My review of Qatar Airways A380 First Class

For those of you who missed my earlier articles in this series, this is what I covered:

This article is my review of the Qatar Airways A380 First Class seat and service..

At the time I booked, Qatar Airways was not releasing Avios seats on the A380 in First Class to London.  There was plenty of availability to Paris, however, so I booked myself onto the early morning Doha to Paris service.  I booked a separate connecting flight to London using a Reward Flight Saver British Airways redemption.

The cost from Doha to Paris was 60,000 Avios plus £119 of tax.  The connection from Paris, in Club Europe, was 9,000 Avios plus £25.

I didn’t realise at the time that this would involve a change of terminals in Paris ….

Qatar A380

It is not clear how committed Qatar is to First Class.  The Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 fleets on order do not come with a First Class cabin.  The airline was clear that it felt it had an exceptionally good business class product – something most HFP readers who have tried it would agree – and did not need First Class.

However, the 10 A380 aircraft – of which six are in service – do come with First Class.  The key things to note are:

it is a very small cabin with just eight seats

Qatar has not pushed the boat out in terms of bells and whistles

First Class is at the front of the upper deck.  Business Class sits directly behind.  I will be testing out the Qatar Airways A380 Business Class seat in March and will be reviewing it on HFP.

Interestingly, there is also a block of Economy seats at the back of the upper deck.  I’m not sure how they stop customers from those seats accessing the bar, of which more later.

I was in 2F which was the right-hand middle seat in the second (final) row:



Compared to the Etihad First Class Apartment, of course, this is nothing to write home about.  Let’s be honest – only the Singapore Airlines First Class Suite comes close to what Etihad is now doing.  If you have the choice of Qatar or Etihad in First Class then (as long as you are guaranteed the Etihad A380) you would be crazy not to try it.

Privacy is OK but obviously limited.  There is, a la British Airways Club World, a partition which can be raised to separate you from your neighbour in the middle seats.  In the window seats, there is a partition on the aisle which allows you to sleep without being seen by the person across the aisle.

It is comfier than the Etihad apartment, however.  The seat there is simply not designed for ‘putting your feet up’.  It is fine for sitting, it is fine for sleeping (as you open out your bed) but for relaxing I was not too impressed.  The Qatar seat, on the other hand, worked perfectly.

As the cabin is so small there isn’t much else to show you.  At the front is a soft mini-bar and magazine stand which doubles up as a cupboard:


The bathroom is impressive.  As Qatar does not have showers, you have a very large bathroom indeed.  The toilet is under the leather pad at the top left in this photo.  It is a bit disconcerting when you first walk in because you can’t see it!


I didn’t take any pictures on the amenity kit.  It is Armani branded – the press photo they supply is this:

Armani amenity kit Qatar Airways A380

…. but I actually got the main ‘Armani’ line and not ‘Acqua Di Gio’.  It was a 20ml or 30ml bottle.  I think these are good branding exercises for the airlines – I was using the shower gel at home for a few weeks and it always reminded me of the flight when I picked it up.

Click here for Part 2 of this review where I look at the A380 onboard bar and the Qatar First Class food and drink offering.

Qatar Airways has a special section of its website devoted to the A380 which you can find here.

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  1. Looking forward to part 2. I flew Qatar A380 business class last year and was very impressed, for me iQR business beats BA First (A380 also) and is much better value for money, but I always wondered what Qatar First Class could offer beyond their business class product given that both can access the bar.

    i believe that in Doha there is now a lounge exclusively for First Class, is that correct? The lounge I accessed seemed to be be for Business and First, not that I could complain about it, it was mind blowing compared to anything else I’ve ever experienced! BA’s Concorde Room is a joke when you compare it to what other airlines offer.

  2. Maybe I am just jinxed when it comes to flying (or in some cases, even just trying to fly with) QR. I foolishly broke my boycott to try the A350. QR subbed it with 22hrs notice. When I say ‘notice’, that notice was actually provided by MyFlights. QR never mentioned at any point that the A350 had been swapped for a crappy 77W.

    However, gripes with QR aside, I’m not too sure that I’d agree with your assertion that SQ Suites “comes close to what Etihad is now doing”. If we’re being honest, they really are not close at all. SQ may indeed be the best of the rest but they’re nowhere near the same level as EY’s hard product.

  3. To stop econ customers accessing the bar there’s a thick and difficult to open curtain between the bar and cheap seats!

    • Unless somebody actively stops them, I doubt that would be too much of a hindrance for a determined economy passenger. On my CW flight back from BKK, there were economy passengers constantly walking through the cabin to use the toilets – I overheard the stewards complaining about them, but they didn’t seem to do anything to stop them.

