TRIP REPORT: Qatar Airways, Tokyo - Zurich via Doha


Submitted by Alexander Stare

After 3 weeks of vacation in Japan, we took the evening flight QR813 to Doha which departs right after midnight. There is several ways to get from Downtown to Tokyo Haneda Airport: commuter train, Monorail, Airport Limousine Bus from Tokyo Station, Taxis or private shuttle. I chose the Airport Limousine Bus which took me from Tokyo Station in about 35 minutes to Haneda. Despite being in the largest city in the world, we were the only two passengers on board.

Meanwhile, Haneda is the fourth largest in the world by passenger numbers. I liked the large observation terrace and there are plenty of stores and restaurants where you could spend your time and money.

Check-in was efficient and friendly, security check priority lane was just for frequent flyers Gold or Platinum members. We were through the check within five minutes.

The JAL Sakura Lounge is a two-floor lounge with a smoking room, good food available and very clean as there is not much to clean. Japanese people are very thoughtful and would not leave their trays on the table.

QR813 was on time, boarding went smoothly and once you board Qatar Airways Business Class you are in paradise. These guys still know how to gift and host their guests. There are several welcome drinks available, I took the lemon-mint drink, which tastes fantastic and is a Qatar Airways distinctive mark.

Typical of Qatar Airways is that the CSD Cabin Service Director visits each passenger, greets them by name and presents themselves as the CSD (they also apologise in person in case of delay).

The flight journey from Tokyo to Doha takes 11h 20min and you are offered an a la carte menu where you can eat any time you want, and chose from either the a la carte menu or the Japanese kaiseki menu. A la carte consists of a soup, two appetizers, three mains, cheese plate and three desserts.

Wine choice consists of two white and three red wines. The value of these wines, if they were to be purchased on the internet range from around 08-44 EUR per bottle. The French Bordeaux was 44 EUR (still a nice change to the US and European Carriers where max prizes range at 08-22 EUR).

IFE screens are 17 inches, A350 Business has 1-2-1 configuration, 3 lavatories, 36 seats and seat dimensions 30x80 inches. IFE had a big selection of movies, not just Hollywood Blockbusters, there were plenty of languages available too. Only in German there were about 30 movies. It was one of the better IFE’s I've encountered on my business trips. Over at the middle seats there are no overhead bins, so the cabin is wide and roomy.

We headed down South over Osaka, turned right heading towards Seoul, flew over Beijing and later on Mongolia, Iran to Qatar.

Seats are fine, but the largest part in the front seat seemed to be a bit narrow. Still I enjoyed a 7.5 hour sleep and I woke up somewhere over Iran, about 1 hour prior to landing in Doha.

Breakfast choice is Continental, Japanese or a Light Option with some Nigiri and Suhi rolls. Flight QR813 was full in business class.

At Doha Airport, many of the flights park at a remote stand. Pick-up for Business Class passengers is by a Business Class-seat configured bus and of course fully air-conditioned. The Qatar Lounge in Doha is huge, the largest I ever visited and the best I have seen on all my trips so far. It amounts to 10.000 m2 and besides that lounge, there is another Business Class Lounge and a First Class Lounge.

Again you encounter award winning Arabian hospitality where, for example, toilets get cleaned after each person uses it. A level of service which has not existed in Europe for a long time. There is a great choice of excellent dishes which looked very tasty.

Our flight to Zurich was delayed by 2.5 hours, which did not really affect me as I enjoyed their beautiful lounge with a shower and chatted to their employees.

QR95 was again at a remote stand (actually it was the same aircraft which flew me from Haneda to Doha. Also one typical Qatar Airways feature: the cabin was perfectly cooled down and on the side where the sun was shining inside the cabin, the window shades were down.

On the flight to Zurich, the cabin load factor was about 33%. Again, a large option of a la carte food available or five light option choices. The flight took us over Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria to Zurich. The CSD was a Serbian lady with a fantastic service-minded attitude. We talked a lot about Qatar Airways and their high level of service. She also said to me that cabin members are checking F/C restrooms every 5-10 minutes and if they pass the cabin and see a passenger leaving the toilet, they will do a spot check immediately to check whether the toilet was left clean.

After another six hours we landed in Zurich where I felt relaxed and got my bags in no time.

Qatar Airways business class is the best product I have flown on. And after my Melbourne trip a couple years ago, I can confirm, Qatar Airways is and remains my best business class experience and is a welcoming difference to, for example my BA A380 business class trip to Vancouver a couple weeks ago.

Regardless of the discussion if Gulf carriers receive state aid, Qatar Airways gets points with little details such as the lemon-mint drink while boarding, the CSD welcoming each passenger by name and apologising if a delay occurred, walking through the cabin even during night flights every 5-10 minutes, cleaning lavatories every 05-10 minutes, window slides down on one side while boarding or the real roses which you find in the entrance area of the aircraft. These are features which don’t cost millions of USD, it’s just proof that Al Baker and his team take hospitality seriously and the business class customer is still a king.

Flying with Qatar Airways in business class is definitely still like what you see it in airline commercials. Absolutely worth paying the extra bucks!


  1. Anonymous09:09

    The food looks exquisite. Well done QR.

  2. Anonymous09:52

    Thank you for this exquisite report!

  3. Anonymous09:53

    Pff, great great product, mate. QR really is 5 star when it comes to business.
    I personally flew with them to CMB and MNL.
    Hamad Airport is also super nice.

    The CEO Al Baker is kinda of an a**ehole, but we know he well leads the company.

    Anyway, excellent report. Happy flying :)

    1. Cargo dude from ZRH17:05

      Same was said for Steve Jobs of Apple but that didn't hurt Apple product sales.
      Trip report was detailed. I personally have more confidence in balanced reviews.

  4. now i am hungry. great report!

  5. Anonymous14:14

    I had the opportunity to visit the QR lounge in Doha and it really is fantastic.

    Also kudos to Qatar for really building a great airport in Doha. It is such a point of difference compared to others in the Middle East. There is no bling, no kitsch, but a really functional and good looking airport.

  6. Anonymous16:00

    QR has one of the best passenger on board products in the arline industry.

  7. Anonymous20:24

    So, once again, how is this related to Ex-Yu? This is really absolutely pointless.

    1. Trip reports are not limited to geography and readers are encouraged to post reports from various airlines and routes. The point of each trip report is for readers to get to know various airlines, their levels of service, hub airports and the overall experience. There is a whole world of aviation outside the boarders of the former Yugoslavia, and many readers take flights which originate outside of the former Yugoslavia.

      If you find a certain trip report pointless or have an issue with it, you are not required to click on it and can enjoy the more than forty other trip reports published so far this year.


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