Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Last November, I had the privilege of flying with Qatar Airways from Helsinki to Canberra, Australia, as part of a broader trip to Australia and beyond. The second leg of this trip, from Doha to Canberra – via Sydney – was made using Qatar’s flagship product, their A350-1000 Q-Suite business class.

I filmed the experience for my YouTube channel, too:

My day began very early at Hamad Airport, where I was able to use the dedicated business class check-in counters. Hamad Airport is airy and spacious, and the check-in area was one of the largest and sparsest I can recall using.

checkin at hammed airport, business class

Everyone knows about the fun – and slightly terrifying – Lamp Bear at Hamad. He’s still there, albeit with a few cracks on show now!

lamp bear hamad airport

The Al-Mourjan lounge at Hamad Airport is enormous and impressive. It’s over one and a half floors and features a reflective pool as a centerpiece:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

The lounge is superbly appointed, although it is enormous, and I couldn’t help but feel how impersonal the room felt.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

My favorite area was the refectory, which serves a decent breakfast and good coffee, which was very welcome as I was here at 5 am!

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Be warned that some gates at Hamad are set up for an additional security check; destinations to the US, Australia, UK, and some others will attract enhanced screening for all passengers, so be there punctually!

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Our gorgeous A350-1000 was hiding behind the airbridge, so just the nose was visible as we boarded. Qatar uses this aircraft on its longest route. Incidentally, the rationale behind the somewhat quirky Canberra route can be found here.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

The Q-Suite is impressive – it’s one of the most reviewed business classes worldwide and justifiably so. It’s a masterpiece of great design and use of space. I was in 4B, a forward-facing seat. Rear-facing seats have the position closer to the window, but at the expense of a little seat-side storage.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Qatar’s Q-suite is very versatile. These “honeymoon seats” face another pair of seats, and, thanks to the magic of lowering partitions, a conference table of four people can be made – ideal for families or business groups.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

The choice and quality of finishes on these seats, which were designed by London-based company PriestmanGoode, are world-class.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000 Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

I tried the Qatar signature drink – a lemon/lime and mint non-alcoholic cocktail, before departure. It’s not really my sort of thing, I’m afraid, but if you like minty drinks I’m sure you’ll find it excellent!

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Departure was punctual, just before 8 am local time.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

This flight traverses multiple timezones very quickly indeed, so the meal service was breakfast – dinner – breakfast all before arriving in Sydney. There is no meal on the very short Canberra leg. Qatar offers dine on-demand, so you can – if you prefer – skip the service flow and eat whatever you like whenever you like.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

This was my first time heading to Australia, believe it or not, so I had a glass of champagne to celebrate!

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Qatar’s catering is splendid, and the breakfast was delicious. I opted for the muesli and waffles with creme Anglaise shortly after departure.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000 Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

The amenity kit was by Bric’s, and the contents were identical to the previous leg, which I also reviewed.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

The seat design onboard the A350-1000 is, as I’ve said, world-class. There are individual air vents:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

…a do not disturb button:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

…HD quality remote control for the IFE:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

…copious storage options including this large chest-type area by the seat which I could store all my cameras inside:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

…more discreet storage for newspapers etc.:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

…and of course a closing door, the big selling point of the suite. This is a substantial piece of kit which stays in place and which provides excellent privacy, unlike the token effort BA launched on their A350 recently:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Qatar proactively offers pajamas on this very long flight, and, while basic, they fit me reasonably well.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

The best thing about bed mode in the Q-suite is the padded lid for the storage area. Not only can this be sat on, but your elbows will fit nicely here if you’re a side sleeper like me.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000 Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

After a few hours’ nap, I had dinner, which started with a lamb amuse-bouche:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Soup:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Yet another starter dish – prawns and scallops (excellent!):

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

A forgettable, slightly fatty beef main course:

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

…and finally, an exquisite lemon and cream sponge, wonderfully tart. Overall, a very solid meal, only let down by a weak beef dish.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Qatar’s Oryx One entertainment system is also world-class. In full HD, and with an enormous amount of choice, there is no excuse for being bored on this 16-hour odyssey to Canberra.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

After another sleep, it was time for a second breakfast. This time, I went for fruit and the porridge oats.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Once again, the catering was of a high standard. I’d come into this flight knowing how hyped the Q-Suite product is, and looking to be something of a contrarian – but the reality is, it’s just a superb product. All of the good reviews I’ve read and watched before this experience now seem justifiably effusive in their praise.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

The bush fires of late 2019 seem a long way away now, but they were in full swing at the time of taking this trip. Sydney was covered in smoke, and it stank, even inside the terminal. I was shocked at just how bad it was – we flew over multiple bushfire sites on approach.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

If you’re saying on to Canberra, you need to exit the aircraft in Sydney, clear a short security check and wait again at the same gate. The wait for me was less than an hour, so barely enough time to get to a lounge and enjoy it properly, although you might want to get a coffee. It’s an efficient process and the loads to Canberra are very low, so boarding is done very quickly.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

Amazingly, the aircraft is thoroughly cleaned for the 40-minute hop south to Canberra, and new pillows are placed out, too. No new passengers board in Sydney – the airline doesn’t have the right to carry domestic Australian passengers – so this seems excessive, even if it makes for a pleasant experience!

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

In summary, Qatar’s Q Suite is the best business class seat I’ve flown, and the service, food, and ambiance all contribute to a memorable experience. The only minor downsides were a slightly weak ground experience in Doha, with a busy and impersonal lounge along with an enhanced security check, and a single underperforming dish out of nine. I join the ranks of reviewers lauding Qatar for this incredible product and would certainly fly it again!

Flight Review: Qatar Airways Q-Suites, A350-1000

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