Click the video above to see Qatar Airways Business Class A319 Jet reviewed on a flight from London to Doha.
Qatar Airways Business Class Jet
Qatar Airways have a great reputation for their business class seats, especially on their enormous A380 double decker jet. They also decided to try something different – converting a tiny A319 jet in to an all-business class aircraft called ‘Business One’.
This must be almost the Airbus equivalent of a BBJ, and the closest most passengers will ever get to flying private. With just 10 rows of seats and a maximum of 40 passengers (almost 500 less than their A380 holds!) we just had to go and try this out on a flight from London’s Heathrow to Qatar’s Doha Airport.
Qatar Business Class Check-In Experience
Check-in was the normal Qatar experience at Heathrow; they have a corner of Terminal 4 to themselves, and have dedicated lanes (with fancy red carpets) to first class and frequent fliers, business and economy lanes. The queues were tiny (no doubt helped by one of their aircraft only having a handful of passengers!) and we were quickly and efficiently checked in.
If you haven’t been to Terminal 4 since British Airways left, you’re in for a shock – it’s been refurbished and is nicer & easier to get around than the newer terminals. A dedicated fast-track tunnel took us through security in just a couple of minutes, from which it’s a short walk to the Qatar lounge (which is next to Qatar’s dedicated gates). All seems straightforward airport design, but these rules were forgotten about when it came to building Terminal 2…
Qatar’s lounge is worth getting to the airport early for – it’s one of the nicest in the country, and beats British Airway’s Concorde lounge (for first class passengers) easily. There’s a cocktail bar, a deli counter that wouldn’t be out of place in a restaurant, and a dining room that would actually be able to sell its food if it was located out in the main terminal (compare with lounges that serve baked potatoes with a gloopy, almost meat-free curry). There’s a choice of premium champagnes (including Krug) and quality food – we went for steak.
Staff would come round regularly offering coffee and dates, and spoke to us to advise that the aircraft was about to board from the gate next door. For this all-business class flight there were 2 lines to board, with every passenger having ‘priority’! There were about 15 passengers per line so it took just a couple of minutes to get us all onboard.
Onboard Qatar Airways’ All Business Class Jet
It was very bizzare climbing on board this A319. It’s a very common aircraft, but normally has 25 rows of seats ferrying 150 people short haul. Here there were just 10 rows of lie-flat seats, with a divider in the middle of the aircraft. The lack of passengers meant this plane was light and could easily fly between London and Doha without stopping.
Each of the seats was set up with a giant cushion, pillow, noise cancelling headphones and bedding nearby. At the touch of a button you could recline the seat in to a fully flat bed – and there was a mattress to lay down on to even out the bumps and lumps. Super comfy!
Each seat has a massive TV with a huge selection of TV shows and movies to pick from – there was a separate TV guide to browse them all, and your seat had an Android remote control to navigate around. International charging sockets were provided, as well as USB charging.
All sounds great – but there were a couple of major downsides. The main one was that the seats were laid out in a 2-2 formation. This meant that most people were sleeping next to a stranger, and for the passenger by the window there was no direct aisle access. The tightness of the seats meant there was simply no way for anyone other than a talented gymnast to get out of the window seat without knocking in to – and waking up – the aisle passenger. An unforgivable problem nowadays, especially when Qatar’s A380, 787 and 777 Q-Suites have this sorted with direct aisle access for all.
The other problem was that there was a set of LED lights permanently shining down on your bed – you couldn’t turn them fully off, so an eye mask was required on this overnight flight. Qatar did provide an excellent mask to all passengers, but still, a way to turn off this light would be better.
Qatar Airways Business One Class Food & Drink
With just 30 passengers to look after on tonight’s flight, the crew were able to provide great service. They’d been given good food and drink to work with – Qatar have invested here, and it shows – miles ahead of the competition on this route, who tend to cook each meal in a single dish (overcooking most of the ingredients) and who tell you what time you will be eating. Our crew came round and offered a choice of champagnes before we took off, along with a great amenity kit and complimentary pyjamas.
Most people ate shortly after take-off, and the crew efficiently handed out tasty amuse-bouche from Nobu of all places. A tasty soup followed, along with a fairly unimaginative mezze plate, and then a tasty & beautiful cod dish was served. A simple ice cream was chosen for dessert, although even this had a choice of fruit and fresh mint leaves. The budget & attention to detail stood out in the meal – this was better food than any other business class flight we’d flown on, and better than most of the first class meals as well. The presentation and quality of the crockery would have passed in a nice restaurant on the ground.
After a huge meal, it was time to turn in for the night. The lack of passengers meant we had a quiet flight, and a good night’s sleep was followed by a simple orange juice before we landed in Doha. Sadly we got a bus gate (though it’s understandable the airport prioritised a larger aircraft with more passengers for the gates we had) but at least there were plenty of seats on the bus (unlike the bussing of premium passengers at Heathrow).
Best Seats in Qatar Airways A319 Business Class Jet
With just 40 seats and 10 rows, there are no real bad seats on this plane. For solo travellers, the key is to get an empty seat next to you so you’re not trapped in your seat or woken when your neighbour gets up. Charm the check-in staff to find an empty row!
If this is not possible, go for something towards the middle of the plane – stay away from the galleys and toilets, and you’re not going to waiting more than a minute to disembark.
Qatar Airways Business Class Jet Conclusions
Hats off to Qatar for trying something different with this plane and service – if you’re flying as a couple and have a large bladder, than it’s certainly recommended as Qatar have succeeded in making this as close to a private jet as most people will ever get.
For solo travellers or those who want a bit more space, then you should skip this service – Qatar is competing too well with itself by offering amazing flat beds with all-aisle access on the A380 and 787s, and offering a unique cabin with its Q-Suites.
Want A BA First Class Review?
For a review of British Airways First Class on the A380, click here.
Want to see a BA 747 business class review?
For a review of British Airways 747 business class cabin, click here.