Date: February 15, 2018
Flight No.: QR834
Route: Doha Hamad International to Hanoi Noi Bai (via Bangkok Suvarnabhumi)
Airline: Qatar Airways
Type: Boeing 777-300ER
With the flight in Qatar Airways QSuites business class, an enjoyable visit to New York, and a short stay at the Westin Doha over, it was time for the last part of my Qatar Airways experience – a flight back from Doha to Hanoi via Bangkok.
The flight was operated by a non-QSuites 777-300ER featuring the airlines old “2-2-2” business class just as my flight from Hanoi to Doha at the beginning of the trip. As such, this article will focus on the service aspects of the return flight. For details of the seat, etc., check the previous review.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Premium Departure Experience at Doha
As mentioned in my previous article about this trip, I spent my layover in Doha at The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa thanks to the PlusQatar program. And so, I left the hotel around 11PM – well in advance of my 2:10AM departure.
I arrived at the airport about twenty minutes later, and headed straight into Qatar Airways’ business and first class check-in hall.
Since I already had my boarding pass for the flight, after turning left at the entrance (the right side was for first class passengers), I headed straight through the deserted check-in area and security check.
Once airside, I paid another visit to the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge.
I left the lounge shortly before 1AM for the 1:10AM boarding at gate B1, and when I got to the gate, I was let into the overcrowded waiting area after showing my boarding pass.
Interestingly, boarding started with Zone 1 which was economy class rather than business class passengers who followed afterwards.
In either case, not long after getting to the gate, I was making my way into A7-BAG, Qatar Airways 777-300ER in the oneworld livery. The cabin was exactly the same as on my flight from Hanoi to Doha, so for the details, see my review of that flight.
Departing Doha Onboard Qatar Airways Business Class
Upon settling in my seat 2E, I found a single amenity kit on the center console. Knowing that the crew loads these based on the passenger manifest, I was happy to find that there would be no one sitting next to me on the flight.
Besides the amenity kit, there was already a duvet and a pillow awaiting on the seat, as well as a bottle of water inside a storage compartment in the console between the seats.
Not long after I sat down, one of the crew members came around to introduce himself and to offer me a pre-departure drink. Based on his suggestion, I ordered Qatar Airways’ signature lemon and mint juice.
But, a couple of minutes later, I was brought a cup of orange juice instead.
Then, the drink and meal menus were brought, and so were the pyjamas. Initially, I was brought L-size, but after asking, they were switched for M-size. Not before another crew member brought me another set of “Ls,” though.
Just as with the juice, while it was not a big deal at all, those were the first signs that – even though very friendly and kind – the crew wouldn’t be as “polished” on this flight as on the other three.
One more thing to note here is that Qatar Airways seems to have two types of pyjamas – The White Company-branded ones used on long hauls and non-branded ones on medium hauls like this flight.
At 1:40AM, the captain welcomed us onboard mentioning an expected flight time of six hours, mostly at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet.
Then, one of the crew members came to take my meal order.
From the following menu, I decided to have Greek yogurt and fruits after take off, and an omelette and muesli before landing. After making a remark saying “hopefully I will wake up,” the crew member kindly offered to wake me up one hour before landing – and so I accepted his offer.
Shortly after the meal order was taken, another crew member came around the cabin offering newspapers. And, shortly after that, the boarding was completed (as expected, the seat next to me remained empty) and the doors were closed.
Then, at 1:56AM – fifteen minutes ahead of schedule – we were pushed back, and after several minutes of taxiing, we took off at 2:08AM.
QR834 from Doha to Bangkok in Business Class
The seatbelt signs went off at 2:19AM at which point the crew sprung into action. Just a couple of minutes later, I received the mango juice that I ordered before take-off together with a bowl of nuts.
While enjoying the snack, I finished watching the last episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine that was available on the IFE and started watching another TV show, Detroiters.
Once I was finished with the nuts, I was brought the fruit plate. And, that was followed by the yogurt and a cup of tea.
One thing that surprised me was how many people opted to have a full meal in spite of it being 3AM.
