November 15, 2016

Review: Qatar Airways First Class, Doha to Abu Dhabi

Trip to Guangzhou in Turkish Airlines Business Class & Guangzhou to Mumbai in Qatar Airways & Etihad A380 First Class

A few months ago, I came across some tips on Flyertalk about a cheap business class fare from Vilnius to Toronto on Turkish Airlines and since I wanted to earn Elite status in the airlines' Miles & Smiles program by the end of this year, I did not hesitate and booked the flight. Unfortunately, a schedule change forced me to cancel the flight and look for another option. I had some miles left on my American Airlines Advantage account so I thought I could redeem them flying from Guangzhou to Mumbai in first class. Flying from Mumbai to Bangkok was easy since Air India flies direct between these two cities. After thoroughly planning the trip, I ended up buying an open jaw ticket in Turkish Airlines business class, from Stockholm to Guangzhou and back from Bangkok to Stockholm. It actually turned out perfectly well as I was able to fly Qatar Airways A380 first class from Guangzhou to Doha and then to Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi, I was able to visit the newly opened Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa and from Abu Dhabi, I flew on Etihad's A380 to Mumbai. It was 8 flights in 6 days which was really tiring but who cares when you're flying in first and business class 😉



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Review: Qatar Airways A380 First Class, Guangzhou to Doha
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Review: Etihad Airways A380 First Apartment, Abu Dhabi to Mumbai
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Qatar Airways First Class meal, Doha to Abu Dhabi

Flight: QR 1044
Departure time in Doha (DOH): 8:20
Arrival time in Abu Dhabi (AUH): 10:30 (Actual 10:16)
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 2A
Duration: 56min
Date of flight: November 4, 2016
*Award Ticket, Business Class flight #118

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Lounge

Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Lounge

There is no doubt that the Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge is simply stunning and is definitely one of the best first class lounges there is. After taking a shower in one of the shower rooms located in the family area, I decided I'd have a quick breakfast and went to the main restaurant.

I only had about 25 minutes before the Al Maha agent would come and escort me to the boarding gate so I told the staff who took my order about it. She said she'd try to prioritize my order and luckily, it went well. I few minutes later, she was serving me the waffles which I ordered from the ala carte menu. I had previously grabbed some plain yogurt from the buffet to start my breakfast.

Then, I had some sliced fruits to end the meal.

By 7:20am, an agent approached me and informed that we would be taking a bus to the plane as it was in a remote stand. It was strange that as a new airport, they are still boarding passengers by driving buses to the aircraft and not directly from the boarding gates in the terminal. Luckily, this trip was not in the month of August 😉 Ten minutes passed and I was informed that we had to wait for another 5-6 minutes. Finally, at 7:38, we took the elevator located inside the lounge to the ground floor where a bus was waiting for us.

Boarding, remote stand

Qatar Airways Premium bus for boarding in a remote stand

We reached the plane around 8:05am and as I boarded, I was greeted by Aileen, a Filipina flight attendant who checked my boarding pass and directed me to my seat.

Seat

My seat, 2A

Spacious legroom

Seat pocket containing inflight magazines, duty free catalogue and safety instructions card.

Seat controls

IFE controls

Under the left armrest is the foldable tray while under the right armrest is the personal screen.

Moments after settling in, a flight attendant came to take my drinks order as well as my choice of hot or cold towel. I settled for a glass of water and a hot towel which were served minutes later. The menu card was also offered afterwards.

Newspapers were also offered although I declined, followed by some Arabic coffee and dates which I gladly accepted. By this time, the captain named Alex came on the PA to welcome us onboard and inform us of our flight time of 35 minutes. The first class cabin (it's only business class since it only has two classes) has a 2-2 configuration from rows 1-3 with a total of 12 seats, 7 of which were occupied.

Inflight Safety Video

Then it was time to play the safety video featuring the FC Barcelona football team. Moments later, the flight attendant serving the cabin came to take my meal order. I wasn't really hungry but wanted to take pictures of the meal so I ordered the frittata and the smoothie. Cayla, the CSD also came to my seat to welcome me onboard.

Dining

Qatar Airways First Class Menu card

The menu read as follows:


Breakfast

Morning beverages

Freshly squeezed orange juice
Avocado and fig smoothie

Appetizer

Seasonal fresh fruits

Mains

Asparagus and gruyere frittata with herb tomato sauce
Coriander and panko crusted halloumi cheese

As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, the flight attendant started setting up the tables.

Qatar Airways First Class meal

The whole meal was served in a tray as is the norm on short haul flights like this one. I loved the way they offer different varieties of smoothies on different flights and this avocado and fig smoothie actually tasted very good 👍

Toilet & Lavatory

The first class lavatory was clean as always and had the usual amenities from Rituals including a cologne spray, hand cream and hand soap.

Qatar Airways first class lavatory, Airbus A321

View before Landing

View before landing

The captain once again came on the PA to give us updated flight info including the weather in Abu Dhabi which was clear with 26 degrees Celcius.

Landing at Abu Dhabi International Airport

We landed at Abu Dhabi International Airport around 10:07am and reached our gate (gate 102 in Terminal 1) by 10:15am.

I was one of the first passengers to disembark and before proceeding to the transfer desk, I took a picture of Qatar Airways Airbus A321 which flew us from Doha to Abu Dhabi this morning.

Lovely pictures of some Abu Dhabi attractions on the wall.

CONCLUSION

I have flown this route before (and several other intra-Gulf flights) and as I always say, I am impressed by how the crew can give an excellent service on a 35 minute flight. There were 7 of us in the cabin and the meal service was perfect. There were only the CSD and another flight attendant serving the cabin so I really salute them for executing the meal service really well. Of course, the food was great specially the smoothie 😉 To all the crew on this flight, Shukran and hope to see you again soon!


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