Flight Review: We jump on board Australia’s first A350 with Qatar Airways – Adelaide to Doha (QR915)

Earlier in the week we reported that Adelaide has been getting a lot of love lately from a number of airlines, receiving new direct routes to Asia and the Middle East. The South Australian capital city has even been the first airport in Australia to receive the new Airbus A350 service, courtesy of Qatar Airway’s direct service to Doha, Qatar. Sosefina flew on their airline earlier in the year, flying via Doha to get to London, and brings us back this report of the experience on board the world’s newest aircraft:

Airline: Qatar Airlines
Route: Adelaide – Doha QR915
Seat: 33D (Economy Class, Aisle in 3-3-3 Configuration)
Aircraft: Airbus A350

Scheduled Flight Time: 13 hours, 55 minutes (departure 2125, due 0450)
On Schedule? On time.

Check in & Baggage:

The allowance for Economy Class is one piece of checked luggage (30kg), and one piece of hand luggage not exceeding 7kg. My flight was on a weeknight departing Adelaide, so it was not a full flight; there was no extensive wait time to check in and my luggage was checked all the way through to Heathrow (London being my final destination). Boarding passes were issued for the second leg of the journey from initial check in at Adelaide Airport.

Meal Service:

Dinner service commenced not long after take off, with three choices (two meat, one vegetarian). An extensive drinks menu was also offered throughout the flight. Snacks were served through the flight, though because we were on a late night flight, I wasn’t awake enough to make use of Qatar’s normal menu options.

In-Flight Entertainment:

Qatar’s entertainment package (ORYX ONE) features a wide range of movies, TV shows, music videos, games and information footage for travellers to explore. I caught up on a few movies on this flight including Secret in Their Eyes, Spotlight, The Forest and The Good Dinosaur.

On board Wi-Fi is available, with prices showing up once your phone or device connects to the network in the air. I didn’t take advantage of the offer, though I did see many around me doing so.

Comfort:

Economy class seating was still spacious and very comfortable. My flight wasn’t full at all, so I was able to spread out in my own row. Seats in Economy are organised in a 3-3-3 configuration and the seats themselves recline far enough to offer a decent amount of leg room (perfect for the long-legged, like myself). Travellers in Economy are provided a blanket and pillow, along with a pouch that included a sleeping mask, ear plugs, socks and a mini toothbrush and toothpaste. We were also given warm refresher towelettes at take off and before landing, and the flight crew were also kind enough to ask me beforehand if I was planning on sleeping through some of the meal service, so they could leave a snack for me in my seat pocket.

Customer Service:

All the Qatar staff I came into contact with were incredibly polite and friendly, from check-in through to on board the flight. The flight crew were quick to ensure everyone was in their seat promptly. The safety video made good use of Qatar’s partnership with FC Barcelona, utilising players to take travellers through all the messages and rules, offered in both English and Arabic. The crew remained friendly and attentive throughout the flight, even if they were called upon at 3am/hour 12.

Transit at Hamad International Airport:

Arriving at Hamad International Airport to make my connecting flight to London was a smooth and easy experience. As I landed in the early hours of the morning and my connecting flight was scheduled for 5:30am, making my way from gate to gate was a quick journey despite the airport’s size, mainly because there weren’t many travellers rushing around.

Progressing through their security checks was a seamless process and the staff at the airport were friendly and quick to get us through. There weren’t many cafes or airport restaurants open when I was making my way through, though there were plenty of newsagents and gift stores operating early. Airport Wi-Fi was admittedly sketchy as I waited to board my next flight, only working strongly enough to use social media and minimal amounts of iMessaging. Trying to work and do emails became frustratingly difficult (though I imagine access in any of their airport lounges would offer a different experience). Hamad International is impressively sleek and clean in its design, quite clearly tailored for busy commuters and a large amount of incoming and outgoing flights; the monorail inside the terminal runs throughout, no doubt offering travellers a quick alternative to running from one end to the other.

To book yourself a flight with Qatar Airlines, visit their website HERE.

The journalist travelled at the expense of AU Abroad