NEWS: Flying in a pandemic – Qatar’s new onboard business class service – what is it really like?

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Qatar’s new onboard service in photos

In this article, I was talking about the changes in Qatar’s onboard service. This involves full PPE with hazmat suits and changes to the meals. I wrote about the future of business and first class travel on Monday in this article. A lot of people were a bit depressed by it, so I thought that seeing someone’s first-hand recent experience would be useful. 

TLFL reader Doc just got back from SYD on Sunday with Qatar after being rebooked on them from BA First. Below are Doc’s photos of the trip. The crew did offer to make up their beds as a double bed, travelling as a gay couple. I thought this was worth mentioning as some people worry about discrimination due to Qatar’s (the country) reputation for lack of tolerance. 

Doc said ” The Hazmat suits were a shocker, to be honest, but necessary. The service was good and the food excellent. As it was the A350, no First of course but the QSuite was incredible. I slept for 9 hours straight and another 2 on the Doha to Heathrow. On this flight, the crew were on the flight back again after a 2-hour turn around with a rest period on board. ”

 

New full PPE for crew

The menus which look pretty standard to me:

The drinks:

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Tattinger Prestige Rose

The food starter tray – notice that the only real change is that the tray has dessert on it as well plus the lid on the butter dish. Well done Qatar.

Combined with the safety measures being taken by Doha Airport which I talked about yesterday, I have to say I am starting to feel quite positive about travel again. I don’t particularly want to spend a long haul flight with a mask on but you are allowed to take it off to eat and drink. Bringing your own mask at least means you can try them out beforehand and find one that is comfortable. 

Flying with Qatar means flying East and most of South East Asia pretty much has coronavirus under control. I already have flights booked to Singapore in November with Qatar (although I may tweak the destination under their 5000 mile change offer). Previously I was pessimistic about whether it would happen and if I would want to fly anyway. Have seen all these measures plus a relatively normal service, I am pretty sure that I will be going assuming I can get into Singapore or somewhere else in Asia by then. 

How does seeing these photos make you feel about flying again? Would you fly long-haul even if it meant wearing a mask the whole flight?

9 Comments on "NEWS: Flying in a pandemic – Qatar’s new onboard business class service – what is it really like?"

  1. Seem like the perfect disguise for a terrorist. Or for somebody wanting to play Trolly-Dolly.

  2. Kenneth Bennie | 28 May 2020 at 8:58 am | Reply

    Well done Qatar and it does give me confidence to fly again. I had similar good experience with them at end of March flying back from CPT. Flight was very quiet but staff were super attentive, usual fantastic service and also made double bed up for us travelling as gay couple.

  3. No, not at all. With no lounges, no shops, served by people who look like refugees from ER, hours to board, wearing a mask which is entirely likely to to do as much harm as good (and is pointless anyway as you have to take it off to eat and drink) I won’t be flying unless it’s unavoidable. For reference I usually do around 50 flights a year, long and short haul.

  4. It’s a shame they have gone back to using up the stock of the mid-haul Nappa Dori amenity kits rather than the much nicer Brics ones – hopefully they will return soon too. I do have to agree with the first comment that using a non-airline branded suit does open up to people impersonating crew, especially when entering the cockpit to serve food and the flight crew needing to do a positive visual identification of the crew member before unlocking the door. Customers are free to (and some currently are) wearing identical suits which even innocently could involve customers being asked for another gin and tonic when they are passing!

  5. I agree with Martin – no point to fly unless necessary.

  6. It’s a shame they have gone back to using up the stock of the mid-haul Nappa Dori amenity kits rather than the much nicer Brics ones – hopefully they will return soon too. I do have to agree with the first comment that using a non-airline branded suit does open up to people impersonating crew, especially when entering the cockpit to serve food and the flight crew needing to do a positive visual identification of the crew member before unlocking the door. Customers are free to (and currently are) wearing identical suits which even innocently could involve customers being asked for another gin and tonic when they are passing!

  7. It’s a shame they have gone back to using up the stock of the mid-haul Nappa Dori amenity kits rather than the much nicer Brics ones – hopefully they will return soon too. I do have to agree with the first comment that using a non-airline branded suit does open up to people impersonating crew, especially when entering the flight deck to serve food and the flight crew needing to do a positive visual identification of the crew member before unlocking the door. Customers are free to (and currently are) wearing identical suits which even innocently could involve customers being asked for another gin and tonic when they are passing!

  8. I’m with Martin. I used to do a few trips per year which were discretionary. Often they were selected because of offers highlighted by TLFL. Cabin crew are at an almost immeasurably low risk of suffering from a serious health issue from the virus, given their age. The suits are thus a waste of time, and constitute yet more plastic poisoning the world.
    If I have a pressing reason to fly, I shall. Otherwise, I simply shan’t bother.

  9. Agree a 100% with Martin. I am going to say goodbye to av-geekery. What’s more, BA will not have my loyalty anymore. I some Avios to burn, but am not excited by the idea of a prepackaged croissant in BA’s first.

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