Illustrating an article about the in-flight experience with an image of a spa is rarely a common occurrence. However, if we talk about the business class service offered by Qatar Airways , recently named the best company of the year, then things change. Nor would it be an exaggeration to illustrate the article with an indoor pool, 360-degree reclining seats, or even a pair of sweaty, athletic bodies playing on a squash court.

Six hours of flight can take forever or, in its most literal sense, can fly by. I recently took a direct flight to Doha from Barcelona with Qatar Airways riding in their business class seats. Both on the way out and on the way back I was able to enjoy their services both before boarding the plane, during the journey and upon arrival at the destination airport.

In general, I thought that the difference between a tourist class ticket and a business class ticket lay in the experience on board the plane. It was not so clear to me that the services and differences between one type of ticket and another began a few hours before and could end hours after the end of the journey.

Advantages of business class before the journey

Upon arrival at Doha airport to take the return flight, we went to the check-in hall dedicated exclusively to business class . There were hardly any other customers and we carried out the relevant procedures in a few seconds.Check in area for business class at Doha airport.

In both airports -both on the way out and on the way back- you can settle in the VIP lounges to make the wait more pleasant. In Barcelona they have the Sala MirĂ³ with food, drinks, a meeting room, plugs everywhere and comfortable sofas. Much more discreet than the room you will find in Qatar. At Doha airport, the Al Mourjan VIP lounge is surprising with its huge two floors, with all kinds of food 24 hours a day, free unlimited internet connection, PlayStation gaming machines and all kinds of facilities that end up being an ally to your worst enemy: losing the plane.MirĂ³ room at Barcelona airport.

In addition, if you make a stopover in Doha, there is the possibility for all types of clients -both for travelers with tourist or business class- to take a tour of Doha for free . This is a service carried out jointly by Qatar Airways and the Qatar Tourist Office. Upon landing it is necessary to go through immigration and approach the Doha City Tour window. The activity lasts approximately three hours and the most emblematic places of Doha are visited, such as the Museum of Arab Art, the Katara cultural center with its modern amphitheater, the Waqif souk or the impressive views of Doha’s skyscrapers from the seafront.The indoor pool at Doha Airport.

On the other hand, if you want to relax before boarding the plane at Hamad International Airport (Doha), you will find a hotel, a wonderful 25-meter swimming pool , a spa area and even two squash courts in the same airport facilities. It is worth knowing that the business class ticket does not include access to the hotel. For this, any traveler coming from whatever company is required to pay a $50 fee that allows them to enjoy their swimming pool, spa, squash and gym services or stay in the same hotel. 

Advantages of business class during the journey

The possibility of entering the plane first or last, as you wish, is already an added value. Obviously you have plenty of space in the overhead trunk to put your and your neighbor’s things so you can get on the plane without rushing if you wish.Reclining seats in multiple positions. Image of my travels there.

The usual walk of the stewardesses with the press of the day (printed if the country edition has not yet reached the destination) always begins at the beginning of the plane so you make sure you have your favorite newspaper in your hands.

The planes that make the route from Barcelona to Doha are Airbus A330-200 with newly renovated seats . They also offer screens in business class of more than 15 inches, plugs of all kinds and an entertainment system with a lot of movies and series, ideal for those who suffer from insomnia or are unable to sleep on the plane, no matter how comfortable they are. as usually happens to me.

The hostesses provide the usual headphones to listen to music or movies and a most fashionable toiletry kit signed by Giorgio Armani that contains various amenities such as a small bottle of Acqua de Gio cologne, lip cream and an aftershave from the same brand ( at least in the men’s kit).360 degree reclining seats for comfortable sleeping.

The menu they offer on the plane is extensive and tasty. You can eat as much as you want and as many times as you want. With a good assortment of international food for all tastes as well as a short but sufficient list of red and white wines, champagne and assorted fruit juices.

If it is an overnight trip, you can ask for a more comfortable sleeping pyjamas once you have reclined your brand new seat in 360 degrees. This offers different positions, if you get bored with the movies offered by the airplane’s multimedia system, you can always have a good time pressing the different buttons. 

Advantages of business class after the journey

I don’t know if this possibility exists in other places but at least at Hamad International Airport (Doha) they offer a special queue at immigration for business class travelers . Thanks to this service, it will be one of the few times that you already have your visa stamped and, when it comes to picking up your suitcase, the baggage carousel has not even started.

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