Game Changer : Onboard Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
Dubai – Doha –Dubai
The Dreamliner’s arrival marks the start of a new era, as the aircraft is Boeing first 787 deliver to a Middle East airline. Since 20 November, Qatar Airways have placed their B787 Dreamliner into commercial services; the first route is from Doha to Dubai in the gulf with 4 daily roundtrips. From December 1, Doha to Kuwait is also added to the B787 route. These short flights are for crew training before its maiden long haul commercial flight to London starts 13 Dec on flighr QR075.
I jumped on this easy opportunity, purchased my ticket for a day hop to Doha and back. It was my first time flying the Dreamliner! I decided to settle in Economy due to the short flight duration and would reserve the Business Class experience later for a long haul flight when more airframes enter service.
1 December 2012
Dubai – Doha
STD 11:40 am
ATD 12:10 pm
Flying time: 40 minutes
Seat: 12K Economy Class
Qatar Airways use Terminal 1, Area E for check in. The counters were very crowded as there are QR
flights leaving from Dubai to Doha almost every hour round the clock. I was checked – in after 15 minutes in the queue and given both outbound and return boarding passes.
After the routine E-Gate immigration, security check and walking pass the long pedestrian tunnel, I arrived at the DCA
Business Class lounge which my credit card has free entry to it (as well as Priority Pass members)
I like the food from this lounge, nothing fancy and no great presentation, but it has decent offerings with soups, 6 main dishes, salads, fruits, pastries and desserts. I quickly have my breakfast there before boarding announcement was made.
The boarding gate today is C5. I was praying there are no ship-change as this happens often on the short Middle East sector. Qatar Airways brings every type of plane from their fleet to Dubai, even the B777 and A340-600 are a regular sight.
At the boarding gate, I saw a QR
A321 docking, my heart almost stopped beating for a second but soon after I entered the gate holding area, I saw the un-mistakeable B787 tail against the tinted window. Everything is going to be fine from now on!
First sights of my ride at the gate.
A7-BCL is the 2nd Boeing 787 Dreamliner delivered to QR
. The first ship is A7-BCB which I have now photographed once in Dubai.
Walking down the aerobridge with my heart beat rising! I found myself as excited as a little kid in the Kindergarten going on a big excursion out of school!
The purser and other crew members stand at the door to welcome passengers. There is a Boeing 787 Dreamliner logo at the door!
Wow, it was eye dropping at the moment I set foot inside. Although I have been onboard the Boeing Demostrator in Dubai Air Show, but this is an actual commercial airline flight. The interior is closely ensemble the Boeing mock up interior! It took my breath away!
I snap a quick photo of the Business Class (on Middle East sector sold as First Class)
My seat is 12K, the 3rd row window seat in Economy.
I settled in my seat and took a photo of the huge window with electronic adjustment of shading.
Leg room was decent. Thanks to the slim seat back design.
A huge screen, as wide as the whole seat width.
It was touch screen, very easy to navigate.
Scenes around the cabin during boarding.
Individual fan and reading light are maintained! Great!
I have also noticed the humidifier is working, I didn’t feel dry onboard. But I need to try on a long haul flight to tell the difference.
The entertainment controller unit, similar to Emirates Business/First class console. Now it is on every economy seat on the QR
Views of the cabin from my seat. Qatar Airways use a 3-3-3 abreast configuration in Economy Class.
The captain came on the PA welcome us onboard, however due to traffic flow restrictions; we would have to sit at the gate for another 25 minutes before push back.
So I took the opportunity to walk around the Economy section and snap a few more photos.
I also set foot back to the First Class, which is segregated by the curtains. The crew didn’t mind me snapping photo at all. A great plus!
What a futuristic look. You can clearly see the fuselage curve. I loved the design. Well done Boeing for delivering such superior product.
Mood Light is on! Window shading is also on. Perfect atmosphere to be onboard. As expected, First Class is mainly occupied by local Arabs.
The bathroom in First Class.
Even in the bathroom, there is an adjustable window.
View from the lavatory window. Possibly best view of the engine.
After 25 minutes of waiting, we were finally pushed back and the engine started turning. The General Electric Co's new-generation GEnx engine start-up wasn’t as noisy as the GE90 on the B777-300/ER. The cabin didn’t have the vibration during the start up.
Taxiing to Runway 12R for take-off. Dubai was suffering from a huge rainstorm the day before and the low pressure system is moving away gradually.
We are number one to takeoff follow a line of Emirates 777 and a Aerologic 77F Onboard the B787, making everything else include the B777 feels a bit dated.
Takeoff roll was caught on video. Please see my Youtube video later.
Over the outer Dubai suburbs before turning 180 degrees heading west towards the Gulf and Doha.
