Qatar Airways are known to have some of the best inflight service whichever cabin you fly in, but what about the food? I was interested to find out about their economy class experience.
I booked a ticket from Helsinki to Bangkok one way, very last minute at an excellent price. My flight from Helsinki to Doha would take around 5hr and 25 mins, so I was expecting at least one meal service and a snack service.
ON THE GROUND
I had a very warm welcome aboard by the attentive crew at the boarding door, and as I continued the walk to economy class, each crew member greeted me as I passed. It was clear that the service on this flight would be good.
Not long after I took my seat, the crew came through to offer hot towels, headphones and amenity kits. Impressive to offer so much service on the ground before takeoff.
About 10 minutes after takeoff, the crew were released from their seats, and they started to prepare for the service. Inflight menus were distributed just after this.
I ordered a vegan meal on this part of the trip, as I wanted to see what their special meal offerings were like. Beverage options include three wines (Red, White and Sparkling) three spirit options (Bombay Saphire Gin, Smirnoff Vodka and Dewar’s white label Whiskey). There were eight cocktail options, Beer from Heineken, Brandy/Liqueur options as well as Pepsi products and a range of coffee and Ceylon Tea.
The flight was only about 30% full in economy class, which resulted in me creating a makeshift business class seat in economy. It was so nice to stretch out and relax in economy class.
Thirty-five mins after taking off a crew member came to my seat, knelt and confirmed my special meal order. A few minutes later, the meal carts travelled through the cabin, and my meal was delivered.
The economy class menu on Qatar Airways offers three choices of main meals, an infused focaccia bread (not something you see in economy class generally), some fresh fruit, side salad and one option for dessert.
The vegan meal was a vegetarian bean croquette served with rice and tomato sauce. The rice was slightly dry; the croquette was bland; in fact, I’d go as far to say it tasted like cardboard. The rice starter was quite tasty and packed flavour. What I loved about the economy class meal tray on Qatar were the small touches like proper cutlery, the focaccia bread and the presentation of the napkin. What I didn’t like was the taste and quality of the meal; my expectations were probably a little too high.
About 1hr and 15 mins after takeoff the crew came around to collect all the meal trays and they offered an additional round of drinks. I asked if I could see one of the standard economy meals. The crew obliged and came back with the Chicken Kapsa, I had a few mouthfuls, and it was much better than the vegan option.
Four hours into the flight, the crew commenced the second meal service. For my special vegan meal, I received a spinach and lemon dahl heated wrap. For a 5h 25min trip, they certainly provided an adequate amount of food.
I enjoyed the wrap, and there was certainly no way I could stomach another full meal tray as we had only eaten a few hours before.
DOHA TO BANGKOK
My connecting flight was from Doha to Bangkok taking approximately 5.5 hours; the same pattern of service was completed on the ground as the previous flight.
Ten minutes after takeoff, I received my inflight menu, and about 20 minutes later, the crew commenced the inflight service.
I selected the western breakfast when I should have perhaps opted for the stir-fried noodles. The eggs were quite tasteless and hard; the only decent part of the hot meal was the sausage. I was quite disappointed with the main meal overall.
Around 1hr 50mins before landing in Bangkok, the second service began, the same snack offering was distributed by the crew. There was a choice (I can’t remember the other choice), but I opted for the Chinese Barbeque option, it was delicious and the perfect snack considering the flight time.
I can’t fault the service on any of my Qatar Airways flights, the crew was professional at all times, their service language polished, and they were highly competent crew members. I don’t think I’ve come across another airline where all the crew are of the same standard, no matter what flight you take. I guess it all comes down to the training that the airline offers their crew.
I’d happily fly the airline again; there are some great touches in economy class, I just wish their hot meals were of a slightly better standard.