at which point the seatbelt sign was turned on. Qatar Airways crews have a bad habit (or rather that’s how they’re trained) of preparing the cabin for landing way early. Personally I find that a bit annoying on such a short flight, since it means that for a third of the flight you have to have your windows open and seats upright.

Airshow approaching Doha

Airshow approaching Doha

Before landing I visited the lav, which was spotless (it even had a toilet seat cover on it, even though I know that it had been used a couple of times during the flight), as well as several amenities.

Qatar Airways A320 business class lavatory

The views on the approach were beautiful, including of The Pearl and the Doha skyline.

View approaching Doha

View approaching Doha

Doha skyline on approach

At 1:30PM (there was a one hour time change) we touched down in Doha.

Landing in Doha

Touchdown Doha

From there we had just a five minute taxi to our arrival stand, and passed a Qatar Airways Cargo 777 on the way.

Qatar Airways Cargo 777 Doha

At 1:35PM we arrived at our stand, and for the third flight in a row, I was at a remote stand — so much for the “state of the art” Hamad International Airport.

Arrival stand Doha

Qatar Airways A320 upon arrival in Doha

Qatar Airways A320 Doha Airport

On the plus side, as a premium cabin passenger remote stands in Doha aren’t too bad, since Qatar Airways always has dedicated premium buses. That’s especially nice when you’re the only business class passenger, since I had a private ride to the terminal.

Private bus to terminal

Qatar Airways A320 business class bottom line

Even though this flight was operated by a plane with Qatar Airways’ old regional business class, it was still top notch. The service and food on this flight were excellent, in a way that only Qatar Airways can deliver. As I said before, there’s not an airline in the world that has a short-haul product this good.

  1. Nice report.

    You always used to state whenever you mentioned Qatar that you found their FAs “cold”. On this trip (so far) that doesn’t seem to have been an issue for you. I confess, I’ve always found them delightful (though in general I prefer cooler western/northern European types of service, whereas I think you love more deferential south-east Asian service).

    I’m absolutely with you that nobody is currently doing J better than Qatar, whether short or long haul.

    Am looking forward to the final leg of your trip.

  2. @Lucky, did you get the sense that the menu was the same as would have been served had your flight departed on time? I ask because QR typically offers breakfast on its flights leaving India and arriving in Doha at around the same times as your flight’s original schedule.

  3. Dude Hamad IS state of the art. Remote stand arrival does not negate that. That’s just logistics – sometimes remote stands need to be used. What other airport can you think of that is more state of the art than Hamad? None.

  4. @ DT — The point is that they built an airport for the future, and it’s already using remote stands more often than not. In terms of passenger experience, that’s not state of the art. There are plenty of outdated airports where you rarely have to use a remote stand.

  5. lets agree to disagree on this. State of the art does not promise “no remote stands” – one where premium pax are ferried in transfer buses of a quality that is unheard of any other place. The airport is state of the art – from the structure, check in, arrivals, immigration, lounges (ok HK is better). QR and Hamad have got the model right – now if only the LAX- DOH flights were not full of people wanting to eat and drink all along the 16 hr flight. The model is right for leisure premium travelers , just as CX and HKG have the right model for premium business traveler.

  6. @ DT — Not saying it should promise “no remote stands,” but you don’t think three out of four flights using remote stands diminishes the experience a bit?

  7. I agree with you on that for sure. And they cant claim rapid expansion either, as if anything their total number of flights may have reduced somewhat after the blockade. Poor planning and does diminish the experience .

  8. Every time Ive flown into Doha from Australia it’s been to a remote stand I hate it – especially when you’re tired and it’s early morning , walking down steps and into a bus is the worst for me – Give me Singapore or Hong Kong anytime

  9. I think DT’s point is that using remote stands has nothing to do with “state of the art” as how an airport is defined. Maybe more astute to say “badly planned” or “mismanaged”, since I do kind of see DT’s POV. Remote stands isn’t quite an example of the airport itself being “state of the art”. You yourself Lucky say that there are outdated airports that hardly use remote stands, which still wouldn’t make them state of the art.

    @Ryan that original flight time does make it seem like breakfast would be served.

  10. I transit DOH fairly frequently, at least 6 times a year, usually on the same flights each time. It is hit or miss whether Indian Subcontinent flights arrive on a remote stand – I even had a JFK flight arrive on a remote stand last year. As a J class passenger, I do not mind since there is a dedicated bus and it loads pretty quickly upon arrival. The benefit is that you are dropped-off right at transit security and close to immigration. From some contact gates, it can be quite a walk. Also, some remote stands are more remote than others. The ones directly across from the terminal are not too bad, but there are others much further away and those can be a long bus ride through several tunnels. Overall though, it works.

    @Juno I expect the original flight was breakfast. Pretty impressive for QR to call an audible and re-cater with only a few hours notice. I suspect the meal was loaded in DOH with the flight being double catered.

  11. I don’t know I remember my first flight into Washington Dulles and thought the remote stand was an interesting experience. But it could be because it was on one of the el-busses that pulled directly up to the plane side for you to board (No stairs, nor did you step outside). If you were on an L10-11 there would be a number of el’s and they would call passenger rows for the different busses. They would then drop you off at a front or back cabin door. I always thought it was very convenient & efficient and a way to maximize the use of available space and not have to walk down concourse after concourse to reach your connecting flight. I find airport terminals are frequently inefficient with their use of space. Many of them have had terminals built only to have an airline merge and then have the space be vacant for years or decades.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.