After finishing the meal, I decided to turn down my seat and sleep. I slept a bit more than three hours – and, to be honest, the sleep was more comfortable than in the QSuite and reverse herringbone seats which offer more privacy, but at the cost of restricted leg space.
I would have slept longer, but I was woken up by the crew member as promised, and right after that, a cold towel was brought to me and the table was set up.
Then, shortly before 11AM Bangkok time, the muesli was brought followed by the smoothie just a minute later. And, around the same time, Thai immigration forms were distributed to passengers getting off in Bangkok.
After I was finished with the muesli, the bowl was cleared and the omelette brought. It came with a side of mushrooms, potatoes and a meat patty, and the dish was excellent.
While I wasn’t initially planning on having a dessert, since it was offered to me when the main’s plane was being cleared, I couldn’t resist and asked for another fruit plate.
For the rest of the flight, I continued watching Detroiters and relaxing.
Landing and Transit in Bangkok
At 11:30AM, the captain briefly greeted us over the PA, and less than ten minutes later, we started our descent. Another ten minutes later, the cabin crew was asked to prepare for landing, at and 12:09PM, we landed at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport.
We reached our parking spot at 12:16PM, about 25 minutes ahead of schedule at which point the passengers terminating their journey in Bangkok started disembarking.
Since the cabin was almost empty during the transit in Bangkok, I decided to do a little photo shoot.
The next leg of the flight – from Bangkok to Hanoi – “technically” started around 1PM when the new crew arrived. Right after they settled in, welcome drinks were offered to business class passengers, and menus for the shorter hop were distributed.
Then, the cabin services director came to introduce herself. After asking her if there was any window seat that would remain empty for the flight that I could move to, she suggested I move to 1K.
Once in my new (bulkhead) seat, another crew member came around offering newspapers.
Shortly after that, business class passengers traveling on the fifth freedom flight between Bangkok and Hanoi only started to get onboard, and after they settled, the cabin crew came around the cabin taking meal orders.
Since I had the hot savoury pastries on the first Qatar Airways flight of the trip, I decided to go with the duck and selection of desserts.
QR834 from Bangkok to Hanoi in Business Class
Boarding was completed at 1:45PM, and at the same time, we were welcomed by the new captain who mentioned that our flying time would be 1 hour and 34 minutes, and that we would be cruising at flight level 350.
The aircraft doors were closed at 1:51PM, and at 1:55PM, we were on our way to Suvarnabhumi airport’s runway 19L from which we took off at 2:07PM.
The seatbelts on this shorter flight were switched off just five minutes after take-off, and another five minutes later, my table was set and the duck dish was brought. While it wasn’t bad, I enjoyed the hot savoury pastries more.
After the cold meal, the dessert was served together with a cup of Earl Grey tea that I ordered to go with it. At that time, I started watching Detroiters again, and just enjoying my last minutes onboard Qatar Airways’ business class.
With the tasty desserts gone, the crew came to clear the plate while bringing me hot towel in the process. And then, at 3PM, an announcement was made from the flight deck that we would be starting our descent in fifteen minutes, and landing in Hanoi in about 40 minutes.
At 3:13PM, the seatbelt signs were switched back on, and less than ten minutes later, one of the cabin crew members came to stow my IFE screen since I was sitting in a bulkhead row.
The cabin crew was asked to prepare for landing at 3:35PM, and at 3:39PM, we landed on Hanoi Noi Bai airport’s runway 11L. We reached our parking spot ten minutes later, at 3:49PM.
And so, my Qatar Airways business class experience was over twenty-five minutes ahead of schedule.
Qatar Airways 777-300ER Business Class Doha – Bangkok – Hanoi Summary
Just like the other three Qatar Airways business class flights that I took during the trip, the last flight was excellent. However, the crew on this one was definitely not as polished as on the other flights. That said, they were very friendly and kind, so the small mistakes here and there were not a big issue at all.
The one thing I will mention, though, just as in my other review, those that take only the fifth freedom sector between Bangkok and Hanoi might be disappointed by the small portion of food served on that flight.