This Qatar Airways A320 Business Class Review is from Doha to Zanzibar, following a visit to Qatar's Al Mourjan Business Lounge in Doha and Qatar Qsuites Business Class from Chicago to Doha. The flight is a little over 6 hours long.
Qatar A320 Cabin and Seat Selection
Qatar Airways operates a couple versions of the A320, one with recliner seats and the type we flew, which had flat bed seats, although as I'll describe more below, these do have a very slight angle to them. There are 12 seats in a 2-2 configuration across 3 rows. As usual given this setup, I recommend selecting seats in the 2nd row (seats 2A and 2C, or seats 2D and 2F), so as to have less light and noise from the galley, while also not being in the last row.
If you're flying solo, I recommend selecting an aisle seat, since otherwise, if you're in the window seat and your seat mate puts his/her seat into flat bed position, it's awkward to climb over him/her to get out.
Qatar A320 Business Class Seat
Qatar's A320 seats are 21 inches wide, quite good for Business Class; Etihad A320 Business Class (recliner) is also 21 inches wide, while Cathay Dragon A320 Business Class seats are 20 inches wide and American Airlines Business Class on the A321 transcon is just 19 inches wide.
At each seat there was a pillow and rolled magenta blanket encased in plastic, just as in Qatar Qsuites Business Class, although there wasn't the additional small white pillow that comes in Qsuites.
Seat controls on the arm rest are easy to use, with just two presets, for take-off position and the bed, but manual adjustments available for the seat back and leg rest, as well the ability to provide greater or less cushion for your lower back.
Under the IFE screen is a shelf that forms part of the flat bed, although it's quite small, so taller passengers with big feet may find the space rather tight and confining.
The space is slightly larger if you're in the first row, with no seats in front of you, so if that is more important than the potential noise/light from the galley, you may want to choose seats in row 1 instead.
Power outlets are between the seats, at knee level, so they aren't as conveniently placed as with Qsuites or the Zodiac Cirrus seats on Cathay Pacific Business Class and EVA Business Class (where they're shoulder level, and easier to reach).
Qatar Airways A320 Dining, Doha to Zanzibar
Prior to take-off, we were offered oshibori moist towels and a pre-flight drink of orange juice, which was fresh tasting, although strained of all pulp.
We were on a morning flight, but as it was a little over 6 hours, the meal served was lunch. I do give Qatar Airways credit for setting a nice table, with an individual bread basket and individual salt and black pepper grinders. I enjoyed the appetizer of grilled prawns over julienned vegetables, which was fresh and perfectly cooked. So often prawns end up overcooked and tough on flights, but these were tender.
Unfortunately the herb crusted lamb main dish wasn't so tender. While it was still tasty, it was quite tough, and I didn't finish it. The accompanying mashed potatoes and sauce were forgettable.
Afterwards, I finished with a cup of karak chai (spiced milky tea) with cardamom (see video), which is my favorite drink aboard Qatar. Each passenger was given a box of Godiva chocolates and a bottle of Evian water after the meal.
My son, who was tired, slept through most of the flight, but I had the flight attendant save the fresh berries, which were the dessert, for him, and he had that just before our descent into Zanzibar.
Qatar Airways A320 Flat Bed and Sleep Quality
The bed reclines into a near flat position, although it's slightly angled, especially the leg portion, which you can see in this photo:
If you ask my son, who slept through most of the flight, the sleep quality is fine. I rested but never fell asleep, finding the footwell a bit too confining and also the seat cushion not quite comfortable to fall asleep on; but that was fine for me, since this was a daytime flight. Had it been a night flight, I'd have used a portable mattress to try to get actual sleep. Keep in mind that since the A320 is used for shorter flights than Qatar's 777-300ER Qsuites, no mattress liner or pillow case is provided.
At each seat, however, there was a small amenity kit with socks, sleep mask and lip balm–so not all the products you receive in the Qsuites amenity kit.
Qatar's Oryx One IFE system offers a wide variety of film selections; for examples from our late 2018 flight, see my Qatar Qsuites Business Class Video Review.
As I mentioned in the above video, Qatar Airways A320 is a good experience for couples or two travel companions, but doesn't afford any privacy for solo travelers, with its 2-2 configuration. It's not always easy securing a comfortable premium class flight for award travel into Africa, so we were happy with the close to flat bed experience, especially as we had a very early morning flight and wanted to catch up on some sleep on the flight.
The amenity kit was less comprehensive than on QSuites, with just a sleep mask, socks and lip balm, but the pillow and blanket were similar to Qsuites (although on Qsuites you also get an additional little pillow, plus mattress liner and pillow case, which you don't receive on the A320.
I appreciated that even on the A320 and this shorter flight, the flight attendant was amenable to dining on demand; my son slept for most of the flight and only had berries soon before we began our descent. My prawn appetizer was delicious, although the main course of herb crusted lamb, while it had good flavor, was rather tough, and the mashed potatoes and gravy it came with were forgettable. The Karak Chai tea with cardamom, however, was just as good as on all other Qatar flights I've flown.
While I'd want to use a portable mattress pad to get serious sleep, the nearly flat bed was fine for a napping, and my son managed to sleep a few hours (the advantage of being a kid who sleeps soundly).
Overall, a very solid experience for business class on a ~6 hour flight to Africa.
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