JONAS
Jonas Rask Eilersen
Qatar Airways A321 Business Class
Qatar Airways Airbus A321, Doha Hamad International Airport - Larnaca International Airport, Business Class
26th April 2016

Still the cream of the crop of world airlines? I checked out Qatar Airways on a short flight from Doha to Larnaca. Read on for my honest review.

Check In
I'd checked in at Bangalore and so could proceed straight to the lounge at Doha. Security was very quick via the fast track.
The Lounge
The Al Mourjan lounge is a dream - it's built for big crowds, but is cleverly divided into smaller and bigger areas, enabling you to choose a place to relax, another to dine and drink, yet another to work and so on.

The lounge, located in the transit area, and spread over several floors, is over 10,000 sq.m. in size.

Access is easy; a staff member scans your boarding card at the escalator up - there is no need to queue anywhere.

I love the chic and quite restrained décor- but what really sets the lounge apart is the service. There's table service, and I really enjoyed eating breakfast in this almost boutique hotel-like setting. Thankfully, there are no boarding calls.
Boarding
Although Hamad International has plenty of jetbridges, unfortunately our A321 was parked at a remote stand. Furthermore, the gate, E24, was placed at the far end of the concourse. This was not a massive bother, however, as, once at the gate, I was quickly identified as a business class passenger, and asked to sit and wait for the dedicated business class shuttle to the plane.

There are priority seats at the gate - it all is so immensely civilized, and you feel that the airport and airline teams work together solely to ensure the passenger's comfort.

The transfer was a mere two minutes and we were then sent up the stairs to the aircraft. All perfect.
The Cabin, Seat and Service
As I entered the cabin, the femaled purser greeted me with a huge smile and I was shown to my seat, 2F. A nice Israely lady, who was travelling with her sister, asked me if I'd like to switch to her seat, 3A. I obliged, as in this cabin, there really are no bad seats.

While this is undoubtedly Qatar Airways' poorest cabin product, I have absolutely no complaints. The A321 features a luxurious mid-haul business class cabin. With 8 seats in a 2-2 configuration, the cabin is completely separated from economy class, and features some very nice, electronically operated seats.

The legroom is ample, and the seat offers ample recline, as well as a good deal of storage space. A very good monitor for IFE was stored away in the armrest. 7 out of 8 seats were occupied.

Before take-off, an unusual safety video, featuring F.C. Barcelona stars, was played. Then, the purser introduced herself personally to all passengers and asked what I'd like to drink. I chose orange juice - this was brought promptly, alongside a warm towel. No amenity kit was offered.
Food and Drink
I was very impressed with the menu; beautifully presented, it offered a number of breakfast options. I chose the strawberry and banana smoothie (which was very sweet - but just what I needed!)

As an appetiser, I opted for the Bircher muesli with fruits - it was perfect. The main, a Gruyère omelette, was superb.

Although it was only around 8 in the morning, I washed it all down with the fabulous rosé Champagne, Drappier. It came in large flutes. All very impressive.
Inflight Entertainment
The Oryx entertainment system is one of the best in the skies, and the system on the A321 offers the full experience. I loved the noise-cancelling headphones which, for once, were big enough for my big head! The selection, too, is impressive with plenty of new and not-so-new releases, TV shows, games and news stations. Furthermore, wifi is offered - I did not use it on this occasion, preferring to just eat, drink, sleep and watch TV!
Arrival
We arrived almost 30 minutes early into Larnaca. The cabin was immaculately clean on arrival. As a business class passenger, I was offered priority disembarkation. As I got up to leave the aircraft, the purser thanked me personally for flying Qatar Airways and said that she hoped I'd had a nice rest. I did!

As I was continuing onto an Arkia Israeli Airlines flight to Tel Aviv, there were no bags to pick up. Note: the transit was surprisingly easy and painfree.
Verdict
Qatar Airways remains the airline to beat; the ground and onboard product are outstanding. Even on these A321s, the comfort is top notch.