Review of Qatar Airways Business Class from Doha to New York-JFK

Justin P., Junior Editor-in-Chief

Flight Information:

Flight No. QR701

Flight Route: DOH-JFK

Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-300ER

Class: Business Class

Seat: 3K (QSuite)

Flight Time: 14:40

Aircraft Registration: A7-BEN (4.5 years old – 12/2017)

Note: All opinions are the author’s own.

Booking

As an American Airlines AAdvantage Gold loyalty member, I always maintain a stash of miles, the airline’s currency for travel. For this trip, I booked a one-way business class ticket from Doha (DOH) to Washington-Reagan National (DCA) via New York-JFK (JFK) for 70,000 miles. American Airlines also sells miles, a currency transfer if you will, for purposes of redeeming. The Points Guy values AAdvantage miles at 1.77 cents per mile. Spending miles is known as redeeming miles.

American Airlines operates a fixed award redemption chart for travel on partner carriers, including Qatar Airways. To/from North America from/to the Middle East region is fixed at 40,000 miles in economy and 70,000 in business.

Be wary, however, because on 6 June, American Airlines will be initiating their own service to JFK from Doha. American charges a variable award price depending on distance and demand for the route when operating on American Airlines aircraft. An example is provided below.

To determine valuation of a redemption, divide the cost of the ticket in cash by the miles used. For the DOH-JFK flight, it costs $3,627.82 (USD). This is a redemption of 5.2 cents per mile, which is a stellar redemption. The 70,000 miles for a one-way ticket cost me about $1,200.

 

Check-in

Checking in at Doha was relatively straightforward. I directed my Uber driver to drop me off at Door 1 (First/Business Class) check in. Business Class check-in is to the left and First Class check-in is to the right. After passing the required Ehteraz checks with a simple display of my QID, check-in was relatively straightforward. I was checking one full-size bag. The check-in area was busy, but not crowded and I was through in about 10 minutes after necessary vaccination checks, passport checks, COVID test presentation (The U.S. required a Rapid Antigen or PCR test within 24 hours of arrival – see latest guidelines here). The Qatar Airways agent was friendly and instructed me on the location of the Business Class lounge.

 

The Business Class/First Class Qatar Airways check-in desk has a separate immigration clearance and security screening, which I was through in about 5 minutes. Traffic was relatively light at 5 AM, but would be busier about 6 AM.

Lounge

Qatar Airways directs passengers to the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge at DOH and I was impressed. The ticket check occurs at the bottom of an escalator. Once up the escalators, a help desk is at the foreground, with the entrance to the lounge to the left. If leaving on a morning flight, I’d recommend heading straight for the upstairs restaurant because a que will form later in the morning as the lounge starts to fill up. The restaurant is a sit-down, full service restaurant rather than the bar-style that is contemporary of business-class lounges. I ordered eggs benedict, which, unfortunately, I forgot to photograph for review purposes. I found the breakfast to be egg-selent (but it really was good.) The eggs were poached beautifully and were solid on the outside while perfectly liquid on the inside. Having poached eggs myself, this is no mean feat. By the time I finished breakfast, the time to board my 8:05 flight to JFK had nearly arrived.

Boarding

Qatar Airways’s boarding process has much to be desired. For flights to the United States, passengers are required to clear a secondary screening (no liquids allowed). Due to social distancing at the time, Hamad Airport had blocked off half of the approximately 300 seats in the secure area. Qatar Airways operates the 777-300ER (Qsuite) with 354 passengers, meaning that over half of the passengers were forced to remain outside until boarding had already begun. This included some business class passengers, who were in the first boarding group. Boarding began about 30 minutes behind schedule and was not well-communicated, leading some economy passengers to attempt to board during the business class boarding, which led to them being turned away in frustration.

 

Boarding was conducted through two jetbridges, with business class boarding through the L1 door and Economy passengers boarding through the L2 door.

Once I boarded, I crossed the forward galley and turned right down the starboard aisle, reaching my suite, 3K, a rear-facing window seat on the starboard side of the aircraft. At the seat, I was met with a black amenity kit, the QSuite Safety Card, the 777 Safety Card, a blanket, pillow, Travel with Confidence kit, wine menu, and meal menu.

 

The blanket was wrapped nicely, assuring me that it was cleaned. The purser introduced himself to each and every business class passenger and flight attendants delivered a pre-departure beverage and hot towel. I chose the Signature beverage, a lemon-mint mocktail.

