As mentioned in the intro post, we booked our trip with miles into business class. We had flown Qatar once before on our way to Oman, so we were quite excited to fly them again, and this time try out their Q Suites.
ORD > DOH > WDH
Getting to Windhoek took ~36 hours and two overnight flights, first from Chicago to Doha, a layover in Doha, then Doha to Windhoek.
From Chicago we had the Q Suites, which has a door that closes after takeoff (providing privacy from the aisle), plus the center seats have a divider that is supposed to fold down to make a larger two-person seating area. Unfortunately, our divider wouldn’t go all the way down (boo!). We both enjoyed our nicely plated meals at various times since Qatar is dine-on-demand. In between meals, Eric watched a ton of movies while I read, and we both took advantage of the lay flat seats to get about 5-6 hours of sleep too.
From Doha we were on the Dreamliner in their more standard international business class. The seat was a little less private, but still went flat, and the service was also quite attentive and friendly.
WDH > DOH > ORD
Check in for Qatar was easy at Windhoek with their own section across from the other airlines. We received a lounge pass along with our boarding cards which was nice even though we could have accessed it anyway thanks to Priority Pass. The lounge was pretty quiet with an array of buffet options, wine, beer and a coffee machine.
As with our arrival, we walked out to our flight on the tarmac, and were promptly seated with our amenity kits, pajamas and pre-departure beverages. The 10 hour flight to Doha went surprisingly quickly.
Our second layover in Doha wasn’t as good as the first, as this time it was overnight from 11p-7am. On arrival we went straight to the ‘quiet rooms’ in the back of the business lounge. Unfortunately, these rooms are open plan (no doors) and #2 was right by the check-in desk for the showers so people were talking almost the entire time I was trying to sleep. Earplugs helped some but they really need to move that desk away from the sleeping area. We both wanted a shower before our flight left at 7:45am but while I was able to walk right in, Eric was put into a queue for 30 minutes AND they didn’t come and get him when it was his turn so he lost his place in line. Apparently they need more men’s showers.
Boarding was a mess. We were put into the priority line for security but the agents ignored our pre-check stamp and made us take all electronics out of our bag (not liquids though), including cases off the Kindle (which did not want to come off easily) and iPad. Then we were dumped into a small crowded area to check boarding passes YET again. We were told to go to the priority line to board but it was so crowded we had to go wide around the main seating area to get to the front. Totally disorganized and a real surprise at Qatar’s home airport.
On board things settled down nicely. Still no alcohol available on the ground (because Ramadan) but there was plenty of time for that on the 15 hour flight.
We both watched a bunch of movies and I finished another book between naps.
On our approach into Chicago things got wonky. O’Hare airport closed due to severe thunderstorms about 30 minutes before we were due to land so we got diverted to Rockford, IL and had to sit on the plane for three hours waiting for the airport to reopen. Once it did, we took off FAST and we landed at O’Hare barely 12 minutes later! We cleared immigration (thanks Global Entry), got our bag and grabbed a Lyft to head to my sisters just in time for dinner.
While the ground experience in Doha was a mixed bag, our flights on Qatar were wonderful, with comfortable seats, attentive service, and good food — they are definitely a top business class choice. We hope to fly them again in the future!