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The One Airline I Really Want to Fly in Long-Haul Economy Class

There aren’t many people in this hobby fawning over long-haul economy class products. Most of us collect points and miles in order to fly in business or first class. It’s hands-down the best way to travel long-haul and if given a choice, I’d choose a premium cabin over economy any time. Except, when it comes to Qatar Airways. No, I’m not in any way being paid to say this and I’m absolutely serious: I actually want to fly Qatar Airways in economy class. Heck, even if I had the option to fly business class, I would gladly turn right and continue on into the economy class cabin.

Qatar Airways Economy Class Cabin and Amenity Kit

Qatar Airways Economy Class

What brought about this weird Qatar economy class fetish? I flew Qatar Airways economy class during two short-haul segments after Umrah: Medina to Doha and then Doha to Dubai. I spent a total of 3.5 hours flying these two segments and it was one of the most pleasant in-flight experiences ever. It’s not the first time I’ve flown Qatar Airways either. I flew Qatar Airways economy class from Dubai to Istanbul back in 2012. Another terrific in-flight experience on a short-haul flight.

What makes Qatar Airways economy class so awesome? For starters, the seats are super comfortable – far superior to any other economy class product I’ve flown. Even my previously favorite KLM economy class seat doesn’t come close. The seats on the A321 and A319 have a 32 inch pitch and tons of legroom. It’s very comfortable for lounging and, I imagine, sleeping on long-haul flights. Qatar flies the 777-200 between Los Angeles and Doha. The economy class seats on these planes have 33 inches of pitch and the seats are one inch wider. I would totally fly this economy class product if I had a chance.

Another awesome aspect of the Qatar Airways economy class experience is the food. While most domestic airlines would sooner throw a drink at passengers than serve it to them, Qatar Airways serves a hot meal…on flights as short as 45 minutes! The meal on these short-haul flights consists of a hot pocket type dish and on longer flights, you can expect a full meal with salad, main course, and dessert. The kicker? The in-flight meal in economy class is served with real silverware – even on those 45 minute segments! 

The service in Qatar Airways economy class has always been awesome, at least on the short-haul flights I’ve been on. The flight attendants lack that terrified hostage look that you sometimes encounter on Middle Eastern carriers. There was always an ease and genuinely friendly demeanor among the flight attendants I encountered and they exhibited nothing but patience and professionalism. There’s no guarantee the Qatar Airways flight crew will be great on long-haul flights, but I’m ok with them striking out in this regard as long as the seats are spacious and the food is even half decent.

You know which Middle Eastern carrier struck out in all three areas? Etihad Airways. The 16 hours I spent onboard their economy class cabin was pure hell. The seat was too cramped for a 5’2 girl like me and there aren’t even words to describe how horrendously awful the food was. I’ll gladly choose what they’re serving in the San Quentin chow hall over the food onboard this flight. 

By now you’re thinking “Why not splurge on business class?” Because Qatar Airways business class doesn’t look that appealing. Yes, it has a flatbed seat but the in-flight experience tends to be a hit/miss. Also, I don’t need to fly business class if economy class offers so much legroom and pitch. It seems perfectly comfortable and I’d rather use the miles saved to fly another amazing premium class product, like Cathay Pacific business class or JAL Sky Suites.

Qatar Airways economy class offers great value for the miles and I look forward to trying it. Is there any economy class product out there you look forward to trying on a long-haul flight?

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Ariana Arghandewal

8 Comments

  1. I work too hard at collecting point to waste them on anything but economy.

    • I’d hardly call business class a waste. 🙂 I understand your point of view though. I don’t work hard at collecting them at all, so I don’t mind splurging on premium cabins (though I probably won’t fly First anymore)

  2. A family member flew AKL to DOH and quite enjoyed the experience except for the very loud Airbus 350. Plenty of seat space as you mentioned.

  3. Qatar economy sounds amazing, especially when you consider more US airlines are becoming like Spirit. I’ve had some decent long haul economy experiences in the past–Turkish Air and Emirates were both nice. JAL was very nice, but since I had always flown in their sky suites in the past it was hard for me to be too excited in economy.

    • It’s really sad. I think Virgin America had the domestic economy thing down pat but now Alaska is essentially doing away with the brand. If things keep deteriorating stateside, I might find myself flying domestic in premium cabins and economy abroad. Sounds backwards, but that’s where we’re headed.

      All of those airlines you mentioned have award-winning economy class products so I’m not surprised they delivered. Though I do still want to fly JAL Sky Suites. 🙂

  4. I think it is wise to save the miles for business class if the economy class product could be rather pleasant. Yet if I have the points for biz class on any airline company, I would choose it over paying with either cash or miles for the economy class.

    • In this case, their economy class product is really fantastic while some of their fleets feature the old business class seats that aren’t very appealing. But normally I would also go with business class if I had the points.

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