Back in November there was this crazy sale on Qatar Airways where you could get an open jaw ticket for and incredible price. All you had to do was start your journey in Malaysia, end it in Jakarta and enter Europe through one city and return via another. We had no plans to go to Europe, but when we plugged in some dates to the website, we couldn’t believe the price. US$350 for the entire trip inclusive of all taxes and fees — we just had to buy it.
Our flight was from Kuala Lumpur to Copenhagen with a 2h30m transit in Doha. Both flights used brand new Boeing 787 dreamliners and it was our first time flying in them. While most aspects of the two flights were great, the planes themselves were substandard for a full service for reasons we’ll get to in a moment. First, the inflight service.
On each flight we were offered package refresher towels not long after take off and the meal service started soon after. The food out of Kuala Lumpur was below average for a full service carrier, but quite good out of Doha. A second fairly heavy snack was served out of Kuala Lumpur and a light snack served out of Doha. Both meals out of Doha were far far better than out of KL.
Drinks were offered several times throughout both flights, staff were very friendly and attentive and the overall level of service was good.
For those of you who haven’t flown on a Dreamliner, the windows are the star of the plane. No window shades — just this dimmer function which can create an incredibly dark cabin electronically.
The seat configuration in economy on Qatar 787s is 3-3-3 and it should be outlawed. The seats are extremely narrow to the point where my body was twisted sideways for 7 hours straight out of KL because I was next to another man. Not a big man. Just a man. And because men often have broad shoulders, it means there is not enough room if two normal sized men sit next to each other. There was no fight for the armrest — we were fighting to see whose arm could be on top of whose. We weren’t just rubbing shoulders, our shoulders were overlapping at times. Eating a meal like this is very difficult. I would hate think how it would be with two bigger people sitting next to each other.
Aside from the narrowness of the seats, I also found them to be very close together when the person in front reclines their seat. You always get up personal when this happens in economy, but this flight felt more like Air Asia in this regard than any other full service carrier I’ve flown on.
The positives were the entertainment unit which has a large sharp screen, USB port and lots of movies. Each seat also comes with a power socket, but there’s no way you’ll be working on a laptop — there’s just not enough room unless you’re lucky enough to have no one sitting next to you.
So what’s the verdict? If I’d paid US$1000 for these flights, I’d be disappointed at being crammed into the the seats like we were. But given that we only paid US$350, I just can’t complain.
But we learned a lesson. Do not fly on a Boeing 787 if it’s fitted with a 3-3-3 configuration. It’s just too uncomfortable for a long haul flight.