Introduction: An Insane Week In The Sky
Review: China Eastern Business Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To Shanghai
Review: Grand Hyatt Shanghai
Review: China Eastern Lounge Shanghai Airport
Review: China Eastern Business Class A330 Shanghai To Colombo
Review: Hilton Colombo
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class A340 Colombo To Doha
Review: Oryx Lounge Doha Airport
Review: Royal Air Maroc Business Class 787 Doha To Casablanca
Review: Hyatt Regency Casablanca
Review: Royal Air Maroc Lounge Casablanca Airport
Review: Royal Air Maroc Business Class 787 Casablanca To Doha
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class A340 Doha To Colombo
Review: Saudia Business Class 777 Colombo To Jeddah
Review: Saudia Lounge Jeddah Airport
Review: Saudia Business Class 787 Jeddah To Manchester
Review: Pakistan Airlines Business Class 777 Manchester To New York
Review: Airspace Lounge New York JFK Airport Terminal 5
Review: JetBlue Mint A321 New York To Los Angeles
Our flight was departing from Colombo Airport at 10:50AM, and we arrived at the airport at around 9AM. Upon arriving at the airport we had to go through two security screenings before we could even enter the check-in area. Check-in was quick, as was security and immigration.
Qatar Airways uses the Araliya Lounge at Colombo Airport, which is a contract lounge used by many airlines. While that’s technically the lounge they use, you can also use the SriLankan Lounge if you’d like, given that both carriers are part of oneworld. Since I’ve reviewed both of those lounges before, I won’t be doing so again this time around.
We got to our departure gate at around 9:50AM, about 15 minutes before boarding was scheduled to commence. The security checkpoints at Colombo Airport are at the individual gates, so it took just a few minutes to get through that. Once in the gate area we realized our plane hadn’t arrived yet.
Sure enough at around 10AM the plane finally pulled into the gate, and at around 10:30AM the crew got on the plane.
Finally at 10:50AM, our scheduled departure time, business class boarding commenced.
Qatar Airways 665
Colombo (CMB) – Doha (DOH)
Friday, July 29
Aircraft: Airbus A340-600
Seat: 2J (Business Class)
Qatar Airways only has a few A340-600s remaining, and they recently reconfigured these planes. I flew one of these planes back when Qatar Airways still had first class on them, though nowadays they’re in a super high density configuration, and used for flights to destinations like Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, and Algiers.
The A340-600 features just 24 business class seats and 348 economy class seats.
The business class seats are spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. These are B/E Aerospace Diamond seats, the same seats that Qatar Airways has on their regional A320s. Unfortunately it’s not the reverse herringbone seats they have on their A350s, A380s, and 787s.
Interestingly the center seats angle towards one another, unlike the seats by the window, which angle in the same direction.
We had assigned ourselves seats 2J & 2K, the aisle and window seats on the right side in the second row.
Legroom in these seats is plentiful, and there’s a bit of privacy thanks to the seats being slightly staggered, along with a privacy partition between them.
The seats have great padding, and it’s clear they’re pretty new, because they’re in immaculate condition.
The seat controls were located to the right of my seat, and were easy to use.
The entertainment controller was also to the right of my seat. It’s one of the more advanced controllers out there that’s used by many airlines, though personally it’s not my favorite, as I find it rather difficult to click around on the small screen (fortunately the TV is touchscreen as well, so you can bypass it altogether if you’d like).
Also on the right side of my seat was a headphone jack and USB outlet.
The power outlet was located underneath the center armrest.
Back behind my seat and to the right was the seat’s storage and magazine rack. While I appreciate that the seat has some storage (even if it’s exposed), it’s rather difficult to access, as you have to turn around completely.
In this configuration the tray table also folds out from the center armrest, and is quite large.
I was also pleased to see that these seats had air vents, which is something I really value.
Waiting at my seat were noise canceling headphones. They’re not the highest quality headphones out there, but are decent. I still used my own Bose headphones.
Also waiting at my seat were a pillow and blanket. I quite like Qatar’s pillows and blankets, as the pillows are plush and the blankets are comfortable but not too hot.
Once settled in our flight attendant, Jennifer, came by to introduce herself. She informed us of our flight time of 4hr15min, and familiarized us with the seat, including the entertainment, recline, power port, etc.
She also offered us pre-departure beverages, along with our choice of hot or cold towel. I love how Qatar gives you your choice of towel, as they’re the only airline I know of that does so.
I had a lime mint juice to drink, which is my favorite non-alcoholic beverage on Qatar Airways.
