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My review of Qatar Airways A380 First Class

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

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

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:

Qatar1

and

Qatar3

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:

Qatar4

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!

Qatar6

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 my Qatar Airways A380 First Class 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.

Comments (51)

  • Mark says:

    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.

    • Matt says:

      Yup, search the earlier sections for Rob’s report on the al-Safwa lounge in Doha.

      • Rob says:

        Or click the link at the top of this article?!

        • Mark says:

          My only defence is that at 05:40am and squinting at my iPhone in the darkness of my hotel room I overlooked the links at the top of the article.

  • Adam W says:

    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.

  • Joe says:

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

    • Brian says:

      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.

    • DW201 says:

      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.

  • Phillip says:

    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!

  • Erico1875 says:

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

    • Calum says:

      Can it not be repurposed quite easily; after all it’s just a name?

      • John says:

        If that leads to the al-Mourjan or whatever becoming the OWS lounge, then I’m all for it!

        • Bob says:

          If they expand the toilet-facilities: there was quite a queue during the morning peak when I visited the Al Mourjan lounge 🙂

    • Pat Butcher says:

      Regional business class is marketed as F. Plenty of flights with that.

  • 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.

    • Rob says:

      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.

  • 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)

    • Rob says:

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

  • 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! 🙂

    • Worzel says:

      Could there be some alternate day showering going on here? Rob on a water meter?

      I’m sure not, it’s just that he’s away a lot on HFP research duties! 🙂 .

      • Rob says:

        Not been on a plane for weeks now! Will have been a 2 month break, although a busy spell coming up.

        • Aeronaut says:

          Been enjoying having your feet on the ground, or are you itching to get back in the sky?

    • Rob says:

      Full size!

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