Flight test: Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed arrival

17:00, Aug 02 2014

The service is impeccable - near at hand but never fussy or invasive. 


THE ROUTE Perth to Doha.

THE PLANE Boeing 777-300ER

THE LOYALTY SCHEME The matter-of-factly named Privilege Club, but Qatar is part of the Oneworld alliance, so funnel your flyer miles to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.

UP THE BACK OR AT THE POINTY END? Business class, seat 3A. The cabin is in 2-2-2 configuration


TIME IN THE AIR Perth to Doha was scheduled to take 11 hours, 20 minutes, but we did it in 11 hours flat.

THE SEAT STUFF The business seat, more like a pod, evolves into a lie-flat bed and there is ample room. The built-in massager may sound gimmicky, but I'm always looking for a jetlag cure. Despite the roominess, I'm somehow too tall for the headrest, which just proves some people are never happy.

BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE Business class passengers are allowed up to three items of checked baggage, not exceeding a total of 40 kilograms. Carry-on baggage allowance is one bag up to 16kg, which is double the weight allowance for economy class.

COMFORT FACTOR I can stretch my legs out when sitting and still come up about 30 centimetres short of the seat in front. It seems almost excessive until it comes to nap time, when the seat flattens out to 180 degrees. There are a dozen buttons to control the pod's recline, support and massage, so you can play a Homer Simpson-esque "bed goes up, bed goes down" game to your heart's content.

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT Oryx inflight entertainment is very international in its selection. There are more than 100 movies on offer, though the new releases are not quite new. Instead I opted for the plethora of sitcoms and a couple of docos.

THE SERVICE From the welcome-aboard lime mint refresher to the friendly but unobtrusive crew, the service is impeccable - near at hand but never fussy or invasive. It's not local or matey, but approachable and dedicated. I didn't feel like breakfast as we came into land and so the stewardess offered to cook me some lemon linguine with sea bass. It's easy to see why this Middle Eastern carrier has won numerous Skytrax awards for its business class.

FEEDING TIME They served only Heineken, which meant my Aussie miner neighbour settled for juice. I stayed loyal with a Marlborough Petit Clos, a French style sav. The Thai crab cakes were a little foam-like, but everything else, including barramundi with sambal sauce, were stand-outs. The breakfast smoothies were a nice touch pre-landing in Doha.

ONE MORE THING A business class seat includes access to the Qantas lounge in Perth, which is often near-empty due to Qantas stopping many of its own international flights from Perth.

THE VERDICT I am a terrible sleeper in transit, so the 180 degree lie-flat was a huge bonus and meant on this red eye flight I arrived well rested, fed and watered, ready to tackle the 42 degree heat.

FREQUENCY Perth to Doha is daily and requires a 4.5 hours layover in Perth, if flying from New Zealand.

Josh Martin flew to Doha courtesy of Qatar Airways.

Sunday Star Times