Tried & Tested

Flight review: Qatar Airways A330-300 business class Doha-Colombo

27 Feb 2024 by Hannah Brandler
Qatar Airways A330-300 (provided by Qatar Airways)


Qatar Airways has eight A330-300 aircraft in its fleet, which are often used for the carrier’s medium-haul services such as this Doha-Colombo flight.

The aircraft is configured with two classes: 30 lie-flat seats in business class and 275 in economy. Note that there is also an older A330-300 aircraft, configured with 12 first class seats, 24 business class seats (but only angled flat) and 223 economy seats.

We were flying from London to Colombo, with a 2.5-hour stopover at Hamad International Airport in Doha (DOH). As we have already reviewed Qatar’s business class onboard the A380, we have instead focused on the second leg of the journey for this review. It’s worth noting, however, that the A380 experience on this flight was excellent, with new features including beautiful Diptyque amenities (face cream, a mini perfume, lip balm and body lotion).

The A380 flight from London landed in Doha at 2355 local time. This flight (QR 660) was scheduled to depart at 0225 and land at 0945 at Colombo Bandaranayike International Airport (CMB). The journey time is approximately 4 hours 50 minutes, though ours was shorter at 4 hours 25 minutes.


As we were transiting through Doha, we did not have to pass through security or customs, and our baggage was sent directly through to Colombo. We had been given a boarding ticket and luggage receipt in London for the Doha-Colombo leg of the trip.

Note that passengers require an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for travel to Sri Lanka, which is valid for 30 days. You should apply a few days before travel and approval normally takes around 24 hours. It is also possible to get a visa on arrival, but this cannot be guaranteed and costs extra.

Hamad International Airport is an integrated facility, meaning that passengers can arrive, transfer and depart in the same terminal building.

While our transit was only 2.5 hours, the airport offers various tours for those with transit times of eight hours or more. These include discovering attractions such as the Corniche and Museum of Islamic Art, or the chance to play a 6-hole Championship Course golf game at the Education City Golf Club.

Customers with a transit of four hours or more can also take part in on-site tours – from discovering the airport’s art installations to games of squash and a simulated golf game.

The lounge

We landed in the South terminal so had access to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge. The lounge is open to first and business class passengers flying with Qatar or oneworld airlines. Note that business class Lite passengers do not have complimentary access, and must purchase lounge access online or at the check-in counters.

It’s a little confusing to find the lounge at the vast airport, hence our initial attempt to access the Platinum, Gold and Silver lounges.

Eventually we found the access point, which is via escalators on the ground floor of the Duty Free Plaza. It’s a badly designed entry point as you have to show your boarding pass at the foot of the escalator, so queues (or rather a mass of people) crowd this very narrow area.

The escalator passes by a mezzanine area to reach the lounge on the third floor, and we were ushered to the desk to once again check our passes – although other passengers just went straight into the lounge on the left-hand side.

The lounge is expansive and has various dining spaces with both buffets and à la carte menus via a QR code. There are also showers, private dining areas and meeting rooms, a business centre and games room.

For more (visual) information on the lounge, watch Tom Otley’s video tour below. He also reviewed Qatar’s additional lounge in the North terminal in 2022.


We left the lounge at around 0145 and headed for Gate C34. Beware that some gates are quite a distance from the lounge, so don’t wait until ‘last call’ to make your way over.

Economy passengers were already boarding when we arrived, so we presumed that business class had gone ahead already. The staff at the desk told us to take our seats, but the whole process was quite confusing and chaotic.

Once ‘last call’ was signalled at 0157, we returned to the desk and they then seemed happy for us to board. We joined economy customers in the waiting area, but were then ushered onto a ‘business class’-branded bus. Economy passengers were barred from boarding our bus (which had just five passengers) and diverted to the more packed vehicle, which felt a little unfair.

It was a fairly long drive to the aircraft, and we passed by areas of construction works on the way – Phase B of the airport’s expansion started in early 2023 and aims to increase the airport’s capacity to more than 60 million passengers annually.

We were dropped right at the staircase to board the aircraft, and arrived to welcoming staff who introduced themselves and offered passengers a glass of water, Champagne (brut or rosé), orange juice or the airline’s signature lime and mint juice.

Menus were provided as soon as we boarded and orders taken shortly before take-off. Since it was early morning by the time we boarded, I decided to miss the meal and prioritise sleep. A refreshing Diptyque towel was offered to passengers, but there was no amenity kit for this short journey. Thankfully I had saved my socks and eye mask from the previous leg.

The flight took off 40 minutes late, at 0305, and the pilot announced that this was due to delayed passengers.

Qatar Airways A330-300 business class (photo: Hannah Brandler)

The seat

The business class cabin has 30 fully-flat Collins Aerospace Diamond seats, arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration across five rows.

Neighbouring seats AB and JK are angled towards the window while the centre seats EF are angled inwards. All of the seats have a privacy divider. The downside with this configuration is that the window seats do not have direct aisle access, so you have to climb over your neighbour if you need to use the bathroom at any point.

