Maldives Trip Report – Etihad A350 Business Class, Qatar Q Suites, Al Mourjan Lounge
In this review I’m going to share my experience on the respective flights, lounge experiences, and how I booked our flights from Chicago to Maldives in Business Class on Etihad and Qatar.
The newer Etihad Airways business class product is fantastic.
The seat, food, and drinks are really good along with great service from the crew.
Qatar Airways QSuites does live up to the hype.
The Al Mourjan lounge in Doha is the best lounge that I’ve been to.
Swissport Lounge in Chicago:
Our business class tickets on Etihad granted us access to the Swissport Lounge in Terminal 5 at ORD.
There isn’t much to say about this lounge. It’s small, like really small and there are no windows.
The seats are small single-person couches and they are very close to each other.
There is a self-service bar area, that provides soft drinks, water, spirits, wine, and a few snacks.
This lounge is terrible. Avoid it if you can.
Etihad Airways Business Class A350-1000:
We flew Etihad Airways from Chicago to the Maldives, with a 5 hour layover in Abu Dhabi, for our honeymoon.
We flew in business class on their newer hard product on the A350-1000.
This was our second time flying long haul in business class and we really enjoyed this flight.
The seat is very comfortable and the sliding doors are a big plus.
The food and drink options are delicious.
I wish I could be more descriptive and say more about the food but I’m not a foodie.
My wife and I were sitting side by side in the middle section of the plane.
There is a divider in the middle between us but we lowered it so we could see each other.
Since it was a red-eye flight, we were each given an amenity kit.
The bag itself is pretty to look at and the contents inside were okay, nothing special.
I kept the bag after the flight but I don’t see myself reusing it in the future.
The staff were very warm, welcoming, and attentive. They were always coming by and making sure that we were doing good.
At the end of the flight, the staff manager came by and asked us about how our flight went.
I left with a very good impression of Etihad Airways and was very much looking forward to the next leg in our journey.
Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi:
We found the lounge to be good but not great.
There is plenty of seating and lots of cold/hot food options available.
There are showers available in the lounge but don’t make the same mistake that we made when trying to find them.
Don’t go to the bathrooms to find the showers, but instead, head over to the spa (by the bar).
The bathrooms only have 1 shower inside and it’s always busy, while the spa has plenty of showers for both, male and female.
Etihad Airways Business Class 787-9 Dreamliner:
We flew our shorter leg on Etihad’s older 787 business class product and it was good.
Not as great as their newer product but we still enjoyed it and managed to get some sleep before arriving in Male.
These seats don’t feature sliding doors. The middle divider does go lower than the one on their newer product.
Overall, our experience on this flight was very similar to our experience on our first leg.
Qatar Airways QSuites:
We flew QSuites for both legs on our flight back home from the Maldives.
Honestly, the hype for QSuites is very much real. The suite is superb.
The sliding doors on this product are higher than the ones on Etihad. They provide complete privacy.
In order for someone passing by, or even the flight attendant, to see you they would have to open the door.
The middle divider also goes down to the armrest level, giving it a much more open feel when you are flying with someone.
The food was good, but I preferred the food on Etihad.
I’m not sure if I just had too much airline food at this point, but it was very salty.
The drinks were tasty and the drink menu itself was vast.
The TV screen is large and responsive and has a good selection of movies and TV shows.
The amenity kit provided was much better than the one from Etihad.
I liked the bag design more because it fully zips closed and offered more things than the one from Etihad.
This bag is now my new toiletry bag when traveling moving forward.
They also provided PJ’s, which I ended up wearing during the flight. They’re good, but not worth taking home in my opinion.
Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge:
Wow. This place is beautiful and amazing. It is huge!
It feels very open and I don’t even remember seeing the ceilings because they were so tall.
In the open main areas, we found it to be pretty quiet.
There is ample seating, coffee stations, restaurants, and bathrooms.
One thing that I will mention is if you do end up using the showers and are on the waitlist, be sure to pay close attention when they are calling names.
I got skipped over because I wasn’t paying attention and ended up having to wait longer to use a shower.
The restaurants offered many selections of different foods.
Sleep N’ Fly Lounge Doha (South Node):
We arrived in Doha at 22:00 and then had a 10-hour layover before our flight home.
We booked this several months in advance and we were grateful that we did because we saw people trying to reserve as they landed and it was full.
We booked a 6 hour stay in a bunk cabin.
This Sleep N’ Fly Lounge is inside the terminal and is in a good location. It’s about a 2-minute walk from the giant teddy bear.
There is a male and female bathroom nearby.
The room was small but adequate for our needs since we just needed a quiet place to get some rest for a few hours. There is a clock, power outlets, and a mirror in the room.
In the room you can control the room temperature.
The sheets smelled and felt clean and it was obvious they take well care of the rooms.
We paid $185 for our stay.
The Booking Process:
For the flights on Etihad, we used American Airlines miles and Aeroplan points.
To be exact, we used 70,000 AA miles for one ticket and 100,000 Aeroplan points for the other ticket.
To book Etihad using AA, I had to find award availability for Etihad and then call an AA Australian call center to book the flight.
I had to call an AA Australian call center because AA American call centers couldn’t see the flight on their systems.
I recommend using Google Voice or getting international calling on your phone plan or else the call can get a little pricey, especially if you’re on hold for a bit.
Booking the flights for Qatar was easier. We used 70,000 AA miles for one ticket, and 85,000 Avios for the other ticket.
For the AA ticket, we booked it online through AA’s website since AA does let you book Qatar flights on their website.
To book the second ticket using Avios, we booked it through Qatar’s website.
Make sure to avoid ‘flex’ pricing when searching for flights. Flex pricing is double the point cost.
Overall, both of these flights were great and I would not hesitate to fly on either carrier.
Both offer great products whether flying short or long haul but if I had to choose a favorite, I’d pick Qatar Airways.
We really enjoyed QSuites and loved their business class lounge in Doha.
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