Airline review: Qatar Airways, business class, Doha to Barcelona

THE PLANE

A330-300 (QR0145); Qatar has 13 of this aircraft model in its fleet, configured to seat 259 to 305 passengers.

THE ROUTE

Doha to Barcelona

FREQUENCY

Qatar flies twice daily from Doha to Barcelona and to connect into Doha, the airline has daily flights from Australia out of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

The Privilege Club is Qatar's loyalty program. As of 2013, Qatar joined OneWorld, giving Australian business and first class passengers access to Qantas lounges among other OneWorld members.

CLASS

Business, seat 2K (window). There are a total of 26 seats in business class in a 2-2-2 configuration. It's only half full, where one of the greatest joys of flying in the pointy end is a half full business class.

DURATION

Just under 6.5 hours. The flight lands right on time.

THE LOUNGE

I had arrived in Doha at 5.20am from Sydney and was taking off for  Barcelona at 7.15am, giving me time for a quick shower and toasted sandwich at the Al Mourjan Business Lounge in Doha's Hamad International Airport. 

THE SEAT

The pitch is 60" with a width of 21" and it reclines to 165 degrees. It's the perfect daytime flight to kick back, watch a movie, finish off some work – then enjoy a quick cat nap before landing in Barcelona in the early afternoon. The seat has excellent storage, is comfortable and clean, with everything in good working order.

ENTERTAINMENT

Qatar's Oryx system has a solid selection, including a good range of complete box television series. (I gorge on the BBC's War & Peace) and plenty of Hollywood movies. As you'd expect, great Arabic, Indian and family movie options.

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Qatar shrugs off its conservative image with a quirky inflight safety video starring Barcelona FC, complete with screaming female fans being administered oxygen masks to cope with the sexiness of the players. Hopeless stereotyping I know, but embarrassingly, I laughed out loud. It's quite possibly the only inflight safety video I would have been happy to watch twice.

BAGGAGE

40 kilos for business class (30 kilos for economy).

COMFORT

Qatar prides itself on being a certified Skytrax five-star airline along with the likes of Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. This is a good, easy, relaxed flight with no hitches or hassles. However it's not a Dreamliner, of which Qatar has many in service. I'd argue that regardless of airline, it's hard to beat Dreamliners for the most comfortable flight possible.

SERVICE

Superb, thanks to a Spanish flight attendant from Barcelona who gives me some wonderful tips on her city – including that it's Spain's annual "book day" (think Valentine's Day with books) when I land on April 23. She's delightful and helpful without being overbearing or too chatty.

FOOD

A 7/10 in general, moving to a 9/10 for the Nobu dishes, which are only available on select flights (Nobu's Miso soup and a tasty and fresh octopus, enoki mushroom and chive salad are particularly good). Shortly after leaving Doha, I order a sour cherry granola and yoghurt with American coffee – then try the traditional Arabic breakfast for a light lunch. The highlight is the pre-takeoff ''pick me up'' drink of lime, mint and citrus.

Good selection of wines, from France, Austria, Chile, Australia and New Zealand. For bubbles, Qatar pours Billecart-Salmon champagne and Drappier Brut Rose.

VERDICT

Qatar is more prominent on the radar of Australian travellers given it's been busy over the past year or so increasing its lift into and out of Australia – and thus fast gaining on its more established Middle Eastern cousins, Emirates and Etihad.

With Qatar's business class, it's the little touches – such as the Giorgio Armani toiletries (including Si fragrances for her), LED lighting which is easier on the body, and the Italian Frette sleeping linen that add glamour and an ''extra something'' to this airline's offering.

Tested by Fiona Carruthers, who flew courtesy of Qatar Airways.

See also: World's best airline for 2016 named

See also: Qatar's Airbus A350 arrives in Australia for the first time

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