Jennifer also presented us with the menu and wine list for the flight, and explained the a la carte service, and that we could eat when we wanted.
A few minutes later Yasin, the cabin service director, came around to each passenger to welcome them aboard as well.
By 11:10AM boarding was completed. It’s pretty impressive that they can board a (mostly) full A340 in just 20 minutes.
At this point Captain Aziz came on the PA to add his welcome aboard as well. He sounded like a nice guy, and said we’d be cruising at 38,000 feet, and that we should expect light to moderate turbulence enroute.
At 11:15AM we began our pushback with one empty business class seat — 23 of the 24 seats were taken. Interestingly on this flight I learned that Qatar Airways doesn’t serve Arabic coffee and dates in business class, but rather only in first class (offered on their A380s and flights within the Gulf).
The flight attendants did a manual safety demonstration as we taxied to the runway, which is quite a shame, since I quite enjoy Qatar’s safety video.
Our taxi to the runway took about 15 minutes.
At 11:30AM we were cleared for takeoff.
The A340-600 is one of my favorite planes to fly from an aviation perspective (as opposed to passenger experience perspective), and as usual, the takeoff roll was long.
Our climb out was smooth, and about 15 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point the cabin crew closed the curtains between cabins.
Shortly thereafter they came through the cabin to take meal orders.
The menu read as follows:
The beverage list read as follows:
And the wine list read as follows:
In my opinion Qatar Airways masters the business class soft product, at least as far as food and drinks go.
Service began with drinks and mixed nuts. I ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc, which was poured at my seat, as is the norm on Qatar Airways. I find that to be a nice touch.
We were even offered nut refills.
After that the table was set, including an individual breadbasket and water (either still or sparkling).
To start I had the tomato and basil soup, which was fantastic. It was spicy, hot, and had a great kick to it.
Next I ordered the Arabic mezze. While not the most extensive one out there, it was tasty, and had hummus and tabouli, which are among my favorite mezze components anyway.
Meanwhile Matthew had the chicken and bell pepper kebab, which looked great as well.
For the main course I had the Sri Lankan style chicken stew, which was incredible. It was so flavorful, and served with tomato rice and tempered okra. I would have been thrilled with this dish even in a restaurant.
Matthew had the lamb, which he said was good, though overcooked.
For dessert I had the red velvet cake with nougat, along with a cappuccino to accompany it.
The dessert was incredibly delicious as well.
Lastly we were offered a cheese course, and also a box of chocolates.
Qatar Airways really does an incredible job with their business class catering. I don’t know of any airline which has more flavorful and extensive meals in business class.
Service throughout the meal matched my typical experience on Qatar Airways. Upon boarding the crew was super friendly and professional and attentive, but then service slowly deteriorated as the flight continued. The crew was pretty good throughout the meal service, but then disappeared until before landing.
After lunch I checked out the business class lavatory, located in front of the business class cabin. It was pretty bland, though did have a window, which I thought was a nice touch.
Qatar has a pretty good entertainment system, called Oryx One.
Unfortunately Qatar’s A340s don’t have wifi, so perhaps entertainment is more important on this plane than others.
Since Matthew hadn’t seen Zootopia, we watched it together (it was my third time seeing the movie — yeah, it’s that cute/good). Oddly on this flight the movie was called Zootropolis, though it was identical to the version I had seen previously, except every mention of “Zootopia” was replaced with “Zootropolis.” Anyone know why that is?
I also browsed the airshow, though our flight took us out over the Indian Ocean mainly, so there wasn’t too much to see.
After the movie I worked for a bit, and before I knew it were already over the Arabian peninsula, just approaching Muscat.
About 30 minutes before landing Captain Aziz came back on the PA to provide us with updated arrival information, anticipating that we’d be landing at 1:15PM.
We had some pretty cool views on approach into Doha, including of The Pearl, and then of the skyline, though that was sort of tough to see due to the haze.
Sure enough we had a smooth touchdown at Doha Airport on runway 16R at 1:15PM.
From there we had a quick five minute taxi to our arrival gate.
Fortunately we got an actual gate, and not a remote stand.
Qatar Airways A340 business class bottom line
This was an extremely pleasant flight, as is the norm on Qatar Airways. For a four hour flight the seat was great, though I definitely prefer the reverse herringbone seats they have on many of their other planes.
The food and drinks on the flight were great, as is the norm in Qatar Airways business class. They really do have one of the world’s best business class soft products, in my opinion.
Unfortunately service was spotty — it was great during boarding, and deteriorated from there. I’ve found that to be the norm on Qatar Airways, though.
Overall Qatar Airways is a fantastic way to fly.