How many flights I board a year? I don’t know anymore to be honest. I used to keep track of that and remember in 2013 and 104 that were about 50 a year. Nowadays it is a little bit less, but the last weeks I flew from Bali to Amsterdam with KLM, then from Amsterdam a return trip to Vietnam with Emirates and then left Holland again to fly to Maldives and back to Europe with Qatar Airways.
Why I wrote this blog about flying with Qatar Airways
As I have been flying stand-by around the world for a couple years I had the privilege to fly business class with a lot of different airlines and know how much more convenient it is to sit in front of the plane rather than the cramped seats in the back. I was invited to attend the World Travel Writers’ Conference in the Maldives and Qatar Airways happened to be one of their sponsors and this is how I ended up flying my first time with Qatar Airways. You must think now that I am writing this blog post to promote Qatar Airways flying from Europe to Asia because they were a sponsor. On top of that I was upgraded to experience the Qatar Airways Business Class, but no! I was not asked to write about this trip and although I was upgraded that does not mean all that glitters is gold. If you have read my Trouble in Paradise blog about a collaboration with a fancy resort in Maldives you know that I will always be honest about my experience even if they are sponsored.
I get asked a lot of times what my favorite Airliner is so I decided to share my story flying with Qatar Airways. Plus I discovered some very remarkable pros and cons about flying with Qatar that I wanted to share with you as well.
Qatar Airways business class to Doha
It was not because Qatar Airways was a sponsor of the event in the Maldives I was flying business class. It was my birthday! When I got the flight confirmation from Maldives I saw that I was up in the air on my birthday and reached out to a contact I had at Qatar Airways and on Facebook and Twitter to let them know about this. You never know right? I didn’t hear back from them so I had no expectations, but as I walked up to the check-in desk at Amsterdam Airport I was straight away greeted with my name and redirected to the Business Class counter. How did this lady knew who I was? No clue but she did her research and apparently knew how I looked like and hearing her say: ‘Welcome Mr. Tom Grond we have a nice surprise for you’, made me smile! :)
Me and my personalized Rimowa at Amsterdam Airport!
Flying Qatar Airways business class is so much more convenient. No check-in lines, priority lines at security, lounge access, pre boarding and service straight away when you get in your seat. Getting into your seat 45 minutes before departure is then suddenly a blessing believe me. On my way from Amsterdam to Doha I experienced the new Qatar Airways business class as they like to say ‘First in Business’. The airline won multiple awards over the last years and was rated best Airline in the world in 2015. Of course this seat was perfect, the service impeccable and the choice of food and drinks excellent. I had to order a glass of champagne just for the photo! ;) Although I was extremely happy to be upgraded flying with Qatar Airways was not all just perfect. The entertainment system was not really my favorite, as it reacted pretty slow to my commands and the touch screen was not really sensitive either. The selection was not my favorite thing. I for example like to watch documentaries but there were very few available about nature, traveling and earth. But there was something else which was a big surprise to me: NO WIFI! Really? Not even in business class? Some airlines have free Wi-Fi in economy class. Just saying… damn it I just started to love you Qatar Airways! ;)
I will soon write a blog post about my favorite airlines flying from Europe to Asia. Sign up for my newsletter to be informed when it is online.
Qatar Airways Business Class from Doha to Maldives
My layover in Doha was only 3 hours and since Doha Airport is huge it was pretty convenient. Considering the fact that I had business class lounge access 3 hours was even a bit short to enjoy the lounge and before I knew I was already asked to board the plane. A Qatar Airways multi city ticket makes you change your plane in Doha Airport but that is a very smooth process. The ‘older’ version of the Qatar Airways business class was just as comfortable as the new one. It may look a little more cramped but this seat also converted into a bed. There was actually even more privacy and it looked a little cosier: time to sleep! Although this was a different type of aircraft there was again no Wi-Fi on board. :(
What did I do in Maldives? I was invited to attend the World Travel Writers' Conference hosted by Maldives TV and afterwards checked out these amazing resorts: Kuramathi Island Resort, Shangri La Villingilli, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Kurumba Maldives and Naladhu Private Island. On top of that I spent almost a week in Lux Resorts Maldives, one of my favorite places in Maldives and when you see the pictures you will understand why.
