July 22, 2016

Review: Qatar Airways A380 First Class, Doha to Paris

Trip to Kathmandu flying on Etihad A380 First Apartment and Qatar Airways A380 First Class

Last month, Mike and I traveled to Kathmandu, Nepal for the first time to meet our travel partner Helena, owner of Helena India Travels. We are sending our first group to Nepal in autumn and it was a great opportunity to meet her as well as the owners of the hotels where our group would be staying at. We were offered complimentary five nights stay by Mingma, the Nepalese owner of Chhahari Retreat and needless to say, we enjoyed every single day of our stay not only because of the nice room and excellent food in the restaurant but moreso because each one of them treated us like their own family. As for our flight, Mike and I used our remaining American Airlines Advantage miles to fly in first class from Europe to the Indian Sub continent, just before the devaluation in March, which is 80K miles return per person. Here's the full trip report of our trip to Nepal and I hope that thru this, more people would consider traveling to this wonderful country in the future!



Review: British Airways Business Class, Stockholm-London
Review: Etihad A380 First Apartment, London-Abu Dhabi
Review: Al Dhabi Lounge, T1 Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH)
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Abu Dhabi-Doha
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Doha-Kathmandu
Review: Chhahari Resort, Kathmandu
Review: Yeti Airlines Everest Express
Top Attractions in Nepal
Review: Executive Lounge, Kathmandu International Airport (KTM)
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class, Kathmandu-Doha
Review: Qatar Airways A380 First Class, Doha-Paris
Review: Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Lounge, T2 (CDG)
Review: British Airways Business Class, Paris-London
Review: Hilton London Heathrow Airport
Review: British Airways Business Class, London-Stockholm

Qatar Airways A380 First Class cabin

Flight: QR 39
Departure time in Doha: 7:25 (actual 7:27)
Arrival time in Paris: 13:20 (actual 13:10)
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Seat: 2E
Duration: 6h 43m
Date of flight: June 1, 2016
*This is an award travel, First Class flight #35

Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge

The beautiful Al Safwa Lounge

After arriving from our Qatar Airways flight from Kathmandu, we headed directly to the Al Safwa Lounge and decided to book one of the their quiet rooms where we could spend the rest of the night before our morning flight to Paris. It is a first come first serve basis and luckily, we were told by the agent that a room would be available in about an hour so we decided to grab some late dinner from the ala carte restaurant first.

Al Safwa ala carte restaurant menu

I was greeted by a lovely Filipina staff who took my order. I thought I'd just have a main course and some desserts and ended up with the tenderloin and some cake, which she highly recommended.

Al Safwa appetizer and bread basket

Beef Tenderloin Steak

Cake

Al Safwa bar

After our very tasty meal, I thought I'd show Mike around as it was his first time visiting the lounge. We passed by the bar with all the champagnes on display. I have previously reviewed the Al Safwa Lounge which you can find here.

Al Safwa coldcuts, cheese, etc.

Then, it was time to check in to our lovely room. I really love the fact that Qatar Airways offers rooms with real beds to their first class passengers since there are very few airlines doing it. Thai Airways has a few slumber rooms in Bangkok and Lufthansa has two nap rooms in their First Class Terminal in Frankfurt but Qatar Airways' is no doubt the best there is. Of course, Swiss has recently opened a new first class lounge in Zurich and from the pictures on the internet, it looks like there is a competition between the two.

Qatar Airways quiet room (two beds)

My bed for the night!

At around 6:15 am, we got our wake up call (which we requested the night before). Another 5 minutes later, an agent came to our room and informed us that she would be escorting us to the gate at 6:35 am. She also told us that she was supposed to meet us last night but our flight was delayed so she was not able to do so. I thought that the "escort" thing is a new one since they did not have it when I was here last December 2015, I really thought it was a very good thing, just like what Thai Airways is offering to their first class passengers. But on the other hand, Thai Airways uses a golf cart while Qatar Airways does not so I hope they could also offer the same thing in the future. The fact that the agent who was supposed to meet us last night was not able to do it because we were delayed was not so good since a delay of 5-10 minutes is not a lot of waiting, specially if they really want their first class passengers to feel special.