The Seat

The seat was a rearward facing seat closer to the windows. The seat is locked in a slight recline position for takeoff and landing, a position I found quite comfortable. I am 180 cm and I was able to reach the ottoman without much difficulty. In rear-facing seats, no shoulder harness exists, but do be aware that forward facing seats have a shoulder harness much like a car seat. The seat reclines to lay fully flat for sleeping. 

 

The door was locked for takeoff and landing but shortly after takeoff, a flight attendant unlocked and closed the doors. An armrest close to the windows can be folded out and the cushioned seat to the right can be raised as an armrest. Inside the cushion was a pair of noise-canceling headphones and a water bottle. 

 

The TV was large, measuring about 54 cm across, and a remote was in the forward console. The remote was touch-screen and operated independently of the TV, so I could watch a movie on the TV and the moving map on the remote. 

The tray table locked into place. The latch is on the underside of the tray table and it pulls out, before folding to the right. It locks into place with a satisfying click. Even in the closed position, the tray table was large enough to fit my school laptop in the closed position.

 

For take-off and landing, Qatar Airways requires that the three windows present in this QSuite remain open. The screen featured a shiny coating that made watching movies difficult while the window was open, which I found to be a real bummer.

The Service

I found the service onboard the flight to be excellent. Flight attendants responded to the call bell quickly, for the most part, and were attentive and willing to help. They were kind and professional.

 

Meal service in Business Class does not occur at a specific time and flight attendants do not regularly patrol the cabin looking to see if you need anything – use of the call button is essential for service.

 

Meals

Onboard this 14:40 flight to JFK, passengers were entitled to two full meals (Breakfast and Dinner) as well as a mid-flight snack. I chose to eat breakfast immediately after departure and dinner prior to my midday arrival into JFK.

 

For breakfast, I had an apple fritter, yogurt, fresh fruits, and a croissant. The fruits were fresh and flavorful, the yogurt was surprisingly good, and the main course was astoundingly good. I was impressed with the quality of breakfast, particularly because it was prepared on an aircraft.

 

For the mid-flight snack, I had the lobster claw and avocado open-faced sandwich, which I found to be rubbery and unpleasant to consume.

For dinner, I started with a tuna and melon appetizer which I found to be fresh and delicious. The appetizer was cold, so be cautious of that if you do not like your fish cold.

The main course consisted of lobster thermidor with steamed potatoes, and this was honestly the star of the flight when it came to food. The lobster was plentiful, cheesy, and creamy. The potatoes were a bit overdone but were a side show when compared to the lobster. The lobster came as a half of a lobster.

Finally, the meal wrapped up with a small cheesecake. Qatar Airways claimed in the menu that the cheesecake was “New York-style”, but I found the cheesecake to be less dense and more creamy than a New York cheesecake, indicating that this cheesecake was more Philadelphia-style. I personally prefer Philadelphia-style cheesecake, but be cautious of this. On the side of this cheesecake were blueberries and currents.

Amenities

Qatar Airways’s amenity kits were well stocked, however a few essentials were missing: Toothpaste, toothbrushes, and shaving kits were available in the lavatory, of which there were three dedicated to business class.

Pajamas by the White Company London were also provided courtesy of the airline, featuring a shirt, pants, and slippers. The pants do not have pockets and I found the large shirt to be way too big, but those who know me know I am incredibly skinny. The shirt is long-sleeve and got somewhat hot to wear.

 

Arrival into JFK

Qatar Airways arrives and departs out of Terminal 8 at JFK, the home of American Airlines. This helped me (due to a connection onward on American Airlines) but may be inconvenient or troublesome for those connecting onto JetBlue or Alaska, fellow partners of Qatar Airways. On arrival, Qatar Airways blocks economy passengers from disembarking until all business class passengers have disembarked, which was useful for clearing U.S. immigration and customs quickly. I accidentally left my jacket onboard and the staff were useful in retrieving it from my seat for me, which I was grateful for. Only one jetway was used at JFK.

 

Clearing U.S. Customs and Immigration was quick and easy due to holding a Global Entry membership. Business class bags (tagged oneworld priority) came off the belt quickly and I was on my way within 45 minutes of my arrival. Following the signs for onward connections, I reached the bag drop, where my bag was sent on its way to Washington-Reagan.

 

Business-class passengers through JFK are permitted to enter the American Airlines Flagship Business lounge in Terminal 8, which was large and had plentiful food options.

 

Conclusion

I found Qatar Airways business class to the United States to be an enjoyable experience, though with a couple of hiccups. Certainly, QSuite to the U.S. was worth the additional splurge in miles and certainly an option, if the price is right.