Airline review: Qatar Airways Airbus A380 business class, Melbourne to Doha

THE ROUTE

QR905 Melbourne to Doha

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Qatar Airways Privilege Club, with OneWorld compatibility.

DURATION

14.5 – 15 hours

FREQUENCY

Daily

THE SEAT

Business class, 12A. There are eight open suites in First Class, 48 flat bed seats in Business and 461 standard seats in Economy. 12A is in Business Class, with 80-inch pitch and 22-inch width. The configuration is 1-2-1.

The business class seat is easily adjusted and set in a pod with a large bench space to keep bits and bobs handy, a deep storage bin, compartment for headphones and water bottle and a drawer for shoes. The bed configuration, when covered with a mattress, pillow and duvet, is cosy and restful.

Qatar is rolling out its new Qsuite with privacy screens. Due to its curves, the A380 will eventually be fitted with a modified version.

See also: Qatar unveils revolutionary new Qsuite seats

BAGGAGE

Up to 50kg of checked luggage in First, 40 in Business and 30 in Economy. Two pieces up to 15kg carry-on for business passengers and one, up to seven kg, for economy.

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COMFORT

Qatar's recent introduction of the A380 on this route is great news. The aircraft remains this reviewer's favourite – quiet, roomy and atmospherically superior. In this case, its spaciousness affords a large lounge and bar space in the upstairs business and first cabins – such a treat during long-haul.

The PJs with matching slippers and cute reusable Brics amenity cases filled with Monte Vibiano products add to the inflight excellence.

ENTERTAINMENT

Oryx One Inflight Entertainment with 500 movies, including Bollywood and world, and lots of TV, documentary and listening options. The screen is 17-inch HD. There's 15 minutes of free inflight wi-fi for each passenger, with more purchasable. Service is up and down. The OnAir system allows passengers to make calls, send and receive SMS.

SERVICE

You know how sometimes, as a passenger, even at the pointy end, you can feel like an inconvenience to the crew, especially in the middle of the quiet, lights-out time? Qatar Airways' crew are instilled with a purpose of valuing each customer's individual comfort and experience. At least in the business class cabin, it really shows and feels like a major reason Qatar was named Best Airline in the World by Skytrax for the fourth time since 2010. Nothing is too much trouble, for the multi-cultural young and energetic attendants. Even accidental pushes of the call button are greeted with warmth.

FOOD

Until the end of September, this leg exclusively features Greek-inspired dishes from beleaguered Melbourne chef, George Calombaris. In this instance, he succeeds. The Hellenic grain salad, tuna, and tahini yoghurt cold appetiser and "Gazi" lamb moussaka as a main course, packed lots of flavour. It was some of the best food in the air this taster has tried.

Across the board, Qatar's business class food is a cut above with good options ranging from full dinners to light snacks, remarkably fresh-tasting and individually served at a time that suites the passenger – there's not a trolley in sight.

Wines are interesting and high quality and there are lots of little touches that elevate the experience, such as the warm mixed nuts, warm bread with good butter, Valrhona chocolates, gleaming silverware and proper-sized glassware (with plentiful pours).

ONE MORE THING

Tensions in the region have changed Qatar's approach to Doha's Hamad International but with the flight time regularly wavering between 14 and 15 hours, it didn't discernibly add much to ours. And speaking of that airport, Qatar Airways' Al Mourjan Business Lounge is nothing short of spectacular.

THE VERDICT

When it comes to the big airlines of the world, you wonder how much better one can be over another. Qatar, at least in our experience of business class, really does transcend.

Tested by Julietta Jameson who flew as a guest of Qatar Airways and Tourism Ireland.

Our rating out of five: 5

See also: World's best airline for 2017 named

See also: Airline review: The best economy seat on a Qantas 747, at no extra charge

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