QR303 (DOH-HEL), QR302 (HEL-DOH) and QR848 (DOH-KUL)
I decided to lump the review of all 3 flights under one post as these flights offered similar experience using the same type of plane (and hence cabin).
Unlike the A330-200, the A330-300 experience was much better. Unlike the former, A330-300 seats are 180 degree full flat and newer with more storage space allocated. As A330-300 is longer, the Business Class Cabin thus has more seats (30 vs 24 in A330-200) and is not cut off by the galley. Seats are still configured in 2-2-2 making it less attractive than those on Dreamliner and A350-900 (or Qsuites).
From Qatar Airways’ website, they have 4 different version of A330-300. 2 versions came with First Class while another 2 without. The one I took was without, hence it has 30 seats. Although seats are configured 6 abreast, the seats are slightly slanted away from the aisle. There is a retractable partition to separate adjacent seats for slightly more privacy. As mentioned, there are certainly more storage space here. There is a small foot well but for those who are in the bulkhead seats, you have a full width foot rest. TV screen is certainly larger than what I had on the A330-200 and is touchscreen enabled.
The seat certainly feels more comfortable with more degree of freedom of configuring the seat. With the leg rest up (and flushed with the foot rest), you have a very comfortable lounging position (more comfortable than that of SQ’s J seat as I do not need to seat slanted).
One issue with the seat is that once the table is deployed, it is quite difficult for you to get out of the seat. Luckily, the hand rest can be lowered and that gives you some access to the aisle. For those who are big sized, this can still be quite challenging!
Meals were pretty similar to what I had on my QR849. For dinner service, you have 2 appetisers and 3 mains to choose from (on top of that from the light option service). As for the late night flights (QR 303 and QR 848), you get a breakfast service. For those who are up to it, there are light bite options one can choose from once the seatbelt sign is off. This is not offered automatically but the crew will come about to ask if you would like to have anything to eat after take-off.
Drinks menu was the same for all 4 flights. The only additional item I tried on my flight out of Helsinki was the Sweet Tokaji which I took with my cheese.
QR 303 Meal – Breakfast
QR 302 Meal – Dinner
QR 849 Meal – Breakfast
Service on the A330-300s seemed more efficient and faster despite having more seats. QR303 was quite empty but both QR302 and QR848 was full! Despite that, the service was certainly faster than what I had on QR849. The crew were still friendly and professional and was more prompt in attending to the call bell. Meal was certainly served faster too.
Amenity kits were given on all 3 sectors and after 4 flights, we accumulated a total of 24 kits in various colours! We had the yellow, brown, pink and dark blue. I do like the BRICS kit as the hard casing looks sturdy. Toothbrush and toothpaste were not included but one can easily get it from the lavatory. The toothbrush wasn’t great as it was too hard for my liking. Pyjamas had a slightly different packing and colour but quality wise was similar to what I had from my previous flight.
The Oryx system is similar to that on QR849, i.e. very limited contents. It certainly pales in comparison to what I am used to on Krisworld but it is still adequate for a 7-8 hour journey. The Noise Cancellation headphones are good but certainly not great. It blocks off the noise but certainly inferior to what Bose has to offer. It was good enough for me to sleep with (to block off the engine noise).
The experience on the A330-300 was certainly better although it would have been better if one can get the A350, Dreamliner, A380 or the new Qsuites. I was definitely not setting my expectations too high for this trip and for the price I paid, I certainly have no complaints. It certainly beats flying in Economy!
Qatar Airways is quite active in having promotion and to keep a lookout for flights exiting Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phuket and Saigon as they do offer pretty good fares on Business Class!
By accumulating my miles on British Airways Executive Club, I managed to chalk in almost 100,000 miles by maximizing my household account (up to 6 person can be added on to the household account) and this is good enough for 1 return J on British Airways to Sydney (or 2 one way J) or 2 return J on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong (or 2 one way F to Hong Kong)!