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Airbus A380-800. Qatar run this in a three-cabin format with eight first-class seats, 48 business and 461 economy.
QR908, Doha to Sydney.
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
Privilege Club. Qatar Airways is part of the oneworld alliance.
Business, Seat 14F, window on the upper deck.
Fourteen hours, 30 minutes, non-stop.
Daily between Doha and Sydney, departing in the evening and arriving the following evening.
A lie-flat with plenty of adjustment in the powered seat. Pitch is 203cm, width is 56cm and configuration is 1-2-1. It's not the QSuite however, Qatar Airways' latest business class offering, which has upped the stakes in the keen competition for "world's best business class" title. Come snooze time and the seat is topped off by a cushiony pillow-top layer.
A plump 40-kilogram checked luggage allowance with maximum total dimensions of 300cm. Cabin baggage allowance is two pieces, maximum total weight 15 kilos. There's one overhead bin for every seat, plus generous storage space around the seat.
You'll be spoiled forever after. The amenity kit comes with lip balm, facial mist, moisturiser, eye mask, ear plugs and socks. Since this is an overnight flight there are pyjamas and slippers. Business class is full, and since Qatar Airways sell their business class seats as an optional upgrade at the check-in desk, and since Qataris have the world's highest per capita GDP, it's likely that premium classes on flights originating from Doha are going to be chockers.
Qatar's Oryx One entertainment system offers a mix of Hollywood, Bollywood, Arabic and European-language movies with a sprinkling of arthouse. TV and music are similarly eclectic. Decent enough but it's hard to get excited about any airline's entertainment in the Netflix era. The 43cm entertainment screen is touch-navigated, as is the remote control, and you can watch on one screen while the other does something else. Noise cancelling headphones are not totally ear-encompassing, but they do a worthy job.
First class. Smiling, attentive, fast. Before take-off the business-class manager does a walk-through and introduces herself to everyone personally. When I wake up in the darkened cabin and turn on my reading light, one of the cabin crew is by my side asking if I'd like anything. Coffee and bircher muesli with fruit arrive just minutes later. I'd put service on par with Singapore Airlines, and that's world's best for my money.
The dinner menu starts with a French onion soup with a hint of truffle oil, followed by a mezze plate and a choice of spiced chicken, red snapper and an Indian paneer with spiced beans and potatoes. For breakfast there's a choice of cereals, breads and pastries, an Emmental cheese omelette and smoked halibut with mackerel rillettes. Top marks for a menu well outside the predictable. Wines include a pair of champagnes from Lanson, a Chablis and a Sauvignon Blank from Italy's Friuli region, a Medoc, a Shiraz from Hollick's and a pair of South American wines. The bar at the rear of business class dispenses drinks, snacks and restrained bonhomie.
ONE MORE THING
Qatar Airways offers one-stop connections between Australia and several smaller cities throughout Europe, as well as the main hubs.
With a class-leading cabin and service that shades every other airline but one, it's obvious why Qatar's business class was voted world's best in the 2017 Skytrax Airline Awards.
Our rating: 5 stars
Tested by Michael Gebicki who flew as a guest of Qatar Airways.
See also: Why you should visit Doha, Qatar