Flying with Qatar Airways – A 5 Star Airline or Not?
When choosing a flight I usually take into consideration the price. I do not have a favorite airline. Had flown before with many airlines like Air France, Tarom, Ethiopian Airlines and low cost one’s like Ryanair, Wizz Air, Easy Jet, Mango Air or Blue Air. The second thing I take into consideration is the arriving airport and the time. I don’t like to arrive late, especially in an unknown city.
When I decided to go to China I had to airlines in my mind: KLM and Qatar Airlines and I followed their current offers and sales. And the winner was QATAR with 480 Euro, round trip flight from Bucharest to Beijing with a 2 hour stop over. And I did have big expectation from Qatar Airways, but not all came to life:
Based on the ratings on the airlinequality.com, Qatar Airways is said to be (as there are saying in their visual and their online communication) a 5* company. There are many
Qatar Airways Web Site : Ease of Use – For me is was only a method to find the best price. Usually I search on the website and then I talk to my travel agent to book for me; and there are 2 reasons. The agency might have a special discount I pay later not when I make the booking.
The website is friendly, easy to be used and clean. I would probably separate the booking tab and put in a big larger on the right side of the page.
Web Site : Online Check-In.
I do recommend doing the online check in. First, is free of charge and it’s not mandatory. When I arrived at the Bucharest Airport and returning at the Beijing Airport there were 3 lines. One of the business class, one for the one who did the online check in and third the one who didn’t. And I was the only one on my line! As you can see in the above image the big line is for the one who did not use the only check in.
The online check in is easy to be used. You can choose your seat, and I pick window one all the time. And this time I even choose a special meal. For the returning flight check in I decided to use the Qatar Airways App because internet in China was a bit poor and I thought I would work better with the app. Not sure if it was due to the app or due to the bad internet connection, but I did not manage The mobile application was launched only last year so there is space for improvement.
Transfer Services & Airport Facilities
Doha International Airport is the primary hub for the Qatar Airways. Luckily for them and for the travelers this is a new brand airport will serve for the airlines. The airport is small, crowded with a not such a big duty free area (perfumes, some clothes and souvenirs) and not so clean toilets. The stuff on the ground is very helpful and they show you straight away after the custom check your gate and assist you with any other information.
What I did not like about the transfer from the airport to the terminal was the fact that is was very long. It takes around 10 minutes by bus and for a 5 star airline I expected to have that special tube. I hope the new airport will have this facility, the Hamad International Airport.
What I liked about the transfer was the boarding pass colors; blue is you is your final destination is Doha, yellow for an onward connecting flight and burgundy boarding card for the business class person. This was it is easy for everyone to be spotted and redirected to the right path.
From Bucharest to Doha I flew with an Airbus A320-100 not than brand new and with normal services not 5* ones. The seat was not very comfortable, did not have special design space for the head (like the flight from Doha to Beijing).
The pillow was basic and had nothing special and it looked like a very cheap made one. I enjoyed the blanket; very soft!
Frozen – the movie
Inflight Entertainment has called Oryx Entertainment. The screen looked a bit old and it was not that easy to maneuver it. I liked it had brand new movies ( watched Frozen and 12 years of Slavery), good music like the National and I was surprised to hear the voice of Blanche from the Online Radio which was more like the Absolute Radio, my favorite radio station! That was a really nice surprise.
Washroom Cleanliness – normal, like any other airlines. Nothing special here.
Quality of Meals served
I think everybody expects to eat the food from the airlines commercials. Special meals with special touch. But in the end, everybody, except the business class. I picked the special meals for all the flights. My brother, when he made for me the return flight online check in, choose a special meal as well. I do recommend to go for the special meal; normal its made only for a few people and it should be better than the normal. And I think it does.
The vegetable looked fresh but were decent not perfect. The fruits had no taste at all. For the second flight, for the drink I went for a glass of white wine; better than expected!
Qatar Airways Meal – Breakfast – omelet & peas
CABIN STAFF SERVICE
This goes bad and good. For the first flight, the staff was normal with a decent enthusiasm; to be honest I was expecting more. For the second flight from Doha to Beijing, the service was not that good. I don’t have the cash to buy water at the airport and I was very thirsty. I expected for the plane to take off then I asked one attendant for a glass of water. 10 minutes passed and nothing. Another flight attendant came and I asked her to bring me that glass of water. It took her more than 5 minutes. So in total more than 15 minutes for a simple request. Service efficiency was not good at all for a 5* airline!
From Beijing to Doha, the service was much better. Had a Chinese flight attendant, with an enthusiastic attitude, very pleasant and extremely friendly! That was the only time I felt flying with a 5 star airline!
Would I ever fly again with Qatar Airways? If there is a good flight deal, for sure. But if I have to choose within 2 airlines with the same price, I would probably not chose them. Probably the 5* star services are only for the business class. I will never know that because don’t travel business, if you know what I mean.
If you have 5 star service and your main slogan is this one, why make it only for one class? Or say it: 5* airlines only for the business class!