- Route: Doha – Bangkok
- Flight Number: QR838
- Seat Number: 23K
- Flight Time: 5 hours and 50 minutes
- Baggage Allowance: 30kg per person (economy)
- Price (London – Bangkok return): £1109
- Honest Rating: 3/5
I arrived in Doha on board a Boeing 777-300ER from London Heathrow Airport on the 18th of December. Doha was a transit point for 1 hour and 30 minutes. I found the transit process to be smooth, the gates weren’t too far apart. Unfortunately, I found the COVID-19 management at the airport quite poor. There were people everywhere many of them not wearing masks which airport staff didn’t seem to notice, and the airport’s environment was quite hot and seemed muggy. After reaching the gate, I found somewhere to sit until my boarding zone was called. There were 6 ‘zones’ in total for boarding. Zone 1 would be at the back and Zone 6 would be at the front of the aircraft (excluding business class), this is standard practice for many airlines during the pandemic. The gate was disorganized, with lines of people queueing everywhere, and it was a confusing mess. After my zone was called, we were taken to an airport bus and driven to the parking stand where the A350-900 was.
Once the bus had opened its doors, we were directed towards the stairs where I managed to snap a few photos of the shiny A350. The crew greeted me while boarding and I made my way towards my seat, catching a glimpse of the business class section, with the new ‘herringbone’ design which many find uncomfortable. My seat was 23K right by the window, lucky me, but also unlucky me, because there was an hour and a half delay.
Tip: You can change your seat via the Qatar Airways mobile app up to 24 hours before departure
Life Hack: If you are going to fly on a Qatar Airways flight operated by a 777 or an A350, install their online application (App Store, Google Play, or App Gallery) to unlock an hour of free inflight WiFi.
I noticed the economy seats were quite large and spacious and had an ample amount of legroom, the seat was relatively clean although there was a curious-looking brown blob on my armrest which I scrubbed off with the refreshment towel that the crew provided. I also found the seats very comfortable and packed with convenient amenities such as a large recline. Each seat was equipped with a pillow and blanket, headphones, an amenity kit (these are only available on certain flights, containing socks, eye mask, lip balm, toothbrush and toothpaste, and earplugs), a hygiene kit (Mask, latex gloves, and 25ml hand sanitizer), a headphone port and USB port.
The entertainment screen was touchscreen and responsive, that was until it froze halfway through the flight, the crew wasn’t able to fix the issue but they compensated me by giving me a bag of sea salt rice crackers, which was a nice touch. The ‘Oryx One’ IFE system offered a wide variety of films including Bollywood, Hollywood, and African movies. There were over 550 movie options, games, music, a Holy Koran, and TV. My personal favorite was the camera option, which let you select which view from the airplane you wanted to look at, this feature is usually available on all A350s on most airlines. Whilst we were taxiing, the safety video played. I thought that it was rather amusing, it was based on Qatar’s national football team and the FIFA2022 World Cup.
We then thundered down the runway and suddenly we were up in the air, above the skyscrapers of Doha, and towards Bangkok.
Food and Refreshments
After takeoff, the crew served everyone a brunch meal, with an option of turkey or vegetable pastry, accompanied by a drink, I chose the mango juice which was quite sweet. We were also offered a Manner chocolate biscuit. During the last 2 hours of the flight, I woke up to the cabin crew handing out dinner and landing cards (landing cards are to be filled in by all passengers not holding a Thai passport when arriving in Bangkok). The meal option consisted of chicken pasta or a beef stew, as the cabin crew insisted the beef stew was better, I followed their option. The beef stew was served with mashed potatoes, Sticky rice and mango pudding, a bread bun, water, and a salad with purple rice. It tasted pretty good, although the meat was a little chewy.
Landing and Descent
After the cabin crew had collected in the meal trays, the captain announced our descent into Bangkok. We landed at 9 PM so it was hard to see the usual beautiful view. The landing was a little on the hard side, but I got there safe so I won’t complain. Disembarking was relatively quick, there was the occasional suitcase getting stuck here and there.
In conclusion, it was a decent flight, the crew was very attentive, the seats were great and the food was pretty good. The letdowns were the lack of organization upon boarding, the fact that the flight was delayed by 1 hour and a half, inconsistent hygiene level in the cabin, and my IFE not working for half the flight. I would recommend this flight to someone else on a budget though, it was the cheapest option during the winter peak period.