Qatar Regional Business Class Review – Doha (DOH) to Kigali (KGL) via Entebbe (EBB) A320
After my long stay at the Qatar Business Class Lounge at Doha Airport, I made my way to the bus gate at C26. Last call was signaled (though it was 30 minutes from departure). When I got there, I thought the last bus had already left, but business class boarding had not even started! In fact Qatar Business Class passengers board last when using buses. OK - lesson learned :)
The last time I had flown Qatar on an A320 was to Rangoon and business class featured a proper lie-flat seat with the same fantastic service as on the Qatar Business Class flight I just enjoyed from New York to Doha.
However, no such luck with this 8-hour trek to Rwanda's Kigali (the stop in Entebbe adds 60 minutes of waiting and another 45 minutes of flying time). It was a regional J product with recliner seats (similar to my recent flights with Etihad to Male in business class and Turkish Airlines Business Class to Bishkek).
The seat on this aircraft is decent and good for a few hours, but for 8 hours it isn't great. The recline is just 20 degrees and the foot rest barely comes up. I could not spot a TV on-board, but did not investigate further since I would be using my laptop later anyways.
I tried my best to fall asleep right away and eventually succeeded. I reserved a meal since I wasn't hungry and wanted it to eat after waking up. After 5 hours, we made our descent into Entebbe and it was a bit too late to eat. Little did I know that I had now missed my 'feeding time' entirely, since the ground stop (where transit passengers would stay on-board) and the short flight time to Kigali would make it impossible for my meal to be heated up. Nevertheless, I finally got parts of my meal on the leg to Kigali (that's 7 hours after take-off).
In general, the service was friendly, but it would have been helpful to tell me when I should eat :)
I had applied online with the Rwandan authorities for an East African Visa. This would be issued at the point of entry (Kigali Airport) and that's also where I needed to pay for it; I was able to use my credit card for the $100 fee. The process took a good 15 minutes, but was easy enough. You can do this at Entebbe and Nairobi airports as well.
The East African Visa allows 90 days of multiple-entry to Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda. It only really makes sense if you are going to Uganda, though, since there the single-entry visa is $100. Kenya and Rwanda let you get away with $30 or $50 respectively.
Just about 20 passengers had continued from Entebbe to Kigali with us. Kigali Airport is so small, that by the time you have walked 20 steps, you have already left the arrivals hall and you're looking at the parking lot. No taxi driver hassle here - it's as calm as the Kigali weather.