Qatar Airways’ Qsuite is famous as one of the best Business Class offerings on Earth. So, when I spied the opportunity to try it out with reward seat availability for 104,000 Velocity Points, it seemed like a no-brainer to book it and be on my way.

However, sometimes, the world of Point Hacking requires a touch of flexibility. Due to a peculiar mixture of Australian Government restrictions and reward seat availability, a ‘ghost flight’ becomes my only option for flying Qsuite to Doha.

This is the story of how I ended up having one of the best Business Class cabins in the world all to myself.

By the way, our exclusive 110,000 Velocity Points sign-up offer with the Citi Premier credit card more than covers what you’ll need for this trip (with or without the ghost flight portion). Read to the end of the article to learn more, or click here for our card guide.

Boarding a ‘ghost flight’

I start my journey early with a quick interstate Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Adelaide. I’m at Adelaide Airport’s domestic terminal by 8 am, with 4.5 hours to kill before the next flight: a flight right back to Melbourne. 

What’s going on here? Buckle up and stow your tray table because this requires a bit of an explanation.

The Australian Government currently allows Qatar Airways to run up to 28 return flights a week to Australia’s major airports – Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Qatar Airways currently uses all 28 of these flights to service each of these cities with daily return trips to Doha. They’re also given unrestricted frequencies to other Australian airports, which they currently use for a daily direct flight to and from Adelaide.

Here’s where it gets a bit complicated. An additional seven weekly return trips are permitted to the four major cities as long as the flight connects to a secondary Australian airport. In order to service more customers out of Victoria, Qatar Airways starts all seven of these flights in Adelaide, makes a quick stop in Melbourne to pick up most of its customers, and then progresses onward to Doha.

Return flights operate the same in reverse. They drop off nearly all passengers in Melbourne before making the quick trip back to Adelaide.

Considering South Australians have the direct flight to Doha available to them, the Adelaide to Melbourne leg of this trip doesn’t tend to have many customers, if any. After all, why would you want to fly away from your destination, wait in another terminal for an hour, and then fly back in the direction you came from?

Hypothetically, this flight could take domestic customers between Adelaide and Melbourne to fill the space. However, the Australian Government doesn’t allow foreign airlines to carry domestic travellers within Australia. 
The result of all this? A practically empty plane from Adelaide to Melbourne. 

Except for me.

This might sound wild, but it’s about to be worth the back and forth. The Melbourne to Doha leg of this trip does occasionally get offered as a reward seat. But when I booked, Adelaide was the only place I could depart from to secure these seats. Simple!

After spending my arrival hour in the Adelaide Domestic Virgin Australia Lounge, I head out past security to check-in to my international flight with Qatar Airways. Being a smaller airport, there aren’t many lounge options for Qatar Airways to offer its premium customers. However, thanks to their relationship with Virgin Australia, I can head right back to the delightful Virgin Australia Domestic Lounge again.

The friendly staff at the front desk recognise me and comment, ‘Wow, you sure get around!’

I saunter back in, this time flashing my shiny Qatar Airways Business Class ticket.

My own private jumbo jet

The staff at the boarding gate stare at me, the only civilian at the gate, grinning as they make the announcement: ‘Priority boarding for QA Flight 989 is now open!’

As I walk down the airbridge, I keep glancing over my shoulder. No one else is boarding, and I seem to be the only passenger on the whole flight. Not just Business Class.

I take my seat at the very front, 1A. Each row alternates facing front and back, with 1A being in a rear-facing row. The private suite blocks my view of any other seat around me. But when I stand up just before departure, my suspicions are confirmed. I’m the only one on board.

The flight to Melbourne is just under 90 minutes. So I’m delighted to discover I’m still entitled to a meal service, albeit with reduced options. I’m offered a trio of sandwiches, cheese and a selection of fruits. A creamy raspberry cheesecake tops it off. It feels like a light meal compared to other Business Class flights I’ve been on. But I have to remind myself this is just the entrée for what’s to come. 

I spend the remaining time exploring the entertainment system, which is brimming with movies and TV shows from across the globe. I make a mental note of a few things I want to watch on my upcoming 14.5-hour flight from Melbourne.

As we begin to land, I daydream of a world where this flight is open to domestic customers. I know I’d be flying to Adelaide a lot more often.

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Marhaba Lounge, Melbourne International Airport

As I step off my ‘private jet’, the staff make a point to inform me not to go anywhere as we’ll be boarding again in less than an hour. I reply, ‘Of course! I won’t go anywhere,’ and immediately go somewhere.

