- Flight: QR654
- Route: DOH-CMB
- Equipment: Airbus A340-600
- Cabin: Business Class
- Seat: 2J/2K
[Please see video above, if you prefer to watch a video review.]
Qatar Airways recently retrofitted their Airbus A340-600s from a 3 cabin to a 2 cabin aircraft. These birds used to fly to London and Paris and offered a First Class product. Those routes have now been replaced by QR’s A380, A350, 787, and 777s depending on the day and schedule.
All 4 A340-600s have been retrofitted with only 24 flat bed business class seats, and a whopping 348 economy seats. These planes are now deployed to lower yield routes like Colombo, Kuala Lumpur, Cairo, and Algiers just to name a few, as well as short haul “shuttle” flights within the Middle East.
We started off at Hamad International Airport where we spent most of our time at the Al Mourjan Business Lounge. We walked around for a bit, and had a sandwich at their casual “deli” restaurant on the main level.
Then we went to their shower area for a hot shower, but there was quite a line. We waited for about an hour, and eventually 2 rooms opened up. The attendant walked us to our respective shower rooms and asked if he could get us any amenities. I asked for a toothbrush, which he quickly brought. The shower room was a good size with a toilet, sink, and various toiletries.
After a refreshing shower, we headed upstairs to the main restaurant. We sat down and ordered some champagne and water. The restaurant used to offer made to order entrées in addition to the buffet spread but sadly those days are gone. We took a few hot items from the buffet to tie us over before our next on-board meal.
After our meal, we made our way to the gate area. Upon arrival, we waited about 10 minutes before boarding started. Passengers with disabilities and young children boarded first, followed by business class passengers.
Upon arrival at the plane door, we were greeted by Puneet, the in-flight service manager. He asked one of the flight attendants to walk us over to our seats. We were seated in 2J and 2K on the starboard side of the airplane.
As I mentioned above, there are 24 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration on this aircraft. The seats are ideal if you are traveling with a companion, but not so much for solo travelers since not everyone gets direct aisle access. I have to note that because of the curvature of the plane, the overhead bins above our seats were not large enough to fit our carry ons. We had a hard time stowing our luggage, and had to move back to row 4/5 to stow them.
After settling in, a flight attendant offered us a pre-departure beverage and hot or cold towel. We ordered some champagne and cold towels to cool us down.
We were also offered the wine list and a printed sheet of paper which was the menu for today’s flight. The flight attendant was apologetic, and explained that they had issues printing the in-flight dining menu for the flight.
We were also offered mini-amenity kits.
Soon boarding was complete and the Captain made his pre-departure announcement, and mentioned that our flight time to Colombo would be 4 hours and 20 minutes. We pushed back from the gate shortly as the Safety Video played.
During taxi, Puneet, came by to formally welcome us to the flight, followed by another flight attendant who took our beverage and meal orders.
It was a quick taxi to the end of the runway, after which the engines revved up and we were off to Colombo. As this was an A340, the takeoff roll was slightly longer, and the ascent was gradual.
It was a rather choppy start of the flight as we made our way up. It was a good 20 minutes, before the captain turned off the seatbelt sign, after which the flight attendants started the on-board service.
I ordered a strawberry and fig smoothie to start.
Then my table was set, complete with a bread basket, butter, and jam
Next up, I ordered the seasonal fresh fruits.
For the main entrée, I ordered the omelet with chicken and potato rosti. It was very filling and delicious!
Soon after we were done with our meal, our table was cleared and we were offered hot towels.
After the meal service, I visited the lavatory to freshen up a bit. The lavatory was a good size and it even had a window! As usual, it was well stocked with QR’s amenities and toiletries.
After going back to my seat, I felt a bit tired so I just made my bed and took a quick nap.
I slept for about an hour and decided to flip through the IFE content. Ultimately, I just decided to watch the moving map.
About 45 minutes after, the captain announced our initial descent into Colombo. The view was nice on the way down, though it got bumpy at times.
Puneet came by again and thanked us for flying Qatar Airways, as the crew started their landing preparations.
Landing was gradual and uneventful. We taxied for a few minutes before parking on a remote stand next to a SriLankan A330. We soon bid farewell to the crew, took the stairs down and got on the bus to the terminal. The bus ride was quick, and before we knew it we were at the Terminal transit counters to get our boarding passes for our next flight.
Overall, I thought this was a nice flight. The service from the crew was attentive and the food was excellent. I thought the seat was comfortable enough, but this may not be the case if I was traveling alone and had to climb over someone when I need to access the aisle. Also, if you’re the claustrophobic type, you may want to choose an aisle seat as the window seats may feel a little cramped. The overhead bin was probably the biggest issue for me since, for the life of me couldn’t fit my luggage above my seat. The missing dining menu was a little tacky, but understandable. I would give this flight a good 7 out of 10.