Airline review: Qatar business class, A380 Doha to Melbourne from Paris

The Aircraft

Airbus A380-800

The Loyalty Scheme

Qatar has its own Privilege Club, but it is also part of the Oneworld Alliance.

Class

I'm seated in business class, which has a total of 48 flat bed seats.

Duration

14 hours and 35 minutes

Frequency

Daily, Sunday to Wednesday. Flights depart in the evening from Melbourne and arrive in Doha early in the morning.

Checking In

Nowhere else in the world has a separate terminal for business, first and economy passengers and when I'm dropped off, there is not another soul. I am actually assisted with my check-in, immigration and (at this point, oversized) luggage via Al Maha services and could have practically done it blindfolded. The service escorts you from door to lounge to gate and would be exceptionally handy for those arriving sluggish after a long flight. 

Baggage

40 kilograms checked in plus two pieces of hand luggage weighing 15 kilograms in total.

The Seat

The business-class seats on the A380 have a pitch of 52 inches, a 22-inch width, and 30 inches as a fully lie-flat bed.

I'm in a window seat and my modern pod is pointed away from the aisle towards the window which offered me more privacy than forward-facing seats, and by the end of the flight, I couldn't point out any of my fellow passengers in a line-up. With purpose-made drawers to stash shoes, handbags and electronics, I'm left with plenty of space to recline in comfort, while having my belongings within easy reach.

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Comfort

A toiletries bag from Italian luxury travel bag company Brics awaits with goodies from Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio and as soon as we're seated a crew member hands me the greatest of all airline luxuries – a pair of slippers and pyjamas, the type you won't be leaving on the plane when you leave. I sleep for a good portion of the 14-hour flight and wake up four hours away from Melbourne, long enough for breakfast and another movie before landing.

Entertainment

The Qatar entertainment system boasts a 17-inch touch screen with a responsive remote, which one could spend scrolling though indecisively. Apart from new movies, it also included cult television series such as A Handmaid's Tale, Killing Eve and Lodge 49.

Service

Service is faultless throughout the flight – friendly and attentive, without being overbearing. And if you want to stretch your legs over the long haul, Qatar has a bar on the A380 serving everything from champagne to snacks and coffee, which is a pleasant area to while away some time reading a magazine or chatting to the staff.

Food

After eating a fantastic smoked salmon appetiser, with fresh bread and French butter, the gorgonzola and walnut tortellini main is a major flop. Its Middle Eastern cuisine is excellent, and I would strongly advise passengers to choose wisely. Qatar redeems itself at breakfast with an apple and wildberry strudel, which let's face it, is more a dessert. It also has an excellent wine list.

One More Thing

Qatar has somehow created a world where economy passengers simply don't exist. Separate terminals plus not having them trudge past on board here and some of its smaller planes (such as the flight from Doha to Nice on the A350) means you don't know they're there. It's eerie – and for all I knew first class was booked out entirely by a bazaar of falcons.

It's also worth mentioning that flyers from Paris will find Qatar's business-class lounge to be an oasis in an otherwise turgid, ageing airport that is severely lacking in facilities and services.

Verdict

Qatar Airways was named the world's best airline at the annual World Airline Awards in 2019 for a record fifth time, as well as taking out the award for world's best business class. Maybe it was the champagne, but the fluid service Al Maha provides from arrival to departure took away all the stress usually associated with flying.

Our rating out of five

4.5 

See also: World's best airlines for 2019 named

See also: Airline review: Qatar Airways economy class

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