Review: Qatar Airways A380 Business Class (Night Flight DOH-BKK)


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Considering how many Qatar Airways flights I’ve been on in the past few years it’s amazing that this was my first flight in the Qatar Airways A380 Business Class cabin.

I flew in the A380’s First Class cabin between Doha and Paris last year as an add-on to my Auckland – Doha flight and I wasn’t that impressed, so I was interested to see what Business Class would be like.

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

I had arrived into Doha on a Qatar Airways A330 around an hour and a half before I was due to board the A380 so, as security was quick, I spent some time in the Al Mourjan Business Class lounge before heading to the gate.

Boarding was called on time and I was soon heading to the upper deck of the A380 to find my seat in the Business Class cabin.

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class Cabin

The Qatar Airways A380 offers 48 seats in the Business Class cabin and all of are set out in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 formation.

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

The beauty of the 1-2-1 layout is that all seats offer direct access to the aisle meaning you don’t have to clamber over your neighbour if you need to get up and, likewise, you don’t have anyone clambering over you either.

The middle seats are angled towards each other and are probably the better choice for couples who want to sit together…..

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

…although they can also offer quite a bit of privacy thanks to a sizeable central divider. This means they’re not a particularly bad place for solo travellers to find themselves either.

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

I had chosen one of the window seats on the starboard side of the aircraft….

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

…and I have to admit to finding it difficult to find more than a few differences between the A380 seat and the seat on the Qatar Airways 787 (that’s not a bad thing).

The window seats in the A380 Business Class cabin are angled towards the windows…..

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

….and there’s a small shelf-like ottoman under the IFE screen which is where a passenger’s feet go when the seat is in its lie-flat position:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

This is quite a good place to store pillows and blankets when you’re not using them.

The seat has a storage drawer at floor level which will take a par of shoes (just about)…….

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

…..there’s a shelf at shoulder height between the seat and the window….

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

….although this isn’t the greatest place to put your things during take off and landing as they just go flying.

There’s more storage under the window ledge….

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

….as well as a small storage bin in the aisle-side armrest….. but that’s taken up with the Qatar headphones:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

The Qatar Airways A380 has the same storage bins under the windows that you find in most A380s (and which I really like)……

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

…..but for some reason these have “no stowage” clearly written on them:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Fortunately the storage bin under the shelf by the window is surprisingly spacious…so much so that it will hold a 15” laptop, a Kindle and various accessories with ease.

The main power port is found under the window ledge by the storage bin and is of the universal kind:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

There’s a USB port and an audio input in the same area too.

The tray table extends out from underneath the IFE and is a very good size:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

I’m a big fan of these tables as they’re sturdy (they don’t wobble when you type) and they’re big enough to hold a laptop and paperwork at the same time.

The controller for the in-flight entertainment is under the shelf by the window….

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

…and pulls out on a retractable cord.

A little further ahead of the IFE controller is the 3-pin headphone output and the seat controls:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

There’s good news on the headphone front.

A lot of the 3-pin outputs you’ll find won’t allow you to listen to the IFE with a single-jack set of headphones unless you use a 2-pin adapter – not on the Qatar Airways A380. My ear buds worked just fine.

Qatar Airways Amenities

The seats already had a pillow and a blanket on them when I boarded and both were excellent.

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

The pillow was firm but comfortable while the blanket was huge and weighty – this was probably the best pillow/blanket combination I’ve had in a Business Class cabin.

There were amenity kits at all the seats when I boarded too…..

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Because the Qatar Airways lavatories come stocked with all the basic toiletries and amenities a passenger is likely to need (toothbrush, toothpaste etc…) the Bric’s amenity kits don’t actually contain all that much:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Lastly, shortly before we departed the cabin crew came around with slippers and White Company pajamas:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

These are only handed out on overnight flights – you don’t get pajamas on daytime flights….even if you’re in First Class and the cabin is darkened.

Drinks & Dining

Qatar Airways offers a dine on demand service which allows passengers to eat whenever they want to eat rather than when the airline thinks they’ll be hungry.

On overnight flights like this one I usually don’t need to ask the cabin crew to bring the meal as soon as possible (to allow me to get the maximum amount of sleep) as the standard service starts almost as soon as the aircraft levels off.