Because I’m a premium Qatar Airways passenger, I can access the third-party Marhaba Lounge at Melbourne International Airport. 

The Marhaba Lounge is a fairly modest space with 200 seats and an expansive view of the tarmac. It doesn’t quite match the luxury of my experience on Qatar Airways’ Qsuite so far, but I’m not complaining. I still find a comfy leather seat with a power outlet and get to watch the runway for a few minutes.

The main course

I line up with the other Business Class passengers for priority boarding. No private jet experience here – it looks like it’s going to be a full flight. As I board, I notice every other seat is now freshly made up for our arrival, including mine.

With all of the Melbourne passengers safely seated, we leave the tarmac around 4 pm and are flying right back past Adelaide by 5:30 pm. From here, things proceed as if nothing weird ever happened.

I’m interested in finding an entirely new staff on board, with the prior cabin crew leaving the flight for a well-deserved break. I get a welcome visit from the new purser.

Most extraordinarily, he pauses as he sees my face and quietly asks if I am ‘the Toby’ from the Point Hacks YouTube videos. Travelling on one of the best business seats in the world is one thing, but being recognised? I feel like Taylor Swift. 

Now that I’m settled and feeling less ‘watched’ by every staff member on board, I take some time to explore my surroundings. Beside me, the soft extension of my seat doubles as a storage compartment where I find noise-cancelling headphones and a bottle of water. Just under the table, there’s a physical panel with seat and lighting controls, a universal power outlet, a headphone jack and two USB ports.

When I peer over the walls, I’m treated to a display of just how versatile the Qsuite experience can be. The couple next to me has lowered the partition to make a double suite with adjoining lay-flat seats. They’ve essentially made a double bed! A group of four occupy the next two centre rows. They’ve joined all four of their suites together to form a table in the centre. Very cool.

Once we’re comfortably cruising, the dinner service begins. For the purposes of this article, I order an entree, two dinners and a dessert.

Fish or beef – How about both?

This is more like it. To my surprise, there are so many Australian options on the à la carte menu. I end up ordering two mains that hail from my past and present homes – Western Australia and Victoria, respectively. The Western Australian barramundi and steamed veggies in Thai yellow curry sauce are perfectly cooked and full of flavour. As loyal as I am to my state of origin, it’s the Victorian Gippsland beef tenderloin that really wins me over. Served on a bed of salty mashed potatoes and herb jus, it’s the exact level of quality I’d expect from a high-end Business Class seat. 

Phew. I need to lay down after that.

After a brief change in the Business Class bathroom, I slide my privacy door shut and convert my seat into a flatbed. I can’t understate just how well I slept on this flight. While the walls allow enough space for the cabin crew to peek over and some sound to leak in, the added privacy of a door makes a huge difference to the relaxing and restful experience.

The extra seat space and storage compartment to my left rise into a soft armrest. With the armrest snuggly positioned to my left, padded mattress beneath me, and soft quilted sheets covering my entire body, I feel like I’m in a cosy, cushy cocoon. I sleep undisturbed for a grand total of 9.5 hours. Absolute bliss.

By the time I’m awake, we’ve already begun our descent to Hamad International Airport. The cabin crew leave me with one last departing gift – a box of three Arabic dates with various fillings. With my mind rested, belly-fed, and ego-boosted, I float off the plane and towards Doha’s relatively rapid passport checks.

Earning the points

Now that I’ve flown Qsuite, I can confirm – it really is that good. I loved every moment.

Thankfully, you don’t have to take a ghost flight to experience it. Reward seats on one-way, direct flights from Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane all cost 104,000 Velocity Points plus approximately $460 in fees and taxes. There are also daily one-way flights from Perth which will set you back 78,000 Velocity Points and the same amount in fees and taxes. You can book these flights through the Velocity website. Or our Point Hacks Concierge service can help you get it just right. Click here, punch in where you want to go, and our expert travel agents will do the rest.

Now 104,000 is a fair chunk of points. But what if you could earn a sizeable number with a single credit card sign-up?

Point Hacks currently has an exclusive offer with the Citi Premier Credit Card. If you are a new cardholder and fulfil the minimum spend requirement, you’ll receive 100,000 Velocity Points. Plus, you’ll receive an additional 10,000 Velocity Points just for signing up using our link below. The offer is live until 31 May 2024.

If the card isn’t suitable, don’t worry! There are plenty more ways to earn Velocity Points. This includes through other credit card sign-ups, Flybuys, and more recently, travelling with DiDi.

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How I had an entire plane to myself (using Velocity Points) was last modified: May 8th, 2024 by Tobias Venus