Whenever I fly, I try to make an effort to be on Qatar business class QSuites (route permitting) –that’s how much the product has grown on me. I was looking forward to another’much above average’business class flight that day from Los Angeles Angeles.
Lounge Experience Los Angeles LAX –oneworld business class lounge and American Express Centurion Lounge
Good news –most lounges at the LAX International Terminal have reopened. I first went up to the enormous oneworld lounge that has been open for a few months now and was surprised to see a rather large crowd relaxing.
The lounge still has some scuffs left from not being used for two years. The quality of the food was just ok. As with my last visit to the Star Alliance lounge at LAX (just one level up), I felt the catering has suffered the The buffet spread is back (no masks or attendants required), so there should be no difference to pre-pandemic –but it’s just not the same.
The lounge WiFi worked well, however, and there are outlets to charge your devices. I could not really put my finger on it, but I felt lost, and the lounge felt out of shape.
Instead, I walked to the American Express Centurion, which finally opened after many years of false starts. The location still seems a temporary one, but it is quite decent. The crowds were raging, but the food quality was excellent and the WiFi very fast I did not drink but expect all the signature drinks you’d usually have available at the Centurion Lounge. I also signed up for the complimentary massages waitlist and got a spot with just one hour wait. The therapist was extremely friendly, and the massage was perfect.
Boarding experience at Los Angeles Airport
Qatar Airways usually has the closest gate right to the left of the main hall (next to the main Starbucks), or at least it did while it was flying throughout the pandemic. Not today –it was a long walk to the end of the terminal Boarding was well underway when I arrived, and I lined up for boarding.
Alas, my American Airlines printed boarding passes, and my online Qatar Airways boarding passes were no good –another line, and 15 minutes later, I had fresh boarding passes printed by the Qatar staff in-hand and was able to board. I was surprised That all this (including issuing new boarding passes) was left to two gate agents. It seemed like an impossible task for the 45 minutes allowed.
And so it was –we would have to take off with a one-hour delay because of the slow boarding process, as passengers continued to trickle in over the next 90 minutes.
Qatar business class review –The QSuites and seats
There have been many accolades about Qatar Airways’ QSuites, and frankly, they are all correct. The version on the A350 feels slightly smaller (this might be just me). However, there is still a generous amount of width –both the seats and the huge space next to it (where the person behind or in front has their foot cubby).
My only criticism is the rather short length –at 6’4 I can just about stretch out in the lie-flat mode. And what is worse, the foot cubby’s restrictive size makes it almost impossible to turn easily without retracting your feet. a big deal for a few hours –but for very long flights, it gets annoying.
While the forward-facing suites feel more natural, the sleep angle is better in the backward-facing suites.
This flight was full to the last seat in all classes –so the options to shoot great cabin photos were quite limited (since I also had to board quite late).
Qatar business class review –The catering
Lately, the Qatar Airways catering hasn’t been stellar. Do & Co is still the caterer on record (at least for US flights) and is certainly the best option available. I tried the lobster and the Indian option, which were both excellent –on par with most restaurants.
I was not happy with the breakfast options it looked very nice, but it tasted’off’ and stale.
Qatar business class review –Free WiFi
Qatar Airways (still) offers free WiFi for one hour of the flight. The WiFi is quite fast –not as fast as JetBlue’s but quite acceptable for most work situations. It’s terminating in Qatar –so a lot of websites are blocked.
Qatar business class review –Sleeping experience
The big upside of the QSuites is the enormous amount of privacy you get –it’s a bit of an illusion as anyone walking by can see into your suite –but it works so well. It definitely gives you more of that’cave feeling’ that capsule hotels inject so well, which encourages you to snooze off in minutes.
While I wasn’t sleepy, I had switched into my pajamas before dinner and fell asleep within minutes after the end of dinner service. I woke up over Iceland and, after one more TV show, fell asleep again until we were over Southern Turkey.
I felt the sleeping space was more cramped than I’d like it to be. But the fact that I still slept 11 hours attests to the sound design of the QSuites.
Also, the cabin was surpassingly quiet –despite one-third of the cabin being under the age of 10. While kids in business class can be a menace, these kids were awesome!
Qatar business class review –The staff
Generally, Qatar Airways excels in friendliness –not so much in creative problem-solving. So it was this time –the staff were incredibly friendly but, at times, I had the impression they did not really know what they were doing.
However, this isn’t really a criticism –don’t we all have these moments!
Qatar business class review –Conclusion
When flying QSuites it is hard to find a’hair in the soup’ as Qatar has perfected almost all aspects of business class flying. I felt the catering needs to be watched (they rely on Do & Co for that), and I’m hoping the next generation of QSuites has a few more inches in lie-flat length (or a few seats just for tall travelers).
Otherwise, there is little that stops me from making QSuites my home!