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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)

  • Jeremy says:

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

    • AmandaB says:

      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

  • alan says:

    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…

  • Daz says:

    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”?

    • CV3V says:

      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!).

    • Antonio says:

      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.

  • simon says:

    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

  • Tilly71 says:

    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?

    • Liz says:

      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.

  • Tilly71 says:

    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?

  • Philip says:

    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.

  • Philip says:

    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.

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