On this flight I didn’t bother with the light evening meal – it was past 2:30am and I just wanted some sleep.

I did, however, have a fantastic mint and lemon drink both before and after take off:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

If you’re not going to test out the alcoholic beverages I can recommend this as a very refreshing drink.

Champagne/Wine Menu

Cocktails Menu

Dining Menu

The dining menu is always a lot shorter on night flights….but it’s still ok.

I passed on the light evening meal but I didn’t pass up breakfast.

Breakfast started with a bread basket, orange juice and the smoked salmon with horseradish and chive potato salad….which was very flavorful:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

For the main part of breakfast I ordered what I always order on Qatar Airways – the traditional Arabic breakfast:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

This is made up of:

  • Feta cheese
  • Cucumber, tomato and green olives
  • Balila (Garbanzo bean/Chickpeas cooked in herbs and oils) with lemon
  • Arabic bread

There’s a reason I order this just about every time I fly with Qatar and it’s because it’s fresh, light and something I enjoy – once again it didn’t let me down.

To finish breakfast off I ordered a macchiato…which was good:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

This is one of the cool extras you get on the more premium carriers – you don’t just order a coffee, you have to specify what kind of coffee you’d like.

Qatar Airways Wi-Fi

The Qatar Airways A380 offers Wi-Fi in all the cabins but it’s not the kind if Wi-Fi I’m particularly happy purchasing.

Business Class passengers get 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi…but this is limited to 10MB which is consumed a lot quicker than 15 minutes.

If you want access for longer you’re going to have to pay and you’re going to have to know how much Wi-Fi you actually need:

But I don’t know how much Wi-Fi I consume and, based on how quickly the free 10MB was used up, those prices look very expensive.

There’s an “Ultimate” plan that you can buy which claims to offer “full flight internet access”…..

…but on the basis that it also mentions “200MB” I’m not convinced that the plan will actually last all flight. (If anyone has tried this out please let me know what it was like in the comments below)

The Bar

I can’t fly on the Qatar Airways A380 and not mention the bar:

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

This sits at the back of the Business Class cabin and can be a nice place to stretch your legs, relax and chat to fellow flyers.

There’s lounge-style seating on both sides of the bar….

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

….and you’ll find a crew member tending bar ready to pour you the drink of your choice.

Qatar Airways A380 Business Class

I took these pictures shortly after the seatbelt sign was extinguished so they don’t capture the bar in full swing – there are usually nibbles and snacks laid out as well.

Thoughts

Negatives:

  • I’m not a fan of the onboard Wi-Fi – it’s probably my most disliked thing that Qatar Airways offers.
  • The amount of room for a passenger’s feet (when the seat is in lie-flat mode) can feel confining. It’s nowhere near as bad as the A330 but it’s still not super-spacious
  • If you sleep on your front it can be hard to get comfortable…..although I eventually found a way.

Positives:

  • The crew weren’t very busy on this flight as most of the cabin was asleep quite quickly…but what they did they did well and they did it with a smile. This probably has something to do with the fact that they’re not being continuously told that they’re on board primarily for passenger safety so they know that they’re in the service industry – US crews are so far behind crews like these that it’s now gone beyond a joke.
  • The seat was very comfortable (as a seat) and also comfortable if you sleep on your back or side.
  • The pillow and blanket were both very good and perfect for an overnight flight.
  • There’s good storage around the seat so there’s room to keep things like laptops, paperwork and e-readers close to hand.
  • I enjoy the bar the Qatar Airways A380 offers – it’s a nice place to relax and the crew are always fun to talk to.

Bottom Line

The Qatar Airways A380 offers a very good Business Class cabin.

Everyone gets direct access to the aisle, the seats are comfortable, there’s ample storage space and the amenities are good too.

The overall experience is pretty good too because Qatar Airways crews understand the concept of customer service, there’s a nice atmosphere onboard and there’s a bar at which to relax.

If you can’t enjoy a Business Class flight in this cabin I’m struggling to think of many cabins that you’ll like – I’d definitely book this again.

Click here if you want to know more about the trip I was doing, what I booked, how much I paid and what miles and points I earned.

Featured image – Sezaun via Flickr

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