Part 1 of my Qatar adventure: JFK – Doha via Qatar Airways Business Class

After an on-time and reasonably comfortable flight on American Airlines from LAX, I arrived in NYC @ JFK and was greeted by a smiling rep from Qatar Airways. We made our way to the Admirals Club to meet the other members of our group. After a bite to eat, some drinks and a bit of getting to know one another, then we were guided by another Qatar Airways rep to the flight. One of the great benefits of working with airlines is being guided right to the cabin door by a staff member, bypassing all the lines and hassle.

Hamad Airport
Hamad Airport in Doha, Qatar

Qatar Airways
A friendly face on my arrival at JFK

We boarded our flight and I was escorted to my seat, 1J. This was a 777 and the large business class section is configured 2-2-2. The airline also flies 787s on some routes and just took delivery of their first A380 superjumbo. We were immediately greeted and served some delicious Taittinger Rose champagne and a fresh lemonade. The seats are large and comfortable, the standard you find on most international carriers. Here’s a video from the plane before we took off.

Qatar Airways
Business Class headed to Doha

There is a great deal of entertainment via the airline’s Oryx system, viewed on a large, flatscreen monitor. Inflight Wifi is available on many routes, but not yet on the US flights. The seats are big and comfortable and become fully flat beds for sleeping. To add to the comfort, the flight attendant makes up the seat as a bed by adding a cushioned, down mattress and Frette linen sheets and pillows.

Qatar AIrways
Fresh rolls to start off dinner

Before sleeping, we had a delicious dinner. The airline prides itself on great food and they did not disappoint. Their “Culinary World Menu” highlights dishes from four of the world’s best chefs. Hobu Matsuhisa, Tom Aikens, Vineet Bhatia and Ramzi Choueiri each contribute unique dishes (maked with special symbols) to the menu.

To start my meal I had the roasted pumpkin and chestnut soup. This was served with creme fraiche, spiced pumpkin seeds and parmesan cheese twists. A great, hot and hearty soup.

Pumpkin soup
Roasted pumpkin and chestnut soup

For my main I went with the chicken breast, prepared with an apricot tagine sauce and quite tender and delicious. It was served with corriander, mint, red pepper and a sweet raisin cous cous. The other main entree options were a grilled asparagus and goat cheese salad or a herb-crusted lamb loin.

Qatar Airways
Dinner: chicken breast with apricot tagine sauce

Something unique for my Business Class experiences, Qatar Airways offers the menu a la carte and anytime during the flight, in any order. There is a light menu of salads, sandwiches and cheeses along with a breakfast menu, also available anytime during the flight.

The wine list was wonderful as well. After the lovely Taittinger champagne, I had a glass of the Babich 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It was fresh and sweet and a nice match for the chicken. As the flight continued I went for the hard stuff, a deep assemblage (Cabernet + Merlot) Pauillac from Chateau Pichon Longueville in Burgundy. This was a special 2006 Reserve de la Comtesse and was one of the best wines I’ve had in a long time. All the other big grape varieties were well represented from Australia, Argentina, Germany and of course France, as well as sweet offerings like a 2008 Oremus Tokaji from Hungary. Dessert was fresh fruit with Laduree pastries.

Sleeping aboard the flight
Sleeping in the flat bed, with mattress and Frette linen sheets

The flight was quiet and I was able to get nine or so hours of good sleep before being woken up by the cabin staff to prepare for landing. I had some buttermilk pancakes with a blueberry compote for breakfast and with orange juice and hot chocolate. The pancakes were served with creme fraiche and honey, which was a nice change from syrup.

Buttermilk pancakes with blueberry compote

Upon landing, we made our way to Qatar Airways fabulous Al Mourjan Business Lounge, a hugh, luxurious place to dine, work or relax.

Hamad AirportHamad Airport in Doha, Qatar

Read more about my experience at Hamad International Airport and in the Al Mourjan Business Lounge in my next post.