Visiting Qatar sponsored by Qatar Airways
When I received my Qatar Airways flight information for my flight back to Europe from Maldives I found out I had a long layover at Doha. I am used to hang around at airports so it didn’t really bother me. As long as I have electricity and Wi-Fi I am happy. These long layover always inspire me to write blogs about how to become a travel blogger or answer the question: ‘I want to travel the world where do I start’, as not everything about traveling is glitter and glamour. Surprisingly I found out though that I was entitled a complimentary hotel stay because my layover was more than a certain amount of hours. Seriously Qatar Airways? Are you sponsoring me to visit country number 79? I had never been to Qatar so actually I was looking into arranging a long layover to see the city anyway. Qatar Airways offers passengers a free hotel in the city in case of a long layover. Damn Qatar Airways what an excellent service! I love you already although I think you should seriously update your planes to have Wi-Fi on board! ;)
Doha international airport
Free hotel with a long layover flying Qatar Airways
When my flight from Maldives arrived at Doha Airport I was redirected to the transfer desk where they arranged the check-in for my hotel and handed me a voucher. I passed immigration got stamped into country number 79 and showing my hotel voucher in the arrivals hall I was straight away picked up by a random gentleman. He urged me to follow him to the hotel transfer cars and as soon as I got into the car it drove off into Doha city. Within 35 minutes after I landed I was in my hotel room in Doha. I could not believe how smooth that went. Such a pleasant service! I am not 100% sure if all flights to Doha with Qatar Airways with long layover include this service. Of course I had to walk around and see what Qatar was like, ordering some random Arabic food and getting a taxi into the city. Unfortunately it was already dark but whatever I was in Qatar. It was bloody hot by the way!
Flying economy class with Qatar Airways
It was a little bummer to see I was not upgraded this time, yes people get spoiled and so do I. Although I asked kindly and tried to smile my way into business class it didn’t work. Finding out though I had a complete row of 4 seats for myself in a plane that was pretty full was may be a gesture of the airline. Thanks for that! But having no electricity plugs was a little bit disappointed, not even a USB plug. Not that I use the entertainment system but it was pretty outdated as well on both flights. Luckily there was an electricity plug on my second flight from Doha to Amsterdam so I could at least write this blog post. I wanted to sleep as I was really tired and I prefer airlines that have a system to let the crew know to NOT wake you up for service. I was asleep when they woke me up for food and I would have rather had my food at a later stage. Some of the cabin crew (Eastern Europeans) were pretty arrogant but the Asian and Indian girls were super friendly. The pasta meal I had on my first flight was really nice, the breakfast on my flight to Amsterdam was not good at all. My French toast was more or less a dessert failure rather than a breaky with some piece of cheap melon. Not impressed and not fun someone woke me up for this crappy food.
Review flying Qatar Airways blog
I never really meant to review an airliner but since there were so many things to discuss and so many pros and cons I liked to put them on paper. Overall flying Qatar Airways business class was a blessing although I prefer an airliner with Wi-Fi. Getting a free hotel on my multi city flight with a long layover totally made up for the cons of flying with Qatar Airways.
While traveling around the world I did some really cool things which I would have never done if would I have stayed in my comfort zone. I stepped into this big world and started exploring and along my path came across all these fabulous incredible things to do. From leraning Spanish in Guatemala to flying business class or climbing a mountain in Bolivia to diving in Australia. Click on my travel inspiration blog to get some serious wanderlust.
Thanks for keeping up with Traveltomtom!
A long time ago I also wrote a blog about flying with Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, one of my first blog posts, funny to read! ;)