GTHQ Jaunt Journal – Flight: Qatar A380 – First Suites
Route: Paris (CDG) – Doha (DOH) – 6H25M
As we’ve tested Emirates A380 First class suites and Etihad A333 First class suites we wanted to try out the last of the Gulf carriers first class product. We decided to test the Qatar A380 First Suites on a trip to Doha. Qatar won Skytrax 2015 Airline of the year and is classified as a 5 star airline and has won many other awards. There is some controversy concerning the way the airline is run by its CEO and how it manages its workforce, but it does run a tight ship.
As our journey started in Charles de Gaulle airport, there was no welcoming lounge to set the right mood… Many of the foreign carrier operated longhaul routes depart from Terminal 1. There were multiple gates that all fed into the plane but were separated by economy gates and business/first gates.
As we boarded the upper deck of the A380 the flight attendants helped us to our seats. We turned left towards the first class cabin and found our seats. We placed our luggage under the footrest in the seat and stowed our coats in the small coat divider where the amenity kit was already stowed.
The crew brought out pre-departure drinks, some delicious dates and some Arabic coffee. The service was quite good and any special requests were handled promptly. The crew was always courteous and never pushy or overbearing. Good consistent service.
I really liked the Giorgio Armani amenity kits but they aren’t quite as solid since they’re made of fabric. Both the men’s and women’s kits contain Armani perfumes like Acqua di Gio, body lotion, makeup removal (for women) and shaving cream (for men). Each also has an inner pouch that has socks, eyeshades, lip balm and ear plugs.
There are 8 first class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and it was full on our flight. We picked two middle seats 2E and 2F as the divider between them could be lowered.
Each seat is an open suite and each one lies a flat 180 degrees and was quite comfortable although I only had 6 hours to test…
The left arm rest had a space for the headset and had the seat controls.
The right side contained the control for the entertainment center, the safety manuals, and an extra bottle of water. Near the seats’ headrests there were automatic lights for reading that activated as soon as the lights were lifted.
The seat is 83 inches long including the footrest and 23” wide. There is a 32” TV with hundreds of movies, entertainment and TV channels.
There are power and USB outlets to charge your electronics to the right of the TV screen. The dining tray table is quite large and folds in nicely to the center divider. Luggage will be stored by your feet under the foot rest.
The bathroom is quite long and spacious. It’s basically the same size of Emirates bathrooms minus the shower.
The Food and Beverages
The food was exceptional. However, this is not a surprise as one of the celebrity chefs that prepares the selection of entrees is Nobu Matsuhisa who owns various restaurant chains and many have been awarded Michelin stars. We really enjoyed the Peruvian/Japanese blend when we ate at Nobu in Monaco.
The menus are more limited with less selection compared to Emirates and Etihad but there is still quite a good selection. I had the lamb chops and my wife had chicken teriyaki. They were both succulent and the lobster appetizer was just right.
There is also the nicest bar in a plane in the sky that’s located towards the back of the upper deck. We didn’t take too much advantage of the bar but stopped in for a quick drink.
As far as luxury first class flights go, I would rank Qatar behind Emirates and slightly behind Etihad on the overall experience. However, the staff was very efficient and pleasant.
Upon arrival, we were met by the ground staff who promptly escorted us through the airport to the arrivals lounge and after some nice tea, we were expedited through customs clearance.
All in all, a very good flight and experience.
The Good: The bar layout; fantastic food and great staff
The Bad: One small berry in the dessert had mold on it
The Ugly: None