In the past couple of months, I have had 13 segments on Qatar’s business class. I had about the same number of segments on Qatar during the entire 2011. One thing that I don’t quite understand about this airline is the sometimes very early boarding times even for business class passengers.
But I had never seen something this crazy. My 8:55PM flight to Bangkok had started boarding at 7:10PM according to the display. At 7:10PM I was still at the gym at the Grand Hyatt hotel. I got to the airport around 8PM. I was already checked in and had a boarding pass. Also, I wasn’t going to check in a single bag.
When I was having a look at the various food outlets, the personnel came to inform me several times that the flight was under “final boarding” and that I should go. Someone also said that if I wouldn’t leave, they couldn’t guarantee that my checked bags would make the flights. None of this made any sense because it was still more than 45 minutes for the departure time and I hadn’t checked in a bag. I finally made it to the bus around 8:30PM and we took off immediately to the aircraft.
I had something similar happening also in June in Bangkok. I was taking the Qatar’s 5th freedom BKK-SGN flight and one of the gate agents came to pick me up from the lounge 25 minutes before the scheduled departure time when I was just about to leave to the gate.
Personally, I don’t see a point of boarding first and then sitting on the plane for an hour before the departure time. I always try to time my arrival to the gate about 5 minutes before the gate cut off time. I prefer being last in and first out.
The early boarding in Doha is easy to understand due to the bussing around. I think that it took 5 to 10 minutes from the premium terminal to the plane on the tarmac.