In terms of design, the cabin is smart and sleek, and seats have been well looked after. The seats, however, feel quite cramped – particularly if you’re sat by the window as you’re more closed in. The benefit with the window seat, however, is that mine (3A) had three windows, offering ample views of the sky and mountains during the journey – plus palm trees as we came into land.

Qatar Airways A330-300 business class (photo: Hannah Brandler)

The real disappointment with this seat is that there is hardly any storage space, apart from a small shelf behind you (which houses the headphones and water). I had to put my small backpack in the overhead compartment as it wouldn’t fit anywhere. There is also a very small side table between passengers, but it can get a little confusing figuring out whose glass is whose.

There are several seat control options, which are easy to use and understand – including pre-set options for bed mode and upright take-off and landing position.

Qatar Airways A330-300 business class (photo: Hannah Brandler)

The seat extends into a fully-flat bed but the footwell feels very narrow – even for a 5ft5 individual – and I also found it difficult to manoeuvre when lying down. The purple blanket provided is extremely soft, snug and generous in size, but then takes up a lot of room in the footwell when you’re trying to sleep.

Other features include a reading light, coat hook, USB-A outlet in the armrest next to the IFE remote and universal power sockets between seats. There is also a wide and great quality 15.4-inch IFE monitor, but the Oryx One system is quite disappointing and there aren’t many new film releases. Plus, the noise-cancelling headphones weren’t fantastic, and I could hear canned laughter from the passenger’s TV in the seat behind.

Qatar Airways A330-300 business class (photo: Hannah Brandler)

The flight

Since this was a middle-of-the-night flight, I wanted to maximise my chances of getting some sleep – aware that the journey would continue with a five-hour car transfer on land. As soon as the seatbelt signs were turned off, I went to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. Thankfully, my neighbouring passenger had the same idea, so neither of us were disturbed during the journey.

Washrooms are located at the front of the aircraft and were clean throughout the trip, with Diptyque face mist, hand lotion and soap.

The flight safety video was an interesting watch before take-off, incorporating various destinations on Qatar’s network – from London to Cape Town and Kuala Lumpur – into the onboard safety measures. In London, for instance, air hostesses were flanked by beefeaters at the Tower of London.

Qatar Airways A330-300 business class (photo: Hannah Brandler)

Food and drink

While I didn’t eat on this flight, the menu was similar to the London-Doha leg. Qatar Airways offers a dine-on-demand service, allowing you to eat whenever you feel like during the journey – a great option for those who aren’t hungry as soon as the plane takes off or indulged too much in the lounge.

The à la carte menu featured the following, and started with a warm three-in-one bread roll with different toppings, served with your choice of olive oil and butter.


  • Soup of the day
  • Arabic mezze with pitta, hummus, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh
  • Prawn tartare and lamb galouti kebab with saffron and walnut labneh and cherry tomatoes

Mains (served with your choice of spring onions, chutney, mixed pickle, chillies, lemon wedges and papadums)

  • Braised chicken tikka lababdar with mushroom palak with Kashmiri pulao and lauki channa dal
  • King fish curry with jackfruit masala, onion pulao and palak dal
  • Potato and leek mezzelune with tomato salsa, fried garlic, parmesan and cherry tomatoes


  • Crisp-fried ghewar with vanilla cream and mixed berry coulis
  • Mango and raspberry mousse with almond crumble and sweet salsa
  • Seasonal fresh fruits

Fellow travellers had excellent verdicts on the food. I’m not surprised given my impressive dinner on the London-Doha leg – I have provided photos of this below.

Qatar Airways A330-300 business class (photo: Hannah Brandler)

The drinks menu began with a foreword featuring the Cellars in the Sky winners logo, celebrating Qatar Airways’ silver award for Overall Cellar in 2021.

On the drinks side, there was a choice of Champagne Duval-Leroy Prestige Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru or the Devaux Cuvée Rosé. Wines on offer included Starmont Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay 2019 from the US, Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2023 from New Zealand, Château Bouscaut Grand Cru Classé de Graves 2014 from Bordeaux and Whispering Angel Côtes de Provence Rosé 2022.

Dessert wines included Château de Fesles, Bonnezeaux 2016 and Niepoort 20 Years Old Tawny Port from Portugal. Passengers also have a choice of spirits, beers, cognacs and liqueurs, plus a range of classic cocktails.

Coffee and tea is served before landing, alongside two posh chocolates.

Qatar Airways A330-300 business class (photo: Hannah Brandler)


We landed at 1000 local time, with the palm trees welcoming us to the Sri Lankan capital – a world away from the -5 degree weather we had been experiencing back in the UK in early January.

The disembarkation was quick and there was no queue for immigration, though we had forgotten to fill out the arrival forms so backtracked slightly to complete these.

View of Sri Lanka coming into land (Hannah Brandler)


Qatar’s A330 offers a smart business class cabin with excellent service, but lags behind other carriers when it comes to storage space and lie-flat comfort. That said, I think it would be a comfortable option for a daytime journey, and the F&B offering was impressive on both journeys.


  • Flight duration 4 hours 25 minutes
  • Configuration 2-2-2
  • Seat length 72 inches
  • Seat width 21 inches
  • Price A one-way journey from Doha to Colombo with Qatar Airways starts from £563 in business class
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