Boarding

Gate A5, Hamad International Airport

We had planned to skip the breakfast in the lounge and have it on the flight instead so after taking our shower, we passed by the reception around 6:30am and informed the agent that we would just go to the gate by ourselves and that she didn't need to escort us.

There was a separate desk for business/first class passengers and economy class passengers, as the premium passengers were using the elevator to wait on the upper level before boarding.

Inside the elevator to level 2.

Aircraft

There she is, the beautiful superjumbo! I have to be honest though that among the three Middle Eastern airlines, my favorite livery is that of Etihad Airways... Reimagined!

This way to the passenger bridge (for first and business class passengers).

Passenger bridge for first and business class passengers.

Cabin

Qatar Airways' first class cabin on the A380 is located in the upper deck just like that on Emirates.

The cabin has a 1-2-1 configuration with 2 rows with a total of 8 seats.

Qatar Airways first class cabin

Seat

Welcome to my seat, 2F!

As we boarded, we were welcomed by one of the flight attendants and handed over to Jin, a lovely South Korean lady who would be taking care of us in first class. She escorted us to our seats which were the two middle seats in row 2.

Qatar Airways first class seats are not fully enclosed but there is an aisle divider for more privacy.

A few moments later, Jin came back with the first class amenity kit for men consisting of Armani perfume, shampoo, master lotion and perfect master. Unfortunately, they have stopped giving first class pyjamas on day flights as a way to minimize cost.

View of the 2 personal TVs from my seat.

As for my predeparture beverage, I chose a glass of apple juice which was served with some crackers and a hot towel.

We were also offered some Arabic coffee and dates, with Jin getting help from Rachelle, another friendly flight attendant, this time from the Philippines.

Manikran, the cabin supervisor from Thailand also came to our seats to welcome us and give us the complimentary wifi voucher. We were also given Qatar Airways Privilege Club form and a pen in case we wanted to join their program. I thought I would ask the supervisor about the pyjamas not being offered on this flight and she confirmed that Qatar Airways have decided to give them only on night flights. I told her that last December, I was flying on the same route and had to wear my Etihad Airways pyjamas which was not a good thing for them.

Qatar Airways complimentary wifi voucher

A few minutes later, Jin was back to take our breakfast order. She also cleared our glasses and the bowl for chips. I had my jacket on the ottoman all this time and thought someone would offer to hang it on the miniwardrobe but no one did. This thing will never happen on airlines like ANA and Asiana. Oh how I miss them.

Mini wardrobe, seat 2F

Reading lamp

Located between the personal TV and the lamp is a power outlet.

By this time, I had transferred to seat 2G which is a window seat so I could have a nice view during taking off.

The seat controls are located on the left armrest.

Light controls located on the side of the right armrest.

Qatar Airways first class headphones and entertainment controller

Under the right armrest, you can find the IFE controls.

Qatar Airways Oryx magazine, Duty Free magazine, etc.

The safety video also started to play starring the FC Barcelona football team. I guess it's getting more and more common that airlines are choosing to involve "stars" in their safety video as a way to capture their flyers.

There was also a Qatar Airways plane with the FC Barcelona livery parked right next to us.

Pushback was at 7:33am and within a few minutes, we were airborne.

Dining

Qatar Airways first class menu card and wine list

As soon as the seat belt sign was turned off, breakfast service began. First, we were served our choice of morning beverage. Mike had the "strawberry and fig smoothie" while I had the "carrot celery and tomato healthy energizer" which tasted very good.

First class tray table

Table set up with bread and butter, a glass of still water and my choice of appetiser, "Orange compote, greek yoghurt and toasted granola with nuts".

Bread basket consisting of croissants and a roll, Beurre d'isigny butter

Mike on the other hand ordered the "Cured salmon with grain mustard cream cheese". The other choices were "Seasonal Fresh Fruits" and "Bircher Muesli".

Mike's cup of coffee

My Dilmah Sencha green tea

Traditional Arabic Breakfast

For my main course, I thought I'd try the Arabic breakfast which consisted of "feta cheese, cucumber, tomato and olives, served with foul medames and Arabic breads".

