Review: Qatar Airways Business Class A320 Doha To Yerevan

Filed Under: Qatar

My connection in Doha was about three hours, so I spent that time at Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge. I’ve reviewed that lounge before and spent most of my layover catching up on work, so won’t be reviewing the lounge this time around.

My flight was scheduled to depart at 8:40PM, so I headed to my departure gate at around 7:30PM, well ahead of the scheduled 7:55PM boarding time. My flight was leaving from gate C25, which is quite a distance from the Al Mourjan Lounge. Unfortunately it’s also a remote gate.

Doha Airport departure gate

Boarding for the flight was called at 7:50PM. I find it amusing that Qatar Airways has five gate agents to board an A320, while in the US they seem to have about two gate agents to board a widebody.

Qatar Airways at least consistently has separate buses for business class passengers, which are comfortable to sit in. The catch is that they usually wait for all business class passengers to show up before driving to the plane, so often the business class bus isn’t the first to arrive at the plane.

After being in the bus for about five minutes, one of the guys in the bus started banging his fist against the door with full force to get the driver’s attention, telling him “take me now.” While I can appreciate the frustration with being stuck in a bus, in this case we were in an air conditioned bus with seating, so that seemed a bit out of line.

Doha Airport business class bus

The drive to the plane took just a few minutes, and we got there a bit after 8PM.

Qatar Airways A320 to Yerevan

Qatar Airways 285
Doha (DOH) – Yerevan (EVN)
Wednesday, January 10
Depart: 8:40PM
Arrive: 12:50AM (+1 day)
Duration: 3hr10min
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 1F (Business Class)

My flight was originally scheduled to be operated by an A320 featuring Qatar Airways’ regional recliner seats, though last minute it got swapped to an A320 featuring their fully flat business class seats. These last minute swaps are pretty common, and the way to tell which version of the A320 you’re on is by the number of economy rows — the A320s with flat beds in business class go up to row 28, while the A320s with recliner seats in business class go up to row 29.

Qatar’s A320s with flat beds have a total of 12 business class seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2 configuration. What a lovely product for a short flight!

Qatar Airways A320 business class cabin

Qatar Airways has B/E Aerospace Diamond seats on their A320s, which you’ll find on plenty of other airlines as well.

Qatar Airways A320 business class seats

I had originally assigned myself seat 3C, the aisle seat on the left side in the last row of business class. At the door I was welcomed by name and escorted to my seat by Christina, the cabin manager.

Qatar Airways A320 business class seats

Qatar Airways business class seats A320

Immediately behind the seat and to the side was an exposed storage compartment, which is also where you could plug in your headphone jack and a USB. Waiting in this area were a pair of headphones and a bottle of Evian water.

Qatar Airways business class seat storage A320

The seat controls were on the center armrest, and were easy to use.

Qatar Airways A320 business class seat controls

These seats are solid as far as fully flat non-direct aisle access seats go, though the one downside is that the footwell is quite small. Of course that wasn’t a big deal for this short flight, but on a longhaul flight that’s the one thing I don’t love about these seats.

Qatar Airways business class legroom A320

Within a moment of settling in, the two business class flight attendants came by my seat to introduce themselves and offer me a pre-departure beverage of choice, as well as a hot or cold towel. I asked for a cold towel and a lime mint juice (Qatar Airways has no shortage of excellent beverage options).

Qatar Airways business class pre-departure beverage and cold towel

Interestingly several other business class passengers requested liquor as their pre-departure drink, and the crew explained due to regulations they couldn’t serve that. As far as I know Qatar Airways serves all kinds of wine on the ground, but I guess they draw the line at liquor.

After being served a drink I was presented with the menu and beverage list, and it was explained to me that a dine on demand concept was available on this flight.

Qatar Airways business class menu & wine list

Qatar Airways A320 Doha Airport

Business class was fully boarded within minutes, with nine of the 12 business class seats taken (six of those passengers were last minute operational upgrades, based on what I overheard at the gate). Once boarding was complete I noticed that the two seats in the first row on the right side were empty, so I switched to them, given that I had a seatmate in 3A.

Qatar Airways business class seat A320

Not only did I prefer row one for having an empty seat next to me, but the other benefit is that the footwell in row one is significantly larger. In the future I’d definitely assign myself a seat in this row, if available.

Qatar Airways business class legroom A320

I should also mention that Qatar Airways has air nozzles at every seat on the A320, which helps with staying cool.

Waiting at my seat were an excellent pillow and blanket. The blanket was the same one I had on the longhaul flight.

Qatar Airways business class pillow & blanket

I was also offered a small amenity kit, with socks, eyeshades, and lip balm.

Qatar Airways business class amenity kit

Qatar Airways business class amenity kit

By 8:30PM the cabin door was closed, at which point captain Leonardo added his welcome aboard, and informed us of our flight time of 2hr50min, and our cruising altitude of 38,000 feet. A few minutes later we began our pushback.

Our taxi to the runway was quick, and by 8:50PM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 34R. The seatbelt sign was turned off five minutes after takeoff, and a minute later I was asked what I wanted to eat.

The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

There’s not an airline in the world that offers this level of service on short-haul flights. 10 minutes after takeoff I had my first glass of champagne, and was offered mixed nuts to go along with it.