    • wouldnt stop me….

      • jovanadent says:

        There’s some kind of physical barrier too. Poked my head through the curtain and there was something solid there – reminded me of one of those child safety gates.

  4. I thought QR was quite clear about their commitment (or not) to First class… that being that it’ll be all about “super business class” and no First class going forward!

  5. Erico1875 says:

    It seems crazy to build the first class lounge if they are not committed to a first class product

  6. Andrew Reynolds says:

    The change of terminal in Paris is a pain. I asked on Twitter whether there were any plans to join the rest of OW – no reply. The lounge in the Qatar terminal ex CDG is also a dive.

    • I got lucky! I met someon in the lounge who was doing the same route. He had a VIP escort arranged for him, so I tagged along! Grabbed as we left the plane, thrust through some back doors into a Mercedes and driven across the airport.

  7. Joe Chapman says:

    The Acqua Di Gio line is what they give out in business, so suspect the mani Armani line is reserved for first.

    Notice a lot of people knock the 77W – I actually prefer that seat to the one on the 787/A350/A380, especially if travelling with someone. Find the newer seat feels a lot more cramped compared to the 77W one (which, if I’m not mistaken is very similar to the one EK used to operate on their F flights? I’m sure I flew something like that from DXB to MLE a few years ago on an old 772)

    • Correct. I reviewed the 777 J seat, for a couple it does have advantages as you are facing forward and next to each other.

  8. whiskerxx says:

    An amenity kit shower gel kept you going for a few weeks? :-O
    You really do like to squeeze every last drop of value don’t you! :-)

  9. How did you find the Paris terminal change? I’ll be making that change between BA and QR in both directions in March…

    • Me too, we dont expect to meet a VIP so would value feedback from anyone who has made this transit recently. Time taken, mode of transport etc would be helpful. Thanks

  10. Not flown First since a family member worked for United Airlines in the early 2000’s (and it’s fair to say things have changed a lot since then)

    In the past 12 months I have flown business on BA (A380 777), Malaysian (a380/737), Cathay (a340) (plus a leg on dragon air a330), Emirates (a380 Qantas code share), Qantas (a380) and Qatar (a380).

    For me Qatar was head and shoulders above the rest, I sat in the middle to seats on the a380 with my wife. I can’t comment on the window seats but they looked pretty private. The food and drink is great and it’s well documented that in business you can have Krug at the bar. On Emirates they know you are business (must be the smell or something) and won’t serve you Dom Perignon. The lounge in Heathrow was fantastic very close to the gate, we also stayed at the Hilton in T4 the night before and it was the most stress free trip to an airport I’ve had. The food in the lounge restaurant was fantastic (they are only reheating food in a microwave, but the attention to detail was great and so was the coffee!

    The Qatar seat was not as private as the Cathay seats, but I must say I was a little disappointed with the Cathay seat as I’d read it was the most comfortable in the sky. I thought the Qatar seat was much more comfortable. The service was great, rivalled by Malaysian who were also great.

    My only caveat would be I loved the Emirates seat for a solo flight I took from Dubai to Melbourne. Every other row has a window seat with the seat close to the window and the console with the mini bar etc on its left/right hand side. This is a really private pod they also had a good selection of snacks at the bar and food to snack on demand was decent.

    A clear last place for me was BA on the A380 I was in the middle of the 3 centre seats I was missed out on both meals on a flight to Hong Kong I’m pretty sure it was also the only airline that did not know my name and technically the only one I have status with (Silver).

    That was a bit longer than I intended, I was just going to agree and say I loved Qatar and wouldn’t feel need to fly in more comfort than their business product…

  11. OT slightly.

    A bit if a weird question as I don’t travel alone much: What is considered the correct etiquette for shoving the partition up between seats? I say this is a tongue in cheek way as this is the first thing that goes up between me and the wife, strewth it’s clearer than the erection of the Berlin wall!

    Jibing aside, I’m quite a quiet guy, I like my privacy; do I live in hope the passenger next to me is N Korean government and barbed wire is already out, or is their a polite understanding nod between passengers to cool relations and “screen up”?

    • I’d suggest not being too over eager to use the partition i.e. don’t do it before take off as the crew will have to open it again. Personally, I think after the first meal service is appropriate. If travelling with your other half try not to use it at all, it doesn’t seem to go down well 😉

      The partition in BA CW is a flippin annoyance as the cabin crew are supposed to do the meal service with the partition down, rather than going around the side. This results in the crew repeatedly opening and closing the partition which just gets weird after a while if there is a stranger facing you in the opposite seat.