Arabic bread and foul medames

Salad

Mike on the other hand chose the "Omelette with chicken sausage, beef medallion, hash browns, grilled filled mushrooms and herb roasted tomatoes". The other choices were "Sundried tomato and paneer parcel with coconut chutney" and "Pancakes with mixed berries and honey".

The Arabic breakfast was okay (both the salad and arabic bread) but the foul medames was not really my type and I eventually offered it to Mike. I then decided to order something from their "light options" and ended up choosing the "Grilled prawn, roasted butternut squash and red onion salad" which was perfect.

To end the breakfast service, a hot towel was offered.

Airshow enroute to Paris

Business Class Seat, Onboard Lounge & Economy Class Seat

Qatar Airways A380 business class seat

After our breakfast, Mike and I decided we'd check out the rest of the upper deck. The business class cabin is located behind the first class cabin separated by the galley.

Qatar Airways onboard lounge

Qatar Airways onboard lounge

We were greeted by Kaye, the bar attendant from Kenya as we inspect the onboard lounge. I really think that Qatar Airways onboard lounge is one of the nicest out there. I really wanted to take a picture but there were two other guys from the business class cabin so I decided not to.

Then, we had a look at the small economy class cabin located just behind the business class cabin.

Lavatory

Qatar Airways A380 first class lavatory, right side

Mike and I were the only passengers in first class so I had my "own" lavatory located on the right side while Mike used "his" located on the left side of the cabin. Such a luxury!

Video of Qatar Airways A380 First Class lavatory

The lavatory was full stocked with all the things you would need like toothbrush/toothpaste, mouthwash, razor and shaving cream, cotton, etc.

Qatar Airways A380 first class lavatory, left side

The toilet paper was also presented very nicely.

Time to Sleep

Qatar Airways A380 first class bed

Returning to our seats, I was asked by the cabin supervisor if I wanted my bed to be prepared and I said yes. She offered to do it on the window seat, 2G which was a very nice gesture.

I also watched the rest of the movie "Concussion" which I thought was a very nice film.

Self serve snack bar

Located between the lavatory and the first class cabin is a self serve snack bar offering different kinds of drinks and packaged snacks.

View of the front side of the first class cabin from the main deck

Snacks

I was actually able to have a good nap thanks to the very comfortable bed, and about 3 hours before landing, I decided to grab some snacks from the self serve snack bar.

Less than 2 hours before landing (and still feeling hungry), I thought I'd order the Inaniwa noodles in clear broth with monkfish and coriander and individual dessert from their light options.

The other choices were:

Chicken Shawarma, spinach fatayer and lahem bil agine
Grilled fillet of beef with sweet pepper relish in toasted sundried tomato bread sandwich
Cheese selection served with crackers and of course the
Grilled prawn which I had earlier.

Qatar Airways first class dessert

About 40 minutes before landing, the captain came on the PA with updated arrival information including the current temperature in Paris which is 14 degrees Celcius. The cabin supervisor and the rest of the crew came to our seats once again to thank us for flying with them and at 13:20pm we landed at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Arrival at Paris CDG Airport

View upon landing

One last shot of Qatar Airways A380 at Paris CDG Airport

As first class passengers, we were also given the fast track card which made it easier for us to complete the immigration controls.

CONCLUSION

Having flown Qatar Airways first class in December last year on this same route, I knew more or less what to expect on this flight. I thought the crew did a fantastic job as they were very friendly and did their best to make sure we would enjoy everything on this flight. The fact that we were the only first class passengers on this flight was a big plus since we had the whole crew taking care of us. Of course, it was not the first time it happened to us as we were also the only first class passengers on Asiana from Frankfurt to Seoul as well as on Singapore Airlines first class from Singapore to Brunei in March 2014. The food selection on the other hand was a bit underwhelming specially if I compare it to Etihad Airways first class who won the World's best first class, best first class seat and best first class onboard catering in the recently concluded Skytrax Awards. The fact that they also eliminated the pyjamas on day flights was not a good thing. Overall, the great crew (and the lovely onboard lounge) made up for these shortcomings and in the end, it was still a very nice flight. To all the crew on this flight, Shukran!


Related Posts:

Cathay Pacific First Class, Hongkong-Frankfurt

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class, Tokyo-Singapore