Qatar Airways business class dinner — champagne & mixed nuts

Five minutes later my table was set for dinner. This included my choice of still or sparkling water, as well as an individual breadbasket.

Qatar Airways business class dinner — table setting

First up was the soup of the day, which was an excellent spiced lentil soup.

Qatar Airways business class dinner — soup

Next up I had the appetizer, consisting of dill marinated prawns with smoked salmon.

Qatar Airways business class dinner appetizer — prawns with smoked salmon

For the main course I had the seared red snapper with saffron cream sauce and asparagus, crushed new potatoes with spring onions, and confit cherry tomatoes.

Qatar Airways business class dinner main course — red snapper with asparagus

For dessert I had the dacquoise biscuit with chocolate ganache. I’m undecided as to whether it looked or tasted better.

Qatar Airways business class dinner dessert — dacquoise biscuit with chocolate ganache

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

Qatar Airways business class dinner — cappuccino, warm towel, and chocolates

What a ridiculously good meal this was. While I think Qatar Airways has the world’s best business class in general, I almost feel like their short-haul service is the most impressive, because no other airline gives you this kind of an experience on a sub-three hour flight.

The meal service was done just over an hour after after takeoff, and the crew was extremely attentive. They cleared each course as I finished, and brought out the next course moments later. At this point I turned on the airshow to check out our progress towards Yerevan.

Airshow enroute to Yerevan

Airshow enroute to Yerevan

Airshow enroute to Yerevan

Qatar Airways has Wi-Fi on their A320s, though they use OnAir for the service, which is my least favorite inflight internet provide. You can get 10MB of data for free, or pay $20 for 200MB, which is a reasonable enough fee. I decided to buy a 100MB pass for $10, since that’s about all I could use with the remaining flight time.

I spent the rest of the flight relaxing, so didn’t go through the inflight entertainment selection, though it was very similar to what was offered on the 777.

At midnight in Yerevan, captain Leonardo announced that we’d be landing in about 45 minutes, and a few minutes later we began our descent. At that point I checked out the lavatory at the front of the cabin, which had all kinds of amenities, and was in pristine condition.

Qatar Airways A320 business class lavatory

The entire flight was bumpy, including the descent.

We touched down at Yerevan Airport at 12:45AM, and two minutes later were at our arrival gate.

Arrival in Yerevan

Immigration was quick. We lucked out, as an Aeroflot flight arrived just minutes later, and I imagine the wait would have been a lot longer if those 150+ people had been ahead of me.

Qatar Airways A320 business class bottom line

This flight was absolute perfection. Getting a flat bed, dine on demand, an amazing meal, a great blanket, a choice of champagne, and more, on a flight this short is incredible. Qatar Airways has the world’s best business class, and arguably their short-haul experience is even more impressive than their longhaul experience, as I can’t think of any other airline that offers a comparable service.

  1. Comparable short haul service may be wide body operations between Australia and New Zealand and islands in the Pacific?
    These flights are around the 3 hour mark and come with standard international service, including all of those amenities, aside from dine on demand.

  2. Lucky it would be nice if you could quote prices you paid to take these flights, and in general. Thanks.

  3. @erick Schmitt–He always does. See the introduction post. His roundtrip fare from JFK-EVN was 4360 USD.

    Again what an impressive wine list! Royal Tokaji is a wonderful dessert wine.

  4. QR first row seats are usually only assigned at airport during check in.
    What happend after the “banging”? Did the bus leave without the rest of the passengers?

  5. If only we got the same kind of service in the US with 3 hour flights….

    As usual, amazing review, and my oh my I am salivating over that delicious looking food!

  6. The impatient bus guy would have scared the heck out of me. I’m not sure I would have wanted to get on that plane. Was he close to you onboard, how did he behave?

  7. To be honest, the bus for 1st/business class is a bit idiotic. I once waited 20 minutes on it as I watched two buses for economy drive off to the plane. The doors were closed and there was no way off. I would have preferred being given the option for the fast departing economy bus because it would give me 20 minutes in my comfortable 1st/biz seat with champagne and entertainment.

  8. On my QR DOH-SGN flight two days ago they ran out of some meal options. As an alternate I was offered and accepted a “flight deck meal” which looked almost identical to the one you had on this flight. On arrival in SGN both my wife and I said, almost in unison, “wow, if only American treated us like this.”

  9. More fluff about the product and no mention about the worthless bus to a remote location.
    You would think the Royal Familys could have spent more money on enough true gates at DOH.

  10. @ Mark

    They’re not alone. Heathrow spent billions building T5, and from the beginning there were busses servicing remote stands. Though BA shoves all pax in the bus together, rather than trying to provide any premium service.

    Meanwhile, at hyper-efficient Schipol, every single KLM cityhopper flght I have ever taken is at a remote stand. Every one.

  11. I actually quite like remote stands. Rare chance to roam the airport grounds. I wish I could get them more often at ICN.

  12. @ Nicki – Not just you. When I first read this review I could see everything, but I popped on as reference for a future QR flight and can’t see the photos anymore.

  13. My first ever business class flight was with Qatar Airways. I honestly didn’t want it to end so quickly, it was such a great experience.

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