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Review of Qatar Airways SHORT-HAUL First Class from Abu Dhabi to Doha

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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:

Qatar Airways short haul First Class review

Qatar Airways uses the Plaza Premium lounge at Abu Dhabi.  I could have accessed this with my Priority Pass which made the 18,000 Avios I had used for the ticket look even more extravagant.

It is a perfectly acceptable lounge as you can see from these pictures ….

Qatar Airways short haul First Class review

…. with a decent food selection, only part of which is shown here.

Qatar Airways short haul First Class review

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:

Qatar Airways short haul First Class review

Leg room was acceptable – remember that I am 6’2′:

Qatar Airways short haul First Class review

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:

Qatar Airways short haul First Class review

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 …..

Comments (11)

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  • flibbly says:

    You dropped unlucky there Rob. On the vast majority of the short hauls I do with Qatar (when connecting to a business class from the UK) the first has the same seating as the new LH business seats such as on the 787.

  • Jason says:

    We flew Qatar F on an ex eu flight from Brussels, to Dxb, via Doha this year, can’t remember which plane it was, on the Dubai leg, however the seat turned into a bed and the space between the seat row in front was huge.
    Thanks for all your hard work this year Raffles, Happy Christmas to you and your family 🙂

    • Andy says:

      Sounds like the 777, QA often uses the 777 between DOH and DBX, once got upgraded from economy to Business on this leg.

  • Nick says:

    We did this exact same route in April with avios. I think we used the different lounge at AUH did yours have a few layers and steps? I did think afterwards what an extravagance plus the A320 we had was ancient and had the old business (intra F) seats. It was still as good a service as on the A350 we flew in on.

    What amazed me was the fact that on such a short hop you still get a 3 course albeit small meal and they still ask what champagne and or wines you would like at each course take your order then serve them exactly as ordered all in an hour was impressive.

    Out of Doha we had to use the business lounge as the F still wasn’t open but we coped on a Krug for a couple if hours while our 18 month run wild in the kids room. I’m sure you never saw those facilities rob but at the very back of the huge lounge hidden away is family rooms with TV’s soft drinks settees games consoles all in seperate pods.

    We were able to use the children’s play area with lots of toys and a fantastic changing area with nappies bags wipes creams baths shampoos body washes sinks in case if accidents you name it it had stock of all them. Plus we seemed to have our own cleaner and the second our toddler touched any glass or surface or nappy change it went into clean up mode and she was very pleasant playing with him etc. For a few hours layover it was amazing and anyone with kids it’s some of the best facilities I’ve ever seen in any hotel never mind airport lounge!

    • Rob says:

      They have a similar feature in the new F lounge. There is even a separate eating room (with a totally separate buffet) for kids.

      There is also, amusingly, a ‘Nanny Room’. This has REALLY cheap chairs in it and is where you send your nanny to sit – it looks like a waiting room – whilst you drink your Krug.

  • Jovan says:

    It’s not entirely pointless for flying into Doha, as you get to bypass long queues at the immigration.

  • Andy says:

    Food looks nicer than the famous CE Prawn Salad!

  • harry says:

    It’s the review for the flight OUT of Doha that I’m looking forward to 🙂

    The one where demurely dressed Qatari women dash to the loo as soon as the light goes green & come back in boob toobs & sequins ready to order the double G&Ts which make for a merry escape from the dourest country on earth.

  • Keith says:

    Have flown this a couple of times using the cheap option out of Copenhagen to Dubai via Doha Always impressed with this airline. Had Dreamliner on one Doha Dubai leg and A320 on other. Whilst the Dreamliner was the best option, for a 45 minute flight the A320 isn’t shabby. The fact that there is 3 course hot food with options is a testimony to that they really do try to offer higher standards.
    Thanks also Rob for a great year of savings and suggestions and for helping us all save money and turn left when boarding.

  • RK says:

    Is Doha still the most boring city on the planet?

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