Review: Qatar A320 Business Class (DOH-MLE)

After our amazing QSuites flight from Houston and an eight hour layover in the Al Mourjan Business Lounge, it was time for our onward flight to Male. Qatar is running 4x daily between Doha and Male with 777-300’s (these are ex-Cathay Pacific aircraft), an A350 and once daily on an A320.


This was the second leg of our IAH-DOH-MLE ticket booked through American AAdvantage as one way cash fares for our travel dates were over $5000 per person from the US to the Maldives. The only flight of the 4x daily that had availability for two was on the A320 which, admittedly , is less pleasant than the 77W’s and A350’s that also operate the route. So we redeemed 70,000 AAdvantage miles each and paid $7.20 in taxes and fees for the full routing.


Since we were on a business class ticket, we had access to the wonderful Al Mourjan Business Lounge in Doha. With the exception of business class ‘lite’ fares, all oneworld business class passengers have access to this lounge.

a group of people in a building
people sitting in a lobby
a plate of sushi on a table
a glass of liquid next to a cup of coffee


We left the lounge 10 minutes before boarding and started the long walk to our departure gate which was on the opposite side of Hamad airport. Along the way, we walked right past the big creepy teddy bear.

Doha Hamad International Airport Teddy Bear

From there, we navigated the maze of duty free shops which were much more upmarket than ones you would find in a typical airport. They were selling everything from Tag Heuer watches to Mercedes Maybach limousines as we made our way to the D gates.

a group of people in a terminal
a large building with yellow letters
a car in a store
a man walking in a room with a car

As we neared our gate we had to head downstairs which could only mean one thing, the dreaded bus gate.

a group of people in a building
a group of people in a large airport

While in the gate area I noticed a couple that was seated behind us on our IAH-DOH flight who were also traveling to the Maldives. When they went to board they were denied as apparently they were boarding the wrong Male flight as QR offers 3 flights on the DOH-MLE route all within an hour of each other. They sprinted off to the correct gate and I was hoping that they would make it in time.


Boarding began in an odd fashion, with business class passengers being asked to wait while boarding started. I’m not sure if this was because they wanted us to not have to spend as much time on the plane or if they were waiting for a bus, but eventually we were called to board.

a group of people standing in front of a sign
a bus parked in front of a building

Qatar Airways

QR 670

IAH-DOH (Doha Hamad International – Male Velana International)

Seat: 2D (Business)

A320-200 (A7-AHU)

Scheduled: 1:30a-8:25a

Actual: 1:32a-8:09a

Once boarding the bus I noticed it wasn’t as nice as the ‘Business Class’ branded buses that met our arriving A350 but, we did have a dedicated bus nonetheless. After touring half of Hamad International Airport, we arrived planeside at our A320 that would shuttle us down to Male.

Qatar Airways Transfer Bus Doha

The one upside to a bus gate, you get some great photos of the plane. I got some great photos of the bird taking us to the Maldives this morning.

people boarding an airplane
a plane on the runway at night


Though we were on a narrowbody, Qatar still chose to outfit this plane with lie-flat seats. The seats were arranged in a 2+2 configuration and were similar to what you would find in business class on American’s A321T. While it wasn’t an issue for Mrs. ATX Jetsetter and I, it could be slightly awkward if traveling next to a stranger.

Qatar A320 Business Class Seat

Blankets were at our seat upon boarding but I shoved it into the footwell as there wasn’t otherwise a good spot for it.

Qatar A320 Business Class Seat


While on the ground, open bar PDB’s were offered and Mrs. WS93 and I both had a glass of champagne. The whole cabin seemed to be in a celebratory mood as just the PDB’s ran the plane out of the catered champagne after one round of drinks. They did offer a Cava alternative, but we passed on the second glass.

Qatar A320 Business Class Pre-Departure Champagne

We pushed off the stand a couple of minutes late and soon we were climbing out over Doha. I didn’t have much in the way of views as it was dark and we took off over the water.


During the climb out I flipped through the menu. The wine list was identical to our Houston to Doha flight, with the main difference being the food. You can see the full menu below.

a hand holding a book with a picture of champagne
a hand holding a book with a picture of wine bottles
a hand holding a book with a picture of wine bottles
a hand holding a book with a picture of wine bottles
a hand holding a book with a picture of a bottle
a hand holding a menu
a menu on a plane
a hand holding a menu


Since the flight was a short, overnight flight, we didn’t have a traditional dinner service. There were a number of a la carte options that could be ordered at any time. Once we hit 10,000 feet, the flight attendant working our cabin started the service with warm mixed nuts which I paired with a glass of the rose champagne.

Qatar A320 Business Class Warm Nuts

I ordered the tasting menu as my main dish which was served all on one tray. I really appreciated the single tray service as I was able to try a few things I wouldn’t have otherwise selected as well as allow more time for rest on this short flight.

Qatar A320 Business Class Tasting Menu

After dinner, I put my seat in bed mode and dozed off for an hour or so and woke up to a sunrise over the Indian Ocean roughly an hour and a half outside of Male. Our FA noticed I was awake and proactively offered a drink and asked if I was ready to start breakfast. I had a mimosa (the OJ making the Cava palatable) and a cup of coffee to begin with.

a tv on a wall
a glass of orange liquid next to a laptop
a cup of coffee on a table

For starters, I had the Corn Flakes which was served with a croissant and a yogurt parfait. Still full from all of the eating over the past 30+ hours, I had a fruit plate for my main breakfast and spent the remainder of the time looking out the window as we approached Male.

a map of the world
a breakfast on a tray
a tray of food and drinks on a tray


As we approached Male, I got my first glimpse of the atolls that make up the Maldives and it was gorgeous. Once on the ground we taxied over to our arrival stand and parked next to two ex-Cathay Pacific 77W’s that had been repainted into QR colors.

an aerial view of the ocean
an aerial view of an island
an airplane on a runway
a large white airplane on a tarmac

We disembarked using airstairs and all piled into buses until they were packed to the gills. At least we got a decent space since we were one of the first off the plane.

people standing in front of an airplane
a group of people boarding a bus

On the way to the terminal I got to do some plane spotting up close and personal, including the Etihad 787-9 that would be taking us to our next stop a few days later.

a large white airplane on a tarmac
a large airplane on a runway
a large airplane on a tarmac
a plane on the tarmac

Immigration was a madhouse and the heat and humidity caused one of the people behind us to pass out. He was attended to and taken away by medical staff. Amongst the chaos, I spotted the line for first and business class passengers.

a group of people in a terminal
a group of people in a terminal

There were about 30 people in front of us but the line moved fairly quickly and we were stamped into the country without so much as a second glance. The bags from our flight were already on the belt once we cleared passport control and we walked outside to our waiting representatives from the Westin.

a luggage on a conveyor belt
a group of people walking in a mall


Flying on Qatar’s A320 in business class had its pros and cons. The pros are the fact that the smaller aircraft, with only 3 rows of business class, allows for much more personalized service and they are quicker to board/disembark. On the other hand, the seats were tighter and the 2+2 configuration is less desirable than the 1+2+1 direct aisle access found on the 777-300’s and QSuites on the A350’s that are also used on this route. For a four hour flight it wasn’t bad at all.

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