Qatar Airways inflight menu coach class (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Sample Qatar Airways inflight menu in coach class (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

I flew Qatar Airways for the first time last year to speak at a Malaysian tourism blogging conference in Kuala Lumpur. The Gulf States in the Middle East are becoming a significant hub location connecting huge numbers of flights across the globe, and the airline competition there is fierce.

It was really nice to experience a coach class flight that included an attentive staff, decent seats and lots of seatback entertainment options. Even a plane change in the middle of the night in Doha, Qatar was fine, since the airport duty-free is open 24 hours and includes fab souvenirs like giant jars of Nutella.

Mostly, though, I enjoyed the Qatar Airways food. Yeah, I wrote it – airline food that inspired a positive blog post.

I still have the in-flight menus, notable for the range of choices….

How about breakfasts like apple pancakes with berry compote, or spinach ricotta crepe or what I presume is their version of a full English breakfast – cheddar cheese omelette, hash brown potato, cherry tomato, grilled chicken sausage and baked beans. Hey, to each passenger her own, but that whole “tomato at breakfast” thing doesn’t work for me.

Main meal options included honey glazed chicken with papaya or stir-fried beef with szechuan sauce, or the vegetarian meal of something like vegetable biryani with dhal. Complimentary beverages included wine, spirits, beer and a slew of juices and sodas. Yes, please!

Sandwiches, cookies and ice cream were available throughout the flight at no additional cost. I could have put on 10 pounds before arrival.

But did it taste good? Yes. Some dishes were bigger winners than others, and keeping the hot things hot and cool things cool is an ongoing challenge when you’re distributing hundreds of meals over hours and hours of flying time. Still, I looked forward to mealtimes as more than simply a break in the long-haul flight routine.

The next time I fly Qatar Airways, I hope to time the plane change for midday and maybe get some time to explore Doha in the daylight. Ironically, some of my ideas for things to do there will come from an article in the United Airlines in-flight magazine Hemispheres, Three Perfect Days in Doha.

Hope the food is good out in town. If it isn’t, I’ll just get back on the plane, open the menu and get busy.

(Disclosure: my flight was paid for by the blogging conference organizers, since I was a speaker. I did some research on my own beforehand, though, and found the prices to be very reasonable. I’d happily buy my own ticket on Qatar for personal travel.)

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