      On my only CW flight this was made worse by the button not working properly, and the partition opening and closing on its own, with the crew then trying to put it back up, and after a while of this I asked the crew to just leave it down (my opposite traveller, who I didn’t know, was a staff passenger so not allowed to object!).

    • I’ve only done a couple BA CW journeys (LHR-JFK and LHR-BOM), I’ve found it easier to nip this in the bud; as soon as the safety demo is over, just hit the little button. Don’t be so British about it; neither of you want to stare each other in the face for the next eight hours. Crew will drop it when they need to, to deliver drinks or meals.

  12. I would add to the SQ and EY first class comparision , Garuda First Class to Jakarta from LGW (Via AMS) amazing service , i was able to order exactly what i wanted for dinner and breakfast , not from a “book the chef” menu but anything i wanted (Apart from pork)

    Hard to book using miles unless you use Garuda Miles , Price to Jakarta is approx £3900 return , airport upgrades available at £450 one way from Business

  13. OT question, why when in my baec avios account under multi city bookings can their system not find flights available which are available if I search singularly in my bank account using Avios?
    I’m trying to put together newq to gat, gat to bgi returns. Can find availability if searching one flight at a time, put them in multi city section and no go?

    • Is that Newquay to gatwick? If it is then it will be because it can’t do 2 different classes for 2 different flights – I have the same problem from Edinburgh – you will need to phone for the booking – I think that will be why. If I put starting from Edinburgh only economy flights come up for the long haul flight cos the Edinburgh to London bit is economy. Rob says the IT can’t do it.

  14. Yes, Newquay to Gatwick. I’m sure I managed this a few months ago on ba avios after a few attempts. Im sure the taxes was about £250 cheaper than booking through my avios account. If I call up CS can they just give me a price over the phone without a charge?

  15. Regarding the amenity kit. QR changed it. I’ve flown QR F 6 times since September. 4 times i’ve got the acqua di gio and two times the other one. Same for women’s amenity kit. When i flew the first time, they had generous 30ml “Armini Si” perfume for women. In November they changed it…still “si”, but much smaller bottle.

  16. and regarding the F-ground service. QR F-pax won’t get it in CDG,BKK or LHR. Only in DOH as transit pax. A Al Maha Service employee will wait for you, head directly to the elevator and bring you directly to the Al Safwa Lounge. Before Al Safwa opened one had quite a walk and clear security. Now from deboarding until arriving in the lounge max 5 min.

  17. Forgot to ask, do BA CS charge you to make this type of bookings via the phone as I’m sure I read somewhere they don’t as their IT cannot do this booking online but good to hear from experience.

    • My booking for this years holiday was with and they didn’t charge me for phoning – I think if you can’t do it online and have to call they don’t charge.

      • I’ve called BA and told them something is not working online and not been charged, they will try but if you say I tried online and it didn’t work they wave it.

    • Lady London says:

      Always ask for the phone fee to be waived as a couple of naughty CS reps have just quoted one amount for tax recently – that included the telephone booking fee without saying. Unfortunately I only spotted it on the second occasion, phoned up to have to removed, and when I explained it had not been made explicit and it was a booking that could not be made online, that part of the “taxes” was refunded immediately.

  18. Is it only the apd on the newquay return leg that we save on, just done another dummy booking using Avios and yes no apd on the newquay part but I’m sure I managed to get the ba avios redemption section to work a few months back on this combination and it reduced the whole taxes by as much as £240 but would of needed to add suitcase charges on the flybe part through ba.
    Does this sound right the reduction in taxes?

  19. Are you sure 60000 avios for First???you cant get even first on BA off peak for this amount of avios.
    Its 80000 avios.

    • Yes, 85,000 for first for us off peak.
      Any idea why avios do not take off the APD on the newquay route, my mistake with the figures and they do add apd on the whole combination flights for taxes with connecting flights at gat.
      My return flights do go into the following day, would this screw up the connections for apd purposes?

      • Lady London says:

        I think I’d phone them Tilly71. APD is not recalculated unless you exceed 23 hrs 59 minutes at the transfer point, till then it’s a transfer and not a stopover. It may be something as simple as the IT system not being able to recognise it’s the following day but still within 24hrs.

  20. I flew Qatar Business Class last year on the A380 to the Far East and to be frank thought it was fantastic. I’ve flown most airlines to the Far East from the UK and thought that Qatar airlines was head and shoulders above them all. I’m top tier One World so entitled to go into First Class lounges; in Doha there was not a first class but they did tell me there were going to open one at some point.

    I sat in one of the single seats by the window and can honestly say I can not think of an more enjoyable flight I’ve had on another airline (p.s. rest assured I do not work for Qatar Airlines!!)