In only a few minutes, we climbed over the clouds and now clear sky all the way to Doha. Flying time was about 40 minutes, cruising at 22,000 feet with 310 knots speed; this was given from the Captain who filled my log sheet.
I think this is the greatest feature on the Boeing 787, now you can enjoy the view outside at anytime during the flight! See the difference of a darkened window compared to the one in front!
Wi-fi was not available on my flight but I have noticed the feature from the Oryx Entertainment unit.
Flight attendants came right after the seat belt sign being turned off; we were given a tasty meat wrap with orange juice.
As you can see, Dubai to Doha is a mere 450 miles, 290 nautical miles sector.
Seat belts sign came back on literally after 10 minutes and we started our top of descend from 22,000 feet.
The tortoise water of the Gulf came to my window view.
We are doing a Southerly approach, lining up to land on Runway 15 of Doha International Airport.
Final approach, very smooth.
At 12:05 pm we touched down on Rwy15. The landing was OK
, not the smoothest one given it was quite windy.
After landing, I was allowed to visit the cockpit and snapped another photo of the Business (First) Class.
However, the Qatari captain told me by rules; I am not allowed to take photos this time. He kindly asked me to check photos on www.airliners.net!
On arrival, I met up with my friend Larry (Superfly). He was sent to Qatar for a project and has arrived a week before me. We have lunch in his hotel with some great conversation in the mean time. We were able to visit the Corniche shortly before sunset on my way back to the airport.
Larry in Doha!
At the airport, I passed the security check point quickly and went straight to the Oryx Lounge. This lounge accepts Priority Pass card and it is the lounge all airline used in Doha except Qatar Airways.
It was a nice lounge with plenty of seating area; however the food/beverage offering was limited. You have to order alcohol at the counter.
1 December 2012
Doha - Dubai
Flying time: 47 minutes, Speed 310 knots
Loads: 68 / 254 (less than 30%)
Seat: 30A Economy Class
As there are no aerobridge at the existing airport, we have to use bus to board all flights. The new airport in Doha promised a change, which is said to be opened in mid-2013.
We were taken to the Dreamliner. Both A7-BCB and A7-BCL were parked side by side. I was hoping to fly BCB having flown BCL on the outbound, but no luck.
Boarding via both front and rear staircase.
View from the top of staircase.
“Welcome Onboard!” said with a smile by the senior cabin attendant.
Wow, it was such an inviting sight! I was getting a little tired after a long day but seeing this woke me up totally.
Cabin ambience at its best!
I settle in my seat 30A, with only 10 passengers or so seating in the rear Economy cabin. Being a Saturday, there aren’t many passengers going to Dubai, but the return flight from Dubai to Doha is completely full, with a full load of weekenders coming back to Doha.
The adjustable headrest in each seat is extremely comfortable and soft. You do not need a pillow to support your head.
Look, what’s parking on the apron! A QR
A340-500 Amiri flight!
We pushed back on time and taxi towards runway 15 for immediate takeoff. The takeoff roll was quite a long one; the captain later told me it was a de-rated takeoff to conserve power.
The quiet Economy cabin in-flight.
Again, I was given another tasty wrap, this time with Chicken filling plus the orange juice.
Not long after 40 minutes, we came over the shores of U.A.E. flying over Dubai. The sky has cleared with almost full moon lighting up the sky!
With a smooth touch down on Runway 30L. We arrived at the gate C3
on-time. I was invited by the extremely friendly pilots up front to have a look at the cockpit again, this time, I was allowed to stay there for a long time and take as many pictures as I want. The pilots were kind enough to step out, line up the chair for me to take some great promotional pictures! It really made by day! I couldn’t thank them enough for such generosity even during a busy training flight.
Notice the HUD display was turned off. From Wikipedia “A head-up display or heads-up display—is any transparent display that presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints. The origin of the name stems from a pilot being able to view information with the head positioned "up" and looking forward, instead of angled down looking at lower instruments.”
I couldn’t be happier with such a finish on the B787 Dreamliner. Well done Boeing to deliver such a superior product, it sets them way ahead of the game. Well done to Qatar Airways for pursue this fine airplane and offer such superior product in all classes onboard. Now, I will wait for my next opportunity to sample some long haul flying onboard the B787 Dreamliner.
In summary, I found the B787 truely a game changer airplane from passenger perspective with following pluses:
Electronic adjustable window shades.
Comfortable cabin climate with more humidity.
Much larger window than Airbus type. Ease for photos.
Great head room, like the B777 series.
Quiet cabin during cruising.
Thanks for reading and your comments/feedback are always welcome.
You can see more of my photos and reports on
Youtube: Sam Chui