Australia, July 2015 Doh!
"Unable to board" sounds ominous. A few years ago I was the grateful recipient of numerous boarding gate beeps but that's because they meant I was being upgraded from premium economy to business. This time I'm already in business and there's nothing above it. Anyway, a woman in Qatar Airways uniform is holding a lift open for a wheelchair bound passenger but hears the beep and says "Oh, is that Mr Foreman? Hang on a minute sir, I'll be over soon".
So apparently, I need to sit in seat 5E, not 5F. I'm told there's a couple booked in 5J and 5K but one of their tray tables is broken - so in order for them to eat "next to" each other across the aisle, the staff would like to keep 5F empty. I'm fine with this of course.
At the door of the plane I hand over my boarding pass and am personally escorted to 5F. I explain I've been told to sit in 5E and assume they're aware of the seat issue, but they say, er, no, your pass says 5F you're sitting in 5F. Two different attendants insist on this and one goes off to check my story out. A third one returns to say, I'm really sorry, but yes, can you sit in 5E please. I feel like I've caused a huge ruckus. He turns the F into an E with his biro and that makes my boarding pass official.
This is a 777-300 (or -200?) for a proper long haul flight, 11 hours all the way to Doha. A worse business class experience than the 787 I already got, and will get to Copenhagen, so I've heard... because there are seats where you might have to clamber, or be clambered, over, and there is not a great deal of privacy - everyone can see everyone else's screens without explicitly craning their neck, those in the B and J seats will get leant over by the staff when they serve A and K, and the seats are a tiny bit older.
But, they're very comfortable. No-one sits next to me during take-off, or in fact throughout the entire flight - turns out 5JK work perfectly well. The exuberantly cosmopolitan cabin crew perform what I now, after about 7 hours in total of Qatar Airways experience, realise is their typically excellent customer service. There are a lot of staff, always referring to me by name (actually, this happened on the Qantas flight too, but I find it quite rare in business class), and the food and drink comes nice and quickly. I can eat when I want and the drinks are refilled regularly.
Also, there are pyjamas! These are rare - unique? - in business class. It's a nice top and it comes in a fabric bag; I don't bother donning the bottoms. The amenity kit is still the confusingly toothbrush-free one I got last week. There is a bottle of water hidden in the armrest as well as a USB plug. Also in front of me a wall-mounted screen showing an excellent moving map animation with some cool flight simulator style displays.
The entertainment screen is worse than on the 787 but still pretty good, and being in a bulkhead it comes out of my armrest which makes it a bit closer than it being on a seat in front. The selection is huge! But rather than browse it for long I just decide to watch Birdman. The noise cancelling headphones are excellent, being active, i.e. you flick a switch and magically the super loud plane noise just disappears. These are the first airline-provided headphones I've ever used that beat my in-ear noise isolating ones.
This, with booze, is how you wait for a plane.
Games room you say?
You DO say games room!
These tablets are actually terrble. They do very little, don't all work, and the web browser is appalling.