I am currently undergoing my examinations and I have reached half-way through the exams when I decided I needed a short day break. So on my way home from the examination hall I took a detour to the airport (it was a holiday so travel agents were closed) and headed straight to the Qatar Airways counter and bought 2 First class tickets for my self and another person. I booked the ticket for flight QR114 to Dubai departing 2015 on Qatar Airways’ new A330-200 and returning the next day on the A330-200 also on flight QR115 departing 2310. So here is a short trip report detailing my experiences on QR’s new A332.
Airline: Qatar Airways (QR)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-203
Registration/Serial: A7-ACA (S/N 473)
Flight No: QR114 (DOH-DXB)
Sch. Departure time: 2015
Actual departure time: 2025
Sch. Arrival time: 2215
Actual Arrival time: 2207
Sch. Flight time: 1 hour
Actual Flight time: 42 minutes
I arrived at Doha airport at a leisurely 30 minutes before departure, and headed straight to the VIP terminal where I quickly passed security and passport control. I was given some complimentary tea and coffee while I looked out of the window at the aircraft at Doha International Airport. I saw an Oman Air (WY) ATR42 being loaded with cargo and passengers on its flight to Muscat (MCT), right beside the ATR42 was a Saudi Arabian Airlines (SV) MD-90. I saw 4 Qatar Airways A320 being (un)boarded for (from) services to the Gulf.
I was quickly escorted to the parked BMWs (for QR first class and VIP pax) where we drove on the apron heading to our aircraft. As we drove further down the apron I saw 2 (IIRC) A300-600Rs and a single Gulf Air B767-300ER The last aircraft in the apron was the majestic A330-200. The A330-200 is one of my favorite aircrafts and it looks so elegant, especially in Qatar Airways’ livery.
I walked the short distance to the covered stairs passing the GE CF-6. I went up the stairs and to the A330-200’s door where the F/A’s were standing. The F/As were friendly and welcomed us with the usual smiles although I was surprised they didn’t welcome us by name like they did on my previous flights. There was a British(?) female F/A, a Malaysian (?) male F/A a Lebnanese female F/A and another female F/A with an unclear origin. Their 4 F/As for 12 F-class seats meaning 1 F/A to 3 pax but because we had only 8 pax in First their was one F/A to each pax.
The Malaysian F/A helped me with my carry on luggage and showed me to my seat. He was friendly and so were the other two F/A’s but the British F/A was arrogant (more later on). I was breathless when I first saw the First class on this A330-200. It was so luxurious, elegant and yet still was lively an airy. The seats were very wide, in fact there are the widest First class seats on any airline. The seats were Burgundy and Dark grey colour. The seats were in private cabins that were luxuriously appointed. The armrests were covered real-leather and so are the seat trimmings. The inside of the cocoons was covered in dark grey/black teak wood. In the area between the seat and the window there are two closets about the size of an overhead bin so that pax can retrieve their personal items without reaching the overhead bins. The table is very large and is also dark grey teak wood which looks very luxurious. The table is lined with chrome, there are also dashes of chrome on the outside of the screens that separate the seats. The PTV is very large and the seats are also equipped with DVD players. Basically the First class cabins as well as the new business class cabin are all very luxurious but I can’t describe them with words only you have to see the interiors yourselves.
Before settling down in the comfortable seats I asked to other pax about how they compare the new first class to other airlines. They both said that the new first class is better than BA’s, EK’s, GF’s and LH’s first class, one of the passengers who flew on SQ in the past said that the first class seat is very similar to SQ’s F-class.
After take-off the meal service started quickly as it was a quick 40 min flight. All pax received hot meals similar to EK
This is the first class menu.
Selection of Seasonal fruits
Served on a bed of Rainbow rice
Covered with Oriental sauce
Served with BBQ sauce
Deep Fried Haloumi cheese
Coasted with Sesame Bread Crumbs
Tea / Coffee selections.
The food was excellent and was surprisingly better than my food on my last trip on QR last January. It is good to see they are improving, I found their food to be the same quality as EK but much better than GF. I also noticed they returned to using silverware instead of the nasty plastic. I gobbled down the food quickly as I have not eaten one thing from the morning! Eventually I had hiccups and asked for water. The British F/A was very rude in saying “no wonder you have hiccups, you eat too fast” but this was compensated by the other F/As who are much more polite. Even though the F/As were busy with a short-haul flight they still held conversation with the passengers. During the flight I visited the galley and asked the Malaysian F/A some questions about working on the A330-200 and then asked him if I could see the J-class cabin. The British F/A was very rude that time too, even though the Malaysian F/A has said that he has enough time to answer my questions the Brit F/A said “we are to busy, not now OK”.
I headed back to my seat and noticed that the F/As were clumsy with the new seats, one had difficulty taking out the table which I hope they can cope with once they had enough experience with the A330-200.
Sooner than I realized it we started to descend and landed in Dubai International Airport. I saw a Libyan A300, Vietnam B767, Ethiopian (B757?), KLM 767 and of course plenty of EK A330-200 and B777s.
While waiting for one of the F/As to open the door the other F/As had friendly conversations with the pax waiting to disembark. I gave the URL of Airliners.net to one of the F/As, if you are reading this thank you for the nice flight.
On my return flight I noticed the F/As to be much nicer. The F cabin had 2 male F/As and two female F/A’s. The male F/A’s were from Pakistan and India and the female F/As from Pakistan and the Philippines. When I first entered the aircraft I was greeted with my title and the Pakistani F/A insisted on placing my carry-on luggage in the overhead bins on my behalf. The F/A’s were generally more friendly and they always seemed pleased to serve. The other passengers were also very pleased with these F/A’s and they said that they seemed genuine in their treatment of their passengers.
On the return flight I was happy to see that the menu has changed this time with prawns, chicken and other delicacies
Overall I had two excellent flights but I wish that QR will do something to ensure that the F/As are consistent in their treatment of the passengers as you know one rude F/A can ruin the whole experience.