This is my review of Qatar Airways short haul First Class between Abu Dhabi and Doha.
How do you know when you have too many Avios points? Probably when you start to redeem for Qatar Airways First Class on short haul flights.
I know that a lot of Head for Points readers consider using double the miles to fly Club Europe to be a bit of a waste. The idea of using FOUR TIMES the miles required for Economy to fly Qatar Airways First Class for what is the equivalent of London to Paris is a little crazy.
Like US domestic airlines, Qatar sells its regional flights as a two-class service – First and Economy. This means that a redemption is priced at First Class Avios rates, even though you are getting a standard short-haul business class experience.
Flying OUT of Doha, this is still worth considering because you would be allowed to use the truly astonishing First Class Lounge which I will review soon. Flying INTO Doha, it was a bit pointless.
But I did it anyway. For 18,000 Avios, one way.
The old terminal at Abu Dhabi still exudes something of the glamour of flight in the 1970’s. It may be low on facilities but you can’t knock any airport where the main central area looks like this:
It is a perfectly acceptable lounge as you can see from these pictures ….
…. with a decent food selection, only part of which is shown here.
Qatar First Class on short-haul uses 2 x 2 fixed seating, rather like the Virgin America First Class seat I flew last year. Compared to British Airways Club Europe it is clearly a major improvement:
Leg room was acceptable – remember that I am 6’2′:
The meal – this was a 7pm departure – was a one tray affair. This was hardly surprising given the short flight time.
Qatar still issues printed menus in short-haul First Class. The meal consisted of a ‘seasonal salad’, a choice of chicken musakhan or chargrilled cottage cheese with red bell pepper pesto (I took the chicken) and a Laduree dessert. To be honest, I have had better meals in Club Europe although you would not get a choice of entree with BA:
Alcohol including champagne was freely available. This is not always the case on regional flights in the Middle East, even on carriers that are happy to serve alcohol on long haul.
It was obviously only a few minutes after reaching our cruising altitude that the plane started to descend into Hamad Airport in Doha where I would be spending the night, probably having dreams of the 23 foot high yellow teddy bear that dominates the terminal …..